iHeartMedia and Connoisseur Agree to Erie, PA and Frederick, MD Swap. The stations that Connoisseur Media is getting in this deal – news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE-FM in Frederick, Maryland – come from the Aloha Trust that iHeartMedia created 11 years ago for stations it has to sell to comply with ownership caps. In exchange, iHeartMedia will get six stations from Connoisseur Media in Erie – CHR WRTS-FM, rock WRKT-FM, adult hits WXBB-FM, country WTWF-FM, news/talk WJET-AM and sports talk WFNN-AM and adult contemporary WLTM-FM in Mina, New York. The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter of this year. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “iHeart is getting a remarkable team and an amazing array of brands. We have owned the stations for 13 years and have tremendous gratitude for the people of Erie. We are excited to enter the Frederick market with these legendary properties.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Allentown/Harrisburg region president Dan Lankford states, “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our reach and establish a presence in the Erie and Mina markets.”
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk. More public radio news/talkers were up (60%) than down (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the January survey to the February survey, with perennial uber-performer KUOW, Seattle showing the best increase of 0.6 shares. About half of the stations on the panel were down (51%) from last February to this February, with KQED losing 2.3 shares in the San Jose market and 1.7 shares in the San Francisco market. However, both KUOW, Seattle and KQED, San Francisco ranked #1 in those markets in the February 2019 survey. Also ranking #1 in their respective markets were KPBS, San Diego; KCFR, Denver; and KUT, Austin. See the entire report here.
Backbone Demonstrating ‘Total Radio – In the Cloud’ at NAB Show. The NAB Show in Las Vegas gets underway on April 6 and among the “hot topics” that will be addressed at the huge confab are: content in the cloud, streaming, and podcasting, all of which attendees can see in operation at the Backbone Networks booth. The company says it will show how users can create a completely virtualized radio production environment – all operating in the cloud. Backbone Networks will have a SUNY college radio station broadcasting live to demonstrate how students produce live and automated shows in the cloud, stream them, and automatically generate and publish podcasts – all done with just a Mac, a mixer, and a couple of mics. Attendees can see the broadcasters using Backbone’s Production Suite – the whole turnkey bundle for a complete radio station that includes: Backbone Radio – professional streaming radio station in the cloud, live and automated, always-on 24/7; Backbone Talk – broadcast multi-line call-in phone system; Backbone Co-Host – unlimited SIP/OPUS remotes and multi-location shows with no boxes or hardware; Backbone Hub – cloud assistant for automated production, podcast publication, Alexa briefings, and scheduling live audio and FTP show syndication to AM/FM stations; and more. If you’re going to the NAB Show, check out the Backbone Networks booth (#N6319).
ESPN: Live Sports Reached 22.3 Million 12+ Fans Via Radio Last Fall. The sports media giant says that its ESPN Audio segment conducted a custom live sports audio study with Nielsen for the period of August 30, 2018 to January 17, 2019 that concluded an estimated 22.3 million people – 9.2% of the 12+ population – listened to live sports on ESPN Radio on terrestrial stations. The study consisted of the company’s play-by-play broadcasts of college football including bowl games and the College Football Playoff, regular and post-season MLB action, and NFL & NBA games. ESPN VP, multimedia sales John Fitzgerald says, “ESPN Radio’s live events are at the core of what makes it so valuable to our advertisers. This study has shown that once again our unparalleled lineup of marquee matchups continues to grow our audience nationally and increase the reach of ESPN Radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. “I would probably say not,” is the quote from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about getting back together with Mike Francesa on Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York. Russo made the comment to WEPN, New York personality Michael Kay on his afternoon drive program. The competition between Kay and Francesa in afternoons in the Big Apple has been a big story in New York media lately…..Radio personality Walter M Sterling is serving as the guest star on KMOX, St. Louis’ late night, 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show. Sterling, whose Westwood One show “Sterling on Sunday” airs on KMOX, is sitting in for host Ryan Wrecker…..Today is Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and SiriusXM is beginning its season of presenting live play-by-play broadcasts of every game, all season long to accompany the news and analysis of baseball heard on the MLB Network channel on the satellite radio service.
Mueller Investigation Report Aftermath, Trump Administration’s Obamacare Battle, Charlottesville Guilty Plea, Jussie Smollett Case, Border Wall/Immigration Issue, Green New Deal, Brexit Chaos, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The aftermath of the completion of the Trump-Russia investigation and President Trump’s appearance on ‘Hannity’; the Trump administration’s moves to do away with the Affordable Care Act; James Alex Fields pleads guilty in the deadly car attack at the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally; the controversy over the Illinois state’s attorney not to press charges against actor Jussie Smollett; the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reports of migrant overcrowding in El Paso; the U.S. Senate’s vote on the Green New Deal; the political chaos in Britain over Theresa May’s EU exit proposal; NBA action and the NCAA tournament 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 two programming announcements from iHeartMedia Cleveland. First, programmer Carletta Blake moves from the company’s Raleigh country station WNCB “B93.9” to Cleveland to assume the PD post at country WGAR-FM, effective April 8. Simultaneously, cluster programmer Jason Carr is named PD for adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” He adds this role to his PD duties at alternative WMMS-HD2/W256BT “ALT 99.1 FM” and his APD responsibilities at rock WMMS. iHeartMedia North Ohio president Keith Hotchkiss says, “I could not be more excited for Carletta and Jason. Both are incredibly adept and have proven, extensive track records of success with aligning our market-leading iHeartMedia brands across all platforms. They are a perfect match for the vision of these stations and I know they will continue to move WGAR and ‘The Lake’ forward with music and content our listeners love.”…..At Griffin Communications’ Tulsa radio cluster, programmer Brian Jennings exits his position as PD of country KVOO and classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” after 15 months with the stations…..iHeartMedia rock WZZO, Allentown “95.1 ZZO” adds the WMMS, Cleveland-based “Rover’s Morning Glory” program, effective Monday (4/1). The change comes shortly after the recent death of longtime station morning personality Kevin “The Bearman” Schutts. Longtime morning co-host Keith Moyer is moving to the afternoon drive to host “The Keith Show.” He says, “I am thrilled for many reasons. My dream job has arrived. No more getting up at 3:00 am, I can actually stay out past 6:00 pm and I can spend more quality time with my family and friends and TV. I will be doing what I did in mornings, but now in the afternoon thus keeping The Bearman and Keith’s legacy alive! Plus, being the only live afternoon drive show, I have the freedom to get out of the studio and broadcast from all over the Lehigh Valley. ‘The Bearman and Keith’ will never be replaced, but ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ is a great alternative and will be the second best morning show in WZZO’s history!”…..Westwood One’s syndicated country program “The Ty Bentli Show” is being heard across the pond as WWO strikes a deal with the UK’s Bauer Media, making it the only American program that’s part of its Country Hits Radio format. Bentli and cast members Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ Jenkins” will debut there on April 5 in markets including: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Humberside, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Tayside, Inverness, and Ayr…..Entercom and RCS ink a new deal for an expanded, long-term data partnership for the broadcaster’s use of RCS’ Mediabase service. As part of the agreement, Mediabase will provide Entercom with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for the company’s portfolio of over 235 stations nationwide. Additionally, Entercom will report the company’s weekly station music adds to the Mediabase platform.