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Thursday, October 22, 2020

| October 22, 2020

Rising Radio America Talk Star Chad Benson is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Described as “a new generation talker,” Radio America syndicated talk show host Chad Benson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Benson’s rapidly growing three-hour daily syndicated program heard live 6:00 am to 9:00 am MT (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) emanates from KTAR, Phoenix where he also is co-host with Larry Gaydos of the station’s popular afternoon drive program. Both of these programs are proving to be very successful with the 25-54 adult demos. In addition to KTAR, Benson’s syndicated show is performing well on such stations as KXL-FM, Portland; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa among others. One of the syndicated show’s unique features is it is updated throughout the day so that it is current regardless of when stations run the program. Benson’s radio career began in his native California in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH (K-EARTH), Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan Show and went on to be heard on several California music stations. Building upon his creativity developed on the music side of the business, he honed his talk skills at Talk Radio UK in London as one of the first commercial talk hosts to take on the mighty BBC, boasting over a quarter million listeners per week. With success and experience abroad, he returned to the US and hosted programs in Palm Springs at K-NEWS-FM and in San Antonio at KTSA before eventually joining KTAR. He also played professional soccer while in Europe and was talented enough to be signed onto the rosters of several teams including the Bristol Rovers, the Falkirk (Scotland) Football Club and the Portsmouth Football Club. Harrison and Benson talk about today’s media, politics and sports with an eye on the future. Check it out! 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.

SiriusXM Third Quarter Revenue Up 1%. Reporting on 2020 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue was $2.02 billion, up 1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Net income increased 11% to $272 million in the third quarter from $246 million a year prior. While subscriber revenue rose from $1.55 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to $1.59 billion in Q3 2020, advertising revenue was down from $366 million in Q3 2019 to $345 million in the third quarter of 2020. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM maintains strong momentum heading into year end, and we are increasing all of our full-year subscriber and financial guidance today. Our talented people and our powerful business model have delivered stellar results during a challenging year for our company and country. Our commitment to having the best possible audio content from top talent, as well as leading media and sports brands, has never wavered. First, we are making significant progress in extending our relationship with Howard Stern. We reached a new agreement with Kevin Hart for more content, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter we launched UNINTERRUPTED Radio from the NBA bubble on Pandora, and we debuted our fulltime channel with the members of U2 on SiriusXM. Pat McAfee joined our sports lineup, and we returned to live sports across the MLB, NBA and NFL.  And we brought our listeners special moments like the recent interview between Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday on The Beatles Channel.”

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘Building Black Biz’ Initiative. The newly revealed “Building Black Biz” initiative from iHeartMedia New York is designed to “support, sustain and grow local Black-owned businesses in the New York metro area.” In this effort, iHeartMedia New York pledges to support the “Building Black Biz” initiative during the next three months with more than 100 million media impressions on hip hop WWPR “Power 105.1,”CHR WHTZ “Z100,” WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” hot AC WKTU, classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3,” and news/talk WOR as well as the stations’ websites and social media channels. iHeartMedia New York says that through the “Building Black Biz” initiative, listeners and aspiring business owners can hear from successful entrepreneurs within the tristate area on how they started their business and what advice they would give to new entrepreneurs. iHeartMedia New York president Bernie Weiss says, “I am so proud of our team for going above and beyond and creating this comprehensive campaign. New York needs more Black-owned businesses and I am thrilled we can use the power of all of our six radio stations to do our part in making a real impact.”

Jack Heath Joins Binnie Media to Host Talk Show. A week after exiting iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire where he hosted the “NH Today” morning drive program, Jack Heath is joining Binnie Media to host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that will be simulcast across New Hampshire outlets WTPL-FM, Hillsboro (Concord market); WEMJ-AM/W279BS, Laconia; and WTSN-AM/W251CF, Dover. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “Jack’s show will stay consistent with the content from his former show, while adding some new features, additional geography, and more FM coverage. Jack will be joining our other great on-air talent for a truly star studded cast of broadcasters on our news talk sports stations.” Bill Binnie adds, “We are thrilled to have a talent like Jack join Binnie Media. He brings a breadth of experience and professionalism in journalism along with a connection to politics that will be of interest to our listeners.”

WGN, Chicago Plans ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ This Halloween night (10/31) WGN, Chicago will air “Halloween Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. The program will feature mystery, thriller, and terror-themed selections from 12 Golden Age of Radio dramas including “Suspense” starring Bela Lugosi, “Lights Out,” “Inner Sanctum Mystery,” “Escape,” “The Whistler,” and “The Sealed Book.” Amari, who has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. He says, “It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ seven hours, so stay up late, pop some popcorn, pull the covers up close, and be chilled by ‘theatre of the mind’ classic radio horror and mystery shows.” Last week (10/15), TALKERS magazine published a piece by University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon titled, “The Scare On the Air” that is an homage to the radio horror genre. If you missed it you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The October 19 interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles generated a lot of coverage in other media outlets – from CBSStephen Colbert to CNN to The Hill to The New York Post – after Dr. Fauci addressed the criticism he received from President Trump. While explaining that he knows Americans are fatigued by the pandemic but that he believes we’ll put it behind us after a vaccine becomes available, he then said, “That’s the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in The Godfather: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.” Hear the whole interview here…..ABC News Radio offering three hours of live, anchored coverage for tonight’s presidential debate. Programming includes a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams…..iHeartMedia and “Bobby Bones Show” co-host Amy Brown are partnering to launch The Amy Brown Podcast Network that will include a slate of health and wellness podcasts that will be co-produced by Brown and iHeartRadio. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne comments, “Our goal is to provide the highest quality programming across every podcast genre – and health and wellness is one of the most important categories in the medium right now, given the engagement of the listeners and the authenticity of the content. Amy is an incredible podcast talent – not just as the host of her own show, but someone who has a great eye for recruiting and developing new podcasts, too – and we want to support that however we can.”…..Entercom Podcast Network’s Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries,” for a weekly podcast based on the long-running television show and Netflix streaming series. The podcast will present all new unsolved cases and each episode will take a deep dive into one specific story. The “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will be executive produced by Chris Corcoran, chief content officer of Cadence13, and Terry Dunn Meurer, the co-creator of “Unsolved Mysteries,” and will be co-directed and co-produced by Cadence13 and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions. Season One of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will launch in early 2021.

The Presidential Election/Final Debate, Early/Mail-In Voting, Iran-Russia Election Interference, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Hard Drive Case, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Vote, Pope Supports Same-Sex Unions, Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty in Opioids Suit, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The November presidential election and tonight’s final presidential debate; the issues of early voting and mail-in voting; the allegation that both Russia and Iran are practicing cyber interference in the U.S. presidential election; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for a fall-winter second wave; the allegations that a hard drive from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicates then-Vice President Joe Biden influenced the Ukraine; today’s Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Pope Francis voices support for same-sex unions; OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in the opioid epidemic case and will shut down; and pro sports during the time of COVID were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh. Programmer and talk show host Scott Ryfun was a college student in 1991 when he first heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio. At the time, Ryfun was a conservative college student when he stumbled across Limbaugh’s show while spinning across the radio dial. He became hooked and his love of Limbaugh’s show led him into the radio business. “My goal was to host an issues-oriented talk show and to be insightful and entertaining, but there was only one local political talk show in [my] town and no one seemed interested in letting me have it. So, I decided to learn how to do every job in radio I could so that I’d be a valuable employee while I awaited my opportunity to do the show I wanted to do. I also spent my time trying to deconstruct conservative talk radio and figuring out how it worked and how to make it work for me.” Today, Ryfun is vice president of programming at iHeartMedia’s Brunswick, Georgia operations and morning host at news/talk WGIG-AM/W245DO. He’s written a piece titled, “Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh,” that encapsulates much of what he’s learned about great talk radio from Rush Limbaugh. Read his insightful piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The 2020 “iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One” is streaming on LiveXLive.com and broadcast across iHeartMedia’s county radio stations tomorrow (10/23) at 8:00 pm ET. Bobby Bones is hosting the seventh edition of this event that will feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, and special performances by Morgan Evans and Gabby Barrett, recorded live on one stage in Nashville.

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

| June 4, 2020

Sean Spicer Interviews President Trump on Newsmax TV. The first press secretary in the Trump administration – now hosting a nightly program on the Newsmax TV network – held a one-on-one, sit-down interview with President Trump. Sean Spicer and the president addressed the George Floyd case, the protests that have followed, his visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, the border wall, the president’s views on social media, and more. The interview first aired Wednesday evening (6/3) at 6:00 pm ET.

KLIN, Lincoln Names Karla James Morning News Anchor. Lincoln, Nebraska news/talk KLIN announces Karla James joins the NRG Media family as morning drive news anchor, taking over for Jane Monnich, who retired from the station in February after a 45-year career with the station. James comes to KLIN after a 21-year career with KFAB, Omaha, where she was most recently afternoon drive anchor.  James also previously served with Nebraska News Network and as an adjunct professor of broadcasting for Midland University. KLIN program director Bob Shomper says, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Karla on the KLIN team. She’s a native Nebraskan who’s arguably the best-known news voice in the state.”

Magnum.Media Acquiring Three Wisconsin Signals from La Crosse Media Group. Wisconsin broadcasting firm Magnum.Media announces it has struck a deal with Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, LLC, d/b/a La Crosse Media Group and has filed an application with the FCC to acquire La Crosse, Wisconsin market signals news/talk WLFN-AM, country WQCC-FM, and oldies KQEG-FM. Dave Magnum states, “A dedicated bunch of folks really stuck together over 14 months to put this puzzle of transactions together. I’ve known [La Crosse Media managing member] Pat Smith for a long time. He’s a multi-talented broadcaster who forged and sustained a very impressive radio career.  Pat and his business partner, Kelly Ramsey, achieved many successes.” Reid Magnum adds, “My late mom Lynn, and my dad started from scratch with a Tomah-licensed Construction Permit in the La Crosse market in 1991. My brother, Ty, and I were both born in La Crosse. My wife, Chelsey, graduated from UW-La Crosse. The region known as ‘God’s Country’ is special to our family in several ways.”

George Floyd Case/Protests, COVID-19 Statistics, Re-Opening Continues, Presidential Race/RNC Convention, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The upgrade to second-degree murder charges against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the charging of three other officers in the death of George Floyd and the protests taking place across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections for future cases; the re-opening of economies across the country; the November presidential election and the RNC’s moving the August convention to another city; and the state of U.S.-China relations tied with China’s tightened control over Hong Kong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tonight (6/4) at 8:00 pm ET, Urban One is presenting a virtual town hall “to discuss the current political and racial climate plaguing the African American community titled, ‘We Are One: More Than A Hashtag.’” The one-hour event will stream live on the digital platforms on Radio One, Reach Media, TV One, and iOne Digital. Media personality Sybil Wilkes, former co-host of the Reach Media syndicated radio program “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” will moderate the town hall. Panelists will include: NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson; National Urban League president Marc Morial; political analyst and former South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers; CURLS founder and CEO Mahisha Dellinger; Reach Media syndicated radio personalities Russ Parr, Erica Campbell, Angie Ange, Rickey Smiley, Willie Moore, Jr., former DC police officer and current associate rector of Calvary Episcopal Church and founder of the Center for the Study of Faith in Justice Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, and more panelists to be announced…..Crossing Broad editor Kyle Scott reports on the status of WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive personality Mike Missanelli, who’s been off the air for the past nine days. Missanelli told Scott he’s using up vacation time, but Scott believes something deeper is going on in the aftermath of an on-air spat between Missanelli, producer Tryone Johnson, and Natalie Egenolf. Though he says Missanelli will return to the air on Monday, he believes Missanelli may be maneuvering his way out of WPEN purposely. Read it here…..ABC News Radio is presenting live coverage of George Floyd’s memorial services anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. ABC News Radio is also providing an hour of live anchored coverage – instant specials – each evening this week beginning at 8:06 p.m. ET. The special coverage will include developments in the Floyd case, the latest on the protests and “insight into the feelings of hurt and outrage sweeping the nation.” ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast hosted by Brad Mielke will also cover the services…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces that Chris Munoz is named EVP of national sales. In this role, Munoz will oversee Entravision’s national spot television, national spot radio, network radio, and national digital audio platforms. He was most recently SVP for Univision national sales. Entravision CRO Karl Meyer says, “Chris is an experienced and accomplished executive in the media space, and we are pleased to have him join the Entravision team and lead our national sales efforts. He is a proven strategic leader, a passionate advocate for Hispanic media, and possesses extensive client, industry and agency relationships.”…..Danny Lipford’s Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated television show, “Today’s Homeowner,” is joining the Crackle on-demand video platform as an exclusive AVOD release. The television series is Crackle’s entry into the home improvement genre. Crackle is a free-to-use platform that offers full-length movies, TV shows, and original programming…..The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that non-commercial WJCT, Jacksonville is transitioning to an “all-news and talk radio format,” effective July 13. The NPR-affiliate station, which will re-brand as “WJCT News 89.9,” will add a midday newscast and 13 national news programs from U.S. and Canadian public media outlets. Corporation president David McGowan comments, “The growing need for sources of news and information that are deeply thoughtful, unfailing in the pursuit of truth and universally available has never been clearer than it is now.”

Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee and the highest-ranking African American radio talk show host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, Joe Madison is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a candid conversation recorded this past Sunday (5/31) as the civil unrest was gaining momentum across America, Harrison and Madison discuss the issue of race relations and the police brutality perpetrated against black people that came to an emotional head with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. During the discussion, Madison accurately predicted that President Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807. He also takes a shot at black conservative talk show hosts as well as non-committed fence-sitters regarding the issue of racism. Do not miss this important conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; as well as several distinguished experts on coping with getting healthy sleep and intelligently handling finances during the pandemic. Speaking of the pandemic and money, check out a dynamic guest who has information making the case that the 1918 Spanish Flu did NOT have that much of a negative impact on the economy of that time. Ever hear of the “Roaring Twenties?” Don’t miss that! To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. South Florida CHR WFLC, Miami re-launches as “HITS 97.3” after becoming “Quarantine Radio” to serve listeners during the COVID-19 crisis. Cox Media Group has also changed the lineup at “The SoFlo Morning Show,” moving afternoon drive personality Kimmy B into the driver’s seat along with resident DJ and night show host Al P, and weekend host Kelbin Live. The afternoon show now stars WFLC music director Dia Ryan. Carolina Calix is the new evening personality. Station director of operations Jill Strada comments, “The entire ‘HITS 97.3’ on-air team represents the passion, culture and soul of South Florida.”…..iHeartMedia’s rock KYMT, Las Vegas “93.1 The Mountain,” brings Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the station lineup for morning drive,  effective June 8. At the same time, station assistant program director AD Rowntree begins hosting the afternoon drive show.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

| May 14, 2020

Entercom Reports First Quarter Net Revenue Down 4%. On revenue of $297 million, Entercom reports a drop of 4% for the first quarter of 2020 compared to Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $309 million. Digital revenue was up 41% year-over-year for the quarter, “propelled by strong audience and revenue growth in podcasting and digital audio advertising.” Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $34.5 million, down 19% compared to $42.7 million in the first quarter of 2019. Whereas Entercom reported a net gain of $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2019, it is reporting a net loss of $9.1 million for Q1 2020. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I want to salute the outstanding work and dedication of the Entercom team, which has risen to the unique challenges of these unprecedented times to serve the American public, our customers and our communities. Entercom began the year on a strong note driving revenues up over 7% through February before facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken important actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and are well positioned financially to operate effectively through the crisis. Strategically, we are well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities.”

Round Three of April PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 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 April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets and notes some of the following moves of significance: In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on three-tenths to finish with a 7 share and moves up to the #2 rank in the market; Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds another 1.4 shares to its March total for a 7.1 share and a rise to the #3 rank; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio busts out with a 2.1 share increase, climbing to a 7.9 share and the #2 rank; In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK continues its climb adding 1.3 shares to finish #1 for the fourth straight survey with an 11.6 share; Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City rockets up 2.8 shares into first place with an 8.8 share; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati also rises 2.8 shares to repeat at #1 with a 12.9 share. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Rod Blagojevich to Host WLS-AM-Produced Podcast. Titled, “The Lightning Rod,” former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich begins hosting the weekly podcast for Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago. Blagojevich was sentenced to prison after the feds recorded phone conversations of him trying to “sell” Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat – a charge he denies to this day. President Trump commuted his sentence after serving almost eight years in a Colorado federal prison. The new podcast launches on May 20. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “Blagojevich is a polarizing political figure who served his time and now he’s serving up the truth, only on WLS-AM. It will be messy; it will be raw, and it will be Rod as you have never heard him before.” Blagojevich comments, “After a long exile, I made it home. It’s a brand-new day. I’m finally free and fired up to speak my mind, provide insights from the inside, and share what I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks.”

Michelle Franzen Named Midday Anchor at ABC News Radio. Rising from correspondent at ABC News Radio is news pro Michelle Franzen, who is named midday news anchor, joining Cheri Preston, Daria Albinger, and Rich Cantu in the weekday lineup. ABC Audio director of news programming Scott Goldberg says in a memo to staffers, “Michelle is a trusted journalist with top-notch storytelling skills. Just yesterday she, along with a stellar producing team, won a Gracie Award for their heartwarming story on NICU cuddlers, volunteers who spend time swaddling and hugging newborns when parents or nurses aren’t around. Michelle began her ABC News career in 2014, reporting for all platforms, and joined our ABC Audio family in 2015 as a correspondent. Since then she’s been instrumental in our coverage of so many major stories, including the 2016 presidential election, the tragic mass shooting in El Paso and the impeachment of President Trump. Last year Michelle’s story on organizations working to feed the hungry during the holiday season was featured in our special ‘America’s Bounty.’ She’s currently back in touch with one of those organizations, reporting its shift in efforts to fill the need during the pandemic.”

Radio Hall of Fame Opens Nomination Process. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is now accepting suggestions for 2020 nominees and will continue to accept them until May 29. Inductees will be honored at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is returning to Chicago in late October 2020. The exact date of the gala will be announced shortly. Suggestions for Radio Hall of Fame nominees can be made in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Networks/Syndication (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), Music Format On-Air Personality, and/or Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “The annual Hall of Fame ceremony is a traditionally heartfelt event that evokes emotion from inductees and attendees. These talented radio broadcast individuals are honored for accomplishments that most only dream of. Being the 100th anniversary of radio makes this year’s celebration even more special.” The Radio Hall of Fame says that 100th anniversary of the radio industry will be part of this year’s celebration and notes that KDKA, Pittsburgh is often cited as the first commercial radio station in the United States for broadcasting the 1920 presidential election returns. The first national radio network was NBC in 1926, followed by CBS in 1927. ABC became a spin-off of one of NBC’s networks in the 1940s. You can make a nomination suggestion by visiting www.radiohalloffame.com and clicking on the NOMINATE tab.

Raiders Continue Relationship with Compass Media Networks. The Las Vegas Raiders sign a multi-year extension with Compass Media Networks in which the company will continue to produce and broadcast all Raiders’ play-by-play-audio for distribution on terrestrial radio, Raiders.com, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and Verizon Mobile. Raiders president Marc Badain states, “The Raiders are thrilled to continue our decade-long partnership with Compass Media Networks. We look forward to Brent Musburger and Lincoln Kennedy bringing all the action to a passionate audience of Raiders fans nationwide on game day.” Compass says that in this coming season, it will offer expanded pre-game and post-game coverage – in addition to all of the play-by-play action.

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy, Financial Markets/The Economy, Bright Testimony, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election, GOP Special Election Victories, Burr Investigation, and Sports Leagues’ Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future infections; the controversy over re-openings in various states; the financial markets react to coronavirus news and Fed chair Jerome Powell’s warning about the effect on the U.S. economy; Dr. Rick Bright’s Thursday testimony before a House panel; Judge Emmet Sullivan’s oversight of the case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; the GOP wins seats in California and Wisconsin in special elections; the investigation into Senator Richard Burr’s sale of stocks; and the various sports leagues’ plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WHP, Harrisburg PM Drive Host Ken Matthews Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The afternoon drive host on iHeartMedia’s heritage station WHP, Harrisburg, PA, Ken Matthews, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Matthews, a staunch conservative in the capital of a key battleground state, is also on the select roster of fill-in hosts who sit in for Rush Limbaugh. A member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, Matthews describes himself as having a passion for people, politics, pop culture, pistols, pianos, and alliteration. He’s a 35-year veteran of radio whose career has been marked by tremendous ups, downs and ups again.  Harrison and his guest candidly discuss the politics of COVID-19, the presidential race, and the years Matthews has spent in the trenches of both music and talk radio. It is a fascinating overview of the times in which we live and the “real world” life of one of the industry’s hardest-working professionals.  Don’t miss it!  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. Rock programming pro James Kurdziel is named program director for Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis, taking over for Scott Jameson. Kurdziel serves as regional VP of programming-rock – a position he’ll continue to hold – and PD/midday personality for the company’s alternative WEDG-FM, Buffalo. He’ll continue in that role until a successor is named. He says, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m beyond grateful. Being at the helm of KQRS and working with Tom Barnard and the talented staff there is humbling and I am thrilled.”…..Cumulus Media’s hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix” drops the Christmas music it’s been playing for the past month and re-positions as “107.9 The Mix from the ‘80s to Now!” It also unveils a new jock lineup that includes Nikki Reed in afternoon drive…..According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, a talent shuffle takes place at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX. Both producer Cynthia DeNicolo and social media manager Melissa Dever exited recently as part of the company’s COVID-19-related cuts. Now, traffic reporter Violeta Podrumedic begins handling social media duties for the morning show as morning personality Melissa McGurren adds traffic duties.

Friday, December 6, 2019

| December 6, 2019

Weiss Named iHM NYC Market President. Region senior vice president of  sales for iHeartMedia’s New York group, Bernie Weiss, is appointed market president of iHeartMedia New York City. Weiss will continue to report to iHeartMedia market groups division president Scott Hopeck. At the same time in a corresponding move, director of sales Steve DeLusant takes over for Weiss. Hopeck states, “I’m thrilled to promote both Bernie and Steve. It is especially rewarding to find the best candidates for key leadership roles in your own building. They are extremely knowledgeable about our ever-evolving business and have built their personal brands by accelerating the growth of our iconic stations. I’m confident they will continue to elevate our New York operation to even greater heights.” Weiss remarks, “Listeners continue to crave companionship and advertisers continue to demand ROI – broadcast radio delivers on both fronts. iHeartMedia continues to be one of the most innovative media players, offering the best content and programming for hundreds of millions of listeners. I am looking forward to working with the New York team to build on our already strong connection with listeners, advertisers, and in the community.” Weiss joined iHeartMedia New York in 2004 as an account executive for urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1” and previously held several radio general sales management positions in Europe. DeLusant was sales manager for several iHM New York City stations and earlier was senior account executive for Emmis Communications, where he specialized in multicultural marketing. Earlier in his career, he was a sales associate for iHeartMedia’s WLTW. In addition to news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York,” iHeartMedia’s New York City cluster consists of market-leading (adult contemporary) WLTW “106.7 Lite FM”; CHR WHTZ “Z-100”; classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3”; urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1”; and rhythmic CHR WKTU.

KABC Resets Its On-Air Lineup. Major changes going into effect January 1 at Cumulus Media Los Angeles news/talk KABC include Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty (“The Armstrong & Getty Show”) slotted in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am). The syndicated duo succeeds locally-originated “The Morning Drive with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” Continuing at 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is Larry O’Connor (based from Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk WMAL). Aforementioned John Phillips segues solo from morning drive to assume the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm slot occupied by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Leeann Tweeden (“Dr. Drew Midday Live”). Unchanged is Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), but the local 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm “Peter Tilden Show” will give way to Westwood One’s Michael Savage. Thus, displaced by the changes are Jillian Barberie, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Leeann Tweeden, and Peter Tilden. KABC general manager Drew Hayes comments, “KABC has a proud history as one of the first ‘all-talk’ radio stations in the United States. With these great additions to our lineup, KABC will offer our audience even more of the content that they love, featuring outstanding local and nationally recognized talent.” KABC will continue as the flagship for University of Southern California football and basketball. KABC more than doubled (+.4) its 6+ AQH share in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 – .7, July – August – September – October, Nielsen Audio, 6+) but “790 News-Talk-Evolved” forfeits one-tenth in the November 2019 sweep to .6 (#35 to #38, 6+).

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, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/22).  The new episode titled “The Trump Paradox!” looks back at this past week of December 2-6, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Blanquita Cullum, talk show host, WCGO, Chicago /Smart Talk Network; Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, Fox News Channel / Fox News Radio; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; William O’ Shaughnessy, CEO, Whitney Global Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

WDAF To Become K.C. Chiefs Flagship in 2020. As part of a multi-year agreement between the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Entercom Kansas City, country WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” will become the key station of the 70-station Chiefs Radio Network as of February 16, 2020. Sports talk sibling KCSP “610 Sports Radio” will become the official “broadcast partner” of the Chiefs, with rights to Chiefs programming, including radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs weekly in-season press conference with the club’s head coach (Andy Reid) and a weekly one-on-one interview with the starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes). In addition, KCSP will broadcast the “Chiefs Kingdom Radio Show” (Monday, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Cross-town Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX “101.1 The Fox” has been the team’s flagship since 1990. Entercom regional president/market manager Dave Alpert declares, “We are extremely pleased to enter into this new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most well-respected and prestigious organizations. Entercom’s eight-station cluster of music, news and sports talk stations hosted by Kansas City’s leading personalities align with vast digital and podcast opportunities. We will deliver the premium and comprehensive coverage Chiefs Kingdom desires seven days a week, all season long.” Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan comments, “We look forward to partnering with ‘106.5 The Wolf’ and the powerful Entercom family of stations. The ability to bring our game broadcasts and existing weekly radio shows under one roof is a large part of this change, but we are equally excited about creating new content and developing new opportunities for Chiefs fans to engage with their favorite team.” Returning for his 27th season as play-by-play announcer will be Mitch Holthus, who has called a franchise record 426 regular and postseason Kansas City contests.

ESPN Radio Taps Fitz To Succeed Smith. “First and Last” (5:00 am – 6:00 am) host Jason Fitz is selected to replace Stephen A. Smith in ESPN Radio’s 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (ET) slot. The change is effective next month (1/20) and allows Smith to devote more time to his ESPN TV duties. Smith, however, will make a regular weekly appearance on Fitz’s show, “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz,” which will be simulcast on ESPNews. Executive vice president/executive editor of production Norby Williamson states, “Sports fans are passionate and they love spirited debate. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.” Fitz, formerly of country group The Band Perry and a regular on ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo,” comments, “I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the ‘First Take’ topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me.” Fitz studied classical violin at The Julliard School. 

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the sports talk format. Roughly half the eligible sports talk panelists improve October 2019 – November 2019 (52%, 6+) while just over one in three falter (37%); the remaining 11% are unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, essentially three of every five qualifying sports talk stations register November 2018 – November 2019 gains (61%, 6+), while one in three (33%) stumble; the remaining 6% are steady from a year ago. The format is #1 in Philadelphia (Entercom’s WIP) and Long Island (Entercom-owned WFAN-FM). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. One-year Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle vice president/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland has departed the cluster. Director/brand content Scott Mahalick is absorbing those duties on an interim basis. Mulholland previously worked in the market as general manager/director of sales for Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS; general sales manager of Entercom rocker KISW; local sales manager of Sandusky smooth Jazz KWJZ; and she was general sales manager of CBS Radio-owned (now Entercom) Pittsburgh hot AC WBZZ. In addition to KKNW “Alternative Talk 1150 AM,” Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle consists of adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9”; adult standards KIXI “AM 880”; CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station”; and country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.” ….. After spending the last ten years at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN,” program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert departs. Per a Facebook post, he writes, “Well, I’ve written this and deleted it a million times trying to find the most articulate way to say this but as of this week, I am no longer a member of the ‘101 ESPN’ team. Tough to write and see but excited/terrified/anxious/hungry – and a bunch of other emotions – to see the next chapter.” Tommy Mattern, the program director of alternative cluster-mate KPNT “105.7 The Point,” adds WXOS PD duties ….. Radio/Audio nominees for the 2020 Writers Guild awards have been announced. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking Report” category, the nominees are: “CBS News on the Hour with Norah O’Donnell – El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio – Communities in Mourning,” written by James Hutton, CBS News Radio; “Hail and Farewell: Remembering Some Headline Makers,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio; “World News This Week, August 9, 2019,” written by Stephanie Pawlowski and Jim Ryan, ABC News Radio; and “World News This Week, September 13, 2019,” written by Joan B. Harris, ABC News Radio. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Analysis, Feature, or Commentary” category, the nominees are: “The Enduring Legacy of Jackie Kennedy Onassis,” written by Dianne E. James and Gail Lee, CBS News Radio and “Woodstock: Back to the Garden,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio. Winners will be announced February 1, 2020 in New York City at an event held in the Edison Ballroom.

Comrex Now Shipping ACCESS MultiRack. The rackmount multi-channel IP audio codec from Comrex occupies 1RU and can handle up to five full-duplex IP audio connections simultaneously. ACCESS MultiRack is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs, including ACCESS Rackmount; ACCESS Portable 2USB; ACCESS NX Portable; ACCESS NX Rack; BRIC-Link; and BRIC-Link II, as well as the FieldTap smartphone app. Comrex ACCESS MultiRack is Tech3326, AES67 and SMPTE 2110-30-compatible. ACCESS MultiRack includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), or combining the network bandwidth of multiple networks (bonding mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event the primary network falters. Each of ACCESS MultiRack’s codec instances can deliver and receive four contact closures, as well as transfer ancillary data to the far-end using the serial data channel. Comrex has designed and manufactured broadcast equipment since its incorporation in 1961.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More than a quarter of a million dollars ($257,268) was raised in Entercom Philadelphia classic-hits oldies outlet WOGL’s 18th annual “98.1 WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon” to benefit Children’s Miracle Network at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president/market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “We are so grateful for WOGL listeners and community members who donated and also very thankful for the volunteers and on-air personalities who contributed their time and talent to help make this year’s radiothon a huge success.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia president/chief executive officer Madeline Bell notes, “The hospital programs funded by radiothon donations make a lasting difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Each year, we look forward to raising awareness of these very important services.” Airing this past Tuesday (12/3) and Wednesday (12/4), WOGL’s radiothon concluded with on-air hosts Marilyn Russell, Glenn Kalina, Bobby Smith, and Nicky G. presenting the check to CHOP ….. The 13th annual “An American Country Christmas with Kix Brooks” features special guests sharing holiday music, favorite traditions, and memories. Among those joining Brooks are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. Stations can air the show from Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One  6:00 am – 12:00 midnight  (Saturday) 12/21 through Christmas Day (Wednesday, 12/25) …..  For the third consecutive year, iHeartMedia San Diego CHR KHTS “Channel 93-3” morning drivers Kramer & Geena teamed up with “A Million Thanks” to send letters to deployed military members. Over 50,000 letters were collected from the San Diego community and are on their way to the troops ….. As part of Beasley Media Group Tampa rhythmic CHR WLLD’s eighth annual toy drive to benefit the Children’s Home Network, “Wild 94.1” program director/morning personality Orlando Davis climbs the toy drive platform today (Friday, 12/6) and will remain there until next Saturday (12/14). Davis will do his morning show from that platform every day next week ….. In its annual “Toys For Tunes” on-air event this past Wednesday (12/4, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm), Hubbard Broadcasting Cincinnati rhythmic hot AC WREW “Mix 94.9” raised over $8,00 for Cincinnati Children’s Child Life Program to ensure that every child staying at the hospital during the holidays receives a new toy. Listener song requests were granted, in exchange for a $20 donation ….. On “Giving Tuesday” (12/3), Mid-West Family Broadcasting Madison (Wisconsin) alternative WRIS “The Resistance Is On 106.7” announced that More Smiles Wisconsin is the recipient of its “Community Awareness Grant” for the coming year. WRIS launched a community awareness grant that will provide a local non-profit with $15,000 in advertising in 2020. Applicants were considered for the grant based on multiple factors including the organization’s history of community service, connection to the community, mission within the community, demonstration of need, population served, and geographic region served. More Smiles Wisconsin is a non-profit that provides access to quality dental care to Medicaid, BadgerCare, and uninsured populations of south central Wisconsin. “The Resistance” hopes to help in their goal of increasing funding and awareness so that they may continue to help a growing number of patients …..  WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz” morning host/music director Kaylan Moody is leaving the Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala (Florida) alternative outlet in two weeks (12/20). Moody notes, “I am so grateful for all I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had, but I am excited to keep growing. I am moving to Nashville to pursue a career in the record label industry. The dream job is radio promotion, but I am excited to take on whatever opportunities may arise to get my foot in the door and to start learning.”