WABC, New York Pairs Curtis Sliwa and Rita Cosby for Midday Show. A programming tweak at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York partners 77 WABC political editor Rita Cosby with incumbent midday talk radio personality Curtis Sliwa for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. The new “Curtis + Cosby” show debuts today (2/6). WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “This is basically a New York dream team – two veteran New York broadcasters and celebrated New York personalities that our listeners simply adore. It’s an incredible combination.” Cosby states, “I am thrilled to co-host the brand new ‘Curtis + Cosby’ show with my longtime friend, radio superstar Curtis Sliwa. With such an unprecedented barrage of endless news topics, now is the perfect time for us to join forces and engage our listeners in a way you will hear nowhere else.” Sliwa adds, “This is an actual first in a large radio market. Two Polish-Americans who are teamed together. Rita has reported from throughout the world and has made solid contacts with newsmakers and cultural figures that she has brought to the microphones of 77 WABC. And in this age of ‘ME TOO,’ she brings a female voice to our talk radio industry that has been sorely missed.” Sliwa had been partnered with liberal foil Ron Kuby at WABC until May of last year. Then, FOX News Channel personality Eboni K. Williams served as Sliwa’s co-host through October of 2017 before departing for new opportunities.
Talk Host Chris X Joins ‘Conservative Cartel’ Show. Signing on with Pinnacle Broadcast Holdings, Inc to co-host “The Conservative Cartel” program with Matt Locke is Chris X, former host of ChrisXradio. In a press release, Pinnacle says Chris X “got his start at a local Houston TV news station where he quickly moved into radio to help launch Houston’s only business radio station, 650 AM [KIKK]…He graduated to co-hosting the highly rated afternoon drive-time show, ‘StreetTalk.’” Pinnacle shared owner and executive producer Ron Phillips states, “Chris X is an amazing talent. I’ve known him for more than two years and somehow I knew at the beginning that we’d be working together!” Host Matt Locke adds, “2018 is going to be a great year in radio. Chris X is a radio innovator and a true mover and shaker. I’m thrilled to welcome him to the Cartel family!” The program airs weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program is carried via TheBlaze.
Beasley Promotes Shoulder to Cry on for Patriots Fans. After the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” launched an ad blitz — including the image above — in the Boston Herald and on billboards. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “The move was in response to our heartbreaking loss and the need to give our Patriots fans a vehicle to express themselves.”
Westwood One Names Motel 6 and GEICO Winners of Sports Sound Awards. For the fifth straight year, Westwood One has been honoring the advertisers whose Super Bowl ads ranked as the most engaging audio commercials. This year, 2018 Westwood One Sports Sound Awards recognize Motel 6 and GEICO. Motel 6 won the Listeners Choice Award, its third win in five years. The hotel chain’s “Slam Poetry” spot featuring Tom Bodett promotes the motel chain in rhyme, culminating with an impressive mic drop. Hear it here. GEICO was winner of the Media Choice Award with its “Beatboxing” ad that offers a vocal percussion calling for clean-up on aisle 14, after a customer drops a jar of pickles. Hear it here. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Congratulations to Motel 6 and GEICO for their creative ingenuity! Their clever use of sound through slam poetry and beatboxing resonated emotionally and elevated their audio creative to make a connection with consumers. We’re proud of this year’s competition, and our exclusive live broadcast of the Super Bowl, which offered our marketing partners a riveted audience and a dedicated platform to build and reinforce their brands sonically.”
iHeartMedia’s Thea Mitchem Signs New Deal. National Programming Group EVP Thea Mitchem signs a contract renewal with iHeartMedia to continue serving in that capacity for the Northeast Division. The company says Mitchem will continue to report to National Programming Group EVP and general manager Brad Hardin, as well as iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck. The company says that “under the new agreement, Mitchem will continue to partner with iHeartMedia Markets Group Division president Tom McConnell to collaborate with its regions located in the East, providing national programming assets, services and resources.” She’ll also continue overseeing programming of 60-plus iHeartMedia stations in over a dozen markets, including New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. And, she will remain a key member of iHeartMedia’s urban brand management team. iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman states, “Thea is unquestionably one of the most influential women in the radio industry. We’re thrilled that she will continue to oversee programming efforts for our Northeast markets. Under her leadership, we have seen unparalleled ratings success in several markets including Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City, where ‘Power 105.1’ has posted the best ratings in the station’s more-than-15-year history.”
MIW Releases Gender Analysis Report. The latest MIW Gender Analysis Study has been released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. The study tabulates the number of women in management positions in the radio business. The 2017 edition of the study finds that “out of 11,301 AM and FM radio stations, accounted for by PrecisionTrak, as of December 31, 2017, 1,974 stations, or 18.1%, have women holding the general manager position in 2017. This is an increase from 2016 which was 17.8% and continues to show growth from 2004, 13 years ago when the percentage was only 14.9%. The annual study is compiled, analyzed and released by the MIW Group from information provided by PrecisionTrak.” MIW says, “Overall, the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management. In 2017, 31.9% of all stations have a female sales manager, which is up almost a half-point from last year.” MIW also looks at women in programming position and reports, “The greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be as program directors. Women currently program only 10.5% of all radio stations in the country, and that percentage has basically remained flat for the last 11 years. The news is better in the top 100 radio markets where women programmers represent 11.7%; however, that number is unfortunately down slightly from last year. In an effort to further support that particular segment of the industry, the MIW Group announced a new mentoring opportunity in 2017, the MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program. MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik comments, “Compiling this data is one of the most significant projects we undertake each year. Our hope is that the MIW Gender Analysis sparks conversation within each company, and at each radio station, about ways to develop internal efforts that encourage the advancement of female leadership.”
TALKERS News Notes. Public news/talk WAMU, Washington names Jeffrey Katz (not to be confused with WRVA, Richmond talk host Jeff Katz) news director for the station. Katz has been interim news director since November. He joined the station in May of 2017 as senior managing editor. Prior to that he was director of digital content for National Geographic. He’d been with NPR in numerous capacities over a 15-year period…..After almost 10 years with ESPN as part of its brand, Red Zebra-owned sports talk WTEM, Washington returns to the “Team” brand. The station is still an ESPN affiliate and is airing ESPN Radio network content – mostly in evenings and on weekends.
Dow Plunges Again, Trump-Russia Investigation, Democrat FBI Memo Rebuttal, Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Case, Eagles Upset Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops more than 1,100 points on Monday after Friday’s selloff and experts’ predictions that the sellout is not over; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; Congressional Democrats’ desire to release their memo they say clarifies the GOP FBI surveillance memo; the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to overturn Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s mandate that congressional maps be redrawn due to gerrymandering; the Philadelphia Eagles upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea 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. There are on-air changes taking place at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.” The station announces that Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is the new APD, music director and afternoon drive personality, effective immediately. He joins the station at the same time as it adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show for morning drive. iHeartMedia launched the country format on the station back on December 18. iHeartMedia SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh states, “Following an extensive nationwide search, it was clear that B-Dub is uniquely qualified and the perfect fit to join the ‘106.7 The Bull’ family. B-Dub’s vast knowledge of the country format, outstanding relationships within the country music scene, and incredible work ethic are exactly what we need to take ‘106.7 The Bull’ to new heights.” Washington was most recently with the company’s Sacramento station group programming KBEB “92.5 The Bull.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that Woof Boom Radio closed on the $608,000 purchase of WKHL, West LaFayette from Educational Media Foundation. The new calls will be WLQQ, and Woof Boom will reveal its format flip later today (2/6)…..Today at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Edison Research is presenting data from its “Country Radio: At Home With Smart Speakers” study. Edison says that “country fans are more likely to use their smart speakers to listen to the radio than do fans of other kinds of music, and they listen longer…Edison researched more than 1,800 adults ages 18-plus in a variety of studies, in addition to one-on-one interviews. The purpose of the presentation is to help country and other broadcasters take advantage of a device that has the potential to ‘put radio back in the home,’ where AM/FM radios are quickly disappearing, but at the same time makes it easier to listen to digital music and other forms of content.”…..GMPT Media, the joint venture between Gen Media Partners and The Tacher Company, signs Magnum.Media’s 16 Wisconsin radio stations to exclusive national ad sales representation. Magnum.Media founder Dave Magnum says, “We’re enthused about Gen Media Partners and Tacher joining forces. GMPT is bullish on radio and so are we.”…..Howard Stern and SiriusXM are producing a special program to honor late rocker David Bowie. “The Howard Stern Tribute to David Bowie” will premiere on the Howard 101 channel on Friday, February 9. Stern says, “When I got into rock ‘n’ roll music, one of the artists that I first really got into was David Bowie. He was always evolving, he was always on top of things, he was just a great musician and a great songwriter and a great singer. I want to make sure that people remember David Bowie.” The program will feature “a wide variety of artists inspired by the late musician, performing his songs with their own inventive styles and interpretations,” including: Peter Frampton, Daryl Hall, Todd Rundgren, Greta Van Fleet, Biffy Clyro, The Struts, and more.
PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on urban contemporary. Comparing 6+ data from the December survey to the Holiday survey, urban contemporary fared pretty well, “over half the stations (53%) on our urban contemporary panel improve between December 2017 – Holiday 2017; 34% are down; and the remaining 13% are steady.” A year-over-year comparison paints a different picture, “In a virtual flip of the month-to-month results, 53% of this urban contemporary panel regresses year-to-year; 39% improve; and 5% are unchanged from Holiday 2016.” No urban contemporary outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four stations ranked #3 in their respective markets, 6+. They were: Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103”; Radio One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92Q Jams”; iHeartMedia’s WOWI, Norfolk “103 Jamz”; and iHM’s WHRK, Memphis “K97.” See the entire report here.