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Friday, October 2, 2020

| October 2, 2020

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 “Shut Up and Keep Talking!” looks back at this past week of September 28th – October 2nd, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Kevin Miller, talk show host, KIDO, Boise; Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkAndy Bloom, CEO, Andy Bloom Communications / contributor, Newsmax.com; John Catsimatidis, CEO, Red Apple Media / syndicated talk show host; “Cousin” Bruce Morrow, program host, WABC, New York; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer 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.

Michael Savage Announces He’ll Exit Radio in January to Focus on Podcasting. The talk radio star told his listeners on Wednesday (9/30) that he’ll be leaving his radio program effective in January. Michael Savage posted a Breitbart story about his announcement to his website and that piece says Savage will be heard exclusively on his “Savage Nation Podcast” on the Westwood One Podcast Network. However, other sources are reporting he’s splitting from Cumulus Media and Westwood One. Savage said on his radio show, “I cannot give you the reasons. I am constrained for legal reasons. You will no longer hear Michael Savage on radio anywhere in America.” Starting in 2019, Savage’s radio show was reduced from three hours to one – airing live from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. He also began his podcast that some radio stations aired as a radio show.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Adds Jon Jansen to Morning Show. The new morning drive show at Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is “Stoney and Jansen,” starring Mike Stone and Jon Jansen and featuring Heather Parks. Jamie Samuelsen co-hosted the morning show with Stone from August 2016 until his death on August 1. Jansen is a former University of Michigan and Detroit Lions football player and has been a frequent guest host on WXYT-FM as well as a personality on the station’s “Gameday Uncensored” weekly football show. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As Detroit’s number one sports talk station, we are excited to add Jon’s vast NFL knowledge to our incredible team. A native Detroiter who played for the University of Michigan and the Lions, Jon has distinct passion for the city’s football scene. Detroiters are really going to enjoy the chemistry that Jon has with Stoney as they tackle the biggest storylines in the Motor City and beyond.”

Round Three of September PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AHQ share data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM “FM News 101” adds one-tenth to finish the survey with a 6.0 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte also tacks on one-tenth to finish with a 6.0 share and rises to the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento was up one-tenth to an 8.1 share and that was good enough to push it into the #1 spot. After four straight down surveys, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City finished the September survey up one full share to post a 6.1 share and jumps into the #5 spot. Across town, iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM adds 1.2 shares to finish with a 7.3 share and climbs into the #2 spot. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway report here.

PodcastOne Beefs Up Sports Content. The PodcastOne SportsNet announces new and upcoming programming that includes a weekly podcast hosted by NFL great Michael Irvin and a new daily show called, “All Balls, All Sports” starring Adam Carolla and Jeff Cesario. Sports media personality Chris Myers recently debuted his “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris says, “Sports-related programming has done remarkably well on our network and this slate of premium sports shows from some of the greatest sports and comedic talent will serve both our audience and our advertisers.” The company says listenership to its sports-related programming has increased 14% in Q3 since the end of Q2 in calendar year 2020.

The Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Debate, and Mail-In Voting Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election, Tuesday’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, and the debate over mail-in voting tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of September 28 – October 2, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the issue of court-packing. Coming in at #3 was President Trump and Melania Trump testing positive for COVID-19 along with statistics about current infections and projections for future cases. 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Wednesday (10/7) is the lone 2020 Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. The debate will be moderated by USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page. SRN’s coverage begins at 8:06 pm ET with a special “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt who will be joined by special guests and feature an update from SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. After the debate, SRN will present a 30-minute wrap-up program…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Foxtopus Ink partner for Westwood One to distribute, market, and monetize Foxtopus’ existing and future podcasts. As part of the deal, popular science podcast “Wild Thing” moves to the Westwood One Podcast Network. “Wild Thing” – hosted by Laura Kratz – turns its gaze skyward in this second season. In “Wild Thing: Space Invaders,” Krantz examines the science, culture, and philosophy of a universe where we’re not alone and why the idea of alien life has abducted our imaginations…..Podcast network Ramble (a division of Cadence13 and part of Entercom’s Podcast Network) launches “Charli and Dixie: TWO CHIX,” a new weekly podcast hosted by sisters TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. The sisters have a combined social following of nearly 200 million and tens of billions of views on leading social media platforms…..Skyview Networks wrapped its third annual upfront this week – a celebration built on a virtual stage for an audience of top media agencies and network buyers. The theme of this year’s event was “Unrivaled Momentum” in which Skyview underscored its strong focus on growth and new initiatives saying, “Despite the economic and industry effects of the pandemic, Skyview continued to increase the strength of its sales portfolio, building its affiliate relationships from 5,700 to over 9,000 and reaching more than half of American listeners weekly. Loaded with some of the biggest names in entertainment, music and news, Skyview has set the tone for a powerful year ahead.”…..HealthyLife.net Radio Network is extending the reach of its programs by launching HRNradio.com – a platform “designed to be the place where positive people and podcasts unite with more than 2,400 timeless, entertaining talk programs curated from HealthyLife.net Radio’s cadre of seasoned hosts like Dr. Bernie Siegel, Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland and more.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.

Programming pro Tricia “TJ” Jenkins is named assistant brand and content director for Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM “KS95.” Station brand and content director Mat Mitchell says as part of her duties TJ will host the midday show and handle the traditional music director and APD roles. TJ was most recently co-host of Westwood One’s “Ty Bentli Show.” Previously she worked in the Twin Cities at Entercom’s KMNB-FM. Mitchell says, “There is a massive interest in this role at ‘KS95,’ and we talked to many talented people to champion the legacy of this brand. TJ immediately stood out to me as a personality who understands how to build companionship with the ‘KS95’ audience on-air, online, and in the Twin Cities community. TJ has the unique skills to collaborate with our record label partners, key clients, and I’m excited for her to join the Hubbard radio family!”…..Today, iHeartMedia’s KRRL, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” will present Big Boy and J Cruz hosting “A REAL Town Hall Meeting” for “serious conversations about issues that are important to the future of the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” KRRL says, “The special town hall meeting will be a no-holds-barred, unfiltered discussion on a variety of significant topics including the importance of voting in the upcoming election and the relationship between the police and the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” Also appearing on the show will be Van Jones, rapper Saweetie, attorney Benjamin Crump, sheriff Alex Villanueva, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia…..iHeartMedia Chicago’s WGRB “Inspiration 1390 Music of Power and Praise” is presenting “Praise In Place,” a virtual concert and celebration featuring gospel artists Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Jekalyn Carr, Melvin Crispell III, LeNasia Tyson and Selah Youth Choir of Saint Sabina via livestream on the station’s Facebook page tonight at 7:00 pm. The event is being hosted by WGRB personalities Sonya Blakey, Marcella Jones, Willie Moore Jr. and DeAndre Patterson. The station will also honor local nonprofits and community and faith leaders who have provided much-needed services to the Chicagoland community during the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

| September 30, 2020

Round One of September PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR is the only spoken-word commercial station to notch a sizable increase over its August weekly AHQ share number, rising a half share to finish with a 2.3 share and the #17 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacks on one-tenth to wrap the September survey with a 4.0 share and the #5 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN falls a half share to post a 3.1 share and dipping to the #11 rank while Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM sheds nine-tenths for a 6.4 share and slides to the #2 rank after holding on to #1 for the past seven PPM surveys. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

FOX News Channel’s ‘Hannity’ Top Cable News/Talk Show. According to a report by The Hill, FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” finished the recent July-August-September quarter as the most-watched cable news/talk program averaging approximately 4.45 million viewers, based on data from Nielsen Media Research. FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” came in second with 4.35 million viewers, followed by FOX’s “The Five” with 3.48 million, and “The Ingraham Angle” with 3.43 million viewers. The piece notes that the ratings period was marked by a heavy news cycle that included the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the national political conventions, the civil unrest, and the presidential race. As a result, FOX News Channel beat out legacy broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC in total viewers for the first time and became the most-watched network on television during the quarter.

NYPost: Carton and WFAN Very Close to a Deal. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is reporting that Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and former “Fan” morning personality (and convicted fraudster) Craig Carton have been in regular talks about his return and that a formal offer is expected to be made by the station “by the end of the week.” Marchand says the offer is to host the afternoon drive program but that it’s not a done deal yet. The Post has also reported that Carton has a legitimate offer on the table from Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, “97.5 The Fanatic” to host morning drive there. Currently, WFAN afternoons are being hosted by former midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno. At WPEN-FM, Marc Farzetta hosts the morning drive show.

Former Entercom/CBS Radio Exec Andy Bloom Gaining Traction as Political Writer/Commentator – Available for Interviews About Mail-in Voting Issue. After a long career as an accomplished radio programming, research and management executive, Andy Bloom has been finding traction lately as a political writer and talk media guest discussing the hot issues. Following a colorful career that most recently included serving as OM for Entercom’s three-station cluster in Minneapolis-St. Paul – WCCO-AM, KMNB-FM, and KZJK-FM – and prior to that, nine years as OM for CBS Radio in Philadelphia overseeing news/talk WPHT and sports/talk WIP, as well as EVP at Coleman Research and VP for radio programming at Greater Media, Bloom currently runs his own media research and consulting firm, Andy Bloom Communications, based out of Minneapolis. Since 2015, he has also developed a growing following as a writer of political and public policy articles for Newsmax Media. His latest research and analytical piece delves into the issues and complexities surrounding the mail-in ballot controversy. Read it here. The piece contains information of value about the issue to talk show hosts and Bloom has begun doing bookings on the subject and is available to do more. He can be contacted via email at andy@andybloom.com or by phone at 612-644-4737.

Gen Media Partners Forms IBA Radio Sales. The Independent Broadcasters Association and Gen Media Partners announce the formation of the new national sales and marketing team exclusively for IBA members called IBA Radio Sales. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “This is an incredible opportunity for Gen Media Partners and for IBA member stations. Gen Media Partners was built on the strength of independent broadcasters and creating IBA Radio Sales is a natural extension of that. Uniting as members of the Independent Broadcasters Association, owners and operators retain their independence while gaining the advantages of scale, allowing them to compete more effectively with large corporations. I encourage every independent broadcaster to contact [IBA president] Ron [Stone] about joining IBA to take advantage of the significant benefits that membership provides, including the IBA Radio Sales national platform. We look forward to growing as the IBA grows in membership and scope.” Stone comments, “IBA membership has been growing exponentially. To date, we have 900 members and more stations are joining every day. The number one request from prospective IBA members from our survey, conducted a few weeks ago while we were gauging interest for an IBA, was ‘we want our own rep firm.’ This opportunity with Gen Media Partners, known for successfully representing independent broadcasters in all size markets, is the ideal national sales partner to represent IBA member stations with this creation of a rep firm dedicated solely to IBA members. Our goal is for every independent operator to join IBA and reap the benefits of being represented by IBA Radio Sales. The board and I are very excited about working with Gen Media Partners to build our national sales platform and the opportunities IBA Radio Sales will bring to our members.”

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast studio for Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is being named “The Samuelsen Studio” in honor of the station’s late air personality Jamie Samuelsen, who died on August 1 after a year-and-a-half battle with colon cancer. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jamie meant so much to our station and was a key part of our listeners lives. We want to honor him in a special way, not only as a great broadcaster, but an extraordinary person. We hope the renaming of the studio will serve as a way to keep his memory alive and add to his incredible legacy here in Detroit.”…..Radio America’s nationally syndicated  “Chad Benson Show” is added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. KXL joins recently added affiliate stations KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; and more…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One drops the first episode of its seven-part podcast series titled, “5-4,” that addresses the Supreme Court’s role in the November presidential election. The show is hosted by by legal commentators Peter (better known as Twitter’s @The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael(@_FleerUltra). The first episode focuses on nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Other topics will include: the electoral college, gerrymandering, and campaign finance…..iHeartMedia unveils a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast called “The Ten News” targeted to kids ages 8 – 12 and hosted by comedian and storyteller Bethany Van Delft. The podcast is produced by Small But Mighty Media and Next Chapter Podcasts. Van Delft says, “I’m excited to be part of a show that’s not only cool and fun to listen to but speaks to kids as smart and curious people. ‘The Ten News’ helps amplify kids’ voices and empowers them to take action.”…..SiriusXM will air a new weekly show, “Forward Progress,” across several of its channels. The program focuses on race, society and sports and is co-hosted by SiriusXM’s Jason Jackson and Kirk Morrison. SiriusXM adds that the show will address “the continuing push for racial equality and justice – from the pioneering civil rights efforts of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell to the historic recent player protests and the groundswell of support for today’s Black Lives Matter movement across sports leagues. They will be joined by guests from around the sports world each week, including current and former players who are using their influence as public figures to create change, to discuss what more needs to be done.”…..Pictured below is KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller hosting his presidential debate watch party. More than 500 people attended the event at the Terrace Drive-In in Caldwell, Idaho.

Entercom and Clark Atlanta University Announce Partnership. This relationship between Clark Atlanta University and Entercom Atlanta will “provide students a unique and unprecedented opportunity to gain access to one of the nation’s leading media and entertainment companies. The partnership will expose students to top representatives in programming, sales, administration, and on-air talent, among others. Additionally, it will create a pipeline for future job opportunities.” The initiative launches tonight (9/30) with a private, virtual event for students. Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field will also attend. CAU president Dr. George T. French says, “This is an exciting opportunity for our scholars. Partnerships with media conglomerates such as Entercom are a continuation of Clark Atlanta University’s Mass Media Arts Department’s legacy and dedication to ensuring our students are prepared and globally competitive in the communications industry.” Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey comments, “This partnership with Clark Atlanta University builds on our focus to create a more inclusive and diverse team and workplace. We’re excited to share our resources and insights in the form of real-world learning, beginning with this first virtual event on the future of audio.”

The Presidential Race/Tuesday’s Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Breonna Taylor Case, Stimulus Deal, Jobless Numbers-The Economy, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The November presidential election and Tuesday night’s first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths and cases, the rising number in the Midwest, and projections for fall-winter outbreaks; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various U.S. cities, as well as the grand jury process in the Breonna Taylor case; negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin for a new stimulus deal; the U.S. jobless statistics and economic indicators; and the status of the deadly California wildfires 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. WPOC-FM, Baltimore morning show personality Laurie DeYoung celebrated her 35th anniversary hosting the program on the iHeartMedia country station. The station says DeYoung “has been a staple of the Baltimore radio scene throughout her career since she began broadcasting on WPOC in 1985. Laurie has interviewed many country music icons over the years, including Dolly Parton, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and more. For more than three decades, she has also maintained an unmatchable relationship with her local listeners, country music industry tastemakers and artists.” DeYoung was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2010 and named CMA Large Market Personality of 1994 and CMA Major Market Personality in 2014…..Beasley Media Group announces that the new “MJ Morning Show” on 80s hits-formatted WRBQ, Tampa Bay will include MJ’s former co-hosts Froggy and Fester, plus new addition Roxanne Wilder. MJ, a.k.a. Todd Schnitt, says, “I’m ecstatic to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back to Tampa Bay on the world famous ‘Q105.’ I love morning radio, and with Fester, Froggy, and Roxanne, we’ll provide must-listen content every day.”…..Entercom Riverside is inviting listeners to remember those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival. To honor the 58 lives lost and the survivors who still live with the trauma, country KFRG-FM “K-FROG” is hosting a virtual candlelight vigil via Facebook Live. The event will also include a reading of the victims’ names tomorrow night (10/1) at 8:00 pm PT…..Cumulus Media names Chad Heritage program director for country WGKX-FM, Memphis “KIX 106” and for adult contemporary WKIM-FM, Memphis “98.9 The Bridge.” Heritage joins Cumulus Memphis from iHeartMedia where he was national brand coordinator since 2009 and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia, Little Rock since 2006. Cumulus Memphis VP/market manager Morgan Bohannon says, “We knew Chad was a good match the first time we talked to him. He’s from the region, has had a very successful programming career and is the perfect fit to lead one of America’s best country brands with ‘KIX-106.’ He’s just the perfect fit for us and we’re excited about his joining the Cumulus team in Memphis.”…..Key Networks enters into an exclusive partnership agreement with Clear Media Network to manage all network advertising sales and network advertiser inventory operations for the new 24/7 music radio network. Dallas-based Clear Media Network was launched on September 1, 2020, and offers AC, country and adult R&B formats that are “uniquely positioned, formatted and dynamically programmed for the unique needs of the independent radio operator.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What?

| March 31, 2020

By Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom Communications
President

 

MINNEAPOLIS — In the days leading up to MLB’s Opening Day, I advised sports radio clients regarding ideas to keep listeners interested in their stations and teams while live sports remains on hiatus due to the coronavirus.

The ideas require franchises and leagues to work with local broadcast rights holders. I didn’t have contact with any of the teams or leagues. I thought, however, it would be logical for these organizations and their local broadcast partners to help keep their brands pertinent during the pandemic. A Wall Street Journal article I read convinced me the teams and leagues will listen to the idea.

Read More

Monday, December 10, 2018

| December 10, 2018

Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM.  Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion.  A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a  radio division and will likely sell the station.  None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station.  Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.

John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson.  He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.”  Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.”  Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.

Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist.  The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped.  WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West.  Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”

Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month.  McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News.  In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye.  After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th.  What a great run and wonderful experience it has been.  This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”

Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets.  According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience.  Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience.  Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.

The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more.  The program is distributed by Westwood One.  Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward.  Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown.  Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”

Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET.  Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix.  Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience.  We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide.  How cool is that?”  The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.”  Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.”  Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR.  Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them.  Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.”  Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract.  According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee.   iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin.  We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of  Regional Reps and The Tacher Company.  In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.”  GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.”  Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary.  Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo.   Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.”  Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN.   Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station.  The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.