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Archive for June, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

| June 28, 2019

Cumulus Chief Memos Employees in Wake of WABC Sale. In tandem with yesterday’s surprise news that John Catsimatidis-led Red Apple Media is acquiring legendary New York station WABC for $12.5 million, Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner issued a memo to employees that explains the company’s policy on sales. Specifically, Berner says the company has no plan to exit large markets.  After the sale of WPLJ and now WABC, Cumulus has one station – urban music outlet WNBM – in the New York market, and she says the company will sell that station, as well.  But staffers should not interpret the New York move as one destined for all large market holdings.  She says the company will sell when it’s advantageous and buy when it’s a fit.  “In New York’s case, we’ll be exiting a market that has been tough for us, and through these deals we will be able to realize significant value for the company – over and above what we could have generated from continued operations.  And for anyone who is still listening to rumors out there, I will say again that there is absolutely no grand plan to exit our big markets.”  She concludes, “Always remember that any actions we take to strengthen our company help to assure a brighter future for FORCE CUMULUS.  So, let’s keep building on our strong momentum and being relentlessly HABU in all of our efforts and with every one of our assets.  I am incredibly proud of our progress and look forward to continuing to deliver on our strategic goals.”

iHeartMedia Shares to Trade on NASDAQ Global Select Market. The Class A common stock in iHeartMedia has been approved for listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. It will trade under the ticker “IHRT.” The company says in a press release, “As previously announced, iHeart had been evaluating all paths to achieve a listing of its Class A common stock on a recognized U.S. stock exchange following emergence from its restructuring process.  iHeartMedia has determined that a listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market is the optimal strategy for iHeartMedia and all of the company’s stakeholders.  As a result, the Company has requested the withdrawal of its previously filed registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. iHeartMedia’s management team will be meeting with investors the week of July 15 in advance of a listing date of July 18, 2019.”  Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman adds, “This is an exciting time for our company and an important step in the evolution of iHeartMedia.  Our listing on the NASDAQ will provide greater liquidity for existing shareholders, allow us to diversify our investor base, and give us improved access to public capital markets in the future.”

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” for Week of June 24-28 Now Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (June 24-28) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia‘s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  It currently airs on WONK-FM in the key position of Friday at 6:00 pm as a dynamic programming punctuation mark of the week’s conversation.  Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Three Ring Circus!”) features a lineup of guests that includes TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; radio talk show hosts Michael Savage of Westwood OneSean Hannity of Fox News Channel/Premiere Networks; and Charles Freedman of KSCO, Santa Cruz; political strategist and pundit Ethan Bearman; social/political observer Victoria Jones of the DC Radio Company and John Catsimatidis, CEO, Gristedes Foods/Red Apple Group. The non-partisan-but-hard-hitting program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought.   According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, the program is now available on a market exclusive basis to news/talk stations around the nation.  Bernstein says, “We began this show as an on-air extension of TALKERS magazine research to be played on TalkersRadio and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  The show is nothing short of fantastic and provides a great image-setter for any news/talk outlet.  iHeartMedia picked it up for its new WONK-FM in DC where it fits that station’s mission perfectly and a number of stations have inquired about its availability.  We are in the process of figuring out where we want to go with it… whether we will put it into syndication or just make it available to a handful of stations.”   For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.

Kantar Media: Radio to See 6.6% of $6 Billion Political Ad Spending. Media research and consulting firm Kantar Media has issued its projection for the ad spending during the 2019-2020 political cycle and believes $6 billion will be spread across cable TV, broadcast TV, digital, and radio.  Radio’s share of the pie is predicted to be $400,000,000 – 6.6% of the total.  Who gets the most?  Broadcast television is predicted to get $3.2 billion of that.  Cable TV and digital platforms are each to get $1.2 billion, according to Kantar’s estimates.  See more here.

Beebe Promoted to Regional SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Kristy Beebe is named regional SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region, effective August 1.  Beebe has been serving as general sales manager for the company’s Louisville cluster for the past two years.  She will remain based in Louisville.  She says, “I am so thankful to the iHeartMedia team for the confidence that they have shown in me.  My decades in radio have prepared me to contribute to the growth and success that has been building in these markets.  Our legendary radio brands combined with our ever expanding digital and event offerings create an unmatched marketing portfolio!  I can’t wait to dig in with our sales teams and use these amazing tools to drive success for our partners.”

Manetta Named Promotions Manager for Cumulus Des Moines. Moving from the company’s Topeka operations to its Des Moines cluster is Cassidy Manetta, who takes on the promotions manager position for the group that includes sports talk KBGG-AM “1700 The Champ” and four music-formatted stations.  Cumulus Des Moines vice president and market manager Jack Taddeo says, “Cassidy impressed me with her creativity, experience, and enthusiasm for all the things radio needs to be doing in an increasingly competitive world.  My thanks to Topeka VP/market manager Nic Merenda for graciously supporting this internal promotion to the benefit of Cumulus Des Moines.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Howie Carr Radio Network announces that Grace Curley is promoted from associate producer to executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show.”  Curley – who, like Carr, is also a columnist at the Boston Herald – has been with the network since its 2014 launch.  Howie Carr tells TALKERS, “Grace brings tremendous intelligence and communication skills to both our program and the Boston Herald and she does it with a fresh ‘millennial sensibility.’”  HCRN president Kathy Carr says, “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is discovering new talent and seeing them grow.  I’m very proud of Grace.”…..A new iHeartMedia Original Podcast launched yesterday (6/27) in partnership with Tenderfoot, titled “Monster Presents: Insomniac.”  It looks at the story of true-crime researcher Scott Benjamin, the show’s host and protagonist, and his retelling of serial killings and how it started to affect his everyday life – from tormenting him and consuming him to eventually turning him into an insomniac…..Podcaster Jessica Cordova Kramer and best-selling author Stephanie Wittels Wachs join forces to form a new podcast network, Lemonada Media, in partnership with Westwood One.  The network, launching in September, will “share an unfiltered version of the human experience, offering content that is raw and real, sorting through the ugliness, weirdness, awkwardness and darkness life can bring.”  Westwood One will distribute, sell, and market the shows to build audiences across the Lemonada network…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2019 from the opening day of play on Monday, July 1, through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14.  The broadcasts will air courtesy of ESPN Audio, which is the exclusive live broadcaster of Wimbledon in the U.S., and The All England Lawn Tennis Club…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in front of Air Force 1 in Osaka, Japan.  Costantini is there covering President Trump’s participation in the G20 Summit.

Michael Savage Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most famous, successful, and controversial talk radio stars of the modern era, Westwood One syndicated personality Michael Savage, is this week’s special guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Savage candidly discuss the recent story about him that ran in The New York Times by Jeremy Peters (6/18) – a piece that displeased Savage, including a specific quote attributed to Harrison with which he took particular issue.  Harrison and Savage also take an unabashedly critical dive into the inner-workings and politics of talk radio that professional practitioners of the medium and listeners alike will find fascinating.  Do not miss this podcast!  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Immigration Reform/Southern Border Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 24-28. The Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and this week’s Democratic Party debates.  Coming in at #3 was the G20 Summit and the various trade wars, followed by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s July 17 testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. As had been rumored, Rickey Smiley is named the successor to legendary radio host Tom Joyner on the Reach Media nationally syndicated urban AC program.  Joyner himself made the announcement on his “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”  Joyner is retiring at the end of the year and Smiley will assume morning host duties in January of 2020 from the Dallas studios.  Joyner says that Smiley has established himself as a trusted leader on-air and in the community with his current show, captivating audiences with his authentic humor but also his unique perspective on topics important to his audience.  Smiley also announced that Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea would be among the on-air cast members joining Smiley next year…..Beasley Media Group makes changes at classic hits WROR, Boston as former WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” morning host Bob Bronson takes over for Loren Owens, who has been hosting the “Loren & Wally” morning solo since the retirement of Wally Brine.  Bronson starts Monday (7/1).  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I’ve known Bob for over a decade and am excited for the ROR audience to get to know him as well.  He’s a battle-tested, hard-working winner who is a relatable storyteller and all-around wonderful person to be leading our talented morning team!”…..Across town at iHeartMedia Boston, the company re-brands urban AC WKAF-FM as “The New 97.7 The Beat of Boston.”  The station says it will broadcast pop and rhythmic hits from the 80s, 90s and 2000s, including songs from artists like Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, MadonnaPrince, TLC, and The Notorious B.I.G.  It plans to add new personalities to the station.  Sister CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” afternoon personality Romeo is also hosting middays on WKAF.  KJ will host the afternoon show…..iHeartMedia announces Ashley Wilson is named director of country programming for the Kentucky-Indiana region, effective July 22. She was most recently program director for the company’s WNOE-FM, New Orleans.  In this role, she’ll oversee the country programming for the region’s five country stations, including WAMZ-FM, Louisville and WBUL-FM, Lexington “98.1 The Bull.”  Regional SVP of programming Michael Jordan says, “Ashley is becoming a leader in her field and we are fortunate to bring her to our region.  She brings a lot to the table and will be a valuable asset to our team.”…..Meruelo Media announces that Cece Valencia is joining KDAY-FM/KDEY-FM, Los Angeles to co-host the “Cece and Romeo” morning show. She says, “KDAY is more than a home to me, it’s a dream come true.  I’m so lucky to be able to play the music that I love on such an iconic station.  Romeo is so talented and funny.  Waking L.A. up every morning with Romeo is gonna be fun.”…..Air personality Emily Wild and Entercom part ways as Wild exits the morning show at alternative WLKK, Buffalo after a three-plus year relationship…..Albany radio pro Kevin Rush is leaving his home of almost 18 years – iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE “99.5 The River” next month to re-locate to Florida with his family.  Rush’s co-host Tracy Villaume is expected to remain in mornings.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

| June 27, 2019

Cumulus to Sell WABC, New York to Red Apple Media for $12.5 Million. As TALKERS magazine tipped earlier today, Cumulus Media Inc. is agreeing to sell New York City heritage AM WABC to John Catsimatidis-controlled Red Apple Media, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group, for $12.5 million in cash.  Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner says, “Today’s agreement with Red Apple is yet another step in the execution of our portfolio optimization priority to drive Cumulus’s long-term success.  Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the company to better serve our 250 million listeners and the advertisers who want to reach them.  We are also pleased that WABC’s excellent team will work with Red Apple following the transaction’s close to continue building this iconic station’s legacy.”  Under the terms of the agreement, Red Apple will take responsibility for programming WABC immediately following the close of the sale, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. Catsimatidis says, “I am very pleased that Red Apple Media Inc. has agreed to acquire 77 WABC Radio.  The station is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting.  I started a radio show five years ago which is now available in 14 states and on the internet.  It has gained a large and loyal audience.  Our purchase of 77 WABC Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets.  We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.”  Catsimatidis is the owner, president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes Foods, a large Manhattan-based grocery chain and the Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with about $2 billion in holdings in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.  He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary, United Refining Company.  He hosts a Sunday morning talk radio show on a number of stations along the East Coast out of his flagship, Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Catsimatidis was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York in 2013.

Exclusive! TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Speaks with John Catsimatidis.  Listen to Michael Harrison‘s conversation about his company’s acquisition of WABC, New York here.

Cox Enterprises Announces Sale of Cox Media Group Radio Assets to Apollo Global Management. This sale of the Cox Media Group radio station portfolio to private equity fund manager Apollo Global Management – the price not disclosed in the press release – will be less disruptive to the operations than a typical transfer of ownership of this size as it appears the new company will keep management in place. The deal calls for Cox Media Group’s radio station portfolio as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to become part of a newly expanded media company called Cox Media Group, based in Atlanta, that acquired Cox’s broadcast television group and the company’s radio, newspaper, and television properties in Ohio back in February.  Cox Enterprises is maintaining a minority stake in the new company.  This deal affects some 52 radio brands in 10 markets – including heritage news/talk stations WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WDBO-FM, Orlando; and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa.  The new Cox Media Group will operate more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets.  The presser states that “the buyer plans to maintain the successful operating structure of Cox Media Group’s television, radio, CoxReps and Gamut businesses and leverage these assets to continue building a national media company with station properties in key markets across the country.”  However, the sale means Cox loses the grandfathered ownership status in Tampa and Orlando and will divest WPYO-FM, Orlando and WSUN-FM, Tampa in order to comply with FCC ownership caps.  Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor says, “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group.  Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company.  We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.”  Apollo senior partner David Sambur adds, “We are thrilled to acquire the Cox Radio station portfolio, CoxReps and Gamut and combine them with the Cox Television business to form a new media company focused on quality local broadcasting.  Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years.  As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”

‘Coach’ John Kentera Moves to Middays at ‘97.3 The Fan’ in San Diego. Market sports talk pro “Coach” John Kentera will take over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart at Entercom’s sports talk KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan,” effective July 1.  Kentera will continue to host 97.3 The Fan’s pre- and post-game shows for Padres baseball games, “The Fan’s High School Football Show,” on Thursday nights in the fall, and serve as the color commentator on “The Fan’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week” broadcast.  Kentera served with former sports talker XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” from 2003 through 2015.  His show replaces FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “We’re thrilled to add Coach Kentera to 97.3 The Fan’s weekday lineup.  Coach has a rich history in San Diego and is truly beloved by the community, sports fans, and advertising partners alike.”

WGMN-AM, Roanoke Flips to News/TalkThe Roanoke Times reports that 3 Daughters Media has flipped WGMN-AM/W270CU, Roanoke from sports talk to news/talk.  The station dropped its 21-year affiliation with ESPN Radio and is airing FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley and van Camp” show, and the syndicated Tom Sullivan program.   3 Daughters owner Gary Burns tells the paper that more competitors in sports talk radio in the market have “watered it down.”  He also says of the flip, “I just think there’s a larger available audience in Roanoke for talk radio…than there is for sports radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Thom Hartmann Show” is now heard on Genesis Communications’ “News/Talk Florida” – the duo of WIXC, Titusville and WWBA, Tampa — airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Radio personality Susie Wargin – midday jock at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KRFX, Denver “103.5 The Fox” – is joining the radio broadcast team for Denver Broncos games this fall.  Wargin will serve as a sideline reporter alongside play-by-play voice Dave Logan and color commentator Rick Lewis. Games air on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA and KRFX-FM…..cabana announces it has published its 2019 Guide to Buying Podcasts.  The report includes new features, such as white-labeled case studies, “Ask an Ad Ops Expert” section, and insights into dynamic ad insertion.  cabana VP of digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “We’re seeing bigger brands with different goals entering podcast advertising, so we wanted to speak to their concerns directly.  Podcast advertising has worked for direct response, and it can work for all kinds of campaigns when used smartly.”  You can download the Buying Guide here…..Coastal Broadcasting’s sports talk KLRZ-FM, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” is the new flagship for New Orleans Pelicans basketball beginning with the 2019-20 season.  Last season, games aired on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO-FM.  Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha says, “We could not be more excited to begin this new era of Pelicans basketball with our new flagship radio partner and its devoted listening audience.  ‘ESPN New Orleans’ offers a tremendous daily sports lineup with a significant focus on the Pelicans, along with all of the local professional, collegiate, and high school teams.  This is an outstanding and natural alliance for our city and region.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM weekend talk host David Plier is taking over the interim chairman position with the Museum of Broadcast Communications.   Plier has been and will continue to be a member of the museum’s board of directors.  He assumes the role from Larry Wert, who has been interim chairman since 2016.

44thAnnual Gracie Awards Luncheon Held in New York City. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon yesterday (6/26) at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.  Sheinelle Jones, co-host of “3rd Hour of TODAY” and co-anchor of NBC News’ “Weekend TODAY,” led the program alongside presenters Angela Yee from Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Breakfast Club”; supermodel, TV personality and podcast host Emme; Roula Christie of “The Roula and Ryan Show” on KRBE, Houston; and Duarte Geraldino from Al Jazeera Digital and “PBS NewsHour.”  Winners in the Radio Local category included: Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks, hosts of “The Julie and Maggie Show” on Entercom sports talker WSCR, Chicago; “The Jason & Alex Show” on Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis’; Jillian Barberie, morning personality on Cumulus Media’s  KABC-AM, Los Angeles; and Tara Granahan, talk show on Cumulus’ news/talk WPRO-AM, Providence.  See all the winners here.  The National Gracie Award honorees were recognized at the Gracies Gala on May 21 at The Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

Democratic Debate/2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities/Wayfair Protest, G20 Summit, Mueller to Testify, Iran Tensions, and Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  Wednesday night’s debate featuring half of the Democrats seeking their party’s nomination; the Trump administration’s Southern border policies, the conditions at U.S. detention centers, and Wayfair employees’ protests over contracts to supply furniture to child detention centers; the G20 Summit in Osaka and President Trump’s plans to meet with Vladimir Putin; former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the diplomatic break between Tehran and Washington; and the deaths and illnesses affecting travelers to the Dominican Republic 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. Urban programming pro Kenny Smoov is promoted to vice president, urban formats for Cumulus Media, a role in which he will serve as a corporate programming resource for the company’s 37 urban outlets.  Smoov has been with Cumulus since 2003 and is program director and morning host for urban contemporary WQQK, Nashville “92Q,” role in which he will continue…..Also at Cumulus MediaPatrick Scott is upped to program director for CHR WLTO-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Hot 102.5.”  For the past three years, he’s been promotions and marketing director for Cumulus’ five Lexington stations…..Adams Radio of Delmarva names Angela Caswell senior account manager for the five-station music radio cluster that includes rock WZBH, Millsboro, Delaware “The Beach”; CHR WOCQ, Berlin, Maryland “OC 104”; classic rock WGBG, Fruitland, Maryland “BIG 107.7”; country WUSX, Seaford, Delaware; and WOQC-HD2 “KOOL Oldies.”  Caswell most recently served in the sales department at Delmarva Broadcasting, which recently sold its radio properties to Forever Media.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

| June 26, 2019

WHB-AM, Kansas City Suspends Host Kevin Kietzman Over Controversial Comments. Sports talk WHB-AM, Kansas City owner Union Broadcasting is suspending longtime station talk host Kevin Kietzman indefinitely after comments he made on his show were deemed by some to be inappropriate.  During a discussion about the Kansas City Chiefs’ suspension of Tyreek Hill due to an incident involving his fiancé and three-year-old son that led to a child abuse investigation, Kietzman criticized head coach Andy Reid’s abilities “fixing [troubled] players.”  In doing so, Kietzman said Reid had the same troubles dealing with his sons Britt and Garrett.  Garrett died of a heroin overdose in 2012.  Awful Announcing first called Kietzman out on his comments and Kietzman replied to clarify his statements saying, “I never once mentioned anything about Andy Reid’s son’s death and never once had it on my mind.  A caller called in later and said something about the death and I quickly corrected him and pointed out that I was referencing two sons that were convicted drug dealers and drug addicts that he chose to try to fix by hiring them to work for his football teams.”  You can see that here.  But, Kietzman has issued a lengthy apology to the Reid family that you can read here. He maintains his intent was not to tie Reid’s son’s death to the team’s issues but says in his apology, “This is on me.  I’m paid as a broadcaster to be concise in what I say.  My words on Monday’s show left open way too many interpretations and I’m the only person responsible for that, and the only person to blame.  I’ll learn from this mistake and I’ll work hard to do better, and I hope to one day regain the trust of Coach Reid and the Chiefs organization.”

NPR and Edison Research Smart Speaker Study Reveals Security Concerns Hamper Potential Future Adopters. The data from the new research in “The Smart Audio Report” series from NPR and Edison Research gives insights into “how smart speaker user behavior and perceptions are evolving as owners ‘settle in’ with their devices and the market matures out of its introductory phase.”  This Spring 2019 survey indicates seven-in-10 smart speaker owners use their device daily despite common concerns around security and privacy, while those same factors are leading reasons non-owners have not acquired a device.  Edison SVP Tom Webster says, “We are starting to see more pragmatic usage of these devices.  The longer people have these devices, the less experimentation they do with them — but the more ingrained into everyday life these devices become.”  The study found that smart speaker owners who have owned the device for 2-plus years use an average seven skills per week, compared to an average 12 skills per week among those who have owned the device for less than three months.  But the report also finds there is a slowing of interest among non-owners in getting one and the two most-cited reasons are: 1) 63% are concerned that hackers could use a smart speaker to gain access to their home or personal information; and 2) 55% are bothered that smart speakers are always listening.  See more from the study here

Duff Lindsey Retiring from Beasley Boca Raton. Programmer Duff Lindsey is retiring from his operations manager position with Beasley Media Group’s Boca Raton, Florida cluster that includes talk WWNN, financial talk WSBR, and foreign language WHSR.  Taking over as operations manager for the cluster is station staffer A.J. Gunn.  Lindsey – who turns 70 on July 1 – says he’s spent more than 30 years of his 50-year career with Beasley.  His last day is June 30.

TALKERS News Notes. At public media firm KQED, San Francisco, Lesley Grossblatt joins to serve in the newly created role of chief product officer.  She’ll be in charge of KQED’s digital activities – including product management, user experience and design, software engineering, and the KQED Lab, the station’s in-house innovation incubator.  During her career she’s led product and technology initiatives at companies including: Netflix, Intuit, CreativeLive and theBoardlist, among others…..Krantz Media Group Networks announces its new partnership with “Politicon” – the annual bipartisan “UnconventionalPolitical Convention” that’s taking place in Nashville October 26 and 27.  The partnership will bring a wide array of audio programming to listeners around the world in the lead-up to event, as well as live-programming on site at the event. KMG says “The fifth annual ‘Politicon’ brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together to banter and spar over the most topical issues in smart and entertaining ways that often poke fun at both sides of the aisle.  Last year, more than 10,000 fans flocked to the 4th annual Politicon at the Los Angeles Convention Center, enjoying participants such as Kathy Griffin, Michael Avenatti, the Baby Trump Balloon, Adam Carolla, Carter Page, Ann CoulterDennis Rodman, Alyssa Milano, Tucker Carlson, Ana Kasparian, Ben Shapiro, Eddie Izzard, James Carville, Tomi Lahren, Henry Winkler, and more.”…..WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware talk show host Dan Gaffney had the opportunity to assist a listener whom he helped do a good deed more than 20 years ago. He says, “Twenty-three years ago, Ann Cox called ‘The Dan Gaffney Show’ for help giving away a mobile home. I put her on the air and helped her give the home away to a needy local family.  On June 4 of this year, that same woman – now disabled and caring for her five-year-old grandson – lost her home and all belongings in a fire.”  Last Friday, Gaffney appealed to his listeners for aid and – with the assistance of WXDE advertiser Jim Weller who agreed to match donations up to $5,000 – raised more than $11,000 to assist Cox and her grandson.  Gaffney adds, “The power of radio, the power of talk radio, the power of a connected community.”…..Pictured below is FOX News Radio talk host and FOX News Channel star Brian Kilmeade posing for a photo at affiliate KDWN, Las Vegas from where he recently broadcast his nationally syndicated program.  From left to right are: KDWN program director John Shaffer, Kilmeade and Beasley VP and market manager Peter Burton.

Former WLIB, New York Talk Host Kae Thompson Dies at 83. Former urban talk radio personality Kae Thompson died last Friday at age 83 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.  The New York Daily News reports that Thompson hosted the “Urban Notebook” and “Kae Thompson Payne Live” programs on WLIB-AM, New York during her 25-year career with the station.  WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM assistant program director Cynthia Smith tells the Daily News, “Kae Thompson was a true journalist [who] asked the hard questions but always with a smile.  Her guests couldn’t help but answer her.  Such a classy lady, teacher and true professional who I enjoyed working with on ‘The Kae Thompson Show’ on WLIB.  Her smile is permanently etched in my memory!  She will be missed tremendously.”

2020 Presidential Race/Democrat Debates, Iran Tensions, Southern Border Migrant Issues, Mueller to Testify, G20 Summit, and Trump-Kim Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).The Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 taking part in this week’s televised debates; the war of words between Tehran and Washington over the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal and recent attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. drone; the conditions for detained migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump administration policy; former special counsel Robert Mueller agrees to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee in July; this weekend’s G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan; and the progress toward more talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Training the Next Generation of Talk Media Broadcasters: Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS ConventionTALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7). The team consisted of student broadcasters Eliorah Finkelson and Jon SanelliTALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications.  It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.”  Hofstra Radio operations director John T. Mullen adds, ““WRHU has one mission – professional development of students so they can become productive members of the radio / media industry. The foundation for most of the on-air personality content on radio is talk. Whether it’s a music air personality talking about artists and culture, a political talk show host breaking down the news of the day, a newscaster delivering timely info, a sportscaster discussing games, or a love show host talking about romance and relationship advice. Therefore it makes sense that the leading college radio station (WRHU) would team up with the world’s most informative and innovative talk media conference in New York City for Talkers 2019.  WRHU and Talkers 2019 are telling the story of students learning from icons in the talk media industry.”  To view the video interviews recorded by the Hofstra team please click here.  Pictured below (l-r): Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.

Music Radio News and Career MovesFour-year KRRL-FM, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” air personality DJ Amen is promoted to music director at the iHeartMedia hip hop station. DJ Amen began working for iHeartMedia in 2006 on the turntables for the legendary 106 KMEL in San Francisco.  In 2015, he joined ‘REAL 92.3’ as a DJ, mixing daily for the newly launched station and in 2016, contributed to the launch of REAL 92.3’s top-rated show, “Young California Radio.”…..In Detroit, assistant program director Cheron Sanders is being promoted to PD for iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3.”  Sanders joined iHeartMedia in 2001 and has held various positions at sister hip hop station WJLB AND WMXD over the years, including traffic reporter and midday host…..At Cumulus Media’s alternative KFOG, San Francisco, Alicia Tyler exits the midday host/music director position she’s held since 2016.  Station program director Jacent Jackson takes on the music director duties and evening personality Dayna Keyes is promoted to the midday show.  Also promoted is Danica Lopez who moves from part-timer to evening personality and social media director…..In the Springfield, Illinois market, Neuhoff Media teams Taylor Brown up with John Spalding for the “John and Taylor in the Morning” program on country WFMB. Brown has been handling the midday duties on sister hot AC WXAJ-FM in addition to her director of promotions position with the stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that classic hits WLS-FM morning personality Dave Fogel was off the air for a couple of days for treatment for an aneurysm.  Fogel was treated for the same issue while working the afternoon show at crosstown hot AC WTMX in 2003…..Adams Radio appoints Nathan James director of marketing partnerships and promotions for the company’s five-station operation in the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland market. He was most recently director of marketing at iHeartMedia Philadelphia…..Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York announce the second annual Stonewall Day – a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ+ equality.  In observance of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York are bringing “multi-generational LGBTQ+ communities and allies together through the power of music at Pride Live’s Stonewall Day concert, presented by United Airlines.”  Taking place on Friday (6/28), it will be hosted by Elvis Duran.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

| June 25, 2019

It’s Official: Greg Papa Joins KNBR. The news of the arrival of Bay Area sports media figure Greg Papa at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR is official – he’ll be co-hosting the midday show with John Lund, effective July 16. Papa, a longtime radio voice of the Oakland Raiders, also begins serving as play-by-play man for the San Francisco 49ers this season.  This news from Cumulus comes a day after TALKERS reported that longtime KNBR air personality Gary Radnich is retiring from the station and that host Bob Fitzgerald (who serves as play-by-play voice of the Golden State Warriors) is exiting.  The station’s new lineup has “Papa & Lund” airing from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Fitzgerald’s former partner Rod Brooks is joining the Tom Tolbert-led afternoon drive show, as is Radnich’s co-host, Larry Kreuger.  The new “Tolbert, Kreuger & Brooks” show will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  This is a return to KNBR for Papa, who hosted his own show on the station from 2001 through 2003.  He’s also worked with Lund in the past.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Greg brings unrivaled knowledge and top-notch entertainment value to every broadcast he leads.  His connection with the Bay Area sports fan runs deep on many levels through his history in the local market, and we are proud to reunite him with John Lund in middays on ‘The Sports Leader.’” Regarding the exit of longtime personality Gary Radnich, Cumulus San Francisco VP/GM Doug Harvill says, “From the time Gary Radnich started at KNBR he was a pioneer in the sports talk format.  He built a close relationship with listeners through his entertaining and intriguing perspective on sports and life.  I cannot express how appreciative all of us at KNBR are for the opportunity to have partnered with him on his KNBR journey.”

Andrew Kalb Exits ABC Radio News. Radio news pro Andrew Kalb announces he’s exited ABC News as part of “a restructuring led by new management.” Kalb, who’s been with ABC News for the past 22 years, says, “It has been an honor to lead a talented team of broadcast and digital journalists and storytellers, and to successfully re-launch the ABC News Radio business, which now serves over 1,650 radio stations.  Most recently, I also was executive producer and helped launch the ABC News daily audio podcast, ‘Start Here,’ which was recognized with a Murrow award last week for ‘innovation in journalism.’  Along the way, I have served our affiliates in partnership and with pride, understanding that all success is the result of teamwork and collaboration.  To my many friends in radio, both at ABC and across the industry, thank you for the opportunity to work with you.  I am looking forward to my next exciting opportunity.”  Kalb can be emailed at: andrewkalb@gmail.com.

The New York Festivals Radio Award Winners Presented in NYC. The winners of the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards were presented in New York last night and RTE Ireland was named Broadcaster of the Year for the third year running.  Almost Tangible LTD. from the U.K. was named Production Company of the Year.  ESPN Films was named Grand Winner for its “30 For 30” podcast.  Pictured above is “30 For 30” producer and host Jody Avirgan (right) accepting the award at last night’s ceremony.  You can see all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. New Jersey talk radio station WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” was honored with five of the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists’ Signature Awards at a ceremony held last Saturday (6/22) in Newark.  Four of the Townsquare Media station’s full-time staffers and one freelancer were honored for “compelling news reporting on-air, online, and through the use of video.”  Michael Symons and Sergio Bichao took 2nd place in the Investigative Reporting category for their four-part series on New Jersey’s pension system, detailing spiraling costs and sky-high individual payouts.  Dino Flammia is the 2nd winner of the Herbert Morrison Award for Best Audio Story for his series on the challenges and successes seen in treating mental health issues in New Jersey.  Michael Symons is the 3rd place winner of the Herbert Morrison Award for Best Audio Story, for the audio presentation of his and Sergio Bichao’s pension series.  Louis C. Hochman is both the 1st and 3rd place winner of the Gabe Pressman Award for Best News Video. The first-place award is for his video of a community memorial service after a Long Branch teen killed his entire family and a friend.  The 3rd place award, shared with freelancer Jay Lassiter, is of Lassiter’s long-form interview with former legislator Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, detailing her decision to publicly disclose a domestic violence incident…..Radio news pro Steve Nikazy is calling it a career at Entercom’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia.  After 29 years with the station, Nikazy will retire on June 28…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis is honored with the distinction of making the St. Louis Top Workplaces list.  The designation comes after a survey from Energage – a culture, technology, and workplace improvement research company.  Hubbard operates sports talk WXOS-FM “101ESPN” and four music-formatted stations in the St. Louis market.  Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski says, “This Top Workplace designation is especially important to us. In February of last year, we acquired KSHE and ‘105.7 The Point’ from Emmis Communications. We had twice the number of employees that we had to fit into the same square footage.  We really worked hard to provide all of our employees with a great workspace.  We focused on instilling confidence in the leadership and being attentive to the process of blending workplace cultures.”

Radio Exec Rick Devlin Dies at 75. Longtime radio executive Rick Devlin died on May 15 at the age of 75.  During the course of his 40-year career, Devlin was general manager at WOR, New York; ABC Radio; and RKO Radio. He also served as president of the Radio Network Association and was a member of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Six-Station Deal in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This deal will transfer six radio stations and an FM translator in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania market from Backyard Broadcasting PA LLC led by Daniel J. Farr to Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania LLC led by Van A. Michael.  The stations are: country WILQ-FM, hot AC WLMY-FM, sports talk WWPA-AM/W267BJ, rock WZXR-FM, rock WCXR-FM, and oldies WBZD-FM.  The price of the sale has not been announced.

2020 Presidential Race, Iran Sanctions, Southern Border Migrant Issues, Trump Rape Accusation, Census Citizenship Question, and U.S.-China Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The Democrats competing for their party’s nomination to face President Trump in 2020; the new sanctions placed on Iran in the aftermath of its shooting down a U.S. drone; the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border and the politics of migrant issues; writer E. Jean Carroll’s allegation she was raped by Donald Trump in the early 1990s; the issue of including the question of citizenship on the next U.S. census; and the tensions between the U.S. and China over tariffs 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. Big news from Chicago as on-air legend Terri Hemmert announces she’s giving up her midday show at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, where she’s been working for the past 45 years.  The 71-year-old personality will continue to serve with the station on a part-time basis, including continuing to host the Sunday morning “Breakfast with The Beatles” program…..LM Communications hands programming duties for its Charleston, South Carolina stations rock WYBB “98 ROCK” and triple A WCOO “The Bridge” to company PD Chili Walker, who is program director for its Charleston, West Virginia stations rock WKLC “ROCK 105” and classic hits simulcast WMXE/WWQB.

May 2019 PPM Analysis:
Public Radio News/Talk

| June 24, 2019

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Our four-part series of detailed recaps of the May 2019 ratings period concludes by highlighting the performance of public radio news/talk.

Breakouts shown here consist of data from public radio news/talk facilities that rank in the top 20 (6+) in any PPM-market during that aforementioned April 25 through May 22-conducted sweep.

In addition to that particular ratings caveat, Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations subscribing to its services.

As a result, ratings stats in this analysis are limited to facilities paying Nielsen Audio for its information.

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