Hugh Hewitt to Host Weekend Show on MSNBC. TVNewser is first with the report that Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will begin hosting a Saturday morning show on MSNBC on Saturday (6/24). The program will air live at 8:00 am ET. Obviously, some will be surprised by the addition of conservative Hewitt joining the left-leaning cable news/talk channel, but as The Hollywood Reporter points out in its coverage of the story, MSNBC recently added former Fox News Channel personality Greta Van Susteren and former George W. Bush Administration communications staffer Nicole Wallace. In illustrating the gains MSNBC has made over the last 12 months, THR also notes that Standard Media Index just released a report showing MSNBC’s ad rates are up 43% over last year’s.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second in a series of analyses based on data from the May 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, this time focusing on sports talk. The return of Major League Baseball is usually good for sports talkers during summer ratings periods, and in this report, Kinosian concludes that, for the 6+ demo, “just over half the stations (53%) on the panel are up April 2017 – May 2017; one in four (25%) are down; and the remaining 22% of the sample is flat.” However, “approximately two of every three eligible sports talk stations are down year-to-year (64%) while 26% improve; the remaining 10% are steady.” Just five sports talkers ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the May 2017 survey, led by CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM, Detroit at #2 (behind the company’s all-newser WWJ-AM). See the entire report here.
Joey Hudson Rises to GM of Mike Gallagher Show. Longtime Mike Gallagher show team member Joey Hudson is named general manager for the Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show. Hudson serves as executive director of the Gallagher’s Army: Fallen Officer Fund charity, a position in which he’ll continue to serve. He’s also been GM of Salem-owned Caron Broadcasting’s WGTK-FM and WRTH-FM in Greenville, South Carolina. He’ll leave that position. Mike Gallagher says, “2017 has been the strongest year we’ve had in terms of affiliates, ratings and revenue for our national radio show. Joey is the perfect person to oversee the growing daily operations of our show throughout the rest of 2017 and into the exciting future.”
Warren Franklin Named Morning Host at KYKN. In Salem, Oregon, iSalem Media news/talker KYKN announces that market pro Warren Franklin is named morning drive host. In addition to handling the morning news and commentary duties, Franklin will do 15 live remote broadcasts each month. KYKN program director (and afternoon air personality) Gator Gaynor says, “We are delighted to have someone of Warren’s ability and robust personality on our team.”
Edison Research and NPR Study Smart Speaker Owner Habits. There’s a lot of optimism on the part of radio station operators that the smart speaker – Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod – can bring radio listening back into the home. NPR and Edison Research have partnered to research the habits of current smart speaker owners to see if that optimism is well grounded. The results of the “The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research” will be revealed in part at a June 28 webinar. Edison VP of strategy Tom Webster says, “Although Smart Speakers have not been around for very long, nearly one in five owners say that these devices are the way that they most often listen to audio. The frictionless way in which these devices enable audio consumption is already changing listening behaviors, and potentially increasing audio consumption overall.” The study consisted of a national online survey of 1620 Americans ages 18+. Eight hundred respondents owned at least one smart speaker (160 Google Home, 709 Amazon Alexa-enabled, and 69 who owned both.) Eight hundred and twenty respondents did not own a smart speaker device and were surveyed for comparative purposes.
Starnes Keynotes Writer’s Conference. Pictured above is Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes serving as keynote speaker at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. During the event he also led workshops for more than 500 writers. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Starnes is launching a new, three-hour radio talk show on FNR on July 5. See more about him at toddstarnes.com.
Central PA Host and GM Differ Offer Different Takes on Programming Policy. By now you’ve heard about classic rock WTPA, Palmyra, Pennsylvania weekend personality Bruce Bond’s exit from the station after, as he claims, feeling forced to resign for being ordered not to talk critically about President Trump. WTPA general manager Tim Michaels is now speaking out, telling Fox News that Bond was hired to do an entertainment program. His orders were to not talk politics – nothing specific about being for or against Trump. Obviously, that’s not how Bond expressed it when he first spoke to media about his exit.
New York Festivals 2017 International Radio Program Award Winners Announced. The big winner in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards – the annual awards program honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs – was RTÉ Ireland which was presented with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year. TBI Media UK was honored with Production Company of the Year. RTÉ Radio Ireland earned an impressive 10 Gold trophies, 8 Silver, 10 Bronze, and 12 Finalist Certificates. Among the United States winners were, SiriusXM, CBS RADIO Boston, Westwood One, ESPN, ABC Radio, and iHeartMedia. See the entire list of winners here.
Edwards Returns to Lead Pubcaster WBEZ, Chicago. Windy City media maven Robert Feder tips us that Steve Edwards is returning to public media outlet WBEZ, Chicago after five years away. In 2012 Edwards – who hosted a popular two-hour afternoon show – left WBEZ to become executive director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. Now, he is set to lead WBEZ programming as vice president and chief content officer. Read Feder’s story here.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Election Hacking Hearings, GOP Health Care Plan, Republican Handel Wins Georgia House Seat, Flint Airport Attack, Tropical Storm Cindy/Western Heatwave, ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Controversy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/21). The special counsel investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s testimony from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others about Russian election hacking; the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan critics say is being devised behind closed doors; Republican Karen Handel wins the race for Georgia’s sixth congressional district seat; the attack on a police officer at the Flint, Michigan airport by a suspected radical Islamist; Tropical Storm Cindy approaches Louisiana and the Western U.S. heatwave; the controversy over ABC-TV’s ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ program; and Major League Baseball action 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 new morning show at iHeartMedia’s WWYZ, Hartford “Country 92-5” is “Damon & Cory” – Connecticut radio pro Damon Scott and incumbent WWYZ morning personality Corey Myers. iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited that a well-known local personality like Damon Scott is joining longtime morning host, Cory Myers. Damon Scott is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Connecticut for years. He understands how to connect with listeners and the local community as well as what it takes to be successful in radio.” Scott spent the past 27 years as PM drive host at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR WTIC-FM…..The new morning show is launched on Cumulus Media’s country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” and it’s called “Caddy, CJ and Ali,” featuring Cadillac Jack, CJ and Ali Mac. This comes after the recent move of former morning show co-host Dallas McCade to music director and midday personality. Concurrent with the lineup changes, “Kicks 101.5” takes on the new slogan, “Georgia’s Country For Life.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network signs a contract with SAG-AFTRA top become the first major independent American music syndication network to ratify such an agreement. TKRN CEO and president Tom Kent states, “Our team is more than excited to become a SAG-AFTRA shop! We embrace all of its principles and look forward to a long and prosperous future together. Working with the head of SAG-AFTRA local Brian Lysell has been a total pleasure. Our current and future affiliates know how committed we have been to showcasing excellent talent and this deal is a major indication that our commitment will continue.”
iHeartMedia Throws VIP Party at Cannes. Hip hop star The Weeknd was the featured performer at the intimate VIP dinner hosted by iHeartMedia and MediaLink at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, along with MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan and president/COO Wenda Harris Millard, hosted the party that – for the sixth consecutive year – brought together the “senior most-influential decision makers and thought leaders in the media ecosystem.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; The Weeknd; Michele Anthony, EVP of Universal Music Group; and Scott Borchetta, founder, president & CEO of Big Machine Label Group. Photo by Tony Barson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.