By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — To say this has been the wackiest baseball season on record – and perhaps the strangest, most challenging year, in general, in our lifetime – would be the height of understatement.
Yes, we’ve previously witnessed MLB strikes that cancelled games (1972 and 1982).
One in 1994 actually wiped out the post-season, including that year’s World Series.
Lockouts have occurred in 1973, 1976, and 1990.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, however, 2020’s entire 162-game season was whittled down to just 60 games.
Fingers remain crossed, but there’s no guarantee that reduced slate will be fulfilled.
Moreover, games are being played with no fans in the stands.
Preceded by two games on (Thursday) July 23, MLB teams gave it a go on (Friday) July 24 and their respective radio flagships returned to action as well, although some broadcast teams are doing play-by-play from remote studios.
With that as a backdrop, we present our exceptionally tardy first-of-the-year overview of MLB flagships.
As usual, this analysis comes with some unique ground rules and fine-print.
Leading off, the following scoreboards are for an MLB team’s English-language, Nielsen Audio subscribing key station during the August 2020 sweep (July 16 – August 12).
Some MLB teams have an AM and FM flagship and/or an emergency alternative (backup); however, our lineup card only shows one “designated hitter” per team.
In cases where the multiple flagships include music FMs, we have selected the spoken-word station. If both flagships are from the spoken-word arena, the sports talk outlet gets the nod.
Mirroring the one-station-per-team model, MLB flagships listed here have ratings data from one Nielsen Audio metro.
For example, information is limited for the flagships of the Mets (news WCBS-AM) and Yankees (sports talk WFAN) to their home market of New York City, even though they may appear in Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) and/or Middlesex-Somerset-Union.
Likewise, key stations for the Giants (sports talk KNBR) and A’s (business news KNEW-AM in its first-year) appear in San Francisco and San Jose, but only the San Francisco data is used here.
The primary flagship for the Los Angeles Angels, (sports talk) KLAA, is unlisted (August 2020) in both the Los Angeles and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario reports. Therefore, we are using the team’s secondary outlet, (sports talk) KSPN, throughout this entire overview.
No ratings information is available/shown for the main outlet of the American League East’s Toronto Blue Jays (sports talk CJCL).
Data cited here is not limited to any specific day-part. All stats are full-week, Monday – Sunday, 6:00 am – 12:00 midnight (6+).
Since the season was delayed from late-March until July 23 – 24, we are foregoing our usual year-to-year comparisons; however, we are adding cume as a new component.
Spoiler Alert: So, how did fans react after being in lockdown mode in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with no baseball as a diversion?
Did they miss MLB on radio, or have they moved on and lost interest in our “National Pastime?”
In results reminiscent of how adult contemporary outlets obliterate the competition when they play all-Christmas music, not one of our MLB flagships showed July 2020 – August 2020 erosion (90% improved/10% were unchanged).
If not even more so, cume results are equally as impressive – as every MLB key station registers a month-to-month cume uptick.
Cumulus Media Q2 Assessment: “Making Great Progress.” According to second-quarter results, Cumulus Media’s net revenue fell 2% year-to-year to $279.6 million from $285.2 million in 2018. Net income was down to $42.9 million, owing mostly to a net corporate loss, offsetting gains on the radio group side. Adjusted EBITDA was down 6.8% to $61.8 million. President and chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “We continued to make great progress against the goals we set when we emerged from bankruptcy a little over a year ago. We delivered a solid financial performance, with same-station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA up 1.8% and 3.7%, respectively, on an ex-political basis, driven by continued growth in national and network revenue, as well as industry-leading digital growth. We have now closed several strategic portfolio optimization transactions and announced one more. The $146.5 million of gross proceeds from the closed transactions, along with cash from operations, allowed us to prepay $165 million of debt since our last earnings announcement. [That reduces] our total post-bankruptcy debt by approximately $250 million. Given the results of the past year, I am more confident than ever that the company will continue to deliver significant value to our investors, employees, listeners, and advertisers.”
Media-Savvy McAfee Adds Daily Syndicated Radio Show. Definitively proving there is life in the media after being an eight-year Indianapolis Colts punter, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) analyst Pat McAfee will host a daily sports talk show syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and streamed on the DAZN video network. The program will air weekdays from 10:00 am -12:00 noon (ET), starting in just over four weeks (9/9). Among the 40 stations already clearing “The Pat McAfee Show” are Cumulus Media’s San Mateo-licensed KTCT, which simulcasts KNBR, San Francisco; and Cumulus Media Indianapolis’ WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM.” In addition, 2017 – 2018 Barstool podcaster McAfee recently signed a deal to serve as a college football analyst for ESPN. Last year, he did similar NFL duties at Fox Sports. As part of his DAZN arrangement, the 32-year old McAfee will appear on its nightly MLB “Changeup” show and will create football segments for the video network’s outlets in Canada and Germany.
Stayin’ Classy: “The Ron Burgundy Podcast” Returns. California Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the guest on the season two opener of iHeartRadio’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” co-produced with Funny Or Die. Channeling his Ron Burgundy persona and remaining completely in character, Will Ferrell emphatically states, “My podcast, quite simply, can only be described as a raging success. I’ll admit that when I first started in this rodeo, it was my first rodeo, and I had no idea what a podcast even was. But through diligent research and persistence, I quickly climbed my way up to the top. Now, it is not my first rodeo – it is literally, my second rodeo. Word on the street is that I am already the best rodeo rider that has ever lived … and podcaster, too. This is a fact, folks.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “When Ron first started trying to force us to make this podcast with him, we resisted, as it’s clear he’s an unhinged man; however, people are actually listening. I have no idea why. Doubly baffling, and for reasons beyond my grasp, they actually want more. Seriously? We have to go through this whole thing again? Fine. Season two. Whatever.” The podcast’s initial season debuted with 12 episodes in December 2018. In addition to Senator Harris, Ron Burgundy’s guests this season will include actress Brooke Shields, historian/political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Approximately 270 iHeartMedia broadcast stations in virtually every format are scheduling Sunday Night Podcasts, which begins this Sunday (8/11) with “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” Sunday Night Podcasts is part of iHeartMedia’s “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative that utilizes the company’s consumer reach to introduce the rapidly growing podcast sector to iHeartMedia’s quarter of a billion monthly broadcast listeners. A much more serious Byrne states, “We’re thrilled to bring some of the world’s best and most popular podcasts to our broadcast listeners every Sunday. We are uniquely able to provide the scale critical to introducing podcasts to the millions of Americans who aren’t yet familiar with them. Research shows that more than two-thirds of the population still are not dedicated podcast listeners – many have never even heard a podcast. Sunday Night Podcasts will help introduce different audio series from a variety of genres to a whole new audience.” In October 2017, Mark Ramsey’s “Inside Psycho” aired as a one-hour special on more than 70 iHeartMedia news/talk outlets. Episodes of “Family Secrets” and “Monster: The Zodiac Killer” aired on iHeartMedia stations before they were available anywhere else.
WFAN Splits Simulcast For Certain Yankees, Giants Games. When your station is the flagship of two major sports franchises, it helps to have two signals to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Entercom New York’s sports talk simulcast of WFAN-AM & WFAN-FM will take advantage of that situation three times this month and four times next month: WFAN is the flagship of both the (MLB) Yankees and (NFL) Giants. When both teams are playing on the same date, the Giants will shift to WFAN-AM (660), while the Yankees will continue on WFAN-FM (101.9). Senior vice president of Entercom New York Mark Chernoff explains, “August marks the beginning of another exciting start to football season and WFAN remains at the forefront of New York Giants coverage while remaining the home for New York Yankees baseball. Splitting the WFAN signal will allow the station to super serve fans of both iconic teams.” August dates involved for the simulcast split are tonight, Thursday, 8/8 (Giants-Jets/Yankees-Blue Jays); the 16th (Giants-Bears/Yankees-Indians); and the 22nd (Giants-Bengals/Yankees-A’s). In September, the simulcast will be suspended on the 8th (Giants-Cowboys/Yankees-Red Sox); 15th (Giants-Bills/Yankees-Blue Jays); 22nd (Giants-Buccaneers/Yankees-Blue Jays); and 29th (Giants-Redskins/Yankees-Rangers).
United Stations Names Janoff Chief Revenue Officer. In that role, Greg Janoff will oversee all of United Stations Radio Networks’ advertising sales efforts. USRN chair/chief executive officer Nick Verbitsky comments, “We are beyond thrilled that we now have Greg Janoff overseeing our revenue streams. Greg is passionate about our medium, knows radio inside and out, and will absolutely be a tremendous asset for our company. The next decade is around the corner and we have landed the right executive to lead our current successes forward into the future.” For the past 24 years, Janoff has held several upper management posts in New York City for Entercom and the former CBS Radio. His titles there have included vice president and general manager for all-news WINS; vice president and director of sales for WINS, co-owned all-news WCBS-AM and sports talk sibling WFAN “The Fan”; and station manager for WINS. As Townsquare Media’s regional vice president, Janoff was in charge of the company’s Michigan and New Jersey markets for three years, following two years as executive vice president of revenue for Merlin Media’s five stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Janoff succeeds Jim Higgins, who exited USRN last week.
iHeart Set To Debut Podcasts in Native Languages. By the first quarter of next year, iHeartMedia will translate/distribute a number of its podcasts around the world, marking what it says is “a significant step in internationally available, regionally targeted content for the podcast industry.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Our goal is to deliver exceptional content to listeners anywhere and everywhere in the way they’d like to hear it. By expanding some of our most popular podcast content into new languages, we see a major opportunity to introduce podcast listening at scale to whole new audiences abroad. What has always set podcasting apart is the engagement of the audiences – the ‘superfans.’ It makes sense to engage international audiences further and to super-serve them with content in their own languages to build their relationship with the content.” In the first round, the iHeartPodcast Network will translate six podcasts series into the most- spoken languages in the world. To be made available in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German and other languages will be “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Stuff Mom Never Taught You,” “Stuff To Blow Your Mind,” “BrainStuff,” and “TeachStuff.” Through these new translations, iHeartPodcasts will be available in the native language of more than a billion people worldwide.
TALKERS News Notes. In a South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WGTK “94.5 The Answer,” Salem Media Group Greenville-Spartanburg appoints Pat Kelley general manager. Salem Media Group regional vice president Val Carolin comments, “I have known Pat for many, many years and am excited to have a person of such high character and ability leading the terrific team in ‘The Upstate.’ Pat is a strong leader, and a person of great integrity, creativity, and skill. He will drive our operation to greater success and will be a true asset to Salem as a whole.” Kelly, who began his new duties earlier this week, adds, “I am thrilled to be leading the charge in upstate South Carolina as part of Salem Media’s local market leadership team. Great things are ahead.” Kelley spent over 25 years in Chicago and has held management positions for iHeartMedia, Townsquare Media, and Viacom Media …..Affiliates of Fox News Radio’s five-minute news service will be able to download two, one-hour Labor Day weekend specials in three weeks (8/28). Jessica Rosenthal-hosted “Securing America: Cyber Threats,” looks at data theft and manipulation from personal information to elections, while “The Wise Guys: A Fox Nation Special” features Bill Bennett, Gordon Chang, Charles Hurt, Mark Penn, and Solomon Wisenberg in a multi-topic roundtable discussion.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran programmer Rob Roberts is named director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group San Antonio classic hits-oldies KONO “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” and hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3 Today’s Best Music.” Cox Media Group San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison comments, “Rob is an experienced broadcast professional with a proven track record for achieving great success for high-performing brands. His vision and leadership will be key to the future of KONO and KSMG. We are excited to add his talents to the CMG San Antonio team and welcome him back to the great state of Texas.” Vice president of audience and content Tim Clarke notes, “Rob is one of the industry’s great programmers; I am so thrilled he is now on our San Antonio team. We will benefit greatly from his experience and leadership.” Roberts adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to become part of the Cox Media Group team in a city I love. It’s the job I’ve always wanted – programming two highly-rated legacy stations is a dream come true.” Most recently, Roberts was vice president of programming for Cumulus Media Washington, DC hot AC WRQX, which – on May 31 – flipped to contemporary Christian under new owners Educational Media Foundation. Elsewhere in his 27-year radio career, he has programmed Dallas hot AC KDMX; Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q-99.7”; Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100”; and Denver classic hits-oldies KXKL “Kool 105.” ….. The nine-year tenure of Entercom Washington, DC vice president of programming Steve Davis will come to an end on October 4. That’s when he will leave the cluster where he programs rhythmic CHR WPGC and classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” ….. One week from today (Thursday, 8/15), Carrie Neuman will take over afternoon drive duties at Towson University triple A WTMD, Baltimore. WTMD general manager/program director Scott Mullins comments, “Carrie has a lifelong passion for music, and she brings the excitement and enthusiasm of a fan who can’t wait to share new music discoveries with her friends. She is energetic, knowledgeable, fun to listen to and will be a great asset to WTMD.” Neuman notes, “I am more than just thrilled to be coming to Baltimore. I humbly join a legendary, music-centric staff that prides itself on discovering and sharing an unprecedented array of music. I am honored for the opportunity to work at WTMD. It’s the musical heartbeat of the city I so love.” Neuman formerly did mid-days at Annapolis, Maryland’s similarly-formatted WRNR ….. Speaking of Empire Broadcasting System triple A WRNR, Jeff Boden is appointed president/general manager there. Empire president Steve Kingston states, “Jeff has an extensive background in station management and sales. He spent many years working for ABC, Citadel, and then Cumulus Media in positions ranging from sales manager, director of sales, and president/general manager of [Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk] WMAL and [its then hot AC cluster-mate] WRQX. He most recently was president of Delmarva Broadcasting, which owned stations in Wilmington [Delaware] and other markets in the region. Much to our benefit, Delmarva was recently sold to Forever Broadcasting, allowing Jeff to bring his vast knowledge and experience of the business, his winning track record, and winning strategies to WRNR.” ….. Elsewhere in Maryland, college student Hunter Landon joins Adams Radio Group of Delmarva (Salisbury-Ocean City) as news director. Adams Radio vice president and general manager Lisa Layne comments, “Once again, we have struck gold with the addition of Hunter Landon. The news format will be timely, local, and live across all our brands. I am thrilled to add Hunter to the ‘dream team.’” Landon adds, “As a lifelong Delmarva resident, it is a career highlight to be running the newsroom for a first-class radio operation like Adams Radio of Delmarva. I am ecstatic to be delivering the news to the people of Delmarva on radio and digital for the market’s best stations and launching a fresh and revamped news department focused on the local community.” Working on a degree in broadcast journalism, Landon formerly was a reporter for WGMD “News Radio,” Lewes (Delaware). Adams Radio Group of Delmarva is comprised of WGBG “Big 107.7 Delmarva’s Classic Rock”; CHR WOCQ “OC-104 Today’s Hits”; WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies”; WUSX “US-98.5 Everything Country”; and WZBH “93.5 The Beach – Delmarva’s Rock Station.
July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Washington (DC), Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – The wild ride continues for WMAL which chalks up a July +.9 to 5.3 (seventh to sixth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three successive March through June decreases that accounted for an overall –2.4 (6.8 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.4, 6+). Immediately before that streak, the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet amassed three straight “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 improvements for a collective +2.5 (4.3 – 5.7 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+). March’s 6.8 was WMAL’s best 6+-stat in the PPM-era. After posting a .2 (6+) in August 2018, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted for the 12th sweep in succession.
Entercom sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (3.4) and market rank (#13). In June, the Nationals flagship recaptured nearly half (three-tenths) of the eight-tenths dissipated in May. After nearly doubling (+.4) its 6+ AQH share via four straight sweeps without a loss (.5 – .7 – .8 – .8 – .9, 6+), Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” surrenders two-tenths to .7 and departs the top twenty (#20 to #21, 6+). Roughly halfway through the July 2019 sweep (7/1), Cumulus Media ended its news/talk simulcast of WMAL-AM & WMAL-FM. WMAL-AM became sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol,” which checks in with a .1 (#29, 6+).
Following six straight months at #1, Hubbard Broadcasting all-news WTOP segues to the runner-up slot. Moreover, it falters the sixth month in a row and is an overall -2.5 in that January 2019 through July 2019 stretch (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.2 – 7.9, 6+). January 2019’s 10.4 was its best 6+-performance since March 2018 (10.4, as well). The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Entercom business news WDCH is: .4 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .6 (flat at #24, 6+).
Not only does American University-owned news/talk WAMU post a gain of four-tenths to 8.4 (6+) thus curtailing three successive slips that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (8.9 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 8.0, 6+), “The Mind Is Our Medium” shifts from the runner-up slot to #1. It supplants WTOP (see above). Immediately prior to gaining three-tenths in March, WAMU was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).
Washington, DC Music Formats – A positive spike of six-tenths to 2.7 (#18 to #17, 6+) by Radio One gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1” all but erases its May/June loss of seven-tenths (2.8 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+). Steady in fifth-place, iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH “97.1 – Washington’s Variety” logs its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a collective full-share gain (4.4 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). WASH has its best 6+-performance (5.4) since “Holiday” 2018 (10.4). On the final day of May (2019), Cumulus Media’s WRQX pulled the plug on its hot AC format. Under new owner Educational Media Foundation, “Mix 107.3 More Music – More Variety” became contemporary Christian WLVW “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” May 2019 marked the final sweep before the format transition and “Mix” added six-tenths (3.5 – 4.1, 6+) to exit as a top ten station (#11 to #8). Its January 2019 through May 2019 topline was 3.5 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.1 (6+). In its new format, however, WLVW erodes by roughly 78% (-3.2) in June/July (4.1 – 2.2 – .9, 6+), plummeting from #8 (May) to #17 (June) to #19 (July). An overall +1.4 through three gains in succession (3.2 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5” forfeits nine-tenths to 3.7 (sixth to tenth, 6+). June’s 4.6 was its best 6+-showing in nearly two years (4.6, as well in August 2017). There is a similar scenario for cluster-mate WMZQ, which was +1.3 through four consecutive improvements (2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.1, 6+). In July, however, “98.7 Today’s Best Country” falters by one-half share to 3.6 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Up a cumulative seven-tenths via four straight gains (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WPGC regresses by three-tenths to 3.4 (6+) and leaves the top ten (#10 to #13). There isn’t much movement in the market’s urban AC contest, although a gain of two-tenths to 7.7 (6+) by WMMJ “Majic” is enough to halt three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of seven-tenths (8.2 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.5, 6+). Immediately prior to the just-concluded skid, “Majic” put together six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Having dropped four-tenths in June (6.5 – 6.1, 6+), Howard University’s similarly-programmed WHUR levels off at 6.1 (6+). Down one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+), WHUR regained that deficit with a May pickup of two-tenths. Its March loss of one-tenth suspended three successive increases that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). WMMJ is anchored in third-place for the eighth time in a row while WHUR is has been in fourth-place in May, June, and July.
Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, WSB-AM was down an overall eight-tenths (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), but the Cox Media Group news/talker bounces back with a +.3 to 6.6 (steady at #2, 6+). Following three straight months at #1, WSB-AM slipped to the runner-up slot in April. Entercom’s WAOK “1380 The Voice of the Community” is down or flat the third time in a row (.4 – .3 – .2 – .2, 6+) but climbs from #29 to #28. Tied at #32 are Salem Media Group-owned WGKA “AM 920 The Answer” (.3 – .2 – .1, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WGST “Talk Radio 640,” which has lost three-tenths via eleven straight down or flat trends (.4 – .3 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, #34 to #32, 6+).
Even though it is an overall -1.2 in five straight negative or neutral sweeps (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Entercom sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” moves from #15 to #14. At the same time, Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN “Sports Radio The Fan” is up a cumulative six-tenths in five consecutive monthlies without a loss (1.6 – 1.7 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+), as the AM flagship of the Atlanta Braves carries on at #17.
Steady at #12, City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk WABE is up one-tenth (3.4 – 3.5, 6+). Gaining one-tenth as well is Georgia State University news/talk WRAS (.6, flat at #25, 6+), which suspends three down or flat moves in succession that resulted in a collective loss of three-tenths (.8 – .6 – .5 – .5, #25, 6+).
Atlanta Music Formats – After improving by two-tenths in May and then spiraling -1.1 in June (6.3 – 5.2, 6+), Radio One’s WAMJ “Majic” answers with a July boost of six-tenths to 5.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+). “Majic” was +2.5 via three successive increases (4.4 – 5.4 – 6.3 – 6.9, 6+) but faltered by eight-tenths in April. Even though urban contemporary sibling WHTA is an overall -1.6 through five consecutive negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+) “Hot 107.9” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). One streak continues for Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH but another ends. On the plus side, “104.7 The Fish” is #1 the fourth month in a row; however, it loses three-tenths to (8.5, 6+), snapping at five its consecutive string of upticks that netted an overall +3.9 (4.9 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 7.0 – 7.9 – 8.8, 6+). Even though it falters by two-tenths (3.9 – 3.7, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” advances from tenth and ninth and overtakes Cumulus Media-owned format rival, WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits.” The latter returns the four-tenths it gained in June (3.6 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+) and shifts from eighth to tenth. Ironically, June’s +.4 enabled “Q-100” to leapfrog “Power,” which dropped three-tenths in June (4.2 – 3.9, 6+). “Q-100” logged a +.7 in January; relinquished six-tenths in February; and had a February 2019 through May 2019 topline of 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.6. Frozen on 3.4 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 and January 2019 before dropping to 3.0 (6+) in February, “Power” gained seven-tenths in March; was down one-tenth in April; and dialed up a +.6 in May. The same two owners are involved in the market’s country tussle. As iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull” picks up one-tenth (4.0 – 4.1, 6+) Cumulus Media’s WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” stumbles by that same margin in consecutive sweeps and is actually off six-tenths through three straight dips (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+). “The Bull” and “Kicks” continue at #8 and #16, respectively. When “The Bull” dropped one-tenth in June, it interrupted three straight increases that produced a +.8 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+). “Kicks” faltered by four-tenths in May, after being off three-tenths in March.
Spoken-Word Formats – It is a bit of a mixed bag for Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” which is down a combined half-share in June/July (2.2 – 1.8 – 1.7, 6+) and has its weakest 6+-showing since June 2018 (1.7, as well) but climbs from #22 to #21. In five consecutive decreases, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” has lost roughly half (-.8) its 6+ AQH-share (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .7, #24 to #25, 6+).
Down seven-tenths in May, Entercom sports talk/Phillies flagship WIP “Sports Radio 94.1” repeats June’s 6+ share (5.9) and market rank (fourth). Rebounding from June’s loss of six-tenths with an increase one-third that magnitude (2.1 – 2.3, +.2, 6+) Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” advances from #20 to #17; June’s 2.1 was its lowest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 1.8.
This marks the sixth sweep in succession that Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” hasn’t shown an increase for an overall -1.3 (5.0 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7, flat at #10, 6+).
For the third time in the last five reports, public news/talk WHYY logs a 2.6 (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6, #16 to #14, 6+).
Philadelphia Music Formats – Four straight down or flat sweeps by Entercom classic hits-oldies WOGL produced a -1.2 (7.1 – 6.8 – 6.0 – 6.0 – 5.9, 6+), but “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” erases two-thirds of that deficit with a +.8 to 6.7 (fourth to second, 6+). WOGL was a combined +2.1 in January/February (5.0 – 6.3 – 7.1, 6+). Somewhat similarly, iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks,” which lost eight-tenths since March via three consecutive negative or neutral moves (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+), posts a half-share uptick to 5.8 (seventh to fifth, 6+). Stuck on 6.6 (6+) in May and June, Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK records an increase of four-tenths to 7.0 (6+), enabling it to march from second to first. This (7.0) is its highest 6+-stat since February 2018’s 7.1. Owing to its July -1.5 (7.0 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM” is displaced from the top spot and drifts all the way to seventh. The last time “Today’s 101.1” fell below a six-share (6+) was more than four years ago (5.8, May 2015). WBEB was +10.1 (6.5 – 10.4 – 16.6, 6+) just prior to January 2019’s -10.3 (16.3 – 6.3, 6+); it gained one-half share in March. Co-owned sports talk WIP was on top in January; classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL in February; WBEB in March; WMGK set the pace in April; WBEB did so in May and June; and now WMGK is back at #1 in July. Four successive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL yielded eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+), but “Power 99” surrenders one-half share to 4.0 (6+) and continues in ninth-place. After nearly quadrupling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in nine straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 3.0, 6+), Radio One-owned WPPZ “107.9 – Philly’s Classic R&B” falters by one-tenth to 2.9 (flat at #12, 6+). WPPZ transitioned from gospel in mid-December 2018. Entercom-owned WTDY “Today’s Hits 96.5 TDY” is off the fourth time in a row for a collective full-share loss (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.4 – 2.3, unchanged at #17, 6+).
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. 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.