Monday Memo: Podcasting’s Prime Time. Once a hobbyist platform, on-demand audio now features the biggest stars, delivers advertisers ears and analytics they can’t get elsewhere, and pairs listeners and content creators like no other medium. In this week’s column, Holland Cooke summarizes the keynote Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff delivered during the CNBC Evolve webcast “The Evolution of Content and Consumption.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Time for a Skills Inventory. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa – president of Lapcom Communications Corp – writes today that year-end is a good time for radio sellers to take inventory of their sales skills and make sure they match up with the pandemic-influenced restrictions and technology-requisite times in which we’ll be working in 2021. Read more here.
Dom Giordano to Be Honored by the Zionist Organization of America. WPHT, Philadelphia 9:00 am – 12:00 noon host Dom Giordano will be honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization, for “his patriotism, friendship to the Jewish community, support for Israel and honest commentary about the Middle East” on his show. Giordano will be one of eight people nationwide recognized as “Zionist Spotlights” as part of ZOA’s Virtual 2020 National Superstar Gala. The Gala, taking place on Sunday, December 27, at 7:00 pm ET can be seen (live and on demand) at zoavirtualgala.com. Attorney and legal icon Allen L. Rothenberg is the other honoree representing the Greater Philadelphia Region. The event will also feature Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, hip-hop artist Ice Cube, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, physician and philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, ZOA national president Morton Klein and more. Giordano – a former school teacher who is nationally recognized as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio and a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – received the Greater Philadelphia ZOA’s 2011 Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism/Man of the Year at the annual Gala that year.
ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York Moving DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg to AM Drive. As reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is going local in morning drive on sports talk WEPN-FM, New York for the first time. In January, the Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty & Dave Rothenberg program moves from its current 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot to the 5:00 am to 8:00 am slot with the ESPN Radio nationally syndicated “Keyshawn, ZWill & Zubin” show airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. These changes come as ESPN tweaks the national lineup in preparation of the departure of Dan Le Batard in January. On WEPN-FM, “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by the “Bart [Scott] & [Alan] Hahn” show that’s now part of the national ESPN Radio lineup from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
Bernie Miklasz to Return to St. Louis Airwaves on KFNS-AM. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sports talk KFNS-FM, St. Louis is bringing former Post-Dispatch columnist and former crosstown WXOS-FM personality Bernie Miklasz aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Also, former KMOV-TV, St. Louis sports director Steve Savard will host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. John Hadley is operating the station while he and a group of investors work to buy the station from owner Randy Markel. Hadley admits that his acquisition of Miklasz’s and Savard’s talent was only possible because they both agreed to work for the “hometown discount.” Miklasz tells Caesar, “Unlike other potential employers who who tended to make promises they couldn’t keep, Hadley was realistic and honest about what they could do for me. The economy is bad, and I wasn’t looking to break the bank. But Hadley didn’t try to exploit the situation by making a ridiculous, low-ball offer. I was enthusiastic about working with him to reach a fair deal for both sides… The trust factor meant a lot to me… Local ownership appeals to me. Local ownership is investing more than money… The personal investment is meaningful.”
PPM Analysis: Four… Less… Years. News/talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets enjoyed improved ratings during the November 2020 survey – 68% of news/talk stations in that survey were up over the previous month’s survey – that coincided with the final month of the presidential campaign (October 8 to November 4). In today’s analysis, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian compares the performances of news/talk stations in the November 2020 survey with the same period during the last presidential election in 2016. He shows that 74% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up (6+, weekly AQH share) in the November 2020 survey compared to the same period in 2016. In fact, there were 10 news/talk stations that increased their AQH share by three full shares or more from the November 2016 survey to November 2020. Find out which stations accomplished that plus much more in Mike Kinosian’s piece here.
Former NFL Player George Wrighster Hosting Late Nights on Mad Dog Radio Channel. Former NFL tight end George Wrighster joins SiriusXM to host the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Night Cap” program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel, beginning tonight (12/7). Wrighster was drafted out of the University of Oregon in 2003. After his playing days, he transitioned into his second career as an entrepreneur/investor and sports media personality. He has hosted shows on radio and television for a number of networks including FOX Sports, ESPN, and KFWB and KLAC in Los Angeles. SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “With his experience both on the field and in the media, George brings an excellent and well-rounded perspective to the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel and we’re excited to have him deliver an engaging and entertaining show to our listeners on a nightly basis.”
UNUSUAL TALK MEDIA GUEST ALERT: Bob Kosch Is Back! Former mortgage banker, loan broker, tax lien investor, rock ‘n’ roller, and music/talk radio broadcaster Bob Kosch is back (after another prison stint) and available to do talk media interviews. If you’re looking for a change-of-pace type of special guest for your talk radio show, TV show, or podcast, check out this fascinating ex-con. Michael Harrison (a longtime friend of Kosch) describes Kosch as a “compellingly articulate, original, charming and informative larger-than-life character” who has no problem taking on a variety of subjects including the economy, commercial real estate, scams, the Donald Trump Era (he’s an outspoken Trump critic), prison reform, and pop music, among others. Bob Kosch is an ex-con with a plan that he says can save America from recession and move the economy forward. Experiencing corporal punishment by nuns at St. Anthony’s in Hawthorne, NJ as a child because of learning disabilities and left back in the 5th grade, he began engaging in deceptive behavior at an early age – all of which he talks about openly. He is an expert in mortgage law, focusing mainly in foreclosure and equitable subrogation. Kosch was charged with wire fraud by the U.S. Government in 1999. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison on September 12, 2001. His case brought to light Household Finance’s alleged predatory lending which ultimately led to that company’s demise. The most recent were charges by the State of New Jersey for theft-related offenses which he points out were fabricated by local prosecutors. The case was reversed, and charges vacated but Bob spent six years in prison during the process! While in State custody, Kosch was in charge of the Law Library at Northern State Prison and worked as “substitute counsel” in court line proceedings. In a particular case, he worked with the ACLU when a transgender inmate was brutally beaten by police and then charged with assault. He was successful in having her transferred to the Women’s Prison in Clinton, New Jersey – setting a precedent in the system and the state. He was instrumental in the enactment of a bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy to end Administrative Segregation arguing Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims. Since his release on November 1, 2020, he voluntarily continues to help others in custody who do not have the money to hire an attorney for appeals and post-conviction related matters. He just recently filed a “writ of coram nobis” in an immigration proceeding for an inmate subject to deportation. Bob Kosch can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned at 973-900-2831.
Beasley Media Group Promotes Tina Murley to VP of Corporate Sales. Boston director of sales Tina Murley is promoted to vice president of corporate sales for Beasley Media Group, effective immediately. Murley has been DOS at Beasley Boston since 2014 and will continue to be based in Boston. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing the traditional and integrated sales efforts on behalf of the entire company. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Tina brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as VP of corporate sales. Her positive attitude and commitment to excellence on behalf of our advertisers and the company made her the perfect choice to lead our company’s sales efforts into the future.”
Nate Dixon Named VP of Sales for Entercom St. Louis. Radio sales pro Nate Dixon joins Entercom’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets KMOX-AM and KFTK-FM and four music radio outlets. Dixon was most recently with Radio One’s St. Louis operations as station manager. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Nate has an incredible track record of performance, community outreach, and team building throughout his career in St. Louis. He is going to elevate our performance to new heights, and I look forward to him leading the way for our sales operation, turbo-charging revenue on all fronts.”
COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Giuliani Hospitalized, Lives vs Livelihood Debate, Trump Challenges Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and the Economy/Job Losses Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines in the U.K., and expectations for U.S. vaccine distribution; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is hospitalized with COVID-19; the lives-versus-livelihood debate as lockdown’s hit California; Trump’s continuing challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues building his administration; Georgia’s January U.S. Senate runoff elections and Sunday’s Loeffler–Warnock debate; and the state of the U.S. economy and the effects of job losses 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. It’ s going to be double duty for on-air pro Frank Ski who is joining Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” as morning host, effective February 1. Ski will continue to host the afternoon drive program at Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR, Washington, DC. In addition to his radio work, Ski is signed to a global publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for his catalogue of hip-hop, rap, gospel, and Baltimore club-music. WALR director of branding and programming Terri Avery says, “I’m thrilled to usher in this new era of ‘The Frank Ski Show’ on ‘KISS 104.1.’ Frank Ski is a proven leader and trusted voice in Atlanta’s African American community. We welcome Frank to the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.”…..Hubbard Radio announces that Fitz – host of KNUC, Seattle’s “Fitz In The Morning” show – will end his daily program in the next few weeks to focus his efforts on the nationally syndicated “Country Top 40” and the creation of new projects. Fitz says, “While I will dearly miss the daily interaction with my Seattle listeners, I’m truly excited to focus my attention on continuing the tradition of ‘CT40’ and bringing it into the next decade with fun, captivating new features, emotion, and remembering the stars of yesterday, while introducing the country stars of tomorrow.” KNUC brand/content director Scott Mahalick says, “We look forward to writing a new chapter for ‘98-9 The Bull’ next year and are working on plans now. We are glad to continue being the flagship radio station for ‘CT40’ with Fitz and look forward to him playing the hits for years to come.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Dawn Ostroff says “a lot of people recognize that this is the next big medium.” The former 20th Century Fox/Lifetime/UPN/CW/Condé Nast exec and TV and film producer is Spotify’s chief content officer & advertising business officer, and she keynoted the latest installment of CNBC’s Evolve webcast series: “The Evolution of Content & Consumption.”
BIA: Local Radio Advertising to Fall by 10.7% in 2020. Revising its beginning-of-the-year projection that U.S. local radio advertising revenue (consisting of AM/FM, digital, and streaming) would be $14.3 billion, BIA Advisory Services reports that projection to now be $12.8 billion – a decrease of 10.7%. BIA breaks it down this way: $11.4 billion is expected to come from over-the-air sales and $1.4 billion should come from digital sales. BIA says, “By comparison, in 2019 local radio stations generated $12.8 billion in over-the-air revenue and just over $1 billion in digital. This was a 1.6 % decrease in total revenue from 2018.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “In 2018, we projected that radio’s digital platforms would reach $1 billion by 2019 and last year the industry hit this mark. For 2020, our ad forecast shows that digital sales, including streaming, will stay steady. Then by 2021, Radio online revenue will start to climb back up again. On the over-the-air side, we see a bigger COVID hit, with a steep drop in 2020 and some recovery back by 2021.” What sectors will make up the bulk of radio’s revenue? BIA says the finance/insurance industry will make up $2 billion, retail will account for $1.97 billion, automotive will contribute $1.5 billion, and technology accounts for $1.3 billion. BIA explains, “These industries may benefit from the continuing shift in radio listening from the car to the home as at-home audio environment features give consumers multiple opportunities to consume promotions. Streaming has become a major growth opportunity for broadcasters to maintain existing audiences and attract new, younger listeners. BIA’s revenue estimate drops to $12.5 billion when streaming ad revenue is not included.”
Suit Challenges USAGM Exec Michael Pack’s Firing of Agency Organization Heads. In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Open Technology Fund and four individual members of its board of directors are asking the Court to declare null and void U.S. Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack’s recent firing of Open Technology Fund and news outlet leaders. The complaint argues that “Although funded by Congress through grants administered by the Agency, the four organizations targeted by Mr. Pack are not part of the government. Their employees are not government employees. They are private, nonprofit organizations with their own leadership and independent boards of directors. That is by design. Their mission, collectively, is to promote the free flow of information worldwide, especially in countries where authorities restrict freedom of expression. They do this through global efforts to combat online censorship and news broadcasts in 61 different languages, reaching 400 million people each day. But they can only be effective in countering disinformation and censorship if they are rightly perceived as independent, professional, and fact-driven—not as official mouthpieces for some partisan agenda.” Open Technology Fund chief Libby Liu tendered her resignation to take effect at the end of July but was terminated immediately by Peck. Also fired were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
Cumulus Closes on $74.1 million Bethesda Land Sale. The deal to sell a 75-acre parcel of land in Bethesda, Maryland to developers Toll Brothers has been in the works for some time and yesterday (6/24) Cumulus Media was finally able to announce the $74.1 million deal has closed. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion.” Net proceeds from the sale are expected to be $71.3 million after transaction fees and expenses. Cumulus anticipates achieving minor expense savings from the elimination of real estate taxes after the closing and does not expect any tax liability as it relates to the transaction. Net proceeds from the sale are required to be used to pay down debt, unless otherwise reinvested in the company’s business over the next 12 months.
PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today presenting part two of his look at cume changes for news/talk stations. In this report, Kinosian presents charts showing news/talk stations ranked from highest cume to lowest, cume increases from the April 2020 PPM survey to the May 2020 PPM survey, decreases from April to May, and a chart displaying the cume for all stations on our panel in the all-news, sports talk, and news/talk radio formats. See it all here.
COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Movement/Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, Seattle CHOP Situation, Second Stimulus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Flynn Charges Dismissed, Bubba Wallace Case, and MLB Season to Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The explosion of new COVID-19 cases in some states and projections of future cases and deaths; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the related move to take down statues of Confederate and Colonial-era statues; Seattle asks CHOP protesters to leave the area and local business consider suing the city; the debate over a possible second COVID-19 federal stimulus package; the world’s financial markets react to COVID-19 data; Democrat Joe Biden enjoys positive poll news in his race against Donald Trump; the DOJ officially dismisses the charges against Michael Flynn; the FBI concludes the Bubba Wallace “noose” incident was not a hate crime; and the MLB prepares to open on July 1 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Today (6/25) at 2:00 pm ET, Cumulus Media | Westwood One is presenting a live webinar to release “brand new insights and studies on the state of the American consumer.” Covered in today’s event will be: Just-released J.D. Power automotive sales data for the week ending June 21 indicating it was one of the strongest auto sales performance weeks for new sales; new “Share of Ear” data from Edison Research on the audience duplication between AM/FM radio and Pandora and Spotify; how advertising can help businesses recover and reopen using a powerful new visual from marketing pro Les Binet; and more…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” – syndicated nationally via Talk Shows USA – announces the addition of Free Fire Media’s KCNR-AM, Shasta/K243CT, Redding, California and WCJU Incorporated’s WCJU-AM, Columbia, Mississippi to its roster of affiliates…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-FM, Tulsa and KOKI-TV “FOX23” are partnering with the American Red Cross in a two-day “Red, White and You” Blood Drive today and tomorrow (6-25/26). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “This is one of our favorite events every year because it unifies our listeners in Green Country to work as a group to help people who live and work in their communities. Every pint donated to the American Red Cross can help save three lives. That’s a pretty impressive return on 30 minutes of your day.”
International Rock Musician/Impresario Leslie Mandoki Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Munich, Germany-based, Hungarian rocker Leslie Mandoki is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Mandoki is a seasoned professional forged by experience, passion and life, who is keeping the spirit and quality of the progressive, jazz rock era alive and well for generations old and new. His ensemble, MANDOKI SOULMATES, is a long-running loosely knit association of some of the greatest big-name musicians on the planet. Their brand-new release, “Living in the Gap & Hungarian Pictures,” is a double album that expresses their ideals of socially aware lyrics and complex musical arrangements – basic tenets of the progressive and jazz rock era. In his youth, Mandoki escaped from communist Hungary to West Germany where he built one of the finest studio complexes in Europe, produced and performed on records, became friends with a wide network of great musicians including the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and launched a progressive rock juggernaut. Countless gold and platinum records decorate his walls. He also wrote, produced, and performed the superb charity song dedicated to the heroes of the coronavirus titled #WeSayThankYou with Ian Anderson that has garnered positive attention on international radio and on YouTube. Harrison and Mandoki discuss the music, social issues and politics that make Leslie Mandoki a fascinating individual – largely unknown to Americans. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Entercom Partners with Analytics Firm Deep Root. In what Entercom calls part of its “commitment to data-driven capabilities,” the company announces a partnership with audience-powered analytics company Deep Root that will allow Entercom to offer advertisers expanded targeting options. Entercom says, “This partnership will enable agencies, advocacy groups, and political campaigns to identify and reach Deep Root’s custom voter audience segments when advertising throughout Entercom’s robust portfolio of broadcast and digital assets. This includes access to Deep Root’s issue advocacy and political audience segments such as swing voters, blue collar voters, and environmentalists.” Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney adds, “Expansive reach and national scale allow radio and digital audio to serve as a reliable platform for brands and political campaigns to reach engaged consumers. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to support these advertising partners with increased targeting to accomplish their specific goals. Partnering with Deep Root will allow us to better serve our trusted partners and enhance their capabilities when leveraging our audio assets to reach voters nationally and locally.”
New RAB ‘Open for Business’ Series Announced. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, a new Open for Business live-video series titled, “Getting Your Billing Back On Track,” hosted by RAB SVP of professional development Jeff Schmidt takes place on July 14 at 11:00 am ET (a repeat viewing is available July 16 at 4:00 pm ET. RAB says, “As businesses across the country are reopening, it is time for sellers to rebuild their selling strategy. In this live-video presentation, Schmidt will share proven tools and resources account executives and managers can utilize to increase stations’ revenue and income at their stations and radio companies.” Registration is free to RAB members. To register, click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated urban contemporary “The Deja Vu Show” adds five new affiliates including: KBXT-FM, Bryan, Texas; KISX-FM, Tyler, Texas; KSSM-FM, Waco, Texas; KMJI-FM, Texarkana, Texas; and WRKA-FM, Louisville. The WBLS-FM, New York based afternoon drive show is syndicated via ABC Audio, whose executive director of business strategy Heidi Oringer says, “Throughout her career, Deja has drawn high ratings in every market where she’s heard. We’re thrilled that in syndication ‘The Deja Vu Show’ followed suit and is experiencing the same level of success and rapid growth. Deja’s insightful content and her standout personality draw large, diverse audiences. We’re excited that stations are adding ‘The Deja Vu Show’ to their lineups and equally excited that she is so favored by advertisers as well.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network announces new affiliation deals with more great radio stations. Adding Tom Kent’s “Ultimate Party” is Midwest Communications classic hits WBOW, Terre Haute, Indiana; Draper Communications classic hits WTDK, Salisbury, Maryland adds “My 70s Show” and “Super 60s with Steve Kent”; and Delta Media’s urban AC KFXZ, Opelousas, Louisiana adds “Sweet Soul Weekend with Jeff Foxx.”