Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM. Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion. A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a radio division and will likely sell the station. None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station. Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.
John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson. He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.” Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.” Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.
Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist. The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped. WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West. Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”
Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month. McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News. In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye. After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th. What a great run and wonderful experience it has been. This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”
Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets. According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience. Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience. Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.
The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more. The program is distributed by Westwood One. Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward. Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown. Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”
Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET. Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix. Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience. We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide. How cool is that?” The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.” Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”
TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.” Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR. Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them. Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.” Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract. According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee. iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin. We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of Regional Reps and The Tacher Company. In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.” GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.” Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary. Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo. Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.” Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN. Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station. The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.