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Nielsen Investigating ‘Evidence of Ratings Tampering’ in Tampa Market; Bubba the Love Sponge at Center of Scrutiny. The statement issued on Friday by Nielsen Audio doesn’t mention Beasley Broadcasting’s WBRN-FM, Tampa-based personality Bubba the Love Sponge, but Beasley has been informed of the investigation by Nielsen and the company says it is cooperating. It isn’t commenting on Bubba’s status with the company but the station is airing “best of” content today (9/28). Nielsen stated on Friday, “We became aware of evidence of attempted ratings distortion activity in the Tampa market. We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available. Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld.” Nielsen will be delaying the September 2015 PPM report for the Tampa/St. Petersburg market. The rest of the markets will be released as scheduled, tomorrow and Wednesday.
Carl Anderson Named Tucson Market President for iHeartMedia. Company programmer Carl Anderson will take on the role of market president and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s seven-station Tucson cluster. Anderson added brand manager for the company’s news/talk/sports stations to his EVP of programming Midwest responsibilities back in March. Now, along with the new role in Tucson, Anderson will retain the news/talk/sports brand manager responsibilities. Anderson comments, “The career opportunities within iHeartMedia are truly amazing. I’m honored and humbled in this new venture of leading the Tucson team as well as remain engaged as brand manager for news/talk/sports. This combined role enables me to grow in a new position while furthering my passion of developing and growing spoken-word programming for the company.” iHeartMedia’s Tucson holdings include hot AC KMIY “My92.9,” CHR KRQQ, country KYWD “Wild Country 97.1,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” news/talk KNST, and Spanish music outlets KTZR and KXEW.
FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd Lashes Out at ESPN. A piece by Matt Bonesteel in the Washington Post details the recent comments by sports talk personality Colin Cowherd on his Fox Sports Radio Network-syndicated show in which he criticizes former employer ESPN. The foundation for Cowherd’s criticism is the company’s conservative nature. He says the company has become increasingly “reactionary” over the past “three or four years.” He specifically criticized the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show, saying, “We used to call it ‘Mickey and Mickey in the morning.’ It’s very Disney, it’s very safe, it’s very likeable, nobody’s going to get yelled at. It’s a very easy place for advertisers to come in, park their insurance commercial and nobody’s going to be offended.” Cowherd left ESPN in August after 12 years for a new deal with FOX Sports. He was taken off the air by ESPN a week before his final show after comments about the education level of Dominican baseball players caused a stir. Read Bonesteel’s piece here.
National Talk Shows to Reap Super PAC Money from Promise I. As reported in the New York Post by Claire Atkinson, the Super PAC Promise I – supporting GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz – will spend $1 million on a national talk radio ad campaign. Atkinson reports the programs destined to be part of the buy include Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as well as the Laura Ingraham show. See her story here.
Focus 360 Adds Stations to Programmatic Radio Network. Nine new radio stations are being added to the programmatic networks “Powered by Jelli” from Focus 360. The company is working in conjunction with Envision Networks for affiliate sales. Jelli’s cloud-based programmatic ad platform “traffics, serves and reports campaigns allowing stations and show producers to generate incremental revenue with virtually no time constraints added to in-house sales teams.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Ad agencies are increasingly demanding programmatic buying opportunities, and the Focus 360 radio networks powered by Jelli’s technology platform fulfill this growing need. Jelli’s platform delivers and monitors commercials as they are broadcast, relieving stress on station traffic departments by not requiring them to schedule and report those spots every day.”
WOR, New York’s Mark Simone Raises Funds for Charity at Cantor Fitzgerald. The annual 9/11 Charity Day at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald brings celebrity traders into its offices to execute trades with the commissions going to various charities. WOR, late morning personality Mark Simone and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are two of the celebs who participate each year. Pictured here is Simone manning the phones. During the day, Simone made a $750 million trade of U.S. treasury bonds – the biggest trade of the day. All together, $12 million was raised for charity. Simone’s portion of the commission is being donated to the The Police Athletic League of New York City. Cantor Fitzgerald’s offices were at the top of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the company lost 700 employees that day.