Hepola Out at WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. According to a report by Bring Me the News, late morning talk host Cory Hepola has exited Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. Hepola began hosting the show in January of 2019 after a career that included a four-year stint with KARE-TV as host of “KARE 11 Sunrise.” Audacy has not commented publicly about Hepola’s exit. He said after his departure that his work at WCCO changed his life “in positive ways that I didn’t expect.” He also wrote, “I felt the pressure from the start. I mean, this was a huge risk; I was giving up a successful career (in TV) I’d worked so hard for – to move into something new. What if I was a disappointment? What if I said something wrong? What if they fired me?” His last day on the show was February 8, the same day he told Minnesota Public Radio reporter Brian Bakst that he’s considering a run for governor of Minnesota. Since February 9, Blois Olson has been hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.
Radio Executive Ray Quinn Announces Retirement. After a career that has spanned more than 50 years, Ray Quinn is retiring from his position as area president for iHeartMedia’s Alabama area, effective, March 22, 2022. Quinn has been with iHeartMedia for 14 years. He has held leadership positions at several stations throughout his extensive career, including vice president/market manager for KOSI-FM, KALC-FM, and KQMT-FM in Denver; WMYX-FM, WXSS-FM, and WSSP-AM in Milwaukee; WOLX-FM, WMMM-FM, and WBZU-FM in Madison; and many more. The governor of Kentucky also recognized Quinn as a Kentucky Colonel for participating in numerous charitable projects in his community. He was awarded the March of Dimes “Order of the Battered Boot” for walkathon fundraising efforts over the years. iHeartMedia division president Shosh Abromovich says, “Ray is one of a kind. He is known as a unicorn of a leader with his passion, enthusiasm and constant innovative thinking. He has impacted so many of our lives in this industry for the better. We are beyond thankful for the many years Ray has led our teams and are truly excited for him to enjoy this next chapter of his life.” Quinn states, “It’s been an amazing 51 years in radio and 14 years with iHeartMedia. Along the way, I’ve worked for and with some of the most intelligent people in the business and I am grateful to iHeartMedia for allowing me to lead multiple markets in the Southeast. While I will miss my team and the day-to-day battles, it’s time to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Central Florida operations of iHeartMedia is presenting the Florida Jobs Now Career Expo, an onsite resource event connecting job seekers to companies with exciting opportunities and benefits. The event will be held on Thursday, March 3 from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm and attendees will have the opportunity to meet with companies throughout Central Florida offering hundreds of positions, as well as attend resume writing and interview preparedness workshops. iHeartMedia Orlando/Melbourne area president Barbara Latham says, “We look forward to bringing this important career event to Central Florida. As a business ourselves serving our local community here in central Florida, we recognize the significant need from our business partners to fill job openings. We feel uniquely poised to help connect these businesses with people living or moving to central Florida as an essential part of our efforts in our local communities.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has entered into an exclusive long-term agreement for WNAM-AM, Appleton-Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to remain the official radio broadcast home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the High-A affiliate of the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers. This year will be the 13th season that the Timber Rattlers have been broadcast on WNAM, with 23-year play-by-play voice Chris Mehring calling the action….. In advance of the 64th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday (2/20), Motor Racing Network announces additions to its content lineup and award-winning team of announcers. NASCAR Cup Series Championship winning crew chief, Todd Gordon joins MRN after 11 years with Team Penske. Gordon will provide race analysis on select NASCAR broadcasts and will be MRN’s competition and strategy expert across Motor Racing Network’s NASCAR programming. Suzy Armstrong will serve as host of MRN’s signature show “NASCAR TODAY.” The program is heard daily on 280 radio stations across the country in afternoon drive. During her two decades plus with the network Suzy has contributed her familiar voice to several shows and podcasts.
Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19 Mandates-Protests, Durham Probe, Inflation/Financial Markets, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Palin-NYTimes Case, Beijing Olympics, and Rams Win Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14). The diplomatic tensions over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the planned relaxing of mask mandates in numerous states, and the truckers’ protests; special counsel John Durham’s investigation into allegations of Hillary Clinton’s digital spying on Donald Trump; the still-soaring inflation and the activity on the world’s financial markets; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; a judge says he’ll toss Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against The New York Times; the politics behind the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the Los Angeles Rams’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WFAN, New York Unveils New Evening and Overnight Shows. Sports talk WFAN, New York announces new evening and overnight programming. The Audacy station brings aboard Keith McPherson to host the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show and promoted part-time talk host Sal Licata to host of the 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am show. Both programs debut on November 15. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Keith and Sal will form a dynamic evening one-two punch, as both have the passion and drive to usher in an exciting new era on ‘The Fan.’ These hours became a must listen for decades with the iconic Steve Somers behind the microphone, and that will continue as Keith and Sal entertain the tristate area nightly be it on the road or even at home under the covers.” McPherson was most recently social media manager and podcast host for Jomboy Media. He says, “This is really a dream come true. I find no greater joy or entertainment than live sports and it’s a blessing and an honor to have this opportunity at a place like WFAN. I look forward to talking sports every day in New York and helping to lead this station into the future.” Sal Licata started his broadcasting career as an intern at WFAN in January 2003 and worked his way up to part-time host. In addition to his work at WFAN, Licata has been with SNY since 2010 and can be seen weeknights on “Geico Sportsnite” and weekly on “Baseball Night in New York.” Licata says, “Having a full time show on WFAN means everything to me. It’s an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to talk sports every night with the most passionate fans, in the greatest city in the world, on the best sports talk station ever created. It’s all I have ever wanted.”
New York Festivals 2022 Radio Awards Now Accepting Entries. The 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards competition is now open for entries. New York Festivals Radio Awards honors storytellers from around the globe. Since 1957 NYF has celebrated excellence and innovation across all genres and platforms, keeping pace with industry-wide developments and global trends. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “When we added nine categories for social justice content last year, radio producers and the global audio storytelling community responded with thought-provoking work. This year, we are thrilled to announce the debut of our new trophy, the iconic NYF Tower in hand-polished Gold, Silver, and Bronze.” For the second year in a row, New York Festivals welcomes JusticeAid, an organization that promotes justice through the arts and public engagement, as a partner. The NYF Radio Awards receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from over 30 countries around the globe. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. New York Festivals invites award-winning industry leaders from around the world to become members of their world-class Radio Awards Grand Jury. The 2022 Grand jury will be set in the coming months. Those jurors will include some of the world’s most recognizable voices and captivating content producers in the radio industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. You can see the 2021 winners here. Although the 2021 in-person NAB Show was cancelled due to pandemic quarantine restrictions, NYF pivoted with a 90-minute virtual ceremony Storytellers Gala featuring highlights and acceptances from 100 winning teams of men and women coming from their homes in 40-plus countries. The 2022 Storytellers Gala will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 26, 2022. This is the 12th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show. The deadline to enter the 2022 Radio Awards competition is February 9, 2022. Find out more about entering here.
Brian Kilmeade is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-media talk star Brian Kilmeade is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Kilmeade is a longtime member of the trio that co-hosts the FOX News Channel cable TV morning show “FOX & Friends” in addition to hosting his own nationally syndicated midday program on FOX News Radio. Kilmeade is ranked #4 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list. He is the author of seven books – two about sports and he’s just published his fifth about key figures and stories in American History. This series brings new insights into the lives, times, and impact of icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and his new one is titled, The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and their Battle to Save America’s Soul. Harrison and Kilmeade discuss the deeply nuanced relationship between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (not to be confused with Stephen Douglas) which so directly relates and connects to the reckoning between the races currently taking place in the national conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
iHeartMedia Names Bekki Yang SVP of Sales for Twin Cities. Radio sales pro Bekki Yang is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes news/talk WCTS-AM “Twin Cities News Talk,” sports KFXN “KFAN,” and KQQL-HD2/W227BF “Black Information Network,” and five music brands. iHeartMedia Minneapolis market president Greg Alexander says, “Bekki thinks big and acts big. Innovation and creative thinking are at the core of her career success. I’m thrilled to promote her to senior vice president of sales.” Yang has a 22-year history with iHeartMedia, most recently serving as the vice president of sales for Minneapolis. Yang says, “I’ve had a very long career with iHeartMedia and I couldn’t be more excited to take on this new role with the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team. I look forward to the continued success that Minneapolis has established while adding new ideas and leadership to the team.”
Winners of 2021 Marconi Awards Announced. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the winners of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. The awards were announced during the virtual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Celebration. Spoken-word winners of note include: WSB-AM, Atlanta, Legendary Station of the Year; KTCK-AM, Dallas’ The Musers, Major Marker Personality of the Year; KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter, Medium Market Personality of the Year; KYW-AM, Philadelphia, Major Market Station of the Year; KTMY-FM, Minneapolis, Large Market Station of the Year; KRMG-FM, Tulsa, Medium Market Station of the Year; WTOP-FM, Washington, News/Talk Station of the Year; and KTCK-AM, Dallas, Sports Station of the Year.
Alabama Host Cam Marston Announces Effort to Expand Radio Show. “What’s Working” – the radio show hosted by Cam Marston that focuses on trends in the workplace, workforce, and marketplace – is expanding. The program is based at WAVH-FM, Mobile and over the past four years has included interviews with a broad array of businesspeople from foresters, to brewers, to manufacturers, to authors, to Tony Award-winning actors. Marston says, “The focus of my show has always been for the benefit of my listeners in and around the Mobile, Alabama market. Now I want to bring the show across the state where I can connect with a larger spectrum of businesses.”
Inflation/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, COP26/U.S.-China Deal, Kamala Harris in Paris, and Belarus-Poland Refugee Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). Soaring retail and fuel prices and the broken global supply chain; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s attempts to prevent the House panel from getting presidential records; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask & vaccine mandates; the COP26 summit in Glasgow and the U.S.-China emissions reduction deal; Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to France; and the refugee crisis at the Belarus-Poland border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.
The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.
Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era. He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.
Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.
Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.
COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.”
Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.
Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.
KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.” KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.
Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.
TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis … Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” … Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” … A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” Panel. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/18) post presents the panel discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Posted yesterday (7/17): WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”). Also already posted: a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Cumulus Media Charleston Market Manager Dollar Passes. After battling breast cancer, Cumulus Media Charleston (South Carolina) vice president/market manager Sherry Dollar died yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/17). She was surrounded by her family, who ask for nothing more than prayers and to honor her last wish to, “be kind.” Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “Sherry was a terrific market manager and a terrific human being. She will be sorely and deeply missed by all of us.” The company’s executive vice president of operations Bob Walker notes that, “Sherry’s passion for this business was only surpassed by her passion for life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her.” Details about memorial services honoring Dollar’s life are forthcoming. The Cumulus Media Charleston cluster consists of news/talk WTMA “News Talk 1250”; classic hits-oldies WIWF “96.9 The Wolf”; urban AC WMGL “Magic 107.3”; CHR WSSX “95-SX Hit Music Now”; and urban contemporary WWWZ “Z-93 Jamz.”
Finalists: NAB Marconi Radio Awards. “Legendary Manager of the Year,” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” are the two new categories for this year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Additionally, “Best College Radio Station of the Year” has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Here are the five finalists in each of the 23 categories.
“Legendary Station of the Year”: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KNX, Los Angeles, KRTH, Los Angeles, WBAL, Baltimore, and WBAP-AM.
“Legendary Manager of the Year”: Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Charlie Morgan, WQHT-FM, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM, New York; Dan Seeman, Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Mark Anderson, WBZZ-FM and WDSY-FM, Pittsburgh; and Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Alabama.
“Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media; Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks; Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks; and Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks.
“Major Market Personality of the Year”: Ebro Darden, WQHT, New York; Ellen K, KOST, Los Angeles; Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Preston & Steve, WMMR, Philadelphia; and The Musers, KTCK-AM, Dallas.
“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa; Mercedes Martinez, KMXB, Las Vegas; Mike Calta, WHPT, Tampa; and Mojo, WKQI, Detroit.
“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Lane, WYCT, Pensacola, Florida; Buzz Jackson, KIIM, Tucson; Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX, Tyler, Texas; Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ, Wilkes-Barre; and Mike Street, WBTJ, Richmond.
“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris and Rosie, WUSQ, Winchester, Virginia; Glenner Anderson, KXLR-FM, Fairbanks, Alaska; Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and Shags & Trevor, KCMG-FM, Columbia, Missouri.
“Major Market Station of the Year”: KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WKYS, Washington, D.C.; WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C.; WWPR, New York, NY; and WYCD, Detroit.
“Large Market Station of the Year”: KOA, Denver; KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; KQMV, Seattle; WMTX, Tampa; and WXTB, Tampa.
“Medium Market Station of the Year”: KIPR, Little Rock; KRMG, Tulsa; WHKO, Dayton; WKHK, Richmond; and WSSL, Greenville, South Carolina.
“Small Market Station of the Year”: KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota; KROX, Crookston, Minnesota; KWYO-AM, Sheridan, Wyoming; WNDH, North Canton, Ohio; and WXLP-FM, Davenport, Iowa.
“Best Radio Podcast of the Year”: “Behind the Song,” WDRV, Chicago; “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO, Minneapolis; “Garage Logic,” Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis; “On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Nebraska; and “What Had Happened Was,” WHIO-FM, Dayton.
“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: KODA, Houston; KRWM, Seattle; WBZZ, Pittsburgh; WMAG, Greensboro; and WSHE, Chicago.
“CHR Station of the Year”: KRBE, Houston; KTXY-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WKZL, Greensboro; WQHT, New York; and WWPW, Atlanta.
“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: WMGK, Philadelphia; WMJI, Cleveland; WMMO, Orlando; WOGL, Philadelphia; and WXGL, Tampa.
“College Radio Station of the Year”: WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York; WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey; WRCC-FM, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; and WSOU-FM, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.
“Country Station of the Year”: KILT-FM, Houston; KSCS, Dallas; KUBL, Salt Lake City; KYGO, Denver; and
WQHK-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana;
“News/Talk Station of the Year”: KIRO-FM, Seattle; KTMY, Minneapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; WINS, New York; and WKXW, Trenton, New Jersey.
“Religious Station of the Year”: KKFS, Sacramento; KKJM-FM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, Iowa; KPWJ-FM, College Station, Texas; and WRVL-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.
“Rock Station of the Year”: KISS, San Antonio; WCSX, Detroit; WIYY, Baltimore; WPLR-FM, New Haven, Connecticut; and WRIF, Detroit.
“Spanish Station of the Year”: KLNZ, Phoenix; KLOL, Houston; KLZT, Austin; WOJO, Chicago; and WYUU, Tampa.
“Sports Talk Station of the Year”: KFXN, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WKRK, Cleveland; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
“Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KBLX-FM, San Francisco; WBLS, New York; WGCI-FM, Chicago;
WHQT, Miami; and WPEG, Charlotte.
Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show during the radio Show in Dallas (9/26).
London Contest Among Compass Media Networks’ 2019 NFL Highlights. A double-header will be heard on Compass Media Networks every Sunday over the course of the NFL’s 17-week regular season. Compass Media Networks general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore maintains, “NFL Gameday presented by Compass Media Networks has become a ‘destination listen’ across the country. Our long history with the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and numerous other clubs across the country has enabled us to once again offer a full spectrum of NFL coverage, called by some of the greatest voices to grace the air. We are thrilled to count this as year 11 and are humbled by the success and reach our productions have. This will be an amazing season from anywhere you look – or listen.” Pre-season coverage includes Rams vs. Cowboys in Honolulu and Packers vs. Raiders in Winnipeg, Canada. The first five weeks of the regular season schedule has been finalized and includes Titans vs. Browns; Giants vs. Cowboys; Chiefs vs. Raiders; Steelers vs. 49ers; Packers vs. Cowboys; Jets vs. Eagles; and Bears vs. Raiders from London. Sunday afternoon NFL games will feature Chris Carrino and Jesse Agler (play-by-play); Brian Baldinger and Curtis Conway (analysts); and Jon Rothstein (studio host). Talent for Oakland Raider broadcasts are Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Lincoln Kennedy (analyst); Chris Townsend (sideline reporter); and Tim Cates (studio host). Games of the Dallas Cowboys (available outside the Cowboys’ home territory) will be handled by Kevin Ray (play-by-play); Danny White (analyst); and Jerry Recco (studio host).
King, Sundstrom Boosted at WWO. Two executives in Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One’s 24-hour formats division receive promotions. Specifically, vice president of country programming George King becomes vice president/general manager and will oversee all programming and affiliate management for the company’s 24-hour formats. King will report to Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland. Meanwhile, regional affiliate manager Eric Sundstrom is elevated to vice president of affiliate sales and will report to King. Stirland comments, “George is both a gifted, experienced, programmer and a big strategic thinker. He will bring both skills to bear with our customers at 24-hour formats. Very few people understand the local radio marketplace like Eric, which makes him a smart choice for this leadership role. With George and Eric at the helm, we’ll continue to bring high-quality radio to the traditional 24-hour format marketplace, as well make an impact in larger markets that require different features and qualities.” King remarks, “We are proud to be the leader in the field, and we will continue to deliver best-in-class 24-hour content to radio stations nationwide.” Sundstrom notes, “I’m honored to work even more closely with this world-class team of sales and programming talent. I look forward to developing an even deeper relationship with our valued partners and to connecting with new 24-hour format customers.” Prior to joining Westwood One five years ago, King was regional operations manager for Townsquare Media’s stations in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He also worked at country WMZQ, Washington (D.C.). Sundstrom has a more than 20-year affiliate management tenure at Westwood One. He previously held program management positions in Albuquerque at KRST, KRZY, and KKOB-FM.
Pride Media and iHM Team For LGBTQ+ Podcasts. The partnership between iHeartMedia and Pride Media kicks off today (Thursday, 7/18) with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine and hosted by its deputy editor Fran Tirado. This weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics as they pertain to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, and money. President of iHeartMedia Podcast Network Conal Byrne states, “At iHeartMedia, our goal is to connect exceptional content with diverse audiences. Pride Media has been an authentic voice for the LGBTQ+ community for years, and this partnership would not be possible without their unique expertise. We are proud to partner with them to create and distribute exciting new podcasts for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.” Tirado remarks, “Podcasting and audio storytelling, particularly in the LGBTQ+ space, needs more voices in it. I can’t wait to help elevate and uplift those voices.” Interim Pride Media CEO Orlando Reece notes, “We’ve seen the power of podcasting firsthand, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with the leading podcast platform to create shows that we know our audience will love. By combining our established brand with iHeart’s massive scale, we’ll be able to reach even more LGBTQ+ individuals across the country through audio.” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi adds, “I’m so thrilled that Fran is blessing us with his unique talents in the podcasting space. Under his vision and direction, I’m hopeful that the stories we’re so proud to tell at Out will be given new dimension and texture.” Later this month, the iHeartMedia Podcast Network will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” which discusses sex, relationships, race, and identity.
Podcast Movement Unveils Content Site, Daily Newsletter. Billed as “the world’s largest conference for podcasters and the podcast industry,” Podcast Movement this week launches a content site for podcasting news, resources, and thought leadership. Guest articles from creators and critics across the industry will be published regularly, offering exclusive materials, information, and insights to podcasters and other podcast industry professionals. Meanwhile, morning-delivered newsletter PodMov Daily is designed to keep podcasters and industry professionals in the loop with news, curated topics, and community updates. Podcast Movement co-founder/president Dan Franks remarks, “While we love providing value to podcasters at our in-person events, we’re excited to now have a platform that provides that value year-round, and allows us to give back in an even bigger way to the community that’s shown us so much support.” The sixth annual Podcast Movement conference will be held next month (8/13 – 16) in Orlando.
LRF Bill Gains More Bipartisan Support. The “Local Radio Freedom Act” (LRFA) now has 184 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate. The latest four signing on as co-sponsors are representatives Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico); Dan Crenshaw (Republican-Texas); and Van Taylor (Republican-Texas, as well). The additional Senate sponsor is Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican-Mississippi). The resolution states, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.” Principal co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20) are Kathy Castor (Democrat-Florida) and Michael Conaway (Republican-Texas). Senators Martin Heinrich (Democrat-New Mexico) and John Barrasso (Republican-Wyoming) are the lead co-sponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrating its 50th season as the Denver Broncos’ flagship station, iHeartMedia Denver news/talk KOA “News Radio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” debuts “Broncos Country Tonight” tomorrow (Friday, 7/19, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm). President of the iHeartMedia Denver region Tim Hager notes, the six-hour show “solidifies the strong partnership between the Denver Broncos, KOA and top sports on-air personalities such as [Broncos play-by-play announcer] Dave Logan and [Broncos color analyst] Rick Lewis. From the Denver Broncos training camp to behind-the-scenes preseason coverage, this show will attract a huge following and we’re excited to welcome it to our heritage station.” ….. To coincide with the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, iHM chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler rang today’s opening bell (Thursday, 7/18) at 9:30 am. The company’s stock began trading today under the ticker “IHRT.”
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, and Jacksonville, Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
Spoken-Word Formats – Down a collective one-half share in three straight down or flat moves (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” ends the slide with a gain of four-tenths to 3.5 (#13 to #12, 6+). The repetitive March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” is: 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 (#17 to #19, 6+).
Not only does Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX have its 6+AQH-share carved roughly in half (-2.8) in three straight setbacks (5.5 – 4.8 – 4.2 – 2.7, 6+), “104.5 The Zone” slumps from #11 to #14. The last time WGFX was below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Meanwhile, Cromwell Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a combined -1.1 in May/June (1.9 – 1.1 – .8, #21 to #22, 6+).
Adding two-tenths to May’s +1.0 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from seventh to fifth. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was -1.3 in March/April (5.7 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+).
Nashville Music Formats – Without an increase three successive reports for an overall -1.2 (7.5 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” makes up 75% of the deficit with a +.9 to 7.2 (fourth to third, 6+). Over and above logging its best 6+-stat (4.5) since “Holiday” 2018’s 4.7, Salem Media Group’s WFFH “The Fish” is a collective +1.0 through four straight positive spikes (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, #12 to #11, 6+). Four setbacks in succession by Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA resulted in a collective -5.9 (14.1 – 10.6 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), but “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is now a combined +1.4 in May/June (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6, 6+) and repeats at #1. Before forfeiting six-tenths in April, “Mix” had been on top the previous 15 ratings periods. Twelve recent WJXA fluctuations include: +1.0 (June 2018); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); +.9 (November); +1.9 (December); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share for any Nashville outlet since WJXA’s 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. TBLC Media Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa 105.1 & 1240 AM” has nearly quadrupled (+1.3) its 6+-stat in five bumps in a row (.5 – .6 – .8 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.8, #18 to #16, 6+). Directly after posting an April increase of seven-tenths (3.0 – 3.7, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” falters by a combined -1.7 in May/June (3.7 – 2.8 – 2.0, #14 to #15, 6+) and posts its lowest 6+-stat (2.0) since February 2018’s 1.0. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 (fifth to sixth, 6+). The market’s three major country FMs are separated by just three-tenths of a share. After posting a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” falters by one-half share in consecutive sweeps (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to March, WKDF last hit the six-share threshold in June 2013. Six consecutive sweeps without a loss by iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” (steady in eighth-place) net a +1.7 (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+). It has a two-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon,” which was up two-tenths in three successive up or flat moves (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+) but squanders two-tenths to 5.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Dropping by one-half share in addition to WKDF is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” (6.8 – 6.3, third to fourth, 6+) with 6.3, its lowest 6+-showing since February’s 6.1.
Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from seventh to eighth, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” is a combined -.7 in May/June (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+).
Owing to four dips in succession, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” forfeits eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+) and drops from #13 to #14. Even though Cumulus Media’s WPRV forfeits two-tenths (.7 – .5, 6+), “AM 790 Talk & Business” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #20).
By picking up one-tenth in June to 3.6 (6) – after sputtering by one-half share in May – Entercom sports talker
WVEI progresses from eighth to seventh.
Down three-tenths in May/June (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” slips from #17 to #18.
Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in April and May, The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH is off one-tenth to 1.9 (6+) but stays at #10, while WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH notches a 1.6 (6+) for the fifth time in the last seven reports (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.6, #12 to #11, 6+).
Providence Music Formats – Busting out improvements of nine-tenths each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (7.6 – 8.5, steady at #3, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (7.2 – 8.1, fifth to fourth, 6+). When “Cat Country” surrendered two-tenths in May, it halted four straight gains that accounted for a +2.2 (5.6 – 7.2 – 7.4 – 7.4 – 7.8, 6+). That streak, however, followed a collective -3.1 via three declines in succession (8.7 – 8.2 – 6.9 – 5.6, 6+). “B-101,” meanwhile, has its best 6+-performance in nearly a year – matching July 2018’s 8.1. Reaching this Rhode Island market from Boston, iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is up a collective four-tenths through four successive up or flat Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5, #14 to #13, 6+). In addition to bumping up two-tenths (10.0 – 10.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” repeats at #1. An April loss of nine-tenths forced WHJY from the top spot after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was in the runner-up slot from September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Co-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3,” which cobbled together three consecutive improvements for a collective +1.2 (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+), sputters by seven-tenths to 4.3 (6+) and remains at #6. In May, “Coast” reached the five-share level (5.0, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 5.5. Unlisted until February 2019, Hall Communications’ classic hits-oldies WNBH more than tripled (+.7) its 6+-stat in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 -1.0, 6+), but “Big 101.3” sees its 6+ AQH share sliced in half to a .5 (-.5, #18 to #20). In five straight negative or neutral reports, Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost roughly 60% (-2.6) of its 6+-share (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). Immediately in advance of this stretch, WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+).
Norfolk – Unchanged in fourth-place, WNOR posts a gain of eight-tenths to 6.8, the highest 6+ AQH share for the Saga Communications’ rocker since October 2018’s 6.9. In addition to more than doubling (+1.1) its 6+-stat in six straight reports without a loss (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH “Alt 105.3” returns to the top ten (#11 to #8). Responding to March/April’s combined -2.4 (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) with a May +1.0 to 11.5 (6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” drops one-tenth to 11.4 (6+) but is #1 for the sixth successive month. Just prior to logging a 10.5 this past April, WVKL had posted a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher 37 of 38 times. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been on top 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD,” however, erodes by -1.4 (5.8 – 4.4, fifth to sixth, 6+) and is below a five-share (4.4, 6+) for the first time since January 2018’s 4.3. An overall -1.0 in three straight negative or neutral moves (5.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.6, 6+), cluster-mate WNVZ “Z-104” improves by three-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and climbs from sixth to fifth. Ever since appearing in print in November 2018, its internet stream is trending .4 – .5 – .6 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .4 (flat at #14, 6+). WJOI “1230 AM – Great Songs/Great Memories,” which gained six-tenths in five straight up or flat trends (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), surrenders half that increase (1.1, -.3, 6+) as the Saga Communications adult standards station falls from #11 to #13. Likewise, Norfolk State University urban contemporary WNSB improved by four-tenths via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), but “Hot 91.1” is off two-tenths to 1.2 (#11 to #12, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fifth consecutive sweep without an increase for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM, which is a collective -2.9 in that stretch (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” segues from a first-place tie to a second-place tie. WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in April.
Without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” repeats at #19.
Off seven-tenths in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+), public news/talk WJCT falls from #11 to #12. Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).
Jacksonville Music Formats – A lofty +1.4 (4.6 – 6.0, 6+) enables iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat” to vault from eighth to fifth. On the strength of a +1.0, co-owned CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” crosses the five-share level (4.2 – 5.2, 6+) and bumps up from ninth to eighth. At the same time, Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WAPE falters by -1.0 and is down the third straight sweep for an overall -1.3 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). In addition, “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its weakest 6+-stat (6.0) since 5.2 in “Holiday” 2018. Its adult contemporary sibling, WEZI “Easy 102.9,” nets +1.4 in three successive upticks (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+) and carries on in seventh-place. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that increase with a March loss of six-tenths. Despite being a collective -1.2 in three declines in a row (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” advances from third to a second-place tie. Its “Holiday” 2018 16.3 is the highest 6+-mark for any Jacksonville station since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5. Locked on 3.1 (6+) in April and May, iHeartMedia’s WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio – Jacksonville’s Rock Station” posts a one-half share gain (3.1 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). After a March-only stay at #1, Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL segued to a second-place tie in April and then progressed to a first-place tie in May. Even though “96.9 The Eagle” drops one-half share in June (8.6 – 8.1, 6+), it has sole possession of first-place. An April loss of six-tenths interrupted three upticks in succession that resulted in a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.1 – 8.6 – 8.9, 6+). Immediately prior to that streak, “The Eagle” was an overall -2.0 in four consecutive slips (9.3 – 9.2 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+). Off seven-tenths to 5.0, its lowest 6+-showing since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2018, iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL “V-101.5” slips from sixth to ninth. Showing decreases of six-tenths each are Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s Alternative” (unchanged at #13); iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 (2.3, flat at #14, 6+); and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” (1.6 – 1.0, #flat at #17, 6+). “X-106.5” has lost seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.4, 6+). Prior to the June sweep, WKSL-HD3 had shown a net increase of seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). “The Joy FM” was frozen on 1.6 (6+) in April and May. In nine straight sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WQIK-HD2 gained two-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .3, 6+) but is off one-tenth in June to .2 (unchanged at #19, 6+).
KLOS, KXOS Officially Added to Meruelo Media. The existing Meruelo Media Los Angeles cluster welcomes rock KLOS (from Cumulus Media) and regional Mexican KXOS (from Grupo Radio Centro). They join rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Redondo Beach-licensed KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” and Ontario (California)-licensed simulcast KDEY, as well as KWHY-TV and KBEH-TV. The company’s current executive team takes over KLOS’ operations, with Meruelo Media president Otto Padron serving as interim market manager; Tomas Trujillo overseeing day-to-day operations; vice president of client solutions David Criscitelli leading sales; and vice president of marketing Dianna Jason dealing with communication and marketing. KLOS program director Keith Cunningham continues in that capacity. KWHY-TV general manager Irma Barrios adds KXOS to her existing duties and Emmanuel “DJ E-Man” Coquia takes over KXOS’ interim programming and music duties. Padron remarks, “Two closes in one day – we are thrilled to add KXOS and KLOS to the Meruelo Media family. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Los Angeles media. We are absolutely committed to the amazing heritage rock brand of KLOS. We are electrified to officially close on our purchase of the station and begin a new chapter of this legendary brand together with its amazing cadre of talented employees and iconic personalities. It will give Meruelo Media great scale and access to a highly desirable market sector, in addition to giving our clients and partners a newly energized local option. In turn, we will commit to KLOS our deep hyper-local operational and content resources that will drive significant audience growth for a larger share of advertising dollars. Regarding the other addition, he teased, “Stand by, exciting news about KXOS coming soon.” Meruelo Media plans to relocate KLOS’ Culver City operations to its Burbank facility later this year; KXOS already operates from there. The $43 million deal for KLOS was announced in April; it reportedly paid $35 million for KXOS. In addition to notching its sixth straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3, 6+), KLOS cracks the top ten (#11 to #8, Nielsen Audio, June 2019, 6+). KXOS picks up three-tenths in June (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30 – tied with KDAY (flat at 1.2, 6+). “Power 106” gains two-tenths (2.9 – 3.1, #11 to #10, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since September 2018’s 3.2.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting September 9, longtime “Extra” host – Mario Lopez – will join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans in a similar capacity on “Access Hollywood” and “Access Live.” In addition to his television work, Lopez hosts Premiere Networks’ “On With Mario Lopez” and the hot AC version of “iHeartRadio Countdown With Mario Lopez.” NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution executive vice president/creative affairs Tracie Wilson declares, “Mario is a multi-talented television personality. As an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and – of course – a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.” According to “Access Hollywood” senior executive producer Maureen Fitzpatrick, “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. As a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.” Lopez notes, “I have long admired the NBCUniversal team and all the shows being produced. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.” …. Founder/president of The WTA Group – a leader in development/marketing of faith-based film and publishing – Bill Reeves, succeeds the retiring Mike Novak as Educational Media Foundation’s chief executive officer. EMF is the parent company of contemporary Christian radio networks K-Love and Air 1. EMF has issued a letter of intent to acquire The WTA Group, which Reeves founded in 2009. EMF interim chief executive officer and president Alan Mason maintains, “God always sends the right person at the right time. Bill’s unique skill set and personality are a great match with our current and future needs. His vast media experience complements radio as we take our first step toward becoming a more diversified media ministry.” EMF board chair Mark Voltmann comments, “All of us at EMF are excited to welcome Bill into our family. Bill’s love for the Lord and ministry through Christian media is a great fit.” Reeves remarks, “K-Love and Air1 have tremendous impact on our culture. I look forward to continuing to grow that impact and reach both through the radio networks and through new media in the future.” WTA Group will remain in Nashville where it has operated since its inception ….. Five-year WRSA “Mix 96.9” “After Hours” night talent Blair Davis is boosted to middays (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the NCA Huntsville (Alabama) mainstream adult contemporary outlet. WRSA general manager Nate Adams comments that, “When it comes to radio, Blair has the ‘it’ factor. Her on-air ability is years beyond her experience. She not only understands how to deliver great content, she is focused on finding the right content for our audience. She brings a great level of energy to the workday listener and connects well with them.” Davis, who will also do a Saturday morning shift (6:00 am – 10:00 am), notes, “You never know what tricks I might have up my sleeve.” …..Windy City media authority Robert Feder is first to report that a new morning show could surface on Entercom Chicago’s country-formatted WUSN “US-99” early next month. Feder speculates that Jason Pullman and Katie Bright will constitute the wakeup team. The slot has been open since the departure two months ago of Dougie Stylz and Justin Roman (“Stylz & Roman”). Pullman’s previous on-air credits include iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KYSR (when it was hot AC “Star 98.7”) and Atlanta country sibling WUBL “94.9 The Bull.” Bright has worked on-air in Nashville and was based in Music City USA as director/national promotion for Warner Music Nashville.