Monday Memo: The Trump Show. There’s lots of buzz about that New York Times report that the president told the coronavirus task force “he wanted to start a White House talk radio show.” To which Rush Limbaugh invited him to guest host. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks “What if…?” Read it here.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, the Re-Open the Country Debate/Stay Home Protests, Trump vs Governors, U.S.-China Relations, Deadly Nova Scotia Shooting, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Prices Crash, and Celebrities with Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll as well as the projections for future cases and deaths; the debate over “re-opening” the country and the organized protests against “stay home” directives; President Trump’s war of words with some of the country’s governors over the breadth of his powers; the pressure on the Chinese Communist Party as calls for an investigation into the coronavirus’ origins mount; a lone shooter posing as a police officer kills 16 people in Nova Scotia; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus pandemic and the glut of oil; and global celebrities with COVID-19 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Time Is of the Essence. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column about adjusting to the new dynamic of deadlines and timeliness. “Adjusting to working from home, with limited access to the people and resources you rely on is a daily climb. More than likely you are now participating in (multiple) online meetings that eat the clock. Still, you are paid on performance and need to keep the dynamics of the sales process moving forward in a timely fashion. Like it or not, for today, you need to own this new dynamic.” Read his column here.
SmartTalk Radio Network Distributing ‘The Hard Question.’ The daily talk radio program “The Hard Question” with host Blanquita Cullum is now being made available to stations across the country via the SmartTalk Radio Network. Cullum says, “‘The Hard Question’ is all about trying to help the audience to be empowered, to be able to hear a deeper level of a conversation on an issue that may impact them and change their life.” The network says, “With decades of experience in broadcasting and government service, Cullum knows the decision makers and her guest list routinely includes the names you hear in the headlines: governors, senators, ambassadors, foreign heads of state, as well as regular citizens.” SmartTalk Radio Network general manager Chuck Duncan says, “Occasionally in network radio, a diamond emerges from the clutter of ho-hum. Blanquita Cullum is a woman of worldly experiences and a deep participant of the inside rail, allowing her to ask and offer sensible solutions to the hard questions. With unique clarity and above-the-fold guests, BQ covers the critical issues with a compassion, intellect, and understanding that evidences her emergence onto the national scene. She’s got a voice that must be heard.”
KXL, Portland’s Steve Leader Retires. Longtime morning news anchor Steve Leader retired from his role with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland on Friday (4/17). Leader had been a news anchor on KXL for 34 years. His KXL news colleague Pat Boyle posted photos and a tribute to Leader on Facebook, writing: “Legendary news guy Steve Leader’s last day! Thanks Steve for keeping Portlanders informed for more than 30 years. You are a huge talent and will be greatly missed. Enjoy your retirement; you deserve it.”
Round Three of March PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The survey period covered February 27 – March 25. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations. Some of those seeing increased weekly 6+ , AQH share increases include: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland which added 1.8 shares in March to finish with a 6.7 share and a leap to the #3 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rises 1.9 shares from February to March for a 10.3 share and its third straight month at #1; Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh climbs 1.3 shares to finish with a 5.6 share and the #5 rank in the Steel City; Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City rises to the #3 rank by adding 1.1 shares to end the survey with a 6.0 share; and iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati tacks 1.8 shares onto its February 8.3 share to finish March with a 10.1 share and the #1 rank in the market. You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Presents Next Coronavirus Town Hall. This Thursday (4/23), Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the next in its series of coronavirus Town Hall broadcasts. The station’s senior political director Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in highlighting the sacrifices being made by the front-line workers dealing with this health crisis. He says, “Nurses, EMTs, and police officers are among the many frontline workers who are putting their own health at risk during this crisis. We will both highlight their stories and offer them the resources they need to deal with the overwhelming stresses of their jobs.” This edition’s on-air expert panel will feature: Debbie White, president, Health Professionals and Allied Employees; Pat Colligan, president, New Jersey Police Benevolent Association; Barbara Platt, president, New Jersey EMS Council; and first-responder crisis councilor Michael Bizzarro, PhD, LCSW, BCD.
Legislators Seek Paycheck Protection for Local Journalists and Broadcasters. A bi-partisan effort to assist local journalists and broadcasters suffering with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being spearheaded by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and John Boozman (R-AR). They sent a letter to senate leadership urging them to ensure any future legislation make thousands of local newspapers, TV, and radio stations around the country eligible for small business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In the letter, the senators called for waiving the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rule to allow local media outlets to access funding, pointing to the critical role these outlets play in keeping communities healthy and informed. The senators say in their statement, “Ensuring that local news outlets remain viable at this critical time is not only a matter of fairness but is essential to public health. Local newspapers, radio, and television stations provide important local content that keeps their communities informed. People rely on local newspapers and broadcasters to cover school and business closures, to widely communicate public health guidance, and to combat life-threatening misinformation.” National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith comments on the move, “NAB is grateful to Senators Cantwell, Kennedy, Klobuchar and Boozman for their leadership in supporting expanded access to Small Business Administration loans for local radio and television stations under the Payroll Protection Program. America’s broadcasters are providing trusted and credible lifesaving coverage to keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet local stations are suffering advertising losses of historic proportion that will undermine this critically important service. We urge congressional leaders to support this proposal to provide immediate SBA loan eligibility to more local radio and TV stations.”
TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway signs a new deal with the iHeartMedia news/talk station that runs through 2022, with an additional one year option. Conway’s program is also heard on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa. Conway says, “WHO Radio was and remains the gold standard for local talk radio in America. I’m delighted to have signed this contract and look forward to many more years broadcasting on these heritage stations.”…..Indianapolis-based news/talk personality Tony Katz, who hosts “The Morning News” on Emmis’ WIBC-FM as well as his own syndicated late morning show, is putting his flagship station together with local businesses and sponsors to feed first responders across Central Indiana. He says, “‘Hoosiers Helping Heroes’ does weekly deliveries of meals, snacks, and drinks to local hospitals. It’s our way of saying, ‘thank you.’ And businesses across the area have been great to work with. They want to help. People want to help. We’re getting calls from restaurants all over the area. All types of businesses and individuals are asking if they can be a part of it.”…..NPR president and CEO John Lansing tells company staffers in a memo that the organization is preparing to cut costs due to a budget shortfall of between $35 million and $40 million due to the coronavirus pandemic. He says, “We do not have any position eliminations on the table now, and it is our goal to avoid them as much as is reasonably possible. However, I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t guarantee anything other than that is my intent.”…..JVC Media is airing the “Florida Man Radio”-based Shannon Burke afternoon drive program on its Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN “103.9 LI News Radio” JVC Media’s EVP for Florida Shane Reeve says, “Now more than ever, our community needs to come together and stay at home to keep their families and loved ones safe. With that being said, as humans we have the need to socialize and feel like we are still part of the society that we love. The ‘Florida Man Friday Happy Hour with Shannon Burke’ is that bit of relief and laughter you need to keep some sense of normalcy in your life.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds two new affiliate stations as Seehafer Broadcasting’s WFHR-AM, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and Rck 1 Group’s WVLY, Wheeling, West Virginia add the show to their program lineups.
Wheeler Morris Named Hubbard Seattle VP/Market Manager. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio names Wheeler Morris vice president and market manager for the five-station cluster. Scott Mahalick, who’s been serving as interim market manager, is named operations manager for the Seattle station group. Morris has been serving the company as manager of corporate podcasting strategy. Wheeler says, “I’m excited to join the great team at Hubbard Radio Seattle and to help continue the success that the strong brands have built over the years. I’m especially excited to have an experienced and accomplished partner like Scott Mahalick to lead content and brands. He’s the right person to lead operations.” Mahalick comments, “It brings joy to my heart that we will have the good fortune of Wheeler at the helm of Hubbard Radio Seattle. Our team deserves a dedicated full-time manager focused on our success. I’ve had the advantage of getting to know and work with Wheeler this past year in his capacity as the head of our podcasting efforts. I can tell you he is a people person with great charm, empathy, wicked smart, driven and innovative as they come. Bring it Wheeler!”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio personality Shawn Parr is launching a new, daily syndicated program via Key Networks titled, “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on June 1. Key Networks says the four-hour, localized country music entertainment program features Parr’s trademark warmth, wit and love for country music, and is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. The show is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight. Key Networks adds, “Known as ‘The Ambassador of Country Music,’ Shawn Parr is one of country radio’s brightest and most familiar voices. With nearly 30 years in country radio, including 10 years as a nationally syndicated on-air host, Parr takes country fans front row-center to country’s biggest stars and hottest music.” Parr says, “My entire career has always been about the country listeners and they will lead the way with this show as well! Teaming up with Key Networks is like a dream come true. Together we have worked so hard to get this show on the air and trust me when I say I am fired up and can’t wait for you to feel the energy ‘Across The Country!’”…..Air personality Corey Dillon exits Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” after a two-year stint. Dillon says via Facebook, “There are no hard feelings on my end. It’s business, and I understand that. I have learned so much over the past two years here at ‘The Bull’ and feel more confident in my craft than ever.”…..Cumulus Media names Paul Williams director of programming for Westwood One Nashville. In this role, Williams will oversee the marketing, content, and operations for Westwood One’s nationally syndicated country programming. Williams was most recently vice president of marketing & artist development for Reviver Entertainment Group in Nashville…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces the Spanish hits format is moving from WBZY at 105.3 FM to WRDA at 105.7 FM. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Meg Stevens says, “This is a tremendous opportunity to move the signal where more of the Hispanic audience can enjoy the music, information and the top-rated ‘Tu Mañana Con Enrique Santos’ show.”