Category: Industry News

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 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.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Radio’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race 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. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”

Thursday, April 2, 2020

| April 2, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE: Mike Bendixen of Canada’s Bell Media Checks in with Covid-19 Input for U.S. Radio Broadcasters.  The program director of CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” and national news/talk format director of Canada’s Bell Media has checked in with TALKERS this morning (4/2) to discuss how his station and broadcasting company has been handling the coronavirus crisis.  Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison discuss remote broadcasting, upgrading technology, accurate messaging, and politics as well as the short and long term impact this crisis will have on radio listening in general.  Bendixen offers sound advice based on his experience.  Warning: the following dialogue contains some raw language.  To listen to this morning’s conversation between Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison, please click here.

Entercom Notifies Employees of Pay Reductions, Furloughs, and Eliminated Positions. In a memo to employees this morning (4/2), Entercom CEO David Field announced the company is taking the painful steps of eliminating or furloughing a “significant” number of positions.  Here’s his memo to staffers: “Thank you for your resilience, dedication and fortitude as we manage through the extraordinarily challenging and disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are all doing our best to ensure that our loved ones remain safe and healthy while working tirelessly to serve our listeners, customers, and communities. I am deeply appreciative of everything you are doing to keep us moving forward under these difficult conditions. We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers.  This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues.  We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.  I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances. We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions. In order to make the transition less painful for our colleagues, we will be providing up to an extra month of additional severance for those individuals for whom their normal severance and the recently announced enhanced federal unemployment benefits provide less support. In addition, we will be providing enhanced employee benefits for furloughed team members.  We will also be taking other cost reduction actions at this time, including the temporary suspension of our dividend and our 401(k) Company match, the elimination of Q1 and Q2 bonuses, and temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20% for anyone earning a salary in excess of $50,000 per year.  I will be taking a 30% salary reduction.  We hope to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and our 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.  I very much appreciate the sacrifice that people will be making in these difficult times.  We will get through this crisis and put this all behind us. Better days lie ahead. With the tough but necessary actions we are now taking, we are doing what is required for us to preserve the health of the company and ensure that we are strong when we get to the other side. Our future is further protected by our strong financial position with substantial cash reserves and virtually no debt due before 2024. And when the crisis abates, we look forward to resuming our growth and building on our strong strategic position as a leader in the audio business, including the best lineup of local radio stations in the United States.  I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment and look forward to better times ahead. We will be following up with additional information shortly. Yours, David.”

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Joins Newsmax TV. Joining Newsmax TV as a contributor is former Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell.  Newsmax says that McDonnell “brings a wealth of experience, having served 14 years in the Virginia General Assembly, as Virginia’s Attorney General, and as the commonwealth’s 71st governor from 2010-2014.”  He’ll serve as a political and legal analyst for the 24/7 cable news network, covering the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential race, and the significant issues of the day.  Newsmax TV chief content officer and EVP of programming Elliott Jacobson says, “Bob has had a long and distinguished career in public service and intimately knows the ins and outs of government and politics.  He’s a very valuable addition to our growing roster of distinguished commentators on Newsmax TV.”

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit by Former WIP-AM, Philadelphia Account Executive. Back in mid-January, former WIP-AM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride filed a sex-based discrimination and breach of contract suit against Entercom Communications.  In the suit, she alleges she was touched inappropriately, and stared at by her superior; claims she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events; 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.  Yesterday (4/1), Entercom filed a 30-page Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey federal court, arguing McBride didn’t sufficiently demonstrate her claims of a hostile work environment, of retaliation, of breach of contract, nor the other claims.  Entercom also argues that if the Court allows the case to go forward, it be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

TALKERS News Notes. Self-described financial expert William Neil “Doc” Gallagher (he didn’t have a state investment advisers license in Texas), who brokered time for his “The Money Doctor” show on Dallas market stations KAAM-AM, KSKY-AM, KLTY-FM, and KWRD-FM, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding some 60 investors of more than $20 million.  The Dallas News reports that Gallagher targeted elderly Christians with his rhetoric on the radio and even published a book titled, Jesus Christ, Money Master.  The 79-year-old Gallagher pleaded guilty and must pay more than $10 million in restitution…..Talk host Jon Patch celebrates 30 years on the radio hosting the syndicated “Talkin’ Pets” program.  The three-hour, weekly show is syndicated by GAB Network.  Patch says, “If you live life with a pet or just have a love for animals, then ‘Talkin’ Pets’ is the show for you.  We have many listeners who don’t even have pets since the show is always riveting, passionate, fun, and overall pure entertainment like no other pet show in the country.  This formula has worked for 30 years and we look forward to many more years to come.  Thanks to all of our affiliate stations coast to coast for their dedication to ‘Talkin’ Pets.’”…..NPR announces that Michael Smith joins the organization as chief marketing officer.  Smith was most recently SVP and general manager of digital channels for Scripps Network.  NPR president and CEO John Lansing says, “Michael is a strategic thinker and an extremely creative media executive who has spent his career finding new ways people consume content across an increasingly diverse audience population.  He is joining NPR at a time when we must extend the reach of our content beyond our traditional audiences to fully serve the American public and he is uniquely qualified to help us do so.”…..Pictured below is Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood in her home town of Las Vegas.  She says, “As you are aware, blood banks are in dire need of blood and they are asking whomever can brave it to donate without getting exposed.  Vitalant here ran a great ship today, keeping everyone at a distance as Nevada received today a ‘stay at home order.’”

U.S. Coronavirus Numbers and Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, Recession Fears, Dr. Fauci Threatened, Churches Defying Anti-Gathering Policies, Russia Sends Supplies to U.S., and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus; economists express fears of a prolonged recession in the wake of the pandemic; director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci gets security because of threats; some churches in the South refusing to honor the non-gathering policy; Russia sends military plane with medical supplies to the U.S.; and Joe Biden calls for the postponement of the Democratic National Convention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher and Former BS&T Lead Singer David Clayton-Thomas Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. In a rare “double feature,” two guests share the bill on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The podcast features conversations with two colorful communicators – each isolating at home during the coronavirus crisis. Each with a different political view of today’s world. First is Salem Radio Network conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher from his condo in Tampa, Florida where he broadcasts his daily show from a remote set up in his kitchen. That’s followed by well-known singer/songwriter, David Clayton-Thomas, former lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat & Tears, from his condo in Toronto, Canada. Clayton-Thomas has just released a powerfully, opinionated solo album of “protest songs” addressing a variety of today’s hottest issues from a liberal perspective. According to Harrison, “Both of these fine men, whom I’ve known over the decades, have a lot to say about the world and having them both appear on this installment of the program while isolating during the crisis creates a marvelous kind of symmetry.” 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 every page on Talkers.com.

Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. The 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday June 5 has been officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the change of date, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful and optimistic that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to be feasible slightly more than a half year from now. We will do our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that take place between now and then. If circumstances are such that this crisis continues through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of May out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, Alex Roman is promoted to the newly created chief technology officer position for Mediaco’s hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban AC WBLS.  He rises from the director of integrated technology post in which he’s been serving since 2011.  Mediaco president and COO Patrick Walsh says, “Alex’s experience and insights are invaluable as we continue to build multichannel digital platforms for WBLS and ‘Hot 97.’  There simply is not anyone like him in our industry and I’m pleased that with this move to CTO we can count on Alex being an important part of our leadership team in the coming years.”…..Quibi announces that iHeartMedia becomes a partner of the new “Pop5” daily, music news show.  The program, produced by Mission Control Media, is hosted by Tim Kash.  It’s described as “a colorful collage of must-know information about pop music today.”  Launching April 6, “Pop5 by iHeartRadio” will premiere a new episode every weekday, as part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials programming…..iHeartMedia is hosting its first ever virtual book club in partnership with social retail platform talkshoplive as it celebrates the release of Alicia Keys’ book, More Myself: A Journey (2020, Flatiron Books), on April 10 at 5:00 pm ET.  The virtual book club will feature an intimate conversation between Alicia Keys and iHeartRadio on-air personality Angie Martinez.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

| April 1, 2020

More Radio Company Furloughs and Job Cuts: Beasley Media Group, Townsquare Media, and JVC Media. Seeing their advertising revenue hit drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic, more radio companies are taking the desperate measures of cutting jobs and instituting furloughs.  Beasley Media Group just announced that it has eliminated 67 positions within the company, it has furloughed almost 20 staffers and is cutting full-time hours for the rest of its employees from 40 hours to 36 hours per week.  CEO Caroline Beasley is taking a 20% pay cut.  The company states, “These are very difficult decisions.  We are confident that the steps we take today will allow us to continue to serve our clients, communities and ensure our company will emerge stronger once the crisis abates.”  Townsquare Media is reporting that is has cut 65 positions – 26 of those at the corporate level.  CEO Bill Wilson and other corporate officers are taking a 10% pay cut.  The company is also warning that other measures will need to be taken if the effects of the pandemic continue to affect its business.  Long Island-based JVC Media is furloughing an unspecified number of staffers and hopes to be able to call them back to work when the crisis abates.  JVC CEO John Caracciolo has eliminated his own position as paid CEO and will operate his company on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

Tra Thomas Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas announced via Twitter yesterday (3/31) that he’s one of the victims of cuts being made by Beasley Media Group.  Thomas was co-host of the morning show at sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” alongside Marc Farzetta.  He tweeted, “Welp guys it’s been real!  I was just notified that due to cutbacks, I’ve been released from @975Mornings. I want to thank @MarcFarzetta @jelynchjr @BobCooney76 and @samwils18 and our listeners for an amazing ride.  I’ll see you guys on the other SIDE, SIDe, SIde, side.”

Entercom Backs Off 2020 Guidance. Not surprisingly, Entercom Communications follows several other media companies in filing with the Securities Exchange Commission to withdraw its 2020 guidance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic   At the same time, the company reports that it is drawing $96.5 million in cash from a revolver loan that is in addition to the $50 million that it drew earlier in March and marks “substantially all” of the cash available in the revolver.  The company says, “The amounts drawn under the revolver were borrowed as a precautionary measure to preserve financial flexibility and may be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes as permitted by the Credit Facility.”  Entercom reports it currently has $180 million in cash on hand.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York news anchor and reporter Alice Stockton-Rossini is one of the focal points of a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a party thrown for her mother’s 90th birthday and the fallout from that get-together after two guests later died from the coronavirus, including her mother’s best friend.  Stockton-Rossini was in New Rochelle, New York in early March, reporting on the containment zone.  But she was also planning her mother’s party later that week.  Now, she wonders, “did I bring this down there?”  Read the piece here…..According to its own research, iHeartMedia says that new statistics “provide insight into how Americans are consuming a vast array of podcasts as they stay home and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to seeing increased podcast listenership, especially in markets with stay-at-home orders, Americans are specifically turning to podcasts covering business, finance, education and entertainment, including shows from several leading iHeartRadio personalities – versus true crime podcast listening, which has seen a slight decline.”  iHM says that across its more than 350 podcasts, listenership for the iHeartPodcast Network is up 6% month-over-month as more Americans began staying at home.  That number is even higher in markets where governors announced shelter-in-place orders, with listening up 13% in California and 8% percent in New York state in just one week…..Bonneville reports that in the Seattle market where it operates the digital news destination MyNorthwest in conjunction with its radio stations – including news/talk KIRO-FM – MyNorthwest saw a more than 200% increase in user growth during the month of March.  Director of digital Tina Sorensen says, “With such a large audience trusting Bonneville Seattle, our social engagement team and the MyNorthwest team have demonstrated their dedication and determination to provide our users with what they need during this unprecedented time.”…..SiriusXM launches “She’s So Funny,” a new hand-curated, full-time comedy channel showcasing a spectrum of female comedic talent.  The channel features artists such as: Tiffany Haddish, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford, Whoopi Goldberg, Ali Wong, Kathleen Madigan, as well as legends such as Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, and Moms Mabley.

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths Data, Trump’s Tuesday Evening Press Conference, Financial Markets Activity, Churches Violating Social Distancing Directives/Constitutional Rights Debate, Stimulus Package, Recession Fears, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/ Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The growing number of U.S. cases of COVID-19 and the death toll; President Trump’s two-hour, Tuesday evening press conference addressing the pandemic; the world’s financial markets again turn bearish; the church pastors in several communities refusing to suspend in-person services and the related debate over constitutional rights; the stimulus package enacted in the U.S.; economists’ fears about a severe recession as a result of the coronavirus; and the presidential race 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 New Orleans, iHeartMedia brings Bailey Coleman south from the company’s Milwaukee station group to serve as the new VP of programming for the eight-station NOLA cluster.  Coleman has been serving as program director and air personality at urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” as well as on iHeartMedia’s innovation team that uses technology to create community-based multi-platform listening experiences.  Coleman assumes the position recently held by Uptown Angela Watson-Charles, who was elevated to an executive vice president of programming role within the company’s new Community Division…..Entravision Communications debuts its new CHR KKPS, Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen, Texas “Fuego 99.5 FM Hot Hits.”  The station will feature core artists such as: Cardi B, Ozuna, Billie Eilish, Daddy Yankee, and Bad BunnyDJ Marky Mark will host the afternoon drive show from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Entravision VP of Audio Nestor Rocha comments, “We are thrilled to heat up the South Texas music scene on Fuego 99.5 FM with the hottest and newest talent across the board.  DJ Marky Mark has a huge presence in the Rio Grande Valley region, and we’re excited to have him anchor our new station.  This is another great opportunity for us to connect and relate to our audience with the music they want.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.

Monday, March 30, 2020

| March 30, 2020

Monday Memo: Smart Advertisers Relate. While many radio sales reps are in pandemic panic mode, smart sellers are helping nimble advertisers do what radio does best: tell a lot of people something useful quickly.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists commercial copy points he’s hearing.  See them here.

Growing Coronavirus U.S. Death Toll, Trump Extends Social Distancing Through April, Criticism of Trump Administration, Financial Markets Activity, Celebs with COVID-19, Lawmakers’ Stock Trades Controversy, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The rising U.S. death toll from COVID-19; President Trump extends the nation’s social distancing policy through April 30; criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; the pandemic’s effect on the world’s financial markets; celebrities who’ve tested positive for COVID-19; the investigation into U.S. lawmakers who sold stocks ahead of the global sell-off; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Vice President’s Lead List. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s Pending Business column that smart salespeople should take a cue from Vice President Mike Pence’s Presidential Task Force press conference last week in which he named the three biggest companies hiring – today.  Read Lapa’s tips for smart marketing in a new normal environment here.

Forever Media Cuts Staff at News/Talk WDEL, Wilmington and Elsewhere. The Wilmington News Journal reports that Forever Media has taken the drastic step of laying off “more than 10 people” from its radio properties as the result of a revenue hit from the coronavirus pandemic.  Included in the layoffs are WDEL talk personalities Allan Loudell and Robin Bryson.  Forever Media closed on its $18.5 million purchase of Delmarva Broadcasting’s 10-station radio portfolio last May.  Bryson is quoted telling the News Journal that the mandated closure of non-essential businesses hit business hard.  “That’s a good portion of who our advertisers are.  So, you know they’re not open, they can’t afford to advertise so they cancel their contracts and then we don’t have any commercials to run and we’re not getting any revenue.”

WGAN-AM, Portland Drops Morning Drive Co-Host Ken Altshuler. In Portland, Maine, Saga Communications drops morning drive co-host Ken Altshuler – the left-leaning half of the show – as part of a restructuring move.  Altshuler has been co-host of the morning show since 2002.  The change leaves conservative Matthew Gagnon hosting solo.  Altshuler tells the Portland Press Herald that over the past few months, the station has been moving to a single-host format in other dayparts.  Altshuler says he plans to continue in the media, either with another radio station or with a blog and podcast.  Sixty-seven-year-old Altshuler is a family law attorney who practices in Portland.

Ramsey’s ‘Message of Hope’ Becomes Regular Podcast. The Ramsey Solutions organization announces that a new podcast from the Ramsey Network called, “A Message of Hope” is launching.  The Ramsey Network says, “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in our country right now.  Let’s change that. Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze share practical money and career advice through the ‘Message of Hope’ series.  This brand-new podcast also features episodes from Chris Hogan, Christy Wright, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. John Deloney to encourage you in every area of life.”

‘Ark Midnight with John B. Wells’ Partners with Talk Media Network. The weekly, three-hour radio show “Ark Midnight with John B. Wells” is partnering with Talk Media Network for marketing and affiliate relations.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “John B. Wells is an expert in weaving stories, news, and interviews together with an artful thread and his instantly recognizable voice.  ‘Ark Midnight’ is a destination nighttime show.”  Wells comments, “It’s great to be working with Talk Media Network.  They understand the program and have added new affiliate stations before we could even make this announcement.”  The show recently was added to the program schedule at WNTW-AM Richmond and KLKS-FM in Brainerd, Minnesota and soon joins KYAH-AM in Delta, Utah and WIOS-AM, Tawas City, Michigan.

Tony Bruno to Reunite with Harry Mayes on SiriusXM. Sports talk pro Tony Bruno – via SiriusXM and JAKIB Media Partners – is returning to a daily sports talk radio show after five years away from the format.  He’s being joined on the new “Tony Bruno Show” by former WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” partner Harry Mayes.  The show launches on SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick Radio channel on April 6.  Bruno says, “I want to thank all of my fans who have followed and supported me through the years.  I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to return and who still wants to hear my daily fun approach to sports and current affairs, which has been my forte’ for over four decades in broadcasting.  I can’t think of a better platform than SiriusXM and reuniting with my former ESPN colleague on the Dan Patrick Radio channel, and I am thrilled to be able to return to the airwaves with my good friend and co-host Harry Mayes.  There is no doubt that we will provide an exciting, fun, sports talk radio program that joins a sea of great content on SiriusXM.”

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 February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk-formatted stations. Fifty-three percent of the news/talk stations on our panel were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) over the January 2020 survey with just 27% seeing a ratings decline. Leaders in the improved column include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+1.4) and iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.0). Comparing February 2019 to February 2020, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is again the leader, posting an increase of 4.4 shares. iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus adds 2.7 shares year-over-year, and Entercom’s KFTK-FM St. Louis is up 2.1 shares. Just two news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in February – CMG’s WSB, Atlanta (11.4 share) and iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento (8.4 share). However, five news/talk outlets ranked #2 in their respective markets.  Find out which ones, here.

TALKERS News Notes. The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty Show” starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty adds new affiliate WGOW-FM, Chattanooga, starting today (3/30).  Earlier this year, the program was added to other Cumulus Media talk stations including KABC-AM, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program – led by show founders Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – adds new affiliate stations: KGGF-AM, Coffeyville, Kansas; WTSN-AM/FM, Dover, New Hampshire; WNTW-AM/FM, Richmond; WAIM-AM, Anderson, South Carolina; and WCSI-AM/FM, Columbus, Indiana to put its total affiliate roster at 209 stations…..ESPN’s “Paul Finebaum Show” makes its return to the cable TV SEC Network with an audio-only format at 3:00 pm ET.  Although Finebaum has been doing the show for ESPN Radio for the past two weeks, it has not aired on the SEC Network.  Finebaum comments, “Despite all of us adjusting to this new normal and distancing ourselves from each other, we’re probably more connected right now than we’ve been in a long time.  I’m really proud of the conversations and discussions we’ve had on the show, especially over these past few weeks, and look forward to returning to television and continuing to support and uplift one another during such an uncertain time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last night’s “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” event aired on FOX Television as artists including host Elton John and guests Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Dave Grohl, H.E.R., Mariah Carey, Sam Smith,Tim McGraw and more performed from their own homes.  The program was also aired live on iHeartMedia radio stations and the iHeartRadio app.  Pictured below is Tim McGraw (upper left) singing “Something Like That” while three of his band members accompany him from their homes.  The event encouraged viewers and listeners to support charities Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 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, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics 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.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Thursday, March 26, 2020

| March 26, 2020

Ramsey Network to Host ‘Message of Hope’ Live Stream. Tonight’s free, live stream is being produced by Ramsey Solutions and is being call “A Message of Hope.”  Ramsey Solutions says, “There’s a lot of fear in our country right now.  Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze will share practical money and career advice to spread hope in the middle of national uncertainty through the Message of Hope livestream at 8:00 pm EST.  No matter what’s happening on Wall Street or in the White House, you need to focus on what’s happening in YOUR house.  In a time of great unknowns, we are here to help.”  The program is being made available for free on Daveramsey.com, on The Dave Ramsey Show YouTube page, or Dave’s Facebook page.  It will also be broadcast live on SiriusXM ch. 111 and ch. 132 and AM/FM radio stations across the country.  It will also be made available as a podcast.

Noory and Listeners to Engage the Power of Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ Overnight talk radio star George Noory will focus his show’s regular Friday Night Prayer this week on the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more than a decade on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM,” the show has featured the special segment where listeners submit their names or those of their loved ones to the show and the audience collectively prays for them.  During the first segment of Friday’s show (1:00 am EST), Noory is inviting people worldwide to join in prayer to help end the spread of COVID-19.  Participants will also be encouraged to dedicate their prayers to healing those who have been affected, easing the pain and sorrow of those who have lost loved ones, and supporting the medical care professionals on the front lines.  Noory says, “I have always believed in the power of prayer and the existence of a higher power.  For years now, I have witnessed the positive effect of our Friday Night Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and I’m therefore asking that on March 27, people across the globe take a few moments to pray for the eradication of this deadly coronavirus.”

Bonneville and Hubbard Enter Unusual News Partnership in Seattle. In a rare move brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Bonneville Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM and Hubbard Radio Seattle’s CHR KQMV 92.5 FM “Movin’,” adult contemporary KRWM “Warm,” and country KNUC “The Bull” are announcing a partnership in which the three music stations will broadcast hourly local news updates from the KIRO Radio newsroom in order to give their listeners the latest information on COVID-19.  In return, KIRO Radio will encourage listeners to pause from the news and listen to the music stations as a source of encouragement and relaxation in this extraordinary time.  The collaboration begins tomorrow (3/27).  Bonneville Seattle director of programming Mike Salk says, “We are thrilled to partner with the Hubbard stations.  To have KIRO Radio news played on three excellent music stations is an opportunity for us to help our community stay informed in this unique time.  And we can understand the need to take a break and listen to music to avoid feeling overwhelmed.”  Hubbard Radio Seattle market manager Scott Mahalick adds, “Music is a mood elevator and a source of inspiration for people when times are tough.  We’re proud to partner with Bonneville’s news, talk, and sports radio stations in Seattle.  Combined, we are able to offer the perfect balance of information and entertainment.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  KNOW, Minneapolis; KUT, Austin; and WAMU, Washington led the 39% of stations that gained weekly, 6+ AQH share from the January to February surveys.  KNOW also was the leader comparing year-over-year data, adding 2.7 shares and jumping from #10 to #3 in the market rank.  Close behind is WHYY, Philadelphia, which posted a 1.9 share gain good for a climb from #13 to #7.  WAMU, Washington and KUT, Austin were the only public radio news/talk stations to rank #1 in their respective markets in February.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Status of COVID-19 in the U.S., Death Tolls Across the Globe, Senate Approves Relief Package, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race/‘Draft Cuomo’ Movement, and Prince Charles Tests Positive for Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll across the U.S.; authorities in Spain and Italy report overwhelming conditions at hospitals there; the U.S. Senate passes the $2 trillion relief package and sends it to the House; the world’s financial markets react to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; the presidential race and the cries for “drafting” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination; and Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive for the coronavirus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Ron Ananian ‘The Car Doctor’ to Celebrate 1,500th Episode. This Saturday (3/28), Ron Ananian will host the 1,500thedition of “The Car Doctor Radio Show.”  The program began in January of 1991 on WFAS, White Plains, New York and aired there through 1997.  It moved to WOR, New York in 1998 and went into syndication via the WOR Radio Network in September of 1999.  The program is currently syndicated by Talk Media Network.  Ananian draws upon his 45 years of repair experience to help listeners with their car issues.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “If you’ve ever met him… you know that God broke the mold when he made Ron Ananian.  No, it’s not just the Jersey in him, it’s his witty personality combined with his unending commitment to doing the right things right, every time… whether he’s in his shop, working with advertisers, or assisting his listeners and fans with their car care questions, radio is a profoundly better place with Ron Ananian The Car Doctor behind the microphone.  Ron’s dedication to his craft and his show is one that is nearly three decades in the making.  Take a victory lap Ron Ananian, you most certainly deserve it.”  The program is heard on almost 100 affiliate stations across the country and airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

TALKERS News Notes. There are two programs being offered to stations from CBS News Radio this weekend focused on the COVID-19 pandemic: “Coronavirus: Changed Forever,” features interviews with experts from various fields hosted by Gil Gross; and “CBS Weekend Roundup Special Report on the Coronavirus” is hosted by correspondent Allison Keyes with reports and discussions from CBS reporters, correspondents, and newsmakers across the country and around the globe…..The Hill reports that Seattle public radio station KUOW is not going to air President Trump’s coronavirus press conferences live because of what it calls “a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”  The station made the announcement via Twitter and added, “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus – and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners.”.….MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell revealed that his company – whose ads are practically ubiquitous on talk media – is going to be helping in the effort to supply America’s health professionals with surgical masks by manufacturing them.  Lindell made the announcement on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher program.  The N95 respirator mask is the most sought-after though it’s unclear which type of mask MyPillow will be making…..NRG Media’s news/talk KXEL, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is ending the “On Press Row” sports show hosted by Gary Rima for the past 14 years as of tomorrow (3/28).  The Courier reports that Rima was told in late February of management’s decision and, although he’s upset the show is ending, he holds no grudge against the station or the company…..TransMedia Group is collaborating with Anita Finley, president and publisher of Boomer Times & Senior Life, to produce “Boomer Times Radio” with Finley as host.  The program is now airing Sundays from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on Beasley Media Group’s financial talk WWNN, Pompano Beach, Florida “South Florida’s Money Talk Network.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Michigan broadcasting legend Bob Allison, who passed away at age 87.   “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo tips TALKERS to Allison’s passing and writes: “Bob lasted nearly 60 years on radio and TV in Detroit.  A lot of people don’t last 60 days, and a few have flamed out in less than 60 minutes!  Many radio fans surely know who he was and have loved his caring disposition on the ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ program.  Even those who hadn’t heard him lately on WNZK, Detroit, ALL remember him for those legendary ‘Bowling for Dollars’ shows on Channel 4.  He was an iconic member of the broadcasting fraternity and in August of 2018 was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  He was still on the air regularly on WNZK until about three weeks ago.  He began on WWJ, Detroit back in 1962 with ‘Ask Your Neighbor.’  He worked at a number of Detroit area stations including: WIID, WEXL, WLQV and even WJR.”

Australian Radio Legend Trevor Smith Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the leading content providers in Australian radio and the legendary former PD of such stations as Triple-M in Sydney, Trevor Smith, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison caught up with Smith via Skype at his home/studio in the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay, located north of Sydney where, like so many Americans, he is practicing social distancing.  Smith discusses how the epidemic is being handled in the “land down under,” including the health, politics, economics, and social aspects of the crisis.  It’s a fascinating look at just how truly small the world is revealed to be as it battles a common enemy that respects no borders, barriers, or distance.  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles is cancelling the June 6, 2020 edition of the Wango Tango concert.  The station issued the following statement: “Due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and for the health and safety of our guests, employees, artists and partners, we have decided to cancel this year’s iHeartRadio Wango Tango. Refunds are being issued to ticketed guests.  If you purchased your tickets via AXS online, a refund will automatically be issued to the credit card you used to purchase within 30 business days.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

| March 24, 2020

CLARIFICATION: WABC, New York Adds Bannon’s ‘War Room: Pandemic’ Show TFN; Local Expert Guests Throughout Week.  Clearing up some confusion from an earlier press release sent out by Red Apple Media, news/talk WABC, New York announces it is adding Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” syndicated program to its daily lineup at 5:00 pm until further notice.  The station is also bringing in a series of expert guests for special local coronavirus programs between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  On Monday (3/23), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani hosted with Tony Carbonetti for an hour. Today (3/24), famed attorney Arthur Aidala hosts at 3:00 pm and Bill O’Reilly does a customized hour for WABC at 4:00 pm.  Tomorrow (3/25), “Curtis & Juliet” extend their show until 4:00 pm, when FOX NewsBrian Kilmeade hosts a customized hour for WABC.  Thursday, its former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm and New York Governor George Pataki hosts from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

iHeartMedia Announces KFMB-AM, San Diego Lineup.  Six days after taking over operation of San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM under an LMA from Local Media San Diego, iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the talk station that it intends to buy for $1.2 million.  Local talk hosts Mark Larson and Mike Slater have been hired to continue their programs on the station as the station retains most of its programming.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty” show will hold down morning drive, followed by Larson from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Slater from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Premiere NetworksBuck Sexton in PM drive, followed by Westwood One’s Mark Levin in evenings, “Red Eye Radio” in overnights, and “America in the Morning” in early mornings.  Local host Brett Winterble left KFMB-AM and recently was named afternoon personality at Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are proud to add this iconic talk station to iHeartMedia San Diego’s portfolio of market-leading brands.  We look forward to working with AM 760’s talented, well-respected hosts and their listeners.”

WTZA, Atlanta Talk Station Folds Under Weight of Coronavirus Pandemic. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, entrepreneur Will Regan has ended the talk format on WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta “Talk of Atlanta” because interested investors pulled out due to the coronavirus and advertisers putting a halt to campaigns.  Regan was building the station around afternoon drive host Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson – formerly with Cumulus’ crosstown WYAY-FM – prior to its sale to Educational Media Foundation – and a longtime host at iHeartMedia’s WGST – now airing all syndicated programming.  Also let go from WTZA are Peterson’s co-host Pete Davis, Mike Brooks, Shannon Burke, and Kara Stockton.

TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa is front and center in a New York Post piece about the work the Guardian Angels are doing to assist the city’s homeless.  The story says that Guardian Angels have been working at Penn Station and in the subways giving the homeless care packages that include a sandwich, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, and hand wipes.  Sliwa is quoted saying that the homeless population is especially at risk because they are not following the advisories. “It’s the only way you are going to get them to follow the guidelines and no one is doing it.  The city acts like they don’t exist, the homeless and emotionally disturbed.”…..Hulk Hogan, a.k.a. Terry Bollea, has agreed to a settlement with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa and various individuals involved in the release of a sex tape that shows Bollea having sex with Bubba The Love Sponge’s then-wife Heather Clem.  The settlement terms have not been disclosed.  Bollea first sued digital gossip sheet Gawker and won a $141 million judgement (he settled for $31 million) that put Gawker out of business.  This most recent suit named defendants: Cox Media Group, WHPT morning host Mike Calta, former Bubba the Love Sponge cast member Matt “Spice Boy” Loyd, Loyd’s ex-wife Tasha Nicole Caraga, Lori Burbridge, Don Buchwald and Associates, Buchwald agent Tony Burton, and attorney Keith Davidson…..Entercom announces that as part of its annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative it is presenting, “I’m Listening: Stay Connected,” a multiplatform, live daily show focused on mental health in the midst of the global health pandemic.  The program is hosted by licensed therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue, who will offer resources and tips and answer questions from listeners to keep overwhelm at bay.  It airs Monday through Thursday from 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm ET.

Coronavirus Status, Stimulus Package Debate, Trump Considers ‘Reopening’ Economy Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23).  The spread of the coronavirus, the death toll, and predictions about overwhelmed emergency rooms; the debate in congress over the components of an economic stimulus package; and President Trump’s concerns about the “cure” being worse than the virus and his considering “reopening the economy” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Mayo Clinic and Radio America Offer COVID-19 Info. As syndication partner for Mayo Clinic, Radio America is helping the health organization responding to the coronavirus pandemic clinically and with the latest public information by adding resources for stations.  Mayo Clinic’s News Network is providing free information that stations are welcome to use.  Find it here.  Mayo Clinic offers a daily radio feature called “Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minutes,” as well as an hour-long weekend radio show, both of these are available from Radio America Network.  Stations interested in interviewing a Mayo physician about COVID-19 can request an interview with Dr. Tom Shives (host of Mayo Clinic Radio) by reaching out to Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com.

RAB Launches “Business Unusual.”  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces a new section on its RAB.com website to assist radio salespeople during the coronavirus pandemic.  Titled, “Business Unusual: Best Practices for When It’s Not Business As Usual,” the section “includes a newly released white paper titled ‘Advertising During Difficult Times,’ pertinent articles and blogs, Radio It’s On social media campaign, relevant research studies, creative resources, and other marketing and training tools that RAB members can use and share with their advertising clients.”  The section is being updated regularly with new materials posted for RAB members as they become available.  The RAB is also offering a professional development webinar series called Business Unusual featuring three distinct webinars free to RAB members.  The three in the series are: Business Unusual Requires Exceptional Communication – How To Talk To Your Advertisers Now; How To Craft Your Messaging In Times of Uncertainty; and Work From Home (WFH) Strategies To Maximize Productivity In Your New Office.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In order to help entertain and soothe Americans whose daily lives have been upended by COVID-19, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is launching “RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On,” a new 24/7 channel that will stream and broadcast live epic events for 30 straight days, including new and never-before-seen archived performances from some of the biggest artists in the world.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo states, “As we practice social distancing, music fans everywhere can stay connected with ‘RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On’ for live, exclusive performances right in their homes.  We have opened up our archives from a variety of genres and also partnered with new artists to bring fans some of our biggest shows all in one place.  We hope everyone enjoys a nightly couch tour with us.”  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Music soothes the soul and as we navigate these unchartered waters our souls have never needed to be soothed more.  Our stations nationwide have partnered with incredible artists for one-of-a-kind performances. We have always wanted to dig deep into our archive and this seems like the absolute best time to do so.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

| March 23, 2020

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Community.  “When normalcy is upended, it is human nature to take comfort hearing how others are faring” and consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “it’s less misery-loves-company than we’re-all-in-this-together.”  And in this week’s column, he cautions that, right now, stations are making a lasting impression.  Read it here.

The State of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Federal Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stock Selloff, Unemployment Rises/Recession Predictions, Summer Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic; the federal stimulus package being debated in congress; the global stock selloff is predicted to continue; the expectations of high unemployment figures to be reported and a recession is being predicted for the U.S.; and the possibility the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Warning, Speed Bumps Ahead. Radio sales pro and president of Lapcom Communications, Steve Lapa, writes in this new TALKERS column Pending Business about how to work in the sales environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Lapa has tips for planning and prioritizing for sales staffers dealing with limited in-person collaborations, online meetings, minimal studio and talent access, constant price fluctuations, and more.  Read it here.

WABC, New York Adds Bill O’Reilly ‘Morning Edition.’ Conservative commentator and talk show host Bill O’Reilly is joining the daily program lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York via his Key Networks-syndicated morning drive radio feature, “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” launched in late April 2019 and between the two shows O’Reilly is heard on more than 200 stations.  O’Reilly says, “WABC is the station I listened to as a kid.  It is a legacy radio outlet and I hope I can add to the legacy with honest, no spin daily commentary.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks is so proud to be associated with Bill O’Reilly and ‘The O’Reilly Update.’  The content has been superb and the tremendous response is a testament to Bill and the talent he brings to the airwaves, with a style unmatched in media.  We’re thrilled to welcome the great WABC New York, bringing our affiliate group to over 200 stations in 10 months.”

Salem and Hugh Hewitt Agree to Contract Extension. This new deal between Salem Radio Network and talk host Hugh Hewitt runs through December of 2028.  Hewitt has been a host on SRN since July of 2000.  In April of 2016, he moved from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on the network, to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who had hosted the “Morning in America” show.  Salem says that Hewitt’s national footprint has grown to more than 450 affiliate stations and he’s also seen on a video simulcast on Townhall.com.  Hewitt appears regularly on NBC News programs, including “Meet the Press,” and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post.  Hewitt says, “I look forward to not only this fall’s presidential election but the next two presidential campaigns and all the news in between them as well.  The past 20 years have been two decades of upheaval and crisis, a sudden devastating attack on America, of war and terror and now a pandemic, of hard-fought elections and massive legislative and legal changes.  It’s been a privilege to cover these breaking news events for three hours a day with the extraordinary team and guest list we have assembled and rely upon.”  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger states.  “Hugh has been a Salem stalwart since 2000.  He’s one of the most respected voices in American media today, and as Salem continues to grow our national and international footprint, Hugh’s program remains a flagship show for the news/talk format which Salem helped pioneer.”

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of Nielsen’s February PPM SurveyTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of February PPM data from Nielsen Audio. Some positive weekly, 6+ AQH share movement among spoken-word stations includes: iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding a half share to January’s 1.8 share hike to finish February with a 7.6 share and the #2 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis tacks four-tenths on during the February survey to land at an 8.0 share and the #2 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville piles another six-tenths onto its January share-and-a-half increase to finish the February survey with a 10.4 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Beasley and Borrell to Present ‘Crisis Marketing for Local Business’ Seminars. This series of complimentary webinars from Beasley Media Group and Borrell Associations takes place tomorrow and Wednesday (3-24/25) as part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing ‘We Are All in This Together Community of Caring Initiative.’  It consists of five, 30-minute webinars focused on crisis marketing for local businesses impacted by the current coronavirus situation.  Topics addressed will include: valuable tips for communicating with customers & non-customers, how to craft creative & appropriate marketing messages, and common concerns & opportunities faced by local businesses.  Beasley is making the session “open to any interested businesses, however, it is especially relevant for local companies located within Beasley Media Group markets.”  The webinar will be moderated by Beasley Media Group chief digital officer Todd Handy and vice president of digital sales Dan Frisbie.  Local marketing experts Gordon Borrell, Jim Brown, and Corey Elliott of Borrell Associates “will provide valuable guidance on how local businesses can not only survive but thrive and make a difference in times of crisis.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “850 ESPN” program director Matt Fishman tells TALKERS that the station has created a new show to get fans ready for the only major sports event on the calendar – the NFL Draft – taking place on April 23.  Beginning tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, WKNR is presenting “ESPN Cleveland’s Countdown to the Draft” hosted by Tony Grossi…..The South Bend cluster of Federated Media – including news/talk WTRC, Niles, Michigan “Michiana’s News Channel” – is launching “Operation: Restaurant Rescue.”  The stations have produced a digital menu of area restaurants that are offering carryout or delivery options and allows consumers to buy gift cards for some of the establishments…..Racing star Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, is resuming his SiriusXM show, “Happy Hours.”  The show airs Wednesday’s at 1:00 pm on the SiriusXMNASCAR Radio channel with Matt Yocum as co-host.  Harvick says, “Matt and I figured it would be good to get back on SiriusXM to talk to the fans and try to entertain folks during this downtime.  Even though we’re not racing, there’s still plenty to talk about, both the things involving our sport as we look ahead to the season, and also what’s happening in our daily lives away from the track.  I hope we can take your mind off other things and maybe make you laugh a little bit along the way.”

iHeartMedia Stations to Play National Anthem.  At 12:00 noon ET today, all iHeartMedia radio stations will play a version of the National Anthem.  The company says, “In these challenging times, we want to take a moment of solidarity to celebrate our collective strength as a nation and recognize the heroic efforts of so many workers on the frontline – including our doctors, nurses, health care professionals, caregivers, and other critical responders who are working night and day to get us through this. Today, iHeartMedia will honor the resilience of Americans by encouraging the masses to unite through the healing power of music as our 850+ radio stations and formats across the country air a version of the National Anthem.  We want to send our heartfelt thoughts, concern and support to any family who may need it as we face these tough times together as a country.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions announce that “The 55th ACM Awards” will take place on Wednesday, September 16 – in a city and venue yet to be announced – and will air on CBS TelevisionKeith Urban will serve as host and the lineup of performers will also be announced at a later date…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Orlando announces that its Earthday Birthday Number 27 Music Festival set for April 18 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds will be postponed to September 5 at the same venue…..In response to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia Charlotte is launching “Carolina Cares,” an initiative to help the local community by highlighting local organizations and services necessary during times of crisis.  Across all its stations’ websites, iHeartMedia Charlotte is promoting various local organizations offering services to individuals as well as businesses that are operating on limited hours and restaurants that are offering delivery, pickup or gift cards during this pandemic.  Local organizations highlighted will include Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, American Red Cross and Classroom Central, with more to be added on a need basis…..Entravision Communications announces “El Show del Mandril” – starring Ricardo Sanchez – is the new morning drive show on Regional Mexican KDLD, Santa Monica “Viva 103.1 FM.”

Friday, March 20, 2020

| March 20, 2020

The Infinite Dial 2020: First Wal-Mart, Now Radio. The 23rd annual Edison Research survey of who’s-listening-to-what-and-how was conducted JUST before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted habitual listening; so year-to-year data about AM/FM and streaming and podcast consumption and social media use is instructive.  And, summarizing the presentation for TALKERS magazine, consultant Holland Cooke spots a major competitive threat in the New Normal.  Read his analysis here.

America at War and Defense Production Act Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 16-20. America’s war against the COVID-19 pandemic and President Trump’s invoking the Defense Production Act to lead the nation in the fight was 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 world’s financial markets and the economy. Coming in at #3 was the health of the American public, followed by the psychological and emotional impact of the pandemic 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.

 

 

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 “National Head Trip!” looks back at this past week of March 16-20, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSTodd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast MDEdge; Bill Brady, owner/talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Todd Starnes, talk show host, the Todd Starnes Show; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Dom Giordano, talk show host WPHT, Philadelphia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Michael Brown to Host Special Show on KOA, Denver. The first edition of “The Situation with Michael Brown” aired last night on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA, Denver.  Now, in addition to his usual 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show on sister talker KHOW, Brown is doing the special edition show – currently focused exclusively on the coronavirus pandemic and outbreak of the COVID-19 infection – from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on KOA.  iHeartMedia Denver region president Brenda Eggers says, “Michael is a tremendous host.  And, as the former director of FEMA and Undersecretary of Homeland Security, he is uniquely qualified to host this new show focused solely on coronavirus.  His insights, prowess with breaking news and friendly, affable style are a perfect fit during these unique times.”   Brown is also presenting his insights on his website, TheSituation.io.

Round Four of February PPM Data Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share data from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the third round of markets.  Some of the positive moves for spoken-word stations include: Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte puts up four-tenths in February for a 5.3 share and the #6 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio tacks on six-tenths to finish the month at a 6.3 share and the #3 rank; adding a half-share onto January’s eight-tenths is Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando for a 4.6 share and the #9 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus had its third straight uptick finishing the February survey with an 8.6 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Cumulus Names Frank Lopez-Balboa EVP and CFO. Taking over the chief financial officer role from John Abbot, who announced in January he would be leaving his post after four years, is former Univsion Communications EVP and CFO Frank Lopez-Balboa.  Cumulus Media appoints Lopez-Balboa to the executive vice president and chief financial officer position, effective Monday (3/23).  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “We are pleased to welcome Frank as our new chief financial officer.  A widely respected executive, he is an ideal fit with Cumulus.  Frank comes to us with a deep understanding of our industry, significant expertise in corporate finance and strategy, and an impressive record of running a major, multi-location finance organization.  I am confident, especially in these challenging times, that Frank will make a significant contribution to our progress against our financial goals and key strategic initiatives to continue creating value for our shareholders.”  Prior to his time with Univision, Lopez-Balboa worked in investment banking with Goldman Sachs.

FOX Sports Radio Announces Digital Audience Gains. Despite no professional or college sports being played during the week, FOX Sports Radio reports experiencing digital audience gains.  FSR says that on Wednesday, March 18, its podcast listens increased by +28%, compared to the previous Wednesday (3/11), when there was a full slate of games.  It also says it had record traffic at FOXSportsRadio.com on March 17.  Via a press release, Scott Shapiro, vice president of sports programming for Premiere Networks and Don Martin, SVP of sports programming for Premiere Networks, say, “We’re proud to be here for our audience live, 24/7, with intelligent sports talk and entertainment from a wide variety of personalities.  With so few outlets offering live sports content, FOX Sports Radio provides listeners with companionship around the clock.  Our hosts’ familiar voices connect with the audience on sports topics and beyond, providing a meaningful escape when they need it most.”

TALKERS News Notes. For air this weekend, CBS News Radio is presenting “The CBS News Special Report: The Coronavirus Welcome to the New Normal.”  The program is hosted by CBS correspondent Allison Keyes (and delivered via ftp). CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Whether you test positive or negative or never get tested, the coronavirus affects everyone.  Everywhere.  Every age group.  Every political party.  Every religion. Every income.  We’re proud to bring this important information to listeners everywhere.”…..Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” is airing rebroadcasts of former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s best games, beginning Sunday (3/22).  The “Brady’s Best” broadcasts will begin with the Patriots’ AFC Championship overtime thriller against the Kansas City Chiefs.  That game will be followed by Brady and the Pats’ miraculous 24-0 comeback win against Peyton Manning and the Broncos at Gillette Stadium in 2013.  “Brady’s Best,” as well as other classic games by the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics, are planned to air on ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ in the coming days and weeks…..The National Radio Talent System announces that all of the Radio Talent Institutes scheduled for this summer have been postponed from 2020 to 2021.  Scheduled Institutes include: Beasley Radio Talent Institute at Emerson College, Boston; Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; GAB Radio Talent Institute at University of Georgia; Hubbard Radio Talent Institute at Northern Arizona University; KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute at Western Kentucky University; Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University; MBA Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University; and TAB Radio Talent Institute at University of Tennessee.  National Radio Talent System president Dan Vallie says, “We thank all of our forward-thinking partners for their vision and partnership in this noble effort, now needed more than ever, of discovering and preparing young talent to help insure we thrive into the future in our dynamic and changing industry.  We all agree that it is with regret, but also great concern for the health of all involved that we are postponing all the Institutes scheduled for this summer. We have already begun the planning for 2021.”…..SiriusXM and Pandora are debuting a new, weekly podcast called, “Seth Rudetsky’s Back to School,” in which Rudetsky interviews celebrities about their high school experiences – and how those experiences continue to shape them.  Listeners can hear how Vanessa Williams accidentally planted marijuana in her mother’s greenhouse, about the accident that almost killed Allison Janney when she was seventeen, and Tina Fey’s real-life influences for “Mean Girls.”

 

 

News Radio Opportunities. Amazing But True! Saga Communications is hiring on-air news people all across our company. Our mission statement is to serve and report within every local market. Go to our website at www.sagacom.com and look at all 27 of our markets. Then pick one that interests you so we can talk. Once you do that email me at blawrence@sagacom.com. Saga is an EOE.

News Opportunities with FOX News Radio. There are a number of open news positions with FOX News. They are: Radio News Anchor, FOX News Headlines 24/7 – This is a full-time radio anchor position as an air talent for News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position 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 day’s notice. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Overnight Freelance Anchor, FOX News Radio – This is a freelance position open at the company’s Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC bureaus. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Producer/News Editor – This is a Friday through Tuesday position supervising the staff for FNR’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7 (Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this post you’ll work with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here; and Freelance Producer/News Editor – This position is in New York City in which you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here.

KLIN, Lincoln Has Rare News Anchor Opening. NRG Media news/talker KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska has a rare opening for a news anchor/reporter. NRG says: “This is your chance to be part of an amazing team in Nebraska’s Capital City and the Radio Home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers! At KLIN, the local news drives our talk, and does it in a fun and entertaining environment. If you are energetic, love radio, are passionate about local news, know how to enterprise, can connect with the community, are able to create compelling & award-winning content, we want to talk with you! You will share the mic with a talented group of professionals who all love radio and each of its digital platforms.” See more about this position and apply here. NRG Media is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Beginning Monday (3/23), SiriusXM will broadcast Garth Brooks’ weekly Facebook Live show, “Inside Studio G” on its “The Garth Channel” at 7:00 pm ET.  SiriusXM says Monday’s “By Request” edition of the show “will continue to provide its weekly dose of social media engagement but will include a live acoustic performance aimed towards providing a sense of community during this time of uncertain change in people’s everyday life and social distancing.”  Brooks says, “Music is just one of those things that is more fun when you have people to dance with you.  Since we are all being asked to be apart, this seems to be a cool way to come together, and when you think about it, coming together no matter who you are or where you are from is what ‘The Garth Channel’ on SiriusXM is all about.”…..YEA Networks’ “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” is joining the lineup at Radio One’s WNOW, Indianapolis “RadioNOW 100.9.”  The show stars co-hosts Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, and Big Al Mack, along with recently announced correspondent Jenna Owens.  The show was recently added to Radio One’s Houston CHR KROI-FM.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  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 every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

| March 18, 2020

iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17).  Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement.  The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.  iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well.  Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018.  That deal was for $325 million.  Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.

TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing.  Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years.  Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19.  The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”).  Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more.  The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions.  The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue.  Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources.  The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.”  Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters.  To sign up, please click here.  To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.

WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits.  Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed.  DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos.  The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens.  DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community.  I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years.  I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.”  DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ.  Reach him at digiac22@gmail.com.

First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released.  The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26.  See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets.  Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo.  Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future.  Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”

Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home.  With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years.  The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house.  Walter himself prefers the laundry room.  Read his advice here.

Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president.  The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands.  Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands.  She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg.  She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.”  Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?”  Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles.  WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality.  The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history.  The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic.  WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.  We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences.  We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right).  Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today.  ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’”  Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming.  In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.”  Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster.  She’ll retain her WSHK duties.  Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station.  Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best.  Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

| March 17, 2020

Salem Radio Network to Present ‘Coronavirus Pandemic: An SRN News Special Report.’  Tomorrow (3/18) at 6:00 pm ET, Salem Radio Network is producing and broadcasting a live, one-hour special report on the COVID-19 pandemic on most SRN affiliated stations.  SRN says the program will feature the latest updates on what is unfolding with this major breaking news story and provide listeners with critical, hands-on information.  The program will be co-hosted by SRN talk hosts Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Hugh Hewitt and will originate live from the SRN News studios in Washington DC.  It will also be streamed on Facebook Live.  SRN senior vice president Phil Boyce says, “The country has been shaken by the fast-changing news events of this important story and SRN is uniquely qualified to carry out this task with a live, one-hour special report.  We’ll rely on the expert commentary of both Gorka and Hewitt, with SRN News coverage from Greg Clugston at the White House.”  SRN hosts Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager will also participate in the program that will include reports from major SRN affiliate locations.  Stations wishing to carry this important live broadcast should contact their regional affiliate relations manager at the Salem Radio Network – East: Jim Bligh 212-419-4663; Central: Kelli DeShan 972-707-6882; and West: Jim Watkins 239-470-9297.

Armstrong & Getty Make Show Available to Stations in Need. KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based, syndicated news/talk program Armstrong & Getty – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it is willing to assist radio stations trying to get through the COVID-19 crisis.  Effective immediately, the program is available to any station in need of a replacement show (as long as the program doesn’t already have an affiliate in that market).  The show airs live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and stations do not need an affiliation agreement.  Interested stations can contact Craig Whetstine at Armstrong & Getty Media at 503-975-6153.

ABC Audio Offers COVID-19 Digital Text Feed to Stations. As a public service, ABC Audio is offering a COVID-19 digital text feed to interested radio stations.  The company says that regardless of a station’s current affiliation with ABC Audio or ABC News Radio, it can utilize the new RSS feed to auto-populate their websites and apps with stories related to COVID-19 without a fee.  ABC’s feed will feature a selection of important news stories, including the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and updates from health authorities and medical providers, as well as entertainment stories about the impact COVID-19 has on the industry.  ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Deshishku says, “In these uncertain times ABC Audio is trying to help all radio stations keep their listeners informed.  As more station staff members work remotely, we want to offer ready-made material for as many platforms as possible.  This new digital feed and social media content will enable stations to concentrate on their audio operations secure in the knowledge that their listeners and readers are up to date with the latest COVID-19 information.”  Interested stations should email Christopher.Venice@abc.com or Mary.E.McCarthy@abc.com.

Beasley Initiates ‘Operation Gift Card: New England.’  In an effort to assist local businesses affected by the mandatory shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Beasley Media Group’s Boston-based radio cluster is unveiling Operation Gift Card: New England.  As part of the company’s “We Are All in This Together” campaign, the stations are inviting area restaurants, free of charge, to submit links to feature their gift card pages on all Beasley Media Group Boston websites. The sites currently receive over two million page views and have 750,000 unique users on an average monthly basis.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “With local restaurants and small businesses experiencing a number of restrictions, including restaurants moving towards a take-out/delivery only model, we wanted to show our support during these challenging times.  Our company is committed to being there for those in need. We are all in this together!”

Westwood One: Who’s Listening to What at Home? Working from home is becoming required for more Americans as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.  This week, the Westwood One blog looks as data about listening to the radio from home, mostly via smart speakers.  Based on recent Edison Research “Share of Ear” data from the third quarter of 2019, 24% of listening (persons 13+) is to AM/FM radio.  That tops streaming services, satellite radio and podcasts by a substantial margin.  As people work more from home, additional data will be available in the future.  According to Triton Digital, over the past week, online shares for public radio and commercial news/talk radio have grown.  See the blog here.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Application Window Open. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces that the application window for its MIW Group 2020 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is officially open.  This is the 19th year in which this notable experience pairs women working in radio with female professionals who are recognized leaders from all aspects of the broadcasting industry.  Four candidates will be selected for the 2020 program. Women with a minimum of five years of radio experience, and currently working in sales, marketing, programming, digital and/or engineering, are encouraged to review mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply.  See the mentee application here. The deadline to apply is April 6, 2020.  Lindsay Adams is a former mentee, is currently VP of national agency partnerships with Entercom, and serves as the mentoring committee chair for the MIW.  She says, “This unique initiative provides a wonderful opportunity for ambitious, experienced women in the industry to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and grow their professional network.  This program truly does propel the careers of women forward in our industry.  It is rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.”

Coronavirus Changes American Life, Financial Markets Battered/Recession Looms, and Biden vs Sanders/Ohio Postpones Primary Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The restrictions in place in most parts of America to prevent the spread of COVID-19; the world’s financial markets take another big hit on Monday and experts say the conditions are ripe for a global recession; and the Democratic presidential primary race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders plus Ohio’s postponement of its primary election were some of the top aspects of the coronavirus pandemic story discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 16, 2020

| March 16, 2020

CORONAVIRUS PERSEPCTIVE:  RAB President/CEO Encourages Radio Sellers to Proactively Draw Upon Relationships with Clients and Take Leadership Role.  In an exclusive conversation conducted early this afternoon (3/16), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison tapped into the perspective of Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president/CEO Erica Farber about the challenges facing radio sales during the current crisis. She tells TALKERS, “This crisis shows just how important relationships are in radio sales.”  Farber advises radio sales reps to take a proactive role in reaching out to clients before they contact the stations and enquire as to their well-being and current business practices during this time when it is no longer business as usual.  Farber also encourages stations to revamp existing production and copy not just to add new messaging but to update the tone of commercials, both live and produced, to reflect the current environment.  She points out that radio has an advantage over TV in this regard because “entire spots don’t have to be re-shot… just re-written which people can do working from home.”  To listen to the entire conversation between Harrison and Farber, please click 

      here
.

Monday Memo: Coronavirus, Mental Health Crisis. Because the pandemic story is nearer the beginning than the end, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “‘Wash your hands’ now sounds old and condescending and remaining political talk media deniers validate a tired caricature.  At this stage, news-your-listeners-can-use most is coping advice.”  HC recommends interviewing a local mental health professional; and in this week’s column, he recommends questions and talking points.  Read it here.

Coronavirus Hits the U.S., Fed Slashes Interest Rates, Trump Flight Ban Effects, Biden-Sanders Debate, Turkish and Russian Action in Syria, and Israeli Government Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The coronavirus pandemic causes states across the nation to limit social contact, closing schools and shutting down bars and restaurants; the Fed cuts interest rates to almost zero to counter the panic selling caused by the coronavirus; President Trump’s ban on flights into the U.S. from Europe and the logjam at airports as incoming international travelers require virus screenings; Sunday night’s debate between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders; the coordinated Turkish and Russian military strikes in Syria; and Benny Gantz’s attempt to form a coalition government in Israel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Townsquare Media Q4 2019 Net Revenue Up 2.9%, Full Year Up 5.7%; CEO Wilson Addresses Coronavirus.  The company reports its 2019 fourth quarter and 2019 full-year financial data and in addition to providing data for the entire company, it also breaks its data into three segments: Advertising, that includes broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; Townsquare Interactive, the digital marketing solutions business; and Live Events, the company’s live events, including concerts, expositions and other experiential events.  For the company as a whole, Townsquare Media’s Q4 2019 net revenue was $112.1 million, up 2.9% over the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $431.4 million, up 5.7% over all of 2018.  Looking at just the Advertising net revenue, it was $93.9 million, up 0.9% from the same period in 2018.  However, excluding political advertising from the mix, advertising net revenue was up 5.6%.  For the full year of 2019, Townsquare’s advertising net revenue was $352.8 million, up 4% over the full year of 2018.  Ex political, advertising net revenue was up 6.2% over 2018.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “As we look forward, we are excited about the future of our company.  We believe that our talented teams, broad multi-platform marketing and advertising product suite and in particular, our robust digital solutions, led by Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, will continue to differentiate us in the marketplace. We are proud of our broadcast performance, but our overall financial results clearly demonstrate what I have been stating for quite some time: Townsquare has transitioned from being a traditional broadcaster to being a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company with fast growing, profitable digital products and solutions.  We continue to be heavily focused on super-serving our local clients, local listeners and local communities while helping local businesses grow through our ‘Local First’ strategy, while simultaneously delivering results for our stakeholders.  While the specific impact of the coronavirus pandemic to our business is unknown at this time, we know that there will be a negative impact.  However, we are confident and optimistic about the long-term customer demand for our multi-platform products and marketing solutions.  Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our employees, their families, our partners and our local communities across the country, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected around the world.  We are constantly monitoring the evolving environment in each of our 67 local markets.  As the preeminent local media company in each of our local markets, Townsquare has the additional responsibility, obligation and civic duty to lead from the front, continue to inform accurately and provide comfort.  I could not be prouder of our Townsquare Team and how each day they are serving their listeners, their clients and their local communities during this important time.  Our future remains bright and I am confident that together we will emerge from this challenge stronger than ever before.”

Beasley Issues Statement on Company Coronavirus Policy. On Friday (3/13), Beasley Media Group issued the following public statement about its policy for doing business during the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley said, “After careful deliberation, we have taken precautionary measures that are currently being implemented across all of our markets.  The challenges we face are extraordinary, but the moment is not unique.  At our core, our company exists to serve our employees, advertisers and our communities and keep them safe and informed during times exactly like this.  Broadcasters are at our best during uncertain times.  We will continue to strive to be at our very best in the coming days, weeks and months.”  Through March 31, the company is enacting the following: Over the next two weeks, most full-time employees will be asked to telework.  While some full-time employees will be needed in the office, they will be expected to follow CDC guidelines (attached) in an effort to maintain a safe and clean work environment. In addition, the company has instituted a “no work-related travel” policy.  To limit public traffic at the radio stations, the stations will not be allowing listeners to pick up contest prize awards.  Market managers will have the discretion to make limited exception instances where prizes are time limited.  Beasley Media Group will be cancelling and/or postponing events and appearances for the next two weeks to ensure not only the safety of its employees but the communities they serve.  The company will continue to evaluate and update policies as circumstances dictate.

Adams Radio Implements Coronavirus Policy. Broadcaster Adams Radio Group is putting its coronavirus work plan into effect and is mandating that all personnel that can work from home do so starting immediately.  Adams CEO Ron Stone says, “I want to thank my general managers, engineers and others within our company for being very proactive in guiding the planning for our company.  Incredible talent always steps up when faced with a crisis and our management has done just that.  We are committed to supporting our workforce family and their families as well as the communities we serve.  The time for us to act is now.  In taking these actions, our priorities are to ensure the well-being of our work family and clients and to continue delivering the messages of our clients to help minimize as much as possible the disruption of their businesses, and ours, by providing the communities we serve with up to date information on the virus.  We have taken appropriate steps to provide our employees with the assets required to work from home without disruption to the excellent broadcast products we deliver to our listeners and communities.  Sales, programming, administrators and engineers will all be following this guidance as implemented by local management.  This policy is effective immediately and will continue until it is safe for our employees to return to normal activities.  We have not received notice that anyone employed by Adams Radio has been in contact with the virus and we are doing our part to keep it that way.”

Skyview Networks Reports 95% Ad Retention Rate in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic. In a public release issued on Friday (3/13) in the aftermath of the NBA, NHL, MLB and other sports leagues announcing they were postponing or cancelling their games and related activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Skyview Networks said it “continues to serve its many sports partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Skyview EVP and general manager Jeanne-Marie Condo says, “Skyview Networks has been able to retain 95% of its sports dollars.  This has been a remarkable 24 hours, at a time of caution, advertisers one after the other stood strong either building new campaigns with Skyview or choosing to keep the revenue in place for when the leagues commence.  It was a tribute to the power of on-air radio and how it delivers for advertisers.”

TALKERS News Notes. In San Diego, KOGO-AM afternoon drive personality Carl DeMaio is back on the air on the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after losing in the Republican primary for California’s 50th Congressional District seat.  DeMaio came up short in a three-way race that was won by Carl Issa, who will face Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar for the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, who resigned after being convicted of misusing campaign funds. DeMaio hosts “The DeMaio Report” along with co-host and political consultant Lou Penrose…..Cox Media Group agrees to set aside its contractual retransmission dispute with DISH Network in 10 markets in order to allow the local news, as well as network content from ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX that has been blacked out by DISH since mid-January to air so citizens can get news and information about the coronavirus.  CMG’s Kim Guthrie says, “We are pleased to be able to restore these channels on DISH so that our viewers in these communities can be informed and able to make the right decisions for the safety of their families.  We appreciate DISH’s cooperation in agreeing to suspend our dispute so that we can help our viewers navigate through this uncertain time.”…..The nationally syndicated “America’s First News with Matt Ray” is added to the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas in morning drive…..According to surveys of local radio buyers by BIA Advisory Services, if local radio could offer an over-the-air, zoned advertising product like local TV stations can, 54.6% say they would be “very interested.”  BIA and Advertiser Perceptions will present that data and more during a webinar being held on March 24 at 2:00 pm ET.  It’s titled, “Main Street Versus Madison Avenue on Geotargeted Advertising and Local Radio” and will feature BIA’s Rick Ducey and Advertiser Perceptions’ Justin Fromm, who will highlight the Main Street and Madison Avenue research.  They are joined by Kathy Doyle, EVP local investment from MAGNA Global and George Leon, chief strategy officer at Hawthorne Advertising, who will explain why they think zoned radio ads would be valuable to their clients.  You can register here.

Former, Longtime TRN Exec Greg Doyle Dies.  Family and friends are mourning the death of Greg Doyle, who died Sunday (3/15) after a long battle with liver disease.  His wife of 39 years, Lynn Finley Doyle, posted news of his passing on social media.  Doyle was a longtime executive with the Oregon-based radio syndicated firm Talk Radio Network.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore radio personality Matt Davis joins Times-Shamrock’s classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay” as midday host.  Davis previously served with Hearst’s crosstown rock WIYY-FM; WXRK, New York; and WYSP, Philadelphia.  Station general manager Jefferson Ward says, “In a world of increasingly nationalized radio, being local matters more than ever. Matt has been a part of Baltimore radio for many years and is passionate about our town, music, and creating great content on all platforms.  He is the perfect fit for our team.”…..As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Academy of Country Music has decided to postpone “The 55th Annual ACM Awards,” originally scheduled for April 5 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena.  The show, set to air on CBS Television, is being rescheduled for September.

Friday, March 13, 2020

| March 13, 2020

Craig Schwalb Joins WTOP, Washington as Director of Content Integration and Operations. Programming pro Craig Schwalb is named director of content integration and operations for Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  At the same time, Hubbard announces that Sarah Beth Hensley is assuming the digital news director position for WTOP.  That position opened after Julia Ziegler was promoted to director of news and programming.  Hensley is returning from maternity leave from her previous position as digital news manager.  Ziegler says, “The addition of our new director of content integration and operations was incredibly important to me in terms of being able to serve the newsroom most effectively.  An additional member on the leadership team helps ensure we meet our content evolution and quality control goals, as well as our goals for team training, development and growth.”  Schwalb was most recently program director for WABC, New York.  Prior to that, he was program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence.  He says, “For news and content, D.C. is the epicenter.  And if you are in D.C. you are listening to ‘TOP.  Joining this great station at this fascinating time is an absolute honor and a dream come true.  Thanks to Joel Oxley, Julia Ziegler, and Greg Strassell for this incredible opportunity.”  Ziegler says of Hensley, “In our roles as digital news director and digital news manager, respectively, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with Sarah Beth and am constantly reminded of her commitment to excellence and dedication to the WTOP mission and vision.”  Schwalb starts his new position Monday (3/16), and Hensley’s new role begins on April 14.

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 Panic Is the Cure!” looks back at this past week of March 9-13, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSSid Rosenberg, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Charles Freedman, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast MDEdge; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University / webmaster, Scamicide.com; William O’ Shaughnessy, chairman, Whitney Global Media; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q4 Revenue Dips 3.8%; Broadcast Down 1.2%.  In addition to reporting consolidated earnings, Salem Media Group breaks its operations into three segments: broadcasting, digital, and publishing.  For the fourth quarter of 2019, Salem’s broadcast segment reported net revenue of $50.5 million, down 1.2% from the same period in 2018.  Station Operating Income decreased 0.8% to $12.5 million; Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 1.2% to $49.4 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 0.5% to $12.8 million from $12.9 million.  For the quarter, digital and publishing were down 15% and 5.1%, respectively.  For the full year of 2019, total revenue was $253.9 million, down 3.4% from the full year of 2018.  For all of 2019, the broadcast segment’s net revenue was $193.3 million – a decline of 2.6%.  Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.2% and Same Station SOI was off 12.1% to $44.8 million from $51.0 million.

CBS News Turns 82 Today. It was on March 13, 1938 at 8:00 pm ET that “World News Roundup” aired as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe and specifically the Anschluss, during World War II when Adolf Hitler invaded Austria.”  CBS News was founded with the debut of that program that was thrown together with Edward R. Murrow in Austria and anchored by Robert Trout in New York.  In a note to his team (currently relocated in the Washington, DC bureau due to coronavirus cases in the New York studio building), CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Today we should all be extremely proud of the work we are doing with our outstanding journalists around the globe.  We at CBS News Radio continue the legacy of providing the best in news and information to our affiliated stations as it is needed now more than ever!  Good night and good luck to us all.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Calling for Action Related to COVID-19. Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel is calling on the FCC to take aggressive action in response to COVID-19.  Her statement reads: “The coronavirus is already exposing hard truths about the digital divide, but the Federal Communications Commission has the power to help.  Nationwide this crisis means that we are going to explore the expansion of telework, telehealth, and tele-education.  The FCC should immediately convene the country’s broadband providers to discuss what they are doing right now to provide service for Americans. We need to explore how we can facilitate public-private partnerships and consumer education campaigns to expand the reach of connectivity as quickly as possible at little or no-cost to Americans who are impacted by the coronavirus.  Where data caps are in place, we need to explore how those limitations can be eliminated.  We also need to understand how broadband providers will keep workers safe and keep their services running for Americans who will increasingly rely on broadband connectivity for work, healthcare, and education.  At the same time, the FCC should get to work to harness its universal service powers to meet this challenge. The FCC should work with health care providers to ensure connectivity for telehealth services are available for hospitals, doctors, and nurses treating coronavirus patients and those who are quarantined.  In addition, as classrooms move online, the FCC should identify how it can use its authority to provide wi-fi hotspots for loan for students whose schools have closed their doors.  We have an opportunity to confront this challenge head-on and we need to act with urgency.”

TALKERS News Notes. In an effort to assist broadcasters working from home or remote locations, AdLarge Media is offering QGoLive for free over the next two weeks.  QGoLive is an app that allows talent to broadcast remotely with studio-quality audio on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, or Mac.  AdLarge VP of affiliate marketing Jessica Sherman says, “We know that broadcasters need to continue to provide information and entertainment to their communities, especially during times of crisis or disaster.  AdLarge wants to help keep every radio on-air talent as safe as possible while still broadcasting to their local market.  That’s why we’re offering QGoLive for free for the next two weeks.”  Broadcasters can get the free two-week trial of QGoLive here…..Westwood One and TM Studios are offering a free coronavirus sung music package for radio stations worldwide.  TM Studios GM/vice president of creative Greg Clancy states, “In times of crisis, people turn to local radio.  Radio provides valuable information during these rare, critical events.  This music package was created for stations to provide a focused, cohesive identity around the constant flow of reactions and responses to COVID-19 that are now being communicated to radio listeners.”  Stations can download the package for free, unlimited use here…..ABC Audio says that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold many may be experiencing a wide range of emotions including: anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.  For that reason, ABC Audio’s “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris” podcast is posting a bonus episode today (3/13).  In it, Harris speaks with experts Dr. Luana Marques, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the senior clinical psychologist at the MGH Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders program, and Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast columnist and teacher and editor at Ten Percent Happier.  Ten Percent Happier is available for free on all podcast platforms…..The syndicated talk show “The Art of Living and Science of Life with Danielle Lin” is joining the program schedule at SNJ Today’s WSNJ, Bridgeton, New Jersey.  The station – owned by Ken Pustizzi – promotes itself as “Positive Talk” for the community…..Beasley Esports announces that Nathan Bender (left) and Ric ‘Weirdbeard’ Hogerheide (right) are hosts of CheckpointXP’s newest show, “All of Esports.”  Beasley says, “Nate and Weirdbeard have an opinion on everything and they’ll give it to you in two minutes or less!  When the bell sounds, it’s on to the next topic.  These two rarely agree on anything, but one thing they do agree on is their commitment to keeping fans in the know and engaged on everything esports!”

Coronavirus Pandemic Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 9-13, 2020. For the first time since TALKERS began tracking the stories discussed on news/talk radio in the early 1990s, aspects of a single news event occupy the top seven positions on the Talkers TenTM chart.  This week, the coronavirus pandemic as it’s affecting the human psyche, our health care system, the world economy, politics and the presidential race, the media, U.S-China relations, and our sports and entertainment industries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  See the entire Talkers TenTM chart for this week, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show co-host at Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit is Jim “JJ” Johnson.  He moves from middays to join JoAnne Purtan for the “JJ and JoAnne” show, taking over for Stephen Clark, who exited to pursue his country music career.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jim Johnson is one of the most well-known radio personalities in Detroit, with over 40 years of experience exclusively in the market.  Jim and JoAnne have great chemistry on air together and I look forward to Jim bringing his humor and passion for music to mornings on 104.3 WOMC.”…..In Monroe, Louisiana, Stephens Media Group names Doug Daniels, a.k.a. Doug Holzmeier, operations manager for the stations including adult contemporary KZRZ “Sunny 98.3,” rock KXRR, country KMYY “92.3 The Wolf,” and rhythmic CHR KNNW “Now 103.1.”  Daniels says, “I love these people!  I’ve had more fun in two weeks doing local radio than I’ve had in the previous decade.”  He was most recently with Big Horn Media’s nostalgia-formatted KUEZ, Reno “Easy 104.1.”…..Cumulus Media announces that CHR WPRO-FM, Providence program director Davey Morris is scheduled to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame at the 2020 Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame Annual Induction Dinner on April 30.  Morris began his broadcasting career in 1990 at WPRO-FM as a college intern and was hired full time in March 1991 to host overnights.  Since that time, he has been heard in all dayparts on WPRO-FM and is the longest-running afternoon drive host in the history of the station.”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

| March 11, 2020

WABC PD David LaBrozzi Added to Bold “Super Panel” Designed to Address Existential Industry Question at TALKERS Convention. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of WABC, New York/Red Apple Media, Inc. director of programming, content & branding David LaBrozzi to what is being described as a “bold super panel” to tackle the existential industry question, “Can Radio Be Saved and, If So, How?” at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention in New York on Friday June 5. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This 90-minute session will feature an extraordinary lineup of seven individuals reflecting a wide perspective on the past, present and potential future of radio’s role in society.” In addition to LaBrozzi, the panel consists of (in alphabetical order): MediaVision CEO, Lee Abrams; RAB president and CEO, Erica Farber; Radio Hall of Fame chairman and Soundmind LLC partner, Kraig Kitchin; SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, Joe Madison; and former CBS Radio/Entercom executive VP of programming, Chris Oliviero. One more panelist will be named shortly along with an introducer. Michael Harrison will serve as moderator. For more information about the forthcoming TALKERS Convention see story below.

Sean Hannity to Head All Star Lineup of Speakers at 23rd Annual TALKERS Convention Set for NYC on Friday June 5. In what has become an annual tradition, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his role as one of the key speakers at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention. He will also again host the morning networking event, “Breakfast with Hannity.” Hannity will engage in the popular presentation, “A Fireside Chat with Sean Hannity” hosted by Michael Harrison.” VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This year’s 23rd annual convention is a celebration of TALKERS magazine’s 30th anniversary and we are pleased to report that we’ve lined up an extraordinary roster of about 60 speakers and a powerful agenda to make it a truly meaningful life changing and career enhancing event for each and every one of our attendees. Details about the agenda and sponsorship opportunities will continue to be posted here on Talkers.com daily. This year the event 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. Speakers are being recruited from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry — including talent, programmers, managers and owners and the agenda focuses on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age including fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. Attendance is only open to members of the media industry and communications students and an advance sellout is expected. Non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To make reservations at the “official” hotel of the event, the Hilton New York Fashion District (located across the street from the venue) and receive a discount (while rooms last) please click here.

Unique Trophy: Red Apple Launch Party for WABC at NYC Opening of ‘Cats.’  The 77WABC launch party to celebrate the much-anticipated closing on the former Cumulus Media-owned station by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media took place Monday evening (3/9) at the legendary outlet’s studio in New York City.  During the packed event that included 77WABC air personalities and executives as well as representatives from the ad buying community, Catsimatidis was welcomed into radio industry ownership with the presentation of the “Beacon” – a recently replaced 77WABC tower obstruction light.  During a brief speech, Catsimatidis reassuringly told the gathering, “We only buy companies, we do not sell them.  We are here to stay!”  Pictured above are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis Jr., John Catsimatidis, the “Beacon,” Red Apple Media/77WABC president Chad Lopez, and Margo Catsimatidis. Photo: Jillian Nelson

iHeartMedia Issues Coronavirus Memo to Staff. Company CEO Bob Pittman and COO Rich Bressler sent a memo to the entire iHeartMedia staff regarding the coronavirus epidemic.  Here’s what it said: Team, at iHeart, our two most important priorities are serving the communities across America in which we live and work and protecting the health and safety of our employees. iHeart reaches nine out of 10 Americans – more than any other media company — and our reach comes with the responsibility to be a voice for information, context and trusted companionship.  Like you and like our listeners nationwide, we see increasing daily media coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and as a company we want to make sure we do the right thing.  In addition to the work we do around the specific health risk, as media industry leaders we are also concerned that anxiety and excessive worry over the virus can have its own negative impact.  We also know that some of you and your family members are feeling this anxiety personally.  The latest information suggests that coronavirus can be very serious if you’re older or sick, just as the flu can.  But, like the flu, its effects seem to be relatively mild for the majority of people who catch it, with the exception of older people, those with respiratory ailments or those with compromised immune systems.  To put the coronavirus into some perspective, the country did not experience the same anxiety-fueled reaction around diseases like measles, Zika, SARS, West Nile, Ebola or Bird Flu, to name a few examples, and health professionals say those were all likely more dangerous than the coronavirus although maybe not as widespread.  For your own personal health and the health of those around you, if you’re sick, please stay home and don’t expose yourself to others; that’s the same request we have if you have the flu or a bad cold or any other contagious disease – plus wash your hands often and follow CDC recommendations about disease prevention and guidelines about when to stay at home after travel to any “hot spot” countries or contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.  Right now, the potential for panic is an additional concern we need to address.  We know that for people to remain calm they need information on a continuing basis about what’s going on.  We also need to make sure we disseminate accurate and timely information to help the health professionals manage this outbreak, and to that end we will also be airing daily coronavirus updates on our stations to help supply that necessary information to our communities.  At iHeart, we will continue to operate with our usual business practices, and we will adjust them as needed.  Because we want to make our workplaces as safe as possible, we ask that you quickly contact HR4U@iheartmedia.com or (855) 722-4748 if you or anyone in your offices has contracted, or come into direct contact with, coronavirus and we will deal with each situation individually and appropriately.  As a company we adapt and react quickly, and in this situation, that’s never been more critical.  Our focus is on serving our communities, our listeners and our employees, and we are dedicated to using our assets for the public good in every single community we serve.  As leaders in our communities and in media we have a responsibility to help put the coronavirus in perspective by disseminating information and context for our listeners, and we feel this will have the additional benefit of calming anxiety and the ill effects on society that could result from that.  We’re monitoring the situation closely, and as we learn more, we’ll keep you informed.  Thanks for your strong commitment to serving our communities, our listeners and our partners at a time when they need us more than ever.

Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication. The nationally syndicated weekly program “Gun Talk,” hosted by Tom Gresham, is celebrating its 25th year on the air.  Gresham says of his guns and shooting sports program, “‘Gun Talk’ radio is perhaps more important today than when it started 25 years ago.  Whether it’s helping the first-time gun buyer sort out what she needs to buy or exposing politicians who claim to be supporters of the Second Amendment while putting restrictions on this right, there’s plenty to talk about.  Responsible gun ownership is strong, and I’m glad to be part of the movement.”  “Gun Talk” airs live each Sunday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET.  In addition to his radio show, Gresham has created and hosted “Personal Defense TV” and “Gun Talk TV” and has written magazine articles and books about firearms safety and training.

PPM Analysis: Ratings ‘Extra.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this “extra” look at radio station performances based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey.  Which stations gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share compared to the Holiday 2019 survey and which stations lost the most shares?  See it all here.

The Coronavirus Epidemic, the Democratic Primary, Financial Markets React to the Coronavirus, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The status of the COVID-19 epidemic and the debate over the best policies to contain it; Tuesday’s primary elections and Joe Biden’s lead in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus epidemic; and Vladimir Putin’s move to secure his role as leader of Russia through 2036 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast from ESPN Audio, starring Jalen Rose and David Jacoby, is planning another live recording of the program at the historic Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Tuesday, April 21.  ESPN says the “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast first began as a passion project for the guys under ESPN’s Grantland banner.  As the podcast developed into a hit in the summer of 2011, it grew to include a YouTube show, then to a national ESPN radio show.  From the radio show, “Jalen & Jacoby” grew – yet again – into a late-night TV show before landing in the afternoon on ESPN2 and, where it airs currently at 4:00 pm ET on ESPN.…..The University of Washington athletics department and exclusive multimedia rightsholder Huskies Sports Properties, announces today a new, five-year broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia sports talk KJR-AM, Seattle to run through the 2024-2025 athletic season.  The deal means KJR will provide comprehensive coverage for all Huskies sports including men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football game broadcasts.  Promotional support will happen on KJR-AM and sister stations classic hits KJR-FM, adult hits KJAQ-FM “96.5 JACK-FM,” and sports talk KFNQ-AM…..The “Joy on Paper” radio show hosted by Patzi Gil and dedicated to the world of books, celebrates its 5th anniversary on March 17.  Last year, on the program’s fourth anniversary, Gil’s guests were the writing couple Andrew Grant and Tasha Alexander, both popular authors.  This year they’ll return with breaking news that Andrew Grant is now two writers in one – the talented author of the Paul McGarth series will join his brother Lee Grant (a.k.a. Lee Child) to carry on the Jack Reacher series.  Gil says, “I don’t know how I will introduce him now.  But, whether he is Andrew Grant or Andrew Child, he is a fabulous writer and I am proud that he and Tasha will be joining me.  Tasha is the New York Times best-selling author of the ‘Lady Emily’ mystery series.”

Emmis Communications Announces Non-Broadcasting Acquisition. The acquisition of Lencore Acoustics Corporation – a Long Island-based business in the sound masking industry – gives Emmis Communications Corporation a foothold in a non-broadcasting business.  According to the press release, “Sound masking technology introduces barely perceptible background sound into a space to make environments more comfortable, ensure speech privacy, and increase workplace productivity.”  It adds that Lenore does business in nearly every U.S. state, and Europe (London).  Lencore’s 33 employees become Emmis staffers immediately.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Today’s announcement is the product of a long process, looking for the right place to infuse the Emmis hallmarks of sales and marketing excellence.  Emmis’ experience in building best-in-class operations, coupled with its unique people-first culture is the perfect fit to complement the talented Lencore team, and will give them the resources and support necessary to grow the business.  We believe that the continued move toward open-concept offices makes effective sound masking solutions more and more important.  We’re excited about where this business can go.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Multimedia pro Joey Fortman is named morning drive personality and digital media specialist for Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  In addition to her past experience as a radio personality, Fortman is the founder of “Reality Moms,” a multimedia digital influencer agency.  Bonneville Bay Area director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Joey Fortman is a very unique talent who excels at both on-air and digital content creation.  She is the perfect fit to connect our listeners to our advertisers and sell their products on-air and via our fast-growing digital channels.”…..The husband-and-wife duo of Robby Bridges and Rochelle Gagnon are joining MacDonald Garber Broadcasting’s CHR WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan to host the morning show. Additionally, Bridges will serve as station program director and Gagnon will take on promotions director duties.  The duo recently served at iHeartMedia’s WDVD, Detroit.  Bridges says, “We’d like to thank Trish and Peter Garber, Diane Hansell and Gary Berkowitz for this awesome opportunity to join their team to create big, fun, live and local radio in one of America’s premiere vacation cities.”…..Central Florida Educational Foundation promotes Dean O’Neal to vice president of operations in which he’ll oversee the organization’s seven Christian radio stations.  O’Neal was most recently program director for non-commercial Christian contemporary WPOZ-FM, Orlando “Z88.3.”  As the same time, Therese Romano is named PD for WPOZ.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

More on Talk Radio Covering the Coronavirus Challenge. On Monday (3/9) TALKERS magazine reported on how radio stations and media companies are addressing the coronavirus epidemic.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison wrote, “Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the ‘weaponization’ of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.  Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.”  On Thursday of this week (3/12), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present a special Town Hall broadcast to confront the worldwide novel coronavirus crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents.  “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott says, “As a corridor state and international arrival hub, the challenges of dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak are unique in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation being disseminated to the public. Our Town Hall broadcast will help New Jersey residents separate fact from fiction and allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”  The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Lincoln Miller, infectious disease specialist with RWJBarnabas Health; Ken Kamen, president of Princeton-based Mercadien Asset Management; and a representative from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.  Scott and guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.  At the national level, ABC Audio today begins producing the daily program, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” as a podcast.  It’s being hosted by anchor and correspondent Aaron Katersky and features the latest headlines and updates on the coronavirus outbreak as well as chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answering questions from social media.  Back at the local level, KSCO, Santa Cruz, California general manager Michael Olson says the epidemic is affecting listeners’ lives.  “The situation in our broadcast area (South San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas) is rapidly evolving.  Santa Clara County is now a community spread hotspot, Stanford University has closed its classrooms, and Santa Cruz County now has three confirmed cases.  One of the area’s big fears is the possible consequence of when and if the virus hits the homeless community, which is extensive and vulnerable.”  Olson says from a station operations standpoint, they have taken the following steps to protect the staff so KSCO can continue to serve the public.  “To protect ourselves, we have established a to-the-extent-possible ‘no touch’ policy throughout the station and set up cleaning stations at each broadcast station so hosts can clean their surfaces before use.  We are also reducing the number of people who actually come into the studios – 89 voices at last count – and are employing a remote studio adjacent to the main broadcast facility.  To continue broadcasting should the virus take hold and we are quarantined, we have agreed to establish an ad-hoc KSCO broadcast staff of those able to stay at the station and continue broadcasting.”

Lee Abrams Re-Launches Consultancy. Consultant and media executive Lee Abrams announces he’s relaunching his consulting business under the name MediaVisions.  Abrams has been consulting and working as an executive in the media industry for more than 40 years.  During that time, he’s worked with hundreds of radio stations, major networks, and leading corporate clients.  Abrams says the focus of the firm will be: a new radio format; complete reimagination of video content, news and information; creative driven 40+ music innovation for entertainment and media leaders; innovative podcasting; and working with companies looking for creative direction and new ways to prosper.  MediaVisions’ goal is to generate revenue for what’s on the horizon for media and entertainment entities.  Abrams says, “Not data driven, very creative driven.  I don’t do research, I interpret it…news and information is what is steering our 21st century world – the equivalent of what rock ‘n’ roll was 40 years ago.  MediaVisions will merge this passion for information, knowledge, and insight with the revolution in technology.  We are positioned to help companies navigate and prosper in traditional media, today’s digital landscape, and evolving disruptive technologies.”

Bill O’Reilly Visits Affiliate WCBM, Baltimore. Pictured above is Bill O’Reilly, host of the Key Networks-syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” (left) along with some of the staff of affiliate station WCBM, Baltimore as they enjoy a private dinner at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland.  Seated with O’Reilly are (from l-r):  WCBM morning co-host Bruce Elliott, his wife Vivian Elliott, WCBM midday host Derek Hunter, Robyn Casey, and her husband WCBM morning co-host (and station PD) Sean Casey.

Coronavirus Epidemic/Trump Chief of Staff Self-Quarantines, Financial Markets Sell-Off, Trump Payroll Tax Cut Proposal, Oil Price War, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The status of the coronavirus epidemic and incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows self-quarantines; Monday’s stock market sell-off brings Dow down 7%; President Trump’s proposal of a payroll tax cut to help U.S. businesses; Saudi Arabia launches an oil price war putting oil stocks at the top of the sell-off; and the Democratic primary battle between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are more primary elections taking place across the country today (3/10) and FOX News Radio is providing hourly updates in addition to a two hour “Democracy 2020” special tonight from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET anchored by FNR national correspondent Jared Halpern.  Joining him will be political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR correspondents around the country.  FOX News Podcasts is offering a special edition of the daily morning podcast, “The FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Brett Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What,” hosted by Dana Perino and FNC politics editor Chris Stirewalt…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that DuPage Radio’s WCKG-AM is dropping its FOX Sports Radio affiliation and will re-brand the station as “Sportsbook Radio,” although there’s no word yet on what programming will fill the airwaves.  WCKG station manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re planning to develop long-form and short-form ‘Sportsbook Radio’ content on WCKG, with local casino and media partners to be announced.  That work is underway, but rather than have sports personalities cover gambling, we’d prefer to have gambling experts on air. Ultimately, we will see our studio inside a Chicago-area sportsbook to get as close to the action as possible.”  Also from Robert Feder, radio news pro John Dempsey is moving to afternoons on WLS-AM for the Big John Howell show.  As a result, anchor Lauren Cohn is moving to the midday slot…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers are sticking with iHeartMedia for their radio play-by-play this season but games will air on alternative KYSR “ALT 98.7” instead of news/talk KFI, where they aired last season.  Some games will be simulcast on the company’s sports talk KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new adult contemporary outlet debuts in the Shreveport, Louisiana market as Cumulus Media flips KRMD-AM and translator K264AS to “Lite Rock 100.7.”  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “We’re excited to launch a fresh at-work listening station in the Shreveport metro.  Since he has arrived, operations manager Jay Michaels has done a great job increasing audience levels with our top 40 station KQHN-FM.  With this format flip from sports to the lite rock format, I am anticipating similar results.”…..Yesterday (3/9), TALKERS reported that Brian Zepp is returning to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis as a member of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.  Now, we learn that Zepp is filling the role that co-host Michele Tafoya held for the past four years.  Tafoya is exiting the show and tells the Star-Tribune she’s in talks with NBC about more work for the network in addition to her NFL sideline reporting…..On-air pro Kimmie Caruba joins Pacific Media Group to co-host mornings with Keola Lui-Kwan on CHR KDDB, Honolulu “102.7 Da Bomb.”  Caruba was most recently evening personality at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99.”…..Programming pro Casey Daniels is named operations manager for Adams Radio’s Tallahassee station group and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.”  Daniels was most recently on-air at WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana.

Monday, March 9, 2020

| March 9, 2020

Talk Radio Rises to Coronavirus Challenge. This past weekend seems to have marked a tipping point in America regarding public anxiety over COVID-19, still commonly referred to as the coronavirus.  Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the “weaponization” of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.  Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.  Broadcasters who spoke to TALKERS about this include: Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM; Mike Salk, Bonneville Seattle; Chris Little, KFI, Los Angeles; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, West Palm Beach; Ryan Wrecker, KMOX, St. Louis; Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan, nationally syndicated “DJV Show”; Dr. Daliah Wachs, GCN-syndicated host; Heidi Harris, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Jim Bohannon, Westwood One-syndicated host; Bob Lawrence, Saga Communications; Michael Berry, KRTH, Houston and in syndication; and Richard Neer, WFAN, New York.  Read it here.

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Conundrum: It’s the story-of-the-week every week, and the public health sector is working overtime to keep it from becoming the story-of-a-lifetime.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “If listeners don’t hear ‘Coronavirus’ on your air, you’re wallpaper.  If you are telling them something they haven’t yet heard elsewhere, they will listen more and tell others what they heard (and where).”  And he outlines specific tactics.  Read it here.

Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, North Korea Fires Missiles, and Greece-Turkey Immigrant Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The status of the coronavirus pandemic and public officials’ response to it; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus and the break of the Saudi-Russian oil pact that’s sent prices plummeting; the battle between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the party’s nomination; North Korea fires more test missiles; and the violence over the refugee crisis at the Greece-Turkey border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KFYI, Phoenix Moves James T Harris to Mornings; Debuts ‘Russell & Hunter’ Afternoon Show. Phoenix news/talker KFYI moves “The Conservative Circus With James T Harris” from afternoon drive to mornings and launches the new afternoon drive show “Russell & Hunter.”  The iHeartMedia station says, “‘The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris’ is a highly entertaining look at the news of the day from an unapologetically conservative point of view.”  Station PD Aaron Trimmer adds, “James T. Harris is an unrivaled talent in the world of talk radio.  The success he has had hosting afternoon drive on 550 KFYI made him the obvious choice to now take over mornings.”  Previous morning drive host Mike Broomhead exited at the end of his contract in January.  He joined Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KTAR-FM for mornings in February.  iHeartMedia says Mike Russell and Rob Hunter bring more than 25 years of combined experience in Phoenix talk radio to afternoon drive.  “Together, ‘Russell & Hunter’ will continue to serve Phoenix’s passionate conservative audience by being ardent defenders of small business, the 2nd Amendment and traditional American values.”

WABC, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Vows to Run for Mayor of New York. Longtime New York City talk radio host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells the New York Post he intends to run for mayor of New York.  Sliwa has not filed any paperwork to officially join the race and he’s expected to continue co-hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Juliet Huddy on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York.  The piece notes that Sliwa left the Reform Party recently and registered as a Republican.  Sliwa points to six issues he says are the most important facing New Yorkers: crime in the streets, crime on the subways, the homeless, emotionally disturbed people, the New York City Housing Authority, and affordable housing.

Talent Changes Coming to Sports Talk ‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh. The afternoon drive show at Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh is splitting up, with longtime hosts Adam Gold and Joe Ovies soon to be hosting separate programs.  Raleigh News & Observer sportswriter Joe Giglio is joining the radio station and will co-host the afternoon drive show with Ovies.  Gold will host his own sports talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In a press release, station program director Dennis Glasgow comments, “It’s not often that you have the unique opportunity to get better when moving an air personality of Adam Gold’s stature to another timeslot and also add a sports reporting vet like Joe Giglio to an already established show, so we’re very fortunate.  In the end our listeners are the big winners.”  Gold’s new program will replace the regionally syndicated David Glenn show on WCMC-FM.

‘K-News 94.3 FM’ Palm Springs Host Bill Feingold Dies at 70. The Desert Sun reports KNWQ-AM/K232CX, Palm Springs talk radio host Bill Feingold died on Friday (3/6) at age 70.  Feingold, who co-hosted the morning show with Kevin Holmes on the Alpha Media station, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in August.  It had spread to his lungs and bones.  But Feingold underwent chemotherapy and returned to the radio program after showing improvement.  Eventually, the cancer worsened, and he was hospitalized.  During his time as radio host in Palm Springs, Feingold befriended such celebrity residents as Suzanne Somers and Gavin MacLeod.

Ed Wilson to Lead CMG’s CoxReps and Gamut. Sale executive Ed Wilson joins Cox Media Group to serve as executive chairman for its CoxReps and Gamut national ad platform businesses.  CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ed for years.  He is a business builder and a natural networker in both traditional and emerging media.  His experience and industry relationships will serve him well in this role.  We look forward to his perspective as we leverage our industry leading position to evolve these important businesses.”  Wilson has served in leadership roles at The Tribune Company, FOX Broadcasting, NBC, and CBS.  CoxReps’ chief operating officer Ann Hailer and Gamut SVP of client solutions Soo Jin Oh will continue in their current roles, reporting directly to Wilson.

Weekly ‘Day 1’ Show to Celebrate 75 Years on Radio. Every Sunday since April 1945, the weekly, half-hour Protestant religious program “Day 1” has aired on radio stations across the country.  Although originally titled, “The Protestant Hour,” the program from Alliance for Christian Media has never been a 60-minute show and when Reverend Peter Wallace started working on the show 19 years ago, it was decided the show’s name needed a change.  Wallace tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, “We came up with the name ‘Day 1,’ which sounds good in the media environment.  We are on several news/talk stations [including Cox Media Group Atlanta flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM] so it fit into that milieu.  It refers to when the program generally airs – Sunday – the first day of the week.  It’s the day people generally go to church and has an inspirational, hopeful ‘first day’ of the rest of your life feel to it.”  Read the full feature here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on two radio stories from the Windy City.  First, WGN-AM sports reporter and podcaster Adam Hoge is leaving the Nexstar Media Group news/talker to join cable’s NBC Sports Chicago where he’ll be a White Sox insider on the regional network.  Second, crosstown sports talker WMVP “ESPN Chicago” is adding a nightly baseball show hosted by Jonathan Hood, effective March 23.  The Good Karma Brands-operated station will air the show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..According to a piece by Rob Tornoe at the Philadelphia Inquirer, WIP morning show producer Joe Weachter was released from a Florida hospital last Thursday morning after experiencing a health scare while on a flight from Philly to Tampa.  Weachter was on the plane, along with morning host Angelo Cataldi and WIP personality Ava Graham heading to Florida to cover Phillies spring training when lost consciousness shortly after leaving his seat to use the restroom.  Fortunately, Dr. Edward Dickinson – a professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – was on the flight and, along with the assistance of an unnamed paramedic, treated Weachter who regained consciousness after about 10 minutes…..Seneca Women Podcast Network and iHeartMedia enter into a multi-year partnership to co-produce and distribute “a slate of high-quality, women-focused podcasts in the areas of women in business, leadership, current events, health and more, providing inspiring, purpose-driven and actionable content from a diverse range of women’s voices.”  As part of the deal, new and existing podcasts on the Seneca Women Podcast Network will join the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartMedia will now co-produce the hit podcast series “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” hosted by Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli.  “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” will debut March 9 on iHeartRadio with 19 episodes in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Popular Twin Cities radio personality Brian Zepp returns to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS as part of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.  Zepp was an air personality on the station for 19 years before exiting for a position at Orion Media‘s classic rock KBZN-FM, Bozeman, Montana “The Eagle” three years ago.  He says, “After having been away from KQ for a couple of years, I’ve come to realize there is just no better experience in my profession than being a part of the ‘KQ Morning Show.’  It’s great to be reunited with Tom and the crew, but even sweeter being reunited with the KQ listeners.”…..In Dallas, Michelle Boros joins iHeartMedia’s hot AC KDMX, Dallas “102.9 NOW” as the new morning drive personality.  Boros was most recently an air personality and music director at Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio.”  Station program director Jay Shannon comments, “We’re excited to add Michelle to the ‘102.9 NOW’ morning lineup.  Her years of experience along with her DFW background and roots make her the perfect fit.”…..Radio pro Gary Saunders joins Tracy Johnson Media Group to work on TJMG’s Personality Magnet Show Prep Service.  Saunders has been serving as executive producer for the Compass Media Networks syndicated “DeDe In the Morning” program as well as APD for Service Broadcasting’s hip hop KKDA, Dallas…..Publicist Taryn Pray joins Nashville-based publicity firm Monarch Publicity.   During her more than 13 years in the publicity biz, she worked with UMG Nashville and Sony Music Nashville before starting her own independent publicity company in 2013.  Monarch Publicity’s clients include Chris Bandi, Chris Young, Craig Morgan, Laine Hardy, Matt Stell, Sara Evans, The Shires, Temecula Road, Tiffany Woys, and Music Health Alliance.

Friday, March 6, 2020

| March 6, 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 “This is No Gaffing Matter!” looks back at this past week of March 2-6, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVictoria Jones; executive director, DC Radio Company; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, Georgia; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaJoshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD “Freedom 93.7”, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

FOX News Radio Names Jimmy Failla Host of ‘FOX Across America.’ The new, permanent host of FOX News Radio’s midday “FOX Across America” show is comedian Jimmy Failla, who takes over on Monday (3/9).  “FOX Across America” has been airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart with a rotating cast of hosts since Todd Starnes – host of “FOX News and Commentary” – exited FNR back in the fall of 2019.  FNR says, “Based in FNR’s New York City studio, ‘FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla’ will feature guests from across the political spectrum for lively discussions on the day’s leading headlines.  A standup comedian and former head writer for FOX Business Network’s “Kennedy” (weekdays 9:00 pm ET), Failla will also utilize his comedic talents to help navigate the partisan divide, providing an honest look at the important issues that affect every American.”  In addition to airing weekdays on FNR, the show will also be available for download via FOX News Podcast Network, with full video recordings of each airing streaming exclusively on FOX Nation, FNC’s online subscription-based streaming service.

Denver’s ‘The Fan’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Denver sports talk outlet KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” turns 25 today and the Bonneville station is launching a campaign that will culminate in a 25th anniversary celebration in June.  As part of the celebration, ‘The Fan’ will welcome back influential figures from the station’s history for a reunion broadcast that will allow Denver listeners to reconnect with talent from the past.  Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Bob Call says, “Twenty-five years ago, we launched Denver’s first 24-hour, all-sports radio station.  Over the years, ‘The Fan’ has featured some of Denver’s most-loved personalities, starting with Doug Moe and Tom Green – who signed the station on the air – to legendary personalities like Irv Brown, Joe Williams, and Sandy Clough, who continues to entertain Denver sports fans today.  Through the years, ‘The Fan’ has been built on great live and local talent.  We are grateful for our many listeners and business partners who have been a part of this remarkable legacy.”

Westwood One to End NBC Sports Radio Distribution. Affiliates of the Westwood One-distributed NBC Sports Radio network are being notified that WWO will discontinue its distribution of the network at the end of this month. Westwood One also handles distribution for the CBS Sports Radio network and affiliates are being offered the option to take that network’s programming.  NBC Sports Radio had been offering 24/7 content but reduced that in January of last year but continued to offer sports talk shows such as “ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio” and “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison and Dan Schwartzman.”  Those shows will continue to be available on various digital platforms.

Lyndsay Keith Named Co-Host of ‘Spicer & Co.’ Pictured above on the set of the Newsmax TV show “Spicer & Co.” is co-host Lyndsay Keith (left) and host (former White House Press Secretary) Sean Spicer (right).  “Spicer & Co.” debuted Tuesday (3/3) and airs weekdays at 6 pm ET.  Prior to joining Newsmax, Keith worked at Google as a brand strategist.  She has also served as deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee.  She also served as an adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

TALKERS News Notes. The 8th Annual Contact in the Desert event takes place at Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California May 29 through June 1 and one of the participants will be Premiere Networks late-night host George Noory.  The event is described as “an epic adventure weekend into the science of UFOs, communication with non-human intelligence, ancient astronauts, human origins, crop circles, military sightings, government disclosure, artificial intelligence, downed craft technology, the evolution of consciousness, forbidden archaeology, cosmic teachings, contact experiences, interplanetary living, and much more.”  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” is one of 70 “experts, scientists, researchers, and military insiders.”…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York and LaborPress.org are presenting a panel discussion called “The Future of Healthcare” on March 19 at The Cutting Room in New York City.  The 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm event will feature opening remarks by NYS Building & Construction Trades Council president James Cahill and is being moderated by filmmaker Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, The Matrix) who also produced and directed the documentary film that addresses mental illness titled, No Kidding! Me 2!!…..Comedian and talk host Dennis Miller begins hosting a twice-weekly show on RT America called, “Dennis Miller +1.”  The interview show airs live at 9:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Miller says, “What do I like in an interview?  I like it when the host asks a question and then listens to the guest’s answer and then reacts to that answer with an amplification through the next question.  I promise you, I will not sit here finding myself overly precious and thinking only about my next query.  I’m going to have a conversation!”  Miller talks to actor and comedian Jeff Dunham on the first episode…..The Washington Examiner is launching a weekly podcast called, “Mag Men,” that offers analysis and commentary of the week’s news and what stories the editors are working on for the week ahead.  It’s being hosted by executive editor Seth Mandel, managing editor Jay Caruso, Life and Arts editor Park MacDougal and deputy editor J. Grant Addison.  The show is on the Ricochet platform that also hosts other Washington Examiner podcasts, including the “Hashing it Out,” a weekly podcast hosted by Siraj Hashmi, “The Byron York Show,” hosted by Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York, and “Examining Politics, “a daily podcast hosted by Cumulus Media and WMAL-FM, Washington talk-show host Larry O’Connor…..Happy 61st birthday to talk host Lars Larson, who also celebrates 45 years on the radio this month.  Larson, who hosts his daily KXL-FM, Portland-based Pacific Northwest show as well as his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated show, says, “Forty-five years ago this month, I landed my first paid job in radio spinnin’ records and reading news from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Monday thru Friday on the “Mighty 1590” KTIL from a cinderblock building in a cow pasture outside Tillamook, Oregon.  Forty years ago next week, I came to work at KXL.  This month, I mark 23 years of Radio Northwest Network syndication in Oregon, Washington and Idaho… I did my 20 years in the liberal gulag of TV news, but I never stopped doing radio.  When a kind-hearted TV management informed me I had a ‘face for radio’ and demanded that I choose – TV or radio – it wasn’t hard at all.  My first love, radio… God blessed me with Tina, my wonderful wife, who puts up with the weird hours and strange demands of this business.  I have looked forward to each and every day I get to open a mic and talk with folks.  My personal goal is to stay behind the mic as long as my hero Paul Harvey did.”

RTDNF Honors Journalists at 30th Annual First Amendment Awards. Last night (3/5), the Radio Television Digital News Foundation honored journalism professionals dedicated to defending the First Amendment and the public’s right to know at the 30th Annual First Amendment Awards in Washington, D.C.  The evening’s program began with RTDNA/RTDNF executive director Dan Shelley’s call to action, “Your viewers and listeners in the cities and towns you serve need the refreshing drink of water and the pleasant fragrance of a blossoming local news product that reflect an even stronger commitment to serving them – to empowering them to make positive changes in their communities… By joining forces, we can place America’s dust bowls of journalism into the dustbin of history.”  This year’s honorees were: David Muir of ABC News; “60 Minutes” produced by CBS News; Robert Horner of NBC News; Barbara Maushard of Hearst Television; Lori Montenegro of Telemundo; Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); and Steve Andrews of WFLA-TV, Tampa.

Presidential Race/Super Tuesday Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 2-6. The race for the Democratic nomination, the Super Tuesday elections, and the candidates who dropped out were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the coronavirus pandemic. Coming in at #3 was the financial markets activity and the Fed’s interest rate cut, followed by health care reform, climate change, and race relations tied 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. Programmer John Candelaria is leaving his position with Beasley Media Group as PD of rhythmic AC WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” and urban AC WDMK “Kiss 105.9” in Detroit and national brand manager for urban and rhythmic AC to relocate to his home town of Albuquerque…..“The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” co-host J-Si Chavez and contributor Jenna Owens are launching their new podcast, “Fitish,” and the first episode reached the top 50 on the Apple Podcasts chart.  Owens, who recently announced that she is taking a step back from day-to-day co-hosting at “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” states, “I’m thrilled to be able to talk more openly about things I haven’t been able to discuss on the morning show and do it all with my favorite radio partner and occasionally our real-life partners as well!”…..Pictured at left is Premiere Networks senior director of rock programming and specials Sal Cirrincione (left) and rock legend Roger Daltrey (right) aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for the sold out Rock Legends Cruise VIII.  Cirrincione helped entertain passengers by hosting Q&A sessions with three Daltrey, The DoorsRobby Krieger and Heart’s Nancy Wilson.  The annual cruise benefits the Native American Heritage Association, a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to helping Native American families in need who live on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

| March 5, 2020

Susan Larkin to Succeed Weezie Kramer as Entercom COO. When Entercom acquired the radio assets of CBS RADIO in 2017, chief operating officer Weezie Kramer put off her planned retirement to help lead the company’s operations “through the integration and critical transformation initiatives to elevate and enhance the company’s competitive position.”  Now, Kramer is leaving her COO position effective May 5 when current New York market manager and regional president Susan Larkin will assume the COO role.  Kramer will continue to serve the company as a senior executive adviser to Entercom president and CEO David Field.  Kramer joined the company in 2000.  The company is already in the process of seeking Larkin’s replacement in New York.  David Field says, “Weezie has been an extraordinary, inspiring leader and a fiercely determined, tireless competitor and strategist who has built an outstanding record of success over the many years in which she has led us forward as our chief operating officer.  She set an uncompromising standard of excellence for all, both professionally and personally, driving us to be our very best while maintaining the highest ethical standards.  She earned the sincere admiration, respect and affection of the entire Entercom team, and much of the industry, for her spirited leadership and decency and for being a full-throated, unapologetic champion for radio.  She has been an extraordinarily successful COO and we are all immensely grateful to her. While she will be deeply missed as COO, I am thrilled that she will be joining the Entercom board where we will continue to benefit from her wisdom and guidance for years to come.”  Speaking about her new role with Entercom, Larkin says, “This is an exciting time for Entercom, and for all audio media.  I am thrilled to be part of Entercom’s forward-thinking strategy as we continue to set ourselves apart as the best operator and creator of audio content in the U.S. and realize the value of our engaged impressions with advertisers.  Weezie has been an incredible mentor and the best leader I could ask for.  I am honored to work with such a strong team and excited about the next phase of Entercom’s continued growth, expansion and strategic vision.”

Emmis/Mediaco SVP Charlie Morgan to Leave for New Opportunity. Senior vice president Charlie Morgan is leaving his role with Emmis/Mediaco for a new opportunity.  Morgan, who served with the company for the past 10 years – six in Indianapolis and the past four years in New York, is credited by the company with “leading the turnaround of Emmis operations in Indianapolis and New York (now Mediaco).  His focus on product quality, operational excellence, innovation and, perhaps most important, on culture and talent development as the ultimate path to winning have been central to our success.  Charlie’s emphasis on building great teams through coaching and development has enhanced the careers of countless colleagues over the years at Mediaco, Emmis, Cumulus, IMS Productions and Susquehanna.  We sincerely thank him for all his efforts and wish him the absolute best in his next endeavor.”  The company says it is beginning a search for a permanent leader for Mediaco New York.  In the meantime, Emmis/Mediaco president Patrick Walsh will serve as interim New York market manager.

George Beasley Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Ceremony. New York’s Plaza Hotel was the scene of last night’s Broadcasters Foundation of America 2020 Golden Mike Award Gala.  More than 350 broadcasters and celebrities were there as the BFoA raised more than $400,000 to support broadcasters in need.  At this year’s event, Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee received the 2020 Golden Mike Award and Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley received the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Pictured above are (from l-r): BFoA chairman Dan Mason, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (accepting for her father George), BFoA president Jim Thompson and event host and “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville.

New York Festivals to Honor the National Press Club.  At the New York Festivals Storytellers Gala taking place on April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Press Club will be honored with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.  NYF says its Lifetime Achievement Award “recognizes prominent industry leaders and driving forces in the broadcast industry whose accomplishment have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry.”  NYF TV & Film Awards/Radio Awards vice president/executive director Rose Anderson says, “For over a century, the National Press Club has upheld responsible journalism, supported freedom of the press worldwide, and provided a forum for the exchange of substantive ideas in our Nation’s Capital.  Their members’ commitment to excellence encompasses all media.  In this year marking the centennial of radio and our inaugural Storyteller’s Gala, we are proud to honor this organization with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.”  National Press Club president Michael Freedman will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

Cumulus Nashville Stations to Hold Radiothon for Tornado Relief. The Nashville cluster of Cumulus Media is holding the Cumulus Cares Tornado Relief Radiothon tomorrow (3/6) at Edley’s Bar-B-Que to raise money for the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.  It started when Will Newman from Edley’s reached out to WGFX-FM “104-5 The Zone” personality Jonathan Hutton about ways to give back to the community in the wake of the devastating tornados.  The radiothon was born and tomorrow WGFX-FM, news/talk WWTN-FM, and Cumulus’ three music stations will broadcast live encouraging cash donations.  In addition, Cumulus is collecting necessities such as diapers, blankets, baby formula, wipes, gloves, toothpaste, Ziploc bags, tide pods, and feminine hygiene products at accessible areas nearby the broadcast site.

WPHT, Philadelphia to Hold Third Annual Liberty USO Radiothon. In Philadelphia tomorrow (3/6), Entercom news/talker WPHT is hosting the 3rd annual “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Liberty USO Radiothon” to benefit Active, Guard and Reserve military and their families through programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO).  The station will broadcast live from Chickie’s & Pete’s Play 2 from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm ET.  The broadcast will be anchored by on-air personalities Rich Zeoli and Dom Giordano.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We care deeply about serving those who have served our country and I’m proud of the role WPHT plays in supporting Liberty USO.  This annual radiothon aims to raise awareness and funds on behalf of service members and their families right here in our community through the generosity of our listeners.”

Suburban Philly News/Talker to Go Dark. WNPV-AM/W253CA, Lansdale, Pennsylvania “The Talk of the Suburbs” announces it will cease programming on April 30 and go off the air.  WFMZ-TV reports general manager Phil Hunt saying in a press release, “Our mission has always been to serve the public interest by providing top-quality local news, and we have never been willing to compromise on that promise.  In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to compete for both audience and advertising dollars, and unfortunately it is no longer sustainable to continue to run the business in a way that delivers the service our community expects and deserves.  We are grateful for the support of our loyal listeners, the belief of our advertisers and the commitment from our talented team.  It has been an honor to serve this community.”  The signals are owned and operated by North Penn Valley Broadcasting and serve Bucks and Montgomery counties.

WHO, Des Moines Personality Bonnie Lucas Wraps Radio Career Tomorrow. Des Moines radio personality Bonnie Lucas is retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines after tomorrow morning’s show.  She’s been co-hosting the station’s AM drive program with co-host (and station PD) Van Harden since 1994.  Lucas’ final show will take place on the road as she and Harden broadcast live from Meals from the Heartland in West Des Moines for the “2020 Van & Bonnie Hunger Fight,” a non-profit, food-packing event where volunteers package meals for delivery to malnourished people in Iowa, across the United States and around the world.  Beginning Monday (3/9), Van Harden will host the morning show with special feature guests including familiar WHO personalities such as Jeff Angelo, Simon Conway, Emery Songer, and Maxwell Schaeffer as well as prominent central Iowa public figures and entertainers.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM midday anchor – and host of the “Noon Business Hour” – Cisco Cotto is launching “WBBM In Depth,” a weekly podcast that further explores local business news stories.  The podcast will also include interviews plus reports from contributors.  focusing on trending news stories and their impact on the business world. It also features longer interviews with contributors and experts…..Entercom’s Philadelphia radio stations moved into the company’s new RADIO.COM World Headquarters at 2400 Market Street in Philly last month.  All-news KYW-AM, news/talk WPHT, sports talk WIP-FM, adult contemporary WBEB “B101.1,” CHR WDTY, and classic hits WOGL are all now located in the company’s headquarters.  At the KYW site, videographer Holli Stephens presents a two-minute video of the gleaming new studios and offices.  Check it out here…..The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that former Green Bay Packers fullback and fan favorite John Kuhn is being courted by local and national media organizations for a full-time sports talk role. Kuhn began working in the Packers front office last April as an analyst for digital, broadcast, and game presentations.  He was a sideline reporter for radio flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee’s broadcasts last season.  The MBJ cites sources saying iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM “The Game” is talking with him about joining its lineup, though nothing is set in stone yet.

Coronavirus Pandemic, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, SCOTUS Hears Abortion Case/Schumer Comments, Israel Election, Syria-Turkey Violence, and Tennessee Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The status of the coronavirus pandemic and California’s declaring a state of emergency; Joe Biden’s leap to frontrunner in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Louisiana abortion law case and Senator Chuck Schumer is criticized for threatening Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; the results of Israel’s most recent election in which Benjamin Netanyahu failed to achieve a majority; the military clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces; and the aftermath of the Tennessee tornadoes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Inside Edition’ Anchor Deborah Norville Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The two-time Emmy Award winning broadcaster is celebrating her 25th anniversary as host of the daily news magazine establishing her as the longest-running daily anchor in national television. She is also getting ready to emcee the annual Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award Dinner tomorrow evening (3/4) at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The dinner is the BFoA’s signature fundraising event to help broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times due to medical crises or natural disasters. Norville is an accomplished broadcaster with outstanding television and radio credentials. She joined “Inside Edition” in 1995 from CBS News where she was an anchor and correspondent. She is the former co-host of NBC’s “Today” and anchor of NBC “News at Sunrise.” During her career she has hosted a primetime show on MSNBC, a national radio show on the ABC Talk Radio Network and has served as an anchor and reporter for WMAQ-TV in Chicago. She began her reporting career at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, while still a student at the University of Georgia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude, First Honor Graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is also a prolific best-selling author and active with a number of leading causes and charities. Harrison and Norville discuss the Broadcasters Foundation as well as her career in television, changes in audience attention spans, the state of the media industry, and the #MeToo movement. 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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

| March 4, 2020

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 January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey, 71% of news/talk stations realized a ratings improvement in January, led by iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento (+2.7) and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM (+2.2).  Comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 55% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with 37% down and 8% unchanged.  Leaders in this group included iHeartMedia’s WOR in the Long Island market (+2.2) and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+2.1).  Three news/talk stations ranked #1 (weekly, 6+ AQH share) in the January 2020 survey: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM put up a 10.0 share, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento notched an 8.6 share, and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville garnered a 9.8 share.  See the entire report here.

ESPN to Rep ABC Audio’s Podcast Network. A deal between ABC Audio and ESPN Audio will have the latter’s ad sales team representing ABC Audio’s podcast network.  The press release states that this arrangement “by the two business units reflects a strategic collaboration to further grow the podcast business across The Walt Disney Company.”  Prior to this announcement, ESPN handled ad sales for podcasts produced by FiveThirtyEight, National Geographic, and its own network.  ESPN Audio VP of digital strategy and marketing Tom Ricks says, “Adding ABC Audio’s podcasts under the ESPN Audio sales umbrella will provide advertisers with one-stop shopping, enhancing the value and efficiency they receive from a larger stable of premium and compelling content.  We reach complementary audiences – adding even more value for advertisers.”  Broadcast network radio sales for ABC Audio are represented by Skyview Networks.

Edison Research: Two-Thirds of American Homes Have at Least One Radio. In advance of the March 19 Infinite Dial webinar, Edison Research and Triton Digital tease that their inquiry into home radio ownership in the U.S. reveals that 68% of American homes have at least one radio.  However, just 12 years ago, the mean number of home radios Americans reported owning was three.  Back in 2008, just 4% of households reported owning no radio at all; the figure for 2020 is 32% owning no home radio.  Edison asks, “What has replaced these radios?  Do those who have no radios instead have smart speakers in their homes?  Tune in to The Infinite Dial webinar for the answer to these questions and many others.”  You can find registration information for the webinar here.

Entercom Signs Up with LiveRamp. Broadcaster Entercom announces it has entered into a deal with LiveRamp to become a LiveRamp Destination.  Entercom says, “Advertisers and media buyers will now have the ability to find and activate their own audiences interacting with the company’s robust portfolio of audio assets that reach over 170 million consumers monthly. In addition, advertisers will benefit from the company’s full suite of first party data and attribution solutions through Entercom Audience & Attribution platforms.”  Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney says, “As the No. 1 reach medium in America, radio and digital audio should be vital parts of every brand’s media strategy.  Audience-based media buyers nationwide who turn to LiveRamp to find and activate their audiences across digital and television publishers will now be able to do so across all audio platforms – from streaming, to podcasts, to over-the-air inventory – giving them over 90% reach in the top 50 markets.”  The press release adds that LiveRamp has over 500 integrations with leading platforms in the industry, offering advertisers an omnichannel solution for activating their data.  As part of the partnership, Entercom’s portfolio of assets spanning across broadcast radio and digital will be featured among hundreds of leading media and entertainment companies.

Appeals Court Nixes Ref’s Suit Against Kentucky Sports Radio. College basketball referee John Higgins lost his Appeals Court suit against Lexington-based Kentucky Sports Radio and talk hosts Matt Jones and Drew Franklin. Higgins had sued alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, tortious interference with a business relationship, and civil conspiracy.  However, the Court ruled against him on First Amendment grounds.  Higgins refereed the 2017 Elite Eight game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament between the Kentucky Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Kentucky lost a close game and many of its fans blamed Higgins’ refereeing for the loss.  Naturally, Kentucky Sports Radio, including Jones and Franklin discussed the loss and Higgins’ role in it.  After a fan learned that Higgins owned a roofing company in Omaha, angry Kentucky fans began leaving poor reviews of his business on social media, causing his reviews to plummet from highly positive to very negative and, he says, causing him financial losses.  Higgins argued the hosts at KSR were in part to blame for this.  The Court’s ruling is interesting, and you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The new television talk show starring former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer debuted on Newsmax TV last night (3/3), in time for coverage of Super Tuesday elections.  “Spicer & Co.” airs nightly at 6:00 pm from studios near the White House and includes co-host Lindsay Keith…..Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is co-sponsor of a Change.org petition to end Daylight Saving Time.  Wachs, a board-certified family physician, has talked on her radio program for years about the medical issues that are associated with the semi-annual time changes.  See the petition here….. ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis is hosting the 30th annual First Amendment Awards Dinner & Show on March 5 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.  Davis will lead the ceremony in which the RTDNA recognize seven honorees who “represent the valuable role journalists play in local and national media by practicing their constitutionally guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.”  Davis joined ABC News in 2007 and works as a correspondent filing reports for “World News,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Nightline” as well as an anchor for “Prime” on ABC’s streaming channel, ABC News Live…..As the result of deals with audio play-by-play producers and syndicators ESPN Radio, Westwood One, Compass Media Networks, and Learfield IMG College, SiriusXM is broadcasting games from 26 different NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, offering live play-by-play of more than 120 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to subscribers.  They’ll get games from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, and Mountain West conferences, and every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments.

News Opportunities with FOX News Radio. There are a number of open news positions with FOX News. They are: Radio News Anchor, FOX News Headlines 24/7 – This is a full-time radio anchor position as an air talent for News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position 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 day’s notice. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Overnight Freelance Anchor, FOX News Radio – This is a freelance position open at the company’s Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC bureaus. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Producer/News Editor – This is a Friday through Tuesday position supervising the staff for FNR’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7 (Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this post you’ll work with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here; and Freelance Producer/News Editor – This position is in New York City in which you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here.

KLIN, Lincoln Has Rare News Anchor Opening. NRG Media news/talker KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska has a rare opening for a news anchor/reporter. NRG says: “This is your chance to be part of an amazing team in Nebraska’s Capital City and the Radio Home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers! At KLIN, the local news drives our talk, and does it in a fun and entertaining environment. If you are energetic, love radio, are passionate about local news, know how to enterprise, can connect with the community, are able to create compelling & award-winning content, we want to talk with you! You will share the mic with a talented group of professionals who all love radio and each of its digital platforms.” See more about this position and apply here. NRG Media is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Now it’s confirmed that former longtime KROQ, Los Angeles program director – and most recently SVP of programming for Entercom Los Angeles – Kevin Weatherly is joining Spotify as head of North American programming.  Weatherly had been with KROQ for 28 years.  He also programmed the company’s adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM” and CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP Radio.”…..The YEA Networks syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” is returning to Houston on Radio One’s CHR KROI “RadioNOW 92.1,” effective March 9.  The show features Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, and Big Al Mack, along with recently announced correspondent Jenna Owens.  Radio One Top 40 format director Dustin Kross says, “I’m really excited to bring the legendary ‘Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’ back to Houston on ‘RadioNOW 92.1.’  They still have a great streaming presence in Houston from when they were here before.  So, I have no doubt they’ll be welcomed with open arms.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

| March 3, 2020

Todd Herman Returns to KTTH, Seattle for Mornings. In Seattle, Bonneville moves talk show host Todd Herman across the hall to conservative news/talker KTTH to host the morning show, replacing Saul Spady.  Herman had been the afternoon drive host at KTTH before becoming one-third of the “Candy, Mike and Todd” show that replaced “Ron and Don” in afternoons on sister KIRO-FM in January of 2019.  That show lasted just a year.  Station program director Mike Salk says, “There is no one with more passion for his beliefs than Todd.  He connects with his audience and creates a lasting bond.  We’re thrilled to return his energy to our Northwest listeners.”

Cumulus and Nielsen Extend; Add Continuous Diary Measurement in 14 Markets. This deal between Cumulus Media and Nielsen Audio runs through 2022 and extends Nielsen Audio Measurement services for the company while adding Continuous Diary Measurement for 120 stations in 14 markets and the Local Nielsen Media Impact service for its Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago markets.  Nielsen says Local NMI provides “unparalleled local media planning and cross-platform optimization including TV, radio and digital outlets in each of the 44 Local NMI markets.”  Cumulus EVP operations Bob Walker comments, “We are eager to work with Nielsen to evolve how we measure the changing consumer landscape with audio.  This extension helps us understand how Continuous Diary Measurement and Local Nielsen Media Impact may help drive advertising results while we work together to measure audio engagement for local station content and national network content moving forward.”

Seton Hall Disinvites WABC’s Sid Rosenberg from 2020 Election Panel. In story by Thomas Schwartz posted to Seton Hall’s The Setonian, WABC, New York talk host Sid Rosenberg is being disinvited to the Seton Hall campus for the WABC Town Hall event scheduled for March 10 after students protested.  The “Election Central Decision 2020” discussion was to have included Rosenberg along with WABC midday co-host Juliet Huddy and moderator Seton Hall professor Matthew Hale, Ph.D., but student Stefan Ferreira posted some of the controversial comments Rosenberg made on the air over the years – including the one referencing singer Kylie Minogue’s cancer diagnosis that got him fired from the “Imus in the Morning” program in 2005 – and the backlash caused the school to rescind Rosenberg’s invitation to the campus.  Neither the station nor Rosenberg have commented publicly.

John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media, Inc. Closes on WABC, New York. It’s now official. The deal to transfer ownership of news/talk icon WABC, New York from Cumulus Media to Red Apple Media has been completed. WABC announced Monday (3/2) that the iconic New York City news/talk radio station has been acquired by Red Apple Media Inc., a subsidiary of Red Apple Group, Inc. which owns and operates assets in the energy, real estate, finance, insurance, and supermarket industries. John Catsimatidis, founder, chairman, president and CEO, Red Apple Group, confirmed that the transaction to acquire the storied talk radio station was completed, effective today. “We look forward to working with this legendary New York staple radio station with all of its employees and talent,” says Catsimatidis. “It is exciting for our company to be stepping into the broadcasting industry with WABC as the anchor for our growing media assets.” Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, WABC, notes, “This is truly a great day for 77 WABC, its listeners and advertising partners. We’re thrilled that John Catsimatidis, a true New Yorker, has acquired WABC and are excited to move forward together into the bright future of talk radio in New York City. John’s passion for radio, along with his appreciation of the rich history of the station, makes this partnership ideal as we work together to give New York City what it deserves: the best news/talk station in the city.” Dave LaBrozzi, program director, WABC, adds, “John Catsimatidis shares the same vision and passion for building WABC, and having him join us is going to be such a great asset to this station. We know that this new step for WABC will help the station to achieve its highest potential.” WABC will reportedly continue its current programming lineup, which includes a mix of locally produced and nationally syndicated shows. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following comment on the acquisition: “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local business person with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”

Nathan James Assumes Digital Content Manager Role at SummitMedia Omaha. Marketing and digital content pro Nathan James joins SummitMedia’s Omaha station group to serve as digital content manager.  James was most recently director of marketing partnerships and promotions for Adams Radio Group in Salisbury, Maryland.  The company says that James will “oversee the creation and implementation of a new ‘360’ digital content generation strategy plan, as well as other digital marketing and promotion efforts for each of the Omaha brands.”  He’ll work with new promotions director Rome Voltmer “to create organic digital and promotional content, develop unique tentpole events, and custom campaigns for current and future clients.”

Radio Companies Presenting at Investors Conferences. Both radio and digital giant iHeartMedia and smaller market operator Townsquare Media will be at Deutsche Bank’s 28th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference March 10 in Palm Beach.  iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and COO/CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question-and-answer session on that day.  A live webcast of the session will be available to the public through a link on the investors homepage of iHeartMedia’s website.  Townsquare Media executives will appear at both the Deutsche Bank conference and at the Guggenheim Broadcasting Symposium at Guggenheim Partners’ offices on March 5.  At the Guggenheim Broadcasting Symposium, CEO Bill Wilson and CFO Stuart Rosenstein will be available for one-on-one meetings with investors.  At the Deutsche Bank conference, Wilson will participate and be available for one-on-one meetings with investors.

TALKERS News Notes. Georgia talk show host Erick Erickson reports that his daily, statewide syndicated midday show (separate from his PM drive show on WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) responded to news that Georgia now has two cases of the coronavirus by leveraging his statewide radio presence to help government officials reach listeners across Georgia.  Erickson reports that both Senator David Perdue and Governor Brian Kemp joined him on his show to discuss the situation in Georgia.  This Friday, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to also join the program to talk about the spread of the virus inside the United States.  Erickson’s show is distributed by the Georgia News Network…..Genuine Austin Radio’s sports talker KTXX-FM/KTAE-AM/K270CO, Austin makes a talent shuffle. Midday personalities Brad Kellner and Rod Babers move to PM drive alongside Kevin DunnChad Hastings leaves PM drive to co-host middays with Trey Elling.  Jeff Howe and Craig Way are the new late-morning show.  Bucky Godbolt and Erin Hogan remain the morning drive hosts…..Cumulus Media gives up the licenses for two AM stations.  Gone from the company’s portfolio are WRWM-AM, Macon, Georgia and KSLZ-AM, Amarillo, Texas.  WRWM had been airing a sports talk format as “1500 The Fan.”  KSLZ had been dark for the better part of the last year…..Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and the MLB’s Minnesota Twins announce a multiyear broadcast extension through the 2023 season. WCCO continues to serve as the team’s flagship station and, for the first time, all spring training, regular season, and postseason games will also air on sister country outlet KMNB-FM “102.9 The Wolf.”…..Talk host Michael Patrick Shiels, whose morning show is syndicated across Michigan, is again producing his show on March 17 live from Benner’s Hotel in Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland in celebration St. Patrick’s Day.  Shiels says, “We will provide live coverage of the Dingle Parade as it passes down Main Street in front of Benner’s Hotel.  We will also interview many of Dingle’s colorful community leaders, characters, musicians, and more.  Benner’s general manager John Foley will discuss Ireland’s world-renowned hospitality and cuisine.  Shiels’ program has, in the past, featured the likes of “Riverdance’s” Michael Flatley, Irish President Mary Robinson, and Irish golf star Darren Clarke.

Beth Nifong Joins CMG Atlanta as GSM. Sales pro Beth Nifong joins Cox Media Group as general sales manager for the Atlanta cluster that includes news/talk juggernaut WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and three music brands.  She was most recently GSM for Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte station group.  CMG Atlanta director of sales Jaleigh Long says, “Beth Nifong is a strategic leader with a proven track record for driving client results and developing top talent.  I’m confident that Beth will propel the CMG integrated media sales organization into the future as we continue to drive a thriving ROI for our clients and partners.”

Coronavirus, Presidential Race/Buttigieg and Klobuchar Exit, Financial Markets Activity, Chris Matthews Retires, Israeli Election, Jack Welch Dies, and Kobe Bryant Crash Scene Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/2). The status of the coronavirus pandemic; Democratic candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar drop out of the race the day before Super Tuesday; the U.S. financial markets rebound after the previous week’s record losses; MSNBC talk host Chris Matthews retires unexpectedly in the aftermath of allegations of sexist behavior; the Israeli election and Benjamin Netanyahu’s future as Israel’s leader; former General Electric chief Jack Welch dies; and the LA deputies accused of taking and sharing photos of the Kobe Bryant crash scene were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHRTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the rhythmic CHR format.  While more than 50% of rhythmic CHR stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up compared to the Holiday 2019 survey, 67% of those stations saw those ratings decrease from January 2019 to January 2020.  See the entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas country outlet KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” announces that “The All-New Wake Up With the Wolf Show” now features Brian Moote and Tara as co-hosts.  Moote joins the Cumulus Media station from his most recent gig as a cast member of “The Bert Show” and Tara was most recently host of the morning show on iHeartMedia’s crosstown hot AC KDMX “NOW 102.9.”…..Programming pro Brad Steiner is appointed program director for three of Cumulus Media’s New Orleans radio stations: alternative WZRH “ALT 92.3,” country WRKN “NASH Icon 106.1,” and classic hits KKND “106.7 The Krewe.”  He comes to New Orleans from Chattanooga where he was APD and afternoon drive host  at CHR WDOD-FM “Hits 96.”…..WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island) morning personality John “JP” Parise is being honored by the Town of Babylon for his 20 years on the air at the station with a road named after him.  Town supervisor Rich Schaffer, deputy supervisor Tony Martinez and the rest of the town board are renaming a portion of West 15th Street in Deer Park “John ‘JP’ Parise Way.”  Parise grew up on the block and lived there until his mid-20s.  He host the rock WBAB morning show with partner Roger Luce…..SummitMedia brings Tamo Sein aboard to host the midday show at hot AC WURV, Richmond “Play 103.7” and KQCH, Omaha “Channel 94.1.”  Sein – who was most recently on air hosting middays at iHeartMedia’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7” until exiting last August – will voice track the show for KQCH.

Monday, March 2, 2020

| March 2, 2020

JVC Media’s ‘Florida Man Radio’ Makes Lineup Changes. The Orlando simulcast of WDYZ-AM and W288CJ – ‘Florida Man Radio’ – makes some changes to its daily lineup.  Scott Ledger exits the midday slot and the station moves Attorney Justin Clark’s “You Have Power Radio” to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and adds an hour to “The Ed Tyll Show” (now airing 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) to fill the daypart.  “The Shannon Burke Show” is now heard in PM drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  JVC Media Florida director of programming Stevie Demann says, “As this unique radio station continues to grow across the state, we will continue to find new ways to ensure we’re delivering the most off-the-wall, creative, and exciting ways to discuss today’s most relevant and relatable topics.  Moving Justin to middays, giving Ed Tyll an extra hour, and Shannon Burke moving to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm to super serve the busy afternoon commute, ‘Florida Man Radio’ will be better positioned to make our listeners laugh, cringe, think – and of course be ‘Unfiltered and Unafraid’!”  ‘Florida Man Radio’ is also heard on WYGC-FM, High Springs in the Gainesville market.

Connoisseur Media Expands Digital Business. The expansion of Connoisseur Media’s digital business comes as the company acquires the digital marketing staff, a substantial portfolio of accounts, and key management platforms from Scorpion.  Connoisseur says the combined digital operations will be known as Ferocious Media going forward.  The assets purchased by Connoisseur are a portion of Scorpion’s 2017 acquisition of Driven Local, a nationally recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency and Google Ads Premier Partner.  Kevin Szypula, Driven Local’s co-founder and most recently chief advertising officer of Scorpion, joins Connoisseur as COO of Ferocious Media.  Connoisseur CEO Jeff Warshaw states, “This is a significant step for our company, it allows us to bring a crackerjack operating team and hundreds of additional accounts into Connoisseur.  We started a digital marketing services company 10 years ago, then merged with Driven Local.  We are so happy to welcome Kevin back to the family.”  Connoisseur says Ferocious Media is a full-service marketing company that provides “cutting edge website design, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, media buying, display, video and audio advertising, social media content and more.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  Almost 70% of sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share improve from the Holiday 2019 survey.  Big gainers included iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis, which shot up 1.6 shares to post an 8.4 share and the #1 rank in the market; and Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh, rising 1.5 shares to finish the survey with a 7.9 share good for the #4 rank.  Comparing year-over-year, 53% of sports talkers were up while 35% were down and 12% were flat.  KXFN, Minneapolis gained 3.5 shares from January 2019 to January 2020, rising from #8 to #1 in the market.  Meanwhile, Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco added 1.9 shares to finish January 2020 with a 4.8 share; and Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh also added 1.9 shares to finish January 2020 with a 3.9 share.  KFXN was one of three sports talkers to rank #1 in its market in January.  The other two were Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia and WFAN in the Long Island market.  See the entire report here.

Supporting the Prez at CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio host Sebastian Gorka with the social media stars “Diamond & Silk” – outspoken supporters of President Trump – at CPAC 2020 in National Harbor, Maryland.  The sisters – Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson – have close to 2 million Facebook followers and more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers.

Monday Memo: “On YOUR One Day…?”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines a call-in topic that has never failed to explode the phone lines.  Warn your screener.  Read about it here.

Coronavirus, Presidential Race/Buttigieg Drops Out, Financial Markets Activity, Selma March Anniversary, the Israeli Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic and how nations are dealing with it; Joe Biden’s win in Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Pete Buttigieg’s exit from the race for the Democratic nomination; the coronavirus’ effect on the world’s financial markets after the Dow loses almost 11% of its value in a week; Sunday’s anniversary march commemorating the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” Selma, Alabama march; and the latest Israel election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing  research from TALKERS magazine.

Premiere Networks and Dan Patrick Renew. Sports media personality Dan Patrick and Premiere Networks announce they have signed a renewed and expanded long-term agreement for Premiere to serve as the exclusive, global audio distribution partner for the Marconi Award-winning program.  “The Dan Patrick Show” – heard on some 360 affiliate stations – will continue as part of FOX Sports Radio and is also available on FOX Sports Radio’s channel on the iHeartRadio platform, FOXSportsRadio.com, and other platforms.  Patrick says, “I’m thrilled to extend my partnership with Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio.  This really isn’t a job for me, it’s a passion and I love working with the Danettes and the rest of my team to create a great experience for our fans.  We never take for granted the loyalty our fans have shown us over the years, and I’m honored to keep at it for many years to come. I want to thank Julie Talbott, Bob Pittman and Darren Davis for their continued belief in the show, and a special thank you to my agent, Paul Anderson of Workhouse Media for doing his job to get this deal done while I focused on doing mine for our fans.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WEEI, Boston morning drive personality Kirk Minihane announces he’s taking time off from his Barstool Sports podcast to enter a treatment program for depression.  On Saturday, he tweeted, “The last month or so I’ve really been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.  I’m going to enter a treatment program to fight this, so the show will be on hiatus.  I’m scared that these thoughts and feelings are back, but this is life with depression.  It’s a hard fight.”  Minihane took leave from his WEEI show on two occasions in 2018 to seek mental health treatment…..Broadcasting executive Mitch Dolan, currently chief operating officer of Great Lakes Media Corp., is being honored with induction into the Rhode Island Radio & TV Hall of Fame at a ceremony that will take place in Providence on April 30.  Dolan is well known for his time as president of the ABC Radio Station Group.  Earlier in his career, he rose through the ranks at then-ABC-owned WPRO-AM and WPRO-FM in Providence to become general manager.  Dolan was the general manager as WPRO-AM flipped from hit radio to news/talk…..SiriusXM announces that its Doctor Radio channel and NYU Langone Health’s medical experts will launch 24/7 programming, live and on demand, dedicated to the latest news and updates surrounding the coronavirus.  All programming will be presented by NYU Langone’s team of world-class infectious disease and medical authorities and curated by SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel programmers.  The channel and NYU Langone Health have created a special informative guide titled, “Coronavirus: Everything You Need To Know,” that is available as a podcast on Pandora and an On Demand selection through SiriusXM’s app and streaming platform.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Lynn Barstow is adding programming duties for Waterloo Media’s Austin City Limits Radio to his responsibilities.  The format airs in the Austin market on KGSR-HD2.  Barstow serves as program director for Waterloo’s alternative KROX “101X.”  Barstow takes over for Emily Parker, who exited the role for a position outside of the radio business…..Air personality and programmer Nathan Fast joins Iliad Media Group to lead the digital content and distribution efforts for its seven-station Boise cluster that includes country KQBL “101.9 The Bull,” CHR KWYD “Wild 101,” hot ACT KZMG “My 102.7,” and adult hits KSRV “96.1 BOB-FM.”  Fast was most recently morning host at Cumulus Media’s country KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf.”…..Cox Media Group promotes Angelina Rosario director of sales for its Miami station group.  Rosario was most recently general sales manager.

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

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 “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 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.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control 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.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

| February 27, 2020

Jack Sunday Retires from Full-Time KFGO, Fargo Role. Longtime Fargo talk radio personality Jack Sunday has retired from his full-time role as an on-air talk host on Midwest Communications’ news/talk KFGO-AM.  Sunday had been co-hosting the late morning show with Amy Iler, who wrote a nice piece about Sunday that you can see here.  Iler is now partnered with JJ Gordon on the “It Takes Two” program.  Sunday acknowledged his decision to leave the position was difficult and noted that he is caring for his wife who suffers from a rare neurological condition.  Sunday first joined KFGO in 1989 and over the course of 30 years served as program director, afternoon host, and midday personality.  He tells KFGO’s Joel Heitcamp, “I am convinced that there is probably no other radio station in the country like KFGO… we have 17 or 20 people who are on the air live as personalities for extended periods of time… a four-person news team, a meteorologist and sports.  We have two great sportscasters here, plus on-air personalities with producers that become personalities themselves.”  Sunday will develop a podcast to be part of the station’s podcast offerings.

Appeals Court Tosses Prager’s YouTube Lawsuit. The suit by Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager’s non-profit educational organization, Prager University, against Google’s YouTube platform was shot down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday (2/26).  Prager University had sued YouTube claiming it had violated its First Amendment rights and the Lanham Act (false advertising), but the District Court dismissed the suit.  PragerU appealed and the Appeals Court agreed with the lower court.  At issue here was PragerU’s claim that YouTube’s Restricted Mode violated the conservative educational organization’s First Amendment rights by making certain of its video unviewable for those under a certain age due to its Restricted Mode guidelines.  It also claimed that YouTube’s promotional language touting the importance of people being able to “speak freely” while putting certain videos in Restricted Mode violated the Lanham Act.  Judge M. Margaret McKeown writes in the decision, “The panel held that despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.  The panel noted that just last year, the Supreme Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.’  The panel held that the Internet does not alter this state action requirement of the First Amendment.  The panel therefore rejected plaintiff’s assertion that YouTube is a state actor because it performs a public function.  Addressing the false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, the panel held that YouTube’s statements concerning its content moderation policies do not constitute ‘commercial advertising or promotion’ as the Lanham Act requires.  Nor was YouTube’s designation of certain of plaintiff’s videos for Restricted Mode part of an advertising or promotion or a misrepresentation as to the videos.  Finally, the panel held that YouTube’s braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constituted opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act.”

Former News Staffer Sues Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court by former KCBS-AM, San Francisco news staffer Sheryl Raines accuses the station of retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, unlawful termination and more.  The complaint centers around allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on the part of engineer Dan Denton.  Raines says she reported Denton’s alleged behavior to superiors, but it continued.  She was terminated in May of 2019 and was told that the station wanted “a different sound.”  In her complaint, she states her replacement was a woman of similar demographic makeup with a “startlingly similar” on-air voice to her own.  She is seeking unspecified damages.

ABC Audio Appoints Lakeia Brown to Senior Producer, Race & Culture Audio Insights Post. The senior producer, race & culture audio insights position is a newly created one at ABC Audio and Lakeia Brown will assume that post on March 9.  She has been serving in the ABC News research department.  She has more than 15 years of experience in consumer insights and analytics for television networks including: ABC, Disney, Comedy Central, Nick @ Nite, TV Land and BET.  She starts with ABC Audio on March 9.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says that in this position Brown will “act as a storyteller, researcher, and social connector all rolled into one.  She’ll work closely with our amazing team to create and deliver new radio news products and podcasts, maximize sponsorship opportunities and participate in editorial story development, all while focusing on expanding Audio’s reach with multicultural audiences. Lakeia will also serve as ABC Audio’s in-house expert on all things research, connecting insights to actionable strategies that help drive reach and revenue for ABC Audio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” hits the 300-affiliate station mark as it celebrates its 10th year under the direction of Lipford.  Along with Lipford’s Emmy-nominated TV show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” airing in 91% of the U.S., Lipford is a familiar figure in the home improvement industry.  “Today’s Homeowner” radio dates back to 2009 when Lipford took over a small radio show called “Homefront.”  He re-branded the program, officially launching “Today’s Homeowner” radio which began airing on 60 stations.  Over the past decade, Lipford and his team have strategically grown the show’s footprint by 200%.…..In Virginia Beach, Max Media names Tim Donnelly executive producer of the Nick Cattles show on sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1.”  Donnelly was most recently with Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM, Blacksburg, Virginia where he hosted his own sports talk show.  Max Media VP of operations and programming Rusty James says, “Tim lives and breathes sports and we are so excited to have his passion on ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’”…..Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTMM, Albany adds another hour to the “Big Board Sports” show.   The program, hosted by Rodger Wyland and Chris Onorato, now airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network assures us that nationally syndicated late morning talk host Mike Gallagher does not have the coronavirus, but he did test positive for influenza and has to miss the opening day of CPAC 2020 in Washington.  So, filling in for him is Kurt Schlichter (right) who is pictured below interviewing American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp (left).

Lee Abrams Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential music radio programmers of the past 50 years, Lee Abrams, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Abrams was the chief architect of an approach to FM album rock radio known back in the seventies as the “Superstars” format and, as a consultant, guided hundreds of stations across the country to commercial success utilizing its systems and techniques. He went on to be one of the original programming forces behind today’s satellite radio during the first decade of its development and then served a couple of years with the Tribune Company helping that organization revamp its newspapers and television stations for the 21st century. Today, Abrams is the head of a newly launched, Chicago-based consultancy, MediaVision, which is focused on radio (terrestrial and beyond) and music for 40-plus consumers as well as revolutionary approaches to video news and television. Harrison and Abrams take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of pop culture including a retrospective on the days they spent as two of the top thought-leaders in AOR (album oriented rock) radio. This program is a must-listen for anyone in the radio business. 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.

Talk Radio at CPAC. Numerous radio talk show hosts from around the nation are attending this year’s CPAC gathering in National Harbor, MD with many broadcasting from the conservative event’s radio row.  Pictured covering CPAC for her national commentary is Victoria Jones (l) executive director of DC Radio Company visiting the broadcast setup of John Fredericks (r) of the John Fredericks Radio Network.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Recipient of Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The recipient of this year’s Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.  The honor will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on Wednesday, April 22 at the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  Past recipients include Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

Coronavirus Pandemic Fears, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Deadly Milwaukee Brewery Shooting, and India Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Concerns about Covid-19 developing into a global pandemic; the Democrats battling to face President Trump in the November election; the reaction of the world’s financial markets to the coronavirus and the virus’ effect on China’s productivity; a fired brewery worker returns to the plant in Milwaukee and kills five co-workers before killing himself; and the deadly sectarian violence in India 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. Air personality Scotty Kay is adding midday hosting duties at Entercom’s St. Louis CHR KNOU “NOW 96.3” to his responsibilities.  Kay also serves as co-host of the morning show at country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99.”  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I’ve been a fan of Scotty and his unique ability to become one with his audience and we’re delighted to add him to our team.  Scotty will be a vital part of the puzzle as we continue to grow ‘NOW 96.3’ into the dominant contemporary hit radio brand in St. Louis.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Rex Long program director for Austin CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM.”  He was most recently with the company’s Salt Lake City cluster.  iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio region president Matt Martin says, “Rex’s abundance of energy, his creative ideas to connect with listeners, combined with his strategic vison to be a fabric of Austin’s culture make Rex a perfect fit to continue building the ‘KISS’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media names Bev Rainey program director of country KRST, Albuquerque.  She’ll also host the late morning show.  Rainey served for the past 20 years with iHeartMedia’s crosstown country KBQI, the last seven as program director.  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KRST provides the very best in country music and entertainment for our listeners and unmatched results for our promotional partners.  I could not be happier to have Bev join this fantastic team.  She is known and loved by the audience and respected by the industry.  This is a great day for one of America’s great country brands.”…..Berkshire Broadcasting flips WAXB-AM/W233CF, Danbury, Connecticut “B945” from classic hits to classic rock as “945 The Hawk.”  Berkshire CEO Irv Goldstein says, “‘B945’ has been continuously evolving over the years.  Morphing from a traditional oldies station to an 80s based classic hits/classic rock mix.  We just felt that now was the right time to get off the fence and go all in.  ‘945 The Hawk’ is classic rock that really rocks.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

| February 26, 2020

WKNR, Cleveland Suspends Browns Reporter for Baker Mayfield Remark. Cleveland Browns reporter Tony Grossi has been suspended by Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” after referring to Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield as a “f*#king midget” during a commercial break.  A hot mic caught his comments during the live airing of “TheLandOnDemand” from the NFL scouting combine.  Good Karma apologized and said it will engage in sensitivity training for its staff.  Meanwhile, Grossi issued an apology in which he said, in part, “There’s no excuse for using that language in any context.  It was said without malice but also without thought.  It is well known that Baker and I have had our differences, and in the course of this experience, I’ve had to question my role in the erosion of the relationship. I have always endeavored to report and comment on him fairly, and am shaken by these events.”

Entercom Promotes Holly to Market Manager for Buffalo Station Group. Sales pro J. Timothy Holly rises from vice president of sales to senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Buffalo cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talkers WGR-AM and WWKB-AM, plus four music brands.  Holly takes over for Greg Ried, who exited the company in January.  Entercom regional president and president of sales operations Michael Doyle comments, “I am excited to promote Tim Holly from vice president of sales where he has done an outstanding job of creating an innovative and successful approach to solving our clients’ needs.   With our outstanding and unique portfolio of audio assets, including great radio and digital brands, leading local sports coverage via partnerships with the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, and some of the largest live events in Buffalo, Tim has shown that he can lead our team of professionals in Western New York to grow and thrive.”

Entercom Names Idil Cakim to New SVP Research and Insights Post. In this new senior vice president of research and insights position with Entercom, Idil Cakim will “lead the company’s business-to-business strategy and audio insights practice, with a focus on building perspectives, ideas, and client strategies.”  She will report to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer and will work closely with chief revenue officer Bob Philips and EVP of corporate business development Tim Murphy.  She was most recently with Nielsen, where she served as vice president of media analytics consulting.  Paul Suchman says, “Idil’s deep experience across media platforms and complex data sets will greatly enrich our ability to deliver actionable insights and even more powerful audio strategies to our clients.  Her ability as a storyteller will help bolster the narratives we bring to market.  We’re thrilled to welcome Idil to our leadership team.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk host and author Todd Starnes is scheduled to deliver a speech and take part in a panel discussion on the First Amendment at CPAC 2020, taking place today through Saturday (2/26-29).  Starnes hosts his Hamilton Strategies nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Radio Show” that he’ll broadcast live from the event’s radio row…..The FOX News organization is planning its continuing coverage of the Democratic primary race as FOX News Channel will provide live coverage of South Carolina’s primary results on Saturday (2/29) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Chief political anchor and “Special Report” host Bret Baier will anchor the two-hour special, “Democracy 2020: South Carolina Primary.”  Additionally, FOX News Radio will provide live national network coverage of the primary with hourly updates from FNR’s team of reporters. FOX News Podcasts will also offer a special edition of the “FOX News Rundown” leading into the evening while FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide live Democracy 2020 updates every 15 minutes during the primary…..WNBF, Binghamton, New York news anchor and talk host Bob Joseph celebrates his 40th anniversary with the Townsquare Media news/talk station.  Joseph – who also hosts the late morning talk show “Binghamton Now” – was hired by the station as a part-timer while still a teenager.  He became a full-time news reporter anchor on February 18, 1980…..Sun Broadcast Group announces its expanded and restructured affiliate relations team led by Boston-based VP of programming & affiliate relations, Rich O’Brien.  The staff includes: New York-based senior affiliate content manager Southwest, Alex Quintero; Cleveland-based senior affiliate content manager Northeast, Ryan Verardi, affiliate content manager Southeast, Gary James, and affiliate content manager Midwest, Andrew Scaglione; and Los Angeles-based affiliate content manager West, Ed Moloney…..Broadcast Pix announces that Jeff Adams joins the company as product manager.  In this position he’ll lead the business and product development of new RadioPix visual radio systems.  He says, “I’m very excited to join the team at Broadcast Pix and be a part of their unique approach to simplifying live radio broadcasting.”

RTDNA Unveils New Look. The Radio Television Digital News Association unveils its new-look logo, saying it “reflects both the association’s origins and its continuing mission as a hub for the leading innovators in broadcast and digital news.”  The RTDNA adds, “This new imagery signifies the association and foundation’s continuing commitment to pushing the broadcast and digital news industry forward through training, advocacy and honors.  Over the next year, RTDNA members can expect to find new and updated resources on RTDNA.org, expanded in-person and online training opportunities and a redesigned curriculum at the annual conference.”  Executive director Dan Shelley says, “RTDNA is proud to be a community and resource for more members than at any point in our modern history.  At a time when journalism is under threat, our members continually demonstrate that they are leaders and innovators working every day to better each other, the industry and their communities across the country through responsible local journalism.”

PodcastOne and A&E Present ‘PD Stories’ Podcast. Building on the success of their work together producing six seasons of “Cold Case Files: The Podcast,” A&E and PodcastOne are expanding their production and distribution partnership to include season two of the “PD Stories” podcast that takes listeners behind the badge of law enforcement, revealing their experiences, perspectives and insights through in-depth interviews.  The program is hosted by A&E’s Tom Morris Jr., who anchors the channel’s “Live PD: Wanted” program.  Podcast One founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Our partnership with A&E has been instrumental in developing our true-crime genre.  The overwhelming success of ‘Cold Case Files’ and the addition of ‘PD Stories’ will enhance our lineup, which included last year’s smash-hit, ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’  An association with a company like A&E has always been extremely important to us. We look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership.”

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Epidemic, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Weinstein Trial Aftermath, and College Admissions Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Tuesday’s debate in Charleston, South Carolina; the status of the coronavirus around the world and whether the U.S. is prepared for it; the losses on the world’s financial markets as the result of fears about Covid-19 and the related productivity problems in China; the aftermath of the conviction of Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges; and Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs is sentenced to five months in prison in the college admissions scandal 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. Alternative KROQ, Los Angeles announces the 12th annual “Kevin in the Morning with Allie & Jensen April Foolishness” event will take place on April 4 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The show is being hosted by Kevin Ryder, Allie Mac Kay, and Jensen Karp, and this year’s event will feature comedians Adam Carolla, actor and comedian Jeff Garlin, Steve-O, Adam Ray, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” writer Jen Kirkman, Fortune Feimster from “Sweet & Salty,” and Clownvis from “The King of Clowns.”  The annual comedy show and fundraiser benefits the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Cedars-Sinai NICU.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

| February 25, 2020

Entercom Q4 2019 Net Revenue Up 1%; Full Year 2019 Up 1.9%. Releasing its 2019 fourth quarter and full-year financial data, Entercom Communications reports 2019 Q4 net revenue was $414.1 million, an increase of 1% over the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Entercom reports net revenue of $1.49 billion, an increase of 1.9% over 2018.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report that Entercom achieved its fifth consecutive quarter of growth, completing a year in which the company delivered strong financial performance as net revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted net income per share grew 2% (3% ex-political), 10%, and 19%, respectively.  Our significant investments in podcasting, digital, and data and analytics, along with the expansion of our sports, networks and events businesses, are beginning to reshape our company and position us for sustained growth as we enhance our integrated, multi-platform offerings to advertisers increasingly interested in the undervalued and emerging audio space.”

ABC Audio Names Eric Johnson Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming.  News and broadcast producer Eric Johnson is named to the director and executive producer of podcast programming for ABC Audio, effective in mid-March.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says Johnson – who most recently served as senior broadcast producer at “Good Morning America” – “is an award-winning producer with a knack for storytelling who’s touched nearly every part of ABC News over his 13-year career here.  His strong relationships throughout the news division, coupled with his impressive experience in long-form and news programming, will make him a great asset to our flourishing podcast division.  In his new role Eric will build on the success of our existing podcasts and help design a fresh powerhouse podcast network.  He will strategically gather and organize podcast ideas and harness the talent, resources, and storytelling ability available across ABC News and Walt Disney Television.”  Johnson was honored with a duPont Award as co-producer of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Caitlyn Jenner and has won multiple Emmy Awards for projects including his role as senior producer of ABC News’ Town Hall “The President and the People: Race in America.”

Calendar Boy.  WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning star Dom Giordano (above) is the creator and “host” of a 2020 wall calendar geared specifically to fans of the station, news/talk radio listeners and the local business community.  The idea started several years ago, when Giordano, a former educator, noticed that important events in American history such as the invasion of Pearl Harbor were left off most commercially produced calendars.  He then designed a calendar that not only includes a variety of such events but recognizes talk radio hosts and other items of specific interest to the listening audience.  Giordano appears on a number of pages dressed in period costumes further adding color to the collectable piece. The calendar, monetized by local sponsors who are also featured in its pages, is distributed free to listeners as a highly sought premium at WPHT events.

Newsmax TV Appoints Jason Villar VP of Research and Analysis. Marketing pro Jason Villar joins Newsmax TV as vice president of research and analysis.  In this position, Villar will head up data, market, and ratings analysis, and work closely with the company’s advertising and programming departments.  Villar had been serving as vice president of media and market research for FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, and FOX Digital for the last 10-plus years.  Newsmax CRO and EVP of national advertising Sam Moser says, “Jason was responsible for much of FOX’s forward-thinking research approach and we’re delighted he’s joined Newsmax TV to help make us America’s No. 1 choice for news.”

TALKERS News Notes. Topeka’s KMAJ-AM “The Big Talker” adds the KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” to its program schedule for the 8:00 am to 11:00 am daypart.  The show says this move “continues the homecoming tour for Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  They were each born in the Midwest and they met when working separately in radio in Salina, Kansas.  They became a team when hired in Wichita and began their conservative talk show when they moved to KSTE-AM.”  KMAJ-AM is a Cumulus Media station…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway will also be heard on iHeartMedia’s WOC, Quad Cities beginning tomorrow (2/26).  Conway’s program is also heard on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids.  Conway says, “What an honor it is for me to now be live on both of President Ronald Reagan’s first radio stations.  I’m excited to hear from the WOC audience in Iowa and Illinois.”…..Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS-FM, St. Louis is bringing St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play personality Dan McLaughlin aboard as lead Cardinals contributor.  In this role he’ll offer daily reports, interviews, and a one-hour weekly show, as well as filling in on other shows year-round.  Station operations manager and brand content director Tommy Mattern says, “I am extremely excited that Dan has joined the staff at ‘101 ESPN.’  It’s so important to increase our coverage of St. Louis Cardinals baseball and having the voice of the team contribute on multi-platforms is invaluable.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Prologue Projects are producing a new podcast titled, “5-4,” presenting “an irreverent take on the U.S. Supreme Court’s past.”  Each episode focuses on a pivotal case in which the justices make one of the most important decisions in recent memory – dissecting it from every angle and tearing it apart.  The first episode tackles Bush v. Gore. Future episodes take on the Supreme Court’s decisions on campaign finance, affirmative action, voting rights, and stop and frisk…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago District Golfer magazine editor Barry Cronin is the new co-host of the Saturday morning golf show “Scorecard” in Entercom’s WSCR “The Score.”  He’ll work alongside WSCR reporter and update anchor David Schuster.  The duo take over for Ed Sherman and Steve Olken, who resigned from the program after a 10-year run…..SB Nation Radio announces that in addition to having reporters at all NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament sites, it is adding Pat Kennedy and Daniel Ewing as analysts.  They will both make appearances on all network programs throughout the tournament.  Also, “SB Nation Tonight” host John Michaels will originate his show from the Final Four in Atlanta.

Presidential Race, Weinstein Verdict, Covid-19 Epidemic, Financial Markets Tumble, Trump in India, Kobe Byrant Memorial/Lawsuit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; the guilty verdicts in the sexual assault trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein; the status of the coronavirus epidemic and concerns about the ability to avert a pandemic; the world’s financial markets dive as China’s productivity is affected by Covid-19; President Trump’s visit to India amidst adulation and protests; and Monday’s memorial for Kobe and Gigi Bryant in Los Angeles were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Learning the Sports Talk Radio Biz! Pictured above (from l-r) are: WAXY-AM and WQAM, Miami sports talk host Channing Crowder, Miami Dolphins center/long snapper Taybor Pepper, Dolphins quarterback Jake Rudock, Dolphins linebacker Terrill Hanks, and WAXY-AM and WQAM host Marc Hochman.  Hochman tells TALKERS that while the NFL Combine is going on in Indianapolis, the Miami Dolphins offer their current players the chance to participate in a “Business Combine” where they can learn real estate, investing, and even broadcasting as players prepare for a life after football.  Hence the three Dolphins above were at the Entercom South Florida studios getting an afternoon of broadcast instruction from former Dolphins LB Channing Crowder and Hochman.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Preston is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas country stations KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” and KSCS “New Country 96.3.”  Preston most recently served as SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Baltimore and PD for country WPOC and adult hits WQSR “102.7 JACK FM.”  Cumulus Dallas-Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “These two country brands, each in their own distinctive way, have captured the hearts of DFW country music fans.  We believe Mike Preston is the right person to lead our talented teams into the future.  Mike has had big success in his career as a creative PD who knows how to coach big time talent.  We can’t wait to have him in Dallas to further ignite two of the most-listened-to country stations in America.”…..Programmer Jamillah Muhammad exits Taxi License Corp’s urban AC KJLH, Los Angeles “Radio Free 102.3” where she was operations manager…..Air personality Jenna Owens is leaving her daily role with the YEA Networks-syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” to focus on her Fitish skin care business.  Owens will continue her weekly “That’s What I Like” segment that airs each Friday and will become a correspondent for the show, doing press junkets in New York and Los Angeles, reporting live from events like SXSW, Coachella, and more.  In addition to the correspondent role, she’ll team with her “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” co-host, J-Si Chavez, to launch a weekly podcast, also called “Fitish,” that will be produced and distributed by YEA…..Public radio triple A personality Cindy Howes is joining WUNC, Raleigh to host the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart on the public media company’s triple A streaming station WUNC Music.  Howes was previously with triple A WYEP, Pittsburgh as morning personality and host of the “Folk Alley and the Basic Folk” podcast…..Rachel Hubbard is promoted to executive director at Oklahoma State University’s news/talk/adult alternative KOSU, Oklahoma City.  She most recently served as news director at the station.  Hubbard comments, “I want to fight for public media in Oklahoma.  Oftentimes, people look at news outlets that are outside of Oklahoma and talk about the things they’re doing well, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t own that right here in Oklahoma and have a media resource that is ours – it’s made by us and it’s made for us.”

Monday, February 24, 2020

| February 24, 2020

Monday Memo: Legal Advice. Just several decades ago, attorneys didn’t even advertise.  Back to the future: They’re all over billboards and TV.  Yet, as consultant Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column: “No medium showcases legal services better than talk radio.”  Read it here.

Presidential Race/Nevada Caucuses, Coronavirus Epidemic, China Productivity/Financial Markets Activity, Trump in India, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Bernie Sanders’ victory in Saturday’s Nevada Caucuses; the status of Covid-19 and concerns about a pandemic; the effect of the coronavirus epidemic on Chinese productivity and its effect on the world’s financial markets; President Trump teases trade with India during visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and the jury deliberates in the sexual assault trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Round Four of January PPM’s Released.  The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the news/talk radio stations that chalked up positive weekly, 6+ AQH share ratings during the January survey include: Sinclair Telecable’s KLBJ-AM, Austin which added nine-tenths to land at a 4.5 share and the #8 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh posts a whopping 1.8 share increase over the Holiday 2019 survey to finish January with a 7.1 share and the #3 rank; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis rockets up 2.2 shares to finish January with a 7.6 share and the #3 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds seven-tenths to end January with a 4.8 share and the #8 rank; and Cumulus’ WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence tacks 1.3 shares onto its Holiday 2019 number to finish the January survey with a 3.7 share and the #8 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here

KLIN, Lincoln’s Jane Monnich Wraps 45-Year Radio News Career. News radio pro Jane Monnich retired from NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska on February 20 after a 45-year run with the station.  Monnich was news anchor for the KLIN morning show and on last Thursday’s program, the on-air celebration included visits from past and current co-workers, plus proclamations from Lincoln Mayor Lerion Gaylor Baird and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.  KLIN program director Bob Shomper says, “Jane’s career started in 1975, and over the following 45 years she covered 8 different governors, 10 mayors, 13 congressmen, 11 senators, dozens of city councilmen, and 100s of state legislators.  It is estimated that Jane wrote over 500,000 news stories and anchored over 105,000 newscasts.”  She’s pictured here holding the mayoral proclamation making February 20, 2020 “Jane Monnich Day” in Lincoln. The station is searching for Monnich’s replacement.  NRG Media has more about the position here.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett announced on the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show that he’s retiring on April 10 after 34 years working full time with the station.  Bartlett told listeners, “I’ve reached the point where my free time is more important than my life at work.”  He said he and his wife plan to retire to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina…..On Super Tuesday (March 3), ABC News Radio will present live coverage anchored by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers.  Coverage will feature reporting by radio correspondents Alex Stone in California, Jim Ryan in Texas, Ryan Burrow in Colorado, Mark Remillard in North Carolina; Andy Field in Washington; multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara in Virginia; and analysis from radio correspondent Brian Clark at the ABC News Decision Desk.  ABC News Radio will also provide one-minute Status Reports at least twice an hour throughout the evening.  A special edition of ABC News’ daily news podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post on Wednesday morning.  It will feature analysis of the results and interviews from ABC News reporters across the electoral map…..Edison Research is launching its first Top Ten Podcast ranker, as part of its Podcast Consumer Tracker product.  Edison says the ranker depicts the top 10 podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers as the “only comprehensive and all-inclusive study” of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.  The first ranker indicates news and true crime are top podcast categories as seven of the top 10 fit those categories.  They are (in order 1to 10): “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “This American Life,” “The Daily,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” “Serial,” “Pod Save America,” and “Radiolab.”  Edison says the Podcast Consumer Tracker data is based upon 4,053 online interviews (in English and Spanish) with weekly podcast consumers, ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish…..SiriusXM is carrying the live broadcast of the “Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant” from the Staples Center in Los Angeles today (2/24) on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y98” makes some air staff changes and relaunches its morning show as “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim,” hosted by Jen Myers and Tim Convy, with contributions from Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand.  The Entercom station promotes Julie Tristan to host of the midday show and station host Paul Cook continues hosting afternoon drive.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “From day one, Jen, Tim, Kevin, and Lance have impressed me with their energy, passion and desire to learn and win, and they have elevated our morning show in a short time.  I’m equally excited about the addition of Julie Tristan to our weekday programming.  She has an amazing track record of success in the market.  She is an unstoppable talent, and her charitable contributions to the community have been tremendous as well.”  Tristan is an Emmy-nominated multimedia St. Louis journalist.  She also currently serves as a producer and announcer for “Spotlight STL” on Nexstar Media Group’s KPLR-TV…..iHeartMedia’s Chicago country outlet WEBG-FM “Big 9.5.” presented a countdown of “The Top 1,000 Country Songs of All Time” and posted the list on its website.  The list was created by the station’s “blue ribbon panel of country experts” who considered factors such as: songwriting, artist contribution to country music history, historical and popular cultural significance of a song, sales and/or streaming data, radio airplay, and peak chart position.  What was #1?  “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Monday Memo: Legal Advice

| February 24, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Have you hugged a lawyer today?  If you’re managing a talk station, you should.  Just several decades ago, they didn’t even advertise.  Back to the future: Few advertising categories are more opportune now.

Attorneys’ ads are everywhere.  On dueling billboards, the head shots are either a tough-guy-on-your-side pose, or that trust-me smile real estate agents all wear.  TV spots are often amateurish and overstated, begging for attention and playing on the advertiser’s ego.  In both media, phone numbers often spell something (which is smart).  But…  Read More

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.”

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 “Billions and Billions!” looks back at this past week of February 17-21, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner, WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Grace Curley, producer/co-host, the Howie Carr Show; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00 pm-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.

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.

Diana Boyce Completes Disney Princess 5K. Pictured above left is Diana Boyce, wife of Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce, braving the chilly temps and drizzle in Orlando this morning (2/21) while finishing the annual Disney Princess 5K race.  The race is part of Disney Half Marathon Weekend that benefits some 17 charities. Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cheering Diana on.

AWM/F Announce 2020 Board. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation (AWM/F) announce their 2020 National Board of Directors.  Joining the AWM Board are: Katina Arnold, vice president, corporate communications, ESPN; Abby Auerbach, executive vice president, chief communications officer, TVB; Michelle Ray, executive director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation; Sandra Rice, senior vice president, outreach and strategic partnerships, Center for Talent Innovation; and Esther Mireya Tejeda, senior vice president, head of corporate communications & PR, Entercom.  Officers of the board have been announced as Keisha Sutton-James, chair, vice president & CEO, Sutton Button Productions LLC, serving as chair; Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, serving as incoming chair; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, serving as immediate past chair; Josie Thomas, CBS, serving as treasurer; and Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group, serving as incoming treasurer.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, legal consultant; Abby Greensfelder, founder & CEO, Everywoman Studios; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; Jinny Laderer, co-founder & CEO, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president, LaVIGNE MEDIA; Kelly Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWMF: Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.  AWM executive director Becky Brooks says, “The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in radio, television and interactive media.  We have a true working board.  This year’s new directors have voiced their dedication to donating time and resources to take these organizations to the next level. We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Columbia, South Carolina market, programming pro Chris Connors joins Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC-FM “Kiss 103.1” as program director.  Connors was most recently with Alpha Media’s Columbia cluster as operations manager.  He says, “We’ve already made ratings history in Columbia, and I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to do it again.  Big thanks to John Dimick, Kenny Smoov, and Tammy O’Dell for entrusting me to lead the Columbia team.  No need to pack or move; we’re ready on day one.”…..Nationally syndicated and WBLS-FM, New York afternoon drive host Deja Vu wraps up a month of celebration with the special, “The Deja Vu Show: Black History in Forward Motion,” being syndicated by ABC Audio.  The commercial free, two-hour special celebrates the importance of African American representation in a variety of fields, including Broadway, film, TV and law.  It features Deja Vu sitting down with iconic celebrities, artists, and influencers including: Will Packer, David Alan Grier, Celia Rose Gooding, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Isaac Wright Jr…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One syndicated radio host Lon Helton was honored with the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award at the Country Radio Seminar.  This award – named for Tom Rivers, former WQYK PD and host of Westwood One holiday specials in the 1990s – recognizes an individual in the country radio industry who has given back to the community.  Helton is one of the founders and advocates of the legendary country radiothon program, Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, that has raised almost $1 billion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital…..iHeartMedia announces that country star Blake Shelton is joining the lineup for the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One on Saturday, May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  The seventh annual event will also feature performances from 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.  The event will livestream exclusively on livexlive.com and broadcast live across iHeartMedia’s country radio stations in their local markets and at iHeartRadio.com.

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 stat