Tag: "WBBM"

Friday, April 21, 2017

| April 21, 2017

iHeartMedia Reports Preliminary Q1 Results Expressing ‘Substantial Doubt’ About Future Given Current Debt Obligations.  This report (filed yesterday, 4/20) to the SEC is designed to help the company achieve success with its debt exchange offer that expires for lenders today and for bondholders next Friday (4/28).  But the language is very strong as iHeartMedia preliminarily reports that consolidated revenue is down 2.4% for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.  The company explains in this filing that it is analyzing, on a quarterly basis, “whether there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date our financial statements are issued.  A substantial amount of our cash requirements are for debt service obligations.  Although we have generated operating income, we incurred net losses and had negative cash flows from operations for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, as well as for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.  Our current operating plan indicates we will continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows from operating activities given iHeartCommunications’ indebtedness and related interest expense.  During the quarter ended March 31, 2017, we spent $570.4 million of cash on payments of principal and interest on our debt, net of facility draws and proceeds received, and anticipate having approximately $1.7 billion of cash interest payment obligations for the full year 2017.  At March 31, 2017, we had debt maturities totaling $316.5 million, $324.2 and $8,369.0 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.  Our debt maturities at March 31, 2017 include $305.0 million outstanding under our receivables based credit facility, which matures on December 24, 2017, and $112.1 million of 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018.  Based on the significance of the forecasted future negative cash flows, including the maturities of the $305.0 million receivables based credit facility and the $112.1 million 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018, and the uncertainty of the outcomes of the Exchange Offers and Term Loan Offers, management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017 will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued as a result of uncertainty around our ability to refinance or extend the maturity of our receivables based credit facility, to achieve our forecasted results, and to achieve sufficient cash interest savings from the pending Exchange Offers and Term Loan Offers.”

WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Terry Foster Retires.  The Detroit sports talk host – one half of the Valenti & Foster show with co-host Mike Valenti – had missed much of the second half of 2016 after suffering a stroke.  But now, after returning to the show in January, Terry Foster announces he’ll retire from the station to focus on his “health and his family.”  Foster says, “I am retiring from sports radio but I am not retiring from life.  It is time for me to move on to a more low-key career.  I want to thank Deb Kenyon and James Powers for helping me get through a difficult time of my life and for the support during my 13-year career with ‘97.1 The Ticket.’  I also want to thank the most talented man in radio, Mike Valenti, for showing me the ropes, and thank the men behind the glass and my main crew David ‘The Hatchet Man’ Hull and Mike Sullivan.  We were a great team.  I just could no longer keep up the brisk pace of talk radio after my illness.  I appreciate the love and show of support from the fans during my most trying days and through my career in radio and newspaper.  And I would love one last hug from my CBS Radio family in Southfield.  I found out over the past few months that health and family are the most important things in life.  I will see you at the next game.”  Mike Valenti comments, “It’s been a great run for Terry Foster and me on ‘97.1 The Ticket’ for more than a decade.  Working with Terry has provided some memorable on-air moments.  I want to wish Terry the same success in retirement that we have enjoyed together as a team.”

Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Sells Two Stations to Radio One. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder sells two of his five sports talk-formatted Red Zebra radio stations to Radio One for an undisclosed sum.  Radio One will assume control of both stations under an LMA beginning on May 1.  WWXT-FM, Washington (a Class A signal licensed to Prince Frederick, Maryland) will begin simulcasting Radio One’s urban AC WMMJ, Washington “Majic 102.3 FM.”  The other station is WXGI-AM, Richmond “ESPN 950” and Radio One plans to continue airing the sports format.  In fact, it will simulcast the station on its own WTPS-AM – bumping the urban talk format from the station – as well as on Petersburg-licensed translator W274BX at 102.7 FM.  WXGI-AM carries Redskins football, Nationals baseball and Richmond Spiders play-by-play in the Richmond market.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins is quoted saying, “I still believe in the power of terrestrial radio and am excited about this deal with Red Zebra.  I’m always willing to evaluate an opportunity that allows us to grow our radio assets and continue to diversify our radio group, not just through syndication and digital, but good programming that serves our listeners.”

Report: CBS RADIO Names New Sales Leader. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CBS RADIO Chicago has promoted Chad Feldman to vice president and director of sales for the cluster that includes all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and sports talk WSCR.  Feldman has most recently been sales manager for those two stations.  Feder says this is the third change in 16 months for this position and “insiders say [market manager Tim] Pohlman is under increasing pressure to boost revenue as CBS RADIO is poised to merge with Entercom Communications.”  Read Feder’s story here.

Entercom and CBS Receive Requests for More Information from the DOJ.  This could slow the EntercomCBS RADIO merger down a bit, but Entercom says it still expects the deal to close in the second half of this year.  Here’s what Entercom says, in part: “On April 19, 2017, Entercom Communications Corp. received a request for additional information and documentary material, often referred to as a ‘second request,’ from the United States Department of Justice in connection with the Company’s previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger entered into with CBS to combine with CBS’ radio business in a two-step, all stock ‘Reverse Morris Trust’ transaction…Consummation of the Transactions is conditioned on expiration of the waiting period applicable under the HSR Act, among other conditions.  Issuance of the second request extends the waiting period under the HSR Act until 30 days after all parties to the Merger Agreement have substantially complied with the second request, unless the waiting period is terminated earlier by the DOJ or the parties voluntarily extend the time for closing.”

North Korea’s Nuclear Threats and ‘Trump Armada’ Tie Atop Talkers TenTM for Week of April 17-21.  The nuclear weapons threats against the U.S. by North Korea and the controversy over the whereabouts of U.S. Navy ships tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was tensions between the U.S. and Russia and the latter’s jet fighter patrols off the coast of Alaska.  Coming in at #3 was Bill O’Reilly’s exit from Fox News Channel, followed by the close race for Georgia’s open U.S. House seat at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Lawrence Pintak to Host Weekend Show on KXL, Portland.  Beginning Sunday (4/23), founding dean of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication will host a one-hour, Sunday program (3:00 pm to 4:00 pm) on Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL, Portland.  The station says “the deep political and social fissures that divide American society are the focus of a new weekly current affairs radio show, ‘American Fault/Lines,’” hosted by Lawrence Pintak.  He comments, “America is more divided than at any time in modern history.  The election of President Donald Trump brought these divisions into sharp relief.  It is also fundamentally altering America’s relationship with the world.”  Pintak is an award-winning journalist who covered the Middle East for years.  He has covered wars, coups, and revolutions on three continents for many of the world’s leading news organizations, and reported on the first suicide attacks against Americans in Beirut in the 1980s.  He is the author of four books on Middle East policy, Islam, and international journalism.  Pintak adds, “The goal for the program is to be syndicated nationally and to bring a perspective that breaks free of both the New York-Washington corridor media narrative and the dominant ethos of conservative talk radio, through fact-based interviews with guests who are not ‘the usual suspects.’”

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Welcomes Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes. The Emmis Communications news/talk station carries Todd Starnes’ daily, one-minute commentaries from Fox News Radio and Starnes was part of the recent, sold-out live event featuring the “Allman in the Morning” show hosted by Jamie Allman.  Hundreds of KFTK-FM “Newstalk 97.1” fans turned out to greet Starnes, who’s pictured above at the event with KFTK-FM staffers.  They are (from l-r): program director Jeff Allen, Tricia Siekmann, Denys Schaefer, Starnes, Jamie Allman and Katie Bailey.

Talk Host Wes Minter Dies at 63. Longtime talk show host Wes Minter had been working full time in sales with Waste Management in Pittsburgh, but he had also been doing some fill-in work for CBS RADIO’s KDKA-AM over the past few years.  Minter was a successful talk host during the 1990s and early 2000s, working at such stations as KRMG, Tulsa; WSB-AM, Atlanta; KCMO, Kansas City; WHIO, Dayton; and WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Minter suffered a fatal heart attack on Tuesday (4/18) at the age of 63.

KGO, San Francisco Afternoon Drive Host Chip Franklin Guests on Harrison Podcast.  For the past two decades, multi-talented Chip Franklin has performed top quality talk radio at leading stations in Washington, DC, Baltimore, San Diego, and now San Francisco, where he presides over afternoon drive (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm) on the revamped incarnation of the Cumulus Media heritage outlet, KGO.  He has also performed outstanding work as a comedian, writer, musician, video producer and television talking head along the way.  In a candid, in-depth conversation with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne program “Up Close and Far Out,” Franklin discusses his dramatic transition during the past several years from libertarian/conservative to progressive/liberal.  He also talks about his deftly produced, rapid-fire website videos critically targeting the day-to-day adventures of President Donald Trump.  In announcing Franklin as this week’s guest, Harrison states, “Not only is Chip a remarkable veteran talent still moving the ‘pertinence needle,’ but there are some exciting things developing at the ‘new’ KGO in terms of its talent diversity and market specificity that are worthy of industry attention.  This episode is sure to tickle the fancy of talk radio professionals and media freaks around the world.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence morning personality Heather Gersten is adding assistant program director to her title as Cumulus Media promotes the WWLI “Lite Rock 105” staffer.  In addition to co-host of the “Heather & Steve” show on the adult contemporary signal, Gersten is part of Lite Rock’s “2 Lite Chicks” with midday personality Amy Pontes.  The duo also hosts the “Wicked Awesome 80’s Show” Saturday nights at 8:00.  Cumulus corporate vice president-AC and ‘Lite Rock 105’ program director Emily Boldon says, “With her considerable talents, dedication and drive, Heather has repeatedly proven herself to be the perfect candidate.  She lives, breathes and loves this radio station with a passion I wish I could replicate.”…..At Radio One’s Houston operations, Madd Hatta adds assistant program director duties for urban AC KMJQ “Majic 102.”  He continues to host the “Madd Hatta Morning Show” on sister rhythmic CHR KBXX “97.9 The Box.”…..Galaxy Communications’ rock duo “KROCK” – WKRL, Syracuse and WKLL, Utica – adds local DJ Big Smoothie to the weekend program schedule.

 

 

Round Three of March PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of March 2017 PPM ratings information from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s March 2017 survey period covered March 2 – 29. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways” from these 12 PPM markets below.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) Portland – It has been quite a turnaround for KGON, which registered a +.8 in February to apply the brakes to eight straight sweeps without a gain that resulted in a combined -1.7 dating back to last June (4.9 – 4.3 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+). That February increase pushed the Entercom classic rocker from #14 to #11, but it apparently was only warming up, as KGON tacks on more than a full-share (4.0 – 5.1, +1.1, 6+) to cruise into the top ten at #6. This is the first time that KGON has crossed the five-share threshold (6+) since March 2015 (5.5). As was the case in February, eight-tenths of a share continues to be the distance between Portland’s two frontrunners as both iHeartMedia adult contemporary KKCW “K-103” (7.7 – 8.6, #1 for the 34th time in the last 36 ratings periods, 6+) and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s KOPB (6.9 – 7.8, 6+) chalk up impressive increases of nine-tenths. This time last month, “K-103” was off by nine-tenths; KOPB declined by one full-share, completely surrendering January’s +1.0, after a -.7 in “Holiday” 2016. Locked on 4.0 (6+) in January and February (following a 5.5 in “Holiday” 2016, 6+), Entercom adult hits KYCH “97.1 Charlie – We Play Everything” posts a one-half share gain to 4.5 (6+) and cracks the top ten (#11 to #7). Having registered four straight gains for a combined +1.7 (4.7 – 4.8 – 5.1 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), co-owned KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf – Great Country for the Great Northwest” coughs up roughly half that gain (5.5, -.9, 6+), sliding from third to fifth. Notching a 4.2 (6+) for the third straight month, Alpha Media’s KUPL “98.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” repeats at #9. A January +.9 ended three straight decreases for “The Bull” that resulted in a combined -1.8 (5.1 – 4.9 – 4.6 – 3.3, 6+). Trending 4.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – (“Holiday” 2016 – January – February, 6+), All Classical Public Media’s KQAC drops seven-tenths to 3.5 (6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #13).

2) Charlotte – See if you can spot a dominant theme in this particular market recap. The third straight increase by WHQC “Channel 96.1” is by a robust +1.1 (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 4.9, 6+), elevating the iHeartMedia CHR into the top 10 (#12 to #8). Not only that, “Channel 96.1” overtakes (by one-tenth) its format rival, Beasley Media Group-owned WNKS “Kiss 95.1 – Charlotte’s #1 Hit Music Station” (eighth to ninth), which is actually up or flat for the third consecutive sweep (3.8 – 4.6 – 4.6 – 4.8, 6+), netting a full-share. In addition to posting its third successive positive trend that has accounted for a +1.3 (6.4 – 7.2 – 7.3 – 7.7, 6+), iHeartMedia classic rock WRFX “99.7 The Fox” is #1 for the third month in a row. A +8 (6+) by “The Fox” in January curtailed a series of three consecutive downward moves that yielded a -1.5 (7.9 – 7.3 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). Regressing for … you guessed it … the third successive time and falling from third to fifth is Beasley Media Group’s WSOC “Country’s Hottest Hits” (7.0 – 6.3 – 5.8 – 5.2, 6+). A cumulative -1.8 since the “Holiday” 2016 report, WSOC has the lowest 6+-share in its PPM-history. After a -1.2 in “Holiday” 2016 and a +1.7 in January, format rival – iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat” – has gained (in February) and then lost (in March) two-tenths (5.7 – 5.9 – 5.7, 6+). “The Kat” carries on in the runner-up slot. In “Holiday” 2016, it trailed “Country’s Hottest Hits” by three full-shares (7.0 to 4.0, 6+) but now has a one-half share advantage. As is the case with WSOC, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WRCM “K-Love” is down by six-tenths as well (2.2 – 1.6, #17 to #18, 6+). Owing to a -.1 in February, “K-Love” had its consecutive string of increases halted at three (1.5 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 2.3, 6+).

3) San Antonio – Powered by a +.9 (2.8 – 3.7, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KXTN “107.5 Tejano & Proud” posts its best 6+-stat since May 2016’s 3.9 and rises from #15 to #12. Ultra-consistent in its trending since October (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+), Cox Media Group classic country KKYX “Country Legends” busts loose with a gain of six-tenths to 1.9 (6+) and enters the top twenty (#20). Recapturing exactly half of February’s full-share loss (5.2 – 4.2 – 4.7, +.5, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9 – San Antonio’s Best Variety” progresses from tenth to sixth. The market’s two mainstream CHRs are tied at #14, as iHeartMedia’s KXXM “Mix 96.1 – San Antonio’s #1 Hit Music Station” is without an increase for the sixth straight time netting a -1.1 (4.4 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.3, #12, to #14, 6+), while Alpha Media-owned KTFM “Energy 94.1 Sounds Like San Antonio” drops two-tenths (3.3, #13 to #14, 6+), thus curtailing four consecutive gains for a +.9 (2.6 – 2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5, 6+). Repeating at #1 is Cox Media Group-owned classic hits-oldies KONO-FM (7.0 – 6.8, -.2, 6+). Recent (6+) fluctuations for “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” are October 2016’s -1.0; November’s +.9; December’s -1.1; “Holiday” 2016’s -1.3; and January’s +1.1. KONO-FM departed the top spot in October after nine straight sweeps there. In back-to-back months, Univision Radio regional Mexican KROM “Estereo Latino 92.9” erodes by a full-share (7.4 – 6.4 – 5.4, 6+), dropping from first (January) to second (February) to third (March). Stuck on 5.2 (6+) in November and December, “Estereo Latino 92.9” improved by a combined +2.2 in “Holiday” 2016 and January (6.2 – 7.4, 6+). After having recorded (modest) consecutive gains (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 – San Antonio’s New Country Leader” regresses by six-tenths to 5.2 (6+), moving from fourth to fifth. Six-tenths behind “Y-100” is iHeartMedia’s KAJA “KJ-97 – San Antonio’s #1 Country Station” (4.4 – 4.6, +.2, eighth to seventh, 6+). “KJ-97” was -1.4 (“Holiday” 2016); +1.6 (January 2017); and -1.2 in February (5.4 – 4.0 – 5.6 – 4.4, 6+). After trending .9 – 1.5 – 1.9 (6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZAR “Air1 – Positive Hits” is off by one-half share to 1.4 and exits the top twenty (#19 to #23).

4) Pittsburgh – Even though each registers a healthy gain of eight-tenths, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “94.5 – 3WS” (9.9, 6+) and CBS Radio news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” continue at #2 and #6, respectively. In three straight increases (4.9 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+), KDKA-AM is +1.4; “3WS” was -4.6 since “Holiday” 2016 (13.7 – 9.3 – 9.1, 6+). Flat at #8, CBS Radio-owned WDSY “Pittsburgh’s Country Y-108” is without a decrease for the third consecutive sweep for a +.8 (3.7 – 3.8 – 4.5 – 4.5, 6+), while iHeartMedia’s WPGB “Big 104.7 Pittsburgh’s #1 for New Country” (unchanged at #10) is a combined -1.2 in three straight declines (4.8 – 4.5 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+). This marks the seventh consecutive sweep in which Steel City Media hot AC WLTJ “Q-92.9” (unchanged at #12) is either up or flat for a +.6 (2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+). Improving by one-tenth (10.3 – 10.4, 6+), iHeartMedia rocker WDVE (+1.6 in January) is #1 for the third successive time, matching December’s 10.4 (6+). On top in October 2016, November, and December, WDVE plummeted by two full-shares in “Holiday” 2016, dropping to third, but it returned to #1 in January. Flat at 3.3 (6+), alternative cluster-mate WXDX “The X at 105.9” is at #11 for the tenth straight ratings period. Following three successive uptrends that yielded a +1.8 (6.5 – 6.7 – 7.3 – 8.3, 6+), CHR sibling WKST “Kiss 96.1 – Pittsburgh’s #1 Hit Music Station” dips by two-tenths to 8.1 (6+), but remains in third-place. February was the first time that “Kiss” reached the eight-share level (6+) since July 2015 (8.0, 6+). It is tied at #3 with Steel City Media adult hits WRRK “Bob,” which has an identical 8.3 – 8.1, -.2 (6+) profile. A combined +5.7 in December and “Holiday” 2016 leading to 12.4, its strongest 6+-stat since it returned to print in April 2016, Renda Broadcasting adult contemporary WSHH has its third downward move in a row. Flat at #5, “Wish 99.7” has lost nearly half its 6+-stat (-6.0) in that stretch (12.4 – 7.3 – 6.5 – 6.4, 6+).

5) Sacramento – Trending 7.2 – 7.7 – 7.5 (6+) since the “Holiday” 2016 report, Entercom-owned KSEG “Eagle 96.9 – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” registers a gain of six-tenths to 8.1 (6+), inching up from third to second. All three of the market’s FM country facilities improve from February and they combine for a +.8. Specifically, CBS Radio’s KNCI “New Country 105.1” (steady at #4) picks up one-tenth (5.2 – 5.3, 6+), while Entravision’s KNTY “101.9 – The Wolf” (+.3, #16 in February, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned KBEB “92.5 The Bull- #1 For New Country” (2.3 – 2.7, +.4, #17 in February, 6+) are tied at #15. As the result of four successive increases (1.9 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.7, 6+), “The Wolf” is a collective +.8. Although it backslides from #15 to #17, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KLVB “K-Love” is without a decrease for the fifth successive time (1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.9 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+), more than doubling its 6+-share in that timeframe. Not only does KYMX “Mix 96” shake off January’s -4.8 with a full-share February increase (13.0 – 8.2 – 9.2, 6+) to return to #1, the CBS Radio adult contemporary property repeats in the top spot (9.0, -.2, 6+). “Mix” ranked third for five straight sweeps before reaching #1 in “Holiday” 2016. A combined +2.4 in November and December, it was +5.2 in “Holiday” 2016. Huge month-to-month swings continue for iHeartMedia news-talk KFBK, which drops from second to third (8.2 – 6.7, 6+). Recent (6+) fluctuations include +.8 (August 2016); -1.4 (September); +1.2 (October); -.7 (November) +.7 (December); +.8 (January 2017); -.5 (February); and now a massive -1.5 in March. KFBK finished in the runner-up slot six straight times before reaching #1 in January. Also in the news/talk arena, co-owned KSTE “650 – Sacramento’s Talk Station” sputters by six-tenths (3.6 – 3.0, 6+) and drops out of the top ten (#9 to #11). Down or flat for the fifth successive ratings period for a collective -1.7 (5.8 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+), Entercom’s KRXQ “98 Rock” is flat at #7.

6) Salt Lake City – On the strength of three straight increases (3.3 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 5.4, 6+), Cumulus Media country KUBL “K-Bull 93” has improved by more than two full-shares and climbs from eighth in February to sixth. In advance of January’s +1.0, “K-Bull” faltered for five consecutive months and was a combined -2.2 since August (5.5 – 5.2 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 3.8 – 3.3, 6+). Displaying gains of one-half share each are Broadway Media CHR KUDD “Mix 105.1 – All the Hits” (4.0, #11 to #10, 6+) and iHeartMedia hot AC KJMY “My 99.5” (2.3 – 2.8, #18 to #15). Prior to March, “Mix” was trending 3.5 – 3.9 – 3.5 (6+). Off by one-half share in “Holiday” 2016, “My 99.5” rebounded with a +.6 in January, but returned all of it in February (2.3 – 2.9 – 2.3, 6+). Massive month-to-month movements are typical for KSL but the Bonneville news/talk station advances from second to first even though it is down three-tenths (6.8 – 6.5, 6+). Just before its March stats, KSL was +2.0 (October 2016), -.9 (November), +1.1 (December), -1.5 (“Holiday” 2016); +2.1 (January 2017); and -2.1 (February 2017), yielding a +.7 since October. Displaced from the penthouse is adult contemporary sibling KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music Better Work Day,” which dubiously suffers the loftiest (6+) February 2017 – March 2017 decline of any station in the 36 PPM-markets released thus far (8.0 – 6.3, -1.7, 6+). It trades places with KSL in the runner-up slot. Following three straight sweeps at #1, “FM 100” shifted to #2, having dropped 12.3 shares in January (20.6 – 8.3, 6+). Until that huge January spiral, “FM 100.3” didn’t have a decrease since April (5.3 – 5.7 – 6.2 – 6.3 – 6.7 – 7.0 – 7.3 – 7.3 – 11.4 – 20.6, 6+), nearly quadrupling its 6+-stat since then with a staggering +15.3. Taking advantage of KSFI’s (March) -1.7 is Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted KBEE “B-98.7,” which improves for the third consecutive sweep for a cumulative +1.6 (1.9 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.5, 6+), bumping up from #14 to #13. Unchanged at #17, co-owned KBER “Utah’s Rock Station” is off by one-tenth to 2.4 (6+), ending at four its consecutive string of up or flat trends (1.8 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.5, 6+). Several similarities exist in the profiles of the market’s two classic hits-oldies outlets. For example, Bonneville’s KRSP “103.5 – The Arrow” (4.6, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s KODJ “94.1 – Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” (4.1, 6+) are down in March by six-tenths and seven-tenths, respectively, after both were up two-tenths in February. This ends back-to-back progressive trends for “Arrow” (4.9 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+), as well as for “Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” (3.3 – 4.6 – 4.8, 6+). Ranked fifth and seventh in February, KRSP and KODJ finish seventh and ninth, respectively, in March. Off by one-half share to 1.0 (6+), Alpha Media regional Mexican KDUT (#22 to #24) curtails three consecutive upward moves (.9 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.5, 6+).

7) Las Vegas – Over and above being #1 for the fifth consecutive sweep, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” puts an exclamation point on it by boasting the highest (6+) February 2017 – March 2017 increase of any station in the 36 PPM-markets released thus far (6.8 – 8.6, +1.8, 6+). Five consecutive up or flat trends generated a +8.3 for “Sunny” (6.4 – 7.0 – 7.0 – 8.1 – 14.0, 6+), before January’s -.7.3 to 6.7 (6+). Following three straight downward trends (8.1 – 7.4 – 6.0 – 5.7, 6+), KSNE was +.7 in September and +.6 in October, climbing to first – where it had been for 22 straight monthlies. It has a 3.1-share advantage over CBS Radio-owned KLUC (third to second), which is up for the third successive ratings period (3.7 – 4.3 – 5.2 – 5.5, 6+). Prior to February, the last time “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” hit the five-share level was August 2016 (5.0, 6+). An increase of seven-tenths (4.7 – 5.4, 6+) enables hot AC cluster-mate KMXB “Mix 94.1” to jump from fifth to third. It is the best 6+-showing for “Mix” since last June (5.4, as well). Commencing in August 2016 and ending in January 2017 with a 2.5, sibling KXNT strung together five straight increases that netted a +1.7 (1.4 – 1.9 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+). As a result of a -1.1 in March (2.8 – 1.7, 6+) though, the news/talk facility departs the top twenty (#17 to #21). Flat at #13, iHeartMedia adult hits KYMT “93.1 The Mountain – We Play Everything” drops three-tenths to 2.9 (6+), thus ending at six a string of consecutive increases that more than doubled its 6+-share (1.4 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+). Down or flat in four straight sweeps (4.5 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 3.8, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KISF rolled out a +1.2 in January; relinquished -1.6 in February; and is now -.6 in March (5.0 – 3.4 – 2.8, 6+), drifting from #11 to #14.

8) Cincinnati – When Radio One urban-rhythmic oldies WDBZ “Soul 101.5” lost three tenths in February, it concluded one of the longest consecutive strings without a decrease – ten in a row. That impressive streak started in April 2016 and netted a +1.5 (.2 – .3 – .4 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .7 – .8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.7, 6+). With a +.6 to 2.0 (6+), “Soul 101.5” wastes no time in launching another such series and inches up from #18 to #16. As a result of six straight declines (5.8 – 5.4 – 5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 3.8 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WEBN was a collective -2.2, but the rocker applies the brakes with a one-half share increase to 4.1 and returns to the top ten (#12 to #9). The order-of-finish of the top eight stations in February and March is virtually identical, although #1, #2, and #3 experience significant month-to-month erosion. Prior to the “Holiday” 2016 sweep, Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies outlet WGRR occupied the top spot for four straight months. Powered by a +.8 in January – ending four successive down or flat sweeps that produced a -1.6 (9.8 – 9.8 – 9.6 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+) – WGRR marched from second to first and has been there ever since; WGRR, however, is down seven-tenths (9.2 – 8.5, 6+). It was once practically automatic to write-in WLW at #1 – and usually with double-digits (6+). The iHeartMedia news/talk outlet (flat at #2) hasn’t been on top since August though and it falters by nine-tenths in March to 7.2, the lowest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Following three consecutive negative trends that accounted for a -3.2 (8.5 – 7.9 – 6.3 – 5.3, 6+), Hubbard country outlet WUBE “B-105” (unchanged at #3) answered in January with a +1.5; added another eight-tenths in February; but surrenders six-tenths in March (6.8 – 7.6 – 7.0, 6+).

9) Orlando – On top for the third consecutive month, iHeartMedia Spanish tropical WRUM “Rumba 100.3” not only rebounds from February’s -.8 with a +.9 (12.5 – 11.7 – 12.6, 6+), it registers the best-ever 6+-share in its PPM-history. The 12.6 eclipses by one-tenth the previous record (12.5, 6+) set just two months ago. Prior to January, “Rumba” was at #1 in October, November, and December. Meanwhile, it remains a steady climb for similarly-programmed, Entravision-owned WNUE (#15 to #14), progressing for the fourth straight time – with each gain being by one-tenth (1.8 – 1.9 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+). “Rumba” has a nearly three-share advantage over its CHR sibling WXXL “XL-106.7,” which is up for the third consecutive ratings period (7.2 – 8.0 – 9.0 – 9.7, 6+). In that stretch, it is a collective +2.5, more than wiping out the -1.7 (8.9 – 7.2, 6+) from “Holiday” 2016. This is the strongest 6+-share for “XL-106” since September’s 10.4. A gain of three-tenths takes format rival – CBS Radio’s WQMP “101.9 Amp – Orlando’s #1 Source for New Music” – to 3.4 (6+), its best 6+-showing since November’s 3.5; “Amp” segues from #13 to #12. Without a decrease for the fourth successive sweep (5.0 – 5.3 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.1, 6+), hot AC sibling WOMX “Mix 105.1” nonetheless drops from fifth to sixth. Unchanged at #19, University of Central Florida’s WUCF “89.9 – Jazz & More” extends to four its streak of up or flat trends (.7 – .8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+). While it sputters by six-tenths (2.8 – 2.2, 6+), Community Communications news/talk WMFE, which was +.6 in January, is in 2.0 – 2.9 range for the 30th straight time and carries on at #14.

10) Cleveland – By picking up one-half share (6.8 – 7.3, 6+), CBS Radio-owned WNCX not only climbs from fifth to fourth, “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” has its best 6+-stat in more than four years (7.5, 6+, January 2013). Even though it is down for the third straight month for a collective -1.6 (9.8 – 8.5 – 8.3 – 8.2, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WMJI remains at #1. Prior to December’s +.1, “Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” was off by nearly three full-shares in three straight downward trends (11.5 – 10.8 – 9.6 – 8.6, 6+) and slipped to #2. September’s -.7 ended five straight gains for a cumulative +1.2 (10.3 – 10.7 – 10.9 – 11.3 – 11.4 – 11.5, 6+) and marked the first time in the previous 17 ratings periods that WMJI was not in double-digits (6+). It exited the top spot after ten successive sweeps there; WMJI was +1.1 in “Holiday” 2016. Slumping by six-tenths (5.7 – 5.1, 6+), rock sibling WMMS drops from ninth to tenth. At #13 for the 12th successive sweep, Ideastream’s WCPN regresses by one-half share (3.6 – 3.1, 6+). Before February’s -.2, WCPN was without a decrease for eight consecutive ratings periods netting a combined +1.8 (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.8, 6+). Meanwhile, CBS Radio-owned WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” picks up four-tenths (4.0 – 4.4, 6+) but refuses to budge from #12, where it has been the past 15 sweeps.

11) Kansas City – Logging increases of seven-tenths each are Union Broadcasting’s WHB “Sports Radio 810” (2.9 – 3.6, #16 to #15, 6+) and the HD2 channel of Cumulus Media’s KCMO (1.1 – 1.8, #20, 6+). “Sports Radio 810” gained seven-tenths in January as well, before forfeiting one-half share in February. Advancing by six-tenths are Carter Broadcast urban contemporary KPRS “Hot 103” (5.1 – 5.7, fourth to third, 6+) and Steel City Media CHR KMXV “Mix 93.3 – Kansas City’s #1 Hit Music Station” (eighth to fifth, 6+). “Mix” posts its third straight improvement (3.8 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 5.2, 6+) for a combined +1.4, while “Hot 103” was up four-tenths in February. This time last month, Cumulus Media classic rocker KCFX “The Fox” held a one-share lead over co-owned classic hits-oldies KCMO-FM “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits.” The two cluster-mates are now tied at #1, with “The Fox” (third week at #1) dropping eight-tenths, while “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits” adds two-tenths (7.3 – 7.5, 6+). This marks the third consecutive decline for “The Fox” (9.0 – 8.5 – 8.3 – 7.5, 6+), accounting for a -1.5. On top from May through September and then in December, “The Fox” had five straight uptrends prior to January’s -.5 for a cumulative +1.8 (7.2 – 7.3 – 7.6 – 7.7 – 8.9 – 9.0, 6+). “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits” was off by one-half share in February. Before a loss of three-tenths in November, KCMO-FM registered four straight progressive trends (5.3 – 6.0 – 7.0 – 7.2 – 8.1, 6+) for a collective +1.8. Slipping from fourth to sixth, Entercom news/talk KMBZ-FM forfeits three-tenths to 4.8 (6+), thus halting at five its consecutive string of up or flat trends for a cumulative +1.2 (3.9 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3 – 5.1 – 5.1, 6+). Owing to three consecutive increases (3.6 – 4.1 – 5.3 – 5.7, 6+), Steel City Media-owned KFKF “Country 94.1” is a collective +2.1 and is steady at #3. KFKF entered the December 2016 sweep with four consecutive up or flat trends that accounted for a +1.1 (3.8 – 3.8 – 4.2 – 4.7 – 4.9, 6+), but was a combined -1.3 in December and “Holiday” 2016 (4.9 – 4.3- 3.6, 6+). The market’s other two country outlets though are each down three-tenths after being up three-tenths in February: “Country 94.1” sibling KBEQ “Q-104 – #1 For New Country” is 4.1 – 4.4 – 4.1 (ninth to tenth, 6+) and Entercom-owned WDAF-FM is 3.6 – 3.9 – 3.6 (#12 to #15, 6+).

12) Columbus – By registering a +.3 to 4.2 (6+), Radiohio‘s WBNS-FM “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” (ninth to eighth) pulls the plug on four straight down or flat trends that produced a combined -3.8 (7.7 – 7.7 – 5.9 – 4.6 – 3.9, 6+). Immediately prior to those declines, “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” put together six straight monthlies without a loss netting in excess of four full-shares and more than doubling its 6+-stat since June (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 5.1 – 6.9 – 7.7 – 7.7, 6+). It is another rollercoaster ride for iHeartMedia country outlet WCOL, which is +2.2 in January; -1.2 in February; and +.8 in March (10.5 – 9.3 – 10.1, 6+). In the process, WCOL regains the top spot from co-owned CHR WNCI “97.9 Columbus’ Hit Music,” which sputters by nine-tenths (9.8 – 8.9, 6+) and assumes the runner-up position vacated by WCOL. With a combined improvement of two full-shares over the January and February sweeps (7.8 – 9.1 – 9.8, 6+), “97.9 Columbus’ Hit Music” advanced from second to first in February; however, prior to January, WNCI was down or flat in each of the previous six surveys for a collective -4.4 (12.2 – 12.1 -11.1 – 9.8 – 9.4 – 9.4 – 7.8, 6+). In calendar year 2016, “Columbus’ Hit Music” was on top in January, February, March, August, September, and December. In addition to WNCI, Saga Communications adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” spirals by nine-tenths as well and slips from fourth to fifth. It is the third successive spike for “Sunny,” which is -2.6 in that timeframe (8.7 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.1, 6+). Immediately after its benchmark 11.1 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2016 report, WODC “93.3 The Bus – We Play Anything” followed with a 5.4 (January, 6+) and 5.6 (February, 6+). The iHeartMedia adult hits outlet now regresses by one-half share to 5.1 (6+), but continues at #6. Unlisted for the third straight month is Radio One gospel WJYD “Joy 107.1” (1.0, #15, “Holiday” 2016, 6+).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

| December 3, 2015

usaRadioNetworksTalk Radio Pro Rusty Humphries to Host ‘Trending Today USA’ to Launch in January.  The new program comes from USA Radio Networks where CEO Floyd Brown has “tasked radio veteran Rusty Humphries with re-imagining the talk radio format.”  The result is the new talk show “Trending Today USA” and will be hosted by Humphries beginning January 11.  Humphries says, “This program willhumphriesrusty focus on what America is discussing, viewing and sharing in social media.  Everything has been reimagined, from the network commercials, to the music, to the way the news is being presented –this will be talk radio for the social media mindset!”  The company says the new show “will give affiliates programming that appeals to a multi-generational audience in the same way social media has done.  It will provide advertisers and agencies with the audience they covet and make the show a commercial success.”  Humphries adds, “Don’t get me wrong, there are some very talented people on the air today, but the industry needs some shaking up.  Listeners have moved away from traditional platforms and are spending their time on social media.  We’re producing a show which will not showcase my opinions, but will showcase the social news being devoured by Americans.  I believe this show, and others like it, will restore talk programing to prominence.  It will breathe life into a format aching for resuscitation.  Americans are consuming news more than ever, but they are doing it on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.  With that in mind, I have worked with a group of social media giants to craft a show that lowers the bellicose and increases the pacing and news.  I am more proud of this program than anything I have done in radio to date.”

cookehollandReport from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Maryland at the Nielsen Audio Client Conference and he files this report with TALKERS.  Some of the topics addressed at the conference include the growth of Black and Hispanic radio audiences, their loyal use of the medium and their importance to the future of radio; Washington urban radio icon Donnie Simpson’s thoughts about broadening programming; plus a granular look at a radio station’s audience and the importance of “Super Fans.”  Read it all here.

mccluresaraiHeartMedia Names Sara McClure Sacramento Market President.  The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group is Sara McClure, who takes over for John Geary, allowing him to return to his retirement.  This is a promotion for McClure who was serving as SVP of sales for the cluster.  She joined iHeartMedia in 2013 after 15 years with Entercom.  She says, “I am thrilled to take this next step in my career.  Becoming president of iHeartMedia Sacramento, which is my hometown, is very special.  iHeartMedia is a company of opportunity where I can operate within a culture that is consistent with how I do business.  I look forward to delivering results to our clients and fantastic products to our listeners, while creating an environment for our team that allows them to excel as part of a dynamic organization in a rapidly evolving industry.”  iHeartMedia operates hip hop KHYL “V101.1,” news/talk KFBK, talk KSTE, adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and country KBEB “B 92.5.”

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago Names Steve Grzanich News Anchor.  Veteran Chicago journalist and broadcaster Steve Grzanich joins the news staff at Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to anchor the daily 5:00 am to 6:00 am program, “The Opening Bell.”  The station says the show will be a “fast-paced hour for investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and every Chicagoan who wants to better understand how their money moves around the planet and their workplace.”  Vice president of programming and content Todd Manley states, “You will get much more than the numbers with Steve.  You’ll get the plotlines and the characters that fuel the business world from one of our town’s greatest reporters.”  In addition to anchoring “The Opening Bell,” Grzanich will be part of the Steve Cochran morning drive show working alongside news anchor Andrea Darlas.  Grzanich spent 20 years with CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM and is a contributing reporter at Chicago-based Rivet Radio.

hillsdalecollegeHillsdale College Names Scot Bertram Station Manager for WRFH.  The new radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan has its general manager as the school hires Scot Bertram of WROK in Rockford, Illinois to assume the role next semester.  Bertram is currently program director and morning host at the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station.bertramscot  Bertram says, “The combination of Hillsdale and radio was immediately appealing.  It fit like a glove — my interests, passions, and skills.  I’m looking forward to working with the students, people who want to take part, want to learn more.  The ability to speak extemporaneously and think on your feet, is a skill applicable to many professions.”  Gold Bold Media Group founder and president Vince Benedetto, who donated the resources for Hillsdale’s radio station, says Bertram’s caliber is a tribute to Hillsdale’s reputation.  “He has all the skill sets that are critical to getting the radio program off the ground for the college and doing something historic that they’re going to be working on.”  In addition to his work with the station, Bertram will teach a broadcasting course as a journalism elective.

allianceforwomeninmediaSun Broadcast Group’s Jason Bailey Named Honorary Trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media.  The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey is the newest Honorary Trustee.  The Honorary Trusteebaileyjasonsun program at AWM/F offers senior executives the opportunity to engage and influence the strategy of AWM/F and its support of women in media.  The program highlights ways to work together that are exclusive to Honorary Trustees and not available at any other partnership level through the Alliance for Women in Media or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.  AWM/F chair and SVP of  global content operations at Discovery Communications Kristen Welch states, “The Honorary Trustee program serves as an avenue for innovative, passionate media C-levels to get involved with advancing and supporting women in media.  We are proud to add Jason Bailey to our Honorary Trustee program and look forward to seeing how his passion for innovation and radio are reflected in his contributions to the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation.”

Odds & Sods.  Flint, Michigan news/talk WWCK “Supertalk 1570” fills the morning drive slot with market media pro Michael J. Thorp.  He takes over for the retired Lou Lobsinger, effective Monday, December 7 at the Cumulus Media-owned station.  Thorp worked for years in local television hosting the morning show on WJRT-TV…..Regine Schlesinger retires from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM/WCFS-FM, Chicago after a 42-year career there.  She was most recently a reporter and anchor for the station…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will launch new shows on the network beginning in January.  A new program with host Joe Spano will air in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot; Matt Perrault moves from a fill-in role to hosting his own 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily show; Lewis Woodward joins the network for a “vital role during weekends,” and the new “Nothing But Net” show hosted by former NBA guard Troy Hudson launches next Thursday (12/10) from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Emmy Award-winning sports reporter and KNX, Los Angeles sports correspondent Randy Kerdoon launches a new weekly podcast on PodcastOne titled, “Talking About Cars.”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Randy’s connections and knowledge of the auto industry is sure to be entertaining, and podcasts about cars are increasingly popular.  He’s a radio pro right here in my hometown.  It’s safe to say PodcastOne is populated with some serious car freaks, starting with Adam Carolla and including me, so we’re all hoping this hometown boy makes good.”…..Onekiernanpeterd of talk radio’s favorite guests, Peter D. Kiernan, author of the best-selling Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner, 2012), has won two major independent book awards for his latest book, “American Mojo Lost and Found:  Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By” (Turner, 2015)The prestigious 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest recognized Kiernan in two categories: first place in the Business and Finance and Historical Non-Fiction categories.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallGifts, Gadgets, Gizmos and Hi-Tech Holiday Goodies.  Noted media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (12/1).  The two talk about the latest technological marvels that are the hot stocking stuffers this holiday season… and then some.  They delve into the world of drones, driverless cars, and gadgets within the expanding “Internet of Things” that keep tabs on their owners — such as toothbrushes thatcookeholland inform your dentist about the health of your teeth, baby clothes that inform parents about the well-being of their sleeping child and refrigerators that order replacements when you are running out of milk.  Harrison and Cooke cover a wide spectrum of items from low-tech 20th century devices such as the Slinky and yo-yos to the modern-day Apple Watch and the coming practice of embedding chips into the human body.  They discuss the implications of this new unfolding era on privacy and other significant aspects of sociology.  To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the player boxes in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

wainwrightwafflesSyracuse Family ‘Wins’ Waffles with Wainwright.  Last month, WSYR, Syracuse morning drive host Mark Wainwright urged listeners to invite him and the WSYR morning show into their home for a live broadcast and – waffles!  Much to Wainwright’s surprise, numerous families competed to host the show on November 12.  The “winning” family was John and Katie Femenella and their kids (Wainwright is pictured here at the mic with John Femenella at left).  In addition to hosting the broadcast from their kitchen, Anthony Donofrio, executive chef of the Modern Malt, prepared breakfast for all.  Wainwright says, “John and Katie and their kids were terrific.  We could not have had a warmer or more enthusiastic reception.  For much of the morning, it felt like the whole neighborhood showed up.  When I compared notes with John later, we realized there might have been one or two crashers in the crowd.  John thought they were Katie’s friends, and Katie thought they were John’s friends!  Maybe they were relatives of the neighbors? Anyway, everybody was nice, and the Modern Malt folks were very impressed by the turnout.  I really enjoy promotions where listeners are actively engaged, and this was a perfect example.”

San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Military Tensions, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, and DiCaprio Bear Rape Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2).  The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that took the lives of 14, plus the related issue of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter and allegations Turkey is buying oil from an IS-controlled region; the larger topic of the battle against Islamic State; the controversy over how to deal with refugees from the Syrian civil conflict; and the flap over a scene in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which some reviewers say DiCaprio’s character is raped by a bear were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday September 10, 2015

| September 10, 2015

francesamikeWFAN’s Mike Francesa Show to End Fox Sports Cable Simulcast.  New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa told his WFAN listeners on Wednesday that his show would cease being simulcast on Fox Sports’ cable channel after this Friday.  As the New York Post reports, Francesa had problems with the relationship almost from the beginning and griped to listeners about being pre-empted by soccer or moved to the FS2 channel.  Francesa said, “First, let me say that the blame is mine.  I tried to do something a little different.  The Fox guys were eager and I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was the biggest.  I had some trepidation, but I saw some promise and it just didn’t work.”  The Post reports that Francesa is beginning to look for a new cable simulcast partner and MSG Network is a possible destination.

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corralangelaCorral Named News Director at KGO, San Francisco.  This is a promotion from assignment editor to news director for Angela Corral.  She’s been with Cumulus Media’s KGO since October of 2013.  She’s worked in news in the Bay Area for the past 17 years, having joined CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news KCBS in 1998 as a production assistant.  On her new gig, Corral comments, “It’s a true honor to be selected as news director of this legendary station.  I’m looking forward to working with an amazing staff of dedicated journalists as we move KGO forward.”

fairRadio Pro Bob Dane Rises to Executive Director at FAIR.  The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces Bob Dane is promoted to executive director of the organization after approval from the board of directors.  Dane, whose years of experience in network radio, marketing and communications led him to join FAIR in 2006 as director of communications, will be just the fourth executivedanebob director of FAIR since its founding in 1979.  In this new role, Dane will oversee the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based and national operations.  FAIR president Dan Stein comments, “With nearly a decade of experience in FAIR’s media department, Bob has spearheaded valuable and unique initiatives, bringing to light the public’s often-overlooked concerns about immigration.”  Chairman of the Board Donald Collins Jr. adds, “For many years, Bob has continually demonstrated media expertise, innovative ideas and able management.”  During his career, Dane also served in a policy and budgeting position within the Reagan administration.  He received a degree in public administration and management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Odds & Sods.  After retiring from full-time work at Chicago all-news outlet WBBM-AM in 2004 after a 35-year career, Sheman Kaplan returned to the station on a freelance basis, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  In a column today, Feder reports that Kaplan is again retiring from the station where he was co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” alongside Kris Kridel…..Los Angeles-based talkelderlarryNEW1-15 personality Larry Elder will host presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on his show today (9/10).  Elder’s program airs on CRN Digital Talk Radio at 3:00 pm ET and on Salem-owned KRLA, Los Angeles at 9:00 pm PT…..United Stations Radio Networks is now offering a sports radio prep service called Total Sports Prep.  USRN says it is intended for use by air personalities in sports talk or any krntprogramming that delves into sports content…..Bob Kempf  joins TV and online public media producer WGBH Boston as vice president for digital services.  Kempf was previously VP/general manager of digital services for NPR…..Saga Communications drops adult standards on KRNT, Des Moines and goes sports talk as “ESPN Des Moines.”  In addition to carrying ESPN Radio programming, it will carry Chicago Cubs baseball, Drake University play-by-play, and be an affiliate of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network…..Entercom flips from business talk on KWOD, Kansas City to sports talk using both CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio.

wipRadiothon15WIP, Philadelphia’s Eagles Radiothon Raises $200,000.  Another Eagles Radiothon is in the books and the event organized by the NFL club and CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, “SportsRadio 94WIP raised $200,000 for the Eagles Youth Partnership.  As part of the annual radiothon, Eagles fans and 94WIP callers were provided the opportunity to bid on exclusive experiences involving their favorite Eagles players and 94WIP radio personalities.  Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility president Christina Weiss Lurie says, “We continue to be amazed each year by the generous contributions and devoted support from our fans during the Eagles Radiothon.  As an organization, we are always looking to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans.  The annual Radiothon provides us with the opportunity to do that, while also supporting the vital health and education programs of Eagles Youth Partnership.  On behalf of EYP, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to 94WIP for their steadfast commitment and support of this event.”

tradupBosworth15Salem Radio Network at 90 Minutes in Heaven Premiere.  The new film 90 Minutes in Heaven – based on the New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper – opens this weekend and Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) was in Atlanta this week for the media premiere of the film.  Tradup says that on the heels of the Christian-themed film War Room being tops at the Labor Day weekend box office last week, fans of faith-based movies are also expected to turn out this weekend for the nationwide opening of 90 Minutes in Heaven.  Tradup is seen here speaking with actress Kate Bosworth (right) who plays Piper’s wife Eva Piper.  In a story based on Don Piper’s own experiences, she helps him recover from a car crash after being pronounced legally dead for 90 minutes.  The film also stars Hayden Christensen and Fred Thompson.

ewscrippsConspiracy Theory Gets Two Suspended from Scripps Springfield, MO Stations.  The host and the on-air producer of the Sunday morning “Cracker Barrel” show have been suspended by E.W. Scripps after suggesting the on-air slayings of Roanoke TV crew Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a hoax designed to spur stricter gun control laws.  Host Joe Rios and producer Rick Masters are heard on the both company’s country KTTS and news/talk KSGF-AM/FM.  Station manager Rex Hansen apologized to the station’s listeners for the commentary.  It’s not known how long the two will be suspended from the weekly community forum program.

Hillary Clinton Emails Apology, Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis, Brandon Marshall’s Brady vs NFL Racism Charge/ESPN Spygate Story, Iran Nuclear Deal, and Russia-Syria Military Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9).  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apologizes for use of private email server for State Department business; the criticism and analysis of the top-polling Trump for President campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations; the aftermath of the Tom Brady vs the NFL case and Brandon Marshall’s charge that Tom Brady is treated different because he’s white, plus the related ESPN Spygate story; the controversy over the Iran nuclear deal; and reports of Russia sending military aid to Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 17, 2015

| April 17, 2015

shannonseanShannon Succeeds Pinch at Cumulus Atlanta. Former vice president and market manager for Entercom Sacramento – Sean Shannon – is tapped to replace Jon Pinch in a similar position at Cumulus Atlanta. Cumulus senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Sean has a track record of innovation and topnotch results. He is a passionate marketer and a strong, determined coach. We are excited to be adding Sean to our talented team in Atlanta.” Shannon remarks, “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead these world-class brands in this world-class city. I love this medium and am honored topinchjon have a chance to lead this team.” Prior to his Sacramento duties, Shannon, who holds an MBA from the Foster School at the University of Washington, was director of sales for Entercom Seattle. He begins his new assignment in Atlanta next Monday (4/20).  Pinch announced his retirement on April 16.  He retired from his previous corporate role at Cumulus five months ago but was coaxed into leading the company’s Atlanta station group.

dennisjohnWEEI-FM, Boston Morning Host John Dennis to Enter Alcohol Rehab.  In a public statement released to the media, morning personality John Dennis announces he will take time away from the “Dennis & Callahan” show on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston in order to enter a treatment facility for alcohol addiction.  Here’s the text of his statement: “After some long and thoughtful soul searching, I’ve decided to deal with a personal issue once and for all.  The role of alcohol in my life is something I’ve weei logowrestled with on and off for more than a few years.  I’ve made the decision to take serious steps to eliminate the role alcohol plays in my life before it impacts my health.  I’m told it’s an arduous undertaking, but it’s one I’m willing to embrace.  I know it can be a lifelong battle, but it’s one I want to fight.  To that end, I’ve decided to take some time away from WEEI, tackle this head-on, and set a smart and informed course for a long and healthy life.  I want to thank the management at WEEI for their understanding and assistance in this matter, Gerry (Callahan) and Kirk (Minihane) for their unwavering support, and of course Kathy, for her love, patience and compassion.  This is the last I will speak on this matter, as I have much work to do, and that’s where my concentration and focus will be. Talk to you all down the road.”

ppmunit altNielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of March 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 March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  Longtime Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson has been hired by CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago.  Robinson spent more than 30 working in television news in the Chicago market.  She exitedrobinsonrobin WFLD-TV “Fox 32” in November of 2013…..There’s a new news presence at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media the company hires regional news pro Matt Pitta to serve as news director for the station group.  In this role, Pitta will be in charge of news content for all the radio stations and its CapeCod.com website.  Pitta previously worked for Cape Cod Broadcasting, exiting back in 2002.  He takes over for Laura Reckford who moves up to news editor at CapeCod.com…..A programming change at Cumulus Media’s nbcsportsradio logoKSCR-AM, Eugene, Oregon will eliminate the business talk format and begin airing a regional Mexican format…..NBC Sports Radio now has a place on SirusXM.  A deal between the sports talk network and the satcaster gives the former its own channel.  NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver says, “We are thrilled to have SiriusXM join our roster.  They bring a whole new audience and a wealth of avid sports fans who can now access our content and interact with our hosts no matter where they are around the country.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Costa Report” with host Rebecca Costa adds six new affiliatecostarebeccaposed stations including: WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; WBCF, Florence, Alabama; WHFS, Tampa; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and KKGM, Dallas-Fort Worth…..Both the Stephanie Miller show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” are added to the program schedule at KJOZ, Houston.  WYM Media Management’s, Debbie Greenbaum comments, “It’s terrific that Houstonians will now be able to listen and interact daily with both Doug Stephan and Stephanie Miller.  The combo of ‘Good Day’ leading into the Stephanie Miller show is the perfect way to kick off mornings in Houston.”

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story During Week of April 13-17.  With the news of both Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing their intent to run for president next year, the chatter about the 2016 presidential prospects landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week.  At #2 were the Iran nuclear negotiations.  Coming in at #3 was ISIS military action in Iraq and following at #4 was Obama’s Cuba policy.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on the radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

| February 9, 2015

wmal logoWMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale.  Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations.  A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12.  Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars.  The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda.  You don’t need to say anything more than that.  It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics.  There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.”  In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.

businessrockstars radioBeers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars.  Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it.  Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America.  He’s a two-time Emmy beersthomAward-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks.  Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, lehmanstevealong with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV.  Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars.  By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals.  I’m glad to be part of their bright future.”  The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content.  Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar.  He is one of the brightest guys in TV today.  He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”

rollinsrussWTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air.  The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.”  A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air.  Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised.  Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.

triplettsteveTriplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster.  The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales.  The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.”  Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.

Odds & Sods.  At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team.  The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9).  Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM.  Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

| June 4, 2014

cubs logoChicago Cubs to Move to CBS RADIO’s WBBM Next Season.  In what appears to be the end of a 90-year relationship, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is passing on Chicago Cubs play-by-play and, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the club will sign with CBS RADIO’s WBBM beginning in 2015.  That Tribune has been losing money on the broadcasts in recent years has been pretty widely reported for some time now and it’s not particularly shocking to industry watchers that WGN is giving up on the Cubs.  Though the deal has not been formally announced (a press release is expected sometime Thursday), the Tribune reports that the previous deal was for approximately $10 million per season and WGN had the right to match any other offer, which it chose not to do.  CBS RADIO already has the rights to Chicago Bears games (which air on both WBBM-AM and simulcast WCFS-FM) and White Sox broadcasts which air on sports talker WSCR.  WGN holds the rights to Blackhawks hockey.

kcaa logoKCAA, Loma Linda Owner Fred Lundgren Writes Appeal for AM Station Owners in HuffPost Piece.  In a blog post on Huffington Post, KCAA, Loma Linda, California founder and CEO Fred Lundgren asserts that the FCC has “waited too long to act on the problems facing the AM band, and the agency has made so many wrong and irreversible decisions that the AM band can’t be sustained in the long term…It’s time for the Congress and the FCC to pause it’s love affair with inefficient point-to-point communication and realize that the most efficient form of mass communication and spectrum utilization continues to be point-to-multipoint terrestrial radio, and unless the AM band is migrated to FM very soon, the opportunity to expand the band will be gone forever.”  Lundgren writes about the 10 ways the FCC is hastening the demise of the AM band and says the way to save the stations is to migrate them to FM frequencies below 87.5 FM.  Read his piece here.

sedersamSam Seder’s ‘Ring of Fire’ Changes to Daily Format.  Progressive talk host Sam Seder, co-host of the weekend “Ring of Fire” syndicated radio talk show, launches a daily version of the show airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  The show is syndicated by Ron Hartenbaum‘s and Debbie Greenbaum‘s WYM Media Management and distributed by WestwoodOne.  WYM describes the show as a “live, take-no-prisoners, progressive talk show featuring blistering commentary, smart interviews and the comedy which has made Sam Seder so popular amongst progressive audiences.”  In addition to his work on “Ring of Fire,” Seder is a contributor to MSNBC and produces a daily political podcast called “Majority Report.”

wntw logoWNTW, Chester, Virginia Flips to News/Talk as ‘820 The Answer.’  The branding slogan “The Answer” has been used by Salem Communications news/talk stations in some markets but now the Delmarva Educational Association-owned signal licensed to Chester, Virginia (just south of Richmond) takes on the moniker as it flips from Christian talk to conservative talk featuring programming including: local host John Fredericks, Cox Media’s Herman Cain, Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, WestwoodOne’s Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and “Red Eye Radio” plus independently syndicated Steve Deace and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones.

cigardave logoCigar Dave Offers D-Day Tribute Show to Non-Affiliates.  Last weekend, nationally syndicated talk show host “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz hosted a special “D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute.”  He reports that the response to his show, which devoted the entire two hours to the historic events of June 6, 1944, was so overwhelming that he’s decided to give the show to non-affiliates on a one-time basis to air this weekend, in honor of the 70th anniversary.  Zeplowitz states, “Friday marks the 70th Anniversary of Allied Expeditionary Forces scaling the cliffs at Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi oppression.  It’s imperative that every American of every age recognize and understand the historic significance of D-Day.  The tribute show is my way of honoring the great Americans who stormed the beaches and insuring their legacy and sacrifice is never forgotten.”  The D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute features a timeline of Operation Overlord and the D-Day invasion with audio from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, news reports from D-Day and highlights of Ronald Reagan’s speeches on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day.  The special tribute also includes interviews with World War II veteran Thomas Blakey, one of the first paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division to land behind enemy lines on D-Day, and April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial.  Stations interested can contact Skip Joeckel at: 719-579-6676 or via email at: Skip@TalkShowsUSA.com.

unlogo blueTalk Radio Day at the United Nations Shaping Up as Major Broadcasting Event for Thursday, June 19.  TALKERS magazine announces a strong and diverse lineup of participating hosts at the forthcoming 9th installment of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”  Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan.  Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world.  “This is one of our most important annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that – in spite of the technical and tactical challenges presented by a project of this complexity and enormity – we are able to produce yet another installment in 2014.”  Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media.  Some of these stories have staggering implications on war, peace, life and death.”  Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.”  “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” will conveniently take place the day before Talkers New York 2014 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City.  Participating hosts include: Thom Hartmann, Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Martha Zoller, David Webb, Ethan Bearman, Carole Marks, John Fredericks, Miriam Wallach, Ed Woodson, George Russell, Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg), Phil Paleologos, Scott Hennen, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Timothy Spangler, David Fisher, Debbie Nigro, Rick Smith, Howard Monroe and more.  Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced and the event will be covered live on TalkersRadio.  All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but only a handful of spots are left, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.

krusejohn‘Northwestern Outdoors Radio’ Wins Three National Honors.  The regional weekend program “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” with host John Kruse, wins Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America.  Kruse was honored with first place in the radio broadcast category; second place in the hunting category and second place for a humorous interview segment.  This is the second year “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” entered the national competition featuring outdoor radio shows and podcasts from all over the United States.  Kruse comments, “We must be doing something right, and it’s wonderful to get feedback saying so from not only our listeners, but also from the judges who are our peers in the outdoors media industry.”  The show is an hour-long weekend show airing on 52 stations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  The program covers not only fishing and hunting, but also wildlife watching, conservation, and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities and destinations with a strong focus on the Northwestern United States.

Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, New Donald Sterling Allegations, VA Hospitals Scandal, U.S.-Israel Relations, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3).  The aftermath of the prisoner swap for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the primary races leading up to this fall’s mid-term elections and speculation about candidates for president in 2016; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior against Clippers owner Donald Sterling; the ongoing fallout from the VA Hospitals scandal; U.S.-Israel relations in the wake of Hamas’ role in the Palestinian Authority makeup; and the prelude to the NBA and NHL finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

| March 26, 2014

sportstalkboston logoInside SportsTalkBoston.com.   The surprising exit of longtime WEEI sports talk personality Glenn Ordway last year and the departure some months later of station programmer Jason Wolfe saw big changes in the Boston sports talk scene.  Those changes are becoming even more high profile with the debut of Ordway’s new multi-platform sports talk destination wolfejasonSportsTalkBoston.com.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware Wolfe is signing on with the venture to serve as chief content officer.  In this exclusive story, Wolfe goes into a bit more detail about not only what the future will bring to SportsTalkBoston.com, but he writes about Ordway’s place in the hearts and minds of Boston sports media fans and how that plays into the execution of the content.  As Wolfe says, “Personality breeds engagement.  Engagement breeds loyalty.  Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue.  That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.”  Read this entire piece here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Takes ‘Top Biller’ Crown for Fourth Year Straight.  The annual top radio billers report from BIA/Kelsey is out and although Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington dropped a little over $1 million in billing from 2012 to 2013, at a reported $63.5 million it still was the nation’s #1 biller, beating Clear Channel’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles by about $2 million.  KIIS-FM had a good year, adding almost $5 million to its revenue total to report in at $61.6 million.  Rounding out the top 10 for 2013 were:  Clear Channel’s CHR WHTZ, New York “Z100” at $51 million; CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM at $50 million; Clear Channel’s AC WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” at $45.5 million; CBS RADIO all-news WINS at $45 million; Clear Channel’s hot AC KBIG, Los Angeles “104.3 MYfm” at $44.5 million; CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” at $43 million; CBS RADIO’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles at $42.8 million; and CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago wraps the top 10 at $42 million.

mckinneygregEntercom Loosens Load on ‘ESPN Upstate’ Personality Greg McKinney.  In addition to his work at Entercom Greenville’s sports talk duo WORD-AM/WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” where he’s host of “In The Huddle with Greg McKinney” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McKinney had been doing mornings on sister AC WSPA “Magicespnupstate 98.9.”  (He also handles anchoring the “College Football Today” pregame show on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet.”)  The company adds “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” on WSPA for morning drive and relieves McKinney of the daily double duty.  Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage is unmatched in this market.  We are thrilled that the person who will become the local face of ‘ESPN Upstate’ was already in our stable.  Putting Greg McKinney on ESPN with a live and local show, not only plays to his strengths and talents, but it provides our clients with an additional and valuable touch point to connect with a highly sought after consumer.”

entercomEntercom Sets Milwaukee and Madison Managers.  Former Cumulus Mobile vice president/market manager Chuck Sullivan is tapped for similar duties at Entercom Milwaukee, while Entercom Madison director of sales Ed Schulz is elevated to vice president/market manager of that Wisconsin market.  They succeed Michael Keck (see next story), who was overseeing both markets.  Regional president Michael Doyle comments, “Entercom is proud to add two of the strongest people in radio to our leadership team.  Chuck and Ed bring with them a wealth of experience, unique perspectives and a passion to make their powerful brands and their clusters not only the strongest in the state, but in all of radio.”  Meanwhile, Sullivan remarks, “Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands from [CHR WXSS] ‘Kiss-FM’ to [hot AC WMYX] ‘Mix’ to [WSSP] ‘SportsRadio 1250.”  Schulz adds, “Madison is a special place and Entercom has distinct brands that not only connect with the community, but deliver results for our clients.  I am proud of what we have accomplished in Madison and am excited for the future.  Before joining Cumulus, Sullivan spent nine years as managing partner of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ocean Broadcasting.  Schulz joined Entercom two years ago and will be responsible for adult alternative WMMM “Triple M,” classic hits WOLX, and hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.”

keckmichaelCBS RADIO Twin Cities Names Keck VP/DOS.  As referenced in the story above, sales pro Michael Keck moves northwest from Entercom Milwaukee to the Twin Cities where he’s the new vice president/director of sales at CBS RADIO Minneapolis, effective April 7.  The company says that in this role, he will be responsible for overseeing sales in the market for news/talk WCCO, adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM,” and country KMNB “BUZ’N@102.9.”  Keck will work closely with Michael Weiss, CBS RADIO’s president of sales and report to Mick Anselmo, senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis cluster.  Keck comments, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Twin Cities.  It’s a tremendous privilege to be associated with two powerful FM stations and one of America’s most legendary and successful AM brands in WCCO.  I can’t wait to be a part of the CBS RADIO team in this vibrant radio and media marketplace.”

envisionnetworks newSun Broadcast Group to Rep Envision Networks’ Spanish Content.  An exclusive ad sales agreement has been struck between Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. and Envision Networks for Sun to rep Envision’s Spanish-language inventory that includes: CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and AccuWeather ensunbroadcastgrouplogo Español.  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Jason Bailey and his team at Sun Broadcast will increase our presence in the Spanish advertising arena.  They will represent our programming, services and online audio product lineups to Hispanic advertisers and maximize the scope of our network’s reach and frequency and the amount of impressions it delivers for clients.”

pretzellodebbieBeasley Honors Pretzello with President’s Club Award.  This in-house sales award for the calendar year 2013 goes to Beasley Broadcast Augusta senior account executive Debbie Pretzello for the third time.  The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives inducted annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis.  One account executive in each market in which Beasley operates is named to the Club monthly.  At year’s end, each market names a winner based on overall performance.  Additionally, the individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year.  Beasley EVP of sales Heather Monahan says, “We are thrilled that Debbie Pretzello continues to lead our Augusta sales team and is recognized for her third time as our ‘Overall President’s Club Winner.’  Retaining talent in our business is of the utmost importance to Beasley.  Debbie forges ahead year after year, raising the bar for our sales organization.  Her ability to win multiple awards signifies her vast talent for delivering results for her local clients.  Debbie Pretzello earned the title ‘Overall President’s Club Winner’ again this year by providing ROI for her customers, that’s something that makes us very proud.”

robbinsmarkleyOdds & Sods.  When the New York Yankees’ season kicks off on April 1, Spanish-speaking listeners in the New York area will be able to hear the games in Spanish on Univsion-owned WADO, New York.  CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM – the new rights holder for Yankees games, agrees to the deal that will have WFAN producing the games with Rickie Ricardo and Francisco Rivera in the booth for the Spanish-language broadcast…..WMBD, Peoria afternoon duo “Robbins & Markley” – (pictured here) Scott Robbins (l) and Jamie Markley (r) – are sitting in for the vacationing Jim Villanucci on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland this week…..The weekly two-hour “Both Sides Now” program – hosted by Mark Green and featuring talk media personalities including: Ron Reagan, Katrina van den Heuvel, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter, Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Rich Lowry and Torie Clarke – signs up with Focus 360 to handle ad sales for the program.

elswickettingerTackling Big Issues.  KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (right) poses for a photo with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (left) after two spoke on Elswick’s program about Israel and the country’s complex relationship with the U.S., Iran and the Palestinians.  Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington.  Elswick will be speaking on the “Big Picture” panel at Talkers New York 2014 in New York City on Friday, June 20.

ObamaCare Criticism, Michelle Obama in China, Hague Nuke Summit, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Mid-Term Elections/ 2016 Presidential Race, NSA Bulk Data Collection Policy and Nick Cannon ‘Whiteface’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China and her speech about America’s discriminatory past; President Obama’s comments about Russia and a possible NYC nuclear threat made at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague; the possible fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; prognostication about the fall mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the fate of the NSA’s bulk data collection policy; and musician/TV personality Nick Cannon’s “whiteface” photo controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 20, 2013

| September 20, 2013

marconiawardBig Day for All-News at Marconi Awards: WBBM-AM, Chicago Wins Legendary Station Award.  The NAB/RAB Radio Show is the site of the annual Marconi Awards and this year, CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM, Chicago took home the Legendary Station Award.  Other news and talk-related winners included:  Cox Media Group’s KRMG-FM,wbbm Tulsa taking home Medium Market Station of the Year; CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston winning News/Talk Station of the Year; Brian Byers of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois winning Medium Market Personality of the Year; and KTCK, Dallas taking home Sports Station of the Year.  This year’s “NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show” was hosted by “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of CBS Radio’s KRTH-FM in Los Angeles. The show also featured a performance by Grammy Award-Winning band The Mavericks from Big Machine Label Group.

limbaughNABRush Limbaugh Tells Affiliates Taking Show to Satellite Radio Would Be a “Betrayal.”  Speaking at a party in his honor to celebrate 25 years in national syndication hosted by syndicator Premiere Networks, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh told industry insiders – many of whom were station owners and programmers who carry his program – that “I can’t thank you all enough because without you and all of the people who run the radio stations I’m on, I wouldn’t be possible.”  Speaking about the importance of the relationship between the personality and the radio station, Limbaugh said from his earliest days in radio, he’s always believed that “it takes the radio station to make the personality, the personality can’t make the radio station.”  He said that at industry gatherings such as the Radio Show he is invariably asked if he would ever go to SiriusXM and he said, “The first moment the question was asked, I’ve always looked at that as a betrayal, if I were to do that because of the opportunity to be on your radio stations has provided me and I honestly believe it’s a lifetime commitment.  I don’t think it’s a debt I can ever fully repay.”  Limbaugh went on to allude to the controversial nature of talk radio – and his image in particular – when he added, “And Lord knows, I’ve put you through hell.”  (The room responded with rousing laughter.) “Probably more times than even I know!  I’m aware of the times I know.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me that whatever the obstacle or controversy – whenever it pops up – that you all hang in there.  One thing that’s such a blessing of freedom: I don’t have to worry when those things happen that you’re going to be affected by whatever the media is attempting or whatever detractors are attempting.  The one thing that fuels me and gives me confidence and strength is I know I’m not going to lose you all…and I’m going to be forever grateful.”

brennan25thKMOX, St. Louis Personality Charlie Brennan Celebrates 25 Years at CBS News/Talker.  St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (pictured here at left) celebrated his 25th anniversary on news/talk KMOX today (9/20) with a live broadcast in front of a packed audience at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten.  Brennan first began broadcasting on KMOX on September 20, 1988.  He was joined on the air this morning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – his very first guest on KMOX.  Also calling in with kudos today were:  Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Larry King, Morley Safer, Juan Williams, Jennifer Griffin, Senator John McCain, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, singers Ricky Skaggs and Michael McDonald, Tony La Russa, Joe Garagiola, Bob Pettit, Ted Koppel and George Vecsey.  Through a proclamation, Mayor Francis Slay declared today “Charlie Brennan Day” in St. Louis.

hillangelaHill Joins WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans.  Former WWL-TV, New Orleans news anchor Angela Hill will come out of her short-lived retirement September 30 to begin 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm duties on Entercom news/talk station WWL-AM/FM.  “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus states.”  Angela is one of the most respected, popular, and beloved personalities in New Orleans.  Hill retired from WWL-TV earlier this year and comments that she was “always looking for the next chapter” of her life.  “Radio allows you to connect with and engage people on a more personal level.  When you add the power and reach of WWL radio, we can do great things.  My show will be engaging, fun, and attract big-time guests – the sky’s the limit.”  According to WWL operations/program director, Diane Newman, “Angela Hill is a trusted journalist, an amazing interviewer and a great listener.”  Hill will succeed “Talk Gumbo with John ‘Spud’ McConnell,” but Claus points out McConnell, “isn’t going anywhere.  We have big and exciting plans for him” that apparently will be announced on-air on Monday, September 23.

noorywhoopiPremiere’s George Noory Appears on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg.  On Thursday, September 19, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory made an appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” for the debut of a new segment called “Out of this World with Whoopi,” which showcases Whoopi Goldberg’s fascination with the paranormal.  During the segment, Noory shared a few stories of ghost sightings and cursed objects, and told the audience how his fascination with the paranormal began as a child.  Goldberg asked him about peoples’ fascination with the unexplained and Noory said, “People want to know why we are here, who we are, and is there life after death….and that’s what we do, we try to find answers.”

westcottpaulOdds & Sods.  ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – co-host of the “Mike & Mike” morning drive program – is named grand marshall of Northwestern University’s Homecoming Parade.  Greenberg is an alumnus of the school and will revisit the campus the weekend of October 4-5 and be an honored guest during the festivities…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean tonight (9/20, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) on his Premiere Networks program “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett signs a deal to become an on-air personality on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago where he’ll make weekly appearances on the “Boers and Bernstein” show at 5:00 pm every Monday during football season, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

U.S.-Russia Tensions Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20.  Scrutiny over the Obama Administration’s relationship with Russia and president Vladimir Putin relative to the Syria issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the deal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to Russia to avoid a U.S. strike.  At #3 was the Washington Navy Yard slayings, and at #4 was the ongoing debate over the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is posted every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

| March 28, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System.  The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region.  It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator.  TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable.  TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates.  These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.”  TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.”  TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations.  The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011.  The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions):  Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).

costadinoSiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film.  Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming.  Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.”  The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides.  The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show.  The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family.  Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio.  He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can.  I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told.  I am so excited to begin.”  Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life.  In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”

billyfatbackVillanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB.  The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot.  That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot.  He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’”  His program debuts this evening.

gearhartjimNew Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame.  Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey.  Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”

miklaszbernieWXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig.  Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month.  In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989.  He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling.  Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.”  Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him.  WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all?  He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing.  It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him.  The guy is such an awesome personality.”  STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.

thelearningconference logoThe Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference.  The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel.  Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use.  Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need forshannonbob tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.”  Some of the speakers appearing this year include:  Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media.  Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game.  For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Merlin Meltdown: Lessons Learned

| July 19, 2012

By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
News/Talk Specialist

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Admittedly, I had a tough time hearing these stations objectively, for two reasons:

• By the time I heard ‘em in-car, I had been predisposed by terms like “abortion” and “crib dead” in published reviews.

• Having programmed WTOP, Washington for seven years, I’m an aficionado, a tough grader for this format.

These conspicuous flops should NOT suggest that news doesn’t belong on FM, where some 80% of Time Spent Listening now occurs, and with music radio’s days now numbered.  Heck, WTOP is the USA’s top biller, something no other station outside NY/LA/Chicago ever accomplished.

Read More

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

| July 18, 2012

Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago.  Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively.  In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.”  Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets.  WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news.  The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out.  The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting.  It’s presumptuous.”  Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.”  He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners.  There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning.  Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers.  The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh.  This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?

Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity.  The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors.  This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry.  TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture.  The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding.  The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.”  The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.

Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director.  Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming.  He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis.  He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station.  Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus.  We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.”  Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family.  I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”

Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark.  In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN.  The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.

Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze.  The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer.  TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.”  TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”

Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts.  Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest.  The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV.  Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu.  In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.”  This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 13, 2012

| April 13, 2012

Hubbard’s WTOP Retains Top Biller Status; Clear Channel’s News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Jumps to #3.  For the second year in a row, Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news juggernaut WTOP grabs the top biller title with $64 million billed in 2011.  According to BIA/Kelsey’s 2011 estimates, all news was a big money maker and CBS Radio had a number of winning horses in the race.  Its WBBM, Chicago came in at #4 billing $48 million and WCBS, New York followed at #5 taking in $47.5 million.  CBS’ WINS, New York was #8 with $42 million.  While Chicago market WBBM topped each of the New York-market all-newsers, it’s pretty impressive that CBS Radio billed $89.5 million between all-newsers WCBS and WINS.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s ratings and revenue news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles was the only talk station to make the top 10, showing off the power of its high-cuming talk personalities – especially AM drive host Bill Handel and PM drive duo John & Ken – coming in at #3 billing $48.1 million (up from the #4 spot in 2010).  And sports talk cracked the top 10 as CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York rounded out the list at #10 billing $40.5 million.

A View Behind the Scenes at #1 Biller WTOP, Washington.  TALKERS TV recently visited the studios at Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news operation WTOP.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison visits with WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo and news director Mitchell Miller as they show off the very high-tech, multi-platform and extremely well-staffed news operation (a whopping 120 employees) in the Nation’s Capital.  View the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

Court Strikes Down Ban on Political Ads on Public Broadcasting Outlets.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has iced the ban on political and issues ads that could lead to a ton of such fare hitting the airwaves of pubcasters as the November presidential election approaches.  A 2-1 vote of the three-judge panel upholds the ban on advertisements for goods and services from for-profit companies.  But the decision is rocking the world of pubcasters – many of whom are not commenting publicly at this juncture – because they fear they will be, to a degree, pulled into the world of commercial broadcasters as a result of this decision.  But the Court’s ruling was based on free speech grounds.  Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the main opinion stating that the FCC ban was overly broad and there’s no evidence the educational nature of public broadcasting would be affected, “Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment’s protection.  Public issue and political advertisements pose no threat of ‘commercialization.’  By definition, such advertisements do not encourage viewers to buy commercial goods and services.  A ban on such advertising therefore cannot be narrowly tailored to serve the interest of preventing the ‘commercialization’ of broadcasting.”  Dissenting Judge Richard Paez wrote, “For almost 60 years, commercial public broadcasters have been effectively insulated from the lure of paid advertising.  The court’s judgment will disrupt this policy and could jeopardize the future of public broadcasting.  I am not persuaded that the First Amendment mandates such an outcome.”

WOR Radio Network to Syndicate “Rasmussen Report” Feature. The vignette will be available three times daily and feature reports by the nationally known “political pulse-taker” Scott Rasmussen.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “Scott has fast become the go-to guest for many of our programs when we want to let our listeners know where the country stands on the important headlines.  We are thrilled to now take our relationship with him to this next level and share his fantastic radio content with radio stations across the country.”  The WOR Radio Network makes the reports available to affiliates beginning Monday, April 16.

Tribune’s WGN Inks Deal for Studio Naming Rights with Allstate.  Beginning May 1, WGN, Chicago’s showcase studio on Michigan Avenue will be unveiled as the Allstate Showcase Studio.  WGN VP/general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We are proud of the partnership we have developed with Allstate over the years through programs like the community-driven WGN Radio Hometown Voices Tour and are pleased to extend that partnership to the Showcase Studio.  The Showcase Studio has been a mainstay on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue for over 25 years and home to many legendary broadcasters.  We are excited to announce this next chapter in WGN’s history with such a valued partner.”  The sponsorship includes an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics and on-air naming recognition.

CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship Money to “Newstudies” Student.  CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia has been offering the six-week student reporter program called “Newstudies” to high school juniors and seniors for more than 45 years.  This year, 171 local students graduated from the program and KYW selected Upper Moreland High School student Gavin Lichtenstein to receive the Richard Monetti Scholarship award of $2,000 for being the student in the program demonstrating the most potential and enthusiasm.  The scholarship was named after 1986 Newstudies graduate Richard Monetti who perished on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”

WSBT, South Bend Adds FM Translator at 96.1.  Schurz Communications’ news/talk WSBT, South Bend, Indiana acquired the FM translator from Christian station WFRN-FM last year for $135,000.  Now, according to the South Bend Tribune, WSBT will add to what program director Bob Montgomery calls “the strongest signal in the market” – AM 960.  Montgomery also tells the paper the station is continuing to focus on news and information for the Michiana market.  “We’re still doing increased news in our morning show – trying an all-news approach.  We thought since that’s why people listen to news/talk during their morning drive, we would concentrate on that.”

Weekend Home Show “The Money Pit” Hits 300-Affiliate Mark.  The nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” – co-hosted by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete – announces it has added more than 20 new affiliate stations during the first quarter of 2012 to bring its affiliate roster to 300.  The program will celebrate its success in conjunction with a special Earth Day broadcast from New York City on Friday, April 20 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm from the “Crossroads of the World” in New York’s Times Square.  Tom Kraeutler states, “I am so grateful to our team for the hard work that got us to this point, to our loyal affiliate stations for making our content available to millions of people across the country and to our always growing list of top sponsors that have made this possible.”

Rick Santorum’s Suspension of His Presidential Campaign Is Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 9-13.  The news of Rick Santorum’s exit from the GOP primary race – effectively giving the nomination to Mitt Romney – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign in general.  At #3 was George Zimmerman’s being charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin followed by recent reports of weak U.S. job growth and the stock market’s reaction at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week, and is based upon ongoing research from TALKERS and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” adds KOA, Denver…..Genesis Communications Network’s Dr. Daliah Wachs program picks  up WRJM-AM/FM, Charleston, Illinois and WHOW-AM/FM, Bloomington/Decatur, Illinois.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

| April 12, 2012

Cox Media Group Goes Hot Talk in Tampa on “The Bone.”  The rock music stops on Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa – The Bone – on Monday, April 23 as the company builds a hot talk station around morning drive star Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive personality Cowhead.  Cox will add the DirecTV-produced Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show for late nights and is considering programs for middays and early evenings.  Cox Tampa VP/market manager Keith Lawless says, “‘The Bone’ dominates the morning and afternoon drive talk shows and has room to grow in the midday and evening classic rock shows.  Evolving this station into an all-talk station is an obvious move.  Bubba plays no music and is clearly the market’s leader in mornings.  Filling in the other dayparts with compelling talk and removing all music from the already successful Cowhead show will make ‘The Bone’ dominant with men and adults all day long.”

KNBR, San Francisco Parts Company with Ralph Barbieri After 28 Years.  Ralph Barbieri – the Razor – has been a part of sports talk on KNBR, San Francisco since 1984 but he’s been let go by Cumulus Media as the result of a “management decision,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.  Barbieri’s co-host Tom Tolbert – Mr. T – continues as solo host of the PM drive show.  Barbieri wrote for Sport magazine before joining KNBR in 1984 and became one of the pillars upon which KNBR was built.  Last fall, Barbieri revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and that he disclosed the diagnosis to Cumulus as the two sides began negotiating a contract renewal.  Barbieri said he believed it was only fair to Cumulus.  He also reported that CEO Lew Dickey told him the company wanted him back.  Barbieri wrote to the Mercury News stating: “…All I can say is that I’m weighing my options, which are considerable.  I’ll have more to say later on.  For now, I just want to say that I’ve seen a couple of articles that have characterized this as an amicable parting.  Well, that’s not exactly the case.  I came to work (Tuesday) morning with no idea that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract does not expire until November 1.  I was immediately told that the general manager wanted to see me.  I went to his office and the program director was there as well.  I was told that I was being terminated and that April 10, was to be my last day at KNBR.”

All-News WBBM Top Biller in Chicago in 2011.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports data from BIA/Kelsey that indicates all-news has been good for CBS Radio in the Windy City.  The most recent quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey ranks the top five radio billers in Chicago and ranks WBBM – with its recent FM simulcast addition – at the top with $48 million in billing in 2011 (an increase from $42.5 million in 2010).  Hubbard Broadcasting’s AC WTMX-FM is in second place followed by Tribune’s news/talk WGN in third ($35.5 million).  Univision’s Regional Mexican WOJO-FM comes in fourth and CBS Radio’s country WUSN-FM is in fifth place.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Jumps on Board iHeartRadio.  Stating that the new platform provides listeners with greater access to WGN, station VP/general manager Tom Langmyer announces Tribune Company’s news/talk WGN will be heard on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital platform.  “This additional platform provides even greater access to WGN, and exposes new listeners to one of America’s premier personality-based talk, news and sports stations.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian LeKamp says, “Adding a station like WGN to iHeartRadio further delivers on our mission to be wherever our listeners are with the products and services they expect, expanding our ability to offer our users an even more diverse and exciting listening experience.  As one of the top stations in Chicago, WGN features news, information, entertainment and sports and is an excellent addition to our platform.”

Jorge Sedano Leaves Post as AM Drive Host at WAXY, Miami.  South Florida sports talk host Jorge Sedano tweets to his fans that he’s left Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami’s morning drive show:  “After four great yrs at 790 THE TICKET I’ve decided 2 move on effective immediately.  W/ all the new projects I’m working on its just too hard 2 do it all.  I want to thank all wonderful people I worked with in my time there.  Also, thank you the audience for some great radio.  Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this great position to make this move.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter & hoping u all come along.  Thanks again for all your support.  You have no idea what it means to me. All the best. Love JORGE.”  Chatter in the sports talk world is that Sedano, who has previously worked at Fox Sports Radio Network, is developing a show to air on the new CBS Sports Network – possibly as a lead in to Jim Rome’s new show on the cable channel.  For now, Brandon Guzio is hosting the morning show at WAXY.

Salem Communications Partners with TuneIn.  Camarillo, California-based Salem Communications is the latest broadcaster to partner with internet audio company TuneIn to broadcast its stations via the web.  Salem makes its almost 100 radio properties available to listeners everywhere via the service.  Salem Radio president David Santrella says in a statement, “Through our partnership with TuneIn, we have expanded the number of access points to our content.  We have made it easier for our current listeners to access our programming from wherever they are and have opened up our broadcasts to new audiences.  Overnight we’ve expanded our footprint in digital and have gained a suite of first-of-their-kind analysis tools from TuneIn that help us further tailor programming to our listeners everywhere.”

Arbitron CFO Richard Surratt to Leave the Company.  A press release from Arbitron headquarters in Columbia, Maryland says Richard Surratt is leaving his role at the ratings giant for personal reasons and that EVP/COO Sean Creamer will take over the CFO role when Surratt’s exit takes place in May.  Meanwhile, the company has hired Crist Kolder Associates to search for a new CFO.

2012 Presidential Race, Charges Filed Against George Zimmerman, Obama Care Status, Tepid U.S. Jobs Creation and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11).  Mitt Romney’s apparent capturing of the GOP nomination and the 2012 presidential campaign, second degree murder charges filed against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the legal status of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act, meager job growth in the U.S. and economic tensions in the Euro zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Bonneville Seattle Gets Behind Fisher House Campaign.  Bonneville Seattle – which includes news/talk KIRO-FM, talk KTTH, and sports talk KIRO – is supporting a campaign to upgrade the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.  The current house – which provides lodging for the families of American service personnel recovering from treatment after being wounded in the line of duty —  has been in use since 1992 and there is a need for a larger facility.  Bonneville VP/market manager Carl Gardner states, “Healing our wounded warriors and caring for their families is a mission all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to join.  At Bonneville, we’re excited to pull together our community of friends and bring this new Fisher House to life, to give something back to the soldiers and their families who have given us so much over these past ten years.”  Pictured here are Bonneville Seattle staffers and military personnel from the base.