Category: Industry News

Friday, February 21, 2020

| February 21, 2020

Pete Mundo Upped to Program Director for KCMO-AM.  Programming and on-air pro Pete Mundo is promoted from APD to program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City.  Mundo is also host of the station’s morning show.  Before joining Cumulus Kansas City, Mundo served as a host/anchor for FOX News Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated’s daily platforms, and WFAN, New York.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “One of the most fulfilling rewards as a leader is seeing the impact that someone as talented as Pete can make in just two years.  Growth of nearly 75% in audience since his arrival is the result of Pete’s daily focus, drive, passion, and hard work. This well-deserved promotion to program director is an opportunity to continue to expand the brand of KCMO Talk Radio for years to come.”

Zaslow Re-Ups with ‘AM 790 The Ticket’ in Miami. Sports talk host Jonathan Zaslow and Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” agree to a new, multiyear contract extension for him to remain host of the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show, “Zaslow and Amber,” alongside Amber Wilson.  Zaslow will also continue to serve as pregame and postgame host for Miami Heat gameday broadcasts, as part of the station’s flagship coverage.  Zaslow joined “AM 790 The Ticket” in 2004 and has served as an on-air personality for the station for the last 13 years. This year marks Zaslow’s 10th as a part of the station’s Heat gameday broadcasts.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Jonathan Zaslow is a true Miami sports talent and an original employee of ‘790 The Ticket.’  We are thrilled to have him back for more passionate sports talk and lock him into our impressive weekday programming.”

Cumulus 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Down 7.7%; Same Station Net Revenue Dips 1.7%.  Financial data for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2019 is reported by Cumulus Media.  Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $285.5 million, a decrease of 7.7% over the same period in 2018.  However, on a same station basis, net revenue was down just 1.7%.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $1.1 billion, down 2.4% from 2018.  On a same station basis, net revenue – excluding political – of $1,103.2 million was up 1.4% from 2018.  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “I am very proud of the company’s 2019 results. On a same station basis, our team has now delivered the second year in a row of revenue growth and, excluding the impact of political, the third year in a row of Adjusted EBITDA growth. This performance was driven in large part by the industry-leading growth of our digital businesses and active cost management across our platforms.  Additionally, we made strong progress against our financial goals during the year, paying down $220 million of debt with cash from operations and highly accretive divestitures, reducing net leverage to 4.7x.  This year’s results reflect the success of our consistent focus on key strategies to create value for our investors.”  Despite a choppy environment and an expected political headwind, fourth quarter revenue finished in-line with the pacing we shared during our last earnings call, and, with some slight favorability on expenses, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA that was somewhat better than we had indicated. As we move into the new year, we are further expanding our delivery of compelling audio experiences and digital offerings that connect and support our advertisers and listeners.  And, we are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage to below 4.0x.”

Round Three of January PPM’s Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 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.  Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the spoken-word stations that performed well in January (weekly, 6+ AQH share) coming off the challenging Holiday survey were: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland, which racked up a half share increase to finish the January survey with a 5.1 share and the #5 market rank.  Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds 1.4 shares to post a 4.9 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds four-tenths to finish the month at a 5.7 share and standing steady at the #3 rank.  In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s KFBK gains an amazing 2.7 shares to leap into a tie for the #1 rank in the market with an 8.6 share.  Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City adds a full share to end the survey with a 5.0 share and the #7 rank in the market.  You can see all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, check out TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Wednesday’s Democratic Debate and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of February 17-21. The Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s post-impeachment pardons and appointments.  Coming in at #3 was the Department of Justice turmoil and the related Roger Stone sentencing, followed by the covid-19 pandemic, U.S.-China relations, and the deadly flu season tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discusses 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 complete chart here.

TALKERS Convention Set for June 5 in New York.  The June 5 TALKERS convention will be the 23rd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention.  This year it is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media, and takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  More detailed information about the agenda is forthcoming, but the event will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry — including talent, programmers, managers and owners with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age and the fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

| February 20, 2020

Key Networks to Launch Jesse Kelly Show in National Syndication. Syndicator Key Networks says Jesse Kelly is a “fresh voice in conservative talk.”  The U.S. Marine veteran, former congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host will launch his new, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show on April 6.  Key Networks says network advertising is included within the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.  Currently, Kelly hosts a two-hour version of “The Jesse Kelly Show” on KPRC, Houston as well as the “I’m Right” program on The First TV, a news and talk channel on Pluto TV.  Kelly was deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine during the Second Persian Gulf War and received an honorable discharge after four years.  In 2010, he ran for congress and was narrowly defeated by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The race initially ended in a vote recount.  After his congressional run, Kelly continued to be a major voice among conservatives, using his large social media following as a platform to continue many of the conversations started on the campaign trail.  He says, “I love talk radio and I’m beyond humbled that Key Networks realizes that I’m a generational talent.  While my background might be more blue collar than other radio hosts, I’m confident my huge ego will help make up for my lack of education.  I’m excited to bring something new to stations nationwide.”  iHeartMedia Houston region president Eddie Martiny comments, “Listeners won’t be able to see that Jesse Kelly stands 6 foot 8, but his towering humor and intellect will absolutely captivate the listening audience.  Jesse is an Iraq War veteran who will win the hearts and minds of listeners with the wit of a stand-up comic.  He’s been featured on most major TV networks, especially FOX News with Tucker Carlson who says, ‘Jesse cracks me up.’  Jesse is a fresh voice of a rational conservative for a new generation.  My listening audience and advertising community in Houston embraced Jesse immediately.  Informative, entertaining, but most importantly, unique!”

Kevin Battle Joins KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Morning Show. Radio programmer, host, and journalist Kevin Battle is joining “The KDKA Radio Morning News with Larry Richert” as co-host, effective March 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As we celebrate the centennial of KDKA Radio, the world’s first radio station, we were focused on adding a host that can reflect the energy and pulse of where Pittsburgh is in 2020 and beyond.  Kevin Battle is the perfect person to join Larry Richert on the KDKA morning show and tell the story of our great city.”  During his career, Battle has served as program director and air personality for Entercom’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” been director of marketing and promotions and on-air personality for rock WDVE-FM, and was a member of the inaugural staff of “FOX News Headlines 24/7.”  The Pittsburgh native comments, “There have been three morning hosts at KDKA Radio in my lifetime – Jack Bogut, John Cigna, and Larry Richert, and I am thrilled I get to work with one of them.  Larry is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh.  I have been a fan of KDKA for a long time and fondly remember listening with my family each morning.  I cannot wait to help our listeners start their day off well-informed.”

FCC Permanently Dismisses License Renewal Applications for Four St. Louis Signals. An administrative law judge has ruled that the applications for license renewal for four radio stations owned by Entertainment Media Trust are “dismissed without prejudice due to the applicant’s failure to prosecute.”  Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin states in the ruling that Trustee Dennis J. Watkins’ failure to respond to a January 24 Order that was a final attempt to get information from EMT was the last straw in a series of non-compliances on the part of Watkins.  The stations in question are: KFTK-AM (formerly WQQX-AM), East St. Louis, Illinois; WQQW-AM, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ-AM, St. Louis; and KQQZ-AM, DeSoto, Missouri.  The case goes way back to 2012 when Mark A. Kern filed a petition to deny the license renewals, alleging that talk host and convicted felon Robert Romanik actually controlled the stations, in violation of FCC regulations.  Romanik’s Insane Broadcasting Co. operates the stations under an LMA, but is not allowed to own stations.  The ruling notes that the Media Bureau investigated the allegations and “found evidence that it concluded supports the claim that Mr. Romanik exercises defacto control over the stations.  The Media Bureau also adduced evidence suggesting that Mr. Romanik, who hosts a weekday talk show on one of the stations, has held himself out as the stations’ owner and is personally involved in station business.”  Romanik hosts a show on KQQZ-AM and positions himself as a local raconteur, calling himself “The Grim Reaper of Radio.”  Read the judge’s ruling here.

New Afternoon Show Among Lineup Changes at Sports Talk ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. With WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Scott Garceau named the new play-by-play broadcaster and pre-game and post-game host for Baltimore Orioles broadcasts on cable’s MASN-TV, he leaves his daily talk show duties at the Entercom sports station.  His co-host Jeremy Conn moves to evening show duties and host of “Orioles Baseball Tonight.”  Beginning March 9, the new afternoon drive show is “Inside Access” with co-hosts Jason La Canfora and Ken Weinman.  La Canfora is a RADIO.COM Sports and CBS Sports insider.  Weinman is a longtime WJZ-FM air personality.   Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “This revamped programming schedule will allow us to continue providing around-the-clock content for Baltimore’s biggest sports fans.  Adding Jason and Ken to our already successful lineup is a big win for our market.  We are also excited about Scott and Jeremy’s new roles.  All are an integral part of the success of ‘105.7 The Fan.’”

Presidential Race/Las Vegas Debate, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic/Deadly Flu Season, Germany Mass Shooting, and Grenell to Lead Intelligence Agencies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and last night’s debate in Las Vegas; the controversy surrounding the sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr’s leading of the Justice Department; the status of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly influenza season in the U.S.; the slaying of nine people in the German city of Hanau by a reported right-wing extremist; and President Trump’s naming Ambassador Richard Grenell acting director of national intelligence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Two of January PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Rebounding from the challenging Holiday 2019 survey, a number of spoken-word stations performed well – weekly, 6+ AQH share – in January.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rises 1.9 shares from the Holiday survey to post a 6.9 share and climbs to the #5 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 7.4 share and the #2 rank.  In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO tacks on seven-tenths to finish the survey with a 3.5 share, while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.2 share and the #3 rank in the market.  Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle breaks out with 1.1 share increase to finish the month with a 6.0 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KDFD-AM, Denver adds eight-tenths to finish the January survey with a 3.3 share, its best since it flipped from sports talk in July of 2019.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine his Newsmax TV show, “The Wayne Allyn Root Show: Raw & Unfiltered” is moving to a new air time – 10:00 pm ET – effective March 3.  Root says, “It’s a great honor to be part of Newsmax TV’s primetime lineup.  When I first began hosting my show in June 2017 on Newsmax TV it reached 15 million homes.  Then 30 million. Then 50 million. Then 60 million. Now just under 80 million.  And Cox cable added Newsmax TV a few weeks ago – so now my television show reaches the entire Las Vegas area, my hometown!  Kudos to Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, for building America’s fastest growing cable news network.”…..SiriusXM announces its MLB Network Radio channel presents its annual MLB Spring Training tour beginning Saturday (2/22) and running through March 13.  MLB Network Radio’s experts and insiders will visit all 30 MLB team camps to give fans an in-depth preview of every ball club.  It will consist of 30, two-hour shows, each focused on a single MLB team.  SiriusXM’s hosts – many of whom are former general managers or players – will be on location at each spring training ballpark to interview managers, players and executives, and share an insider’s view of each club as it prepares for the 2020 season…..iHeartMedia announces that it has partnered with Flatiron Books on a book imprint based on iHeartRadio’s popular curiosity podcasts.  The imprint, named “Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook,” launches with STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, to recognize “Stuff You Should Know” – one of the first podcasts to reach one billion downloads.  iHeartMedia says it believes that this is the first line of podcast-based books between a major book publisher and leading podcast network.

Pop Music Historian and Curator Barry Scott of “The Lost 45s” Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the true legends of oldies radio, Barry Scott, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Scott is the host of the long-running, Boston-based music radio show, “The Lost 45s,” which has been on the radio since 1981 and in national syndication since 1993.  The premise of the show is that top 40 radio of the golden era (1960s – 1990s) missed a tremendous number of valid hit records that deserved airplay due to faulty research, closed-mindedness and a lazy, follow-the-leader mentality.  (“It’s not on the list suggested by our consultant.”)  Many of these songs have gone on to be completely forgotten within music radio culture.  Harrison states, “I had the pleasure of programming Barry’s flagship station in Boston back in the 80s and was amazed at the loyal following this weekend show generated – even within the context of a classic rock format.  Barry’s excellent curation and fascinating storytelling created tremendous interest in songs that were either obscure or considered unprogrammable within standard format categories. In today’s music radio desert, where pop music history is largely ignored or generally forgotten, this show is a priceless beacon of the culture that originally illuminated music radio.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Detroit rock outlet WRIF, Beasley Media Group promotes Jade Springart to assistant program director and midday host.  She has served with WRIF for the past 12 years, most recently as music director and weekend personality. Springart says, “This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with.  It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry.  I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”…..Air personality J.R. joins Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa Bay to host “Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R. and Melanie,” effective March 2. He’ll join station air personality Melanie Mineau for the 6:00 am to 10:00 am program.  He was most recently co-host of the “J.R. & Beth Show” on Cox Media Group’s country KCYY, San Antonio “Y100.”  He also currently serves as the host of United Station Radio Networks’ syndicated “Twenty Country Countdown.”  J.R. says, “This is a very exciting time for me.  To be able to build a show under the direction of [operations manager] Travis Daily and alongside a talented co-host like Melanie Mineau is the opportunity I have been looking for.  We are going to have a lot of fun in an amazing city!  I am very grateful to Travis and the Beasley family for this opportunity and can’t wait to create live, local, and unique radio for the Tampa area.”…..Entercom stations and staffers are honored with three Academy of Country Music (ACM) Radio Awards.  KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull” (KILT-FM) was named Major Market Station of the Year and WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” was named Medium Market Station of the Year – the 8th time the station has received this honor.  WYCD, Detroit’s afternoon drive show “Rob and Holly” program was given the Major Market Personality of the Year honor.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

| February 19, 2020

Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey was released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2-29.  Coming off the previous Holiday survey during which Christmas music listening alters usual audience media habits, some spoken-word stations gain lost ground in weekly, 6+ AQH share.  In New York, Entercom’s sports talk WFAN-AM/FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 3.1 share and the #12 rank, while ESPN’s WEPN-FM gets six-tenths back to post a 2.1 share and the #19 rank.  iHeartMedia news/talk KFI, Los Angeles gains seven-tenths for a 3.3 share and the #9 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds eight-tenths to finish January with a 3.8 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston finishes its sixth survey without setback by adding eight-tenths to finish January with a 5.4 share and the #5 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Conservative Talker Steve Malzberg to Host Weekly RT America Show. Talk host Steve Malzberg is joining cable’s RT America to host the weekly media commentary program, “Eat the Press,” set to debut Friday (2/21) at 6:30 ET (with repeat broadcasts Sundays at 10:30 AM).  Malzberg says, “I have been highlighting media bias to my audiences for years.  Some of it is blatant.  Some is less obvious, and some is actually revealed by what the media is not telling you at all.  With “Eat the Press,” I relish, pun intended, the opportunity I’ve been given by RT America to make this important issue my focus.  Stay hungry, because ‘Eat The Press’ will have a lot to offer each week.”  Malzberg has hosted radio talk shows at WABC and WOR in New York (and in national syndication).  He’s hosted his own show on Newsmax TV and served as a commentator on FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, and RT America.

Entercom to Sell WAAF-FM, Boston to EMF for $10.75 Million. The latest major market FM signal to be acquired by religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The price tag is $10.75 million in cash and EMP will begin operating the 107.3 FM frequency under a network affiliation agreement beginning Saturday (2/22).  The WAAF transmitter is in Westborough, Massachusetts and covers the central and eastern portions of the state, including the Worcester market.  Entercom states in a press release that it will continue to air the WAAF format on WWBX-HD2 104.1 FM and WEEI-HD2 93.7 FM and via RADIO.COM.  Entercom says it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.

Jimmy Farrell Promoted to Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Sales and management pro Jimmy Farrell is moving from his general sales manager post at Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster to the company’s Jacksonville operations where he’ll be director of sales.  CMG’s Jacksonville cluster includes news/talk WKOV-FM “News 104.5.” sports talk WOKV-AM, plus five music brands.  CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid says, “We are pleased and proud to promote Jimmy to this new position.  His entrepreneurial approach, high-impact leadership style, deep understanding of both the marketplace and Cox Media Group’s offerings has served him well, enabling him to exceed sales goals by complementing his customers’ brands and business objectives with CMG station content solutions that meet their objectives.”

Nolan Murphy Named NSM for Good Karma Brands.  Sales pro Nolan Murphy is promoted from his marketing consultant post at Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee operations to national sales manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach station groups.  Sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago director of sales David Scharf says, “Nolan’s skillset and attitude makes him the perfect national sales manager.  His knowledge of Good Karma Brands’ assets sets us up to win partnerships quickly, while also planning and preparing us to win long term.  His solutions-based approach and solid work ethic will help us develop the national division of Good Karma Brands.”

Georgia Student Chosen for Mentorship Program. Sophomore Georgia College and State University student Jonathan O’Brien has been chosen as the first quarter mentee in the Benztown Mentorship Program.  The program is being sponsored by Benztown in conjunction with the National Radio Talent System and O’Brien is the third student from the NRTS to take part in the mentorship program.  O’Brien – who attended the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia last summer – handles news duties on his college radio station, WGUR-FM, Milledgeville, Georgia and is passionate about radio news.  He will be mentored by Jennifer Seelig – director of news and programming at Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco – during O’Brien’s Benztown-sponsored trip to the Bay Area March 15-17.  She will also mentor O’Brien virtually throughout the spring academic semester.  Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “If Jonathan O’Brien is any indication of the future of our industry, we’re in great shape.  We are so pleased to be able to provide this opportunity with the assistance of our friends at the National Radio Talent System and the incredible Jennifer Seelig and KCBS.”

Oakland A’s to Be Heard Online Only in Oakland.  In a first for the MLB club, this season’s radio play-by-play of Oakland Athletics baseball will only be heard
streaming online in the Oakland market.  Affiliate radio stations will still broadcast games over the air but fans in the Bay Area will hear games via its TuneIn channel, “A’s Cast”.  The team’s games were heard on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “860 AM The Answer” last season.  Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval says, “We really listened to our fans and saw the success with ‘A’s Cast.’  We’re doing an incredible job getting people excited about baseball and the content. Partnering with TuneIn and having a semi-exclusive platform; we think it made a lot of sense and sets the example.”

Presidential Race, Trump Grants Clemency, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic, Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and tonight’s Las Vegas debate; President Trump issues a number of high-profile pardons and clemencies; the controversy over the Justice Department’s change in sentencing recommendation for Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr; the status of the covid-19 coronavirus and its effects on the Chinese economy; and the trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges 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. Gone is the business talk format on Cumulus Media’s KTBL-AM Albuquerque and now the station – along with FM translator K233CG – becomes rock as “94.5 The Pit/KTBL, Albuquerque’s New Choice for Rock.”  The station flipped airing Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”  Cumulus Albuquerque vice president and market manager Jeff Berry says, “We are thrilled to provide ABQ and the surrounding areas with an exciting new rock station.  ‘The Pit’ will provide fans with current rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90s and 2000s mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters.  It will be a game changer for ABQ rock fanatics and our clients.”…..In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s country WDRQ rebranded from its “NASH FM 93.1” moniker to “New Country 93.1” and replaced the syndicated “Ty Bentli Show” with the local “Electric Barnyard with Broadway & Krissy.”  Bill “Broadway” Bert moves from afternoons to partner with Krissy T, who recently exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”  Station PD Lance Tidwell takes over the afternoon drive show.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

| February 17, 2020

Mike Broomhead Takes Over Morning Daypart on KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Phoenix media personality Mike Broomhead begins hosting the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix, effective next Monday (2/24).  Broomhead, who was longtime morning host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KFYI-AM, replaces “The Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show.”  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “We are extremely excited to add one of the most talented talk show hosts in the country to our powerful lineup.  Mike is a values-driven, influential thought leader who is committed to making a positive impact in our community, which is core to the KTAR mission.”  Broomhead comments, “I can’t wait to be on FM talking to a massive and diverse audience about important issues on the most historic radio station in Phoenix.  KTAR is Arizona and so am I.  I’m so excited to go to work with the talented news, talk, and digital teams.”  Broomhead also hosts a weekly show on cable’s AZTV.

Monday Memo: Crash For Cash!  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says, “Rip-off this spot…I did!” Read it here.

Presidential Election, Impeachment Aftermath/Roger Stone Sentencing, Coronavirus, Dennis Smacks Britain, and Trump at Daytona Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and next weekend’s Nevada caucuses; the president’s post-impeachment temperament and the controversy over changes in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic; winter storm Dennis ravages Britain with high winds and flooding rains; and President Trump serves as grand marshal for the Daytona 500 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that CBS is the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in New York.  The suit seeks $10 million and class action status as complainant Jacquelyn Musiello – a former payroll staffer in the human resources department at CBS RADIO – alleges that she was forced to quit her position because of “physical and emotional distress” after being sexually harassed by talent.  She also states that she was witness to numerous other situations in which others were the victims of harassment.  Additionally, she describes uncomfortable incidents with former WCBS-FM, New York personality Dan Taylor.  He left the company last July after it came to light that New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an investigation into the former CBS RADIO properties…..DMR/Interactive names Tony Bannon VP/marketing strategy.  He most recently served in the sales department at Cumulus Media’s Cincinnati station group.  He’ll serve with DMR/Interactive at its Covington, Kentucky offices.  President/COO Andrew Curran says, “Tony is passionate and knowledgeable about radio.  His experience in both Diary and PPM markets is truly an asset. Clients will benefit from his creative and analytical approach.”…..At the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles last week, it was announced that new organization called The Podcast Academy is being created and will produce a “Golden Mics” award ceremony that will debut in early 2021.  The announcement was made by Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez.  The industry non-profit organization will be overseen by a 10-member board of governors.  Lopez says, “Film, television, music – all other major forms of art have long-ago established a member-based academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence.  It’s time for podcasts to establish their own.  I am delighted to be joined by a diverse group of people who really care about excellence, from across the country, representing all kinds of podcasts, from public radio to independents and networks.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Chi is the new afternoon drive personality on NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5,” effective today (2/17).  She’ll also serve as music director for NRG’s hip hop KOPW “Power 106.9.”  She was most recently an air personality and music director for SummitMedia’s crosstown CHR KQCH.  NRG general manager Mark Shecterle says, “We could not be more pleased with the addition of Chi to the NRG family.  Chi has a great reputation in the market with both listeners and clients.  She will be a great addition to our team, and we are blessed to have her.”…..Saga Communications brings Riley Reed aboard the Q Crew at CHR WQPO, Harrisonburg, Virginia  “Q101.”  He was most recently with Connoisseur Media at former alternative WWYY, Lehigh, Pennsylvania “Spin Radio 107.1.”  Saga Harrisonburg operations manager Paul “Uncle Pauly” McDaniel says, “I’ve known of Riley for 10-plus years and watched him on social media grow from an intern to a morning show host over the years.  He’s a digital machine and will complement the already-fantastic job HRG is doing with our station socials.”

Friday, February 14, 2020

| February 14, 2020

Brett Winterble Named Afternoon Drive Host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Recently let go from San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM – along with the rest of the staff as the station changes hands from Tegna to new owner Local Media San Diego – is talk show host Brett Winterble, who begins his new gig at Entercom’s heritage talker WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Monday (2/17).  Entercom SVP and market manager Matthew Hanlon says, “Brett Winterble represents the future of audio.  When John Hancock took this exact seat on WBT 30 years ago, he was a progressive-minded voice in the market, placing an emphasis on issues that affected the community.  Brett takes on a similar role in a new and meaningful way for our loyal audience.  He cares about the listener and demonstrates a genuine interest in the community.  We’re thrilled that Brett is joining our team.”  In addition to his five-year stint at KFMB-AM, Winterble hosted afternoon drive at KFWB-AM, Los Angeles and served as a producer for Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan.  Winterble takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show from John Hancock, who announced his retirement in October 2019.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Off to the Races!” looks back at this past week of February 10-14, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, syndicated talk show host, Compass Media NetworksHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Town Hall on Prisoner Re-Entry. Next Thursday (2/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present the next in its Town Hall series, addressing the issue of re-entry of New Jersey residents into mainstream society, including the unique and specific challenges faced by these residents and their families.  ‘NJ101.5’ special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott will moderate the Town Hall. He says, “Our Town Hall broadcasts help create a better understanding among New Jersey residents while seeking to identify real and practical solutions to some of our state’s most difficult issues.  More than half of those being released from prison in New Jersey today will be rearrested within three years.  Almost a third will be sent back to prison.  This program will explore ways to break the cycle of recidivism and confront the challenges of returning former inmates to society.”  Expert panelists will include: former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, whose work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation is well-known throughout the state; Haywood Gandy, who was released from prison in 2018 after serving 20 years on armed robbery and other charges and is now the director of re-entry for The H.U.B.B. (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center in Newark; Daniel Lombardo, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; and Jessica O’Neill, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Camden.  Online, under the direction of ‘New Jersey 101.5’ digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman, the Town Hall will be streamed via Facebook Live, with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Reentry Coalition of New Jersey, and Volunteers of America available to answer questions and provide resources for persons in need.

SBG Announces Creation of All-Female Marketing Team. Syndication and sales firm Sun Broadcast Group announces the formation of an all-female marketing team consisting of 11-year SBG veteran Loren Christofori – who has been promoted to director of marketing, former Envision Networks marketing and affiliate specialist, Jen Weisfeld – now in the role of marketing manager, and SBG alum Amber Kelley joining as marketing assistant.  SBG president and founder Jason Bailey, “I know I speak for the entire SBG family when I say how proud we are to introduce this new all-female marketing team.  Anyone who knows me knows that I take our brand very seriously.  I couldn’t be more excited to place the next chapter of the SBG story in the hands of Loren, Jen, and Amber.  I’m thrilled to see all the great ideas they have come to life.”

BFoA Names 2020 Leadership Awards Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2020 Leadership Awards that will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on April 22 in Las Vegas during the NAB Show.  This year’s honorees are: Marci Burdick, senior advisor to Schurz Communications, retired; Kim Guthrie, president & chief executive officer, Cox Media Group; Kraig Kitchin, partner, Sound Mind LLC; Weezie Kramer, COO, Entercom Communications; Barbara Kreisman, chief, Video Division, FCC; Leo MacCourtney, president, Katz Television Group.  The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast.  That honoree will be announced shortly.

Galaxy Media Celebrates 30 Anniversary. Earlier this week (2/12), Galaxy Media Partners celebrated 30 years of service to the Central New York Community.  It was on that date in 1990 that Pam and Ed Levine began operation of WKLL-FM, Frankfort in the Utica market with its first studios and offices in the back of a diner.  The company added stations in Syracuse in 1993, with additional acquisitions in 2001 and 2007.  Galaxy created an events division in 2007 that has grown to encompass all of Central New York and New York State.  Also in 2007, Galaxy became the flagship station for Syracuse University athletics and created a sports marketing division.  Company president and CEO Ed Levine says, “We are proud to celebrate 30 years of service to the Central New York Community.  Pam and I intend to continue to serve the Syracuse and Utica markets for many years to come.”

Beasley Personality Marisa Magnatta Hosts ‘Path to Pro… How to Be a Player in Esports.’  Philadelphia morning show personality Marisa Magnatta is hosting Beasley Media Group’s first ever “Path to Pro … How to be a Player in Esports” live event today from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Nerd Street Gamers in Philadelphia.  Esports experts and success stories will take part in panel discussions that will “provide attendees with an ‘insiders’ perspective on esports and the many paths that an individual can take to pursuing a career in professional gaming and what life is like as an elite player in the Overwatch League, as well as explore the different paths one might take to get there.”  WMMR-FM personality Magnatta says, “The feedback I’ve received after hosting the first season of ‘FTW Philly’ on NBC Sports Philadelphia has been all over the map…from expert to novice.  The most common question I hear is, how do you actually start a career in esports?  Our ‘Path to Pro’ event will be the ultimate guidebook for anyone interested in achieving their esports dream!”

The Presidential Race/New Hampshire Primary Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 10-14, 2020. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and the results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the aftermath of the impeachment trial of President Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy surrounding Trump’s influencing the sentencing of Roger Stone, and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 racist stop & frisk comments and race relations 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” enters into a multi-year partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts.  The collaboration between the Beasley Media Group station and the non-profit “will be instrumental in helping to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and support all major programs, such as the Summer Games, scheduled to take place June 12-14 at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Boston.  WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “It is an honor and privilege to partner with a tremendous organization that makes a difference in the lives of others like Special Olympics.  As the leading sports radio station in the country, we believe it’s important to align ourselves with an organization that offers support and inclusion for so many athletes, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate. It’s the perfect fit!”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s RADIO.COM – is starting production on a new sports documentary podcast franchise that will explore “a wide range of compelling stories and people from the world of sports.”  Season one will focus on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.  Season one will be hosted and written by Ben Reiter, the author of the New York Times bestseller Astroball: The New Way to Win it All…..iHeartMedia is expanding the iHeartPodcast Network with more Spanish-language and Hispanic-focused offerings with a slate of podcasts hosted and co-produced by radio personality Enrique Santos, who also serves as chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino.  iHeartMedia is launching a multi-year development, co-production, and distribution partnership with multicultural digital audio network, reVOLVER…..Entercom and Univision sign an agreement for all-news WCBS-AM to produce Spanish-language coverage of New York Mets baseball on Univision’s Spanish hits outlet WQBU, New York “Que Buena 92.7.”  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We’re pleased to partner with Univision New York to bring New York Mets games to Spanish-speaking fans.  As the unrivaled leader in local sports coverage, we’re looking forward to bringing our premier content to an even broader audience through this strategic partnership.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of career radio pro George Woods, who died on February 8.  During his career, Woods was a talk host at such stations as WOW-AM, KKAR-AM, and KFAB-AM in Omaha and KCMO-AM, Kansas City.  During the latter part of his career, he built and operated the multi-format, on-demand internet radio platform Radio George.  Woods also served on the board of the non-profit radio organization The Conclave, volunteered for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and travelled extensively with his wife Nancy Kaywood, who also serves on the Conclave board.  She suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Bob Woodruff Foundation in Woods’ name.

FOX News Radio Positions Open. There are three news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC, Los Angeles or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is staff producer and news editor for FOX News in New York City. In this position you will supervise the staff for FOX’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7. As the producer/news editor you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more about that position here. The third position is Freelance Radio Master Control Operator in New York. For this position the company is seeking a technically strong and motivated operator to provide technical oversight over all FOX News Radio platforms, including FOX News Radio’s terrestrial operation, FOX News Talk and FOX News Headlines 24/7. See more and apply for this position here.

Great Radio Management Opportunity. A broadcast owner has an immediate opening in a Northwest radio market for a general manager who is a self-directed individual with managerial skills, strong sales experience, and organizational talents. Candidate must have an established, result-oriented history. Must be a community-minded individual and possess written and verbal communications skills and leadership direction with the ability to convey to others. The successful candidate must maximize growth of the station while developing overall sales department operations; perform operational tasks; create sales and promotional opportunities; and have a willingness to recruit, hire, train, and support station staff. Must have thorough knowledge of radio broadcast industry. Three years proven sales experience required. B.A. Degree in Broadcast Journalism a “plus.” Successful candidate will be compensated equal to qualifications and performance. EOE. Contact: Radio Northwest, 18925 SW 84th Avenue, Tualatin OR 98062 503.223.6769. Email: kbnp@kbnp.com

Digital Content Producer. At Entercom’s Charlotte cluster consisting of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/W273DA, and hot AC WLNK “The Link” has an immediate opening for a digital content producer. The company says, “The ideal candidate is an exceptional, quick-thinking multi-tasker with a passion for news, sports, music, entertainment and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment to producing top-quality multimedia content for all cluster stations. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Research, write, edit, and publish original content for our websites. Ensure all daily content is optimized for SEO. Monitor social media for story ideas. Effectively post to social media to drive engagement and traffic while following company strategy and policy. Execute web initiatives as directed. Work closely with digital content coordinator and other team members to achieve digital goals. Participate in all applicable Entercom training to fully take advantage of tools and best practices. Other duties as assigned.” See more about this position and apply here. EOE.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

| February 13, 2020

Cumulus Media Re-Vamps Mornings at KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. Station air personality Nikki Medoro is being promoted from her role on KGO’s Chip Franklin show in afternoons to host of her own “The Morning Show with Nikki Medoro” on KGO, effective March 2.  Medoro will be joined by station news pro Bret Burkhart.  The new show takes over for the KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated “Armstrong & Getty” program that is moving over to mornings at sister news/talker KSFO.  That daypart at KFSO opened up when Brian Sussman chose to retire from the station last month.  Cumulus San Francisco operations manager Lee Hammer says, “Nikki has done a tremendous job working with Chip Franklin in afternoon drive, and she’s earned this opportunity to host mornings on KGO.  Nikki and Bret will bring a fresh approach to the day’s news, both locally and nationally.  They’ll also invite the Bay Area’s listeners to join the conversation and share their opinions.  I’m also excited that Armstrong and Getty will be staying in our station family, just moving down the dial to KSFO.  Joe and Jack are fantastic entertainers, super knowledgeable and they’re not afraid to share their opinions.  They’ll be a great addition to the KSFO lineup.”

Bonnie Lucas to Retire from WHO-AM, Des Moines Morning Show. After serving at iHeartMedia’s heritage news/talk WHO-AM, Des Moines for the past 25 years, Bonnie Lucas – one half of the “Van and Bonnie in the Morning” show – will retire after the March 6 program.  Lucas told listeners to Wednesday’s program that she’s been thinking about retirement since last fall.  She said she’s looking forward to spending time with her spouse, doing some traveling, and not getting up at 2:30 am on weekdays.  Lucas joined co-host (and station PD) Van Harden in the early 1990s after Connie Murad left the morning show co-host role.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Sentencing, Antarctic Iceberg/Global Warming, and Trump Budget/Growing Deficit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The aftermath of the New Hampshire Democratic primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact; the controversy over the sentencing phase of Trump attorney Roger Stone’s trial; the report of a large iceberg breaking off Antarctica and the related ongoing climate change debate; and the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the U.S.’s growing deficit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer to Host Newsmax TV Show. The latest addition to the Newsmax TV program lineup is “Spicer & Co.” – hosted by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.  The program will debut on March 3 at 6:00 pm ET from broadcast studios near the White House.  Newsmax Media says Spicer “will lead an ensemble of Washington insiders, experts, journalists, and power brokers to analyze the day’s top headlines from the Beltway and the key news from the U.S. and the world.”  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Sean has been on the inside of how decisions are made in a way so few have.  He was a success as White House press secretary because he connected to ordinary Americans.”  Ruddy notes that Spicer’s press conference ratings were “off the charts, a phenomenon that hasn’t happened before or since.”  Spicer comments, “We are going to offer viewers a unique perspective and insights into what’s really happening – who is up, who’s down – and most importantly how it’s going to affect their lives.  I’ve had a front row seat to how Washington works at the highest levels – in the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and K Street.  We are going to invite our viewers into a conversation that is totally unique.  We will ask the questions and cover the topics that everyone in America is thinking about, but no one is asking or talking about.”

MIW Radio Group Releases Results of 20th Annual Gender Analysis Study. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is releasing the results of its 20th annual MIW Gender Analysis Study that analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting rising to management ranks.  The data specifically tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions.  The study reveals that 19.5% of 2,189 stations in the study had women holding the general manager position in 2019, an increase of almost a half of percentage point from 2018.  This number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%.  MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management as 33.1% of 3,715 stations had a woman sales manager in 2019.  But, the study also concludes that the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director.  Women currently program only 11.62% of 1,304 stations in the study versus 10.6% last year.  However, on a positive note, this is the first time this number has grown in 14 years.  MIW national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “The MIW Gender Analysis Study is the impetus for the MIW’s mentoring programs that serve female professionals in all aspects of the radio industry.  When the numbers on our annual analysis rise, as they did slightly this year, we work even harder to encourage and mentor our female colleagues who are striving for, and/or have achieved, management positions in radio.”

Joe Pags Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the hardest-working, fastest-rising stars in syndicated talk radio, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Syndicated by Compass Media Networks and seen on Newsmax TV,  “The Joe Pags Show,” broadcasts live weekdays 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is carried on more than 125 radio stations across America.  Plus, his weekend show, “The Weekend with Joe Pags” is carried on more than 200 stations.  Pags is ranked 14th on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  In a free-wheeling conversation that sounds like a chat between two friends from Long Island, Pags – the grandson of immigrant Italian bricklayers – discusses his blue-collar roots and their impact on his view of today’s hot issues.  Harrison and Pags talk about politics, polarization, and the president as well as music, pop culture, and social media in the digital era.  In addition to being a world-class talker, Pags is also a professional saxophone player and musician – skills that are utilized in his broadcasts that include satirical song parodies and occasional appearances playing the national anthem at sporting events.  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Stigall Billboards Adorn Philly Roadways. Commuters in the Philadelphia market are likely to see billboards like the one above for Chris Stigall’s new morning drive show on Salem Media Group’s WNTP-AM, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer.”  Stigall tells TALKERS magazine, “At a time radio companies are scaling back, I’m so excited to work for Salem Media who thinks enough of their people and their products to tell the community at large about them!  It’s a true investment – not just in me and my show – but in radio as a whole.  What a statement!  Salem believes in what they’re doing, and they put their money where their mouths are!  In this case, where my mouth is.”

Lunching with TALKERS Convention Videographer Art Vuolo. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (l) had lunch with “radio’s best friend,” legendary videographer Art Vuolo (r) yesterday (2/12) in Jupiter, Florida to discuss plans for the forthcoming 23rd annual TALKERS Convention set for New York on Friday June 5.  Vuolo will again be contracted to produce the video recordings of the event which is destined to be another historic industry milestone.  Harrison states, “We are honored to have a radio-savvy artist of Mr. Vuolo’s caliber in charge of preserving the priceless content of this conference for posterity.”  Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station is only open to members of the broadcasting industry, related fields and communications students.  It is again expected to be an advance sellout and non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Chicagoland radio personality Mark Zander is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” as a part-time and weekend host.  Zander was most recently program director at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX-FM and sports talk WNTA-AM in Rockford…..On-air pro Rob Carson is auditioning for the late morning gig at WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta all this week.  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  They have already launched the station with Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton in morning drive, Mike Brooks in early afternoon, and Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive…..FOX Sports Radio says it set a “new benchmark in January, reaching more than 13 million podcast listens – an increase of +88% over the previous year.”  It adds that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” podcast was the strongest performer, up +59% year-over-year.  The FSR stream also experienced its best month ever in January, increasing +25% year-over-year.  FSR is a division of Premiere Sports Network…..Entercom sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” and the MLS’ FC Dallas agree to a deal in which the station will assist in producing soccer shows for the 2020 season.  KRLD-FM will host the “The Luchi Gonzalez Show,” on Thursdays at 1:30 pm during the 2020 MLS regular season, offering exclusive insight from the FC Dallas head coach…..Motor Racing Network is “throwing the Green Flag” on its 50th season of NASCAR coverage with almost 30 hours of programming originating from the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway from February 8-16.  Commonly known as Daytona Speedweeks, MRN announcers and production crew are producing six race broadcasts, three editions of the signature program “NASCAR LIVE,” five separate NASCAR Cup Series practices, and qualifying for the “Great American Race.”  MRN Daytona programming culminates with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16 that will be carried live on more than 400 radio station partners across the country.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s hot AC KRSK-FM, Portland “105.1 The Buzz,”  Liz Luda and Mike Vezzola join as morning show co-hosts.  At the same time, Jamie Tanchyk comes aboard as assistant program director and afternoon drive host.  Prior to joining Entercom, Luda served as a morning show co-host and promotions director for Flinn Broadcasting in Memphis.  Vezzola was previously an on-air personality at WODS-FM, Boston; WTIC-FM, Hartford; and WZMX-FM, Hartford.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “Building a strong on-air team is why Entercom Portland is the platinum standard for our listeners and advertisers.  Liz and Mike’s fun and energetic chemistry coupled with Jamie’s exuberant on-air style and programming prowess cements ‘105.1 The Buzz’ as the go-to for young, active listeners in Portland.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

| February 12, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Stars Dennis & Judi Announce ‘UnPLUGGED’ Performance. WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” midday personalities Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are performing a live stage show titled, “Dennis & Judi: UnPLUGGED,” at Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre at The Count Basie Center in Red Bank, New Jersey on Saturday, May 2.  The station says that the live show “will feature many of the elements that make ‘Dennis & Judi’ popular among the station’s audience, including live music, audience interaction, and special guests.”  Ron de Castro is market president for Townsquare Media and he adds, “We’re excited to offer this very special night with New Jersey 101.5’s top-rated midday show hosts. Dennis and Judi’s 20 plus-year-long friendship has a special chemistry that transcends multiple media every day, and now we’re pleased to add the dimension of a live stage show to their already substantial brand.”

Covering the New Hampshire Primary. News networks and some talk radio hosts were in New Hampshire on Tuesday covering the state’s Democratic primary election.  CBS News Radio was headquartered in Manchester for the New Hampshire primary with reporter Steve Dorsey there, Steven Portnoy with Pete Buttigieg, WCBS-AM reporter Steve Burns with Bernie Sanders, and Jim Krasula with former Vice President Joe Biden in Columbia, South Carolina.  Pictured at right is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) with Steve Burns.   FOX News Radio offered live coverage of the returns with FOX News national correspondent Jared Halpern anchoring plus political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal.  In addition, FNR produced a number of podcasts focused on the race, including “The Campaign with Bret Baier” and the latest from anchor Dana Perino and FOX News politics editor Chris Stirewalt’s “I’ll Tell You What.”  Plus, FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show is broadcasting live from Manchester throughout the week.  Pictured at left is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro, who took his radio program to New Hampshire to cover the primary.  Westwood One News‘ coverage of the primary included correspondent Bob Costantini (right) at the Bernie Sanders victory celebration at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

iHeartMedia Unveils iHeartPodcast AdSuite. Today (2/12) at Podfront LA 2020, iHeartMedia unveiled its iHeartPodcast AdSuite – a package of tools designed to help marketers drive results via “iHeartMedia’s unmatched podcast offerings, distribution and listener reach.” iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “As the podcast industry continues to evolve and capture massive consumer attention, advertisers and brands are looking for tools and products to capture and measure the impact.  They are often left without a system for quantitatively monitoring the success, impact. and reach of podcast advertising.  As the leader in the space of both audio and podcasting, we are meeting this challenge head on, offering a new suite of cutting-edge podcast ad products – from better targeting to boosted reach across broadcast radio – as well as pulling together performance and insights across the multiple platforms where we reach audiences.”  The company says the iHeartPodcast AdSuite provides advertisers “with diverse ad formats and customization tools.  Through these products, iHeartMedia has created a dynamic range of options for advertisers and brands to reach their audiences with targetability and scale without sacrificing the listener experience.”

Allgeier to Lead Leighton Broadcasting in Winona. Sales and management pro Jim Allgeier is appointed general manager for Leighton Broadcasting’s Winona, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KWNO and four music brands.  He was most recently market manager for Federated Media’s Fort Wayne, Indiana operations.  Leighton vice president of sales and marketing Stephanie Theisen says, “Jim is an accomplished media expert with experience in radio and beyond.  The addition of a radio veteran like Allgeier, with over 19 consecutive years in the business, will provide the direction and leadership we have been seeking for our Winona market.”

Presidential Race-NH Primary, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Case, Trump Budget-Deficit Concerns, Weinstein Trial, and Jussie Smollett Indicted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the effect on China’s economy; four prosecutors resign as the Justice Department reduces the sentencing of convicted Trump attorney Roger Stone; the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the Fed’s concerns about the soaring deficit; the sexual assault trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and actor Jussie Smollett’s indictment on disorderly conduct charges 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. Raleigh CHR WDCG-FM “G105” adds air personality Danny Meyers to “The Showgram” alongside Erica, Ben, and AshleyhiHeartMedia Raleigh SVP of programming Trevor Morini says, “I am incredibly excited to welcome Danny to ‘The Showgram.’  Danny’s extensive track record of morning show success and experience coupled with the other talented hosts make this the perfect fit for ‘G105.’”  Meyers joins the Raleigh market from iHeartMedia Norfolk, where he most recently served as the morning show host on hot AC WMVN “MOViN 107.7.”…..Cumulus Media names Brian Roberts program director for hot AC KEHK-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Star 102.3” and adult contemporary KSCR-AM/FM.  Roberts moves to Eugene from his most recent position with Cumulus programming adult contemporary WPEZ-FM, Macon, Georgia “Z93.7.”…..Air personality Greg Rivers leaves Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC, Canton, Ohio to join iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMXY, Youngstown, Ohio as morning show host…..Estrella Media, Inc. appoints Eddie León executive vice president, radio programming.  In this position, León will be responsible for overseeing programming at Estrella Media’s 17 owned-and-operated radio stations across the U.S., including the Don Cheto Radio Network…..Matt Stockman is the new director of programming for Pillar of Fire’s contemporary Christian WAWZ-FM, New York “Star 99.1.”  He was most recently a program director with K-Love.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

| February 11, 2020

Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28.  Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM.  He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000.  Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years.  I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business.  Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia.  It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’”  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years.  Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader.  We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team.  He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.”  Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”

Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent.  Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi.  Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network.  Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion.  Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.”  Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. ​ During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.

Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.”  Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show.  Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000.  Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America.  This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.”  Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap.  I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge.  Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”

SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform.  SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform.  SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways.  We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”  As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.

World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP.  In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award  to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011.  The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day.  The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.  The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP  of The Weiss AgencyDeborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business JournalFrancisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & HildrethPaul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio WorldMichael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University.  Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding.  In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million.  CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support.  The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire.  Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience.  Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.”  Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery.  The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18.  Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York.  The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR.  We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.”  Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station.  The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart.  Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19.  ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms.  ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio.  These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication.  ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long.  This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.”  ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars.  Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community.  Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet.  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years.  Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM.  Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results.  We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment.  It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman.  Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.”  She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City.  The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.

PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 ExtraTALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey.  This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more.  See the analysis here.

Monday, February 10, 2020

| February 10, 2020

Monday Memo: THIS Time for Sure! A week after Rush Limbaugh’s news stunned us, many affiliates are still asking what to do.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a suggestion. Read it here.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus/Economic Impact, Attacks on Cops, Trump Budget-Border Wall Funding, and the Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses and the buildup to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and its effect on the Chinese economy and the world’s financial markets; the two planned attacks on New York City police officers; President Trump’s budget proposal that includes heightened military and border wall spending and reduced foreign aid and safety net spending; and Sunday night’s Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group to Sell Ohio Papers to Cox Enterprises Inc. The Apollo Global Management-controlled Cox Media Group is agreeing to sell its Ohio dailies – the Dayton Daily News, the Springfield Sun-News, and the JournalNews to its former owner, Cox Enterprises Inc. (CEI is a minority owner of Cox Media Group).  If you recall, CEI sold the majority of CMG to Apollo in a deal that closed in December.  However, the courts reversed the FCC’s ruling to rescind the cross-ownership ban, forcing CMG to either sell the newspapers or take them off a daily print schedule in order to comply with the ban.  Apollo Global Management co-lead partner of private equity David Sambur says, “Apollo is committed to strengthening local media.  When faced with the unfortunate requirements of an antiquated regulation, we would not accept an outcome that reduced local news coverage for the people of Dayton, Springfield and Butler County.  We applaud the FCC for working with us and providing us the flexibility to find a stable, long-term buyer who is committed to providing the citizens of Ohio with award winning journalism.”  Following the sale, Rob Rohr will continue his role as vice president and general manager of CMG broadcast outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO, and rock WZLR plus WHIO-TV.  Following the sale, the Ohio newspapers will be under the interim operational leadership of Jana Collier, who currently serves as vice president of content at CMG Ohio.  The sale of the papers to CEI is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Eclectic Gathering.  A diverse group of communications figures gathered last night (2/9) for a dinner symposium on media and politics organized by Newsmax at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Among the topics discussed were the 2020 presidential race, the state of talk radio, and the history of tabloid journalism in Western culture.  Pictured (l-r): Bernadette Duncan, author/professor; Michael Harrison, founder TALKERS;  Cable Neuhaus, legendary journalist/correspondent; Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax; Iain Calder, former president/editor, National Enquirer; Steve Lapa, president, Lapcom Communication Corp.; Herb Mallard, international issues blogger; and Nicole DiCocco, executive director, H.O.P.E. Foundation for a Better Tomorrow.

Entercom and NBC Agree to Share Content in Philly.  This content-sharing partnership between Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM and NBC’s WCAU-TV “NBC 10” and WWSI-TV “Telemundo62” is multiplatform across all broadcast channels, websites, and social media.  As part of the agreement, KYW Newsradio and WCAU and WWSI “will work together to better serve the community via improved access and coverage of live, local breaking news, general news, weather, sports, politics and entertainment in both English and Spanish languages.”  Content from the partnership will also be shared across Entercom Philadelphia sister stations WPHT-AM, WIP-FM, WTDY-FM, WOGL-FM, and WBEB-FM.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re thrilled that the region’s most experienced and innovative radio team is joining forces with the most forward-thinking team in local television.  This strategic partnership will provide the Philadelphia area with the most immediate, accurate, and compelling news, weather, traffic, and entertainment reports.”

WWO Blog: Agencies Want More Reach and Better Attribution from Podcasting. According to the latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, a new study of advertisers and agencies suggests that in order for podcasting to become a $2 billion per year advertising medium, it will have to achieve 44% reach and improved attribution.  In the study, agencies and brands say the responses from the 95 executives surveyed centered around improved measurement and attribution.   Besides that, “Some indicate content will need to step up: ‘Larger scale content…a big breakthrough in the content space.’ Others note podcast discovery and search needs improvement.  A number feel big marketers coming into the podcast space will be a major accelerator.  Several point to the major opportunity to monetize ‘the longer tail shows which are being relatively ignored.'”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Illinois U.S. Representative Joe Walsh has ended his race for the Republican nomination for president.  Walsh was hosting the evening program for Salem Radio Network and a local afternoon show at Salem’s WIND-AM “AM 560 The Answer” prior to his late-August announcement he’d challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes in his column, Walsh has no plans to attempt to return to the talk radio business.  He told the Daily Herald, “I don’t like President Trump, so I have no home on conservative talk radio.”  Steve Cortes took over the WIND-AM show and WIND-AM morning drive co-host Dan Proft is hosting the syndicated evening show…..Legendary actor Robert Conrad – who hosted a talk radio show on the Southern California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio network in his later years – died on Sunday (2/8) at the age of 84.  His radio program was called “The Lounge with Robert Conrad.”  Of course, he starred on such television hits as “The Wild, Wild West” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”

Post Impeachment, Steve Bannon Transitions Radio Show. With the impeachment trial of President Trump behind the nation, Stephen K. Bannon transitions his “War Room: Impeachment” radio program into the new two-hour daily radio show “War Room: 2020” and “War Room: Pandemic” on The John Fredericks Radio Network.  Joining Bannon on the programs are former Trump for President campaign communications director Jason Miller and Brexit comms chief Raheem Kassam.

PPM Analysis: AC Part 2. In this second look at the adult contemporary Holiday 2019 PPM survey results, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of data from the past six Holiday PPM surveys from Nielsen Audio.  See the story here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The NAB announces that top 40 radio legend John Records Landecker will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2020 NAB Show during the April 20 Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore in Las Vegas.  NAB EVP of industry affairs Steve Newberry says, “John Records Landecker has had a profound impact on radio and has inspired generations of new talent.  His induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”…..At the Buffalo operations of Townsquare Media, Chris Crowley adds operations manager for the cluster to his duties.  Crowley will continue to serve as brand manager for country WYRK and adult contemporary WMSX.  Simultaneously, urban AC WBLK afternoon personality Yasmin Young is promoted to brand manager for the station…..Pacific Media Group announces David Baronfield is the new market manager for its Oahu station group, beginning February 18.  The Oahu cluster includes CHR KDDB “102.7 Da Bomb,” rhythmic AC KUMU, alternative KPOI “ALT 105.9,”and Hawaiian KQMQ “Da Pa’ina.”  He was most recently director of sales and Hagadone Media Group Hawaii.  Pacific Media Group president and CEO Chuck Bergson says, “After an extensive nationwide search, David was the perfect person to step in as the leader of the Honolulu stations.  He is a proven and accomplished leader who has extensive experience in the radio business, has excelled in medium and large markets across the country serving in all aspects – programming, engineering, promotions, and sales.  David has been successful in the Hawaii business community, developed key relationships, and has an understanding of what makes Hawaii such a special and unique place to live and do business.  In the end, what made David different from the rest is his understanding of what makes radio ‘magic,’ and that is when it is live, local, and community-based.”

Friday, February 7, 2020

| February 7, 2020

LAST DAY! Early Bird Special Ends Today for TALKERS Convention Set for June 5 in New York. This Friday, February 7 is the last day to take advantage of the early bird special price for the TALKERS convention.  The June 5 event will be the 23rd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention.  This year it is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  More detailed information about the agenda is forthcoming, but the event will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age and the fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 7 pay only $279 – a significant early bird discount. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Rush to Glory!” looks back at this past week of February 3-7, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Jim Bohannon; talk show host, Westwood OneBlanquita Cullum, talk show host, WCGO, Chicago; Ethan Bearman, attorney/commentator, FOX News ChannelDaliah WachsM.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Mark Jurkowitz, senior writer, Pew Research Center.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. At Cumulus Media’s sports talk WHLD-AM, Buffalo “1270 AM The Fan,” the local Jerry Sullivan show is cancelled, leaving the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show to be replaced by syndicated programming from CBS Sports Radio.  Sullivan announced the end of his show via Twitter, saying, “The radio show went off the air today for a lack of financial support.  Thanks to anyone who listened on ‘1270 The Fan’ over the last 18 months.  Buffalo needs an alternative voice more than ever.”…..Marc Kestecher signs a new contract to continue serving as ESPN Radio’s lead NBA play-by-play voice.  ESPN says that in addition to NBA duties, Kestecher will call a “full slate of NFL, college football, college basketball and host studio coverage for marquee events.  Kestecher says, “I’m so grateful to continue my play-by-play and host role with ESPN Radio, working with some of the best people in the industry.  From basketball to football to baseball, this job continues to challenge and reward me in so many ways.”

Presidential Race/Iowa Caucus/Voting Integrity Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 3-7. The related presidential race, Iowa Caucus results and technical problems, and concerns about voting integrity combined to be the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the State of the Union Address.  Coming in at #3 was the acquittal of President Trump at his impeachment trial, followed by the concerns about a global pandemic of the Wuhan coronavirus 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 complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Diego morning radio couple Rob and Joss Taylor (below) move from Entercom’s adult contemporary KYXY to the company’s sister classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” beginning February 24.  The “Mornings with Rob & Joss” show will air weekdays from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Karyn Cerulli says, “Rob and Joss possess an incredible work ethic and dedication to their show and the San Diego community.  Over the last year, they have built strong connections with their audience and we’re excited to continue to watch them grow.  Their fun, upbeat personalities will shine on ‘Sunny 98.1.’”…..Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WRRM-FM, Cincinnati “Warm 98.5” names Gina Ferraro midday personality.  Ferraro comes to Cumulus from iHeartMedia’s Dayton hot AC WMMX-FM.  Cumulus Cincinnati RVP and market manager Dave Crowl says, “We are excited to have Gina join the Cincinnati and WRRM team.  She has sound knowledge of the listening audience base in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and the corridor heading north of Cincy towards Dayton.  We look forward to her contributions.”  Ferraro takes over the midday show after Race Taylor left to join WCBS-FM, New York last July…..In Erie, programming pro Vinnie Marino is named program director for Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WXKC-FM and hip hop WXKC-HD2/W282BR “104.3 The Vibe.”  He was previously on air at Press Communications’ classic rock WWZY-FM, Long Branch, New Jersey “The Boss 107.1.”  Cumulus Erie VP and market manager Chuck Poet says, “We are really excited to have Vinny join the Cumulus Erie team.  Vinny’s numerous media experiences in different forms of radio and other media make him the top choice to bring a fresh perspective to the entire Erie cluster.”…..Dayton air personality Aaron “Woody” Woods moves from Alpha Media’s sports talk WING-AM across town to Cox Media Group’s country WHKO “K99.1” to serve as morning drive co-host alongside morning personality and station PD Nancy Wilson.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

| February 6, 2020

Tom Bauerle Solo Again in WBEN-AM, Buffalo Afternoons; Report Alleges Internal Strife and More. According to a report in the Buffalo Chronicle, talk show host Tom Bauerle is back to being a solo performer in afternoon drive on Entercom’s WBEN 930 AM after co-host David Bellavia left the show with no explanation.  The piece says a rift between Bauerle and Bellavia is the reason for the change.  It also reports speculation that Bellavia is in line to take over the late morning show from Sandy Beach as he is considering retirement.  However, what’s far more bizarre is the Chronicle piece accuses Bauerle of “lashing out at members of his audience” and alleges that Bauerle sexually harassed the wife of a caller to the show. David Bellavia is still with WBEN. A station spokesperson tells TALKERS, “We have adjusted his duties to allow him the flexibility to continue with his Medal of Honor duties.  We are incredibly proud to continue our relationship with him and will soon be announcing a new venture with him.”

Quote of the Week.  There has been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to Rush Limbaugh receiving the Medal of Freedom at the recent State of the Union Address.  The following quote deemed “brilliant” by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is attributed to Steve Lapa (pictured above), president of South Florida-based Lapcom Communication Corp.: “How ironic is the talk radio world?!  The man who was #1 on the ‘No Buy’ list received the #1 civilian honor by the President of the United States. How many agency marketing directors will open their thinking to what great talk radio is about… and the deep influence of great talent?”

iHeartMedia and VSiN Partner with XFL for Sports Betting Audio Content. The new XFL inaugural season begins on Saturday (2/8) and the league has teamed with Vegas Stats & Information Network and iHeartMedia to create audio BetCasts for two games each week during the 2020 10-week regular season and two-week post-season.  The BetCasts will feature VSiN sports betting experts covering XFL games live from VSiN’s studios in Las Vegas through a wagering lens.  These digital audio broadcasts, available on the iHeartRadio app, will deliver real-time odds, as well as in-depth analysis of the events behind those changing lines to inform fans during the live action of the games.  VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “It’s great to see a league like the XFL embrace sports betting as a way to drive fan engagement and interest.  We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the forward-thinking executives at both the XFL and iHeart to deliver the most credible and actionable sports betting content to football fans around the country on the number one audio platform.”

TALKERS News Notes. Retired Orlando talk radio personality Jim Philips authored an op ed piece in the Orlando Sentinel that decries the loss of local talent in radio.  Pointing to the recent staff cutbacks and radio leaders such as iHeartMedia and Entercom, Philips says he’s a realist who understands the business is changing, but says, “This doesn’t mean I have to like it.”  Philips hosted “The Philips Phile” on WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2018…..Lazer Broadcasting and MLB’s San Francisco Giants extend their radio partnership for three‐years – through the 2022 season – for games to air on its newly launched Spanish sports talk KSFN-AM, San Francisco “Unanimo Deportes.” Lazer Broadcasting chief revenue officer Gerardo Martinez says, “The San Francisco Giants are a first-class organization with legions of faithful Latino fans, and we’re excited to be the official home of the SF Gigantes in Español.  The professional sports journalism that ‘Unanimo Deportes’ brings to sports fans is unmatched.”…..The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that “Inside Edition” Emmy Award-winning anchor Deborah Norville will host its 2020 Golden Mike Award dinner taking place Wednesday, March 4, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  This annual event is a major fundraiser for the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help broadcasters in acute need.  As previously announced, this year’s Golden Mike Award honoree will be Dave Lougee, president and chief executive officer of TEGNA Inc. and the Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to George Beasley, founder and chairman of Beasley Media Group.

Puckett Named Sales Manager for Beasley Southwest Florida; Johnson Rises to National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Ellen Puckett is promoted to sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s Ft. Myers station group that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN “ESPN Southwest Florida,” and four music brands.  She’s been with the cluster since September of 2016, most recently as a senior AE.  She comments, “As I move into this new phase with Beasley Media Group, I’m delighted to be working with a strong existing sales team.  I look forward to using my skills in training and development to help our team introduce new products into the marketplace while continuing to grow our existing core business to provide results for our advertisers.” At the same time, Todd Johnston is upped from his account executive position to national sales manager for the cluster.  Director of sales Allyson Hillman says, “We are thrilled to be able to promote Todd to his new role.  His talent in negotiating and research are guaranteed to help us win in the national arena in the Ft. Myers market!”

WELI-AM, New Haven Adds FM Signal. New Haven, Connecticut news/talk WELI-AM adds FM translator W245DK to its broadcast, giving listeners to the iHeartMedia station the option to hear it on the 96.9 FM frequency.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “We are thrilled to be able to increase the reach of these heritage programs to listeners in the northern part of Connecticut.  With this new signal, listeners will get to experience our unique programming like never before.”

Impeachment Ends in Acquittal, Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Russian ‘Information Warfare,’ Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity/Macy’s Announces Closures, and Kirk Douglas Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The Senate votes to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges against him; the Iowa caucuses technical woes and the race for the Democratic nomination; FBI Director Chris Wray’s warming that the Russians are engaging in “information warfare” over the 2020 election; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus; activity on the world’s financial markets and Macy’s news it will shutter 125 stores; and actor Kirk Douglas dies at 103 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. At the Cox Media Group stations on Long Island, longtime VP and general manager John Shea is retiring and the company announces that current director of sales Katelin Tinley will assume the VP/GM role.  Tinley began her career with CMG as an AE back in 2005.  The CMG Long Island operations includes CHR WBLI, classic rock WBAB and its digital media platforms.  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says of Shea, “John is the kind of passionate leader that we love at CMG.  John loves his team.  He loves his stations. And he loves Long Island.  We are losing a friend and a great business partner but know that he has worked hard for this day and wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”…..SiriusXM announces that Pearl Jam will perform at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater in a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners on Thursday, March 26.  The special event comes days before the band embarks on the U.S. leg of their Pearl Jam 2020 tour.  The concert will take place just hours ahead of the release of the band’s new album Gigaton, that goes on sale at midnight.  The concert will air live on the band’s dedicated SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio channel.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom.  During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment.  First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.  This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.  Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.  And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10.  He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR.  I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence.  I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.”  Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst.  Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format.  This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different.  About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey.  However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share.  Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively.  Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey.  See all the data here.

RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue.  The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast.  This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”  The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million.  The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.”  It is being released today to RAB members.  It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media.  The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing.  Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018.  2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018.  Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019.  The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019.  On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods.  Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year.  Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance.  Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.”  iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.”  It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry.  The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM.  Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.  The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space.  Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.

Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986.  In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters.  Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years.  Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me.  I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown.  I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence.  We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah.  AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics.  We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show.  Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.  MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

| February 4, 2020

Joyce Kaufman Reduces Show to One Hour in New WFTL, West Palm Beach Schedule. Longtime South Florida talk show host Joyce Kaufman is moving to a new start time and will host a one-hour show as Hubbard Radio reveals “News/Talk 850” WFTL’s new program schedule.  Kaufman says, “I am definitely not being pushed out.  In fact, I wanted to retire, and the station management said you can’t leave completely.  So, I am very grateful that they have been so gracious and accommodating.”  The new lineup is as follows: “The South Florida Morning Show with Jennifer Ross and Bill Adams” from 5:30 to 10:00 am; FOX News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Joyce Kaufman from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm; Radio America’s “The Dana Show” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Westwood One’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and “The Dave Ramsey Show” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.   Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “Joyce Kaufman has been an important piece to 850 WFTL for nearly 30 years.  We are happy she remains part of our very exciting new lineup.”

Former KRLD-FM, Dallas Duo ‘Ben & Skin’ Land at Classic Rock ‘97.1 The Eagle.’ Sports talk duo “Ben & Skin” left Entercom’s KRLD-FM, Dallas “The Fan” in October saying they had a new gig lined up.  Now, we learn that the duo is the new afternoon show at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KEGL, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle,” effective Monday (2/10).  Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade will be on the air from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Kevin “KT” Turner will handle news duties and Krystina Ray will serve as producer.  Rogers says, “We’re beyond excited to reconnect with listeners.  They’ve always been the fuel for our rocket ship, and we think they’re absolutely going to love this no-holds-barred version of our show.  We’ll have complete freedom to combine everything we’re passionate about into three hours of unfiltered comedy, pop culture and sports talk. We plan to explore it all in the funniest and most entertaining ways possible.”  Wade adds, “When we were offered the opportunity to be on a station that we grew up listening to, it got our creative juices flowing in a way that we hadn’t felt in a long time.  This is huge for us.”

FOX Nation’s Abby Hornacek Debuts ‘Getting Schooled’ Podcast. A new podcast from FOX News Radio launches, hosted by FOX Nation travel, lifestyle and sports personality Abby Hornacek, titled “Getting Schooled.”  FNR says, “With a new episode released every Monday, Hornacek will be joined by guests and experts in the field to uncover the origins behind popular buzz words and phrases.  Episode one features FOX News Channel’s politics editor Chris Stirewalt as he dives into the definition of ‘caucus’ and why Iowa is the first in the nation to cast their vote and more.”  Hornacek is the host of three series on FOX Nation: “PARK’D,” in which  Hornacek takes viewers behind-the-scenes of United States national parks; “Ride to Work,” in which she conducts light-hearted interviews with various FOX Nation hosts and FNC personalities as she drives them to work; and “American Arenas,” in which she embraces her passion for sports and travels to the country’s most beloved fields and sporting venues.

Julie Landry Named VP of Consumer Engagement for ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ Marketing and sales pro Julie Landry is named vice president for consumer engagement for Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  In this role, Landry will lead Townsquare Accelerate, that works with key local and regional clients to develop creative approaches that will address their business needs.  ‘NJ 101.5’ president and chief revenue officer Ron deCastro says, “Julie has a long track record of working across diverse client industries at several NYC advertising agencies and is a leading voice in the influencer marketing and branded content field.  She will be leading the process to develop breakthrough, cross-channel programs that deliver results for our key clients.”  Prior to joining Townsquare, she co-founded Wellness Amplified, an influencer marketing agency in New York, and was VP group account director at the Integer Group and VP account director at Wunderman in New York.  Landry will work with Kristin Roderick, recently named vice president of partnership sales, “in order to help local and regional clients unlock great results, using the full range of Townsquare’s multiplatform marketing offerings.”  She says, “I’m looking forward to partnering with Ron, Kristin, and the Townsquare ‘New Jersey 101.5’ sales team to bring Townsquare’s innovative broadcast and digital capabilities to life, to engage consumers and deliver superior business results for our local customers.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcast executive and podcast pioneer Gary Leland joins BizTalkRadio as executive vice president, a move the company says “recognizes the need to increase the digital footprint and marketing of the brand.  Company COO Scott Miller says, “BizTalkRadio has been a strong option for business and lifestyle content.  We continue to grow our radio footprint, but to support our affiliates we felt we needed a stronger digital and social media focus.  Gary is well known in the radio podcasting space and is a marketer by nature.”…..Former WOR, New York; WRKO, Boston; and WTKK-FM, Boston talk host Jay Severin comes out of retirement to host a weekly, Sunday evening show throughout the 2020 election cycle on Westport Communications’ WBOQ-FM, Gloucester, Massachusetts.  The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program will be available as a podcast after broadcast via North of Boston Podcast Services…..The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that University of Kentucky football and men’s basketball radio play-by-play announcer Tom Leach is brokering the three-hour Sunday morning block on iHeartMedia’s WLAP-AM, Lexington in order to continue the “Sunday Morning Sports Talk” show that was cancelled as part of iHeartMedia’s recent workforce reduction.  Leach brought back two of the three hosts – Larry Vaught and Anthony White – as Mark Buerger elected not to return.  Instead, show producer Curtis Burch is joining Vaught and White.  Leach already brokers his daily, one-hour “The Leach Report” show on WLAP-AM and WKJK, Louisville…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality Brian Hanley has joined Good Karma Brands-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” to serve as a weekend and fill-in host.  He’ll also co-host the weekly “ESPN 1000 Hockey Show.”  Hanley co-hosted AMs on “The Score” before exiting 18 months ago…..MLB’s Minnesota Twins sign a multi-year partnership with Skyview Networks to use the company’s Skyview Networks’ AdView inventory management and live read capture software.  This allows the process of scheduling ads and reporting them for billing to be fully controlled by the franchise’s broadcast team and front office.  Twins senior broadcast manager Andrew Halverson says, “After thoroughly researching the market, it is clear that Skyview Networks’ industry-leading AdView software is best suited to enhance our day-to-day broadcast operations, while also driving greatly-improved efficiencies in our reporting processes.  We are eager to partner with Skyview’s team to maximize their resources for the betterment of our broadcasts and our advertisers alike.”

Sun Broadcast Group Acquires Envision Networks. Cleveland-based Envision Networks is being acquired by Sun Broadcast Group, a Gen Media Partners company.  SBG says that this acquisition increases its national footprint with an additional 1,300 affiliates in both general market and Hispanic.  It also adds to SBG’s portfolio of programming and services “Paul Shaffer’s Day in Rock,” BOB FM, MeTV FM, “The Rooster,” and more.  As part of the transaction, Envision co-founders Danno Wolkoff and Laura Orkin become stockholders in the expanded SBG.  They also join the executive team with Wolkoff serving as SBG’s chief development officer and Orkin accepting the position of vice president of business operations.

Iowa Caucus Problems/Presidential Race, Impeachment Trial, Coronavirus Concerns/Financial Markets Reactions, State of the Union Address, Rush Limbaugh Cancer Revelation, and Super Bowl LIV Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The issues affecting the results of the Iowa Caucuses; the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; concerns about a possible coronavirus pandemic and the financial markets’ reactions to it; tonight’s State of the Union address to Congress; the talk radio and political world’s reaction to Rush Limbaugh’s announcement of his lung cancer diagnosis; and reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on adult contemporary.  Needless to say, the Holiday book is generally huge for AC stations that flip to Christmas music.  Which AC station made the biggest weekly 6+ AQH share jump from the December 2019 survey?  Check out the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Cumulus Media’s WFYR, Peoria announces it has re-branded as “97.3 River Country” from its previous “97.3 NASH FM.”  The station’s new weekday lineup is: “The Ty Bentli Show” in mornings, Wes from 9:00 am to 10:00 am; Cathy Taylor from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm; Doc Watson from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm; Biscuit from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Brian from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Monday, February 3, 2020

| February 3, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Announces That He Has Been Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer – News Shocks Industry

Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh ended his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program today with the shocking news that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

He made the following statement:

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me… one thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me.

“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today.

“I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

“I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer… diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions on January 20th after first discovering something not right on January 12th.

“I thought about not telling anybody, it is what it is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville. This has happened and my intention is to come here every day I can, and do this program as normally and competently and expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally.

“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously.

“I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.

“I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled, we’re at full speed ahead on this. It’s just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”

Limbaugh indicated that he “hopes” to be back on Thursday further stating, “If not, it’ll be as soon as I can. Every day I’m not here I’ll be thinking of you and missing you.”

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has released the following statement: “Anything I have to say about Rush’s importance to the radio industry as well as the national conversation has been said countless times before.  He is cumulatively the most influential individual in the modern era of talk media and any change in his role will have enormous impact.  We pray for his swift and complete recovery.”

Monday Memo: Cue ‘Centerfield.’ Consultant Holland Cooke describes the morning after the Super Bowl as “like the morning after the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines or the morning after the New Hampshire Primary in Manchester: sagebrush and tumbleweed.  The crowd has moved on.”  And he outlines opportunities for exploiting what he calls “the best radio sport.”  Read it here.

‘Bill and Wendy’ Podcast to Debut On WLSAM.com. Chicago media personalities Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – most recently hosting a midday show at crosstown WGN-AM – are signing on with Cumulus Media to host a podcast on WLSAM.com, effective today. Cumulus says, “Since their early days at the legendary WLUP-FM “The LOOP” in the 1990s, Wendy and Bill have also been heard hosting weekday programming on Chicago radio powerhouses WKQX and WGN-AM 720. As a team, they have amassed thousands upon thousands of on-air hours conducting celebrity interviews, providing a laugh, and discussing the topics that are most important to their audiences and themselves. Once considered to be our generation’s ‘slightly edgier Donnie and Marie,’ Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder proudly bring you their version of a world gone mad! (Or at least, slightly ticked off.)”

Juandolyn Stokes Named New Midday Host at WAOK-AM, Atlanta. At Entercom’s urban news/talk outlet WAOK-AM, Atlanta, Juandolyn Stokes is named the new midday show host. Stokes is the founding pastor of Deeper Life In Christ Ministries in Conyers, Georgia and will host “On Point with Juandolyn Stokes” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, effective immediately. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Juandolyn Stokes is a leader in our community and embodies the WAOK mission, which serves as an informative, empowering, engaging and entertaining voice of Atlanta. It is our goal to provide our city with everything they need to navigate their world and I believe the addition of Juandolyn, as well as our new weekday lineup, will benefit our audience on all platforms.” Stokes’ show followed “The Rashad Richey Morning Show” and leads into Reach Media’s syndicated “Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.” “Too Much Truth with Derrick Boazman” airs in afternoon drive on the station.

Columbia Sports Talker Teddy Heffner Moves to iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM. Longtime Columbia sports radio personality Teddy Heffner – who was losing his daily sports talk show on Glory Communications’ WGCV, Columbia, South Carolina because of its pending format change – will continue talking sports in Columbia on iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM “FOX Sports 1400.”  Heffner served with iHeartMedia for almost 20 years before exiting in 2014.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming LJ Smith says, “We are looking forward to having Teddy back on ‘FOX Sports 1400.’  His knowledge of sports and the connection he has with his listeners is really unique to Columbia radio.  And now people can listen to him no matter where they live or travel, on the iHeartRadio App.

SCBA’s Callahan Joins Saga Communications. Media sales pro Thom Callahan is leaving the Southern California Broadcasters Association to join Saga Communications as director of business development.  Callahan has been serving as president of the SCBA and current SCBA chairman Miles Sexton will serve as interim president while the group seeks a permanent replacement.  Callahan says, “I am proud of the value we have created for Southern California radio and will miss so many of the great radio members we have.  However, the opportunity to work with CEO Ed Christian and the great Saga team was just too compelling.  I wish the SCBA great success moving forward.”

PPM Analysis: NBA Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as flagship stations for NBA play-by-play.  This report shows comparisons of station performances from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, from December 2018 to December 2019, market rankings, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis media personality Martin Kilcoyne is back with CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis after exiting crosstown sports talk KFNS-AM two weeks ago.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports, that Kilcoyne – whose main gig is as sports director for KTVI-TV, St. Louis – begins a new position with KTRS after having hosted a regular, daily show there in the past.  Kilcoyne tells Caesar, “I’ll be basically a correspondent, a contributor.  I think it will be a lot of fun to be on different shows, have a chance to kind of appear in a columnist role.  I can talk about sports news of the day but kind of venture off into life stories, too, and have a little bit of fun.  I had a good run there and I think the audience is somewhat familiar with me and I’m familiar with the station.  So, I think it’s a good fit.  It’s a really professional operation, which has gotten me excited.”…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle is hosting a GOP Gubernatorial Forum on Friday, February 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.  Station afternoon drive host Jason Rantz is moderating the free event.  He says, “This won’t be a boring debate of canned answers to fit in :30 second slots.  This will be an in-depth look at the issues that matter to voters most.  Candidates will be challenged, the pace will be quick, and solutions to Washington’s biggest problems will be demanded of all the Republican candidates.”…..The Forum of Fargo reports that Dom Izzo’s “Hot Mic” show heard on Forum Communications’ WDAY-AM, Fargo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily, is now being simulcast on television on WDAY-Xtra.  Izzo launched his radio show in September of 2019 after stepping back from his nightly sportscasts.  He says, “This was something they talked to me about right away when they initially approached me about moving off the set.  This was the thing I was most excited about was the chance to do something different that hadn’t been done before in this market.”…..Cumulus Media’s classic rock and Kansas City Chiefs flagship KCFX-FM “101 The Fox” aired a special re-broadcast of the 1969 Super Bowl IV win featuring Bill Grigsby, and all of the original game day content with no commercials.   That re-broadcast led right into the “101 The Fox” pre-game show live from Super Bowl LIV in Miami….FOX News Radio is presenting live national network coverage from Des Moines today for the Iowa Caucus beginning at 7:00 pm ET with a FOX News Podcast special, “The Campaign with Bret Baier,” followed by live coverage of the results anchored by FNR’s national correspondent Jared Halpern, FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar, and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal. Additionally, the nationally syndicated “Guy Benson Show” is broadcasting live from Des Moines from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET as is the nationally syndicated “Brian Kilmeade Show” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce a new, multiyear contract extension of their broadcast partnership.  The extension includes the broadcast of all 82 Hawks regular season and all postseason games as well as 30-minute pre- and post-game shows.  As part of the agreement, sister stations urban contemporary WVEE-FM “V-103” and WSTR-FM “Star 94.1” will provide additional promotional support.

Impeachment Trial, Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Brexit, and Super Bowl LIV Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s vote not to hear witnesses in the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial; concerns about a coronavirus pandemic; the effects the Wuhan coronavirus is having on the world’s financial markets; Monday’s Iowa caucuses and the Democrats battling for the nomination to face Donald Trump in November; the U.K. officially exits the European Union; and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dance-formatted WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3” names “Steve and Leeana” co-hosts of the morning show.  JVC Media says, “Steve and Leeana have been a part of Long Island radio mornings for decades and now they will be part of mornings on ‘Party 105!’”  The company says, “While many radio stations around the dial have been consolidating, cutting staff, bringing in national shows from other markets, and terminating jobs, JVC is doing the opposite and going back to what made radio great – live, local, and home grown.”  JVC Media president John Caracciolo says, “This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be, we’re not phoning it in.  To say you are live and local isn’t enough; the radio personalities have to be involved in the community, involved in local charities and events and become ambassadors for the radio station.  There is no better team to do this than Steve and Leeana.”…..Radio One Buffalo, LLC owner and operator Buddy Shula announces that former WGRF-FM, Buffalo overnight and evening personality Cindy Chan is joining the station’s personality lineup.  Shula says, “While other companies are firing great on-air talent here in Buffalo and all over the country, making radio just a jukebox, WECK-AM/FM continues to appreciate what live DJs bring to our radio culture and community and we continue to hire.  As a kid I grew up in Buffalo listening to Cindy Chan.  I loved her conversational on-air approach and her unique style of communicating, plus she really knows her music, and relates it so well to listeners.”  Cindy Chan will begin with her “Dance, Sing and Boogie-Woogie” show on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Friday, January 31, 2020

| January 31, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Can I Get a Witness?” looks back at this past week of January 27-31, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSChris Stigall, talk show host, WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer”; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch TimesPamela Garber, counselor and therapist, New York City; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

iHeartMedia Re-Brands Sports WTSO, Madison; Cancels Two Local Shows. In Madison, Wisconsin, iHeartMedia makes changes to sports talker WTSO-AM, re-branding the station from its current “The Big 1070” to “1070 The Game,” and altering the daily lineup.  Effective Monday (2/3), “The Crossover with Ted Davis & Dan Needles” and “Drew & K.B.” are gone from the lineup.  Longtime Wisconsin sports media personality Mike Heller moves from mornings to afternoon drive (without current morning co-host Dolphin), and Steve Czaban takes over the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart.  Czaban also hosts the afternoon drive show on Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC “The Team.”  In middays, “The Dan Patrick Show” airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “Wisconsin has a strong and diverse sports fan base.  We believe we have assembled the best of the best to deliver news, commentary, differing opinions, on-field insight and an occasional laugh to our loyal listeners.”

Townsquare Media Begins Operating Duluth Sports Talk Station. Ahead of its intended purchase of WWAX-FM, Duluth, Townsquare Media enters into a time brokerage agreement with owner Twin Ports Radio and will move the sports format to its own WEBC-AM.  It will also move its classic rock format from translator W293CT to WWAX-FM as “Sasquatch 92-1.”  the changes are expected to take place the week of February 17.  WWAX “92.1 The Fan” airs content from iHeartMedia’s The Fan Radio Network” emanating from KFXN, Minneapolis.  Townsquare has acquired the Duluth-Superior radio broadcast rights for the Minnesota Vikings for the next four seasons.  Townsquare Media Duluth market president and chief revenue officer Mary Niemeyer says, “All of these programming moves greatly improve the experience for our local listeners and the marketing solutions we can provide for our local advertising partners, enhancing our position as a premiere local media company in the Northland.  We are thrilled to bring ‘The Fan’ back home to WEBC along with the Minnesota Vikings, while providing our rabid ‘Sasquatch’ audience extended reach on 92.1 FM.”

Report: Changes on Tap for Sports Talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-owner Randy Markel has reached an agreement to sell a 50% interest in the station to local attorney Mark Goldenberg and Archford Capital Strategies CEO Jim Maher.  The story indicates that lineup changes are a possibility as the newly constituted ownership group considers the station’s future.  Markel tells the paper that afternoon host – longtime St. Louis talk radio figure – Frank O. Pinion currently hosts the afternoon drive show but his general interest show is not as sports intensive as the new ownership may desire.  Other St. Louis sports talk personalities mentioned as possible additions to the station include Kevin Slaten, Brian McKenna, and Jeff Gordon.

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 Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  Not surprisingly, 87% of all-news stations saw their weekly 6+ AQH share decline from the December survey to the Holiday survey.  Sixty percent of all-news stations lost weekly 6+ AQH share from Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019.  Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the highest ranked all-news station during the Holiday PPM survey, ranking #2 in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Impeachment Trial Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-31. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the status of the Wuhan coronavirus, tied with U.S.-China Relations and the economy.  Coming in at #3 was the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November, followed by the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant 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 complete chart here.

Kal Rudman Shutters FMQB. After almost 52 years in business, founder and publisher Kal Rudman is shutting down the radio industry tip sheet Friday Morning Quarterback, better known as FMQB.  Rudman has sold the assets of the publication to Deane Media Solutions.  In a statement, Rudman says, “I am retiring from the music industry, but not the radio business.  For a long time, I have focused much of my philanthropic efforts in the medical world, and now I am merging that with radio.  For over 50 years, I have been the specialist in predicting countless hits for numerous artists, and I’ve received unique recognition by the music industry as not only a tastemaker but a star maker.  However, times have changed drastically, along with the industry, and it was time for me to move on to my original passion, medicine.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Waterloo Media’s classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin shifts the “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show from morning drive to afternoon drive, effective Monday (2/3).  Station program director and PM drive host LA Lloyd moves to mornings.  Waterloo SVP and market manager Scott Gillmore states, “Austinites listen to the radio in their cars.  Afternoon traffic is worse and afternoon commutes are longer.  Now, the drive home just got way more fun with ‘Dudley & Bob with Matt’ – and the boys get to sleep in for the first time in decades, too.  Everybody’s talking in the mornings.  But now there’s a true Austin pro playing great classic rock and getting you to work in a great mood.  LA Lloyd on 93.7 KLBJ-FM.”…..iHeartMedia launches a classic hits station on translator W265CV, Madison, Wisconsin as “U-100.9, Madison’s Super ‘60s and ‘70s Station, effective tomorrow (2/1).  iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “I’m extremely excited to be part of this new station launch.  Madison missed having a station that is dedicated to airing top ‘60s and ‘70s music – so we’re excited to step up and give listeners what they want with the new ‘U-100.9.’”…..NRG Media flips KPTY-AM/K297BS from CHR to country as “107.3 HANK FM – Playing the Legends of Country.”  NRG Media operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “Country music is about great stories.  In addition to playing classic county on ‘HANK’ we will go behind the music and share those stories with our listeners.  We’ll have features like ‘HANK’s Music Vault,’ ‘Stories Made the Music,’ ‘HANK Artist Spotlight’ and ‘Rewind County.’”

Thursday, January 30, 2020

| January 30, 2020

Air Personalities Out at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City News/Talk and Sports Stations. A number of air personalities at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City stations have been let go in what appears to be a major money-saving move.  News/talk KOKC-AM/K237GE morning drive host Jack Elliott posted the news on his Facebook page that he and the “entire air staff” have been let go.  The station’s website now indicates an all-syndicated lineup.  Afternoon host and program director Mac Mullings, PM drive personality Chad Alexander, and sister sports talk KRXO “107.7 The Franchise” morning host Andrew Gilman and afternoon sports talk host Colby Daniels also have been let go.  KOKC has replaced the local morning show with “America in the Morning” and Radio America’s “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch occupies the afternoon drive daypart.

Report: Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton to Host Mornings on WTZA-AM, Atlanta. According to Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, talk personalities Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton are joining the new talk station being launched on WTZA-AM/ W271CV, Atlanta on Monday (2/3).  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  Atlanta talk personalities Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and Mike Brooks are also joining the station’s lineup.  Burke and Stockton worked together at Cumulus Media‘s talk WYAY-FM, Atlanta prior to the company selling that signal to Educational Media Foundation.  Burke also hosts afternoons at JVC Media‘s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando “Florida Man Radio.”  He’ll work both shows, hosting the WZTA program from Orlando.  Ho’s story also indicates that the station is holding two-week tryouts for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart and former Phoenix talk host (and Arizona congressman) J.D. Hayworth will give it a go as will radio personality Rich Sullivan.

Theisen Promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing for Leighton Broadcasting. Sales pro Stephanie Theisen is named vice president of sales and marketing for Leighton Broadcasting.  She currently serves the company as general sales manager for the company’s St. Cloud, Minnesota market and will continue in that role through 2020.  Leighton operates 26 radio stations in seven markets and also produces events and is an interactive design and marketing company.  Leighton Enterprises CEO Bob Leighton says, “The addition of Theisen as VP of sales and marketing will support the structure of our company as we continue to grow and expand.  Stephanie has a successful track record in sales, team building, and hiring.  We are looking forward to her focus in those areas in markets outside of our corporate headquarters, in 2020 and beyond.”  Theisen adds, “In the coming months I will focus on amplifying the impact Leighton Broadcasting has in the communities we serve.  Leighton is a robust company with talented employees throughout our locations and divisions.  I am thrilled to serve as the VP of sales and marketing for this incredible company.”

‘Grant & Danny’ to Air on WRNL, Richmond. The WJFK-FM, Washington-based “Grant & Danny” Show featuring Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier is now being simulcast on Entercom’s Richmond, Virginia sports talk outlet WRNL-AM “Sports Radio 910 The Fan” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Paulsen and Rouhier both joined WJFK-FM in 2009 and have been partners on the midday show since 2014.  Entercom Virginia SVP and market manager Bennett Zier says, “I’m excited to welcome Grant and Danny to the Capital City.  They are a welcomed addition as we continue serving Richmond and the surrounding markets with premier sports content and coverage of local and regional teams.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Jorge Sedano’s Los Angeles radio show on ESPN-owned KSPN “ESPNLA” is moving to a new daypart effective Monday (2/3).  Sedano has been hosting the early evening show that’s often pre-empted by Lakers games.  He tweets that effective Monday the “Sedano Show” will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT…..Entercom’s Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94WIP” is holding a daylong “Andy Reid Appreciation Day” today (1/30) to celebrate the career and accomplishments of former Eagles and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.  Reid took the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, losing to the New England Patriots 24-21.  The station says that today it will “break down Reid’s career through discussions with former NFL players and on-air hosts Ike Reese and Jon Ritchie, both of whom were on Reid’s Super Bowl team.”  Program director Spike Eskin says, “It’s finally time to give Andy credit where credit is due.  I look forward to celebrating his great career and reminiscing on old Eagles memories with our on-air staff as we root for ‘Big Red’ to win his first Super Bowl.”…..iHeartMedia and OZY Media have entered into a multi-year deal to co-produce and promote a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts, with three shows set to be released this year and distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  The first co-produced podcast will be “Around the World,” a travel and culture podcast featuring stories of changemakers and renegades from around the world who are doing the unexpected in the face of adversity.  The content will originate from OZY’s groundbreaking year-long editorial project that saw them report three stories from every country on earth.  The two additional podcasts set to launch this year include a spin-off series from OZY’s “The Thread” and a scripted series.

Impeachment, Wuhan Coronavirus, Presidential Race, Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Kobe Bryant Death, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; concerns about a global outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus; the Democrats battling to face Donald Trump in November; reaction to the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan; the aftermath of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant; and the rape trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WUHAN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most knowledgeable journalists covering U.S.-China relations, Joshua Philipp, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Philipp is the senior investigative reporter with the New York City-based international news organization, The Epoch Times – the multi-language, global newspaper launched in 2000 by freedom-seeking Chinese-Americans – that specializes, among its many beats, in fearlessly keeping tabs on China and the Chinese Communist Party. The podcast was recorded on January 27 and presents an up-to-date account of what is currently known about the still-unnamed “coronavirus” that burst on the scene in the past few weeks emanating from the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has begun to spread and cause illness at an alarming pace putting health officials all around the world on increasingly high alert. The crisis offers tremendous insight into the methodology of the Chinese Communist Party and will, undoubtedly have an impact on the superpower’s activities in world affairs in the coming months. This is a major news/talk media story with serious health, political, and economic implications. To listen to the entire podcast NOW, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s in the immediate aftermath of two related tragedies that morning drive personality Gary Smith is retiring from Neversink Radio’s classic hits, WABT-FM, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania “Pocono 96.7.”  On January 7, Smith’s co-host Elisa Chase died suddenly after a brief illness at the age of 38.  Then, the day after Chase’ memorial service, her husband died at their home.  The station says, “Smith took time off after his colleague’s death and went back on the air with his ‘Gary in the Morning Show’ last week to do a memorial.  It turned out it would be his last show.”  On its website, the station writes to its listeners, “As you likely have heard, we lost our beloved Elisa in early January.  Between this and the sudden death of her husband, our entire organization is in pain over these losses.  Gary has taken this quite hard as Elisa was his ‘radio wife.’”…..Colorado Public Radio’s triple A KVOQ-FM, Denver “Indie 102.3” hired on-air pro Jason Thomas to host the afternoon drive show, effective February 5.  Thomas hosted afternoons at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago for the past 12 years.  “Indie 102.3” program director Willobee Carlin says, “We are thrilled to have Jason join our ‘Indie 102.3’ team.  His background and success in the radio world will be incredible assets to both the station and Colorado’s music scene.  He has an obsession for music that is truly contagious, and I can’t wait to see how that translates onto our airwaves.” Thomas comments, “The team at ‘Indie 102.3’ has been incredibly welcoming, and it’s been eye-opening to see how committed everyone is to Colorado and its music scene.  I can’t think of a station/city combo that’s a better fit for me, and I’m excited to work and learn alongside a team that’s loaded with true music junkies that want to serve and connect with our listeners.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

| January 28, 2020

Talk Radio Plays Role in Build-Up to Jersey Shore Trump Rally. Local talk radio has been front and center during the two days leading up to President Trump’s rally tonight (1/28) in Wildwood, New Jersey.  Pictured above is WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer” morning drive personality Chris Stigall – who broadcast his Tuesday morning show from Wildwood – posing for a selfie with some members of the large crowd gathered near the convention center hoping to get tickets to attend tonight’s event.  WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley hosted Lara Trump – wife of Eric Trump – on Monday’s program to talk about the president’s rally and the intense demand for tickets.  Hurley also had the opportunity to interview “Duke” – the man with the unique designation of being the first person in line at the convention center to get a ticket.  Hear that interview here.  WPHT, Philadelphia late morning talk host Dom Giordano says, “Due to Wildwood being a small resort town, this became Trumpstock.  This became a town taken over by Trump supporters.  On air, there was a feeling that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event that resulted in huge crowds in Wildwood.”

Senator Sherrod Brown Seeks Answers About iHeartMedia Layoffs. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) penned a letter to iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman last week asking for information about the recent “employee dislocation.”  In the letter, Brown tells Pittman – after pointing to Pittman’s $9 million bonus in 2017 and $9.3 million incentive bonus in 2018 – “It is difficult enough to understand the decision to continue the hollowing out of local media outlets by laying off disc jockeys in smaller communities.  But it is particularly difficult to make sense of this decision given that it came after a significant increase in the company’s executive compensation over the last few years.”  Pittman is not bound by law to answer Brown’s questions, but TALKERS suspects he’ll do Brown the courtesy of a reply of some sort.  Here are the four questions he’d like answered by February 14:  1) How many workers were affected by iHeartMedia’s recent layoff announcement?  Of those workers, how many are in Ohio?  2) The company is reportedly giving severance to the affected workers.  Please provide details about the severance provided, including whether it includes severance pay and if so, how much and whether it includes health care benefits, and if so for how long.  3) Is the company giving affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any currently open positions in the company?  Is the company going to give affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any positions that become open in the future?  If so, for how long will affected workers be given hiring preference?  4) Is the company offering or paying for any training affected workers might seek to help them find new employment? If so, please provide details about the training offered or paid for, including the type of training, the length of time a worker can pursue such training, and, in the case of training paid for by iHeartMedia, the amount the company will pay for the worker to obtain such training.

FCC Close to Dismissing Renewal Applications for Entertainment Media Trust’s St. Louis Market Stations. An FCC administrative law judge is giving Entertainment Media Trust’s Dennis J. Watkins, trustee, until February 18 to comply with a request for information and an order to show cause why the applications for license renewal for four AM stations and an FM translator construction permit should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute.  In an Order to Show Cause, Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin outlines the numerous failures to comply with FCC requests on the part of Trustee Watkins – including not showing up for a December 5, 2019 prehearing conference.  This comes almost eight years after petitioner Mark Kern challenged the license renewals of KFTK-AM, East St. Louis; WQQW, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ, St. Louis; and KQQZ, DeSoto, Missouri alleging that Robert Romanik – a convicted felon – is illegally controlling the stations.  Kern alleges that Romanik – who operates the stations d/b/a Insane Broadcasting Company – helped fund the Trust’s acquisition of the stations although he’s not part of any FCC applications.  Romanik hosts a daily show on KQQZ from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The website says of his show, “‘The Grim Reaper of Radio’ is not politically correct or politically incorrect, he’s politically insane!!”

Round Four of Holiday PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  Perhaps on the strength of the Green Bay Packers playoff run and the performance of the first-place Milwaukee Bucks, flagship WTMJ – owned by Good Karma Brands – adds two-tenths to its 6+ weekly AQH share for a 5.9 share and the #4 rank.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville halts a three-survey slide with a two-tenths increase to finish the Holiday survey at an 8.3 share and the #2 rank.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Impeachment/Bolton Manuscript, Presidential Race, Pompeo-NPR Spat, Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant Death, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, and Grammy Awards/Race Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and the manuscript penned by former national security adviser John Bolton; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s anger with NPR over Ukraine line of questioning; concerns over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus; the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash; the Supreme Court overrules a lower court’s stay on the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule for low income immigrants; and Sunday’s Grammy Awards and allegations of bias against black artists 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. On-air pro Jayn is promoted to the role of music supervisor for Entercom’s hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” and alternative KITS “ALT 105.3.”  She continues as afternoon drive personality and APD for KLLC.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Greg Nemitz says, “Besides being the musical muse behind ‘Alice’ for the past 16 years, Jayn has been an integral part of the ‘ALT 105.3’ music team alongside APD and music director Aaron Axelsen.  Jayn and Aaron together are an unstoppable force and will continue to make these two stations leaders in this market.”  Jayn joined “Alice @ 97.3” in 2004 as assistant program director and music director.  She expanded her role to midday host in 2006 before transitioning to afternoon drive in 2014…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces six new affiliate stations for the nationally syndicated urban AC show “Rick and Sasha.”  They include: WGNU-AM/FM, St. Louis; WMXU-FM, Columbus/Starkville, Mississippi; WKZJ-FM, Columbus, Georgia; KVMA-FM, Shreveport; WQVE-FM, Albany, Georgia; and WBXB-FM, Edenton, North Carolina…..On-air pro Kathy Vogel is moving from Rubber City Radio’s classic rock WONE-FM, Akron where she hosted middays to the company’s new adult contemporary WNWV, Cleveland “107.3 JenY FM” as morning drive personality…..Air personality Tim Burger announces via a Facebook post that he’s exited SummitMedia’s country KFDI-FM, Wichita after three years as part of the morning show.  He says, “I am so grateful I was able to be part of a heritage radio station that the people in Wichita have turned to for over 50 years.”…..In the Scranton/Wilkes Barre market, Mark Hoover is promoted to program director for Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WEZX “Rock 107.”  Hoover has been serving as afternoon host and promotions coordinator.  He’ll continue to handle the afternoon shift and manage the promotions department.

Monday, January 27, 2020

| January 27, 2020

Monday Memo: Format Solution?  Ever get a song stuck in your head?  Consultant Holland Cooke shares one that stuck in his 40 years ago.  And when you click-to-listen in this week’s column, HC thinks you could hear an opportunity. Check it out here.

Impeachment/Bolton Manuscript, Presidential Race, Coronavirus Concerns, U.S.-Iran Tensions/Rocket Attack on Baghdad Embassy, the Grammy Awards, and Kobe Bryant Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment trial of President Trump and the related manuscript by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton in which he suggests there was a quid pro quo; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; the Wuhan coronavirus and concerns about a global epidemic; the tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards ceremony; and the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

New Sports Talk Station ‘The Gambler’ Launches in Akron-Cleveland. This new gambling-centric sports talk outlet on WARF-AM, Akron launched by iHeartMedia Cleveland airs a mix of traditional sports talk shows and wagering-focused programs.  iHeartMedia says, “‘FOX Sports 1350 AM, The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from the VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network) and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including ‘My Guys in the Desert,’ hosted by American sportscaster, Brent Musberger.  The station will also broadcast a mix of programming offering betting guides, handicapping, and betting strategies as well as signature programming from FOX Sports Radio, including ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd’ and ‘FOX NFL Kickoff Simulcast,’ as well as ‘The Red Zone’ and ‘The Lombardi Line,’ hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager Mike Lombardi.”

Karyn Cerulli Succeeds Bob Bolinger at Entercom San Diego. The Times of San Diego has the story from the market’s Entercom cluster.  Director of sales Karyn Cerulli is promoted to SVP and market manager for the station group as Bob Bolinger is leaving the role he’s held with the cluster since 2015.  Bolinger tells the paper he’s not retiring.  “The last four and a half years I have spent with Entercom have been among the most rewarding of my career.  I am very proud and grateful for what this amazing Entercom San Diego team has accomplished and wish them and Karyn only the very best.”  Bolinger joined Entercom from CBS RADIO.  He’d been with the San Diego stations since 2009.

iHeartMedia Names News Executives. In Pennsylvania, iHeartMedia announces that Brit Goldstein is named area president for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania.   At the same time, Nick Mickley is the new market president of iHeartMedia Harrisburg, Reading, and Lancaster; and Dave Hovel is named area SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania.  In this new position, Goldstein is responsible for creating new business and revenue opportunities, overseeing all programming, business and sales teams for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Eastern Shore stations.  He reports to division president Shosh Abromovich.  In his new role, Hovel oversees all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for the Salisbury, Wilmington, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, and Williamsport markets.

New Lineup at KIRO-FM, Seattle; ‘Tom & Curley’ Move to PM Drive.  It was a year ago that the “Candy, Mike & Todd” show – co-hosted by Candy Harper, Mike Lewis, and Todd Herman – took over for the “Ron & Don” – featuring Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill – in afternoon drive on Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Now, that show is gone and the late morning “Tom & Curley” program hosted by Tom Tangney and John Curley moves to afternoon drive, effective Wednesday (1/29).  While both Candy Harper and Todd Herman exit the station, Mike Lewis partners with the station’s Aaron Mason to host the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program.  The new late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) features award-winning Seattle journalist Ursula Reutin and the station’s Gee Scott, who moves from the evening daypart.  Regarding the afternoon drive change, KIRO-FM program director Bryan Buckalew says, “Tom and John are at the top of their game.  They have a unique ability to tackle the news from both sides of the issue, which consistently connects with listeners.”

Tim Weisberg New Host of Art Bell’s ‘Midnight in the Desert.’ Beginning tonight (1/27), radio pro Tim Weisberg takes over the hosting duties on the late-night radio show, “Midnight in the Desert,” the last program created by the late Art Bell.  Weisberg has been filling in on the program since 2018.  He currently serves as digital managing editor for Townsquare Media’s New Bedford, Massachusetts stations.  He’s also hosted the paranormal radio program/podcast “Spooky Southcoast” for 14 years – a project he’ll continue in addition to his new duties.  Weisberg has served as a writer/researcher/producer on paranormal television programs such as “Ghost Stalkers,” “Ghost Asylum,” and “Haunted Towns.”  He has also been featured in front of the camera on programs such as “Ghost Adventures,” “My Ghost Story,” “MonsterQuest,” “Most Haunted Towns,” and will be featured in two upcoming television series in 2020.  He is also the author of two books on the paranormal and is an award-winning sportswriter covering the New England Patriots and previously covering the Boston Celtics.  “Midnight in the Desert” was started by Art Bell in 2015.  The title of the program comes from a song written specifically for Bell by country music superstar Crystal Gayle.  Bell and subsequent hosts have continued to use the song, with Gayle’s blessing, as the program’s closing theme, something Weisberg said will continue.  “Although nobody will ever replace Art Bell, we at MITD think it’s important to honor his memory as the one who started it at all, especially this program.  While the best way we can pay tribute is to just continue to discuss these topics in a long-form, objective style, keeping the name and the theme song is just a small touch to make sure Art is never far from our thoughts.”

Round Three of Holiday PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 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 was December 5 through January 1.  Spoken-word radio always faces a challenge during the calendar month of December due to holiday-related lifestyle changes and Christmas music listening.  In this batch of markets, the most positive news comes out of Kansas City where, thanks to the success of the Super Bowl bound Chiefs, sports talk radio enjoyed increased listening.  Union Broadcasting’s WHB got a three-tenths bounce to finish with a weekly 6+ AHQ share of 3.9 – good for the #9 ranking.  Entercom’s KCSP adds a half share to land at 2.7 and the #15 ranking in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Don Steinberg wrote a piece – published Saturday (1/25) – for Philadelphia Magazine that’s a deep-dive into Philly-based Entercom.  Interviewed for the piece are CEO David Field, Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff, and others.  The story addresses the company’s struggling stock price, its efforts to establish a leading position in the digital audio entertainment realm, and former employees’ gripes about management style, among others.  Read it here…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is being asked by the U.S. State Department – via its Foreign Press Centers – to host a telephone briefing for foreign journalists to explain the Iowa Caucuses.  The briefing is non-partisan.  Conway says, “It’s a great honor to be asked.  The point is to make sure that journalists around the world understand the process and report it accurately.”…..Sports media personalities Mark Titus and Tate Frazier are joining FOX Sports and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One for the new “Titus and Tate” podcast, available in visual formats on FOXSports.com, the FOX Sports app and social media platforms.  The audio version from Westwood One is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more.  Westwood One is the exclusive audio distribution and ad sales representation partner of the “Titus & Tate” podcast..…Barstool Radio on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Miami Beach today through Friday, ahead of Super Bowl LIV.  Barstool’s biggest personalities, including Dave Portnoy, Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, Kevin ‘KFC’ Clancy, PFT Commenter, Kayce Smith, Willie Colon and others – will host their shows live from Tequila Chicas in the heart of South Beach…..The Mayo Clinic Radio team unveils the new “Mayo Clinic Q&A” podcast.  It features Mayo Clinic physicians, researchers, and care teams sharing knowledge about topics including cancer, heart health, scientific advances, artificial intelligence, and wellness.  Mayo Clinic Radio co-hosts Thomas Shives, M.D., and Tracy McCray anchor the new podcast.  Mayo Clinic Radio says, “While the weekly, hour-long ‘Mayo Clinic Radio’ program will continue to deliver easy-to-understand answers on more than 250 outlets across the U.S., each episode of the ‘Mayo Clinic Q&A’ podcast will highlight one subject.”  Dr. Shives adds, “With the resources of Mayo Clinic and thousands of physicians and medical experts supporting us, this tool is one more way to educate busy consumers on how to stay healthy and also help them learn more about serious or complex health topics.”…..iHeartMedia Denver announces that Mike Rice is the new play-by-play announcer for the Colorado Rockies baseball on flagship KOA, Denver.  Rice has been with KOA since 2002, serving in a number of sports roles, including studio host for the Denver Broncos, fill-in play-by-play announcer for the Colorado Rockies, and anchoring morning sportscasts.  He also serves as sports director for KOA, a position he will retain.  Rice joins Jack Corrigan, who is entering his 18th season as a play-by-play announcer for the Rockies.  In addition to play-by-play duties, Rice will host “Rockies All Access,” airing every Saturday on KOA…..Entercom sports talk outlet KRLD-FM, Dallas and the MLB’s Texas Rangers extend their broadcast deal to have the station continue to serve as the team’s radio flagship for the Texas Rangers Radio Network and the team’s English language radio play-by-play broadcasts…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show with host Chris Hill adds new stations KIFG-AM and KIFG-FM in Iowa City and WPVC-LPFM, in Charlottesville, Virginia to its roster of affiliates.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, Premiere Networks announces today that “The Sweat Hotel” – starring Keith Sweat – will move from the overnight daypart to the evening slot on iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WVAZ “V103.”…..Dallas rock outlet KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” unveils the lineup for BFD 2020, taking place Sunday, May 24 at Dos Equis Pavilion.  Featured acts will be: Disturbed, Chevelle, The Pretty Reckless, Dirty Honey, The HU, Puddle of Mudd, Badflower, and Dinosaur Pile-UpiHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Patrick Davis says, “‘The Eagle’ is delivering yet another stellar lineup to kick off the summer concert season with BFD 2020.  Fans of ‘97.1 The Eagle’ always expect a great lineup and this year’s will not disappoint them.”

Friday, January 24, 2020

| January 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter.  The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina.  She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016.  Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team.  I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”

Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns.  That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market.  And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show.  New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920.  In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage.  Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics.  New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio.  TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology.  The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.”  The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here.  For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.

TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio.  In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.”  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met.  We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career.  Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.”  This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month.  CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24.  The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November.  Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change 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. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group.  AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there.  They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market.  Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.”  They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show.  There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations.  The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

| January 23, 2020

Entercom Enlists Claritas to Assist with Attribution. This collaboration between Entercom and data-driven marketing firm Claritas will “enable advertisers to measure attribution and accurately determine the portions of their podcast and streaming campaigns that contributed to a purchase, store visit. or app download.”  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Podcasting is a critical and exciting business segment with exponential growth opportunities.  We are thrilled to partner with Claritas and integrate their measurement technology capabilities into our existing radio and digital audio attribution suite.  This new tool helps us fill a critical gap in the industry and allows us the ability to offer clients the opportunity to accurately measure ROI for podcasts and other digital campaigns.”  Entercom says that with its podcast footprint growing exponentially, it needed to expand its existing over-the-air and digital attribution capabilities to include the podcast medium.  The partnership with Claritas will allow advertisers to “calculate the total lift in business outcomes directly attributable to podcast and digital streaming and break out lift by the different components of a campaign, like target audiences, creative, geographic location visit, and more.  The measurement tools provide a valuable component to advertisers for their attribution capabilities to tie multichannel exposures to offline and online conversions and revolutionize the way campaign effectiveness is measured.”

WIP’s Angelo Cataldi Honored by Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. WIP-FM, Philadelphia morning drive host Angelo Cataldi was honored on Monday (1/20) with the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.  The award is named after the legendary Philadelphia broadcaster and recognizes local sportscasters, talk show hosts, and radio and television reporters who display an excellence in broadcasting.  Cataldi says, “This award has great meaning to me for several reasons.  First, it falls on the exact date of my 30th anniversary at WIP.  Second, it comes from the Philadelphia sports writers, a role which I’m very proud to have had.  Last, but not least, this award bears the name of one of my inspirations in broadcasting, Bill Campbell.  I will never live up to Bill’s legacy, but this award gives me more reason than ever to try.”  Cataldi has hosted mornings on the Entercom sports talk station since 1990.  Prior to that he was the Philadelphia Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Round One of Nielsen’s Holiday PPM Survey Released.  The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  The Holiday book is rarely good news for news/talk, all-news, or sports stations as the all-Christmas music stations grab a lot of the cume in each market and listeners’ routines are disrupted by holiday activities.  Still, there are some positive stories to tell from this year’s Holiday survey.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTRH, Houston posted a half share increase over the December survey to land at a 4.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share).  Entercom’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” added a one-tenth share – the fifth positive move over the last six surveys to rise from July’s 2.8 share to the Holiday survey’s 5.0 share.  Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises six tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 7.3 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Talking Freedom in Hong Kong. Pictured above is “Free Talk Live” co-host Mark Edge (right) with a freedom activist (left) in Hong Kong.  Edge tells TALKERS magazine that he went to Hong Kong to report on its freedom movement, noting that “at ‘Free Talk Live’ we care about freedom everywhere in the world.”  Edge says that since the activists were asking Western media to come and report on their movement, they thought it was important.  He says there were about 400 people in attendance for an event on a Wednesday at noon and about 20 counter-protestors waving Chinese flags that the activists believe were paid to be there.  The five-finger hand gesture seen above symbolizes the five demands the activists are making: withdrawal of the extradition bill (which has happened), amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leader.

TALKERS News Notes. News pro Katie Couric and iHeartMedia announce the “Next Question with Katie Couric” podcast is returning to the iHeartRadio platform for season two.  iHeartMedia says that in the second season, “Couric will continue to examine critical issues like America’s staggering maternal mortality rate, the environmental impact of meat consumption, the most cutting-edge health and wellness regimens, and the 2020 presidential election.”  The first episode drops today and examines the Equal Rights Amendment and the history of an effort that began in 1923.  Season two will also debut additional bonus episodes called “Next Question Live” – taped in front of a live audience in which Couric hosts intimate conversations with CEOs, entrepreneurs and business trailblazers.  Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown kicks off the series discussing how his career in professional sports inspired him to make sustainable, fashionable shoes…..Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces its plans for coverage of Super Bowl LIV week in Miami.  Its NFL Radio channel will be broadcasting live from Miami with personalities Gil Brandt, David Diehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Torry Holt, Pat Kirwan, Ed McCaffrey, Jim Miller, Kirk Morrison, Brady Quinn, Charlie Weis, Solomon Wilcots, Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Clayton and Howard Balzer on site.  Additionally, the play-by-play of Super Bowl LIV will be broadcast in seven languages, including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), German, French, Hungarian, and Portuguese…..The nationally syndicated home show “The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” with host Tom Kraeutler adds new affiliate stations WMOV-AM, Ravenswood, West Virginia; WBLF-AM, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania; and KMAD-AM, Madill, Oklahoma…..Condolences to the family and friends of media broker Glenn Serafin, who passed away on Monday (1/20) at 69 after suffering a massive stroke.  Serafin served two terms as president of the National Association of Media Brokers from 2013-2017.  Prior to founding Serafin Bros in 1993, he spent eight years specializing in domestic broadcast brokerage and finance as a vice president of international investment banking firm Communications Equity Associates.  Earlier in his career, he served in news, sales, and management at The Associated Press.

SRN News to Cover Trump at March for Life. When President Trump becomes the first U.S. president to make a live appearance at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC tomorrow (1/24), Salem Radio Network will provide live coverage.  The network will provide an unanchored audio feed of the president’s remarks for affiliate stations beginning at 12:00 noon ET.  SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Donald Trump will be the first president to address the pro-life march in its 47-year history.  Previous occupants of the Oval Office have only sent written messages or addressed the annual March for Life via speakerphone.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Davos 2020, and Hawaii Cop Slayings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The impeachment process taking place in the U.S. Senate; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Bernie Sanders; concerns about the Wuhan Coronavirus and China’s quarantine of Wuhan City; the subject of climate change at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and Hawaiian legislators’ response to the killing of two Honolulu police officers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WOR, New York, Morning Co-Host Michael Riedel Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Broadway theater critic-turned-political-news/talker Michael Riedel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Riedel, along with Len Berman, is the co-host of the morning show on WOR, New York in which he presents the conservative perspective and Berman expresses the liberal point of view on today’s hottest issues. Harrison and Riedel talk about the state of today’s highly polarized national conversation focusing on the nature of Donald Trump and the extraordinary role he is playing as an agent of change in these turbulent times. 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Portland hot AC KKCW “K103” announces the new morning show is “K103 Mornings with Stacey & Mike,” effective February 3.  Mike Chase joins iHeartMedia after exiting Entercom’s crosstown country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” in October where he co-hosted the morning show.  Chase is being partnered with “K103” afternoon personality Stacey Lynn for the new AM show.  iHeartMedia Portland market president Pete Landry says, “‘K103’ has a long history of extraordinary morning shows and I couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter.  Both Stacey and Mike are experienced broadcasters who love what they do.”…..In Dallas, Mac Daniels exits Cumulus Media’s country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” and sister country KSCS “New Country 96.3” where he’d been program director since 2016…..Cochise Media Licenses enters into an agreement to sell classic rock KDVK-FM, Dove Creek, Colorado to Desert Explorer Communications, LLC.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

| January 22, 2020

New Talk Format to Launch on WTZA, Atlanta. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, local entrepreneur Will Regan is leasing WTZA-AM, Atlanta and translator W271CV at 102.1 FM to air a news/talk format featuring Atlanta talk radio icon Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive.  Peterson will continue to work with show cast members Pete Davis, Jim Gossett, and producer Brent “Flounder” Dundon.  Peterson was most recently heard in the market on WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” (now WAKL) prior to Cumulus Media selling the signal to Christian broadcaster Educational Media FoundationMike Brooks, who also hosted a show on “Talk 106.7,” is slated to host the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Regan tells Ho that he’s still looking for morning and midday hosts.  The station is expected to debut on February 3.

Impeachment, Trump at Davos, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Honduran Immigrant Caravan, Putin’s Power Grab, and Megxit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s battle in the Senate over procedure for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the various topics Trump addressed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November; the Wuhan Coronavirus affecting China and the first confirmed case in the U.S. in Washington state; the status of the migrant caravan attempting to get from Honduras to the U.S.; Vladimir Putin’s attempt to re-engineer the Russian constitution to remain in power; and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s move to Canada were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Networks Gear Up for Super Bowl LIV. Radio networks covering Super Bowl LIV are announcing their plans. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the National Football League – is presenting play-by-play of the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2.  Kevin Harlan handles the play-by-play with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner as the lead analyst.  Former NFL referee turned rules analyst Gene Steratore joins the radio broadcast booth.  Former All-Pro offensive lineman Tony Boselli returns for a fourth straight year as sideline reporter and is joined by longtime field reporter Laura Okmin, who is making her debut on the Super Bowl crew.  Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime coverage with appearances by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New England Patriots quarterback and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.  Westwood One is producing the hourlong preview show “Seven Days to Sunday — The Road to Super Bowl LIV” that airs each evening from January 26 through February 1, hosted by Scott Graham and co-hosted by a different WWO analyst each night.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Sports Network – is on site in Miami during Super Bowl week broadcasting its shows from Radio Row at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell”; and “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker” will emanate from the Convention Center while AT&T/DIRECTV’s “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show” will broadcast live from South Beach.

TALKERS News Notes. Arkansas Business reports that Cumulus Media has downsized at the Little Rock cluster and that three staffers from news/talk KARN-FM’s news department have exited.  The publication says news and traffic anchor Chris Ingram, anchor and reporter Heidi Sohl, and traffic reporter Chris Counts are all out…..In the Twin Cities, reporter and air personality Danny Cunningham leaves Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM “SKOR North” after his contract was not renewed.  Cunningham – who co-hosted the “Vikings Vent Line” show and hosted the “Raised by Wolves” podcast in addition to his reporting duties covering the NBA’s Timberwolves – announced his departure via social media…..Lima News reports that Woof Boom Radio’s sports talk WWSR, Lima, Ohio “93.1 The Fan” has filled the afternoon drive daypart with “The Drive With Marty Bannister.”  He takes over after longtime market sports personality and PM drive host Vince Koza succumbed to cancer in December.  Bannister is currently play-by-play announcer for Ohio University’s men’s and women’s basketball.  He also serves with Spectrum TV and the Ohio High School Athletic Association radio network…..Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman and current WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” morning drive personality Tra Thomas was honored by his hometown of DeLand, Florida last weekend.  The city re-named Eastside Park and Playground after Thomas during a ceremony that was part of a number of events linked to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.  Thomas has stayed active in charity efforts in the city where his parent’s still reside, helping fund Our Daily Bread, a nonprofit outreach ministry at Bethel A.M.E. Church that provides bagged groceries, and clothing; paying off his church’s mortgage and purchasing a bus for the church; and buying books for the Tra Thomas Book Club with the Boys & Girls Club of DeLand, the DeLand Library and the Chisholm Community Center…..Sison Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT, Burlington adds Envision Networks’ “60 Seconds of Service” to its programming, airing twice daily each week.   The one-minute feature spotlights the men, women, and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities…..Late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon is being honored with induction into the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame.  The induction takes place on June 6 at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark as part of the 2020 Awards Banquet at the MBA annual convention.  Bohannon’s program is syndicated nationally via Westwood One.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Emily Boldon – who serves as vice president of AC formats and STRATUS music scheduling for Cumulus Media – moves back to the company’s Atlanta headquarters.  Boldon had been working from the company’s Providence cluster and was serving as program director for AC WWLI “Lite Rock 105.”  With the recent arrival of new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske – who is also the new PD of WWLI – Boldon is free to return south.  Cumulus VP of programming operations John Dimick says, “If there was ever any doubt about Emily’s programming acumen, she proved her skills with the tremendous growth and continued success of ‘Lite Rock 105’ Providence while maintaining our company’s leadership in the AC format.  Now it’s time to bring her back to Atlanta where she can continue to lead our AC stations and focus more of her time and effort on improving the company’s STRATUS system.”…..UJA-Federation of New York names SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein its Music Visionary of the Year.  He’ll be recognized for his exceptional professional accomplishments and commitment to philanthropy at the annual Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon on June 4 in New York City.  Daniel Glass, president & founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group and vice chair of UJA’s Entertainment, Media & Communications Division, says, “Scott’s vision and leadership have made an indelible impact on the world of music and entertainment.  Scott is the perfect recipient of this prestigious award because he is always ahead of the cultural and technology curve.  He is responsible for the discovery and growth of so many careers.”…..On-air pro Robyn Cisar exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC KURB-FM, Little Rock “B 98.5” where she was co-host of the morning drive “Kevin and Robyn Show” with Kevin Idol.  She posted on Facebook, “It’s all still a blur, but news travels fast.  I have never loved a job more than I did working with Kevin on ‘B98.5.’  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do what I did.  I’ll always remember it and treasure the memories.”…..Skyview Networks’s “The Dana Cortez Show” adds two new affiliates as Campesina’s KBHH, Fresno “Forge 95.3” and KBDS, Bakersfield “Forge 103.9” add the show to their program lineups…..Big Radio names three new program directors to its Rock County radio operations.  Paul Michaels assumes the programming duties for rock WWHG “105.9FM – The Hog”; Micki Morgret is program director for 90s-formatted WBEL-AM/W222AU, Beloit/W255CZ, Janesville “The Beat 92.3FM and 98.9FM”; and Greg “Big Red” Hanthorn is the new PD for country WGEZ-AM/W270CW, Beloit “Iron Country.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

| January 21, 2020

Beasley Ups Justin Chase to Chief Content Officer. Programming pro Justin Chase is promoted from his EVP of programming position to chief content officer for Beasley Media Group.  The company says that in his new role, Chase “will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of on-air content and digital on behalf of the company.”  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Justin has done an incredible job overseeing our company’s on-air brands.  I look forward to him enhancing and expanding our content on all of our on-air and digital platforms across the company.”  Chase comments, “I am so grateful to the Beasley family and the entire corporate staff for their support and confidence in me taking on this new role within the company.  The programming and digital teams at Beasley are first class and I feel lucky to be surrounded by the best of the best every day.”

Lori Burgess Rises to Chief Operating Officer for Beasley Esports. Another executive promotion at Beasley Media Group has Lori Burgess moving from her chief digital content officer post to chief operating officer at Beasley Esports.  Prior to joining Beasley in her previous position, she consulted for the company on integrated marketing strategy.  Speaking about her new role leading Beasley Esports, Burgess says, “The esports industry is on the verge of going mainstream.  Our timing and expansion into this space will firmly poise Beasley Media Group to own and influence the next generation of consumers.  The company’s ability to provide compelling esports content, leverage strategic partnerships, and compete at the most elite levels will ensure our foundation as this sector begins to dominate the media and sports-market/entertainment conversation and commands more sponsorship partnerships.”  Burgess served for more than two decades in the publishing industry with brands including: The Hollywood Reporter, Prevention Magazine, Conde Nast’s Mademoiselle and House & Garden; Elle Magazine; Seventeen Magazine, and Niche Media.

Crossover Media Group to Partner with Just the News for Podcasts and Video.  In yesterday’s edition of TALKERS, we wrote about the coming launch of the news organization, Just the News – a multi-platform news operation founded by award-winning investigative journalist and commentator John Solomon.  Today, it’s being announced that Crossover Media Group – a cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales firm – is entering into a partnership with Just the News to produce, sell, and distribute its audio and video programming.  CMG will handle advertising sales and distribution of the video and audio content and assist in production of programming that will be found at JustTheNews.com.  Among the inaugural audio programs will be: “John Solomon Reports,” a twice-weekly podcast featuring the veteran investigative reporter and editor in chief of Just the News; “David Brody’s Pods Honest Truth,” hosted by longtime CBN correspondent and Just the News senior contributing editor David Brody; and “The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast,” featuring the Emmy-Award winning investigative television correspondent.  The first “John Solomon Reports” podcast drops today at 3:00 pm ET and offers listeners new information regarding the discussion around the Ukraine matter at the center of the presidential impeachment trial.  Crossover Media Group managing member Ron Hartenbaum says, “Over the course of more than three decades reporting from the nation’s capital, John’s award-winning work has propelled him to senior positions at The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and the Center for Public Integrity, among other prominent organizations.  His gutsy, contrarian, enterprise journalism has unearthed insights that have helped drive the national conversation, stirred controversy, and withstood scrutiny.”  Solomon adds, “Ron and I have worked on projects for many years and his command of the audio/video marketplace, his relationships and his visionary insights are priceless.  We are excited by the extraordinary capabilities of Crossover Media Group and can’t wait to get started.  There’s an incredible opportunity to cut through the noise in Washington with exclusive reporting and analysis.”

Beasley and Bonneville Officers Co-Chair Media Financial Management Summit. The 2020 CFO Summit takes place March 5-6 at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale presented by The Media Financial Management AssociationBeasley Media Group CFO Marie Tedesco and Bonneville International CFO Kent Nate – along with E.W. Scripps SVP, controller and treasurer Doug Lyons – will serve as co-chairs for the conference.  This 14th edition of the annual summit “provides an exclusive forum with real solutions to the challenges that CFOs face every day.”  Topics include an update from the Federal Reserve; an equity analyst’s look at cybersecurity concerns for media businesses; the future of media; local advertising; podcasting; political advertising issues and outlook; leadership; and a CFO roundtable.

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Putin Power Grab, Honduran Migrant Caravan, Chinese Coronavirus, Virginia Gun Rally, and NFL Championship Games Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The process for handling the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Vladimir Putin’s push for constitutional changes in Russia that would extend his rule; a migrant caravan headed from Honduras to the U.S. is stopped at the Guatemala-Mexico border; fears of a global pandemic as China deals with the fast-spreading Coronavirus; the gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship Games 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. At Hubbard Radio’s Chicago hot AC WTMX “The Mix,” afternoon drive co-host Jennifer Roberts, a.k.a. Jennifer Ashrafi, is leaving her role with the station to take a new corporate communications position.  Roberts, who co-hosted the show with Koz, a.k.a. Kevin Koske, announced the move in a social media post: “A lot of people get prematurely put ‘on the beach’ in this business and I’m thrilled that I’m making my exit completely on my terms.  There was no threat on the horizon, just a calling in my soul for something better.”…..In West Palm Beach, Hubbard Radio announces that programming pro Randi West joins the cluster as the new program director of hot AC WRMF and CHR WMBX-HD2/W242CI “Party 96.3.”  West was previously program director for iHeartMedia’s hot AC WMTX, Tampa.  Hubbard West Palm Beach operations manager Bruce Logan says, “WRMF is a one-of-a-kind radio station – huge heritage call letters, remarkably successful in ratings, and revenue with one of the best morning shows in the entire industry in ‘KVJ.’  We knew we needed a one-of-a-kind program director to match.  Randi’s passion and vision for the future as well as her energy made her the right fit.  I am thrilled to welcome Randi to the team and cannot wait to get out of her way and let her make WRMF even better.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

| January 20, 2020

When You Walk Through a Storm:  Cox Media Group Expresses Empathy and Interest in Talk Radio Pros Upended by iHM Layoffs.  The news/talk format coordinator of Cox Media Group, who also serves as the company’s senior operations & program manager for WSB and Cox Media Group Atlanta, has informed TALKERS that there could be employment opportunities available at Cox for displaced broadcasters down the road.  Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS, “With the depth of recent layoffs, a lot of incredibly talented people are finding themselves in a new position – out of work.  Please just know that we’re thinking about each of you and are always interested in speaking about future opportunities within CMG, especially in spoken-word formats.”  Anderssen invites people who lost their jobs to contact him at either Drew.Anderssen@cmg.com or 404-897-6233.

Monday Memo: He Saw This Coming on Stilts. In the aftermath of – and fearing aftershocks from – last lweek’s iHeart talent cull, consultant Holland Cooke warns “you will get CHILLS” when you read how specifically this was predicted…in 1995.  And Cooke explains why times remain opportune for stations and their ex-employees.  Read it here.

Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Virginia Gun Rights Rally, Putin Power Grab, and SAG Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The impeachment process and the selection of President Trump’s legal team; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the protests that have rocked Iran in the aftermath of the down of a passenger jet and the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions; the gun rights rally taking place today in Richmond, Virginia; Vladimir Putin’s move to change Russia’s constitution to extend his rule; and Sunday evening’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Journalist John Solomon Launches New Digital News Outlet.  Award-winning journalist John Solomon announces he’s creating a new media outlet called Just the News, that he says will “address the growing need for fact-based, impartial news and compelling digital content.”  Solomon, who has served as a journalist and executive at such new organizations as The Hill, The Washington Times, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, says, Just the News will “deliver exclusive news, podcasts, books, polling, and video content showcasing some of the most respected and trusted journalists and editors in news media today.”  Longtime Washington Times senior editor Daniel Wattenberg is the news outlet’s managing editor.  Senior contributing writers include David Brody, the long-time correspondent from the Christian Broadcast Network; former CNN political director Christine Dolan; and Lee Smith, author of the best-selling book The Plot Against The President.  Solomon says more hires and partnerships are expected to be announced in the next few weeks and the JusttheNews.com website is slated to launch within the next month.  He adds, “True journalism has been on the decline for years as major media companies have built business models that push agenda-driven news, click-bait content and opinion masquerading as fact, fueling mistrust and contempt from the American people.  As the fallout from the recent Russia collusion narrative exposed, journalists today too often rush to get their stories first and then are left to hope they are right.”  Just the News will be headquartered in Washington D.C. and consist of four divisions dedicated to web-based reporting, video journalism, podcasting, and long-form nonfiction book publishing.

Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Celebrated. On Friday night (1/17), iHeartMedia produced the second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards live at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.  The program was also streamed live via LiveXLive.  Winners this year included “The Dropout” from ABC News taking Podcast of the Year honors, The New York Times winning Best News Podcast for “The Daily,” and Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People” taking home the Best Political Podcast honors.  Pictured above is Conan O’Brien celebrating his winning the Best Comedy Podcast for “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”  See all the winners here.  Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio pro Scott Ferrall exits his late-night show with CBS Sports Radio to join SportsGrid to host two new video streaming programs.  “Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast” streams from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, followed by “In-Game LIVE” streaming from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Both shows emanate from SportsGrid’s Meadowlands Studio and debut on January 29.  SportsGrid says, “‘Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast’ and ‘In-Game LIVE’ will serve the obsessed frenetic sports fan with live pregame and in-game wagering odds, moneylines, statistics, strategies, and insights with expert gaming analysis from Scott and his many guests.”…..Today (1/20), “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” debuts in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET daypart on ESPN Radio and simulcast on ESPNEWS.  ESPN says, “The show will further the most-timely conversations from that morning’s edition of ESPN’s marquee debate show, “First Take,” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and host Molly Qerim Rose.  Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show to provide his unique brand of commentary. A powerful lineup of sport-specific experts, as well as callers, will also add their reactions to propel the discussion.”…..Entercom names the new radio broadcast team for Boston Red Sox baseball on flagship WEEI-FM, Boston.  Handling play-by-play will be 37-year Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione along with Will Flemming, Sean McDonough, and Lou Merloni…..iHeartMedia Delaware air talent Scott Klatzkin is named 2019 Delaware Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.  Klatzkin is the voice of the University of Delaware Blue Hens.  This is the fourth time he has won the honor, having previously been selected in 2016, 2012, and 2009.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Hubbard Radio does a talent shuffle on heritage rock outlet KSHE.  Twenty-nine-year station personality Guy “Favazz” Favazza moves from afternoons to morning drive with current morning personality John “U-Man” Ulett (who joins the show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am).  Lauren “Lern” Elwell heads from mornings to the afternoon drive daypart, and Mark Klose – who hosted mornings at KSHE from 1977 to 1983 – takes over the midday show.  Station brand and content director Marty Linck comments, “These moves pair The U-Man and Favazz (both KSHE’s longest-running talent) together in morning drive, and gives Lern a great platform to connect with our fans as a standalone on-air personality.  In addition, having Mark Klose re-join the staff during the work day and bring back ‘Klose’s Cut Above’ at noon will really help further cement our position as the rock music authority in St. Louis.”…..Pictured below is Coldplay performing at RADIO.COM’s brand new, state-of-the-art HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles Friday night.  The inaugural RADIO.COM Live event featured the band playing some of its classic hits, as well as some songs from the new album, Everyday Life.  The special performance was attended by a small audience of Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles listeners and was streamed nationwide on RADIO.COM.  Photo: Tim Norris/Getty Images for RADIO.COM

Friday, January 17, 2020

| January 17, 2020

KXNO, Des Moines Cutbacks Reversed; PD and Hosts Rehired. According to a report by WHO-TV, Des Moines, after some serious blowback from listeners about the firing of six programming staffers from sports talk KXNO as part of a company-wide downsizing, iHeartMedia Des Moines market manager Joel McCrea sought from corporate and was granted permission to bring them back to their positions. Program director Andrew Downs; “The Morning Rush” personalities Travis Justice, Heather Burnside, and Sean Roberts; and “Sports Fanatics” hosts Chris Williams and Ross Peterson will return to their jobs. The story says in addition to the re-hiring, KXNO will be simulcast on (currently alternative) KDXA-FM at 106.3 FM beginning next week.

Newsmax TV Reports Increasing Viewership. According to recently released Comscore data, Newsmax TV shot past Bloomberg Television in total household reach, household coverage area rating, and average audience for the week of December 9, 2019.  It also topped C-SPAN in household coverage area rating for the same week.  Comscore’s data indicates that for the week of December 9, 2019, Newsmax TV had a total reach of 2.64 million households compared to 1.63 million for Bloomberg Television.  Comscore reports Newsmax had 1.03 million weekly viewers as of August 26, 2019.  By the broadcast week of December 9, 2019 Newsmax TV’s household reach had increased to 2.65 million households, reflecting both an increase in distribution of 21% and a disproportionate increase in reach.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “This is a major milestone for us.  Our content is resonating with Americans across the nation who are hungry for a fresh alternative to FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels.”  Ruddy adds that the network will make major lineup changes, announcing new programs in the coming weeks and months.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Weight of History in an A.D.D. World!” looks back at this past week of January 13-17, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; Trevor Smith, radio presenter, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Kilcoyne Exits KFNS, St. Louis. Sports media pro Martin Kilcoyne has left his on-air role with Randy Markel’s sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Frank Cusumano.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that Kilcoyne, who also works as sports director at KTVI-TV, says his television duties have expanded.  He adds that the time spent producing podcasts with St. Louis Cardinals television announcer Dan McLaughlin played a role in his decision.  Prior to rejoining KFNS, Kilcoyne did a five-year stint with CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS, St. Louis as a general issues host.

Allegretto to Lead Cumulus in Fort Walton Beach. Sales and management pro Ashley Allegretto rises from her regional sales manager, digital position with Cumulus Media’s Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola markets to vice president and market manager for the Fort Walton Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTW-AM “NewsTalk 1260” and four music-formatted stations.  Cumulus regional VP Pete De Simone says, “We are thrilled to promote Ashley Allegretto to lead this cluster.  Her passion for this community and her understanding of how to use our brands and our digital assets to help clients grow their businesses make her an effective leader.”  Allegretto adds, “Over the past 13 years I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our radio stations can have for local businesses and organizations in our community. I am eager to build on our past accomplishments and lead this group into our next round of success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Ocala, Florida morning show hosts Larry “The Giant” Whitler and Robin MacBlane are leaving their posts at Generations Broadcasting Corporation’s news/talk WOCA-AM/W242CA after today’s program.  They have been doing mornings at WOCA since 2002.  They’d previously worked together hosting a children’s show on WTMC – a signal that went dark in 2004.  The Ocala Star Banner reports that the two will continue to work together collaborating on children’s books and music…..Entercom all-news KYW, Philadelphia is inviting listeners to its “Executive Briefing” event, presented by Independence Blue Cross, Thursday, January 23 at 7:45 am.  KYW says this invite-only event “offers listeners the opportunity to listen to and take part in an in-depth discussion about the biggest issues facing the Philadelphia area and the nation in 2020.”  KYW Newsradio afternoon drive host Ian Bush will moderate the discussion that includes station anchors and reporters: Pat Loeb, city hall bureau chief; Mike DeNardo, education reporter; Cherri Gregg, community affairs reporter; Jim Melwert, KYW suburban bureau chief; and Kristen Johanson, crime and justice reporter.  Guests will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions during the final 20 minutes of the event.  Breakfast will be served courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar prior to the start of the event.  Listeners interested in attending the event can register online…..Beasley Media Group announces Chris Ornelas is named general counsel for the company, effective February 1.  Ornelas was most recently with the National Association of Broadcasters as chief operating and strategy officer in which he was responsible for overseeing the operations of and providing strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today…..Lemonada Media announces a new podcast called “Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett,” hosted and executive produced Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett and his wife Pele.  Lemonada, whose programs are distributed and repped by Westwood One, says “the series explores personal and provocative topics ranging from love, sex, parenting, the NFL, and politics.”  The first episode drops on January 31…..Entercom is being honored at the Project Voice Awards with the “Samsung Bixby Capsule of the Year” for its RADIO.COM integration.  The awards honor global best-in-class achievement across the emerging voice and AI realm and took place at the organization’s annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15.  Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re honored to be recognized among industry leaders by Project Voice.  This award is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovating in voice and to enhancing the consumer experience.  With Bixby, we were able to expand the reach of RADIO.COM to millions of listeners and engage with them whenever and wherever they are with an optimized presence.”

Cox Media Group Gets Deadline Extension to Sell Ohio Newspapers. Due to a ruling by a three-judge panel at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Cox Media Group must divest of its Ohio newspapers to avoid said newspapers having to reduce publication to three days per week.  Even though the company had been operating a radio station and newspaper in the southwestern Ohio region since 1935, the Court revived the rule prohibiting operating both.  The FCC appealed the three-judge ruling to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal was denied.  Now, CMG has until March 16 to complete a sale to a party that can publish the Dayton Daily News seven days per week.  Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie says, “We applaud the decision by the FCC and are grateful for the extension.  News does not conveniently schedule itself three days a week and we felt a reduced print schedule would negatively and severely impact the newspapers, our employees and the communities we serve.  CMG and Apollo have been pushing for this outcome because we feel that maintaining a daily publication schedule is the absolute best way to continue to produce the solid and timely journalism that our readers deserve.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 13-17. Not surprisingly, the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump were the most talked about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and the Democratic debate from Des Moines.  Coming in at #3 was the Iran crisis and U.S. foreign policy, followed by the U.S.-China trade war and the economy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this 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. At Omaha hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5,” NRG Media launches an all-female morning show with current morning host Nikki Oswald and afternoon drive time personality Laura Blenkush.  The company says it will be the only all-female duo morning show in Omaha.  KQKQ program director Jay Michaels says, “Taking two of our highly talented personalities, and pairing them together for an all-female morning show is the obvious move when targeting women.”  Oswald was most recently partnered with Matt Tompkins, who recently moved over to NRG’s classic hits KOOO “THE NEW 101.9 The KEG” to host the morning show…..Two nationally syndicated programs land on Cumulus Media stations in South Carolina.  First, the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy is the new morning show at hip hop WDAI-FM, Myrtle Beach.  Programmer and air personality Mike “BigMMike” Bell says, “We are excited to bring ‘The Breakfast Club’ to The Grand Strand.  As Myrtle Beach’s source for hip hop and R&B, what better way to enter a new era than with the “World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show?”  Second, the Compass Media Networks-distributed “DeDe in the Morning” show with DeDe McGuire, Lady Jade, Rudy Rush, and comedian Michael Shawn assumes the morning drive daypart at Cumulus’ hip hop WYNN, Florence.  Bell, who also programs WYNN and handles afternoon drive, says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning show to Florence.  As the market leader, it was important that we went with a brand that can be trusted to deliver great entertainment our listeners will love.  DeDe is a seasoned vet and I’ve been a fan of her work for years.”

Thursday, January 16, 2019

| January 16, 2020

WBZ-AM, Boston Cuts Four Air Staffers in ‘Employee Dislocation.’ News of which on-air personalitiesiHeartMedia has let go in its “employee dislocation” program continues to become known.  The Boston Globe reports that Boston’s heritage all-news WBZ-AM is losing four news staffers.  Gone are political commentator Jon Keller (who continues to serve with CBS TV at WBZ-TV), morning drive news anchor Deb Lawler, sports anchor Tom Cuddy, and talk show host Bradley Jay.  It’s not clear yet if the station will ask other staffers to share those duties or if they will be handled remotely.

More iHeartMedia Cuts. In addition to the downsizing noted in the story above, here are more of the broadcasters who lost their gigs with iHeartMedia stations whom TALKERS magazine has learned about: Joe Concha, “WOR Tonight” host, WOR, New York; Cliff Avril, sports talk host, KJR, Seattle; Chris Merrill, talk host, KOGO, San Diego; Marilyn Harris, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Jarred Diglio, APD, WRKO, Boston; Dale Donovan, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Lori Schmidt, sports reporter, WTVN, Columbus; Dario Melendez, sports talk host, WRNW, Milwaukee; Shea Raftus, producer, WRNW, Milwaukee; Dan Nawrocki, PD and host, WSPD, Toledo; Jerry Pickering, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Don Zellers, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Joe Gallagher, weekend host, WGY-AM/FM, Albany; Tank Spencer, host and news anchor, WWNC, Asheville; Tony Bristol, program director, WTAG, Worcester; Carl Falk, sports talk host, WHTK, Rochester; Cameron Hendricks, news director, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Dianne Zanin, reporter, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Alex Womer, host, asst. production director, WFNN, Erie; Bill Hickok, sports talk host, KBMR, Bismarck; and Steve Bortstein, program director, KCQL, Farmington, New Mexico.

iHeartMedia Ups Three Programmers to EVP. In conjunction with iHeartMedia’s new Markets Group structure, the company promotes three of its senior programming executives to division executive vice presidents of programming for the iHeartMedia National Programming Group, effective immediately.  Jeff Hurley, Tony Travatto, and Angela Watson Charles join current EVPs of programming Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, Maynard, and Gene Romano.  They report to National Programming Group COO Brad Hardin.  Each member of the EVP of programming team will partner with the company’s division presidents, “collaborating with each Division to provide national programming assets, services and resources.”  Here’s how it breaks down: Mitchem and Jeffries will work with Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck and the Region Division, comprised of the company’s largest markets (i.e. New York and Los Angeles); Romano and Maynard will work with division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd and the Metro Division.  Travatto, Hurley, and Watson Charles will work with division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford and the Community Division.  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “We’re excited to add Angela, Jeff and Tony to our already extremely talented executive vice president of programming team.  They each have deep experience building great local brands with a blend of math and magic, and they’ll provide excellent leadership to our programmers in our Community Division markets.”

Doug MacGunnigle Rises to PD for WPRO and WPRV in Providence. At Cumulus Media’s Providence station group, programmer Doug MacGunnigle is promoted from assistant program director to program director for news/talk stations WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM under new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske.  MacGunnigle has been APD since October of 2017.  Cumulus Providence VP and market manager Holly Paras says, “Doug MacGunnigle is a tremendous asset to our news/talk stations.  With 20 years’ experience in Providence radio, Doug knows the market and stations inside and out.  He was the natural choice to lead WPRO and WPRV moving forward.”  MacGunnigle comments, “I grew up listening to WPRO and it is truly a humbling honor to be given an opportunity to lead this legendary radio station.  I look forward to helping bring these stations into the future, while continuing to protect and grow WPRO’s legacy as one of the great news/talk stations in the country.”

Joe Pags Fills Afternoon Role at KXNT, Las Vegas. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is the new host of the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Pags’ program is based at iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio and is syndicated via Compass Media Networks.  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring the energy and passion of Joe Pags to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley.  With Americans facing another crucial election year in 2020, his common-sense approach to current events and natural ability to navigate breaking news will fit perfectly in our already superstar KXNT lineup.”   The Joe Pags Show also recently added iHeartMedia’s WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio and Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Phil Valentine’s New Podcast Takes Off. WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive host Phil Valentine says his newest podcast, “I’m Calling Bovine Scatology,” is already charting on news and politics formats on Apple Podcasts.  He reports the show is ranked at #130 on the news chart and #35 on the politics chart.  Valentine jumped into podcasting a year ago with his son, Campbell, on their podcast, “The PodGOATs.”  It was a top 10 History podcast for all of 2019 on Podbean.  Valentine says, “Look, podcasting is to radio what FM was to AM in 1968.  I worked for the first FM talker in the country – the late WWDB in Philadelphia.  WTN, where I am in Nashville, was one of the first FM talkers.  I’m used to being on the cutting edge.  Trust me, podcasting is where everything is going.”  Valentine, who says his show finished 2019 as the #1 talk show in Nashville with a 12.9 share with Men 25-54, inked a new deal with Cumulus Media last year that includes a deal to sell advertising on his podcasts.

WSB, Atlanta Broadcasting in HD. Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is now broadcasting in HD on the 95.5 frequency.  Cox Media Group moved WSB’s transmitter and antenna in August of 2019 from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta.  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “Combined with the recent transmitter and antenna move, listeners will get an even more enhanced sound coming from their speakers on HD-enabled radios.  The addition of HD is another part of the ongoing strategic move WSB has made to offer our listeners the best possible listening experience and our advertisers the best possible exposure for their goods and services.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth is serving as guest host on the nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” today and tomorrow (1/16-17).  Hayworth served six terms in Congress and for years hosted his own daily talk radio program in Phoenix.  He’s also filled in for such national hosts as Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Mike Huckabee.  The “Todd Starnes Show” is heard on some 60 affiliate stations and is distributed by Hamilton Strategies…..WGCL-TV, Atlanta reports that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has named talk radio personality Martha Zoller – along with two other appointees – to a seven-year term on the Georgia state Board of Education.  The body makes policy for Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students.  Martha Zoller currently hosts the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia.  In addition to her radio career, Zoller was an aide to U.S. Senator David Perdue from 2014 to 2018.  She served on Governor Kemp’s campaign.  She left her radio career to run for Congress in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to Doug Collins, who won the seat…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on what he calls the “musical chairs” in the news department at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM.  He says the station wanted to move current afternoon drive news anchor Lauren Cohn to middays, along with news director John Dempsey’s move from mornings to afternoons and Nick Gale’s move from middays to mornings.  But Cohn apparently viewed the move as a demotion and fought it.  As it turns out, Dempsey will move to middays and Gale will anchor during Erich Mancow Muller’s morning show…..Nationally syndicated host and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 22nd radio anniversary on February 1.  She’s also the author of The Selfish Path to Romance (2011, Winans Kuenstler Publishing, LLC) and she can be booked for interviews in advance of Valentine’s Day by reaching out to syndication@drkenner.com…..Affiliates of Envision Networks nationally syndicated financial talk show “The Jared Dillian Show” – hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian – can receive the show’s podcasts to include as part of their program offerings on their websites.  Dillian says, “I’m pleased we’re able to make parts of the show available in one of my favorite formats.”  “The Jared Dillian Show” is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks.

Dan Brady Promoted at Dr. Laura’s Take On the Day LLC. Media pro Dan Brady is promoted to director of podcast operations & program audio for Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Take On the Day, LLC.  In this role, Brady will be responsible for managing the Dr. Laura podcasts, including the “Call of the Day,” as well as the Dr. Laura Family Premium podcasts.  Take On the Day co-owner Geoff Rich says, “Dan has been critical to the success of Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ podcast, growing it to over 2.5 million listens per month in two years and making it a top 10 podcast in Apple Podcasts Kids and Family and Parenting categories.  It’s a thrill to tap into Dan’s knowledge, experience and creativity.”

British Broadcaster Graham Mack Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran British talk personality and program director of FIX Radio in London, Graham Mack, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Mack take a deep dive into the major international news stories emanating from the United Kingdom – including the rise of Boris Johnson and the latest developments regarding Brexit as well as Megxit – the crisis facing the Monarchy in the wake of the Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex bombshell. Don’t miss this fun, fascinating, and informative conversation! 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.

Impeachment Moves to Senate, Presidential Election, Putin Power Grab, U.S.-China Trade Deal, Record Dow/The Economy, and MLB Sign-Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate and Lev Parnas’ interview on CNN; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the row between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; the Russian government resigns as Vladimir Putin seeks constitutional changes to remain in power; Trump’s trade deal with China; the Dow closes over 29,000 and the roaring U.S. economy; and the MLB’s sign-stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

New Studios for Griffin Communications’ Radio Stations in Tulsa. The five Tulsa, Oklahoma radio stations owned by Griffin Communications have moved to the company’s eight-year-old facility on North Boston Road.  The stations – including news/talk KFAQ and four music brands – join the company’s television properties.  The facility was constructed in 2011 for the television stations with room left over for the future expansion that it would ultimately use for the radio stations.  Griffin CEO David Griffin says, “We are very excited to bring these stations home.  Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites, and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market and provides an unmatched footprint.  Additionally, it provides these radio stations with new, state-of-the-art studios and synergy opportunities so that they can continue to serve Green Country with exceptional content and broadcasting capabilities.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow night (1/17), Coldplay will perform at the inaugural RADIO.COM Live event series in front of a small audience of KROQ, Los Angeles listeners to mark the grand opening of the new HD Radio Sound Space – a state-of-the-art entertainment hub – in the heart of Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard. Entercom’s RADIO.COM will stream the special performance live nationwide starting at 7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We’re honored Coldplay will kick off the RADIO.COM Live event series at the grand unveil of the HD Radio Sound Space.  We are excited to offer fans exclusive access to this once-in-a lifetime performance, live via the RADIO.COM app and website nationwide as well as on select HD Radio stations. This is the first of many events that we will be hosting live from the heart of the city and we are looking forward to giving fans everywhere insider access.”…..Entercom names “Nick and Kristen” (pictured at left) the new morning show on country KWJJ, Portland “99.5 The Wolf,” effective January 22.  The duo was most recently the morning drive show at Bonneville International’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  They say, “We are so thrilled to work alongside [SVP/MM] Kim Martinez and [OM/PD] Scott Roddy.  Both are dynamic and inspiring leaders in our industry who elevate their staff and their stations.  We’re equally as excited to share our lives and bring the best new country to Portland.”…..Air personality Kacie Kozman is officially named midday host at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB Phoenix.  Kozman has been hosting the daypart since Ian Camfield exited last month to join Entercom’s alternative KVIL, Dallas.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

| January 15, 2020

iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success.  iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms.  Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours.  As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide.  iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in.  This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies.  During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.  That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”  Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.

Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show.  Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day).  But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year.  That affected his plans for continuing into 2020.  He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me.  The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots.  But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green.  Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future!  Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs.  This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs.  This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs.  It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface.  This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers.  Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here.  If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station.  The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years.  WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does.  Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas.  His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!”  Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’  I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’  Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

| January 14, 2020

iHeartMedia’s New Markets Group Structure. The company says that the changes are being enacted as it modernizes “to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.”  iHeartMedia adds that it has “made significant technology investments to change everything from how it sells advertising to how it utilizes data and builds new businesses like its digital platform, podcast platform, and robust data platform.”  iHeartMedia explains it is now grouping “its markets by common needs and characteristics into three distinctly different divisions to make sharing of resources and experiences easier and more targeted.”  Greg Ashlock will continue to serve as president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.  Now, the group breaks down as follows: The Region Division comprises the company’s largest markets, like New York and Los Angeles, that each reach hundreds of cities, communities, and trading areas for local businesses.  It will be led by division presidents Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck; The Metro Division houses markets that are large areas that still encompass multiple communities – but are not regional hubs like the company’s largest markets.  The Metro Division will be led by division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd; The Community Division includes markets that focus on the shared needs of one community and one trading area for most businesses and advertisers and will also group markets into areas which are geographically close and culturally similar.  The Community Division will be led by division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford.  iHeartMedia also says it will use “its new technology- and AI-enabled Centers of Excellence – which consolidate functional areas of expertise in specific locations to deliver the highest quality products and services – for every market, enabling each to take advantage of the company’s scale and shared resources across programming, marketing, digital, podcasts, sales and sales support to provide a better experience for listeners and business partners and a more efficient process for all of its employees.”  Additionally, the company is creating a new division “that cuts across all markets – the very successful Multi-Market Partnerships (MMP) Division headed by Julie Donohue, who is elevated to president of MMP with responsibility for this business.”  As part of these moves, the company’s Integrated Revenue Strategies group, led by president Hartley Adkins, will be merged into the iHeartMedia Markets Group and Adkins will become chief operating officer of the Markets Group working closely with Greg Ashlock.

Newsmax TV Launches ‘Greg Kelly Reports’ in Evenings. Former U.S. Marine and television news broadcaster Greg Kelly joins Newsmax TV as the network debuts his “Greg Kelly Reports” program at 7:00 pm ET.  After leaving the Marines, Kelly became morning news anchor at WIVT-TV, Binghamton, New York.  He worked for several years at FOX News before spending almost 10 years as co-host of “Good Day New York” on WNYW-TV “FOX 5.”  Newsmax TV EVP of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “Greg Kelly comes with compelling new skill sets to our network.  His military experience and his years as a frontline TV journalist differentiate him from prime-time hosts on other channels and allow him to examine the day’s news from a unique and insightful perspective.”  Kelly – the son of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – says, “I am very curious.  I find that many people in the media have lost their curiosity.  They just want to let you know what they know.  I like to take a different approach.”  The “Greg Kelly Reports” show debuts tonight (1/14).

Entercom’s Buffalo Market Manager and Sales Administrative Manager Exit. The Buffalo News has the story of the sudden departure of longtime Entercom Buffalo market manager Greg Reid and sales administrative manager Lynn Hooper.  The paper reports the two were fired suddenly – Reid was reportedly called while on vacation and let go – and wonders if their dismissal is related to the company’s admission that it inadvertently failed to post required political advertising information on its website in a timely manner, prompting the FCC to broaden its look into the company’s public file practices.  However, Entercom has been reducing expenses at local clusters for several months via downsizing and it’s possible Reid and Hooper were simply victims of budget cuts.  The News reports that general sales manager Tim Holly is serving as interim market manager.

Report: WGN-AM Cuts Ties with Crain’s Chicago Business. Windy City media reporter Robert Feder has the story here.  He writes that Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago “abruptly severed its longstanding partnership” with Crain’s Chicago Business after the publication wrote a speculative piece about Nexstar prepping the radio station for a sale.  Nexstar acquired WGN-AM along with Tribune’s television stations and it is its only radio property.  Crain’s reporters made regular appearances on WGN shows and WGN’s website hosted the “Crain’s Daily Gist” podcast.  That has been removed.

TALKERS News Notes. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the hiring of two executives as it moves to separate into two publicly traded companies.  David Rawlinson is named chief executive officer of the consumer behavior analysis division Global Connect.  He was most recently president of global online business at Grainger.  Also, Linda Zukauckas is named the chief financial officer for Nielsen.  Both appointments become official on February 3…..Four of Alpha Media’s Chicagoland stations are expected to move into new digs at the Gurnee Mills mall in the far northern suburbs in February.  News/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha and rock WIIL, Union Grove in Wisconsin and Spanish sports WKRS and hot AC WXLC in Waukegan, Illinois are moving as part of a deal to bring foot traffic to the mall.  The village of Gurnee is paying Alpha $200,000 to assist in the transition and the radio stations will host 32 events at the mall each year and provide $129,000 per year in radio ad time to the mall…..QUU – a company specializing in RDS/HD in-car stereo display technology – names Steve Newberry chief executive officer, effective April 1.  Newberry has been serving as EVP for industry affairs and strategic planning at the National Association of BroadcastersBeasley Media Group is among QUU’s investors.

Impeachment/Russians Hack Ukrainian Gas Co, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Pensacola Base Shooting Ruled Terror Attack, Megxit, and NFL Playoffs/College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the allegation Russia hacked the Ukrainian gas company central to the impeachment issue; the rift between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and tonight’s debate in Des Moines; the domestic tensions in Iran and the White House’s rationale for killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; Attorney General William Barr rules the Pensacola naval base shooting was an act of terrorism and seeks Apple’s helping opening the assailant’s phones; the Sussex’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth over their stepping away from royal life; and the weekend’s NFL games and last night’s College Football Championship 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. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “Rick and Sasha Show” adds programmer and production pro “Smokin” Tony Richards to the team of the urban AC morning show now heard on more than 25 stations.  Richards has worked as a drive time personality and programmer in markets including New York, Houston, Philadelphia, DC, and Chicago.  He says, “This show is going to the moon, and I want to be a part of it.  Rick and Sasha are two people who I feel are the future of radio.  I am here unselfishly to help the team make it happen.”…..In Dallas, Entercom’s alternative KVIL “ALT 103.7” names Ian Camfield afternoon drive personality.  Camfield was most recently midday personality at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ 93.3.”  As a result of Camfield’s arrival, Mark moves from afternoons to AM drive.

Monday, January 13, 2020

| January 13, 2020

Monday Memo: CES2020.  In his annual TALKERS report on the massive tech event formerly-known-as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” consultant Holland Cooke sees opportunities for radio broadcasters.  Read it here.

U.S.-Iran Tensions, UIA Flight PS752 Downing/Tehran Protests, 2020 Presidential Race, Harry and Meghan Saga, Australia Bushfires/Climate Change, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Qassem Soleimani; Iran’s shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 and protests in Tehran against the Iranian regime; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; the royal saga in Great Britain as Harry and Meghan look to leave their royal roles; the devastating Australian bushfires and the question of whether climate change is a factor; and the NFL’s playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bob Mackay to Lead Entercom Austin. Sales and management pro Bob Mackay is promoted to senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Austin station group that includes news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370” and music brands KKMJ “Majic 95.5,” KAMX “Mix 94.7,” and KKMJ-HD3 “The New Hot 95.9.”  He was most recently general sales manager for Entercom’s Houston operations.  Entercom regional president Brian Purdy states, “Bob has earned the trust and respect of his teams and clients alike and we are thrilled he is remaining at Entercom.  As general sales manager he delivered outstanding results and we are excited for him to bring his energy and drive to Austin.”

Alana Lujan Joins Entercom for DOS Role in Houston. As referenced in the story above, Bob Mackay’s promotion to lead Entercom’s Austin cluster left his director of sales post open at the company’s Houston station group.  The company announces that Alana Lujan will assume the DOS post, effective January 27.  She’ll oversee sales for sports talk outlets KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK-AM “CBS Sports Radio 650” and four music-formatted stations. She was most recently director of sales for Cox Media Group.  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments. “Alana is well respected in the market due to her extraordinary ability to lead sales efforts and I’m happy to bring her back home to Houston.  Her recent experience in digital sales will be an especially valuable asset as we continue to develop new and innovative ways to serve our clients through RADIO.COM.”

KMG Utopia Studios to Launch Podcast for Bourbon Aficionados. Louisville-based bourbon expert and editor-in-chief of Bourbon+ Magazine Fred Minnick will host “The Fred Minnick Show” being produced by Krantz Media Group’s KMG Utopia Studios.  Minnick also produces the Bourbon & Beyond music festival and just inked a deal with Shelter Music Group management firm.  A story by Sarah Shadburne in Louisville Business First says the podcasts consist of interviews with musicians for whom he paired a bourbon.  “Minnick got the bulk of his interviews at [music festivals] Bourbon & Beyond, Hometown Rising, and Louder Than Life, with the help of Gary Krantz, founder of Krantz Media Group.  It set up a small studio in the artist area each weekend of festivals for Minnick’s interviews.”  Shadburne quotes Krantz saying, “We feel [it’s] a unique offering.  Those three festivals are so unique in combining the bourbon lifestyle and music …that’s why artists love to talk with Fred, because it’s a different kind of interview.”

Former AE Sues Entercom for Sex-Based Discrimination, Breach of Contract and More.  As an account executive, Maria McBride worked for sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia from April 2011 through September 2018.  The station was owned by CBS RADIO for most of that period.  In her suit against Entercom, she alleges she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events.  When she asked for help and complained, she says her complaints were met with hostility.  She states she developed health issues as a result of her working conditions and alleges the company did nothing to help.  She also claims she was denied a bonus in violation of her contract and eventually fired.  She’s seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Galaxy Communications Makes Upstate NY Programming Moves. Syracuse radio personality and programmer Rainman is leaving his afternoon drive show on Galaxy’s simulcast WKRL, Syracuse/WKLL, Utica  “KROCK” and will focus on “The Sportszilla Show” heard on WTLB-AM/WRNY-AM/W243DY, Utica “ESPN” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and on WTLA-AM, Syracuse from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Meanwhile, Big Smoothie moves from evenings on “KROCK” to PM drive and Rainman shifts to the evening show.  Galaxy CEO and president Ed Levine comments, “With these two promotions, we get to improve both ‘ESPN’ and ‘KROCK.’   Rainman is getting to fulfill his longtime dream of doing sports talk fulltime and Big Smoothie is getting to fulfill his goal to be back on the radio in afternoons fulltime.”

TALKERS News Notes. Via a press release, Premiere Sports Network’s says FOX Sports Radio personality Colin Cowherd had a successful 2019.  Premiere reports that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” podcast amassed more than 70 million total listens in 2019.  “The Herd” radio show experienced “double-digit growth in December 2019,” with average quarter hour audience increasing +43% with Adults 25-54 and +51% with Men 25-54. (Source: Nielsen Audio, PPM, Exact Times, AQH, Dec. ‘19 vs. Dec. ’18).  The radio show airs simultaneously on FOX Sports Radio, iHeartRadio, and FS1 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm ET…..The nationally syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” show adds new affiliates KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas and KMAD-AM, Madill, Oklahoma to its roster of stations…..Podcast producer Cadence13 is launching a new program called, Unlocking Us, hosted by internationally renowned researcher and five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Brené Brown.  The series is scheduled to debut at SXSW in March with two stage appearances featuring Brown in conversations with activist and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, on the topic of empathy, and with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, on the topic of vulnerability…..Broadcasting industry executive Joel Chaseman died on Saturday (1/11) in North Bethesda, Maryland at age 93.  Chaseman was the manager of WINS-AM, New York when the station dropped the CHR format and flipped to all-news in 1965.  Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to vice president for radio for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Station Group.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Omaha, NRG Media flips KOOO from classic rock to adult hits as “101.9 The Keg.”  NRG says the station has been playing in the classic rock arena for several years, but with the addition of long-time programmer Jay Michaels, NRG Media is taking the station adult hits.  Former sister KQKQ personality Matt Tompkins will host the morning show. Crash Davis will handle middays and Mike Neville hosts afternoon drive.  NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “I am beyond excited to have Jay leading the charge from the programming and music side, while veteran on-air talent Matt Tompkins will kick-off the day with a fun, new, and entertaining morning show on ‘The NEW 101.9 The KEG.’”…..Two programming staffers have exited Cumulus Media’s New Orleans station group.  Program director Paul “Gonzo” Cannell – who was in charge of alternative WZRH “ALT 92.3,” country WRKN, and classic hits KKND – is out as is WZRH music director and afternoon drive personality Ashley Hollier…..In the Virginia Beach market, Jay West joins Max Media as afternoon drive host for adult contemporary WVBW “92.9 The Wave.”  Max Media Hampton Roads VP/GM Keith Barton says, “We at Max Media are more than thrilled to have Jay join our team.  He’s a talented and passionate radio guy through and through.”…..WWRZ, Fort Meade, Florida morning personality Eric Michaels adds program director duties for the Hall Communications-owned adult hits station.  Michael, who has been with the station for more than 19 years, says, “I’m thankful to Hall Communications for their faith and trust in me to help this family owned company continue to grow.”

Friday, January 10, 2020

| January 10, 2020

Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000.  Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show.  “Memphis is my hometown.  And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South.  Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station.  Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians.  And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.”  Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results.  Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build.  After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home.  We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years.  I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”

WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time.  WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John CatsimatidisRed Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio.  He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks.  He’ll officially exit the company next month.  Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan.  Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title.  At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”

Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years.  In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands.  Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team.  The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”

SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan.  As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group.  Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years.  Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award.  She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team.  We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”

Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump.  Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change 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.

Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey.  Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change.  “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane.  The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4).  Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.”  See the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13).  WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media.  The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksDeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence.  We are going to have some fun together.”  As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.”  Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig.  In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties.  Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family.  There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

| January 9, 2020

Chad Benson to Join KTAR-FM, Phoenix for Afternoons.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Chad Benson is not giving up his Radio America-syndicated show – he’ll continue to host it at its new live feed time of 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET (beginning January 20) – but he’s joining air personality Larry Gaydos on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix “News 92.3 FM” as co-host of the station’s 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show, effective January 21.  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “Chad is one of the most talented and energetic talk show hosts that I’ve ever seen.  I can’t wait for he and Larry to inform and entertain the KTAR audience on their way home each day.”  Mac Watson had been hosting the KTAR afternoon show with Gaydos, but he exited the station in October.  Speaking about his new gig, Benson says, “I am beyond excited to be partnering with Larry Gaydos – one of the most talented men in radio – on one of the most iconic stations in the country.  Here we come Phoenix.”  At the same time, Bonneville says KTAR-FM is adding “Arizona’s Evening News” to its daily lineup – a full hour of news, traffic, and weather starting each weeknight at 6:00 pm.

Report: 60 Million U.S. Adults Own Smart Speakers. According to the latest edition of The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 from Edison Research and NPR, 24% of U.S. adults own a smart speaker device.  That’s about 60 million people 18+.  That’s up from 21 million at the end of 2018 and 7 million at the closing of 2017.  The report includes video interviews with study panelists who explain how they acquire new smart speaker skills and from where they get recommendations about new content.  As far as discovery is concerned, 45% of those surveyed say they get new skills or actions for their smart speaker from family and friends.  Many panelists said that after the initial ownership period passed, they stopped trying to see what else the smart speaker could do and now rely on it for a handful of the same tasks.  The report found that 69% of smart speaker owners agree they don’t know enough about them to use all of their features.  See more about the study here.

Emmis Communications 2019 Fiscal Q3 Net Revenue Flat.  Issuing financial data for its 2019 fiscal third quarter, Emmis Communications reports net revenue of $10.7 million, flat compared to the same figure in the fiscal third quarter of 2018.  Net revenue for the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 was down 5.3% to $29.3 million, compared to the same period in 2018.  For the fiscal 2019 Q3, Emmis posted an operating loss of $6 million, up 61% from the $3.2 operating loss posted in Q3 of fiscal 2018.  During fiscal 2019, Emmis closed on its sale of its 50.1% interest in Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million and the sale of its controlling interest in New York’s WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM that netted $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note, and a 23.72% stake in Standard General’s Mediaco Holdings – the new controlling owner of the stations.

U.S.-Iran Relations/Soleimani Killing, Iran Plane Crash, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Megxit, Puerto Rico Earthquake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  The relations between the U.S. and Iran after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the deadly crash of a Ukrainian jet in Tehran and speculation about the cause; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” from senior royal duties; and the conditions in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of recent earthquakes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The newest addition to the ESPN podcast lineup is Scott Van Pelt, who launches “SVPod” on January 14.  The late-night “SportsCenter” host’s weekly podcast will include long-form interviews, commentary, and expanded takes on his “One Big Thing” segment on SportsCenter.  Van Pelt says, “As much as I enjoy the ‘SportsCenter’ show we get to do at midnight, it doesn’t always provide the time and space for all I want to get to.  I look at interviews we had with Patrick Beverley, Matthew McConaughey, or Rakim as examples of times when the conversation was so interesting to me that it went on far beyond what we had room for on TV.”…..Compass Media Networks announces its slate of top-ranked, exclusive college basketball broadcasts that begin Sunday (1/12) with defending Big Ten Tournament champions Michigan State taking on Purdue.  Compass general manager for sports Michelle Salvatore says, “Our 2020 college basketball schedule continues Compass Media Networks’ decade-long reputation of excellence.  The teams, storylines, and rivalries cultivated and offered year in and year out are incomparable.  We are proud, once again, to offer our affiliates and corporate sponsors the best of college basketball and look forward to continuing this decade-long distinction.”  Find out more about the entire schedule of games here…..Two new episodes of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein” debut today (1/9).  They are hosted by ABC NewsMark Remillard and are available on numerous platforms.  Also, the two-hour primetime television special, “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” airs tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on ABC TV.

Newsmax President/CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The journalist and entrepreneur who launched Newsmax in 1998 and built it into one of America’s most successful and influential multi-media platforms, Christopher Ruddy, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Newsmax.com ranks consistently as one of the country’s most-trafficked news websites and Newsmax TV has enjoyed a rapid ascent to prominence in the cable news/talk TV arena with a current presence in 70 million cable homes across America. Harrison and Ruddy discuss today’s politics including the election, the state of cable news/talk television and insights drawn from his personal friendship with President Donald Trump. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The urban morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” (pictured below), syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks, adds 10 new affiliates in the New Year, including: WJXM-FM, Meridian, Mississippi; WIBB-FM, Macon, Georgia; and WMNX-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina.  The program — hosted by Angela Yee, Charlamagne Tha God, and DJ Envy — is now heard in 90 markets across the country…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is re-branding its evening country radio show, changing the “NASH Nights Live” show starring Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith to “Nights with Elaina,” hosted by Smith.  The program will launch on February 3.  Smith says, “I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last six years of my life with the best country music fans in the nation every single weeknight, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to continue connecting with them with a new show, ‘Nights with Elaina.’  If there is one thing I’ve learned that listeners and stars have in common, it’s that we’re all just trying to figure out life and have fun while doing it.”  Shawn Parr is exiting the network…..The nationally syndicated urban show “DeDe in the Morning” adds eight new affiliate stations.  The program, starring DeDe McGuire, is a syndicated effort from Service Broadcasting Group’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and Compass Media Networks.  Service Broadcasting director of operations and GM and brand manager for the program Geo Cook says, “DeDe’s unique content and strong connection to culture and community are fueling a revolution of perception about how women can lead and dominate ratings in morning drive.  We are thrilled that DeDe’s show is growing rapidly and spreading more laughter and fun in new markets.”  The show is currently heard on 35 affiliate stations…..Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing on oldies WHRY, Hurley, Wisconsin and oldies WVVE, Grand Marais, Minnesota – home of the “World’s Tallest Indian” – a 52-foot fiberglass statue of tribal leader Hiawatha.  Envision says, “Listeners to the stations are hearing the legendary Wolfman Jack’s famous antics, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and comedy bits every Saturday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.”…..All Pro Broadcasting names Santiago Romero afternoon drive host at hot AC KHTI, Riverside “Hot 103.9.”  He was most recently with Entercom’s CHR KLUC, Las Vegas handling on-air, imaging and production duties…..On-air pro Eva Matteson is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” at the end of next month.  Matteson has been dealing with health issues and told listeners she wants to focus on those and spend more time traveling.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

| January 8, 2020

Elliot Jacobson Joins Newsmax TV as EVP of Programming/Chief Content Officer. Television executive Elliot Jacobson joins Newsmax TV as executive vice president of programming and chief content officer.  He most recently held the same position with Comcast-backed Baby Boomer-targeted network RLTV.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Elliot comes to Newsmax with a significant career in content strategy, programming operations, and production.  We’re excited because Elliot has a tremendous background in content and will help us implement our 2020 plans and beyond.”  Jacobson began his career as a news producer in Spain and has held positions at news and entertainment networks and production companies over the last 25 years.  He has consulted extensively on programming strategy and operations for emerging networks domestically and internationally.  He is a frequent speaker on the subjects of Boomer audiences and consumers.  He says, “I have followed Newsmax’s extraordinary growth over the last several years and I am enthusiastic to join the team.  Chris Ruddy has positioned Newsmax to become a critical source of news and information in the media landscape.”

It’s Official: Rush Limbaugh Renews with iHeartMedia. During his rally in Miami over the weekend, President Trump revealed that Rush Limbaugh had signed a new – the president said – four-year deal with iHeartMedia’s Premiere Networks.  In an official release, iHeartMedia says the “specific terms” are not being announced but “long-term, multi-platform agreement reflects The Rush Limbaugh Show’s decades-long dominance in the talk radio format, including increased audience levels and revenue.”  In a statement, Limbaugh says, “Growing up, dreaming of and pondering success, I never actually envisioned it to the degree I have experienced it.  And it would not have happened without a huge audience of Americans, people who make the country work; hundreds of great radio stations who took a great risk 31 years ago; and the wonderful people at iHeartMedia, who know radio almost as well as I do.  Now, four more years!  There is nothing I would rather do!”

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 December 2019 PPM survey, today reporting on the public radio news/talk format.  Public radio talk fared better than its commercial news/talk “cousins” in the build-up to the holiday season with half of the stations on our panel see positive weekly 6+ AQH share movement and only 32% of stations seeing a decline when comparing November to December data.  The year-over-year comparison – December 2018 to December 2019 – shows about half the stations were up (48%) and the other half went down (52%).  Two public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: WAMU-FM, Washington and KUT-FM, Austin.  However, five public radio news/talk stations ranked #2 in their markets.  See all the data here.

TALKERS News Notes. At Salem Media Group’s KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1FM The Answer,” Rush Limbaugh now airs in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart.  The Premiere Networks superstar moves there from Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KARN-FM.  FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade assumes the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot at KARN-FM…..Production pro Jody Avirgan leaves his senior editorial producer position with ESPN where he produced and voiced the “30 For 30 Podcasts.”…..Podcast producer cabana adds two new programs to its portfolio of shows.  “Voices for Justice” is a true crime program hosted by Sarah Turney, whose sister Alissa went missing in 2001.  “ONE Extraordinary Marriage” is co-hosted by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, marriage coaches and co-authors of 7 Days of Sex Challenge.  cabana SVP of business development Frank DeSantis says, “We’re excited about 2020 and kicking off the new year with these two great podcasts.  Our advertisers are eager for podcasts that tap into the interests and emotions of listeners.  We look forward to working with Sarah and the DiLorenzos and to bringing their audiences to national advertising brands.”

Iran Air Strikes/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/The Economy, Hunter Biden Paternity Case, and Puerto Rico Earthquakes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). Iran’s strikes against U.S. bases in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the activity in the financial markets and the health of the U.S. economy; a judge rules Hunter Biden is the father of the child of a former DC stripper; and the earthquakes wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico 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. In Houston, Jessie Watt joins the cast of “The Morning Mix” on Entercom’s hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5” alongside air personalities Sarah Pepper and Geoff Sheen.  Watt comes to Houston from her most recent position at the company’s WYCD, Detroit where she was the on-air producer for the “Chuck, Rachael and Grunwald in the Morning” program.  Watt says, “I am beyond thrilled to be joining Entercom Houston’s incredibly accomplished ‘Mix 96.5’ team.  I feel lucky to be able to spend my mornings working and laughing with the fiercely talented Sarah Pepper and Geoff Sheen and am extremely excited for the opportunity to work under [market manager] Sarah Frazier and [program director] Chase Murphy.”…..iHeartMedia and FOX Entertainment announce the nominees for the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards that will air live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 29 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  The event also will be broadcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital platform.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes says, “The iHeartRadio Music Awards is a true celebration of the music and artists that millions of fans listen to every day on their favorite radio stations across the country.  FOX’s young and engaged audience has proven to be the perfect home for our iHeart listeners.”  You can see the nominee list here…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated hip hop show “The Breakfast Club” is now airing on Cumulus Media’s hip hop WMNX, Wilmington, North Carolina “Coast 97.3.”  WMNX program director and afternoon drive host Brandon “Bigg B” Hickman says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning to Wilmington with breaking hip hop and R&B with Angela Yee, Charlamange the GOD, and DJ Envy.  This addition pushes the urban culture forward with topics from trending news, finance, and politics wrapped up in a music intensive show on the way to work.  They and we are the culture!”

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

| January 7, 2020

Good Karma Names Jacobsen PD for ‘ESPN Madison.’ Sports talk and news/talk radio pro Mike Jacobsen is named program director for Good Karma Brands-owned sports talk outlet WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison,” effective January 13.  Jacobsen has served with WGN-AM, Chicago as producer of the morning drive show, as well as sports talk shows hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh.  He was most recently the director of education at Illinois Media School.  Good Karma Madison vice president and market manager Keith Williams says, “We’re excited to have Mike Jacobsen join the ‘ESPN Madison’ team to lend his expertise and ear to an already exciting and growing lineup.  His previous leadership roles and passion for the radio industry make him a perfect fit to lead the team to new heights.”  Jacobsen comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to help lead such an incredibly talented lineup and teammates in one of the best sports towns in the country.  It’s truly an honor to be a part of the innovative and ambitious Good Karma Brands team as we continue to grow the ESPN Wisconsin brand.”

Mike Rhyner Retires from ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas. After 26 years with Dallas sports talk radio station KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” afternoon drive personality Mike Rhyner is retiring from the station immediately.  Rhyner made his announcement via a YouTube video in which the 69-year-old broadcaster told fans the decision to retire was entirely his.  He said, “The time is right. It has been my life for 26 years, probably more than it should have been.  I loved everything about the radio station.  I loved being on the air, being with the guys, the road trips with the guys. I will miss it terribly, no doubt.”  Rhyner has been co-host of the afternoon drive show, “The Hardline,” since the station launched in 1994.  Rhyner notes that the station has been through four owners, numerous general managers and yet has consistently achieved phenomenal ratings.  “We’ve seen it grow into something that none of us could have possibly imagined.”  The Dallas Star-Telegram quotes Rhyner’s co-host, Corby Davidson, saying, “He’s very happy with his situation.  This has everything to do with a guy who has decided it’s time.  We should all be so lucky.  We all owe everything to him.”

Chris Berry Promoted to EVP of News, Talk and Sports for iHeartMedia. Radio executive Chris Berry is promoted from SVP to executive vice president of news, talk and sports programming for iHeartMedia.  Berry will continue to provide strategic guidance for the company’s spoken-word formats and connect key advertisers with iHeartMedia’s news, talk, and sports audiences.  Since 2011, Berry has managed iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News Source and was upped to SVP in 2017.  He’ll continue as format brand manager and provide oversight for NBC News Radio and the 24/7 News Network, reporting to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She says, “Chris has tremendous programming experience and he’s been a valuable asset to our team for nearly a decade.  As the spoken-word format continues to grow, his leadership and vision will help ensure we’re strategically positioned to provide the best content across multiple platforms, while delivering unparalleled results for stations and advertising partners.”

Little Rock Sports Talker Exits Station in Wake of Theft Accusation. KATV-TV, Little Rock reports that sports talk radio host Eric Sullivan has exited Signal Media’s KABZ-FM, Little Rock “103.7 The Buzz” after a staffer at a local restaurant accused him of taking $409 from her purse.  KABZ confirmed to KATV-TV that Sullivan, host of the early afternoon “Out of Bounds” show, is no longer with the station.  Sullivan has not been charged.  Authorities say the money was returned to the restaurant staffer and it’s now up to her whether she wishes to file charges or not.  Sullivan issued the following statement to KATV-TV: “I need to address something to you all: I’ve made a monumental career mistake & I take full responsibility for it, I let many people down as well as the listeners and great people at 1037 the Buzz and I will own that for the rest of my life.”

Cumulus Toledo Names Dana DiModica VP and Market Manager. Radio sales pro Dana DiModica is promoted from director of sales and local sales manager to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Toledo station group that includes sports talker WTOD “The Ticket ESPN 106.5 FM” and six music brands.  DiModica says, “I am honored and excited to be able to lead this wonderful group of people in Toledo.  I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by our CEO Mary Berner and executive vice president Bob Walker.  Having spent my entire radio career in the area, I know the impact our radio stations have in our community, with our listeners, and the relationships with our clients.  I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that impact as vice president/market manager of Cumulus Toledo.”

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is accepting entries for the NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service, to be presented during the We Are Broadcasters Celebration on April 21 during the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Finalists will be announced next month.  Entry submissions must be received by January 31.  You can submit entries here…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is promoting two staffers to full-time positions.  Jennifer Keiper becomes the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm anchor.  Her duties include reporting into the early evening as well as a Sunday shift.  Andy Dahn moves into the anchor role Sunday through Thursday evenings.  He’s also charged with boosting the station’s social media presence in late nights and overnight.  WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says, “Jennifer and Andy have shown tremendous reporting ability both in the field and in the anchor chair.  Their flexibility and talents will enhance our news coverage, helping make WBBM even stronger as election season approaches.”…..Boston public media organization WGBH is beefing up its news department with a news bureau in the Central Massachusetts city of Worcester.  The bureau will house a fully equipped broadcast studio providing easy access for interviews and will be equipped to stream digital video to platforms such as Facebook Live.  WGBH News says it plans to collaborate with local colleges to develop internship opportunities with the new bureau and will use it as a convening space for local organizations…..Entercom’s KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” announces it is airing “live and local programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the Texans are in the postseason.”  Program director Armen Williams adds, “Coming off the most amazing Texans victory in franchise history, the city of Houston is buzzing.  We’re proud to be able to feed their hunger for this franchise by talking Texans around the clock.”…..On the national level, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is presenting weekly, live two-hour broadcasts of “You Better You Bet” (in partnership with The Action Network) to preview the NFL playoff games.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “As the NFL postseason gets underway, our listeners can turn to their favorite sports betting show for all of the insight and advice they need leading right up to kickoff.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play coverage of all four NFL playoff games this weekend.  Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, and Scott Kaplan will call the Vikings at 49ers game; Brandon Gaudin, Ross Tucker, and Laura Okmin have the Titans at Ravens game; Kevin Kugler, Trent Green, and James Laurinaitis are working the Texans at Chiefs game; and Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, and Hub Arkush are calling the Seahawks at Packers game…..The Utica Comets hockey club and Galaxy Media Partners extend their broadcast partnership for another six years.  As part of the deal, in addition to airing all 76 regular season and playoff games on rock WKLL-FM, Utica “94.9 KROCK,” a new and extended 30-minute pregame show has been added to gameday coverage with hosts Rainman and Scoop.

Saga Communications Strikes Deal with Aptivada for Online Promotions. Radio operator Saga Communications signs a company-wide, multi-year agreement with Aptivada for it to provide online contesting, marketing, revenue, and promotions.  Saga director of digital strategies Eric Christian says, “In 2020, Saga is focused on creating unique and innovative solutions for audiences and clients within 120 of our local stations.  Aptivada’s offering of multiple products on one platform will allow us to provide cutting-edge ideas to our partners with the confidence that all audience and client data is stored securely and privately – which is also a top priority for us.  We look forward to this partnership and all the success it will bring.”

Iran General Killed/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Facebook Bans Deepfakes, Harvey Weinstein Case, Australian Bushfires/Global Warming, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The aftermath of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and tensions in the Middle East; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Facebook announces a ban on deepfake videos; embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – with a trial set to begin in New York – is charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles; the bushfires ravaging southeastern Australia and questions about whether climate change is a factor; and Sunday evening’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the contemporary Christian format.  See how those stations performed compared to the November survey, the December 2018 survey and more here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Long Island morning radio duo “Roger and JP” are celebrating 20 years together on Cox Media Group’s classic rock WBAB, Babylon, New York.  Roger Luce (right) and John “JP” Parise (left) began working together in 2000.  Luce had years of radio experience in the market and served as PA announcer for New York Islanders games.  Parise was a van driver for the station before they got together on the radio.  In addition to their WBAB morning gig, they also host an 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on CMG’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.”…..iHeartMedia names Mike McCabe program director for CHR WZFT, Baltimore “Z104.3,” effective January 20.  McCabe was most recently PD and afternoon drive personality at the company’s CHR WERZ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “Z107.”   iHeartMedia Baltimore SVP of programming Mike Preston states, “McCabe’s extensive programming background combined with his passion for the pop music landscape makes him the perfect fit for this position.  We are thrilled to welcome him to Baltimore as we kick off Z104.3’s 11th year as Baltimore’s number one hit music station.”…..Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer and Hot Wings” program is added to the schedule at Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF, Evansville, Indiana as the new morning show.  WGBF brand manager Kat Mykals comments, “We are excited to start the new year and the new decade with a new era in morning rock radio as we welcome the ‘Free Beer and Hot Wings’ morning show to WGBF-FM.  With their amazing chemistry and authenticity, the show is a natural fit as we continue to be Evansville’s and the Tristate’s home for ‘Everything That Rocks.’”…..Magnum.Media unveils the new classic country format on WBOG, Tomah, Wisconsin.  Magnum staffer Robin Jon Olson is returning to the airwaves to host the morning drive show.  He says, “After two years focused on the sales and production side of radio, I’m excited about adding back to my duties being on the air.  Hard to believe I played those 80s country songs as current hits, and now I get to play them again.  A lot of great country music came out in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  By focusing on this era of country music, ‘BOG Country’ isn’t in direct competition with another station in our market.”…..CMT and iHeartMedia announce their renewed partnership and multi-year extension that includes the two syndicated radio programs, “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”  Pictured below are (from l-r): Cody Alan, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt, and executive producer of CMT Radio content and programming partnerships Ashlee McDonald.

Monday, January 6, 2020

| January 6, 2020

Mike Broomhead exits KFYI, Phoenix.  In a social media post yesterday (1/5), morning drive talk show host Mike Broomhead told his listeners he will not return to the air after his holiday vacation and is leaving his talk host duties at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix.  Broomhead had been KFYI before moving into the morning drive slot 10 years ago after Barry Young retired from the station where he’d been on air for decades.  Broomhead says in his post, “After 10 amazing years I have decided to leave KFYI.  As sure as I am that God put me there I am as sure that this is the right decision for me.  This is 100% my decision Thank all of you who have listened. I have some time to figure out what is next. Will keep you posted God Bless.”  AZCentral reports that news anchor and morning show staff member Rob Hunter appears to be handling the morning show duties for now.

Steve Cortes to Host Afternoons on WIND-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CNN political commentator Steve Cortes – also a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council – is the new afternoon drive host at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.”  The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show had been hosted by former U.S. Rep Joe Walsh (who also hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network) who left his post to run for president as a Republican.  In a statement, Salem Media Group RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “The insight and political acumen that Steve will bring to our audience each day will be second to none.  As we enter this election year, Steve will provide an inside perspective on what’s happening on the campaign trail.”

WPGG Talk Radio Host Harry Hurley Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension to Remain with Townsquare MediaTALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley signs a multi-year contract extension with Townsquare Media to continue to host his long-running “Hurley in the Morning” program.  Hurley also serves as the senior programming consultant for WPGG.  Hurley, who has been with Townsquare Media since July of 1992, says, “I am pleased to have enjoyed such rare longevity with one company.  It’s a blessing that I have never taken for granted.  I love the people that I have the privilege to work with at all levels of the company for nearly three decades.  We are presently living history.  I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of the vital spoken-word format in our country.” Hurley presently serves as one of the rotating hosts for the FOX News Radio nationally syndicated radio show, “FOX Across America,” that airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and fills in on other FOX News Radio programs.

Mike Francesa’s ‘Mike’s On’ Show Debuts on RADIO.COM Today at 5:00 pm ET. We knew that New York sports talk radio star Mike Francesa was destined for Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform in addition to his half-hour show airing on WFAN.  Now, Entercom reveals that his “Mike’s On” show will stream live from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm daily, with the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm portion also airing on WFAN.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “Mike Francesa is a pillar in sports radio who has played an integral part in driving sports conversations in New York.  We’re excited to continue our partnership with Mike and offer the same unrivaled sports content our New York listeners love to a broader audience on RADIO.COM.”  Francesa says, “I’m looking forward to working with RADIO.COM in a variety of new ways and continuing my tenure on WFAN.  This new opportunity will allow me to connect with loyal listeners all over the country on both broadcast and digital and I’m looking forward to making this new show a success.”

Cumulus Flips Classic Country KBZU to FM Simulcast of KKOB-AM, Albuquerque. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM already has a 50,000-watt “blowtorch” AM signal.  That signal is getting an FM partner as Cumulus Media drops the classic country format on KBZU-FM and adds the class C signal to the KKOB broadcast.  KKOB had been heard on FM translator K233CG at 94.5 FM.  Cumulus says the station “will cover all of Albuquerque, as well as Santa Fe and the adjacent suburbs.”  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KKOB is approaching its 100th year of serving New Mexico and what better way to celebrate than to expand our platform to a full-strength 100,000-watt FM signal?  The KKOB News Radio ‘blowtorch’ will be blasted on both AM and FM signals, giving New Mexicans easy access for news, information, UNM football and basketball, and the best on-air talent in the business.  This is a huge win for our listeners, advertisers, and partners.”  In addition to the new FM signal, KKOB is upping the news programming with a new, 30-minute morning newscast called, “The KKOB Morning Briefing,” at 5:00 am starting next Monday (1/13).  Spoken-word operations manager Jared Hart adds, “I feel fortunate to be a part of such an important moment for one of New Mexico’s biggest brands.  There are so many potential listeners who never sample AM stations, so we can now put our amazing programs in front of the largest possible audience.”

PPM Analysis: Sports TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The period leading up to the holidays usually does not help spoken-word stations in the ratings battle and this year was no different, with 67% of sports stations in PPM markets faltering from the November survey to the December survey while just 20% improved.  Stations showing increased weekly 6+ AQH shares were linked to successful football campaigns. Entercom’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore (the NFL’s Ravens) was up by six-tenths; iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (the NFL’s Vikings) rose five-tenths; and Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (Ohio State Buckeyes) was also up five-tenths.  However, comparing year-over-year ratings, 65% of sports talkers improved, led by KFXN, Minneapolis (up 2.1 shares); Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (up 1.5 shares); and Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco (up 1.1 shares).  KFXN was the only sports station to rank #1 in its market in December.  WBNS-FM ranked #2 and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Pay Attention (They don’t).  Broadcasters have never had more competition for listener mind-share.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers some NEWS Year’s Resolutions.  Read it here.

U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets and the Economy, Weinstein Trial, and 2020 Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the rise of Michael Bloomberg in the polls; financial markets activity and the state of the U.S. economy; today’s start of the trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it is moving its live broadcast time to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET, effective Monday. January 20.  Radio America says that a re-feed at 6:00 pm ET will continue.  Radio America says, “Since launching Chad into national syndication in 2015, the show has increased in popularity and audience growth and has been a major factor in building audience growth on its affiliates in the A25-54 demo.  As a result, many stations have requested the show’s live feed time be earlier in the day going into this important election year.”  Stations wishing to upgrade to the new time slot may contact Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com…..It appears as if President Trump tipped America that Rush Limbaugh and syndicator Premiere Networks have agreed to a new, four-year deal to continue the nationally syndicated “Rush Limbaugh Program.”  At his Miami rally, Trump told the crowd that Limbaugh had signed the new deal.  Premiere confirmed to CNN Business that there is a new contract but did not specify its length…..PodcastOne is announcing that three of its podcasts are reaching the 100-episode milestone.  Celebrity/influencer-headlined podcasts, “House of Kim” with Bravo star Kim Zolciak; “Make Speidi Famous Again” with the reality TV couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt; and “Cold Case Files,” in partnership with A&E, all hit the 100-episode mark this month.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “PodcastOne’s great strength has always been picking the hits and future hits while building our network and creating financial success for our partners.  Congrats to Kim, Spencer and Heidi, and A&E on this terrific achievement.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group names Matt Cord host of the midday show at classic rock WMGK, taking over for Debbi Calton, who retired last month after 26 years on the station.  Cord has been on air in Philly on rock WMMR-FM and WBEN-FM.  He says, “I’m so thrilled to continue Debbi Calton’s incredible legacy with the WMGK workplace audience.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Philly radio legend John DeBella and longtime afternoon drive personality Andre Gardner!”…..Entercom ups Orphan Andrew to assistant program director and music director for CHR KUDL, Sacramento “106.5 The End.”  He’ll continue to host the station’s midday show.   Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Since joining ‘106.5 The End,’ Orphan Andrew has demonstrated his passion for the station and our listeners, and his promotion to APD and music director is a direct result of that.  His long-standing relationship with his audience and broad understanding of pop culture makes him the ideal candidate.  I’m excited to continue to see his positive energy and spirit in the hallways and hear what he can add to one of America’s most successful top 40 brands.”…..Cumulus Media announces a new air talent lineup at country KRMD, Shreveport, Louisiana that includes morning show “Melinda and Mason” – with Melinda Coyer and Mason Stanfield.  Stanfield joins Coyer and Cumulus Shreveport from Adams Radio Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he was afternoon personality and music director at country KGRT and morning host for classic rock KSNM.  Current morning co-host Mike Martindale is moving to afternoon drive on KRMD…..WSYR-TV,