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 Holiday 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. The annual Holiday PPM survey is generally not kind to spoken-word formats and sports talk took a hit to the chin as just 26% of stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase and 62% went down. However, comparing Holiday 2017 to Holiday 2018, 57% of stations improved, led by Entercom’s WJFK-FM, Washington (+1.4) and WKRK, Cleveland (+1.2), and RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (+1.1). Two sports talk stations ranked in the top three in their respective markets during the Holiday 2018 survey – Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia at #2 with a 7.1 share and Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” at #3 with 5.6 share. See the whole report here.
Cumulus Names Steve Finateri to Lead Detroit Cluster. Director of sales Steve Finateri is promoted to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Detroit station group that includes heritage news/talker WJR, country WDRQ, CHR WDVD, and classic country WDRQ-HD2. Finateri joined Cumulus in 2006 as national sales manager for WJR and transitioned to local sales manager for the station in 2008. Finateri says, “It’s a privilege and an honor to represent such an elite team of media professionals. Our Cumulus Detroit radio stations reach over 1.6 million listeners weekly, delivering over 42% of Metro Detroit’s total population, even more when you include WJR’s booming regional signal that adds significant listenership throughout Michigan. Cumulus Detroit has Michigan’s most well-known and beloved radio personalities and is the home of the Detroit Lions Radio Network and flagship for Michigan State University football and basketball. Those assets, coupled with Cumulus Media’s robust suite of sophisticated digital offerings, give us all the horsepower we need to be the one-stop shop for effective marketing campaigns for our customers who range from local businesses on up to Michigan’s largest companies.”
Kim Martinez Elevated to SVP/Market Manager for Entercom Portland. Media sales pro Kim Martinez is named senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Portland, Oregon station group that includes sports talk outlets KFXX “1080 The Fan” and KMTT “910 ESPN” plus seven music brands. Martinez was most recently vice president of digital sales for the company. She says, “It is such a great time to be in radio, the number one reach medium in the U.S. I’m looking forward to joining this team and to be associated with these incredible brands that make a positive impact on the Portland community every day.”
John Boehner No Fan of Talk Radio. Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told the Caxambas Republican Club of Marco Island, Florida that the recent federal government shutdown was caused by Republicans in Congress who listen to talk radio. According to a report in The Hill, Boehner was speaking to the group on Monday (1/28) when he called accused “talk radio people” of influencing legislators – “goofballs on the right” – who agreed to President Trump’s demand for $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. He went on to say, “When I was looking for legislative strategy, the last place I looked was talk radio. The second last place I looked was the knucklehead caucus, who don’t know how to vote ‘yes’ on anything. They did the president a total disservice.”
SiriusXM 2018 Q4 Revenue Up 7%. Fourth quarter 2018 and full-year financial data for SiriusXM has been released and the satellite radio company announces it hit record revenue of $1.5 billion in Q4 and $5.8 billion for the year – increases of 7% and 6% respectively. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $251 million, compared to the loss of $37 million the company reported in Q4 of 2017. Net income for 2018 was $1.2 billion, up from $648 million for all of 2017. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM had a strong finish to 2018, a year that saw our ninth consecutive year of one-million-plus net subscriber adds and our lowest full-year churn rate in the past decade. We have set even more ambitious goals for the company to continue growing in 2019. In addition, we were pleased that yesterday Pandora’s stockholders voted in favor of our proposed merger and expect to close the transaction shortly.”
THE TALKERS INTERVIEW: A Conversation with ‘Our American Stories’ Founder and Host, Lee Habeeb. A longtime radio innovator, Salem Radio Network VP/content Lee Habeeb longed to create something new and different for commercial news/talk radio listeners – a show that would tell stories about American life. They would be stories about our nation’s past and present including sports, the arts, business, innovation, science and everything in-between. It would be a show that would tell the story of America to Americans. “This is a great country precisely because it is a good country,” Habeeb tells TALKERS. “The American people are longing for programming that’s positive, beautiful and good to lift their spirits, and tell the story of the country we all love – because the schools and colleges sure as heck aren’t doing it. And radio will attract a whole bunch of new listeners if we do it right.” Thanks to some significant donor support, and the blessing of his bosses at Salem, Habeeb founded American Private Radio (APR), an independent non-profit alternative to National Public Radio (NPR). APR’s debut show is, by all accounts, doing it right – at least if its impressive growth is any indication. Titled “Our American Stories,” the innovative program debuted on two stations in 2015 and recently passed the 170-affiliate mark, recently announcing some big new additions, including daily slots on KABC, Los Angeles and WHO, Des Moines. It is a meticulously produced show, with a wide range of subjects targeted to a wide audience. It is designed, according to Habeeb, to reach Americans who long for a show to reinforce their values and beliefs. However, he seeks to accomplish this “without all the debate and anger that political debates engender and without the pretentiousness and elitism of public radio.” It is also designed to be a safe space for advertisers to wrap their brand around and be extremely business friendly. “It is entrepreneurs who built the country, who employ people, and generate the taxes that help pay our teachers, police and our safety net,” Habeeb adds. “We celebrate our entrepreneurs, old and new, and their risk taking and their spirit on our show. American life is unimaginable without them.” TALKERS caught up with Habeeb to talk about the show we believe will be one of the big break-out hits of 2019. To read the entire TALKERS interview with Lee Habeeb conducted by Michael Harrison, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is launched titled, “Sore Losers,” featuring The Bobby Bones Show’s Lunchbox, Eddie, and Ray. Premiere Networks says the new show is part of Bobby Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. It’s a daily podcast featuring the trio of 30-something friends as they discuss all things sports. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Lunchbox, Eddie, and Ray give listeners a front-row seat to real, and often hilarious, conversations among friends who have at least one thing in common – their love of sports. We’re excited to have this fun and relatable podcast as part of our entertaining and diverse roster of audio content.”…..Beasley Media Group adds the “TwistedPhilly” podcast to its bPod Studios platform. The program was created and is hosted by Deana Marie in which she “uncovers bone-chilling tales of mischief, mayhem, and nefarious goings on in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.” The podcast has a growing listenership that has it rapidly approaching one million downloads to date…..TM Studios announces that Dave Bethell joins the company as creative director/new business development and Chris Stevens comes aboard as vice president, affiliate management. The company says these moves “play into a new affiliation strategy for jingles at TM, where creative staff will be directly involved with clients from the beginning of the affiliation process.” TM Studios general manager and vice president of creative Greg Clancy says, “Both of these guys truly understand the art of sung jingles and they know that jingles are the most effective branding tools on the radio. These moves ensure that programmers are given VIP treatment in their search for the perfect sounds for their stations. Our creatives will be involved in every step of the process.”…..SiriusXM welcomes PGA Tour pro Brad Faxon to its PGA Tour Radio channel where he’ll debut his new show, “Just the Fax,” on February 4…..TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of Chuck Edwards, who died recently at age 49. Edwards was the creative services director at Alpha Media’s Biloxi-Gulfport cluster and also served as the stadium voice of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Trump Attacks Intel Chiefs, Trump-Russia Investigation, Midwest Record Cold, Virginia Abortion Bill Controversy, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Christie Book, Venezuela Unrest, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). The criticism of U.S. military intelligence chiefs on North Korean and Iran by President Trump; the indictment of Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation; the record cold affecting much of the U.S. Midwest; the controversial Virginia late-term abortion bill; the candidates for president in 2020; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s new book, Let Me Finish; the political unrest in Venezuela; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! 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 every page on Talkers.com.
PLAN AHEAD, DON’T BE SHUT OUT! 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Former WARH, St. Louis “The Arch” morning personality Spencer Graves is joining Atlanta’s country WUBL “94.9 The Bull” to co-host mornings with current morning personality Kristen Gates. Graves takes over for Jason Pullman, who recently exited “The Bull.”…..Programmer and music industry pro Willobee Carlan joins Colorado Public Radio’s triple A OpenAir format as program director. The format is currently heard on stations and translators in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and more than a dozen other signals across the state. Carlan was most recently with Nevada Public Radio’s KVNV, Sun Valley, Nevada “NV89.” CPR president and CEO Stewart Vanderwilt says, “We are thrilled to welcome Willobee as OpenAir’s next leader and begin a new chapter in the station’s ongoing development. Music discovery is an essential part of the Colorado experience and likewise CPR’s service. We’re confident Willobee’s experience and leadership will help elevate OpenAir and the distinct mix of new, independent and local music important to Colorado.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting launches a new classic rock station in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan market on WQLQ-HD2 and translator W239CJ branded as “95.7 The Lake.” Director of programming and content Bill Gamble is quoted in a story by sister news/talk station WSJM-FM saying, “One of the things when we decided to put this radio station together is we didn’t want to make it like every other radio station across the country. There’s 50 years-plus of great rock music and a lot of it doesn’t get played on the radio.”…..Starlite Broadcasting agrees to buy hot AC KLTG-FM, Corpus Christi and country KHLB-FM, Mason, Texas from Tejas Broadcasting for $600,000. Media Services Group represented the seller.