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Monday, October 14, 2019

| October 14, 2019

Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words.  Competing with less-cluttered digital audio options, AM/FM radio needs to obsess on commercial Quality Control.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke details a technique that’s landing accounts and producing results.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S.-Syria Policy/Turkish Assault, 2020 Presidential Election, Shepard Smith Leaves FOX News, Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky and the Bidens’ activities in the region’s oil industry, as well as the arrests of associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; the Trump Administration’s policy in Northeastern Syria and Turkey’s assault on the Kurdish region; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the surprise exit of FOX News Channel news anchor Shepard Smith from the news organization; the slaying of a black woman shot through the window of her home by a Fort Worth police officer, and U.S.-China relations and the ongoing Hong Kong protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Kamla Exits KILT-AM, Houston for Expanded Role at SiriusXM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that KILT-AM, Houston sports talk personality Rick Kamla is leaving the station to take on added duties at SiriusXM, where he’s been hosting a fantasy sports program.  SiriusXM is broadening Kamla’s duties to include work on its NBA Radio channel.  Kamla had only been with KILT-AM for a little more than two months after having served with Entercom’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 FM The Game.”  He was partnered on KILT with Clint Stoerner in afternoon drive.  Kamla was part of KILT’s July host re-alignment that included the non-renewal of Rich Lord’s contract and his former PM drive partner Sean Pendergast’s move to AM drive alongside Seth Payne.

Salem Radio Network Announces 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debate Broadcasts. In cooperation with the Commission on Presidential Debates, Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 news services SRN News and TOWNHALL News will provide live broadcast coverage of the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates scheduled for next fall.  SRN White House correspondent Greg Clugston will provide analysis and SRN talk hosts, including Hugh HewittMike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder, will offer opinions and analysis.  So far, four debates have been scheduled: Presidential Debates on September 9 at the University of Notre Dame; October 15 at the University of Michigan; and October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville; plus, one Vice Presidential debate will on October 7 at the University of Utah.

Goldstein Promoted at Hubbard Radio. Digital sales pro Steve Goldstein is promoted from senior director, digital sales strategy, to his new position, SVP digital sales strategy and general manager 2060 Digital for the company.  Hubbard Radio EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler says that Goldstein was most recently splitting duties between Hubbard Radio Washington DC and a corporate role developing digital sales strategies in all of the Hubbard Radio markets.  Now, Goldstein will focus exclusively on the corporate role of growing digital sales with station-owned digital assets and 2060 Digital in all Hubbard Radio markets.  The company says, “During the past five years 2060 Digital has become an important revenue growth strategy for Hubbard Radio, both in Hubbard radio markets, and recently in non-radio markets with the introduction of 2060 Digital’s Shift division in Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville and Birmingham.  Goldstein says, “I am honored and excited to take the helm of a business that I am so passionate about.  Hubbard’s overall digital platforms and 2060 Digital have already seen tremendous success.  To lead and grow a team that has provided proven results for our clients and our company is thrilling and humbling.  I am looking forward to partnering with 2060 Digital ops head Andy Shepherd, his talented team, and our Hubbard Radio market leaders and sellers, all of whom are making a difference for our clients.”  As a result of this move, 2060 Digital president James Bryant will focus on growing 2060 Digital’s Shift division in expanding markets.

Hugh Hewitt Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legal scholar, journalist, and Salem Radio Network syndicated TALKERS Heavy Hundred talk radio star Hugh Hewitt guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to being one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America and a prolific best-selling author, Hewitt is a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University Law School in California. Harrison and Hewitt engage in an in-depth conversation about the 2020 presidential election, the Ukraine/impeachment issue, US-China relations, the US Constitution, and the complex legacy and personality of Richard Nixon.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Video Available on TALKERS TV.  The video of the recent panel discussion, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” that took place in New York City on October 1, is now available for viewing on TALKERS TV.  The information-packed co-presentation of TALKERS and The Epoch Times 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 that included Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as moderator.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, 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 the event here.

EPOCH TIMES to Meet Heightened Talk Media Interest in US-China Relations by Granting Free Access to TALKERS Readers.  The Epoch Times – founded in 2000 by Chinese Americans seeking freedom from the Communist regime and one of the most reliable sources in the world for information about China – has responded to heightened interest in US-China relations by making its website free to TALKERS readers.  To sign up for this free courtesy service to talk show hosts and their producers, please click here.

PPM Analysis: Hot AC.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on hot AC.  Just 40% of hot AC stations on our panel were up – weekly, 6+ AQH share – from the August to September surveys, led by Capital Broadcasting’s KBZN, Salt Lake City (+1.0).  Comparing year-over-year, just as many hot AC stations were up as were down.  Gainers from September 2018 to September 2019 include: Alpha Media’s KEZR, San Jose (+2.4), Cox Media Group’s KSMG, San Antonio (+1.8), and Entercom’s WOMX, Orlando (+1.5).  Two hot AC stations ranked #1 in their markets in September – Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-FM, Minneapolis and WRMF, West Palm Beach.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WAY-FM Reports ‘Explosive’ Digital Growth. Christian broadcaster WAY-FM reports it has experienced explosive digital growth in 2019 with the launch of the new WAYNATION.COM website and Podcast Network, and an aggressive shift towards digital content ministry.  WAY-FM operates more than 20 Christian music radio stations around the nation in markets like Nashville, Dallas, Portland, and Denver.  Parent company WAY Media announces that, in the first six months of 2019, its total digital audience surpassed 750,000 persons and the WAY Nation Podcast Network has earned nearly 3 million downloads in the past 12 months.  It adds that these numbers nearly equal the size of WAY-FM’s total radio listenership.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Allentown market, Cumulus Media’s country WCTO “CAT Country 96” the new “CAT Morning Crew with Sam and Hannah” – hosted by Sam Malone and Hannah Byrom.  Byrom joins Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem from Entercom New York’s WNSH-FM “Country 94.7” where she was weekend personality.  Prior to that, she was morning show co-host for Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5.”  At the same time, the station is adding WWYY-FM, Belvidere, New Jersery as a simulcast of WCTO.  The station had been alternative as “Spin Radio” in a simulcast with translator W234AX, Allentown at 94.7 FM.  Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem OM Jerry Padden says, “This is a very exciting day for all of us!  Though Hannah has worked on some great stations across the country, she is a Jersey girl.  Sam was born and bred here in the Lehigh Valley, so doing mornings in their hometowns is a dream come true for both Sam and Hannah.”…..Cumulus Media debuts adult contemporary KQFC, Boise “Magic 97.9.”  The signal flips from country and Cumulus brings Lisa Adams aboard as program director.   It’s a return to Boise for Adams, who previously served as OM/PD for Townsquare Media’s Boise stations.  Most recently, she’s been program director for Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle.  The “Magic 97.9” air personality lineup so far features Adams in Mornings, Bret Connors in afternoons and Mike Kasper as morning news anchor.  News in the morning, with more announcements to follow.  Adams says, “I’m incredibly excited and blessed to start my new radio chapter back in a town I love and missed so much!”…..Cox Media Group adds Caitlin “CJ” Johnson as afternoon drive personality at country KKBQ, Houston, effective November 11.  She takes over for Cactus Jack, who retired in August.  Johnson was most recently afternoon drive host at CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville…..Entercom announces the continued expansion of the RADIO.COM original station CHANNEL Q.  The company says, “To celebrate its one-year anniversary and National Coming Out Day, the premiere LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network will be available in a total of 32 markets nationwide, including four new markets in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland and St. Louis.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

| August 21, 2018

Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Down 1.8%. The 2018 second quarter financial report from Cumulus Media Inc. comes a bit late – the company had let the SEC know its first post-bankruptcy report would be tardy.  Net revenue for Cumulus (reflecting the combined results of the Successor and Predecessor Companies in connection with the emergence from Chapter 11) for the second quarter was $285.2 million, down 1.8% from the same period a year ago.  For the six months ended June 30, 2018, Cumulus reported net revenue of $548.9 million, down 1.0% from the first six months of 2017.  Cumulus reports in two segments: the Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  The radio station group reported net revenue of $203 million – down 2.5% from a year ago, and Westwood One’s net revenue was $81.2 million – up 0.1%. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In the second quarter, we emerged from Chapter 11 with new and supportive ownership, a billion dollars less debt and results that demonstrate our operational and financial momentum, despite industry challenges and the distractions posed by our Chapter 11 proceedings.  Normalizing those results for $4.8 million of write-offs related to United States Traffic Network’s well-publicized financial problems, our Adjusted EBITDA grew in the quarter by 5.5%.  Looking forward, we are excited about the potential of our digital products, improved pricing, and inventory management across the entire platform and our young but fast-growing podcasting business to supplement the performance of our core business.  These growth drivers, combined with our continued focus on operating fundamentals, our reduced debt load, our ability to generate significant free cash flow, and our renewed focus on optimization of our portfolio of assets, position us well to build substantial shareholder value in the quarters and years to come.”

Cumulus Signs Traffic Deal with TTWN. On the same day it announces its second quarter financials and references the $4.8 million write-off related to its deal with United States Traffic NetworkCumulus announces its new deal with iHeartMedia-owned Total Traffic & Weather Network to be the exclusive provider of traffic content.  This is an addition to the existing deal for TTWN to provide weather content.  TTWN will provide real-time traffic reports and data to Cumulus’ 441 radio stations nationwide.  Additionally, TTWN’s 24/7 News division will provide news support, including anchored news and reporting services.

Quinn & Rose Back on Pittsburgh Airwaves. The Pittsburgh radio duo “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Somma-Tennant – is returning to the air in the Steel City, this time on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH “ESPN Pittsburgh” on September 24.  The two enjoyed a long stint on the company’s former Pittsburgh FM news/talk WPGB (now country music) but exited the station in 2013.  The two have worked separately since then on various platforms.  Their show on WBGG will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am daily.

New Boston Operations Center for iHeartMedia.  The photos above are of the new studios and offices of iHeartMedia in Boston.  At left is a lounge area outside an on-air studio and at right is a portion of the all-news WBZ-AM newsroom.  It’s a 43,000-plus square foot state-of-the-art facility that also includes news/talk WRKO-AM, talk WXKS-AM, and seven music outlets.  iHeartMedia says the “innovative space is designed to invoke collaboration and to embody the iHeartMedia brand.  In addition to cutting-edge design elements, the studios will feature digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Boston community.”  The facility was designed by Michael Beneville.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball teams. As the 2018 season unfolds, see how the 6+ weekly AQH shares of flagship stations are affected. Among some of the comparisons presented are flagship stations ratings fluctuations from June 2018 to July 2018 as well as from July 2017 to July 2018.  Based on July 2018 PPM data, flagships with the largest market shares (6+) are: WLW, Cincinnati (Reds); WTMJ, Milwaukee (Brewers); and KMOX, St. Louis (Cardinals). See the entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio icon Mike North is the subject of a new film being developed by Chicagoans Jeremy Morrison and Adam Rifkin.  The biopic of the hot dog vendor-turned sports talk radio giant is set for production in 2019…..It may seem elementary to industry insiders but the how and why of the appeal of sports talk radio to male consumers is the focus of a recent piece in The New York Times.  Writer Jason Notte speaks with representatives of ESPN Audio and Entercom, as well as marketers who’ve had success advertising on sports talk radio.  That includes a law firm specializing in divorce that’s been a regular advertiser on Portland, Oregon’s three sports talk stations.  Read the piece here…..Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is moving into new studios in Chevy Chase, Maryland in December or January.  According to a piece in Bethesda Magazine, the new location at 5425 Wisconsin Ave. on Wisconsin Circle is just over the Washington, DC line in Maryland.  The Hubbard Radio all-news station has been at its current Idaho Ave. location since 1989.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Security Clearance Strategy, Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, Manafort Trial/Expected Cohen Charges, Asia Argento Sexual Assault Payoff, MTV VMA Awards/Aretha Franklin Tributes, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s removal of security clearances from his critics; the Pennsylvania Catholic Church sexual assault scandal; the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the likelihood of charges being filed against Michael Cohen; Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff to a young man for alleged sexual assault; the MTV VMA awards show and the related Aretha Franklin tributes; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charese Fruge is joining Radio One to serve as the format captain for CHR for the company and to program hit radio stations WNOW-FM, Indianapolis “Radio Now 100.9” and KROI, Houston “Radio Now 92.1.”  Her most recent radio gig was with CBS RADIO as PD for then-CHR KKHH, Houston and sister hot AC KHMX.  Fruge will be based in Indianapolis…..On-air pro Jenny D is the new morning drive personality on Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver, effective September 4.  She joins current morning star Sean Henry on the wake-up show.  Bonneville Denver vice president and general manager Bob Call says, “We have had our eye on Jenny ever since she interned with KYGO a decade ago. Listeners adore her as she brings the real-life experiences of being a wife and a mom to the radio every morning.  Denver is home for Jenny and we are excited she is making the jump up the dial to KOSI.”…..Air personality Nikki Preston returns to her radio roots as the midday personality on Inland Empire Broadcasting’s rock KCAL-FM, Riverside.  She launched her career as a morning show producer at the company’s classic hits outlet KOLA-FM.  She says, “I am super amped to be back rockin’ the Inland Empire and getting the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented group of people.”  At the same time, the station promotes promotion director and part-time air personality Brandon “4orty” Kessel to co-host of the “Tons of Rock in the Morning” show with host Patrick Tish.  Kessel is also adding music director duties and will assist with other programming responsibilities…..In Akron, Ken Steel is promoted to program director for Rubber City Radio’s country WQMX.  Steel is also afternoon drive personality and he assumes the PD role from Sue Wilson who exited at the end of June…..Midwest Communications brings Aaron Santini aboard as operations manager for its Evansville, Indiana cluster that includes country WLFW, rock WABX, adult contemporary WIKY, and CHR WSTO. He was most recently serving with CHR WKHQ.  He says, “I cannot overstate how excited I am to be joining the Midwest Communications family.  I want to thank VP/MM Tim Huelsing and VP programming Jeff McCarthy for allowing me the privilege of stepping into the OM role at such an amazing cluster.  I’m looking forward to working with the incredible team already in place in Evansville.”…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated CHR program “The Kane Show” announces the launch of three new podcasts. They are: “The Kane Show’s Last Resort” in which the cast expands upon what went down during the show.  It’s where everyone shares a little bit more into their personal lives and gives a final say on what they talk about; “The Kane Show Remix” is everything that happened in the past week smashed into one; and “The Kane Show Presents: Ghosted” in which the cast helps listeners figure out why they got “ghosted” in their relationship by reuniting couples and letting them share their side of the story to set the record straight, once and for all.

Monday, April 30, 2018

| April 30, 2018

Conservative News/Talk Radio Takes on the White House Correspondents Dinner.  While listeners of news/talk radio were venting about what they overwhelmingly saw as unnecessary attacks on President Trump’s administration – most especially comedian Michelle Wolf’s targeting of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner, some news/talk radio industry players were also making their thoughts about the evening’s program known.  WABC, New York news and talk personality Rita Cosby attended the event.  (She’s seen above with Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a WHCD party and below with Kellyanne Conway at the event itself) Cosby tells TALKERS magazine that she’ll be offering her take to WABC listeners on the “Curtis and Cosby” show today.  Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup shares the letter he penned to Bloomberg White House correspondent and White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev:

Hi, Margaret…and congratulations!

 After viewing the disgraceful White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday—and your refusal on CNN this morning to denounce “comedian” Michelle Wolf and the mortifying, obscenity-laced attacks she directed at White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders,  White House counselor KellyAnne Conway and other Trump Administration officials in attendance last evening…you have actually achieved what I had always thought impossible: displaying less professional journalism and more outrageous bias than even The Associated Press.  An astonishing accomplishment.

 Given the fact that you, personally, invited the vile Michelle Wolf as the evening’s entertainment…and that rather than booing or leaving,  members of your Association were seen on television guffawing over an onslaught of stupid “pussy” references, lame jokes about President Trump’s performance in bed, the suggestion that President Trump’s daughter is “full of shit” and sophomoric F-bombs for nearly 20 minutes…I hope President Trump never attends another White house Correspondents Dinner.

 I know I won’t.

 Tom Tradup

iHeartMedia Files Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.  This Saturday (4/28) filing in iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization lays out the current plan for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.  The Disclosure Statement states, in part, that “the proposed Plan achieves a value-maximizing restructuring that comprehensively addresses the Debtors’ funded debt obligations and positions their businesses for continued growth and long-term success.  As a result of extensive negotiations with groups representing their primary stakeholders, the Debtors entered into a restructuring support agreement on March 16, 2018.  As a result, the transactions embodied by the Plan enjoy the support of Holders of nearly $12 billion of outstanding debt obligations across the Debtors’ capital structure (including outstanding indebtedness held by the Debtors and their Affiliates), as well as the Debtors’ equity sponsors.  The Plan will reduce the Debtors’ funded debt by nearly two-thirds – approximately $10.3 billion – and will result in the separation of the iHeart business and CCOH businesses through either a Tax-Free Separation or a Taxable Separation (the ‘CCOH Separation’).”…Reorganized iHeart will emerge from chapter 11 with New Secured Debt of $5.75 billion that will be secured by substantially all assets of Reorganized iHeart with a 5 – 7 year maturity, as well as a new ABL facility that will, among other things, provide working capital and fund distributions under the Plan; Senior Creditors collectively will share, in the manner described in detail below, in (i) 100% of iHeart’s equity interests in CCOH (as separated from iHeart), (ii) $5.55 billion of the New Secured Debt, (iii) all Excess Cash, and (iv) 94% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; Holders of Unsecured Debt Claims will receive their Pro Rata share of (i) $200 million of the New Secured Debt and (ii) 5% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; and Holders of iHeart Interests will receive 1% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk.  In this final analysis of Nielsen’s March 2018 PPM survey, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the 6+ performances of news/talk stations.  iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego and Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis each record 6+ AQH share increases of more than half a share (+0.8 and +0.6, respectively) from the February 2018 survey.  This during a period when only 34% of news/talk stations saw ratings increases. WIBC (+1.8) was one of five stations to see a year-over-year (March 2017 to March 2018) increase of more than one full share.  Others were: iHeartMedia’s hot talk WTKS-FM, Orlando (+1.6); Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (1.3); and iHeartMedia news/talkers KTLK, Minneapolis (+1.0); and WHJJ, Providence (+1.0).  During Nielsen’s March PPM survey, only two news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Russo and Rosen Appointed to Executive Posts at Entercom’s Radio.com.  The moves signal what Entercom is calling its “renewed commitment and strategic shift” regarding the Radio.com platform.  Critics say that CBS’s focus on TV and video allowed the digital audio platform Radio.com to languish under its watch.  Now, new owner Entercom is bringing aboard Pamela Russo as SVP and general manager and Christopher Rosen as editorial director.  Russo will report to Entercom EVP of digital JD Crowley, who says, “This is an exciting time for Radio.com.  We welcome both Pam and Chris’s expertise as we accelerate our strategy to make Radio.com a daily habit for the millions of fans across our family of brands, entertaining and informing users with spoken-word audio, curated music and premium editorial.”  Russo joins Entercom from Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.) where she led digital strategy and operations for the company’s portfolio of entertainment, travel and luxury brands, including People.com, EntertainmentWeekly.com, TravelandLeisure.com and Departures.com, among others.  Rosen is being charged with leading the content development, editorial and video strategy for Radio.com, overseeing content teams in New York and Philadelphia. The company says that “working alongside Entercom programming executives Jeff Sotolano and Liana Huth, Rosen will focus on developing exclusive and original national content for Radio.com’s national platform and portfolio of stations, while also working with local markets to surface their best content for national audiences.”  Rosen joins Entercom from Entertainment Weekly, where he served as executive editor for the brand’s digital properties.

Michael Harrison Says Advertiser Boycotts Infringe Upon the Spirit of the First Amendment, If Not Its Letter.  During a provocative conversation Friday evening (4/27) about advertiser boycotts being waged against the hosts of talk radio and television commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham by their political critics, RT America “The Big Picture” host Holland Cooke asked TALKERS founder Michael Harrison if this practice infringes upon Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Cooke suggested that boycotts are also an expression of free speech.  Harrison agreed, but only to a point stating, “The First Amendment guarantees you not to be censored by the government, with a few limitations here and there, but basically the First Amendment gives you free speech separate from government control and government censorship.  It doesn’t provide you with a soap box and it doesn’t guarantee that other people can’t express their free speech rights in protest of what you said.  So, the boycotts are a form of free speech – however, because commercial media today is so dependent on advertising revenue as its life blood, boycotts may not be an infringement of the letter of the First Amendment but they certainly are an infringement of the spirit of the First Amendment.”  Harrison continued, “It’s hitting below the belt…it’s part of the game but it’s playing very dirty and it does threaten free speech in America because so many of our vehicles of free speech are dependent upon advertising.”  To see the entire segment of Friday’s conversation, please click here.

WFAN-AM/FM, New York Keeps ‘CMB’ for Early Afternoons.  With the return of Mike Francesa to the WFAN-AM/FM, New York “The Fan” program schedule tomorrow, the Entercom station announces the new program lineup. Current 2:00 pm to 6:30 PM hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott – “CMB” – remain with the station hosting the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. An hour is cut off the “Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts” program (now heard 10:00 am to 1:00 pm), and Francesa’s “Mike On” show airs from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.  Prior to Francesa’s December departure from WFAN, his show aired daily from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

Price: All I Learned About Resilience I Learned from ABBA.  Business continuity expert Howard B. Price writes today to explain that all he’s learned about dealing as a broadcaster with the challenges of natural disasters and made-made calamities he learned from the pop supergroup ABBA.   The former, longtime ABC news and technology & operations director of business continuity and crisis management says that within the titles of the group’s iconic songs lie the “inspiration and guidance for every resilience practitioner who aspires to rock-star status in the craft.”  Read his piece here.

Michiana’s WTRC Raises $174,000 for Five Star Life. Pictured above is the staff of WTRC, Niles, Michigan “95.3 MNC” celebrating the $174,100 grand total raised recently during the radiothon to benefit Five Star Life – an organization that teaches middle-school children five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, and courage in after-school programs.  This is the eighth year that the Pathfinder Communications news/talk station has raised funds for Five Star Life.

TALKERS News Notes.  Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur is joining Dickey Broadcasting Company’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan” for a regular Tuesday appearance on the late morning show with Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino.   WCNN general manager David Dickey says, “I’m excited that Jeff will continue to help ‘The Fan’ provide Braves fans with the best coverage and most in-depth analysis of the Atlanta Braves.  And we are thrilled that Jeff will continue to be an important member of the Dickey Broadcasting Company family…both in prime-time and in game-time content.”…..The NAB Education Foundation announces the election of six new members of the NABEF board of directors.  They are: Graham Media Group’s Emily Barr, Cox Media Group’s Kim Guthrie, Sinclair Broadcasting’s Rebecca Hanson, Univision Communications Inc.’s Rosemary Mercedes, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting’s Kevin Perry and NBCUniversal’s Craig Robinson.  The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to “serving broadcasters and the public interest by supporting and advocating community service, diversity, education and broadcasting issues and trends.”…..Wishes for a speedy recovery go out to New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella who recently underwent emergency surgery for acute diverticulitis.  Rotella says that although there were complications, he’s on the mend and expects to be back working from his home office by next week…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle hosted the quarterly “Freedom Series” debate on April 24, this time addressing the issue, “Guns and Our Children.”  The station says the intent of the live community discussion “was to give the public an opportunity to talk through and find common ground on what’s normally a polarizing issue.  The two-hour panel event was hosted at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in front of a sold-out audience of more than 600 people.  Pictured below (photo courtesy of Ashten Linkhart) The panel featured KTTH hosts Jason Rantz (far right) and Todd Herman (second from right), King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht (center), and KIRO-FM morning host Dave Ross (second from left).  KCPQ-TV, Seattle reporter Brandi Kruse (left) served as the moderator.   Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Dave Pridemore says, “Through the ‘KTTH Freedom Series’ events, it is our hope to help our communities work through the issues that are important to them, especially issues that directly affect their families.  I was proud of how the station respectfully addressed this timely and highly emotional topic.  It was clear from the size of the audience, as well as their passion for the station, our KTTH hosts are connecting with our listeners about these matters on a daily basis.”

White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump Threatens Government Shutdown/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Sprint and T-Mobile Announce Merger, Texas Voter ID Ruling, Pompeo Confirmed as Secretary of State, MLB Action and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The flap over Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner; President Trump’s threat to let the federal government close in September if he doesn’t get funding for the Mexico wall, along with the related issue of “caravan asylum seekers” at the border; T-Mobile and Sprint announce plans to merge; a federal panel of judges rules Texas voter ID law does not violate rights of blacks and Hispanics; Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State; the weekend’s MLB action and NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At San Francisco hip hop outlet KRBQ “Q102.1,”Entercom promotes midday personality and music director Billy Vidal to program director.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz, says, “Billy has a great understanding of this format and, more importantly, the Bay Area market.  I have no doubt he will excel in his new role and will continue the upward trajectory of ‘Q102.1.’”  Vidal has been with the station for the past three years.  He rose to music director in June of 2017…..Alpha Media appoints Dave Numme content director for classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Numme was most recently serving with Hubbard Radio in Seattle.  He previously worked in the Bay Area as program director for KITS, San Francisco and was vice president of rock/alternative formats for CBS RADIO.  Alpha Media San Jose market manager Lori Heeren comments, “I am honored to be able to work with someone with Dave’s breadth of experience in radio and the Bay Area.  He’s a perfect fit for our team in Silicon Valley!”…..Gene “Bean” Baxter returned to the air on Entercom’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles on the “Kevin & Bean” show after more than a month off to deal with an undisclosed medical issue.  Stryker had been sitting in on the morning show and returns to his afternoon drive show…..At the same time as Cox Media Group’s WPYO “Power 95.3” shifts from hip hop to CHR, operations manager and WPYO program director Steve DeMann exits…..Neuhoff Media brings Miggy Santos to Illinois to program CHR WSOY-FM, Decatur “Y103” and rhythmic CHR WWHX, Bloomington “Hits 100.7.”  Neuhoff VP/programming Mike Shamus says, “Miggy brings experience and energy to a new concept for us. We’ve developed a special brand in the Twin Cities, Miggy has experience in winning with these types of projects. We’re excited to have him on our team.”

Friday, March 30, 2018

| March 30, 2018

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City’s Doug Wright Wrapping Daily Radio Show.  After a 40-year career at Bonneville’s heritage news/talk KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City, Doug Wright is stepping away from his daily late morning show duties.  The station says Wright will continue at the station as a special news consultant and correspondent, providing insight and commentary on top news stories for both KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  He’ll also continue to host the popular and long-running “KSL Movie Show” on Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Station GM Tanya Vea says, “Doug Wright is synonymous with KSL.  His show is the place where thought leaders go to talk and tune in to listen.  Doug’s insights and interviews have made a significant impact in this state.  He is an irreplaceable part of the KSL legacy.”  KSL is filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart with the new “Dave and Dujanovic” program.  The talk show, currently airs at night, hosted by longtime KSL-TV investigative reporter Debbie Dujanovic and former news and sports producer Dave Noriega.  Dujanovic says, “It’s impossible to fill Doug’s shoes.  However, we’ll emulate Doug by doing our best to be inclusive, understanding, and most importantly – by bringing to light the issues affecting Utahns the most.”  For two months beginning Monday, April 2, KSL will introduce “Dave and Dujanovic” Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon following a two-hour Doug Wright show.  Then, after Doug’s 40th anniversary and last daily show on Friday, June 1, “Dave and Dujanovic” will expand to a full three hours.

Status of KEGY, San Diego’s Kevin Klein Show Unclear.  The new morning drive show on Entercom’s recently flipped sports/hot talk hybrid “97.3 The Machine” starring Kevin Klein was supposed to launch yesterday – opening day for the San Diego Padres.  But, after Klein’s ill-advised promotional Tweet that got serious blowback for being insensitive to suicide, his show did not debut after all.  If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that the San Diego Padres were incensed about their new flagship station’s morning show promo and alluded to being concerned about the general tenor of the station in a recent piece in the San Diego Union Tribune.  The station has not publicly addressed the matter – other than issuing Klein’s profuse apology for the lapse in judgement.  It’s a safe bet that Entercom and the Padres are in serious talks about how to move forward and Klein’s status may be a part of that discussion.

Trump-Russia Investigation and Diplomatic Expulsions Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The ongoing investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the diplomatic expulsions by Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. ties for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Stormy Daniels litigation and her ‘60 Minutes’ interview.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s rising approval rating, followed by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ op-ed opinion calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

PBS NewsHour’s Steve Goldbloom Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  He is a writer, producer, filmmaker and performer known for creating “Brief but Spectacular,” the weekly interview series for “PBS NewsHour.”   Steve Goldbloom is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne weekly series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Goldbloom is a young, multi-media practitioner who has developed several comedy series for digital platforms, including “Everything But The News” for PBS and “On The Brink Of Greatness” for AOL.  He has also contributed to the “PBS NewsHour” as a special correspondent in addition to his work on “Brief but Spectacular.”  Thirty-four-year-old Goldbloom also serves as host of the weekly PodcastOne series “Forbes Under 30.”  In this important program, produced in conjunction with Forbes magazine, he talks to outstanding entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who are shaking things up and creating disruption in the new digital marketplace of the 21st century.  Harrison and Goldbloom talk about this exciting new business arena as well as the ambitious young people who are fueling its dynamics.  They delve into the fascinating characteristics of the Millennial generation.  To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

NAB Names Officers for Radio Board. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of the 2018 NAB Radio and Television Board elections.  These are two-year terms and they begin in June.  NAB Radio Board members are (* denotes new member): Hartley Adkins, president of integrated revenue strategy, iHeartMedia; David Bevins, chief operating officer, Connoisseur Media; *Justin Chase, executive vice president of programming, Beasley Media Group; Larry Fuss, president, South Seas Broadcasting; Kim Guthrie, president, Cox Media Group; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; *Dhruv Prasad, co-chief executive officer; Townsquare Media; Tony Richards, vice president, Federated Media; Tom Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting; Jim Watkins, general manager, WHUR-FM, Washington; and *John Zimmer, president, Zimmer Radio.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports that because of “specific safety and security concerns,” the WGCI-sponsored “TakeOver Jam” concert at the Chicago Theater was cancelled abruptly before it was to happen last night.  The event was to be a third anniversary celebration for morning show team Kyle Santillian, Kendra Gilliams, and Leon Rogers.  The public was not made aware of what the specific safetly concerns were, but theater owner Madison Square Garden Entertainment made the announcement hours before showtime…..Toledo radio personality Tricia Courtney Tischler is exiting her role on the Denny Schaffer show on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WQQO, Toledo “Q 105.5.”  Tischler is leaving the show to spend more time with her family but she acknowledges that she set out to prove she could still do her radio work every day after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  She’s been with the Denny Schaffer show since Schaffer’s return to the Toledo radio scene in September of 2014…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis’ hot AC WARH “106.5 The Arch” and WIL “New Country 92.3” teamed with CBS’ KMOV-TV to hold a 12-hour radio telethon yesterday (3/29) and raised more than $136,000 for Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Ryan Seacrest Accuser Files Police Report.  Former Ryan Seacrest hair stylist Suzy Hardy says she’s not going away and has taken her sexual harassment claims against radio and television superstar Ryan Seacrest to the police.  Hardy says she was fired by NBC after an investigation by the network into her allegations that concluded there was no evidence to support her accusations.  NBC contends her contract ended when Seacrest’s work at “E! News” wrapped.  Seacrest maintains his innocence.  You can read Hardy’s The Hollywood Reporter piece (with NBC’s statement) here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  More than 60% of classic rock stations saw their 6+ AQH share go up from the January 2018 survey to the February 2018 survey.  Thirty percent were down and 9% remained flat.  Comparing February 2017 to February 2018, 58% of stations were up whereas 40% declined.  Just three classic rock stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in February – iHeartMedia’s KZPS, Dallas “Lone Star 92.5”; Entercom’s KSEG, Sacramento “Eagle 96.9”; and Cumulus Media’s KCFX, Kansas City “101 The Fox” all landed on top.  Fifteen other classic rock outlets finished in the top five in their respective PPM markets.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

| March 28, 2018

MLB’s Padres Critical of Flagship Morning Host’s ‘Insensitive’ Tweet. On-air pro Kevin Klein begins his new gig as morning drive host at Entercom’s sports/hot talk KEGY, San Diego “97.3 FM The Machine” tomorrow, but he’s already irked the San Diego Padres and some of the general public with his Tweet promoting his new show.  The Tweet used an image of the Coronado bridge (with its history as a site of numerous suicides) and the text “JUMP! To a new morning show.”  The Padres – whose games emanate from KEGY as flagship station – among others, complained about the “insensitive and completely unacceptable” nature of the Tweet.  Klein removed the offending images and apologized for his error in judgement, writing, “I’d like to sincerely apologize to San Diego and listeners of 97.3 for a distasteful and insensitive social media post…The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable.  I’ve failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good-natured laughs when I go on the air on Thursday morning.  Once again, I apologize to all the listeners and the city of San Diego.”

Report Indicates Padres “Evaluating” Relationship with KEGY.  Apparently, it’s not just the above-mentioned Tweet snafu, but the MLB club is not thrilled with the station’s overall programming philosophy.  The San Diego Union Tribune’s Bryce Miller reports that Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler has issues with the programming tenor on the team’s flagship radio station.  “We’re going to get through this first home stand, then sit down and evaluate it.  We’re going to assess our legal obligations.  We just want a good radio partner that’s not offensive to the community.”  He also called the programming since the station flipped “almost shock-jock radio” and “not what we intended to be involved in.”  No doubt Entercom is working hard to save this relationship as the cume that baseball is likely to bring to the station is crucial to its successful launch.   Stay tuned.

PPM Analysis: Sports TalkTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  As the sports world moved into the post-NFL portion of the calendar, sports talk stations took a hit to their AQH share.  Only 9% of sports talkers saw their 6+ numbers go up, while almost 70% suffered a decrease compared to the January 2018 survey.  But, year-over-year comparisons show about half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ shares increase from February 2017.  Just one station – Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles flagship WIP, Philadelphia – ranked #1 in its respective market; and just one other – New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM, Boston (#3) – ranked in the top five.  See Kinosian’s whole report here.

Cumulus to Place Four FMs in Divestiture Trust.  In its latest FCC filing, Cumulus Media reveals, among numerous other things, that it will divest of four FM stations in markets where it is currently over the FCC’s ownership limits.  The company says that it currently holds a grandfathered attributable interest in more radio stations than is permitted under the Commission’s local radio ownership rules in the Albany, Georgia; Columbia, Missouri; Green Bay; and Toledo markets.   Cumulus is therefore filing an application with the FCC to assign the licenses of country WNUQ-FM, Albany; classic hits KJMO-FM, Linn, Missouri; country WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin; and sports talk WTOD-FM, Toledo.

Craig Carton to Launch Daily Show on FNTSY Sports Network.  Former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton is starting a daily program on SportsGrid’s FNTSY Sports Radio Network tomorrow (3/29).  The “Carton and Friends” streaming program will air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm via TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and others.  FNTSY calls the show “innovative, irreverent, entertaining, compelling and a must listen…Craig and his group of celebrity friends together with a fresh group of off the wall real-life characters broadcasting live from Studio 34 in heart of Manhattan.”  Carton is in a legal battle with the Feds after being charged with fraud in connection with an alleged concert tickets Ponzi scheme.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that sports personality Dan Patrick is not going to return to NBC’s “Football Night in America” program.  He says he is going to renew his deal with AT&T/DirecTV – the TV show that is simulcast for radio and syndicated by FOX Sports Radio.  Patrick says he was offered a new, five-year deal to continue with the NBC TV show but says he wasn’t sure he wanted to commit to the program for that long…..The new host of the Public Radio International-syndicated, New York Public Radio-produced talk program “The Takeaway” is Tanzina Vega.  The CNN news pro is taking over the permanent position from longtime host John Hockenberry, who left in December after allegations of inappropriate behavior.  Todd Zwillich has been hosting the show in the interim.  Vega begins on May 7.  NYPR president and CEO Laura Walker states, “At this critical moment in our nation’s history, when America is so polarized, public media has an opportunity and a mandate to bring people together to debate, discuss, and share experiences and perspectives that have been buried for too long.  With her deep expertise unpacking tough subjects with thoughtful insight and analysis, Tanzina is the perfect person to lead this urgent national conversation.”…..ABC Radio promotes Josh Cohan to the manager of digital audio position.  ABC News vice president and general manager Steve Jones says, “In his new role, Josh will help lead our expansion of podcasts and other programming across digital audio platforms while continuing to play an important role in our newsroom operations and editorial.”…..iHeartMedia Albany’s sports talker WOFX-AM “FOX Sports 980” renews its deal to serve as the market’s affiliate station for Boston Red Sox baseball through the 2020 season.  “FOX Sports 980” has aired Sox games since 2012…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that Paul Capodanno joins the firm as vice president of marketing and digital.  In the past, Capodanno has served with Zimmerman Advertising where he worked on major campaigns including: Office Depot, Party City, Michaels, and AutoNation…..Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz announces that Emmy Award-winning NBC News executive Mark Lukasiewicz is appointed dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.  The school says that Lukasiewicz brings “deep experience as a broadcast journalist, production executive and transformational newsroom leader known for his innovative methods of integrating digital media and traditional television platforms.”  He begins July 1.

Mark Simone Welcomes Geraldo Rivera.  710 WOR, New York midday personality Mark Simone (right) poses for a pic with news and talk legend Geraldo Rivera (left) in the iHeartMedia New York studios.  Rivera appeared on Simone’s show to kick off his book tour for The Geraldo Show: A Memoir (2018, BenBalla Books).

Trump-Russia Investigation, Justice Stevens Calls for Second Amendment Repeal, 2020 Census Citizenship Flap, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, Kim Jong Un in China, Stephon Clark Shooting Death Protests, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the controversy over the questions about one’s citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census; the tensions between California and certain of its cities over sanctuary policies; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visits China; the protests in Sacramento over the police shooting death of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; Thursday’s MLB season openers; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Longtime Detroit TV newsman Stephen Clark is tapped for the new morning show on Entercom’s classic hits WOMC.  The company says the new show debuts on Monday (4/2) with Clark and a co-host to be revealed on Thursday, April 5.  Clark recently retired from WXYZ-TV after 16 years as anchor of the 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts.  But, he was a disc jockey and radio reporter before moving into TV.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Stephen is an integral part of the fabric of Detroit and we are thrilled to have him open this new chapter in the station’s rich heritage.  Stephen’s connection with our local community, his personality and love of music make him a great fit to take the helm of the new WOMC morning show.”…..On-air pro Chad Pitt (left) is joining iHeartMedia’s WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107-7” as co-host of the “Magic Morning Show,” effective April 2.  Pitt will work on air with incumbent personality Leslye (right).  Station PD Brian Mack says, “Although, nothing will replace our beloved John Forsythe when he embarks on his well-deserved retirement after 50 years of radio, we can take solace in reunification with an old friend.”  Pitt returns to iHM Orlando after working on air in markets including Memphis, Tampa, and Houston…..Envision Networks’ “The Country Oldies Show with host Steve Warren” is added to the program schedule at WJJM, Lewisburg, Tennessee.  “The Country Oldies Show” features a half-century of the greatest country hits from the 1950s to the 1990s.  Warren has been the host and producer of the program since its inception…..Milwaukee Public Schools-owned non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” is unveiling the grant and educational initiative “Backline” designed “to help Milwaukee musicians succeed, establish Milwaukee’s reputation as an emerging music city, and help Milwaukee companies attract and retain young employees.”  The station is working with business accelerator gener8tor.  “Backline” will recruit four Milwaukee area musicians or bands for its first 12-week session this summer, modeled on gener8tor’s nationally ranked business start-up accelerator.  Selected musicians and groups will be eligible to receive grants of $20,000 for financial support and initiatives identified through the accelerator process, such as recording, promotion and touring…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the Daytime Village at the iHeartCountry Festival on Saturday, May 5 will feature live performances by: Luke Combs, Brett Young, Lauren Alaina, Dylan Scott, and Danielle Bradbery.