Tag: "WIP"

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate 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. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

| July 28, 2020

WIND-AM, Chicago’s Steve Cortes Takes Leave to Work for Trump Campaign. WIND-AM Chicago afternoon drive talk host Steve Cortes is taking leave of his program on the Salem Media Group station to join the Donald Trump re-election campaign as senior advisor of communications. Cortes – who served on the 2016 Trump campaign’s Hispanic Advisory Council in addition to acting as a surrogate for Trump – became the host of the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program in January of this year. Salem Chicago regional vice president and WIND-AM general manager Jeff Reisman says, “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump. Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” In the interim, WIND’s afternoon drive will feature a fill-in host to be announced.

Lotus Broadcasting Announces Re-Brand of KRLV-AM, Las Vegas as ‘Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.’ In partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Lotus Broadcasting reveals that its rock KOMP-FM, Las Vegas “92.3 The Rock Station” will serve as the Raiders’ flagship radio station for play-by-pay and that it is re-launching KRLV-AM as “Raider Nation Radio 920AM.”  Beginning August 3, “Raider Nation Radio 920AM” will feature a lineup that includes: “Pritch & Clay” – Mike Pritchard and Clay Baker – in morning drive; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; JT the Brick from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; “Silver & Black Today” with host Scott Gulbransen; and “In the Huddle with Vincent Bonsignore” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Lotus general manager Natalie Marsh says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders and broadcast their games to a sports craved Las Vegas fanbase. Launching ‘Raider Nation Radio 920AM’ will give Raiders and NFL fans unparalleled access to the Raiders and the league as a whole.” Lotus says that with Clay Baker joining Mike Pritchard in morning drive, air personality Tyler Bischoff is moving to the company’s sports talk KWWN “ESPN Las Vegas” alongside longtime Review Journal columnist Ed Graney for mornings.

Entercom Names Danny Freisinger Brand Manager for ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. Sports talk pro Danny Freisinger adds the brand manager role for KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” to his duties with Entercom. Freisinger serves as assistant brand manager for KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” and will continue in that position as well. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “For the last four years, Danny has consistently given ‘95.7 The Game’ listeners a reliable home for premier coverage of their favorite teams and we’re excited to expand his role with ‘ESPN 1320. With a fair amount of Bay Area fans rooted in Sacramento, Danny will lead the way in reshaping how we cover sports in Northern California and better serve fans.”

Nielsen Audio Exits Nine Small Markets. Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it is exiting the radio ratings business in nine small U.S. markets: Battle Creek, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; New Bedford-Fall River, Massachusetts; Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas; Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, Washington; Twin Falls-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Yakima, Washington. The company says in a press statement, “Like most commercial businesses, Nielsen Audio continually reviews the economic viability of doing business in all markets. If the audio marketplace in select markets cannot financially support measurement, we discontinue producing our syndicated market report in those markets. That is just business as usual, the typical expansion and contraction of our rated audio market list, which is the case with these nine markets.”

PPM Analysis: Cume Part 4 – The #1 Club. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps up his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey and the four-part dive into station cume with a review of the outlets that finished tops in cume in their respective markets. In this report you’ll find charts detailing #1 cume stations by market size, #1 cume stations by format, cume rank versus AQH share rank, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announces to WXYT-FM, Detroit listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer for the past two years. Mlive.com reports that Samuelsen made the announcement on Monday’s “Jamie & Stoney” program (7/27), telling listeners, “Each morning since my diagnosis, I got up, turned on the radio mic, and got to talk sports. I needed the escape from cancer, just like so many of our listeners who face hardships, grief and illness, too, they turned to us in the morning for some levity in this crazy world. So, I wanted to continue to have fun and not let cancer get in the way of doing what I loved. Connecting with listeners, laughing, teasing Stoney, all of it, it helped me be normal, while continuing to fight this disease.” He added, “It’s a battle. It goes on. I don’t want to make it sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”.…..The Bubba The Love Sponge program adds two new affiliate stations as Birach Broadcasting adds the show to WCXI, Detroit and WWCS, Pittsburgh. The program is based at Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM, Tampa and is syndicated via United Cities Productions…..Gow Media announces that the new SportsMap Radio Network has officially launched with the talent lineup including: Scott Ferrall, Tony Bruno, Jake Asman, Scott Wetzel, Matt Perrault, Anthony Pepe, Gabe Morency, and Eytan Shander. SportsMap program director and Gow Media COO Craig Larson comments, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this exciting endeavor. With a solid infrastructure in place, and led by a dynamic innovator in David Gow, SportsMap Radio is well positioned to be an industry leader for many years to come.”

Skyview Networks’ Virtual Sales Conference Taking Place This Week. The annual sales conference hosted by Skyview Networks is virtual this year and got underway yesterday (7/27). Among the presenters are: Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau; Stacia Deshishku, vice president and general manager of ABC Audio; and Skyview Networks’ CEO Ken Thiele, president and COO Steve Jones, and executive vice president and general manager, Jeanne-Marie Condo. Skyview announced that it will reveal new network partnerships this week “that will expand its business further through the acquisition of the audiences that advertisers desire and, in doing so, create greater financial benefit for its partner networks.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Tests Begin, Fall School Opening Debate, BLM Protests/Federal Troop Deployment, GOP Stimulus Bill, Big Tech CEOs Before Congress, MLB’s Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the first Phase 3 vaccine trial begins the in U.S.; the ongoing debate over whether to and how to open schools this fall; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in various cities and controversy over the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; Senate Republicans announce their new stimulus package – the HEALS Act; Wednesday’s testimony by big tech CEOs before the House Judiciary Committee; and Major League Baseball’s season opens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Premiere Networks-syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” gets its first Canadian affiliate as My Broadcasting Company’s CJMB-FM, Peterborough, Ontario adds the program for morning drive. Host Woody says, “A big thank you to Rob Mise and Jon Pole at MBC Radio for believing in us even after they spent endless hours listening to our show. We have been workshopping some new jokes for our big Canadian debut on ‘FREQ 90.5,’ and we’re confident that we’ll at least get a smirk from five out of 10 of them. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being part of the chaos.”

Friday, July 24, 2020

| July 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “BLM and MLB!” looks back at this past week of July 20-24, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Lars Larson, talk show host KXL, Portland/Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaSteve Trevelise, talk show host, New Jersey 101.5/WIP, Philadelphia; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/commentator, “MD Edge Psychcast.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Mike Francesa Announces Retirement from WFAN and RADIO.COM. New York City sports talk legend Mike Francesa announced on Thursday’s program that this afternoon’s program (Friday, July 24) would be his last regularly scheduled show on “The Fan.” He told his listeners, “Tomorrow night will be my last regularly scheduled broadcast on ‘The Fan.’ I have been discussing this with the company for a while. We agreed I would stay until sports came back. The reason – I have cut back dramatically. This has been a very strange year. It has made me think about different things and do different things.” Francesa has been at Entercom’s WFAN for 33 years. He left the station at the end of 2017 when his contract ran out and WFAN replaced him with Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, but Francesa returned four months later and resumed his afternoon show, bumping the trio to middays. At the end of 2019, Francesa’s schedule was dramatically changed as he began hosting a half-hour program on WFAN and a full hour on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM. Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moved from middays into the afternoon drive slot. Senior vice president and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Mike has been the heart of WFAN for over 30 years, and though his day in and day out presence has come to an end, that bond happily will continue. The future of WFAN as the premiere sports platform in New York is bright, and that is in large part to the foundation that Mike has helped build.”

WHUB-AM, Cookeville, Tennessee Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above (from l-r) are Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, WHUB program director and morning drive host Brent Fleshman, and Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter recognizing the 80th anniversary of the Zimmer Broadcasting station. It went on the air on July 20, 1940. Fleshman – a 2016 NAB Marconi winner for Small Market Personality of the Year – tells TALKERS magazine that the company recently built a brand-new studio specifically for the news/talk station to accommodate more guests.

iHeartMedia Adds Sports Talker to Eau Claire, Wisconsin Market. There’s a new sports talk outlet in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin market as iHeartMedia drops the classic hits simulcast on WBIZ-AM/W254CN and launches “98-7 The Fan” on the two signals The station cherry-picks sports talk shows heard in other Wisconsin and Minnesota markets for its programming. Morning drive “The Power Trip” and 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show “The Common Man” emanate from the company’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” and late morning “Nine to Noon with John Kuhn” and afternoon drive “Drew & KB” are based at WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming Dave DeVille says, “The Chippewa Valley is often a house divided when it comes to Wisconsin and Minnesota sports teams. We’ve curated a home base station for all sports fans to enjoy.” The station will air Chippewa Valley area high school sports and professional sports including Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings and Milwaukee Bucks.

TALKERS News Notes. WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the air. Walt Palmer is director of broadcast operations, engineering, and programming for the Resort Broadcasting Co station. He tells TALKERS magazine, “‘Sunny 92.7’ music morphed to ‘The TALK of Delmarva,’ providing 20 hours of live programming, 10 of which are live and local. Resort Broadcasting has assured listeners it is committed to serving the local communities with news, talk, sports, and information.” The station features local hosts Mike Bradley in AM drive, Jake Smith in late mornings, and Duke Brooks in afternoon drive…..SmartTalk Radio Network and WCGO, Chicago talk radio personality Blanquita Cullum – host of “The Hard Question” – is the moderator of the Voices Against Trafficking international human rights forum that will stream via Facebook Live on July 29 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Cullum tells TALKERS magazine, “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest-growing, multibillion-dollar criminal industry exploiting men, women, and children across the globe. This program will feature leading national and international human rights activists sharing details on many aspects of the current state of human trafficking.” Guest speakers include: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, numerous U.S. members of congress, internet safety leaders, law enforcement experts, and survivors who are forging a new path for human rights…..Entercom’s St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” renews to serve as an outlet for Kansas City Chiefs football play-by-play and will simulcast broadcasts from sister station WDAF-FM, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf,” the team’s flagship station.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WCXI, Detroit to News/Talk. Detroit outlet WCXI-AM flips from oldies to conservative talk using a lineup of conservative talk shows from Premiere Networks and FOX News Radio. Branded “Freedom 1160 WCXI” by owner Birach Broadcasting Corporation, the station’s lineup consists of: “FOX News Rundown” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Guy Benson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Buck Sexton from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Dan Bongino from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” in overnights.

Schools Opening Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 20-24. The debate over how to safely open schools this fall was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spike in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was talk about health care, vaccine development, and the $1.95 billion deal for Pfizer to develop a vaccine, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the GOP-crafted stimulus package 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

Independent Broadcasters Association Organizes. The new Independent Broadcasters Association announces that it has filed articles of incorporation in the State of Minnesota and is “officially in business.” Founding organizer Ron Stone of Adams Radio Group says, “We filed the articles last Friday, on a day where we were 96% of our 3,000-station goal. 2,877 stations had signed up, represented by just under 600 owners / operators. We continue to have additional owners signing up every day.” He adds that the initial board of directors has been selected and includes: Deborah Barrera, R Communications; Kristin Cantrell, Seven Mountains Media and Cap City Communications; Darrell Calton, Iliad Media Group; Allen Dick, Dick Broadcasting; Mike Flood, Flood Communications; Kenneth Forte, R&F Communications; Charles Johnson, Northstar Broadcast; Kimberly Martinez, All Pro Broadcasting; Gregory Pretko, Southern Stone Communications; Kelly Radandt, Woodward Radio Group; Tony Renda, Renda Broadcasting; David Stephens, Stephens Media Group; Ron Stone, Adams Radio Group; Tony Richards, Kensington Digital; Cindy Taylor, Ohio Midland Newsgroup; Rebecca White, Salem Media (of Indiana); and Sandra Woodruff, Northwest Indy Radio. Stone adds, “Our first board meeting will be scheduled for next week, to decide mostly organizational matters and to approve our business plan. We will have a conference call with everyone that has signed up on www.radioiba.org schedule shortly after the board meeting to review the business plan and goals of the IBA.” New members are still being accepted.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes the 2020 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine announce the publication of the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We are proud to publish the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in way that puts them among the “most important.” See this year’s Heavy Hundred here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bringmethenews.com reports that Northern Lights Broadcasting has let go of alternative KQGO “Go 96.3” morning show “Ben and Dana” – Ben Holsen and Dana Wessel – in a budget-related move. Wessel tweeted to listeners: “Got some news to share. I was let go by ‘Go963.’ Covid is having a big impact on a lot of businesses and radio is no different. I wanna say thanks and send love to all my colleagues, especially Ben for putting up with me every morning. I have been at ‘Go’ since the day it launched and poured my heart and soul into it.”…..Cox Media Group Orlando moves CHR WPYO afternoon host Danie B and evening personality Kevin Kon to the morning drive daypart as “Danie & Kevin Mornings on Power 95.3.” WPYO brand manager Will Calder says, “I have been watching their chemistry for years and they truly are the best of friends and have the kind of relationship with each other – and our listeners – that make those deep memorable, emotional connections. Moving them to mornings felt like such a natural fit as they will definitely take over Central Florida.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Christopher Squire vice president of sales for its Philadelphia station group, effective immediately. Squire was most recently general sales manager for Townsquare Media’s Trenton-Princeton stations. Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore states, “I am thrilled to add Chris to our team. He is someone that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years and have been impressed by his leadership qualities, his ability to build meaningful relationships with client partners and his dedication to helping the people he works with succeed. His positive outlook and enthusiasm are contagious and I can’t wait to continue to build on our team’s success with his help.”…..Sales and management pro Johnette Cochran has been director of sales for Adams Radio Group’s five station Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland operations consisting of five music brands since December of 2019. Now, she rises to vice president and general manager for the cluster. She says, “I’m delighted to grow into this position with Adams Radio Group. Becoming a general manager has always been my goal and I am blessed to have this opportunity on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. I have been connecting to the community in a limited way during Covid, and now I’m free to truly get out and get to know the people in this great market.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

| July 22, 2020

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part two of how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) has been trending for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on sports talk. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the top-ranked sports talk station during the June PPM survey based on cume (547,700) with the company’s WIP, Philadelphia in second place (375,000). iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis rounds out the top three (350,500). In this report, see which sports talk stations gained cume and which lost it compared to the May 2020 PPM survey, plus more here.

WABC, New York Adds Weekend Programming. New York City news/talk “TALKRADIO 77 WABC announces it is adding three programs to its weekend schedule. The Red Apple Media-owned station adds “The Jeanine Pirro Show” – starring FOX News Channel personality Judge Jeanine Pirro – to the Sunday lineup airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik launches “Bernie Kerik, Behind The Badge” airing from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays (produced in conjunction with Lapcom Communications), and “The Walter Sterling Show” on Saturdays from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm. All three shows are being simulcast on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays (Long Island). Station program director David LaBrozzi says, “New Yorkers want compelling content throughout the weekend and that’s what we’re going to deliver. Jeanine and Bernie are well-known to our audience and perceived as champions for New York. Walter’s syndicated show has done well in other markets and I’m delighted that he is doing a local New York show exclusively for WABC.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News, news radio pro Susan Leigh Taylor is retiring from her morning drive position at Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco on Friday (7/24), capping a 47-year radio career that includes more than 20 years at KCBS-AM. Taylor co-hosts the morning program with Stan Bunger…..iHeartMedia announces that it and Because – the vendor of direct-to-consumer personal care products for consumers 65-plus – have entered into multi-year, multi-million dollar strategic marketing partnership. iHeartMedia EVP of corporate development & ventures Peter Volynsky says, “We are proud to partner with a company that is dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults, offering a seamless way to access essential products and services that provide comfort, while also improving their quality of life. With our massive reach, iHeartMedia will help build awareness of these valuable personal care products and the convenience proposition that Because offers to millions of seniors and their families across the country.”…..This week’s Westwood One Blog shares podcast revenue data and forecasts for the segment. One source is the most recent podcast advertising revenue report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. That report projects 2020 podcast revenues “will come in at 94% of last year’s prediction: The current 2020 podcast revenue forecast of $814M is only 6% less than what IAB/PwC predicted for 2020 last year at this time ($863M).” It also notes that “podcast ad revenues soared +48% from 2018 to 2019: The +48% rate of growth from 2018 to 2019 was nothing short of stunning. While the COVID-19 crisis has tempered 2020 growth rates, IAB/PwC still predicts a +15% lift in 2020 revenues.”…..Edison Research reports that its ongoing “Share of Ear” study finds that Americans’ digital device listening has crossed the 50% threshold during COVID-19 disruptions. Edison says that prior to the COVID-19 disruptions, “55% of the daily total share of time spent listening by those in the U.S. age 13 and older was done on traditional, more linear devices, and 45% was done on digital devices. During Q2 2020, 53% of the daily total share of time spent listening was on digital devices.” The “digital/on-demand” devices in the Share of Ear study include smartphones, computers, internet-connected televisions, and smart speakers. These are essentially the devices that Americans use to stream or listen to audio files on demand. The “traditional or non-linear devices” include AM/FM receivers, SiriusXM receivers, CD players, turntables, or TV channels like Music Choice.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Portland Unrest/Chicago Shootings, Trump’s Use of Federal Agents, GOP Relief Bill, Schools Opening Debate, Chinese Hackers Seeking Vaccine Data/Houston Consulate Ordered Closed, Ohio Bribery Scheme, Twitter’s QAnon Ban, and U.S. Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The outbreak of COVID-19 cases in numerous states, projections for future cases, and President Trump’s first COVID-19 presser in three months; the civil unrest in Portland and the spate of shootings in Chicago; the controversy over Trump’s use of federal agents in Portland; the Republican-authored pandemic relief bill; the debate over opening schools in the fall; U.S. intelligence reports that Chinese hackers are trying to get U.S. vaccine data and the U.S.’s ordering of the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston; the alleged $60 million bribery and money laundering scheme involving Ohio’s House Speaker and three others; Twitter bans 7,000 QAnon-linked accounts; and U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to hold games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Atlanta, Entercom’s hip hop WVEE “V-103” moves afternoon drive personality Big Tigger to morning drive as host of “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” and brings Kenny Burns back to the air staff for afternoon drive. Burns – an entrepreneur, producer, and author – hosted a program from 2011 through 2013. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “During his time with us at ‘V-103,’ I have seen Big Tigger take over Atlanta as a premier talent and generous community activist who is connected to the people. We believe he will bring his high energy and creativity to mornings at the station. Just as important, we see Kenny Burns bringing his added years of experience, industry work, and current show success to the station and we’re excited to welcome him back.”…..The internationally syndicated “Sunday Night Slow Jams” program adds Entercom’s CHR WEZB, New Orleans “B97” to its affiliate station roster…..iHeartMedia Phoenix adult contemporary KEZ, is planning “KEZ Christmas In July” this Saturday (7/25). Station PD Paul Kelley says, “In March, when we were first ordered to stay home, our worlds were turned upside down, but then KEZ played Christmas music on the weekends and our listeners responded positively. It’s July and it’s 110 degrees in Phoenix, and Johnny Mathis is on the radio – sounds pretty on track for 2020, doesn’t it?”…..Louisville public radio personality Duke Meyer is semi-retiring from Louisville Public Media’s alternative WFPK. Meyer, who’s been with the station since 2002, will continue to host the Saturday classic rock program, “Relics.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What?

| March 31, 2020

By Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom Communications
President

 

MINNEAPOLIS — In the days leading up to MLB’s Opening Day, I advised sports radio clients regarding ideas to keep listeners interested in their stations and teams while live sports remains on hiatus due to the coronavirus.

The ideas require franchises and leagues to work with local broadcast rights holders. I didn’t have contact with any of the teams or leagues. I thought, however, it would be logical for these organizations and their local broadcast partners to help keep their brands pertinent during the pandemic. A Wall Street Journal article I read convinced me the teams and leagues will listen to the idea.

Read More

Thursday, January 23, 2020

| January 23, 2020

Entercom Enlists Claritas to Assist with Attribution. This collaboration between Entercom and data-driven marketing firm Claritas will “enable advertisers to measure attribution and accurately determine the portions of their podcast and streaming campaigns that contributed to a purchase, store visit. or app download.”  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Podcasting is a critical and exciting business segment with exponential growth opportunities.  We are thrilled to partner with Claritas and integrate their measurement technology capabilities into our existing radio and digital audio attribution suite.  This new tool helps us fill a critical gap in the industry and allows us the ability to offer clients the opportunity to accurately measure ROI for podcasts and other digital campaigns.”  Entercom says that with its podcast footprint growing exponentially, it needed to expand its existing over-the-air and digital attribution capabilities to include the podcast medium.  The partnership with Claritas will allow advertisers to “calculate the total lift in business outcomes directly attributable to podcast and digital streaming and break out lift by the different components of a campaign, like target audiences, creative, geographic location visit, and more.  The measurement tools provide a valuable component to advertisers for their attribution capabilities to tie multichannel exposures to offline and online conversions and revolutionize the way campaign effectiveness is measured.”

WIP’s Angelo Cataldi Honored by Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. WIP-FM, Philadelphia morning drive host Angelo Cataldi was honored on Monday (1/20) with the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.  The award is named after the legendary Philadelphia broadcaster and recognizes local sportscasters, talk show hosts, and radio and television reporters who display an excellence in broadcasting.  Cataldi says, “This award has great meaning to me for several reasons.  First, it falls on the exact date of my 30th anniversary at WIP.  Second, it comes from the Philadelphia sports writers, a role which I’m very proud to have had.  Last, but not least, this award bears the name of one of my inspirations in broadcasting, Bill Campbell.  I will never live up to Bill’s legacy, but this award gives me more reason than ever to try.”  Cataldi has hosted mornings on the Entercom sports talk station since 1990.  Prior to that he was the Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Round One of Nielsen’s Holiday PPM Survey Released.  The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  The Holiday book is rarely good news for news/talk, all-news, or sports stations as the all-Christmas music stations grab a lot of the cume in each market and listeners’ routines are disrupted by holiday activities.  Still, there are some positive stories to tell from this year’s Holiday survey.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTRH, Houston posted a half share increase over the December survey to land at a 4.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share).  Entercom’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” added a one-tenth share – the fifth positive move over the last six surveys to rise from July’s 2.8 share to the Holiday survey’s 5.0 share.  Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises six tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 7.3 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Talking Freedom in Hong Kong. Pictured above is “Free Talk Live” co-host Mark Edge (right) with a freedom activist (left) in Hong Kong.  Edge tells TALKERS magazine that he went to Hong Kong to report on its freedom movement, noting that “at ‘Free Talk Live’ we care about freedom everywhere in the world.”  Edge says that since the activists were asking Western media to come and report on their movement, they thought it was important.  He says there were about 400 people in attendance for an event on a Wednesday at noon and about 20 counter-protestors waving Chinese flags that the activists believe were paid to be there.  The five-finger hand gesture seen above symbolizes the five demands the activists are making: withdrawal of the extradition bill (which has happened), amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leader.

TALKERS News Notes. News pro Katie Couric and iHeartMedia announce the “Next Question with Katie Couric” podcast is returning to the iHeartRadio platform for season two.  iHeartMedia says that in the second season, “Couric will continue to examine critical issues like America’s staggering maternal mortality rate, the environmental impact of meat consumption, the most cutting-edge health and wellness regimens, and the 2020 presidential election.”  The first episode drops today and examines the Equal Rights Amendment and the history of an effort that began in 1923.  Season two will also debut additional bonus episodes called “Next Question Live” – taped in front of a live audience in which Couric hosts intimate conversations with CEOs, entrepreneurs and business trailblazers.  Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown kicks off the series discussing how his career in professional sports inspired him to make sustainable, fashionable shoes…..Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces its plans for coverage of Super Bowl LIV week in Miami.  Its NFL Radio channel will be broadcasting live from Miami with personalities Gil Brandt, David Diehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Torry Holt, Pat Kirwan, Ed McCaffrey, Jim Miller, Kirk Morrison, Brady Quinn, Charlie Weis, Solomon Wilcots, Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Clayton and Howard Balzer on site.  Additionally, the play-by-play of Super Bowl LIV will be broadcast in seven languages, including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), German, French, Hungarian, and Portuguese…..The nationally syndicated home show “The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” with host Tom Kraeutler adds new affiliate stations WMOV-AM, Ravenswood, West Virginia; WBLF-AM, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; and KMAD-AM, Madill, Oklahoma…..Condolences to the family and friends of media broker Glenn Serafin, who passed away on Monday (1/20) at 69 after suffering a massive stroke.  Serafin served two terms as president of the National Association of Media Brokers from 2013-2017.  Prior to founding Serafin Bros in 1993, he spent eight years specializing in domestic broadcast brokerage and finance as a vice president of international investment banking firm Communications Equity Associates.  Earlier in his career, he served in news, sales, and management at The Associated Press.

SRN News to Cover Trump at March for Life. When President Trump becomes the first U.S. president to make a live appearance at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC tomorrow (1/24), Salem Radio Network will provide live coverage.  The network will provide an unanchored audio feed of the president’s remarks for affiliate stations beginning at 12:00 noon ET.  SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Donald Trump will be the first president to address the pro-life march in its 47-year history.  Previous occupants of the Oval Office have only sent written messages or addressed the annual March for Life via speakerphone.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Davos 2020, and Hawaii Cop Slayings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The impeachment process taking place in the U.S. Senate; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Bernie Sanders; concerns about the Wuhan Coronavirus and China’s quarantine of Wuhan City; the subject of climate change at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and Hawaiian legislators’ response to the killing of two Honolulu police officers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WOR, New York, Morning Co-Host Michael Riedel Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Broadway theater critic-turned-political-news/talker Michael Riedel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Riedel, along with Len Berman, is the co-host of the morning show on WOR, New York in which he presents the conservative perspective and Berman expresses the liberal point of view on today’s hottest issues. Harrison and Riedel talk about the state of today’s highly polarized national conversation focusing on the nature of Donald Trump and the extraordinary role he is playing as an agent of change in these turbulent times. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Portland hot AC KKCW “K103” announces the new morning show is “K103 Mornings with Stacey & Mike,” effective February 3.  Mike Chase joins iHeartMedia after exiting Entercom’s crosstown country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” in October where he co-hosted the morning show.  Chase is being partnered with “K103” afternoon personality Stacey Lynn for the new AM show.  iHeartMedia Portland market president Pete Landry says, “‘K103’ has a long history of extraordinary morning shows and I couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter.  Both Stacey and Mike are experienced broadcasters who love what they do.”…..In Dallas, Mac Daniels exits Cumulus Media’s country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” and sister country KSCS “New Country 96.3” where he’d been program director since 2016…..Cochise Media Licenses enters into an agreement to sell classic rock KDVK-FM, Dove Creek, Colorado to Desert Explorer Communications, LLC.

Friday, December 6, 2019

| December 6, 2019

Weiss Named iHM NYC Market President. Region senior vice president of  sales for iHeartMedia’s New York group, Bernie Weiss, is appointed market president of iHeartMedia New York City. Weiss will continue to report to iHeartMedia market groups division president Scott Hopeck. At the same time in a corresponding move, director of sales Steve DeLusant takes over for Weiss. Hopeck states, “I’m thrilled to promote both Bernie and Steve. It is especially rewarding to find the best candidates for key leadership roles in your own building. They are extremely knowledgeable about our ever-evolving business and have built their personal brands by accelerating the growth of our iconic stations. I’m confident they will continue to elevate our New York operation to even greater heights.” Weiss remarks, “Listeners continue to crave companionship and advertisers continue to demand ROI – broadcast radio delivers on both fronts. iHeartMedia continues to be one of the most innovative media players, offering the best content and programming for hundreds of millions of listeners. I am looking forward to working with the New York team to build on our already strong connection with listeners, advertisers, and in the community.” Weiss joined iHeartMedia New York in 2004 as an account executive for urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1” and previously held several radio general sales management positions in Europe. DeLusant was sales manager for several iHM New York City stations and earlier was senior account executive for Emmis Communications, where he specialized in multicultural marketing. Earlier in his career, he was a sales associate for iHeartMedia’s WLTW. In addition to news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York,” iHeartMedia’s New York City cluster consists of market-leading (adult contemporary) WLTW “106.7 Lite FM”; CHR WHTZ “Z-100”; classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3”; urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1”; and rhythmic CHR WKTU.

KABC Resets Its On-Air Lineup. Major changes going into effect January 1 at Cumulus Media Los Angeles news/talk KABC include Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty (“The Armstrong & Getty Show”) slotted in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am). The syndicated duo succeeds locally-originated “The Morning Drive with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” Continuing at 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is Larry O’Connor (based from Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk WMAL). Aforementioned John Phillips segues solo from morning drive to assume the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm slot occupied by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Leeann Tweeden (“Dr. Drew Midday Live”). Unchanged is Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), but the local 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm “Peter Tilden Show” will give way to Westwood One’s Michael Savage. Thus, displaced by the changes are Jillian Barberie, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Leeann Tweeden, and Peter Tilden. KABC general manager Drew Hayes comments, “KABC has a proud history as one of the first ‘all-talk’ radio stations in the United States. With these great additions to our lineup, KABC will offer our audience even more of the content that they love, featuring outstanding local and nationally recognized talent.” KABC will continue as the flagship for University of Southern California football and basketball. KABC more than doubled (+.4) its 6+ AQH share in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 – .7, July – August – September – October, Nielsen Audio, 6+) but “790 News-Talk-Evolved” forfeits one-tenth in the November 2019 sweep to .6 (#35 to #38, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/22).  The new episode titled “The Trump Paradox!” looks back at this past week of December 2-6, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Blanquita Cullum, talk show host, WCGO, Chicago /Smart Talk Network; Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, Fox News Channel / Fox News Radio; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; William O’ Shaughnessy, CEO, Whitney Global Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

WDAF To Become K.C. Chiefs Flagship in 2020. As part of a multi-year agreement between the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Entercom Kansas City, country WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” will become the key station of the 70-station Chiefs Radio Network as of February 16, 2020. Sports talk sibling KCSP “610 Sports Radio” will become the official “broadcast partner” of the Chiefs, with rights to Chiefs programming, including radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs weekly in-season press conference with the club’s head coach (Andy Reid) and a weekly one-on-one interview with the starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes). In addition, KCSP will broadcast the “Chiefs Kingdom Radio Show” (Monday, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Cross-town Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX “101.1 The Fox” has been the team’s flagship since 1990. Entercom regional president/market manager Dave Alpert declares, “We are extremely pleased to enter into this new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most well-respected and prestigious organizations. Entercom’s eight-station cluster of music, news and sports talk stations hosted by Kansas City’s leading personalities align with vast digital and podcast opportunities. We will deliver the premium and comprehensive coverage Chiefs Kingdom desires seven days a week, all season long.” Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan comments, “We look forward to partnering with ‘106.5 The Wolf’ and the powerful Entercom family of stations. The ability to bring our game broadcasts and existing weekly radio shows under one roof is a large part of this change, but we are equally excited about creating new content and developing new opportunities for Chiefs fans to engage with their favorite team.” Returning for his 27th season as play-by-play announcer will be Mitch Holthus, who has called a franchise record 426 regular and postseason Kansas City contests.

ESPN Radio Taps Fitz To Succeed Smith. “First and Last” (5:00 am – 6:00 am) host Jason Fitz is selected to replace Stephen A. Smith in ESPN Radio’s 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (ET) slot. The change is effective next month (1/20) and allows Smith to devote more time to his ESPN TV duties. Smith, however, will make a regular weekly appearance on Fitz’s show, “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz,” which will be simulcast on ESPNews. Executive vice president/executive editor of production Norby Williamson states, “Sports fans are passionate and they love spirited debate. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.” Fitz, formerly of country group The Band Perry and a regular on ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo,” comments, “I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the ‘First Take’ topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me.” Fitz studied classical violin at The Julliard School. 

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the sports talk format. Roughly half the eligible sports talk panelists improve October 2019 – November 2019 (52%, 6+) while just over one in three falter (37%); the remaining 11% are unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, essentially three of every five qualifying sports talk stations register November 2018 – November 2019 gains (61%, 6+), while one in three (33%) stumble; the remaining 6% are steady from a year ago. The format is #1 in Philadelphia (Entercom’s WIP) and Long Island (Entercom-owned WFAN-FM). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. One-year Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle vice president/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland has departed the cluster. Director/brand content Scott Mahalick is absorbing those duties on an interim basis. Mulholland previously worked in the market as general manager/director of sales for Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS; general sales manager of Entercom rocker KISW; local sales manager of Sandusky smooth Jazz KWJZ; and she was general sales manager of CBS Radio-owned (now Entercom) Pittsburgh hot AC WBZZ. In addition to KKNW “Alternative Talk 1150 AM,” Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle consists of adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9”; adult standards KIXI “AM 880”; CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station”; and country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.” ….. After spending the last ten years at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN,” program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert departs. Per a Facebook post, he writes, “Well, I’ve written this and deleted it a million times trying to find the most articulate way to say this but as of this week, I am no longer a member of the ‘101 ESPN’ team. Tough to write and see but excited/terrified/anxious/hungry – and a bunch of other emotions – to see the next chapter.” Tommy Mattern, the program director of alternative cluster-mate KPNT “105.7 The Point,” adds WXOS PD duties ….. Radio/Audio nominees for the 2020 Writers Guild awards have been announced. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking Report” category, the nominees are: “CBS News on the Hour with Norah O’Donnell – El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio – Communities in Mourning,” written by James Hutton, CBS News Radio; “Hail and Farewell: Remembering Some Headline Makers,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio; “World News This Week, August 9, 2019,” written by Stephanie Pawlowski and Jim Ryan, ABC News Radio; and “World News This Week, September 13, 2019,” written by Joan B. Harris, ABC News Radio. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Analysis, Feature, or Commentary” category, the nominees are: “The Enduring Legacy of Jackie Kennedy Onassis,” written by Dianne E. James and Gail Lee, CBS News Radio and “Woodstock: Back to the Garden,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio. Winners will be announced February 1, 2020 in New York City at an event held in the Edison Ballroom.

Comrex Now Shipping ACCESS MultiRack. The rackmount multi-channel IP audio codec from Comrex occupies 1RU and can handle up to five full-duplex IP audio connections simultaneously. ACCESS MultiRack is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs, including ACCESS Rackmount; ACCESS Portable 2USB; ACCESS NX Portable; ACCESS NX Rack; BRIC-Link; and BRIC-Link II, as well as the FieldTap smartphone app. Comrex ACCESS MultiRack is Tech3326, AES67 and SMPTE 2110-30-compatible. ACCESS MultiRack includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), or combining the network bandwidth of multiple networks (bonding mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event the primary network falters. Each of ACCESS MultiRack’s codec instances can deliver and receive four contact closures, as well as transfer ancillary data to the far-end using the serial data channel. Comrex has designed and manufactured broadcast equipment since its incorporation in 1961.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More than a quarter of a million dollars ($257,268) was raised in Entercom Philadelphia classic-hits oldies outlet WOGL’s 18th annual “98.1 WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon” to benefit Children’s Miracle Network at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president/market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “We are so grateful for WOGL listeners and community members who donated and also very thankful for the volunteers and on-air personalities who contributed their time and talent to help make this year’s radiothon a huge success.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia president/chief executive officer Madeline Bell notes, “The hospital programs funded by radiothon donations make a lasting difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Each year, we look forward to raising awareness of these very important services.” Airing this past Tuesday (12/3) and Wednesday (12/4), WOGL’s radiothon concluded with on-air hosts Marilyn Russell, Glenn Kalina, Bobby Smith, and Nicky G. presenting the check to CHOP ….. The 13th annual “An American Country Christmas with Kix Brooks” features special guests sharing holiday music, favorite traditions, and memories. Among those joining Brooks are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. Stations can air the show from Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One  6:00 am – 12:00 midnight  (Saturday) 12/21 through Christmas Day (Wednesday, 12/25) …..  For the third consecutive year, iHeartMedia San Diego CHR KHTS “Channel 93-3” morning drivers Kramer & Geena teamed up with “A Million Thanks” to send letters to deployed military members. Over 50,000 letters were collected from the San Diego community and are on their way to the troops ….. As part of Beasley Media Group Tampa rhythmic CHR WLLD’s eighth annual toy drive to benefit the Children’s Home Network, “Wild 94.1” program director/morning personality Orlando Davis climbs the toy drive platform today (Friday, 12/6) and will remain there until next Saturday (12/14). Davis will do his morning show from that platform every day next week ….. In its annual “Toys For Tunes” on-air event this past Wednesday (12/4, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm), Hubbard Broadcasting Cincinnati rhythmic hot AC WREW “Mix 94.9” raised over $8,00 for Cincinnati Children’s Child Life Program to ensure that every child staying at the hospital during the holidays receives a new toy. Listener song requests were granted, in exchange for a $20 donation ….. On “Giving Tuesday” (12/3), Mid-West Family Broadcasting Madison (Wisconsin) alternative WRIS “The Resistance Is On 106.7” announced that More Smiles Wisconsin is the recipient of its “Community Awareness Grant” for the coming year. WRIS launched a community awareness grant that will provide a local non-profit with $15,000 in advertising in 2020. Applicants were considered for the grant based on multiple factors including the organization’s history of community service, connection to the community, mission within the community, demonstration of need, population served, and geographic region served. More Smiles Wisconsin is a non-profit that provides access to quality dental care to Medicaid, BadgerCare, and uninsured populations of south central Wisconsin. “The Resistance” hopes to help in their goal of increasing funding and awareness so that they may continue to help a growing number of patients …..  WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz” morning host/music director Kaylan Moody is leaving the Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala (Florida) alternative outlet in two weeks (12/20). Moody notes, “I am so grateful for all I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had, but I am excited to keep growing. I am moving to Nashville to pursue a career in the record label industry. The dream job is radio promotion, but I am excited to take on whatever opportunities may arise to get my foot in the door and to start learning.”

Monday, November 11, 2019

| November 11, 2019

2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame.  Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies.  Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest).  Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance.  “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.”  Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh.  Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.

Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap.  The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion.  Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password.  She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed.  Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment.  Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone.  In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion.  The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.”  Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey.  Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4).  Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up.  News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: That First Call.  As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales.  In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects.  Read it here.

Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year.  As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year.  He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen.  The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am.  Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM.  He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show.  He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago.   Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts.  He retired from the station last March.

WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.  It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners.  And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.”  In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show.   Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air.  She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”  Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan.  Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced.  Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday.  Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame  by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.

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