Tag: "American University"
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Delta Blues” looks back at this past week of June 14-18, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jennifer Horn, morning show co-host (870 AM the Answer) KRLA, Los Angeles/co-host DJV Show; Harry Hurley, host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Bill O’ Reilly, commentator, Key Networks; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Travis & Sexton Set To Bow On 400+ Affiliates. Being billed as one of talk radio’s biggest-ever launches, Premiere Networks’ three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, ET) “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” debuts next Monday (6/21) on more than 400 stations. The program inherits the timeslot held for more than three decades by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott remarks, “The reaction from our radio station and advertising partners has been tremendous. Clay and Buck are proving to be a winning combination as we prepare to launch their new show in this highly-coveted timeslot.” Starting in September 2016, Travis began hosting Fox Sports Radio’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” on more than 350 affiliates. Travis founded Outkick.com, which he sold to Fox Corporation earlier this month; he currently co-hosts FS1’s first daily gambling TV show, “Fox Bet Live.” Meanwhile, former CIA officer/NYPD counterterrorism expert Sexton previously headlined Premiere Networks’ three-hour “Buck Sexton Show” on more than 200 stations. The NYC native appears on The First, a digital-first TV network available on more than 14 platforms. Charter “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” affiliates (all eleven owned by iHeartMedia) include: WOR, New York; KEIB, Los Angeles; KTRH, Houston; WXKS-AM, Boston; WIOD, Miami; KFYI, Phoenix; KTLK, Minneapolis; WFLA, Tampa; KDFD, Denver; KEX, Portland; and KFBK AM & FM, Sacramento. It will also be available as a podcast on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.
Cumulus Media D.C. Designates Boden Vice President/Market Manager. Inbound from Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was VP/market manager of Alpha Media’s four-station group, Jeff Boden is named to a similar position at Cumulus Media Washington (DC), where he will oversee news/talk WMAL “105.9 FM – Where Washington Comes To Talk” and sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus Media executive vice president of operations Dave Milner states, “WMAL and WSBN are exceptional stations and demand an exceptional leader at the helm. Jeff Boden is the perfect choice to take these legendary stations into the future. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on the Cumulus Media team. His deep experience and relationships in the market make him our ideal choice. Jeff is respected and appreciated by those in and out of the company and steps into the big shoes left by former VP/market manager Ken Roberts, who sadly and suddenly passed away in April.” Boden comments: “I am truly honored to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s wonderful to serve the local community and our advertising partners. I look forward to working with so many people I have known for years, as well as with newer additions to the team.” From 2005 – 2012, the American University alum and former president of Delmarva Broadcasting Company was president/general manager of WMAL (as well as then cluster-mates) WRQX and WJZW when the stations were owned by ABC Radio and later Citadel Broadcasting. Boden has served as board chair for the Washington Area Broadcasters Association and in the same capacity for the Greater DC/Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Round Two of May PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (DC); Boston; Miami; Seattle; Detroit; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 survey period covered April 29 – May 26. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM “97.3 FM” gains four-tenths (6.2 – 6.6, 6+) to jump from second to first, the lone news/talker from these 12 PPM markets to finish at #1 (May 2021, 6+). Its Denver sports talk sibling – KKFN “104.3 The Fan” – notches that format’s greatest (6+) improvement among these 12 metros (2.1 – 3.0, +.9, #18 to #12, 6+). There’s a bit of irony in San Diego as three iHeartMedia-owned news/talk properties each pick up two-tenths: KOGO “News Radio 600” (5.5 – 5.7, fifth to second, 6+); KGB-AM “760 AM” (1.8 – 2.0, #20 to #19, 6+); and KFI “AM 640” (1.6 – 1.8, #21 to #20, 6+). In addition to Seattle’s KIRO-FM, the only other station from these 12 PPM-markets to land on top (May 2021, 6+) is American University-owned public radio news/talk WAMU (10.2 – 9.5, -.7, 6+), which repeats at #1 the fifth straight month. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this second round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.
KHTK Extends Its Pact With The NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Continuing a partnership that dates back to 1994, Bonneville Sacramento sports talk KHTK “Sports 1140” will remain the radio flagship of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Bonneville Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim remarks, “We are excited to continue our relationship with the Sacramento Kings for years to come. Bonneville’s commitment to our local community continues to make KHTK the perfect home for our Sacramento Kings.” KHTK program director Jason Ross notes, “Having the opportunity to work on the radio broadcasts for the team and to work for the radio station, I feel the passion of this fanbase and the community.” Sacramento Kings president of business operations John Rinehart adds, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with KHTK, providing an incomparable experience for the best fans in the NBA. KHTK brings a shared passion for the community and their broadcast not only paints the picture of game action but also provides a high level of entertainment for listeners.” As part of the long-term deal, KHTK will have streaming rights within 75 miles of Golden 1 Center.
Quintet Welcomed To Colorado Public Radio’s Board Of Directors. Joining the CPB board this past Wednesday (6/16) are: Linda Appel Lipsius; Ricardo Baca; Lori Bergen; Steve ErkenBrack; and Sherisse Hawkins. Board chair Philip Johnson remarks, “We are happy to welcome these members to the board of directors. Each of them brings a passion for community and [Colorado Public Radio‘s] mission, along with professional and personal experiences that will enrich and inform the board’s efforts.” Lipsius joined the board of Denver Urban Gardens in 2020 and became executive director in 2021. She is co-founder and former CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas and was a vice president at Orange Glo International. Indigenous-born Colorado native Baca is a journalist, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur. He served as The Denver Post‘s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country. AdCann named Baca “Marketer of the Year” in 2019. Bergen is the founding dean of the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she holds the James E. De Castro Chair in Global Media Studies. A former journalist, she has been a faculty member and served in academic leadership roles at Kansas State University, Texas State University and Marquette University. ErkenBrack served as president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Mesa County’s elected District Attorney; and Colorado’s chief deputy attorney general. He has founded two law firms in Grand Junction and Denver and is currently “Of Counsel” with Grand Junction’s Hoskin Farina & Kampf, P.C. He was president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council. Engineer/technologist Hawkins is founder/CEO of PageDip. The award-winning business owner has appeared in Vanity Fair and on ABC-TV‘s “Shark Tank.” She worked as a Walt Disney Imagineer, building theme park attractions around the globe, and a system architect specializing in digital video delivery.
NAB Show Accepting Nominations For “Product Of The Year.” The awards recognize the most significant and promising new products and technologies developed by NAB Show exhibitors. Award recipients will be selected by a panel of industry experts in 16 categories and announced October 12 during the official awards ceremony/reception. Nominated products and technologies must be available for delivery this calendar year. NAB executive vice president of global connections and events Chris Brown notes, “NAB Show is the premier venue to launch and demonstrate new products that sit at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. We look forward to exploring innovations from the past two years and celebrating their impact on our industry.” In addition to “Radio,” product categories for this year’s NAB Show “Product of the Year” awards are as follows: AI/Machine Learning; Asset Management, Automation, Playout; Audio Production, Processing and Networking; Camera Support, Control and Accessories; Cameras; Cloud Computing and Storage; Digital Signage & Display Systems; Graphics, Editing, VXF, Switchers; Grip Equipment; Hardware Infrastructure; IT Networking/Infrastructure & Security; Location/Studio Lighting; Monitoring and Measuring Tools; Remote Production; and Streaming. Nominations are being accepted through September 17; companies can submit product nominations here.
New FCC Rules Address Emergency Alerts. The latest FCC-adopted policies are aimed to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on radios, mobile phones, and televisions. The move is in response to a false 2018 emergency alert in Hawaii, which mistakenly warned of an incoming ballistic missile attack. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 subsequently directed the FCC, in consultation with FEMA, to adopt rules to strengthen emergency alerting in various areas. The Commission adopted a “Report and Order” to ensure that more people receive relevant emergency alerts, enable government agencies to report any false alerts, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts. Specifically, the “Report and Order” combines the current “Presidential Alerts” category with alerts from the FEMA Administrator to form a new non-optional alert class called “National Alerts.” Under the alert class, all states are encouraged to form State Emergency Communications Committees, which help administer alerting on the state level, or to review the composition and governance of existing committees, as well as require certification of annual committee meetings, while providing a checklist of information that should be included in annual state Emergency Alert System plans. It also specifies that government agencies may report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center and clarifies how alert originators can repeat their alert transmissions.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by The New York Post, former WNYC, New York City reporter Fred Mogul has brought a defamation and wrongful termination suit against the New York Public Radio news/talk station. Filed earlier this week in Manhattan Supreme Court, the suit claims that Mogul was falsely accused of plagiarism over two lines of AP copy included in a draft of a report for WNYC sister site Gothamist but not the completed January 28 piece, which credited AP. Mogul, who was fired February 5, alleges that editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper told over 50 staffers that Mogul failed to credit AP on the story’s byline and had “lifted another person’s words.” Mogul, however, claims the draft followed WNYC’s style guide … RAB senior vice president of insights, Annette Malave, successfully completed the University of South Florida Muma College of Business’ “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace” certificate. The 14-hour course focused on how companies and organizations can create more diverse workplaces while addressing equity issues and fostering inclusivity. Malave comments, “Multicultural efforts have always been a passion of mine throughout my career in the ad industry. The events of 2020 made me realize that I needed more than just passion, but an education on the role that diversity, equity and inclusivity play in our lives and in the workplace. I hope to take what I learned from this course and apply it to what I do in life and what we offer at RAB.” … Word comes from RobertFeder.com that Good Karma Brands Chicago sports talk WMVP “ESPN 1000” will add an FM HD2 simulcast, slated to be functional for tonight’s game between the White Sox and Houston Astros.
Art Lovers Go Hunting For A Bargain. In addition to hosting a daily three-hour (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) show on Cox Media Group Jacksonville news/talk WOKV-FM, Toronto-born Mark Kaye does a weekly program on Newsmax TV. When the New York University-educated Kaye heard that Hunter Biden had changed careers to become a professional artist, he decided to do some painting of his own. The subject of his effort was fellow Florida resident Donald Trump. Kaye remarks, “When we reported that Hunter Biden was painting full time, we laughed; [however], when we heard art dealers were prepared to offer [as much as a million dollars] for an original Hunter Biden painting, we cried. If Hunter Biden could get [that much money] for his paintings, so could we.” Kaye crowdsourced ideas from his listeners and asked them what he should paint. “If they asked for it, we painted it.” That’s how he ended up with the portrait of Trump. Kaye’s portrait is currently for sale via online auction with an asking price of $10,000 or best offer. Kaye comments, “We’ve seen Hunter Biden’s work and, quite frankly, this painting is way better. As far as the $10,000 asking price, we didn’t want to be greedy – plus, people love a bargain.” Kaye’s fans have driven the price to $2100. Kaye will announce the winner immediately after the auction concludes next Monday (6/21).
Nielsen-MRI Fusion Study: 37% Of Newsmax Viewers Identify As Independents. A recent Nielsen-MRI fusion study profiled Newsmax‘s audience and found 37% of its viewers described themselves as “independents”; CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News each drew 35%. In addition, 37% of Newsmax viewers label themselves Republicans; 26% say they are Democrats. Seven of ten (70%) report they always vote in national, state, or local elections. According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “This study shows that Newsmax attracts a very diverse group of Americans from all backgrounds. One thing they have in common is their appetite for real news delivered by objective journalists with no axes to grind – something that’s resonating with independent voters.” Top jobs held by Newsmax viewers include positions in education, office/administration, sales, management, construction, and farming. Newsmax attracts an equal mix of the sexes, with a 50/50 male-female split.
Monday Memo: Staples’ Savvy. Whether you’re a broadcaster or podcaster – “and ESPECIALLY if you write promo or commercial copy or if you sell” – consultant Holland Cooke urges humility about the listener’s attention. In this week’s column, he shares success tactics from the office supply superstore. Read it here.
Pending Business: Habits. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa is a fan of those books and articles that detail the habits of successful people and in today’s column he boils them down to three that have been used by successful radio sellers but are not always practiced these days. Read more here.
Will Marotti Announces Exit from WTIC-AM, Hartford. On today’s radio program, Pastor Will Marotti told his listeners of Entercom’s news/talk WTIC-AM, Hartford that he’s leaving his radio program after this Friday’s show in order to focus on his role with the New Life Church in Meriden, Connecticut. Marotti hosts the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) but he’s held numerous positions with WTIC over the years. He partnered with former Connecticut Governor John Rowland from 2010 to 2012 in the afternoon drive daypart. He took over that program hosting it solo after Rowland resigned from the station after being brought up on charges of campaign fraud and corruption. Marotti continued to serve as a fill-in personality but returned to WTIC to host late mornings full time after Jim Vicevich retired from his show in December of 2019 to focus on his battle with Lupus.
Debating Dr. Seuss. The brand-new weekly podcast dedicated to tackling the education crisis in America – produced and hosted by WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano – is off to a flying start. In this week’s “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason” podcast, Giordano sits down with American University professor Omekongo Dibinga, one of America’s leading critics of Dr. Seuss. They debate Seuss, cancel culture, and critical race theory. Giordano also speculates on people who might still read Dr. Seuss to kids in public settings. This podcast series is particularly timely and potent drawing upon Giordano’s well-established reputation as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio. It can be heard at 1210WPHT.com and Radio.com.
January PPM Spoken-Word Summary. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his final analysis of Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM survey with today’s report highlighting the news/talk, news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk stations that finished in the top five (weekly, 6+ AQH share) as well as the five stations in each of those four formats that posted the highest AQH share. See his report here.
Bloomberg Radio Marks Pandemic Anniversary with Month-Long Daily Series. Radio news service Bloomberg Radio is launching a special daily series titled, “A Year Like No Other,” that examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life and business in America. Syndicator Key Networks says the series “will draw upon Bloomberg’s vast resources to provide radio listeners with daily glimpses of what has changed over the past year, how it has changed, and whether it will ever again be the same.” The series debuts on Monday, March 15 and will take a look at a different industry or way of life that underwent a monumental change in the past year due to COVID-19. Al Mayers, global head of Bloomberg Television and Radio says, “The series will showcase the range of Bloomberg’s business journalism and our wide reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. We look forward to bringing this new content marking the past year to our audience.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Bloomberg’s news team has once again produced content for our affiliates that provides an in-depth look at a story that impacts listeners across the country. This is the type of service and information that Bloomberg affiliates receive 24/7, 365 that is second to none.”
Hubbard Radio’s WTOP Launches PodcastDC. Washington, DC all-news WTOP and sister WFED-AM owner and operator Hubbard Radio announce the debut of PodcastDC – a new podcast app built specifically for the Washington DC region. Hubbard says the new mobile app, which soft launched in January, showcases podcasts that feature voices, topics and stories that are rooted in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Radio VP of digital strategy Jeremy Sinon says, “In a world with 800,000 podcasts available, it’s easy to understand how local can get lost. If your main source of discovery for podcasts is one of the big podcast apps, you would have a hard time knowing that local content even exists. We’re trying to solve that problem by giving Washingtonians an app that is dedicated to serving them audio that caters to their local interests.” Hubbard says the new app is also aimed at making locally produced audio more discoverable and more profitable for its creators. Users will find hundreds of podcasts from independent local content creators like PodcastDC’s own marketing strategist Elly Rowe, who also produces and hosts the podcast “Women-Owned Wednesday By Elly Jane,” which highlights local female entrepreneurs, artists, creators and more. “The sheer number of podcasts and audio content available makes it hard to stand out on a more local level,” Rowe says. “PodcastDC creates an excellent opportunity to help highlight independent D.C. podcasters with content that is not only relevant to local listeners but also deserves more national attention.”
WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin Talk Host Kathy Keene to Retire. Longtime WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin talk host Kathy Keene announces she’ll retire from the station and her role as host of the “Good Neighbor Show” on May 28. Keene joined the Woodward Communications station in January of 1981 and on September 6 of that year became the host of the “Good Neighbor Show.” Woodward Communications says that during her time with the station, she was awarded the Social and Digital Media “Best Personality” award at the 2016 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards. She was recently honored in 2018 with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Local Legend Award. Keene comments, “Time has come for me to leave my career in radio. It’s been 40 years and it’s been a great 40 years, let me tell you. I have met so many wonderful people along the way. I have spoken with thousands of people: authors, teachers, historians, community leaders, artists and entertainers, experts in every imaginable field. And you, the ‘Good Neighbor’ listeners have always been a large part of the essence of the show. And I will miss you.”
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Stimulus Bill, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Voting Rights Issues, Chauvin Trial, and Harry & Meghan Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Joe Biden COVID stimulus bill passes the Senate and returns to the House for a final vote on Tuesday; the plateauing COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; worries about relaxed mask and gathering mandates and the opening of schools; the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his refusal to resign; Joe Biden’s voting rights bill passes the House and Georgia’s bill to alter voting times and requirements; the looming trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; and Sunday’s Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hazy Shade of Winter,” looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media Management; Amy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”
New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.
Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.
WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.
WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”
Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.
COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”
Monday Memo: Got Local News? Guard it. Now more than ever – with the pandemic upending the life we were accustomed to – consultant Holland Cooke says “you will continue to distinguish your product from your robotic audio competition, and what’s-left-of the newspaper, by telling listeners something useful that nobody else is telling them.” In this week’s column, some simple tips. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, Fatal Denver Rally Shooting, VP Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Trump’s COVID Case, New Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, Hurricane Delta-California Wildfires, and NFL COVID Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the matter of mail-in voting; the fatal shooting at a Denver political protest gathering and tensions in the city; Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and President Trump‘s bout with the disease; negotiations for a new federal stimulus package; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Hurricane Delta drenches Louisiana and the ongoing California wildfires; and the positive COVID-19 cases popping up in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Take It or Leave It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about selling news/talk radio in a time when your sales planning priorities can shift as quickly as the news cycle changes. He says that “organizing chaos is part of our new sales world” and offers some strategies to keep sellers on track during these unpredictable times. Read it here.
Carmean Joins Entercom Sacto As GSM. The market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Boise (Idaho) cluster – Rick Carmean – is named general sales manager of Entercom Sacramento. According to Entercom Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Stacey Kauffman, “Because of the rich history and success of Entercom Sacramento’s portfolio of brands and assets, expectations are high for this team. Rick’s vast experience in audio, sports, and digital – coupled with his track record of producing winning results – make him an excellent and valuable addition to our strong leadership team. We are excited to welcome Rick to Entercom and Sacramento.” Carmean adds, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to represent the top-rated radio stations in the market and work with a talented team of sales professionals and on-air talent.” Carmean previously was Red Zebra Broadcasting’s president and chief executive officer and held digital advertising leadership roles at AOL and Source Media. In addition to sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” Entercom Sacramento consists of rhythmic CHR KSFM; CHR KUDL “106.5 The End”; classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; and alternative KKDO “Alt 94-7.”
More Than 2,100 “Attend” NAB’s Online Radio Show. The week-long digital experience began one week ago (Monday, 10/5) and continued through this past Friday afternoon (10/9) at RadioShowWeb.com. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Radio Show in-person attendance has recently been averaging 2,000, while this year’s online event attracted 2,143 registrants. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith comments, “Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this [past] week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry.” RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber remarks, “The Radio Show is an industry favorite. Having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders, and partners has been tremendously valuable. The good news is all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing should anyone want to re-watch a specific session or may have missed any of the sessions or presentations.” Among the highlights were a keynote by Dave Ramsey, and a “CEO Town Hall” with Mary Berner (Cumulus Media); David Field (Entercom); and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia). The Town Hall was moderated by NBC News senior business correspondent/MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. Next year’s Radio Show will co-locate with the NAB Show, which has been rescheduled for October 9-13 (2021) in Las Vegas.
KBA Honors Talbott. Bluegrass native Julie Talbott will be presented with the Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association at today’s (Monday, 10/12) 2:00 pm virtual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards event. Fifteen years after joining Premiere Networks, Talbott was named president of the company in January 2014 ; she oversees operation of Premiere Networks’ more than 100 radio programs and services. In addition, she manages business partnerships with talent, as well as leading/maintaining affiliate relationships to sell/service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and the 24/7 News Network. Talbott previously was chief operating officer of MJI Broadcasting, which was acquired by Premiere’s parent company Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Talbott began her career at BBDO Advertising. The Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” is presented in recognition of achievements and accomplishments of former Kentuckians who have earned fame or acclaim in their respected field.
AWMF and ESPN Launch Scholarship For Black Females. The mission of the partnership between the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) and ESPN is to provide black women a path into careers in sports media. ESPN’s donation of $10,000 will provide two educational scholarships to assist black females pursuing such career paths. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks remarks, “It has been wonderful to collaborate with ESPN to conceptualize this scholarship. Through this strong partnership, we’re proud to continue our work in pursuing greater diversity in the sports journalism work force.” ESPN vice president of corporate communications/AWMF board member Katina Arnold notes, “Diversity and inclusion is ESPN’s #1 focus. We want to support and create concrete ways to grow the pipeline of black talent in the sports industry. The ESPN and AWMF scholarship is the perfect way to fulfill ESPN’s mission of supporting black and African-American women pursuing careers in media.” Selection of student winners will be based on applicants developing an essay of 750 – 1,000 words, highlighting the importance of black women in sports media. Applications are due in less than six weeks (11/20). AWMF and ESPN will select one black female undergraduate student winner and one black female graduate student to receive the scholarships payable to each winning student’s educational institution.
TALKERS News Notes. Former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert Buck Sexton debuts his Premiere Networks’ three-hour show in Tampa Bay tonight (Monday, 10/12, 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) on iHeartMedia’s WFLA “News Radio 970.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tampa/Sarasota Tommy Chuck comments, “We are excited to have Buck Sexton join our on-air lineup of strong local and national personalities. His life experience gives him unique perspective that our audience will be very interested to hear.” Sexton adds, “I’m honored to have my show join WFLA, [one of] the greatest heritage stations in the country. I can’t wait to begin speaking every night to listeners in the Tampa Bay area, one of the best talk radio audiences there is.” WFLA’s revised weekday lineup is: “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am); “AM Tampa Bay” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman” (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Buck Sexton (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Also in the iHeartMedia Tampa Bay cluster, personal finance host Dave Ramsey moves his daily talk show to news/talk WHNZ “1250 Impact Radio” from cross-town Beasley Media Group’s WHFS “Money Talk 1010.” According to iHeartMedia market president Chris Soechtig, “We’re excited to add ‘The Dave Ramsey Show to our [2:00 pm – 5:00 pm] line-up. [Dave] brings a new group of listeners to 1250 WHNZ who pay attention to what’s coming out of their speakers and applying what they hear.” ….. Designed to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots in next month’s election, Beasley Media Group’s “Your Vote – Your Voice” initiative will include recorded fifteen- and thirty-second PSAs, as well as custom content that will be featured on the chain’s 64 radio station websites. Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase notes, “This initiative is a great reminder that no matter who you choose, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the polls.” Customized messaging encouraging listeners to vote will be displayed using Quu RDS technology across the company’s in-car dash platforms ….. Technology entrepreneur Matt Moog is named interim chief operating officer of Chicago Public Media, which includes public radio news/talk WBEZ. Moog succeeds Steve Edwards, who performed those duties on an interim basis as well, but segues back to his vice president and chief content officer responsibilities. Chicago Public Media’s CEO role opened up a year ago when Goli Sheikholeslami exited to join New York Public Radio. Earlier this year, American University Washington, DC public radio news/talk WAMU “The Medium Is The Message” chief content officer Andi McDaniel was appointed CPM’s chief executive officer, but departed. The search for a permanent Chicago Public Media CEO is expected to resume next year ….. During a Washington State gubernatorial debate last week, governor Jay Inslee remarked that, “We follow science in Washington.” Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM host Dori Monson tweeted, “The state where I could go to Olympia and change my ‘birth cert’ to say I was a girl on 10/2/61 HAHAHAHAHA.” That tweet has led to Monson’s indefinite suspension from his KIRO-FM duties, as well as his pre-game and post-game hosting chores for Seattle Seahawks football games ….. An integral cog of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan, has died at his Danville, California home. After his playing career, Morgan became a baseball analyst on television and radio. The former second baseman did color for games of the Reds (1985); San Francisco Giants (1986 – 1994); and Oakland A’s (1995). Morgan attained national exposure on ABC-TV’s baseball telecasts and had a 20-year run (1990 – 2010) as Jon Miller’s analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” During that stretch, he was in the ESPN Radio booth for post-season and World Series contests. In 2011, he hosted a daily syndicated radio show for Sports USA Radio Network. In addition to the Reds, Morgan played for San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hall of Famer was 77 years old.
Midwest Communications Taps Villarreal As Wausau VP/MM. Eight-year Laredo, Texas-based International Business & Marketing consultant Milko Villarreal, Jr. is appointed vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ five-station Wausau, Wisconsin cluster. Midwest Communications president and chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We welcome Milko to the family and look forward to many successful and prosperous years to come. His passion and desire to win are a great fit for our already positive Wausau operation.” Villarreal, who begins his new assignment in three weeks (11/2), remarks, “I am thrilled to join Midwest. The Wright family has a long-standing tradition of excellence in broadcasting. Ideologically, and operationally, I believe we are a very good fit; I look forward to making a positive contribution.” The former NAB radio board member succeeds Brett Lucht, who passed away three months ago. In addition to news/talk WSAU and sports talk WRIG, Midwest Communications’ Wausau cluster consists of country WDEZ, CHR WIFC, and rock WOZZ.
NEP & Edison Research To Implement COVID-19-Related Protocols. The exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/13). Edison Research co-founder and executive vice president Joe Lenski states that, “More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history. The member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll. In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020. It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.” In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in the in-person exit polls remain safe. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls. As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.
“WTMJ 2021” Airs Tomorrow. The nine-hour broadcast (9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, 10/13) on Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk WMTJ “News Radio 620” looks at events and issues that will shape the year ahead. It will feature interviews with Wisconsin’s most influential names such as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers; senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson; Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Medical College of Wisconsin chief executive officer Dr. John Raymond; and community activist Frank Sensabaugh. Good Karma Brands Milwaukee vice president and market manager Steve Wexler explains, “Every year, WTMJ brings our listeners an all-day look at the issues shaping our future. Little did we know how tumultuous a year 2020 would turn out to be when we gathered last year.” Presidential politics is the leadoff topic at 9:00 am. It will be followed by public safety (10:00 am); sports in the age of COVID-19 (11:00 am); business and the economy (12:00 noon); healthcare (1:00 pm); entertainment (2:00 pm); education (3:00 pm); local and state government (4:00 pm); and the racial divide (5:00 pm).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (Monday, 10/12), Mz Shyneka takes over in afternoon drive on Core Radio Group Atlanta urban contemporary WWSZ “Streetz 94.5.” Core Radio Group president and chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “It is my pleasure to sign Mz Shyneka to afternoons. Her addition to our great team keeps us at the forefront of this competitive Atlanta market.” According to Mz Shyneka, “I am overwhelmed with joy to be back on the radio in my hometown. I can’t wait to continue making history at the only black-owned station in Atlanta.” She most recently did afternoons for Radio One’s cross-town similarly-formatted WHTA “Hot 107.9” ….. Elsewhere in Atlanta, after an approximately 20-year tenure at Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104,” Saturday morning “Spotlight Gold” host “Youngblood” exits ….. Under a new one-year deal, all Villanova football and basketball games for the 2020 – 2021 season will be carried on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM.” Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Our motto at ‘Ben’ is ‘Playing Anything We Feel Like,’ and we feel like playing some Villanova games. It will be a great season for Villanova sports.” Program director Chuck Damico notes, “We’re thrilled to add Villanova football and basketball to ‘95.7 Ben FM’ this year. It’s an honor to deliver these games to their passionate fans and alumni.” Meanwhile, Villanova Sports Properties vice president and general manager Drew Young adds, “The affiliation with ‘Ben FM’ expands our reach in the Delaware Valley and gives the ‘Nova Nation’ a prominent new home on the FM dial.” ….. The former 15-year afternoon personality/music director at Bahakel Communications Colorado Springs rocker KILO, Jack Wilson, has died from coronavirus. Wilson left KILO in 2015 and did weekends in Phoenix for Hubbard Radio’s similarly-programmed KUPD. KILO’s Facebook page notes, “It is with deep regret that we share this news with the KILO Nation. He was and will always be a big part of the KILO family. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.” The 38-year-old Wilson is survived by his mother (Pattie Ray); a 17-year-old daughter (Bella); and a six-year-old son (Jack Jr.) ….. “The Quick Silva Show with Dominique Da Diva” moves to Reach Media for distribution and syndication. Reach Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “I’ve had the opportunity to see this show grow tremendously. Quick Silva and Dominque Da Diva are two very strong radio talents who have an authentic connection to their audience. I am confident that the show will continue to be a huge draw for the listening audience. The beauty of this is that this is one of few syndicated afternoon shows.” The program will be carried from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm by Radio One stations in Washington, DC (WKYS); Philadelphia (WPHI “Hip-Hop 103.9”); Baltimore (WERQ “92-Q Jams”); Cincinnati (WIZF “101.1 The Wiz”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”).
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.