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Archive for February, 2019

January 2019 PPM Analysis: Sports Talk

| February 28, 2019

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Our four-part series of comprehensive January 2019 PPM overviews continues with a look at sports talk.

The following scoreboards are comprised of sports talk facilities that rank in the top 20 in any of the 48 PPM-markets (6+, January 2019).

Given that Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services, ratings information in this exclusive analysis are limited to properties that pay that company for its data.

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball 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. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

| February 27, 2019

Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Hanoi. Hitching a ride with a motorcyclist in the photo above is Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity as he broadcasts both his radio and TV shows from Vietnam to cover President Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  Hannity, who will work from Southeast Asia through Friday (3/1), said via Twitter, “Getting to work in Vietnam traffic was crazy so I hopped out & this guy gave me a lift. #VietNamSummit.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Coming off the previous Holiday 2018 survey all of the all-news stations on the panel saw their weekly 6+ AQH share improve.  More than 60% of the stations were up – based on the same metric – from last January’s survey to this year’s.  Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (+1.5) and WWJ, Detroit (+1.0) led the gainers.  Both stations also ranked #1 in their respective markets in January, along with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (10.4 share) and Entercom’s KCBS-AM (7.1 share in the San Jose market).  See the whole report here.

Westwood One: Midday Listening Tops Drive Time. In the latest Westwood One blog post, chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard writes that, based on data from Nielsen, the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart represents 26% of radio listening by adults 25-54, compared to 21% each for morning and afternoon drive.  The extra hour (drive times have just four hours each) accounts for the difference but Bouvard points out that advertisers buying only drive times are missing out. “Countless sales lift and ROI studies conclude that the number one media factor that drives sales is reach.  The more people a campaign reaches, the greater the sales lift.  Increasing reach insures a campaign can impact sales.  Restricting AM/FM radio buys to drives times misses 60% of the radio audience. It reduces reach and harms advertiser sales lift.” See the difference between advertisers’ perceptions about when heavy radio listening occurs and when it actually does based on Nielsen data in the blog post here.

SAG-AFTRA Goes Public in Entercom Negotiations Matter. The union representing some radio staffers with Entercom stations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco is calling out Entercom, asking it to “engage in fair contract negotiations.”  SAG-AFTRA says its members at those stations have been in active negotiations for new union contracts since late last year.  While, negotiations are ongoing, SAG-AFTRA says “members are going public for the first time with their disappointment with the company’s proposals.”  President Gabrielle Carteris adds, “The company’s suggested proposals would erode significant benefits in our members’ contracts and lack recognition of the major contributions our members make to Entercom stations across the country.  We encourage a real partnership with Entercom as we look to achieve a meaningful and fair resolution of these negotiations.”  What are the hang-ups?  SAG-AFTRA says its members “are seeking fair increases to compensation, benefits, and limited benefits for part-time employees as well as a willingness to participate in the shift to the digitally focused radio business.  Entercom is seeking to dramatically slash severance benefits and eliminate jobs with the expanded use of pre-recorded and non-local shows.”

TALKERS News Notes. The seasonal, 20-part series “Tax Tips” is being made available to affiliates of Westwood One News.  Correspondent Ann Cates hosts the one-minute feature.  Topics cover the withholding calculator, smartphone filing, phone scams, earned income tax credit, how to find online help, the taxpayer bill of rights, ghost tax preparers, IRS audits, and more…..“CHANNEL Q” is now available in six more markets as Entercom expands the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  The company says the format brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music to listeners in 14 markets and via the RADIO.COM app nationwide.  It’s now available in New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Hartford, and Portland.  Entercom Southern California SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “We’re extremely proud and excited by the tremendous growth of ‘CHANNEL Q,’ its success is a testament to the desire to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.  ‘CHANNEL Q’ began as a passion project for our team in Los Angeles and we are thrilled to see the great reception it has received from coast to coast. We look forward to informing and engaging with new listeners in these new cities we are now a part of.”…..The Bob & Tom Show launches its new comedy app.  The Bob & Tom Show app offers fans the ease of listening to the show on their local station, as well as one-touch access to the Bob & Tom comedy channel, called “Bob & Tom 24/7.”  “Bob & Tom 24/7” features The Bob & Tom Show live every weekday morning, plus classic highlights, bits, songs and segments from the show’s rich archive of digital audio content…..SiriusXM NFL Radio is covering this week’s annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis today through Sunday, March 3.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s expert hosts in Indianapolis will include Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 member Gil Brandt, former NFL front office executives Mark Dominik and Pat Kirwan, former NFL players Charles Davis, Jim Miller and Brady Quinn, plus Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Hansen and Adam Caplan.

Trump-Kim Jong Un Summit, Cohen Testimony, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, AOC-Ivanka Wages Spat, Venezuela Unrest, India-Pakistan Tensions, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). The meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the congressional testimony expected from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; the status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the House’s vote to nullify President Trump’s emergency declaration; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the media argument over wages and entitlements between Ivanka Trump and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the violence in Venezuela as Nicolas Madura clings to power; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tomorrow Marks 10thAnniversary of Paul Harvey’s Passing.  Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo alerts TALKERS magazine that tomorrow (2/28) will be the 10th anniversary of the death of radio news legend Paul Harvey.  He provides a video of what he believes is Harvey’s last address to the industry (delivered at the 2003 R&R TRS event) – a 17-minute keynote speech that you can see here. Art also relates a funny, personal story.  “My late mother, Amy Vuolo, actually made Paul Harvey’s famous ‘For What It’s Worth’ department (his end-kicker story.)  In 1974, she lectured for Weight Watchers which had bumper stickers that said, ‘My Spare Tire is in the trunk.’  A member of her class put the sticker on her car and someone broke into the trunk and stole the spare tire!  True story.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place on March 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles will feature performances by Alicia KeysAriana Grande, Halsey, Garth Brooks, John Legend, and Kacey Musgraves, with more to be announced.  The sixth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards is being aired (delayed) at 8:00 pm ET on FOX television.  It’s also airing live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio platform…..JVC Media announces that radio pro Steve Harper is joining the company as a member of the Long Island events team and member of the afternoon show on WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1.”  JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “Steve is a great addition to our staff.  He will not only be on the airwaves at JVC, he’ll also work with the team of Long Island Events – the JVC NTR company – to develop new and exciting live events and festivals.  I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country radio pro Andy Roberts exits the Champaign, Illinois operations of Saga Communications where he was most recently program director for country WIXY and classic country WYXY.  He’d also served as morning host at WIXY for more than 20 years.

January 2019 PPM Analysis: News

| February 27, 2019

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — An overview of news stations kicks off our all-encompassing four-part series of January 2019 ratings recaps – and – spoiler alert: The format had an outstanding January.

The following scoreboards reflect data from news properties that appear in the top 20 (6+) in January 2019, a ratings period that covered January 3 – 30.

Nielsen Audio releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. As a result, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations paying that company for its data.

All but three stations listed here are owned by Entercom. The exceptions are iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (also listed in Providence); WTOP, Washington, DC (Hubbard); and KOMO, Seattle (Sinclair Broadcast Group).

Qualifying in the Baltimore report is Entercom’s WDCH, which airs a business news format.

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Monday Memo: Handling Bad News

| February 26, 2019

BLOCK ISLAND, RI  — OOPS.  One of your hosts said WHAT???  Managers: Gaffes are inevitable, especially in talk radio.  When your station stumbles:

1) Act quickly.  The sooner you confront a negative story, the sooner it will be over.  Responding as quickly to negative stories as you do to positive ones enhances your credibility.

2) Be honest.  Hiding embarrassing information or lying will do more damage than damage control.  Never stonewall, and avoid “rolling disclosure.”  As several U.S. presidents have learned (is learning), the cover-up can be worse than the crime.

3) Tell your side of the story.  Use specifics, and detail what corrective action “has already been taken.”  You’ll sound responsible and in-control.

4) Respond in kind.  If the issue is emotional, don’t sound like a cold, unemotional Mr. Spock.  “I have a teenage daughter myself, and I know how much our host’s comments must have hurt.”

Holland Cooke (hollandcooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; he is the author of “Holland Cooke Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books; and he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at Talkers.com, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke