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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

| May 19, 2021

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington DC, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s April 2021 survey period covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, although Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds one-tenth for a 4.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share), it falls from #9 to the #10 rank. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM dips nine-tenths but retains its #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds one-tenth for a 4.3 share and remains ranked #8 while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.6 share finish and is steady at #4. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths for a 6.2 share finish while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM falls from #5 to #8 after losing nine-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 4.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this second round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round ) here.

KERN-AM, Bakersfield and KIVA, Albuquerque Add ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show.’ Effective Monday (5/24), two news/talk stations add Premiere Networks’ “The Rush Limbaugh Show” to their program schedules. American General Media’s KERN-AM, Bakersfield “Newstalk 1180 & The New 96.1 KERN” announces the addition of  in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Rock of Talk LLC‘s KIVA-AM, Albuquerque “The Rock of Talk” adds the show in the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart. KERN regional director of operations & programming Robert Lewis says, “‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has always been the gold standard of talk radio. Having the opportunity to add Rush’s wise words to our broadcast day was a very easy choice for KERN Radio.” KIVA program director and Rock of Talk LLC CEO Eddy Aragon says, “I understand the tremendous value of the Rush Limbaugh brand for our audience as the legacy of the greatest radio host in American history continues. ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ is the perfect complement to our impressive talk lineup. May the second century of radio live on with what we have been blessed to have known!” Premiere Networks says, “The program features Limbaugh’s relevant and entertaining audio from his award-winning career in broadcast excellence. The audio is guided by familiar voices of the program, including Todd Herman, Ken Matthews, Jason Lewis and Brett Winterble.”

Jim Blasingame Announces End to ‘The Small Business Advocate Show.’ Longtime host of the daily talk radio program “The Small Business Advocate” – Jim Blasingame – announces he’s ending the show after more than 23 years after this Friday’s program. Blasingame says that he just turned 72 years old and he’s getting tired of getting up at 4:20 am to begin his broadcast day. He says he’s also putting his weekly syndicated column to bed after 22 years and more than 1,100 columns. He says, “Started my first job in the 4th grade, grew up on a farm, punched a time-card for the first time in 1966, and haven’t missed a day or a deadline since. And as much as I’ve loved every minute of my work as ‘The Small Business Advocate,’ I don’t mind admitting that trying to program and write small business relevance during the pandemic and lockdowns has taken its toll. Perhaps you can relate… The good news is that I plan to maintain my library of archived content, so any interviews we conducted will still work. Please continue to leverage them to your advantage.”

Focus360 Reveals New Logo, Campaign Theme. National radio sales and syndication network Focus360 unveils its new look including a fresh logo and campaign slogan for 2021, “Speak Volumes.” The company says the refresh is the first in several years for the network and follows a record start to 2021 with the company seeing growth of more than 20%. As part of its brand launch Focus 360 is rolling out a new website, a modern, image-focused ad campaign, all new internal graphics and communications and a very active social media strategy across all platforms. Their 2021 campaign slogan “Speak Volumes” was chosen to highlight the company’s success across several of its offerings including the Jelli network which covers major markets across America and reaches almost 100% of the available audience. Founder and CEO Phil Brown comments, “This is an exciting day for all of us here at Focus 360. Our new logo, website and the Speak Volumes campaign tells our story in a most powerful way. It’s been an incredible year so far and we want to show the entire radio industry more of what we have planned. Stay tuned!”

January 6 Commission, COVID-19 Mandates/Vaccines, Israeli-Hamas Conflict, Asian Hate Crime Bill, Trump Organization Investigation, AZ Vote Audit, and Andrew Giuliani’s Gubernatorial Bid Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The U.S. House to propose creation of January 6 Commission to investigate Capitol invasion; the loosening of COVID-19 mask mandates and the battle against vaccine hesitancy; the ongoing rocket fire between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza; the U.S. House’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to prevent hate crimes against Asians; the New York State probe into the Trump Organization widens to criminal wrongdoing; the audit of 2020 election votes in Maricopa County, Arizona; and Andrew Giuliani announces bid for New York governor in 2022 among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. An agreement between Newsmax TV and iHeartMedia puts the audio from Newsmax TV shows on iHM’s iHeartRadio digital platform. The deal also allows iHeartRadio users to hear Newsmax podcasts including “The Newsmax Daily with Rob Carson” and “Greg Kelly Reports.”…..A new study from Edison Research called “Clubhouse Users in America” indicates that 15% of social media users 18+ say they have ever used Clubhouse – the invitation-only, audio-based social networking platform that debuted last year. Although Clubhouse has a relatively small number of users compared to other social media networking services, it has garnered significant attention due to its premise of shared audio spaces and the exclusive nature of its invitation-only membership. “Clubhouse Users in America” found that the percentage of social media users who use Clubhouse remained relatively flat over the survey period (Feb 2021 – Apr 2021) and that time spent using the service declined in April. However, those that do use the service use it often, with 44% of Clubhouse users saying they use the service at least once per day, and 28% saying they use it at least once per week. See more from the study here…..The Independent Broadcasters Association announces its next webinar in its members-only series, “Selling In The Culture of Response,” will be held at 2:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 25. The webinar will be presented by Paul Agase, CRO of advertising analytics and attribution company AnalyticOwl. The webinar offer broadcasters, streamers, and publishers advice on using historical response data to demonstrate the results that broadcast delivers and help advertisers and agencies build effective campaigns. See more information about IBA here…..This weekend (5/20-23), SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the 2021 PGA Championship from Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Live hole-by-hole coverage, which SiriusXM will co-produce with Westwood One, airs starting at 1:00 pm ET Thursday through Sunday and continue through the completion of each day’s play…..The Fishnet Syndication program “On the Right Side” with host Reid L. Rosenthal adds new affiliate KRQN-FM, Vinton, Iowa to its roster of stations.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

| June 18, 2020

KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque Names John Summers News Director. Radio news and programming pro John Summers is named news director for Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque. Cumulus says Summers is an award-winning journalist who was most recently brand manager and news director for Saga Communications’ WHCU-AM/FM, Ithaca, New York. Prior to that, he was regional program director and news director for the Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart says, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the News Radio KKOB family. He’s a great fit to lead this iconic Albuquerque station into an exciting new chapter and to help capitalize on our recent expansion of the KKOB brand.” Summers says, “I’m thrilled to become part of the awesome Southwest legend, KKOB. I really appreciate Jeff Berry and Jared Hart’s confidence in my journalistic vision for the giant AM/FM signals involved – and I love New Mexico. This is going to be fun.”

Disruptor Radio LLC Acquires WNTW-AM, Richmond. Virginia media company Disruptor Radio, LLC announces it has closed on the purchase of WNTW-AM and translator W224EB – both licensed to Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Disruptor Radio is operated by John Fredericks, whose radio show airs in morning drive on the simulcast and is based at Disruptor’s WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia. It’s distributed by the John Fredericks Radio Network. Fredericks says the combination of the three signals “gives JFRN the largest footprint and most coverage in central Virginia.” John Fredericks says, “As of June 17, we have the most dynamic and engaging news/talk network lineup in America right here in central Virginia. Our combined three-stick radio reach now goes to Petersburg in the south, Fredericksburg to the north, west to Charlottesville, southwest to Longwood University in Farmville and east to Newport News and the Northern Neck. We now have a bigger footprint then-rival legacy station WRVA in Richmond and we look forward to the opportunity to offer central Virginia radio listeners an exciting alternative in the news/talk arena.” Fredericks adds he’s not shy about further expansion potential and he’s bullish on the future of talk radio.

Firings at U.S. Agency for Global Media Draw Rebuke from Democrats. The U.S. Senate confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and his subsequent firing of four news organization chiefs has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats. According to Edward Wong’s story in The New York Times, those let go on Wednesday evening were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund. The story adds that Pack also “disbanded the bipartisan boards that govern and advise those five organizations. He replaced the members, which are the same across the organizations, largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman.” On Monday of this week, Radio Free America director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned their positions.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Obviously, without any sports contests being played since March, the format has suffered, but the downward trend the format experienced in March and April is leveling off. Sixty-two percent of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up, led by Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver (+1.0, 3.1share). Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, just 32% of stations are up with 65% down. The year-over-year gainers are led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (+1.8, 5.9 share). No sports talker came close to ranking #1 in its market in May. Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia was the top ranker in the format, finishing at #4 with a 5.9 share. Read Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

John Bolton Book, BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Case, Trump Police Reform Order, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, Aunt Jemima Retired, Presidential Race, China-India Clash, and Return of the NBA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The controversy and legal battle over former national security adviser John Bolton’s yet-to-be-released book; the Black Lives Matter protests and the officers being charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks; President Trump issues a police reform executive order; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S., the states seeing increases, and the outbreak in Beijing; the Aunt Jemima brands are retired by PepsiCo; the November presidential election; the deadly clash between China and India over a disputed Himalayan border region; and the NBA prepares to return to action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Scott Herman Elected Chair of Broadcasters Foundation of America. The board of directors of the Broadcasters Foundation of America elects radio executive Scott Herman chair of the charitable organization. Herman served for years with CBS RADIO and Group W and he’s currently CEO of SHH Media Management. He takes over for Dan Mason, who remains on the board of directors. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb is re-elected as vice chair. Additionally, Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones is elected to the board. Dan Mason says, “It has been an honor to serve the broadcasting industry as chair of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement as a board member of this unique charity that helps our colleagues. I am pleased to turn over the chair seat to Scott, who I know to be both capable and caring. He loves this industry as much as I do and will work tirelessly to help those in our business who need it most.” Herman is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board and has served as vice chair since 2017.

DOUBLE HEADER: ‘Two Men, Two Games’ – Sean Spicer and Colin Cowherd Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former White House press secretary and current Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer and FOX Sports Radio/Television host Colin Cowherd are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a two-part program titled, “Two Men, Two Games,” Harrison discusses a wide array of current issues with two of the most colorful individuals in talk media focusing on the impact that today’s turbulence is having on media, business, sports, and society. Harrison and Spicer talk about the seismic changes that have taken place in the relationship between the presidency and the press during the Donald Trump administration in addition to ongoing debate over government regulation of social media. Spicer also offers his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and offers a few tips on how to approach this president in an interview or ask him questions at a press conference. Harrison and Cowherd (who is ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on professional sports, the delicate art of simulcasting a talk show on radio and television, the responsibility team owners have to the fans, as well as a fascinating breakdown on the political leanings of sports talk radio listeners. Don’t miss this power-packed installment of one of the world’s most-respected, media-oriented podcasts. 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. After last week’s exit from SummitMedia by SVP of programming Beverlee Brannigan, the company announces that Randy Chase is joining the company in the same capacity. SummitMedia says Chase joins the leadership team and will oversee all country music stations. He’ll report to EVP of programming Bill Tanner. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “Randy’s experience across all formats and his passion to serve our listeners make him an excellent addition to our team. His ability to innovate in our industry and drive consumer engagement are attributes we are particularly excited about.” Chase has served with the Educational Media Foundation as VP of radio for the past seven years. Prior to that he led national country branding and programming for Cox Media Group. Chase will be based in Knoxville and will also serve as program director for country WCYQ, Knoxville “100.3 The Wolf.”…..Hubbard Radio makes changes to the air staff at Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 THE MIX.” Eric Ferguson remains in mornings but everything else changes. Sixteen-year afternoon drive personality Kevin “Koz” Koske leaves that daypart and will be director of creative services for both WTMX and sister AC WSHE. He’ll also handle some weekend and fill-in shifts. Taking over afternoon drive is evening host Chris Petlak and midday jock Lisa Allen. Taking over Allen’s midday slot is music director Nikki Chuminatto. Weekend personality Jordan “Dash” Weiss is upped to evening personality…..In Charlottesville, Virginia, Saga Communications lets classic rock WWWV morning host and imaging director Max Hoecker go and replaces his show with the Westwood One syndicated “Bob & Tom” Show…..United Stations Radio Networks announces a new program hosted by Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Kenny Loggins. Titled, “Kenny Loggins: The Real Thing,” the program will debut at a yet-to-be-finalized date this summer and will be delivered as completely flexible segments allowing stations to build their imaging and music around voice tracks supplied by Kenny Loggins.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 6, 2020

| January 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group names Matt Cord host of the midday show at classic rock WMGK, taking over for Debbi Calton, who retired last month after 26 years on the station.  Cord has been on air in Philly on rock WMMR-FM and WBEN-FM.  He says, “I’m so thrilled to continue Debbi Calton’s incredible legacy with the WMGK workplace audience.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Philly radio legend John DeBella and longtime afternoon drive personality Andre Gardner!”…..Entercom ups Orphan Andrew to assistant program director and music director for CHR KUDL, Sacramento “106.5 The End.”  He’ll continue to host the station’s midday show.   Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Since joining ‘106.5 The End,’ Orphan Andrew has demonstrated his passion for the station and our listeners, and his promotion to APD and music director is a direct result of that.  His long-standing relationship with his audience and broad understanding of pop culture makes him the ideal candidate.  I’m excited to continue to see his positive energy and spirit in the hallways and hear what he can add to one of America’s most successful top 40 brands.”…..Cumulus Media announces a new air talent lineup at country KRMD, Shreveport, Louisiana that includes morning show “Melinda and Mason” – with Melinda Coyer and Mason Stanfield.  Stanfield joins Coyer and Cumulus Shreveport from Adams Radio Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he was afternoon personality and music director at country KGRT and morning host for classic rock KSNM.  Current morning co-host Mike Martindale is moving to afternoon drive on KRMD…..WSYR-TV, Syracuse news anchor Christie Casciano is providing news updates three times each morning on Galaxy Media’s adult contemporary WZUN, Syracuse “Sunny 102.”  Casciano will join morning host Rick Gary at 7:00 am, 7:30 am, and 8:00 am each day.  She says, “Even though I anchor the late-night news on television, I still have a passion for morning radio – which is where I got my start in this business, thanks to Rick.  Rick and I will be committed to delivering you up to date local news and events that touch our community, keeping you informed, and hopefully giving you a reason to smile on your way to work and school.”…..Reach Media launches the hip hop morning radio show, “The Morning Hustle,” now available in syndication.  Reach calls it “the freshest program in broadcasting with an entertaining, humorous, and informative take on urban pop culture from the Millennial and Generation Z point of view – meant to wake up its audience to the beat of today’s hip hop.  The talent lineup includes: HeadKrack, Angie Ange, “On-Air” Jordan, Lore’l, and Billy Sorrells.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

| October 1, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing.  A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1).  The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of today’s event here.

Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid  traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”

NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCulloughRichard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”

Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”

Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on  programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations …..  Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.

Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.