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Thursday, April 29, 2021

| April 29, 2021

RTDNA/Newhouse School: 2020 A Dangerous Year for Journalists. The annual survey of broadcast newsrooms from the RTDNA and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University notes that during the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. “Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.” This is the first year that the survey included a section on media safety. The survey’s research team says it wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country and learned that one in five television news directors reported attacks on employees. 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. As far as radio is concerned, the study concludes, “Not surprisingly, the level of attacks at radio stations and on radio news people is much lower. Four percent of radio news directors and general managers reported attacks on newsroom employees. It was primarily a problem in major markets, with one million and more people, where 13.8% of news directors and general managers reported attacks on employees.” You can see the complete survey here. Commenting on the study, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Broadcast journalists play an essential role in documenting pivotal moments in American history from the front lines. That has never been more important than during the past year. NAB is gravely troubled by this study reporting the unprecedented level of harassment, intimidation and violence directed at journalists covering the historical events of 2020. These unacceptable attacks on our nation’s free press undermine our very democracy by preventing journalists’ ability to report the facts and keep the public informed. We are grateful to the dedicated broadcast journalists bringing the truth to Americans during these dangerous times.”

Nick Craig to Host Mornings on WAAV-AM, Cape Fear. Beginning May 3, Nick Craig begins hosting “Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk/sports WAAV-AM, Cape Fear, North Carolina “980 The WAAV.” The station says the show is “a live and local morning show hosted by fresh conservative talk personality Nick Craig. The show focuses on the day’s biggest stories including Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The show will feature a wide variety of topics, guests, and listener interaction.” Cumulus Wilmington VP and market manager Eric McCart comments, “We’re excited to have Nick join our 980 WAAV Cumulus family! He brings a fresh new energy and excitement to weekday mornings that our listeners will really enjoy. If it’s happening in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, it’s happening on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig!” Craig adds, “Traveling on the road paved by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, I’m excited to bring the next generation of conservative talk to the Wilmington region and beyond. To be part of a legacy talk station like WAAV and Cumulus Media is quite the opportunity at my age. Looking forward to using these platforms to engage and interact with traditional talk listeners and the next generation.”

Ron Slay Joins WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Afternoon Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces that former University of Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay is joining the “3HL” afternoon drive program alongside current hosts Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport. Paul Mason is program director for the Cumulus Media station, and he says, “Our listeners have made it clear that they want us to hire Ron Slay. I am happy to say we listened, and we are thrilled Ron Slay will be joining Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport on ‘3HL.’ ‘3HL’ is already a great show and I look forward to seeing it go to even higher levels.” Slay comments, “I am both delighted and eager to join the ‘104.5 The Zone’ and ‘3HL’ families. I hope to bring joy, energy, and insight to Nashville sports enthusiasts each day.”

SiriusXM Reports 2021 Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 5%. Satellite radio and digital audio broadcaster SiriusXM releases its financial data for the first quarter of 2021 and reports total revenue of $2.06 billion, a 5% increase from the $1.95 billion reported during the same period a year ago. However, net income for the quarter was $219 million, a decline of 29% from the $293 million reported in Q1 of 2020. SiriusXM added 126,000 self-pay subscribers to hit its all-time high of 31 million self-pay subscribers. New chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure.  These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company. Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports… We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”

RAB Announces ‘Radio Works for Automotive’ Presentations. As part of RAB’s Business Accelerated initiative, it is presenting a two-part live series for May’s featured automotive category, one of radio’s most important advertising categories. The first presentation titled, “What’s Driving the Auto Industry?” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 19. As Americans return to school and work, the demand for vehicles grows. Parts shortages, as well as chip scarcity, are hindering inventory on lots and yet, auto sales remain high despite the supply-demand imbalance. In this presentation, hear from experts in both automotive and auto dealership industries including Tyson Jominy, vice president, data and analytics, J.D. Power, and Dick Parrish, dealership management consultant, NADA, who will share insights into the auto industry’s growth and challenges. The second live presentation will feature broadcasters discussing automotive client success stories to help sellers prospect and support their clients. The session, titled “Radio Works for Automotive Part 2,” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 26. The presentation will also be available for on-demand viewing. Both presentations are free for RAB members. You can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Media Sales Institute announces its strategic alliance with Media Staffing Network that will bring MSN’s media recruiter’s expertise to the MSI curriculum at the 2021 NABOB MSI, being held at the Atlanta University Center and hosted by Morehouse College from October 25 to November 4, 2021. Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn comments, “With our tutelage, we can better prepare the MSI graduates to address the position for which they are applying. Sadly, many colleges and universities are not as up to date on what a recent graduate should include on their resumes. Nor do they teach their students how to best stand out and showcase their value when they have little to no work experience.”…..iHeartMedia and media personality Chelsea Handler have entered into a deal for a new podcast called “Dear Chelsea” to be produced as a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast.  The comedian, best-selling author, and television host will give listeners the opportunity to submit questions about life and get candid answers on the podcast. “Dear Chelsea” – also featuring Handler’s co-host and longtime assistant Brandon Marlo – debuts on May 6. Handler says, “iHeartRadio has been a great place for me to share all of my wild, unvarnished thoughts. I’m excited to start this journey with ‘Dear Chelsea’ to help people figure out what they need in life – I’m more than happy to be that kick in the pants or shove that will give someone a new perspective on a situation and help them to make a decision.”…..SiriusXM announces it is again offering listeners nationwide comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/1). SiriusXM, through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network, airs all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network and produced in collaboration with HRRN.

Biden Addresses Congress, COVID-19, Police Violence, Fed Search Giuliani’s Home and Office, John Kerry Iran Allegation, Feds Investigate Direct Energy Attack, and Boris Johnson Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and his wide-ranging $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; the spate of high-profile cases of deadly police violence against citizens; the FBI’s search of former NYC mayor and former Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in an investigation of his ties to Ukraine; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry shared Israeli military intelligence with Iran; the Pentagon’s investigation into a mysterious “direct energy attack” near the White House; and the scandal over Boris Johnson’s refurbishing of 10 Downing St. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

| April 7, 2021

Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”

WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”

Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”

Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.

‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”

New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”

‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”

COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

| February 9, 2021

WSCR, Chicago Announces Parkins & Spiegel New Afternoon Show. Chicago sports talker WSCR-AM “670 The Score” brings Matt Spiegel back to the air in a full-time capacity, hosting the afternoon drive show with former partner Danny Parkins. The two co-hosted the midday program in 2017 and 2018 before Spiegel was bumped to a part-time role and Parkins moved to afternoons alongside Dan McNeil, who was let go from the station back in September after tweeting disparaging comments about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “Matt has always been part of the ‘Score’ team, but the fact that he is now reunited with Danny in afternoons is great news most for fans. Matt’s popularity with our audience throughout all of our platforms is unwavering. The content he delivers on a daily basis is thoughtful, entertaining, opinionated sports talk, and data shows from the previous time together that listeners love this tandem of Danny and Matt.” Spiegel comments, “This is where I’m supposed to be: talking sports and more with this audience, creating a daily space for connection and companionship. There’s nothing like it. Danny Parkins is a great host and a good friend. What he and I had found in terms of chemistry was special three years ago, and I’m super excited to resume, move forward creatively and see where we can go.”

Sports Talk Host Bill Michaels Back on the Air in Wisconsin. After exiting Entercom’s sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “1250 AM The Fan” on January 8, sports talk personality Bill Michaels has a new flagship station for his midday program. Starting today (2/9), Michaels is being heard on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN, Madison “1670AM and 96.7FM The Zone” from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Mid-West Family VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “We are excited to have one of the biggest names in Wisconsin sports talk history as part of our growing sports properties. Bill is known and loved throughout the state as the authority on all things Wisconsin sports, pro and college. Bill is the trusted voice, and we already have radio stations calling to secure his show.” Michaels’ program is being heard on Mid-West Family radio stations WKTY, LaCrosse and WAYY-AM/W286CK, Eau Claire. Mid-West Family says it plans to make the show available on a market exclusive basis throughout all of Wisconsin immediately. Michaels comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity with Mid-West Family and I’m even more excited to get back to doing what I love. In addition, I’m so thankful and appreciative to all of my family, friends, listeners and sponsors for encouraging me to come back. I can’t even begin to tell you what your support has meant to me. Let’s go!”

‘The Dana Show’ Now Heard on KXNT, Las Vegas. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – joins the program schedule at Entercom’s Las Vegas news/talk outlet KXNT-AM for the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney states, “We are excited to bring the energy and originality of ‘The Dana Show’ to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. Dana’s bold personality and sharp opinion will fit perfectly in our superstar KXNT lineup.”

SummitMedia Announces Management Changes. Birmingham, Alabama-based SummitMedia, LLC announces it has made a number of changes to its programming leadership team. Company CEO Carl Parmer says, “Our goal is to bring each Summit brand experience to life and innovate in the media space. While the past year disrupted radio as we knew it as well as experiencing the recent passing of programming legend Bill Tanner, we recognize the incredible opportunities before us for those who can deliver fresh ideas to the industry.” Parmer announces that programmer Randy Chase, who joined the company back in July as SVP of programming, is the new EVP of programming, a role in which he’ll lead the company’s strategic and programming charge and oversee the company’s team of brand and content leaders. John Olsen, continues as SVP of programming managing rock, classic rock and alternative along with special projects. Maurice DeVoe, most recently operations manager for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster, moves into the brand and content leader role for the company’s rhythmic top 40, hip hop and R&B stations. Rick Thomas, formerly the vice president of programming for Max Media in Denver, joins the company as the new brand and content leader for top 40, hot AC and AC formats. Chase comments, “We have assembled a team with both incredible experience and a tremendous hunger to capitalize on the disruption in the media space and arrive first into the next normal. With this leadership team in place, I believe we will deliver highly engaging products for our consumers and set up every member of the SummitMedia team to perform at their full potential.”

Rob Finnerty Named Anchor of Newsmax TV’s ‘Wake Up America.’ Television sports and news pro Rob Finnerty is appointed anchor of Newsmax TV’s new morning program, “Wake Up America” that airs from 6:30 am to 9:00 am ET.  Finnerty was most recently serving as an anchor and reporter for the CBS television affiliate in Tampa. Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Rob has the rock-solid journalistic credentials we look for here at Newsmax. Our viewers will be well-served by his honest, accurate reporting.” Finnerty, who also has served with New England Cable News; KCTV-TV, Kansas City; and KBAK-TV/KBFX-TV, Bakersfield; adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the network, especially at this moment in our history. Not only is Newsmax TV growing at an unbelievable pace, but with everything happening in our country politically, I don’t think there is a better place to be right now.’’

GeoBroadcast Solutions ZoneCasting Test Gets FCC Approval. The Federal Communications Commission grants approval for the fourth experimental operation to build and operate two new co-located on-channel boosters at two discreet locations to GeoBroadcast Solutions. The company calls the technology ZoneCasting and will conduct the test via Universal Media Access’ KSJO-FM, San Jose. This trial will demonstrate KSJO’s ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, advertising, and EAS tests during short parts of a broadcast hour. ZoneCasting allows the additional geo-targeting and geo-fencing of audio and graphical advertisements. GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “These emerging technologies give radio broadcasters the tools that are vital in order to compete in the face of innovations from online and other forms of message distribution.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Washington Post publishes a piece today (2/9) by Paul Farhi critical of the future of the talk radio business. Citing the stage 4 cancer diagnosis of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh, Farhi’s story questions what the future of the format will be post-Limbaugh in a media world teeming with alternative platforms to radio, where the bulk of listeners are well beyond Madison Avenue’s coveted 25-54 demographic…..Public media’s WNYC, New York announces that Karen Rouse is promoted to newsroom editor where she will oversee a new audio, writing and editing training effort for reporters and editors, and work as part of a team of editors editing Gothamist and WNYC content. Rouse will also work with WNYC editor in chief Audrey Cooper and SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion Brenda Williams-Butts to develop a newsroom fellowship program aimed at bringing more Black and brown journalists into WNYC’s newsroom…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the release of the first three episodes of “The Washies,” a 10-episode serialized fictional podcast from partner Omnicast Media. The serial is set in in the not-so-distant future of 2025, amid a backdrop of significant political unrest, in which a TV producer finds and promotes five millennials who happen to be direct descendants of George Washington. The three women and two men participate in a reality TV show that catapults them to both fame and infamy. As they struggle to slay their own personal demons, they also represent the paradox of George Washington — hero/slave owner. Through all this, they learn to love each other and truly become family, just as the country needs them most…..SiriusXM unveils a new, multi-part audio documentary titled, “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: Boomers – The Story of The ‘80s Comedy Boom and Bust,” that is airing all this week. As SiriusXM notes, the “comedy boom” of the 1980s was a critical time for stand-up comedy, as its popularity skyrocketed and new clubs emerged in New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. This program is hosted and executive produced by Dan Pasternack, and chronicles this period, with major comedy stars offering their first-hand accounts, including: Chris Albrecht, Louie Anderson, Judd Apatow, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, Jeff Foxworthy, Gilbert Gottfried, Barry Katz, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Larry Miller, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Pollak, Paul Provenza, Paul Reiser, Bob Saget, Jonathan Schmock, Yakov Smirnoff, Judy Tenuta, Jimmy Vallely, Marsha Warfield, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Trump Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Package Negotiations, Smartmatic Lawsuit, North Korea Hackers, and Super Bowl LV Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s beginning of the Donald Trump impeachment trial; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concern over variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over the next COVID stimulus package; the Smartmatic lawsuit against FOX News and numerous Trump allies; North Korean hackers steal hundreds of millions to fund nuclear program; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

| October 29, 2020

Carton and Roberts Show to Launch on WFAN on November 9. One day after WFAN, New York personality Joe Benigno announced he’s retiring from the afternoon drive show after his November 6 program (see story below), Entercom unveils the new Craig Carton and Evan Roberts program to launch on November 9, confirming months of speculation about the return of Carton after his conviction and one-year prison sentence on fraud charges. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says in a statement, “Craig Carton was part of the fabric of WFAN for a decade, both on and off the air, engaging and entertaining audiences with his one-of-a-kind personality and talent. We all hope that this next step on his road back will not only be beneficial to Craig, but also for his audience as he shares his story and looks to make an impact through the power of his voice. WFAN welcomes him back and is excited to have him join Evan Roberts in afternoon drive.” Carton says, “I am grateful to Entercom for the chance to return home to WFAN. I have dreamt about this moment every minute of every day for the last three years. I know I have work to do to regain the trust of my colleagues, listeners, and advertisers and am committed to doing just that. I can’t wait to get started with Evan Roberts on November 9th.”

WFAN, New York Officially Announces Joe Benigno’s Retirement. A week from tomorrow will be the final regular broadcast for New York sports talk host Joe Benigno. As has been speculated in the New York media and media trade publications, Benigno is leaving the station after a 26-year career. Entercom says that Benigno will continue to be heard on the station “in select roles beginning in 2021.” Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Joe Benigno is the quintessential New York sports fan, broadcasting his trademark straight-from-the-heart perspective on the city’s sports scene every day for nearly three decades. Though Joe first came to prominence as ‘Joe from Saddle River,’ he departs as one of the most successful and enduring hosts in the long and iconic history of WFAN. It is comforting to know that he remains a part of the ‘FAN’ family and will still be keeping a close eye on his beloved Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers.” Benigno joined WFAN in 1995 after winning the station’s Fan Appreciation Day contest, where the prize was to host on WFAN. After a stint at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and a small New Jersey radio station, Benigno was hired as the overnight host at WFAN in 2004. He served as the station’s midday show co-host from 2003 to 2019 before moving to afternoons in 2020.

Round Three of October PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 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. Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+, weekly AQH share data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland adds a full share and finishes the survey with a 7.0 share to remain ranked #3. In Charlotte, Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM tacks on nine-tenths for a 6.9 share and rises from #4 to #3. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City adds three-tenths – completing a four-survey spike of 2.3 shares – to finish with a 7.6 share and jumps to the #1 spot for the first time in the PPM era. Across town at Bonneville’s KSL-FM, it rockets up 1.3 shares for a 7.4 share and finishes the October survey at #2. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Entercom and FanDuel Announce Strategic Partnership. The six-year partnership designating FanDuel as the official sportsbook partner of Entercom across its sports broadcast stations and RADIO.COM will give listeners unique access to FanDuel odds, insight, and promotion via Entercom on-air stations and personalities. Entercom and FanDuel will also “collaborate on in-depth integrations and co-produce content that will pioneer the industry with all-new formats.” Under the agreement, FanDuel will be the official sportsbook of Entercom, and receive preferred and increased category access to all Entercom talent in every market where Entercom and FanDuel both operate. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We believe this is the largest advertising commitment ever made within the radio industry. We are focused on delivering the best sports betting experience for our audiences in markets where legalized sports betting will be pervasive. The marketplace is growing exponentially and FanDuel is an ideal partner to take full advantage of the influence and reach of Entercom’s robust sports platforms to deliver an even better, audio sports experience to our listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. A reminder that this evening (10/29) is the 2020 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET on both the iHeartRadio app and via SiriusXM’s Triumph Channel. Being inducted are: Mark & Brian, Donnie Simpson, Angie Martinez, Cokie Roberts, Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, & DJ Envy, Sway Calloway, and Glenn Beck. You can listen here…..ABC News Radio is presenting live anchored coverage on election night beginning at 7:00 pm ET, running through at least 2:00 am ET. Correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor coverage. It will also feature reporting from correspondents on-location with the candidates and in crucial swing states. ABC News Radio will offer four one-minute Status Reports each hour throughout the evening. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will have special coverage throughout the week, including special editions on Election Day, November 4, and as news warrants…..Sun Broadcast Group announces two new hires in marketing. Lindsay Carr joins as director of marketing and Megan Hermensky is named assistant marketing manager. SBG vice president of business operations Laura Orkin says, “As we expand our ad sales team to meet the growing needs of our advertisers and partners, we are building our marketing support to develop new promotions, social media extensions, and more. Lindsay and Megan have the marketing expertise to bring new concepts and fresh designs to Sun. I’m delighted to welcome them both to our team.”

The Presidential Election, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Financial Markets Activity, Philadelphia Racial Tensions, Hunter Biden Emails, Big Tech Before Congress, France Terror Attack, and Tropical Storm Zeta Hits Gulf Coast Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). Next Tuesday’s presidential election and the last-minute campaigning by Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for the fall and winter seasons; the world’s financial markets sink on fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic; racial tensions in Philadelphia in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr; the allegations that Hunter Biden’s emails indicate he improperly benefitted from Joe Biden’s vice presidency; CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appear before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee to answer questions about censorship; a terrorist kills three in a church in Nice, France; and Tropical Storm Zeta dumps more rain on Louisiana were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Presents 2020 Election Preview Featuring Bill O’Reilly. Pictured above are WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk show host Bo Thompson (top left), North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (top right) with special guest, Key Networks nationally syndicated talk show host Bill O’Reilly (bottom). The production was dubbed “WBT’s TALKTOBERFEST 2020” and you can see it here. Station brand manager Mike Schaefer tells TALKERS magazine that O’Reilly appeared during the first talk hour of the program. Also on the program were WBT-AM/FM personalities Vince Coakley, Brett Winterble, Mark Garrison, Brett Jensen, and Joe Gillespie. It was broadcast Tuesday evening (10/27) live on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Former Westwood One News Radio White House Correspondent Bob Costantini Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Journalism in America is going through a challenging transition. The technology, sociology, and economics of the times have conspired to shrink newsrooms, shut down news organizations, and put a critically large number of journalists out of work. This pinch is certainly being experienced in radio as most recently evidenced in the discontinuation of a news department by syndication giant Westwood One. Former Westwood One White House correspondent and veteran radio/TV journalist Bob Costantini is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Costantini was a high-profile casualty of the Westwood One news shutdown, but he wasn’t a victim, having wasted no time before launching his own boutique news agency, Ear on the White House, specializing in providing radio stations across America with customized reports and coverage of the White House and ongoing presidential developments. The fact that Costantini has already signed up several client stations out of the gate is a strong indication he’s off and running in the right direction with this new venture. With the presidential election dominating the national conversation, the White House has become the central focus of the nation and its concerns and promises to remain so in the months and years ahead. Costantini, a 30-plus year veteran of the field, has covered the White House for such news organizations as FOX News Channel, CNN and CNN Radio, NBC News Radio and most recently Westwood One. He’s a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Harrison and Costantini talk about what it’s like inside the White House press corps, how the White House Correspondents’ Association operates, differences between the administrations he’s covered from George H.W. Bush to Donald Trump, and the current election, as well as the state and future of journalism. Don’t miss this illuminating deep-dive conversation about the nuts and bolts of covering the executive branch on radio. 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 radio pro Wade Linder is promoted to vice president, classic rock for Cumulus Media. The company says that in this new role, Linder will serve on Cumulus’ content leadership team as a key resource for the company’s 34 classic rock radio stations and will report to Troy Hanson, VP/corporate programming, rock formats. Linder will continue in his current role as PD for WLS-FM, Chicago. Linder says, “I’m grateful to be entrusted with this new appointment from Brian Philips and Troy Hanson. It’s a privilege to work with the programming brains and pure personalities in classic rock at Cumulus, with so much brand knowledge already present. Add to that the daily grounding and inspiration I receive from my closest radio family here at 94.7 WLS-FM in Chicago, where Marv Nyren shows us how to win and be kind at the same time. I want to also thank Dave Milner, John Dimick, and Doug Hamand.”…..Premiere Networks and Bobby Bones, VP/creative director of iHeartCountry, announce the launch of a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast, “Talk to Chuck” with Chuck Wicks, distributed by Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. “Talk to Chuck” features the singer and songwriter as he shares his unique perspective on what’s happening in the world of country music. With behind-the-scenes access to the biggest stars, he’ll welcome music artists, celebrities, athletes, and others who share a love for country music. Listeners and country fans will also join the conversation as Wicks and his guests discuss the hottest topics of the week…..Beasley Media Group announces classic rock outlet WCSX-FM, Detroit, in conjunction with the Mayor of Royal Oak, Michigan, will proclaim Friday, November 6, 2020 as ‘Glenn Frey Day’ in honor of the late Eagles co-founder and Michigan native. Station morning show personality Jim O’Brien from “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” will broadcast live on Glenn Frey Drive in commemoration of the late singer/songwriter’s birthday. In addition, O’Brien will join Mayor Mike Fournier in officially proclaiming “Glenn Frey Day” as well as share stories about the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from Detroit legends Bob Seger, Alice Cooper and others.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

| October 21, 2020

NYPost: Carton to Sign WFAN Deal ‘Within 24 Hours.’ The latest in the Craig Carton watch comes from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand who reports that the former WFAN, New York morning co-host will indeed sign a deal to join the Entercom’s sports talker as afternoon drive personality and his partner will most likely be current PM drive co-host Evan Roberts. Current afternoon co-host Joe Benigno will retire, as has been predicted. Carton was released from prison after a serving one year of a three-year sentence for fraud. He also owes close to $5 million in compensation to his victims.

WABC, New York Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. All day today (10/21), Red Apple Media’s “TALKRADIO 77WABC” is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing “the numerous contributions the Hispanic community has made in New York City’s businesses, governmental, political communities, and culture.” Today, WABC hosts will talk with Hispanic leaders, political figures, celebrities, and more to highlight the rich heritage of the Hispanic and Latino cultures and their contributions to our country. Guests will include: Senator Marco Rubio, Tino Martinez of the Yankees, Tony Orlando, Tito Puente, Jr., and more. Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis says, “The Hispanic culture in New York City is among the most vibrant and fastest growing. As an immigrant myself, I understand what it means to take pride in your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity, and the path by which we all became ‘New Yorkers.’ 77WABC Radio, Gristedes, D’Agostino’s, and Red Apple Group are proud of the contributions made by our Hispanic brothers and sisters, whether it is the thousands of Hispanic-owned businesses or the millions of New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage who work, live, play, and pray here in the greatest city on earth. It is only right and appropriate that we take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments and tremendous impact that our fellow Hispanic New Yorkers have had throughout our City’s storied history.”

TALKERS News Notes. Based on data from its ongoing “Share of Ear” study, Edison Research says that for the first time since it began tracking audio consumption in 2014, podcasting’s share of all audio listening is now 6% of consumption, marks an all-time high for the on-demand audio medium. This finding was revealed at the Podcast Movement Virtual conference Tuesday (10/20) in a keynote address by Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. The latest findings show that the share of time Americans age 13+ spend with podcasts as a percentage of all their audio listening has tripled from just 2% in 2014…..Starnes Media Group announces that independent Baltimore news/talk outlet WCBM-AM adds the “The Todd Starnes Radio Show” and the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” to its program lineup. The daily talk show is airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago news anchor Jennifer Keiper is joining the CBS News Radio staff as a national anchor, effective November 9. She’ll be heard on the network’s hourly newscasts…..The Virtual News Center adds D&Z Media, LLC’s classic hits/full service KQPR-FM, Albert Lea, Minnesota “Power 96” to its roster of affiliate radio stations. Virtual News Center’s Marina Brett is providing daily anchored newscasts for the station…..iHeartMedia Cleveland announces it enters into a multiyear, multi-team broadcast agreement with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, AHL’s Cleveland Monsters and NBA G League’s Canton Charge for its stations to serve as official flagships for radio play-by-play broadcasts. News/talk WTAM and rock WMMS will serve as flagships for Cavs basketball; WARF-AM “FOX Sports 1350 AM The Gambler” is the new home for Monsters hockey; and 99.7 FM Canton’s New Country is home to Charge basketball…..Duke University and Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski begins hosting the 16th season of his SiriusXM talk program “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” tomorrow (10/22) at 6:00 pm ET. Krzyzewski is scheduled to be joined by Frank Vogel, head coach of the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, and Jon Cooper, who coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Championship last month.

The Presidential Election/Early-Mail In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Google Anti-Trust Suit, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Rush Limbaugh Cancer Update, and World Series Begins Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The November 3 presidential election and the issues of early and mail-in voting; the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and the world and projections for a fall/winter second wave; the Department of Justice files a landmark Anti-Trust suit against Google; the case of the Hunter Biden laptop and allegations of Joe Biden’s influence in the Ukraine; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; conservative media figures decry “censorship” of their content by Twitter and Facebook; talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh’s update on his Stage 4 lung cancer; and the Dodgers and Rays begin the 2020 World Series 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. A number of personnel moves take place at Cox Media Group’s Houston and San Antonio operations. Director of operations for Houston Johnny Chiang adds corporate country format leader to his responsibilities. CMG says in this expanded role, he will partner with all six of CMG’s award-winning country stations. Christi Brooks rises to director of branding/programming for KCYY, San Antonio. She was most recently assistant director of branding/programming and midday personality at the company’s country KKBQ, Houston. Finally, KKBQ afternoon drive personality Caitlin “CJ” Johnson is promoted to the station’s assistant director of branding/programming role. CMG Radio VP of audience and content Tim Clarke adds, “Johnny, Christi, and CJ are all outstanding leaders in CMG Country, and I am thrilled to see them rise in our organization. In each of their new roles, they will make our award-winning country brands even better.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX-FM, Chicago launches a companion podcast and Sunday music feature, both called “The History of Alternative,” sponsored by Wintrust Community Banks. The new podcast and weekend feature are based on the station’s special of the same name that aired daily from September 8 through October 7, encompassing 2,986 songs played over 22 days. The weekly show will air Sundays from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and be hosted by Brian Phillips. Additionally, James VanOsdol and Jon Manley will dig even deeper into the alternative vaults as they host “The History of Alternative” podcast where each episode will focus on a specific topic, special guest or concept.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

| July 28, 2020

WIND-AM, Chicago’s Steve Cortes Takes Leave to Work for Trump Campaign. WIND-AM Chicago afternoon drive talk host Steve Cortes is taking leave of his program on the Salem Media Group station to join the Donald Trump re-election campaign as senior advisor of communications. Cortes – who served on the 2016 Trump campaign’s Hispanic Advisory Council in addition to acting as a surrogate for Trump – became the host of the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program in January of this year. Salem Chicago regional vice president and WIND-AM general manager Jeff Reisman says, “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump. Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” In the interim, WIND’s afternoon drive will feature a fill-in host to be announced.

Lotus Broadcasting Announces Re-Brand of KRLV-AM, Las Vegas as ‘Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.’ In partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Lotus Broadcasting reveals that its rock KOMP-FM, Las Vegas “92.3 The Rock Station” will serve as the Raiders’ flagship radio station for play-by-pay and that it is re-launching KRLV-AM as “Raider Nation Radio 920AM.”  Beginning August 3, “Raider Nation Radio 920AM” will feature a lineup that includes: “Pritch & Clay” – Mike Pritchard and Clay Baker – in morning drive; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; JT the Brick from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; “Silver & Black Today” with host Scott Gulbransen; and “In the Huddle with Vincent Bonsignore” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Lotus general manager Natalie Marsh says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders and broadcast their games to a sports craved Las Vegas fanbase. Launching ‘Raider Nation Radio 920AM’ will give Raiders and NFL fans unparalleled access to the Raiders and the league as a whole.” Lotus says that with Clay Baker joining Mike Pritchard in morning drive, air personality Tyler Bischoff is moving to the company’s sports talk KWWN “ESPN Las Vegas” alongside longtime Review Journal columnist Ed Graney for mornings.

Entercom Names Danny Freisinger Brand Manager for ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. Sports talk pro Danny Freisinger adds the brand manager role for KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” to his duties with Entercom. Freisinger serves as assistant brand manager for KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” and will continue in that position as well. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “For the last four years, Danny has consistently given ‘95.7 The Game’ listeners a reliable home for premier coverage of their favorite teams and we’re excited to expand his role with ‘ESPN 1320. With a fair amount of Bay Area fans rooted in Sacramento, Danny will lead the way in reshaping how we cover sports in Northern California and better serve fans.”

Nielsen Audio Exits Nine Small Markets. Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it is exiting the radio ratings business in nine small U.S. markets: Battle Creek, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; New Bedford-Fall River, Massachusetts; Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas; Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, Washington; Twin Falls-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Yakima, Washington. The company says in a press statement, “Like most commercial businesses, Nielsen Audio continually reviews the economic viability of doing business in all markets. If the audio marketplace in select markets cannot financially support measurement, we discontinue producing our syndicated market report in those markets. That is just business as usual, the typical expansion and contraction of our rated audio market list, which is the case with these nine markets.”

PPM Analysis: Cume Part 4 – The #1 Club. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps up his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey and the four-part dive into station cume with a review of the outlets that finished tops in cume in their respective markets. In this report you’ll find charts detailing #1 cume stations by market size, #1 cume stations by format, cume rank versus AQH share rank, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announces to WXYT-FM, Detroit listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer for the past two years. Mlive.com reports that Samuelsen made the announcement on Monday’s “Jamie & Stoney” program (7/27), telling listeners, “Each morning since my diagnosis, I got up, turned on the radio mic, and got to talk sports. I needed the escape from cancer, just like so many of our listeners who face hardships, grief and illness, too, they turned to us in the morning for some levity in this crazy world. So, I wanted to continue to have fun and not let cancer get in the way of doing what I loved. Connecting with listeners, laughing, teasing Stoney, all of it, it helped me be normal, while continuing to fight this disease.” He added, “It’s a battle. It goes on. I don’t want to make it sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”.…..The Bubba The Love Sponge program adds two new affiliate stations as Birach Broadcasting adds the show to WCXI, Detroit and WWCS, Pittsburgh. The program is based at Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM, Tampa and is syndicated via United Cities Productions…..Gow Media announces that the new SportsMap Radio Network has officially launched with the talent lineup including: Scott Ferrall, Tony Bruno, Jake Asman, Scott Wetzel, Matt Perrault, Anthony Pepe, Gabe Morency, and Eytan Shander. SportsMap program director and Gow Media COO Craig Larson comments, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this exciting endeavor. With a solid infrastructure in place, and led by a dynamic innovator in David Gow, SportsMap Radio is well positioned to be an industry leader for many years to come.”

Skyview Networks’ Virtual Sales Conference Taking Place This Week. The annual sales conference hosted by Skyview Networks is virtual this year and got underway yesterday (7/27). Among the presenters are: Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau; Stacia Deshishku, vice president and general manager of ABC Audio; and Skyview Networks’ CEO Ken Thiele, president and COO Steve Jones, and executive vice president and general manager, Jeanne-Marie Condo. Skyview announced that it will reveal new network partnerships this week “that will expand its business further through the acquisition of the audiences that advertisers desire and, in doing so, create greater financial benefit for its partner networks.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Tests Begin, Fall School Opening Debate, BLM Protests/Federal Troop Deployment, GOP Stimulus Bill, Big Tech CEOs Before Congress, MLB’s Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the first Phase 3 vaccine trial begins the in U.S.; the ongoing debate over whether to and how to open schools this fall; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in various cities and controversy over the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; Senate Republicans announce their new stimulus package – the HEALS Act; Wednesday’s testimony by big tech CEOs before the House Judiciary Committee; and Major League Baseball’s season opens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Premiere Networks-syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” gets its first Canadian affiliate as My Broadcasting Company’s CJMB-FM, Peterborough, Ontario adds the program for morning drive. Host Woody says, “A big thank you to Rob Mise and Jon Pole at MBC Radio for believing in us even after they spent endless hours listening to our show. We have been workshopping some new jokes for our big Canadian debut on ‘FREQ 90.5,’ and we’re confident that we’ll at least get a smirk from five out of 10 of them. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being part of the chaos.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

| February 11, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

| November 6, 2019

Mike Francesa ‘Leaving Afternoon Drive’ on WFAN, New York. Newsday’s Neil Best broke the story after New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa told him he’ll be leaving his afternoon drive show on WFAN in December with “details to come.”  Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin later issued the following statement, “Mike Francesa will continue to be part of WFAN, and will soon also have an expanded role on RADIO.COM.  While we are still finalizing details, this is an exciting move to bring more of Mike’s iconic sports talk content to fans across broadcast and digital in new, engaging ways wherever and however loyal sports fans want it.  Stay tuned as we will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.”  Francesa left his longtime afternoon drive slot on WFAN in December of 2017, only to return in April of 2018, bumping his replacement – the team of Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott – to middays.  Carlin exited WFAN in September with Gray and Scott continuing to host the midday show.  The New York media – especially the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand – has been reporting on the ratings battle between Francesa on WFAN and Michael Kay on ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York.  Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey saw Kay beat Francesa in the men 25-54 demographic with a 7.4 share to Francesa’s 6.0 share.

JVC Media Expands ‘Florida Man Radio’; Adds Ed Tyll Show in Middays. The “Florida Man Radio” format based at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM, Altamonte Springs/W288CJ, Oviedo in the Orlando market will be heard on the company’s WYGC, High Springs in the Gainesville market, effective November 11.  At the same time, the company announces that talk radio pro Ed Tyll is joining the lineup in middays.  The station’s programming consists of: Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive, Scott Ledger (10:00 am to 12:00 noon), Ed Tyll (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm), Shannon Burke (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm), attorney Justin Clark (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), plus Key Networks’ “Bill O’Reilly Update” and Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro and Michael Savage shows at night.   JVC CEO John Caracciolo comments, “This is exactly what radio needs right now – fresh, new, funny, and local – this is ‘Florida Man Radio.’  The vision of a locally based talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big topics while not taking it too seriously, screams the mantra of JVC.  We aren’t afraid to buck the norms – keeping live and local radio working for our clients and listeners, providing great results for clients, and continuing to invest in great programming.  I’m thrilled for the future of our stations across the country and thrilled to be growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ all over the state.

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Names Lee Lonsberry New Midday Host. Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City early afternoon personality Doug Wright retired from his daily talk show earlier this year. Now, Bonneville announces that his former producer, Lee Lonsberry, will begin hosting the 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm program in December.  Also, the station is expanding the “Inside Sources” program hosted by Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson to a full hour, airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Lonsberry has also been serving as communications director for U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop for the last few years.   Lonsberry says, “Hosting this show will be a thrill and a privilege.  I’ve been preparing for this show my entire professional life, and arguably, well before that.”  Bonneville SVP and market manager Tanya Vea says of the changes, “These additions to the lineup are an exciting step forward for KSL NewsRadio.  Our commitment to local reporting, fairness, and coverage of the biggest breaking news is greater than ever.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as Major League Baseball flagships.  Since the October survey covered September 12 to October 9, the push to the playoffs and the first few games of the 2019 playoffs happened during that time.  Eventual World Series Champions the Washington Nationals’ Entercom-owned flagship WJFK-FM appeared to get a lift from its team, rising from a 3.5 share (6+) during the September survey to a 4.3 share in October.  Interestingly, the flagship for the American League Champion Houston Astros – iHeartMedia’s KBME “SportsTalk 790” – languished well below a 2.0 share (hitting its 1.4 share peak in August) for the entire season.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry created a controversy after tweeting, “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.  Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”  The since-deleted tweet that addressed the “ok Boomer” meme went viral and raised a lot of criticism of Lonsberry’s reasoning, including from celebrities.  Check out Starr Rhett Rocque’s analysis at Fast Company here…..FOX News Channel is moving the Sunday evening “Life, Liberty and Levin” program, starring Mark Levin from its 10:00 pm start to 8:00 pm.  Levin, who also hosts a daily, three-hour radio talk show syndicated by Westwood One, has been a “top-performing program” for FNC, according to The Hill’s report.  The publication says Levin’s show “delivered more than 1.43 million viewers last weekend and was the most-watched program in cable news on Sunday night, topping rivals CNN and MSNBC.”…..ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” podcasts are returning for a sixth season with four all-new audio documentaries.  The first episode debuts on November 12, with the others premiering every Tuesday through December 3.  The season kicks off with a story about two of the most famous women in sports, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who talk openly about their stranger-than-fiction experience with Shabtai Kalmanovich, former owner of their Russian basketball team and possible double agent…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Lisa Labuz is moving from her current role as morning news anchor and local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago to news anchor for the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart…..Pictured below are WAXY “790 The Ticket” and WQAM “560 The Joe” personalities Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder as they took their afternoon drive show to the University of Miami campus Tuesday afternoon (11/5) for the kickoff of the college basketball season. From left to right are: Miami athletic director Blake James, Crowder, Hochman, and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta​.

Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday Election Results, Roger Stone Trial, Zervos’ Trump Allegations, Mormon Family Murdered in Mexico, and ABC News and the Epstein Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The impeachment process against President Trump; EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland updates his testimony about Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine; the results of Tuesday’s elections that saw Democrats take control of Virginia’s legislature and the too-close-to-call Kentucky governor’s race; day one of Roger Stone’s trial on obstructing congress in the Russian election meddling case; the revelation of phone records in Summer Zervos’ allegations of sexual assault against President Trump; the murder of 9 members of a Mormon family by a drug cartel in northern Mexico; and ABC News’ defense of “quashing” Amy Robach’s interview with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre 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 the West Palm Beach market, Hubbard Radio names Garrett Phillips producer of the “Tim & Chelsea” morning show on WIRK “New Country 103.1.”  Operations manager and WIRK brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “Since 2015, Garrett has shown a high competence in many different roles for this cluster.  Rising quickly from intern to show producer to the lead producer for Paul Barsky’s show on WFTL.  No matter the role, Garrett has excelled.  I am sure his addition as producer for Tim & Chelsea on ‘New Country 103.1’ will produce excellent results as we add another important puzzle piece to what we are building on WIRK.”…..Beasley Media Group announces the official unveiling of “The History Of WRIF” podcast.  The station debuted in 1971 and is generally considered one of the longest running active rock stations in the country.  Beasley says, “With a rich history and an incredible roster of on air personalities known both in Detroit and nationwide, the podcast, hosted by former WRIF DJ Mike Staff and produced by current WRIF host Steve Black, will feature discussions with past and present personalities reflecting on the incredible moments and memories from their past and current time on the air.”  The first episode features Motor City radio legend Arthur Penhallow.  “Arthur P” was present for the launch of 101 WRIF and spent several decades on the air at WRIF.  During that time, he received many honors, including recognition from The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and a role in the movie, The Upside of Anger, that used WRIF as a setting for the movie and starred award-winning actor Kevin Costner.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

| February 1, 2018

iHeartCommunications Declines to Make $106 Million Cash Interest Payment. This move, like Cumulus Media’s similar tactic last fall, is designed to spur action in the company’s efforts to restructure its debt.  Today, iHeartCommunications, Inc. (iHeartMedia is the parent company of iHeartCommunications) announced that its board of directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million (due today, 2/1) to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring.  “The board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to proactively and comprehensively address the company’s capital structure.  The decision will not trigger an event of default under the indenture as the company will utilize a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the notes.  The board is considering options as part of its strategy to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt.”

SiriusXM Q4 Revenue Up 8%.  The satellite radio company did take a loss of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that was due to a $185 million charge associated with the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the year of 2017, SiriusXM’s net revenue was positive to the tune of $648 million.  In the fourth quarter, SiriusXM recorded a decrease of approximately $72 million in the fair value of its investment in Pandora, reversing the prior quarter’s unrealized gains.  The satcaster reports that it gained 1.56 million self-pay subscribers during 2017 to put its total self-pay subscribers at approximately 27.5 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “The fourth quarter capped a strong year for SiriusXM and was our best quarter for self-pay subscriber growth in five years. We exceeded all of our 2017 subscriber and financial guidance, even after increasing these targets during the year.  I am particularly pleased that we achieved this growth in an environment of slowing auto sales.”

‘Radio War’ Gets KBME, Houston Booted from Super Bowl Radio Row.  A good old-fashioned radio war tactic escalated tensions between iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston “SportsTalk 790” and Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sportsradio 610,” resulting in KBME losing its credentials to broadcast from the Super Bowl LII radio row.  It all started when KBME morning host Josh Innes sent his producer, Jim Mudd, to video KILT-AM’s Seth Payne and Mike Meltser as they did their show.  It had the intended consequence of riling up Payne, who soon was in a verbal argument with Innes.  Audio from the confrontation ended up on both stations’ airwaves.  WEEI, Boston’s Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane (mornings on the Entercom sports talk station) were broadcasting their show nearby and captured the donnybrook on video.  After it was all over, the NFL removed KBME from the radio row.  See the Houston Chronicle’s story and the WEEI-shot video here.

KXL, Portland Announces New Afternoon Team. The new afternoon drive team for Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” is Lucinda Kay and Cooper Banks.  Kay is promoted from her part-time position with the station.  She has an extensive background in radio and television news.  She launched her career in journalism in 1994, working as a TV news anchor and reporter – in both English and Spanish – for several years.  She hosted her own talk show in Spokane.  She started freelancing for KXL in 2016.  Cooper Banks worked as an afternoon DJ at KWKJ, Warrensburg, Misourri in 2004.  He was hired as news director for KMXL/KDMO, Joplin, Missouri two years later.  He later jumped to KMBZ, Kansas City as a producer, reporter, and news anchor.  Alpha Media Portland content director Bruce Collins says, “I am extremely excited to work each day with Cooper and Lucinda.  They have the talent that will take KXL to a new level in pm drive.”

Westwood One at Super Bowl LII.  The official network radio partner of the NFL and Super Bowl LII reports that it is on the scene in Minneapolis preparing for its coverage of the game.  Westwood One says it’s been busy taping interviews and special features for the coverage.  In addition, its personalities (and some from partner NBC Sports Radio) have been visiting radio row.  Above is Super Bowl XXXI-winning coach Mike Holmgren (center), one of Westwood One’s Super Bowl LII analysts, doing an interview with KKFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” personalities Dan Barriero (right) and Justin Gaard (left).

26th Wing Bowl Takes Place Tomorrow Morning.  With SportsRadio 94WIP’s Wing Bowl 26 taking place tomorrow morning at the Wells Fargo Center, the official weigh-in takes place tonight, live on WIP, Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Chickie’s and Pete’s.   The Entercom sports talk station has scheduled 29 eaters to record their official “eating” weight and record their age, height, and hometown.  Members from each eater’s entourage and Wingettes will be on hand to cheer on their favorite eaters to victory.  This year, WIP personalities Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes will also compete in Wing Bowl 26.  The Overall Winner of Wing Bowl 26 gets a 2018 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown, plus Steven Singer Jewelers is presenting $5,000 cash and a custom Championship Medal and Ring.  The First Responders Champion Prize is a Harley Davidson XL 883N Iron Sportster Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson.  The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5,000 Courtesy of Dr. Steven Davis & Davis Cosmetic Surgery, and Best Wing Bowl 26 Entourage wins $5,000 cash, courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers.

NRG Media Names New General Managers in Omaha and Wausau.  There are new general managers at NRG Media’s Omaha and Wausau station groups.   Kurt Luchs leaves the Wausau, Wisconsin station group where he’s been GM for almost five years to lead the Omaha cluster that includes news/talk KOIL and sports talkers KOZN and KOZT.  In Wausau, Aleese Fielder is promoted from director of sales to general manager.  NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass says, “The goal of NRG Media is to be a destination company for our team to build a career, so I am very excited to be able to promote from within.  These promotions are well deserved, together Kurt and Aleese turned Wausau around and helped make it one of the most successful markets in the company.  We like to reward a job well done and these moves are a definite win-win for two very talented teams.

Major National Programming Executives Set to Speak at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The roster continues to grow as the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention continues to name what will be a stellar list of some 50 or more leaders from the programming, talent, sales, management, ownership and technical sectors of the field. Convention organizers have named (in alphabetical order): Canadian radio giant Bell Media national news/talk format head (and PD of NEWSTALK 1010, Toronto), Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia SVP of news/talk/sports programming, Chris Berry; Salem Media Group SVP/director, spoken word format, Phil Boyce; and Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming, Mike McVay. These outstanding individuals join (in alphabetical order) Beasley Broadcasting CEO, Caroline Beasley; Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; PodcastOne founder/executive chairman Norm Pattiz; and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as conference speakers. More speakers will be announced here in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the event. For more information about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! see story below.

TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end tomorrow (Friday, February 2 at 5:00 pm ET). Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and at the dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern-day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. In the Winchester, Virginia market, Centennial Broadcasting changes the simulcast of classic country on WZFC-FM, Strasburg, Virginia and will instead simulcast its news/talk WINC, Winchester “Newstalk 1400” on WZFC’s 104.9 FM signal.   Company market manager Larry Weiss says, “Centennial Winchester is excited about the prospects of extending the reach of our highly regarded ‘Newstalk 1400’ station programming further south in the Shenandoah Valley, utilizing the powerful WZFC signal.  This move will allow us to extend the news/talk brand, including our roster of well-established national hosts, south of Winchester into the Warren and Shenandoah County areas.”…..WVLZ, Knoxville “Sports Radio 1180” owner Doug Mathews is selling the station to fellow Knoxville station owner Aaron Ishmael.  He owns crosstown oldies WKCE.  Ishmael begins operating WVLZ under an LMA today (2/1).  The Knoxville News reports that two WVLZ personalities Tony Basilio and Jayson Swain – have ended their brokered arrangements with WVLZ.  It’s not known if Ishmael intends to change the sports talk format…..JVC Media signs an extension to carry Frank MacKay’s two programs – “Breaking it Down” and “52 Players” – on WRCN, Riverhead (Long Island) and WSWN, Belle Glade, Florida (West Palm Beach).

State of the Union Address, FBI Memo Controversy, Trump-Russia Investigation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Gowdy to Leave Congress, Flu Epidemic, Social Media Fraud, Black Panther Film, and Super Bowl LII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the battle over whether to release the FBI memo that alleges law enforcement abuses and Congressman Adam Schiff’s allegation that Congressman Devin Nunes made changes to the memo; Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; Congressman Trey Gowdy announces he will not seek re-election; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the social media scandal involving allegations numerous high-profile people bought artificial followers from a firm called Devumi; the new superhero film Black Panther; and the build-up to Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Powerful Candid Conversation with WABC, New York Personality Curtis Sliwa on Harrison Podcast. New York City radio icon Curtis Sliwa is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sliwa, whom Harrison describes as a “performance artist,” is the founder and leader of the grassroots crime fighting organization the Guardian Angels, as well as serving as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party. Sliwa is a longtime Big Apple talk show host heard mostly on WABC during the past few decades. He is currently recovering from serious surgery in the aftermath of an ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease and other gastroenterological issues – resulting in him having to dry out from opioid addiction. Harrison and Sliwa talk about a range of subjects including prescription drugs, the state of radio, street crime, politics, Donald Trump and the peculiar nature of ego. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Some of the performers taking part at the March 11 iHeartRadio Music Awards are being announced by iHeartMedia.  The fifth “fan-fueled” iHeartRadio Music Awards takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature: Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Charlie Puth and Backstreet Boys will be among the performers.  The event is being hosted by Hailey Baldwin and DJ Khaled and is being simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET…..Alpha Media Dayton names programming pro Bo Matthews operations manager for the cluster and content director for adult hits WGTZ “92.9 Jack FM” and country WCLI “101.5 Hank FM.”  Matthews was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Cincinnati.  He began his career in Youngstown, Ohio with then-Jacor and worked his way up the programming ladder at Clear Channel and iHeartMedia.  Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick comments, “Bo is a world-class, ‘A’-level programmer who is energized, pursues excellence as a habit, and understands the mission and how to achieve it.  We look forward to his leadership on the Alpha content team.”…..Envision Networks announces that its ‘90s rock weekend show “The Core” adds new affiliates, bringing the Envision Rock Network affiliate count to more than 350.  Adding the program are: KUBQ, La Grande, Oregon; WTCX, Ripon, Wisconsin; and WKBH, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

| November 22, 2016

WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive.  Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson.  Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2.  WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on ouroconnorlarry morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on wmal-logoWMAL.  He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.”  O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL.  During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.”  WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show.  Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.

iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk.  Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk.  iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio wxzxprogramming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer).  The show will announce another co-host at a later date.  Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports.  The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals.  iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump.  Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-newsmax-logoElect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race.  Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.”  Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen.  Only Bill Clinton comes close.  This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.”  Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.

Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago.  WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station.wscr-logo  Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven.  “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer.  What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games.  To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous.  When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”

nielsen-logoNielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on thestephandoug nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program.  Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off.  On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC.  Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.

Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67.  The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack.  The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website.  It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse.  “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard.  In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.”  Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon.  He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmall96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast.  If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee &pearlsteinleo Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century.  Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns.  He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round.  He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield.  He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21).  The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.