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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

| April 28, 2021

Meadowlark Media and DraftKings Ink Big Deal for Content Distribution. The Miami Herald has the story about the new $40 million deal that Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN chief John Skipper and former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard – and DraftKings have entered into. According to the Herald, DraftKings is getting into the content distribution business and by June or early July will be responsible for getting Meadowlark’s flagship program “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” onto radio, television, podcast platforms, and social media. It will also serve as title sponsor. The paper reports that Meadowlark negotiated with several other companies including SiriusXM, NBC’s Peacock and iHeartMedia.  Le Batard told the Herald that didn’t want fans to have to climb a paywall for his show. “We didn’t want to do that to our listeners. The thing that I chose was freedom. Every time I’ve negotiated anywhere was for freedom, not money. This allows Meadowlark to be profitable from the start and have total freedom to do what we want. We can go forward and appear everywhere. We can make partnerships anywhere we want. We don’t have any corporate overlord. Our partner is our sponsor and what they are sponsoring is our freedom. The media landscape is changing very rapidly, and this shows how much power and value individuals can exert in breaking free from the corporate machine.” By summertime, Le Batard’s show – currently only available in podcast form – will be found in video formant on YouTube, Twitch, and DraftKings’ own nascent channel. The Herald adds that “the partnership will include DraftKings commissioning content projects and original programming that Meadowlark will develop and produce, including sports documentaries, as DraftKings broadens its sports entertainment footprint.”

Alpha Media Files Opposition to Larry Wilson’s Petition to Deny with FCC. As Alpha Media works to emerge from bankruptcy – approval for which it has received from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia – it also needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission. But minority interest holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed Petitions to Deny with the FCC, claiming that Alpha has failed to comply with FCC regulations regarding licensing of some of its stations and that the matter requires further review of foreign ownership interests, respectively. Alpha recently filed its opposition to the Petitions to Deny. In that filing’s summary, it says, “In short, when one peels away the bombast of Wilson’s Petition, it is clear that Wilson is inappropriately using the agency as a platform for rehashing his differences with certain members of the Company’s Board of Directors and management, and vainly attempting to shoehorn assessment of his personal grievances into the Commission’s processes under the guise of spurious claims that Alpha is unfit to hold its broadcast licenses. Moreover, his assertions are false. For Stone’s part, he simply criticizes the FCC’s well-established policy of promoting companies’ ability to promptly emerge from bankruptcy where further regulatory review of foreign ownership interests is required, a policy that is grounded in public interest considerations and comity with the bankruptcy laws. Neither Wilson nor Stone has standing as a party-in-interest. Any claims they had as holders of minority interests in Alpha pertaining to the Plan or to Alpha’s governance could and should have been presented to the Bankruptcy Court or the Delaware courts. While they inexplicably chose not to avail themselves of these alternative forums, they cannot now seek redress before the Commission. It has been black-letter law that the FCC does not adjudicate private contractual matters for far longer than the ‘more than 40 years’ that Wilson’s counsel has been ‘practic[ing] before the Commission,’ and the FCC has no reason to do so here.”

Westwood One Announces Executive Promotions. Three Westwood One staffers are promoted to new positions within the syndicator and sales firm’s programming and operations divisions. Twenty-eight-year Westwood One employee Susan Stephens is promoted to SVP and general manager, Westwood One programming. In this expanded role, Stephens will work to optimize programming and content opportunities and collaborations between news, talk, music, and entertainment. Tim Seymour rises to SVP, head of operations in which the 20-year WWO staffer assumes responsibility for the operations, partner relations, affiliate & sales operations, traffic & continuity, and research operations teams. Becky Bennett is elevated to VP, partner relations. Stephens and Seymour both report to Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes. Bennett will report to Seymour. Grimes says, “We have an enviable depth of talent within Westwood One with the unique experience to lead us forward. It is a privilege and a pleasure to announce these well-deserved promotions that will position us to succeed in 2021 and beyond.”

Edison’s Annual ‘Moms and Media’ Study Unveiled May 6. The results of the annual “Moms and Media” study from Edison Research will be revealed at a webinar being presented next Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says, “This year’s ‘Moms and Media’ study provides insight on media usage, social media habits, and current outlook on tech by U.S. moms. Findings incorporate data from The Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, as well as data from Edison Research’s new ongoing syndicated measurement of social media, The Social Habit. The 2021 report features data trends on devices, media engagement, and technology usage of U.S. moms. Highlights from this year’s study include: smart speaker ownership, podcast adoption, online audio listening, and social media engagement. In addition, the report will showcase brand new research centered on social media usage by U.S. moms and their children. You can register for the webinar here.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Harry Hamm Sentenced in Child Porn Case. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that former longtime KMOX, St. Louis air personality Harry Hamm was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The 79-year-old former entertainment editor for the radio station admitted that FBI investigators found child porn on two of his cell phones and his laptop. Hamm is also facing charges of second-degree statutory sodomy, incest and possession of child pornography in St. Louis County. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. The Post-Dispatch story says the St. Louis County charges stem from allegations of sexual contact with a 16-year-old. Hamm began his career with the station in 1975.

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is bringing two of the Navy SEALS who were on the mission that killed al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to Des Moines for a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation that provides service dogs for combat-wounded veterans. Rob O’Neill – the SEAL who fired the shots that killed Bin Laden – and SEAL dog handler Will Chesney will take part in the June 18 event…..ABC News Radio is providing coverage of President Joe Biden’s address this evening and will begin with a one-hour special, “The Biden Presidency: The First 100 Days,” looking back at the start of the Biden administration. The program will air live on the radio network from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. ABC News Radio will also provide live anchored coverage of President Biden’s speech, with reporting and analysis from ABC News’ team of correspondents and experts…..Public radio outlet WPLN, Nashville announces it has hired Caroline Eggers as the newsroom’s first environmental reporter. She starts her new position in June and will cover environmental issues with a focus on equity for WPLN News as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms across the U.S. to report on under-covered topics and communities. She comments, “WPLN News delivers essential stories with incredible intellect and empathy. I can’t wait to reflect these values while investigating Nashville’s climate action plan, air quality and infrastructure challenges.”

COVID-19, Biden’s 100 Days Address to Congress/$1.8 Trillion American Families Plan, Andrew Brown, Jr Protests/Police Violence, 2020 Census-House Seats, Critical Race Theory Controversy, John Kerry Iran Allegation, and Southern Border Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The CDC’s new directives on mask wearing, the rollout of vaccines, and the high rate of cases in places like India and Brazil; this evening’s 100-day address to Congress by President Joe Biden and his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the protests of the police shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. and other cases of police violence; the results of the 2020 census and its impact on U.S. Rep seats; the controversy over “critical race theory” and its use in public schools curricula; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Israeli air strikes with Iran’s foreign minister; and the overwhelming number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package 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. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

| January 23, 2019

iHeartMedia’s Reorganization Plan Confirmed by Bankruptcy Court.  The United States Bankruptcy Court in Houston has confirmed the Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for iHeartMedia.  The company says the restructuring process will be completed within the first half of 2019.  Under the terms of the Plan, iHeartMedia will complete a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that will reduce its debt from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion and will separate Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. from iHeartMedia, creating two independent public companies. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are delighted to reach this significant milestone in our restructuring process, which will give us a new capital structure that matches the strong operating performance of our business. iHeartMedia’s unique place in the advertising world perfectly positions us to take advantage of the renaissance underway in audio.”

Bruce Gilbert Re-Ups with Cumulus-Westwood One Sports. Sports radio programmer Bruce Gilbert signs a new, multi-year deal with Cumulus Media and Westwood One to continue serving as SVP of sports.  Gilbert’s position entails leading “the curation, development, and execution of all sports content initiatives” and his overseeing the strategic direction of the company’s O&O sports talk outlets.  Gilbert says, “I am so fortunate to be a part of the incredible Westwood One sports portfolio and to get to interact with the many outstanding Cumulus sports brands.  Our partners, talent, producers, podcasters, anchors, and analysts are all dedicated to capturing, celebrating, debating, and discussing sports across our great radio stations and our Westwood One affiliate stations.  I want to thank Mike McVay, Suzanne Grimes, and Charles Steinhauer for supporting our efforts to serve sports fans and giving us the platform to elevate the brands of our many valuable advertising partners.”

WPOP, Hartford Adds FM Signal. New translator W265EB at 100.9 FM is carrying the programming of iHeartMedia Hartford news/talk WPOP-AM.  The translator is licensed to Hartford, is directional to the south-southwest and has an ERP of 220 watts.   WPOP airs the local “Vinnie Penn Project” morning show, the Boston-based “Financial Exchange” program, content from Bloomberg Radio and the regionally syndicated Howie Carr show during daylight hours.

Cory Smith Joins Westwood One in New Digital Role. Former ESPN director of sports marketing Cory Smith joins Westwood One in the newly created role of vice president, digital sales marketing & operations.  In this post, Smith “is responsible for digital sales planning, ad sales marketing, audience development, and ad operations, focusing on the rapidly growing podcast space.  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One is dominating the podcast landscape with top shows, massive promotional power, and national and local sales teams, making it the fastest growing podcast network today.  Cory joins the team at a perfect time as our podcast business is exploding. He brings extensive digital audio experience, marketing expertise, and proven ability to build best-in-class operations.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root: ‘I’m an Ad Exec and Pitch Man First and Foremost.’  Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine he’s been beseeched by fellow talkers to share the revenue secrets for his USA Radio program and its Newsmax TV simulcast.  Calling his philosophy/strategy “the future of conservative talk radio,” Root says he’s an “advertising executive and a pitch man first and foremost who also happens to have a three-hour, daily show.”  Root says previous experiences from the other side of the fence – as a big-spending radio advertiser – left him disappointed because the hosts on whose shows he advertised treated him poorly and did “nothing nice or special for me.”  He vowed to treat his advertisers differently when he became a host.  He says he calls the CEO of every company that advertises with him once a month to ask how he’s doing and if he can do more.  He gives “personal testimony for every product sold on my show, to make their products ‘the greatest’ and to make the CEO of each advertiser into a celebrity.”  Most important, Root says he does this without the ratings that agencies demand because his platforms don’t pay for ratings services.  “It’s not about ratings, it’s about personal service.” Root says the “age of Trump” makes finding new advertisers very difficult so it’s important to take care of loyal clients.  He concludes, “Talk radio will not survive this ‘sea change’ unless the hosts learn to sell, sell, sell.”

Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Covington Catholic Incident, Trump-Russia Investigation, Military Transgender Ban, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Ocasio-Cortez’s Climate Change Prediction, and NFL Ref Woes/Super Bowl LIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The battle over funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall; the ongoing federal government shutdown; the case of the viral video of students and Native American protestors in Washington, DC; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the U.S. Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s military transgender ban; the Democrats considering a run for president in 2020; the flap over Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s statement that climate change will destroy the world in 12 years; and the NFL’s referee problems and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Catches Up with Russian Sensation, ‘Leonid & Friends.’  A group of 11 superb, multi-generational musicians from Russia, Ukraine, and several other former Soviet bloc countries has become an international sensation over the past three years as a “tribute” band to the legendary American ensemble, Chicago.  They are reportedly so good that even members of the original Chicago have joined their growing legion of fans.  Fueled largely by their outstanding video performances on YouTube, Leonid & Friends have gathered enough of a fan base in the US to be able to put together a tremendously successful three-week, sold-out tour of mid-sized venues across the nation, culminating with a performance last evening (1/22) at the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater, Florida.  TALKERS publisher and devoted rocker from the golden era of album radio, Michael Harrison, attended the concert and landed an exclusive interview with the leader and founder of the band, multi-instrumentalist Leonid Vorobyev for a forthcoming podcast.  Harrison (left) is pictured with Vorobyev (right) backstage at the Capitol during the band’s sound check.  Harrison raves, “I have been a longtime fan of Chicago – most notably their early, rockin’ days when Terry Kath was still alive.  This amazing new band captures the spirit and energy of the original Chicago and then takes it to a level that I’ve never seen or heard before.  Last night’s concert was the absolute best live rock performance I’ve seen since being privileged to attend the two historic private shows of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band back at the Roxy in LA during the 1970s.  Harrison continues, “The fact that a cover band can muster up so much excitement among seasoned music fans is a sign of the times and the new era in which we are living… rock ‘n’ roll is now a mature, historic genre like classical music or the Great American Songbook in which it is about the songs and arrangements themselves – not just the original performers – and they can be brought to life by new, energized, major league musicians.  It’s sort of like watching a revival of ‘My Fair Lady’ at Lincoln Center or listening to the New York Philharmonic perform a symphony by Mozart.”  Harrison concludes, “It’s tragic how music radio is so far behind the curve on this type of thing as well as other developments in the culture and dissemination of popular music.”  To learn more about Leonid & Friends click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Kelly Ford is back in the New York groove at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” hosting the new “Kelly Ford in the Morning” show, effective February 4.  Ford was the original midday host on WNSH when it launched as a country outlet.  She moved to Nashville to be part of the Westwood One-syndicated “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” show (now “The Ty Bentli Show”).  Ford says, “When [Cumulus New York VP and market manager] Chad Lopez and [program director] John Foxx first proposed the idea of ‘Kelly Ford in the Morning,’ of course my reaction was ‘What the Ford?!’ And my second was, ‘Truck yeah!’ I can’t thank Chad and John enough for bringing me back and [EVP content and programming] Mike McVay for making it happen.  It’s like a full circle moment for me as I was the first live voice heard on ‘NASH FM 94.7.’  To be able to work again with the New York NASH team, especially Katie Neal and Jesse Addy, it’s like having the (country) band back together again.”

“Holiday” 2018 PPM Data – Round One. Information for the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2018 survey period covered December 6 (2018) – January 2 (2019). See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these 12-PPM markets.

New York City

Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight decreases, iHeartMedia news/talk WOR has lost a collective nine-tenths (2.3 – 2.0 – 1.7 – 1.4, unchanged at #21, 6+); “710 The Voice of New York” was a cumulative +.6 in September and October (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.3, 6+). It is tied at #21 with Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” which drops two-tenths to 1.4 (#22 to #21, 6+), thus ending eight straight monthly reports without a loss that netted one-half share (1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.6, 6+). After being up or flat the past five sweeps for an overall increase of three-tenths (.9 – .9 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WABC drops one-tenth to 1.1 and is flat at #24 (6+).

This is the third loss in succession for Entercom sports talk WFAN, which is -1.2 in that stretch (4.4 – 3.7 – 3.5 – 3.2, flat at #10, 6+). The flagship of the Yankees, New York Giants, and Brooklyn Nets was -.8 in September and +.5 in October. Part of a three-way tie at #21 (with WOR and WKXW), WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” is off a cumulative four-tenths in December and “Holiday” 2018 (1.8 – 1.5- 1.4, #23 to #21, 6+), directly following an overall gain of four-tenths via four straight up or flat monthlies by the flagship of the New York Jets and New York Knicks (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1. 7 – 1.8, 6+).

The market’s (6+) all-news share shrinks by nine-tenths as Entercom’s WINS forfeits one-half share (4.3 – 3.8, fifth to seventh, 6+), while co-owned WCBS-AM is off four-tenths (3.0, #12 to #13, 6+). WINS was frozen on 4.2 (6+) in July, August, and September; stymied at 4.4 (6+) in October and November; then off one-tenth in December. The setback by WCBS-AM halts four consecutive upticks that produced a net gain of eight-tenths (2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+).

The rollercoaster ride continues for WNYC Broadcasting Foundation’s news/talk WNYC-FM, which was a cumulative -.7 (May, June, and July); +.7 (August); -.6 (September); +.6 (October); -.4 (November); +.6 in December; and now -.4 in “Holiday” 2018 (3.6 – 3.2, #9 to #10, 6+). For the fourth time in a row, co-owned news/talk WNYC-AM logs a .5 (6+), but slips from #28 to #29. Prior to September’s .6 (6+), WNYC-AM recorded a .5 (6+) three straight times.

New York City Music Formats – Tacking on a +3.4 to December’s +2.4 (6.7 – 9.1 – 12.5, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” is #1 for the 18th successive sweep. A combined +.6 in August and September (6.9 – 7.1 – 7.5, 6+), “Lite FM” posted a 13.1 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017. Advancing from #19 to #15, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation-owned WQXR “New York’s Classical Music Radio Station” nets nine-tenths in four straight up or flat reports (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 2.0 – 2.3, 6+). Significant ups/down continue for Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “La Mega 97.9,” which was a collective +.5 in October and November (4.3  – 4.7 – 4.8, 6+); -.6 in December; and now +.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (4.2 – 5.0, seventh to fourth, 6+). Co-owned Spanish contemporary WPAT “Amor 93.1,” which had been up or flat four ratings periods in succession for an overall gain of nine-tenths (2.5 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+), is a collective -.7 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.7, #13 to #14, 6+). Flat at #8, Emmis rhythmic CHR cluster-mate WQHT “Hot 97”  is without an increase for the seventh straight time for a cumulative loss of three-tenths (4.0 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). Cumulus Media country WNSH “94.7 Nash FM” is off a collective three-tenths in three straight down or flat sweeps (2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0, #16 to #19, 6+).

Los Angeles

Spoken-Word Formats – Without an increase for the eighth time in a row for a collective -1.2 (4.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KFI “AM 640” slips from sixth to ninth. Co-owned news/talk KEIB “AM 1150 The Patriot” is unchanged from December in (6+) share (.8) and (6+) market rank (#31). By dropping two-tenths (.8 – .6, 6+), Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” drifts from #31 to #38. In consecutive sweeps, Cumulus Media-owned KABC gained two-tenths (.3 – .5 – .7, 6+), but “790 News-Talk-Evolved” is flat at .7 in “Holiday” 2018 (#35 to #33, 6+).

After practically doubling its 6+-stat (+.7) through three straight gains (.8 – .9 – 1.3 – 1.5, 6+), KSPN “710 ESPN” surrenders two-tenths in back-to-back survey periods (1.5 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+) as the AM flagship of the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams dips from #26 to #27. Prior to August’s loss of four-tenths, KSPN gained one-tenth in three straight sweeps (.9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.2, 6+). Following ten (10) successive ratings periods without a loss – in which time it more than quintupled (+1.7) its 6+ AQH share (.4 – .4 – .5 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.7 – 2.1, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” spiraled by -1.4 in December. It stabilizes at .7 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 yet climbs from #35 to #33. KLAC is the flagship of the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers and is among the key stations of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers.

Up three-tenths in December (2.8 – 3.1, 6+), Entercom’s KNX “1070 News Radio” regresses by one-half share to 2.6 (6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #13).

The eleven (11) most recent 6+ stats for Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” (#14 to #16) are an extremely steady 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 2.5 – 2.3.

Los Angeles Music Formats – Not only is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KOST on top for the third straight time, “Coast 103.5” is up for the fifth ratings period in succession for an overall +8.4 (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 9.0 – 13.0, 6+). Its “Holiday” 2018 6+-stat (13.0) exceeds the combined total of the #2 (Entercom classic hits-oldies KRTH 4.4, 6+); #3 (iHeartMedia hot AC KBIG, 4.0, 6+); and #4 (Entercom smooth AC KTWV, 3.6, 6+) finishers. KOST logged an 11.9 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017. Its all-Christmas music challenger this year – Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters’ KKGO – picks up three-tenths to 2.7 (6+) and progresses from #16 to #12. In four of the last five reports, “Go Country 105 FM” notched a 2.4 (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+). An increase of two-tenths to 2.4 (6+) boosts Entercom alternative KROQ from #20 to #14 and curtails four successive down or flat sweeps that accounted for a loss of seven-tenths (2.9 – 2.8 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.2, 6+). As a result of five straight down or flat trends (5.1 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4, 6+), co-owned KRTH (third to second) has lost a collective seven-tenths. “K-Earth 101” was on top in October 2018. Prior to that sweep, the last time a non-iHeartMedia-owned station was #1 in Los Angeles was November 2015 – and it was “K-Earth” with a 5.7 (6+). When KBIG gained two-tenths in December, it snapped at five a consecutive string of decreases that resulted in an overall loss of -1.1 (5.8 – 5.7 – 5.6 – 5.5 – 4.8 – 4.7, 6+). In “Holiday” 2018, however, “104.3 My-FM” sputters by nine-tenths (4.9 – 4.0, second to third, 6+). KBIG spent five successive months at #1before being dislodged (by KRTH) in October. Within 4.0 – 4.9 range (6+) in each of the last 19 survey periods, co-owned mainstream CHR KIIS falters by one-half share to 3.5 (fourth to fifth, 6+); “102.7 Kiss FM” was off four-tenths in December. Meanwhile, Entercom’s similarly-formatted KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” is within 2.0 – 2.9 territory for the 19th time in a row (flat at 2.3, #18 to #16, 6+). As the result of four consecutive gains (1.6 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.3, 6+), KUSC was a collective +.7, but the University of Southern California classical outlet slips by two-tenths (2.1, #19 to #20, 6+). Without an increase for the eighth time in a row (2.6 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4, #23 to #24, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” is an overall -1.2 in that period. Meanwhile, Liberman Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted KBUE “Que Buena” is down or flat for the fifth straight sweep for an overall loss of four-tenths (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+) but continues at #20. The June 2018 – September 2018 (6+) topline for KXOS was 2.0 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.3, but regional Mexican “Mega 96.3” is unlisted for the fourth sweep in a row.

Chicago

Spoken-Word Formats – A collective -1.0 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.2 – 2.6 – 2.2, 6+), Tribune Media news/talk WGN departs the top twenty (#18 to #21). Immediately prior to the December sweep, the key station of the Chicago White Sox logged three straight up or flat trends for a collective +.7 (2.5 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 3.2, 6+). Dipping from #23 to #26, Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM has a May 2018 through “Holiday” 2018 topline of 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.4 – 1.1 (6+).

Up one-tenth in back-to-back ratings periods (2.8 – 2.9 – 3.0, 6+), Entercom sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” (flagship for both the Cubs and Bulls) proceeds from a three-way tie at #12 to a three-way scrum at #9. WSCR was up eight-tenths in September and then -1.5 in October and November (4.3 – 4.2 – 2.8, 6+). In four straight sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5, 6+), ESPN-owned WMVP was up one half-share, but “ESPN Chicago 1000” surrenders three-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 (1.2, #22 to #24, 6+).

In four consecutive months without a loss, Entercom news outlet WBBM-AM was a collective +1.1 (4.6 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 5.7 – 5.7, 6+), but the flagship of the NFL’s Chicago Bears falters by four-tenths to 5.3 (6+) and carries on in the runner-up slot. It shifted from first to second in December.

By losing three-tenths to 2.6 (#12 to #14), Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ ends four straight up or flat trends that generated a gain of seven-tenths (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), with December’s 2.9 its best 6+-showing since April 2018’s 3.0.

Chicago Music Formats – On the heels of December’s +5.2 (3.2 – 8.4, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLIT “93.9 Lite FM” piles on a +4.9 to 13.3 (6+) and repeats at #1. WLIT was 12.4 in “Holiday” 2017. One of WLIT’s AC rivals – Venture Technologies Group’s WRME-LP “FM 87.7 Me TV” – is down or flat for the fifth successive time for a collective -1.5 (3.8 – 3.8 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 2.7 – 2.3, #16 to #19, 6+). Following three straight showings of 3.7 (6+), Entercom-owned WUSN dropped three-tenths in December. Now, “US-99 Chicago’s Hottest Country” falters by twice that margin (3.4 – 2.8, -.6, 6+), tumbling out of the top ten (#9 to #13). WUSN had been within 3.0 – 3.9 range in each of the past 17 ratings periods. At the same time, iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 95.5 – Chicago’s New Country,” which was without a gain the past four sweeps for a collective -.4 (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.4, 6+), picks up one-tenth (1.5, #23 to #22, 6+). Entercom urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams,” a collective +.5 in November and December (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.5, 6+) forfeits that entire increase (3.0, -.5, eighth to ninth, 6+). While it is unchanged at #3, iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103” is a collective -1.2 in six straight down or flat trends (6.1 – 6.0 – 5.7 – 5.7 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 4.9, 6+). Repeating at #7, Cumulus Media-owned WLS-FM “94.7 Chicago’s Classic Hits” is a cumulative -1.8 in four straight drops (5.4 – 5.0 – 4.8 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+).

San Francisco

Spoken-Word Formats – Even though it is off for the third time in succession for a -1.0 (3.1 – 2.6 – 2.3 – 2.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk KSFO advances from #16 to #15. KSFO was up seven-tenths in October, after being a combined -1.0 in August and September (3.4 – 3.0- 2.4, 6+). Cluster-mate KGO has a September 2018 – “Holiday” 2018 topline of 1.8 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 (#19 to #20, 6+). August’s increase of four-tenths ended four successive down or flat trends that resulted in a collective loss of three-tenths (2.0 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7, 6+).

In a down-up pattern (2.9 – 2.5 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+), co-owned KNBR “The Sports Leader” moves from #14 to #12. Prior to November, KNBR was without an increase in the previous three ratings periods for a cumulative -1.2 (3.7 – 3.7 – 2.9 – 2.5, 6+). Erasing December’s gain of four-tenths with a “Holiday” 2018 loss of four-tenths (2.2 – 1.8, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted KGMZ “95.7 The Game” dips from #17 to #18. KGMZ was a combined +.6 in three straight up or flat trends (1.5 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.1, 6+), before faltering by two-tenths in November.

All-news cluster-mate KCBS-AM adds one-tenth to December’s +.4 (5.3 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+) and repeats at #3. KCBS-AM had been at #2 ten (10) straight sweeps before shifting to #3 in December.

Following 11 straight months at #1, Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED (7.6 – 7.5, -.1, 6+) segues to #2. December 2018’s 7.6 is its best 6+-performance since May’s 8.1. Its gain of four-tenths in September ended five downward trends in a row that accounted for a -2.5 (8.9 – 8.4 – 8.1 – 7.1 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). More than doubling its 6+-share (+.5) in seventh straight up or flat trends (.4 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .9, 6+), San Francisco Unified School District’s KALW “91.7 Local Public Radio” moves from #30 to #29.

San Francisco Music Formats – Having leaped from sixth to second in December, Bonneville-owned adult contemporary KOIT-FM (6.4 – 10.7, +4.3, 6+) marches to #1. In “Holiday” 2017, KOIT-FM recorded a 9.2 (6+). Meanwhile, its AC rival – iHeartMedia’s KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” – is off a combined nine-tenths in three drops in a row (4.7 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 3.8, flat at #4, 6+). In addition to picking up one-tenth to 2.0 (6+), which halts at five a consecutive string of down or flat trends that led to a loss of six-tenths (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+), Entercom rhythmic hot AC KRBQ “Q-102.1” moves into the top twenty (#21 to #19). Erasing December’s -.5 with a “Holiday” 2018 +.5 (3.5 – 3.0 – 3.5, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned urban contemporary KMEL “106.1 #1 for Hip-Hop and R&B” zooms from tenth to fifth. December’s 3.0 was its lowest 6+-stat since November 2017’s 2.6. A collective -1.1 in November and December (3.6 – 3.0 – 2.5, 6+), co-owned KOSF “iHeart 80s @ 103.7,” which was up eight-tenths in November, drifts from the top ten (#10 to #14). After posting one-half share increases in consecutive sweeps (2.1 – 2.6 – 3.1, 6+), University of Southern California-owned classical outlet KDFC drops one-tenth to 3.0 (6+) but remains at #9. In five straight reports without an increase (2.1      – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4, #23, 6+), Entercom alternative KITS “Alt 105.3 The Bay Area’s Alternative” is an overall -.7. At #25, co-owned KUFX “98.5 K-Fox The South Bay’s Classic Rock” has lost nine-tenths in five consecutive negative or flat trends (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+), while Empire Broadcasting’s KRTY “Hot Country 95.3” hasn’t had an increase in five straight reports and has surrendered 50% (.9) of its 6+share in that stretch (1.8 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2 – .9, #27, 6+).

Dallas

Spoken-Word Formats – Without a loss five months in a row for a collective +1.1 (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.2, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WBAP is now a combined -.9 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.2 – 2.7 2.3, #16 to #19, 6+). Just prior to the September sweep, “News Talk 820” posted a 2.2 (6+) in three of the previous five ratings periods (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+). Flat at #35, Salem Media Group-owned KSKY “660 AM The Answer” is an overall -.4 in four straight down or flat trends (.9 – .9 – .7 – .6 – .5, 6+), while Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM “570 News & Information” is without an increase for the fourth time in a row (.5 – .4 – .4 – .4 – .3, flat at #36, 6+).

With its sixth straight sweep without a loss for a +.5 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.6, 6+), Entercom’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” progresses from #18 to #14. It overtakes Cumulus Media-owned KTCK “The Ticket – All Sports, All The Time,” which is off a collective eight-tenths in three dips in a row (3.2 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 24, 6+) and slumps from #14 to #18. Meanwhile, ESPN’s KESN “103.3 ESPN Dallas,” which was a collective +.3 in four straight up or flat moves (.9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+), is off one-tenth in consecutive reports (1.2 – 1.1 – 1.0, #31 to #33, 6+).

Down or flat for the fifth straight time for an overall decline of three-tenths (2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 2.0, 6+), Entercom news-talk hybrid KRLD-AM “News Radio 1080” departs the top twenty (#20 to #23). Going back to “Holiday” 2016, KRLD-AM is within a high of 2.8 and a low of 2.0.

North Texas Public Broadcasting news/talk KERA is unchanged from December in 6+-share (3.1) and 6+-market rank (#13). Before September’s +.4 to 3.0, KERA logged a 6+-stat in the two-share range for 37 consecutive sweeps.

Dallas Music Formats – In eight successive sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KDGE has almost tripled (+4.4) its 6+-stat (2.7 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.5 – 3.7 – 5.1 – 7.1, 6+), as “Star 102.1” marches from third to first. In “Holiday” 2017, “Star” logged a 6.4 (6+). On top the past 12 reports, iHeartMedia-owned KHKS “106.1 Kiss – Dallas/Fort Worth’s Hit Music” (6.3 – 5.9, -.4, 6+) shifts to #3. After a combined -1.4 in June and July, “Kiss” was +1.1 in August and down one-half share in November. Having posted a 4.3 (6+) in three of the last six sweeps (4.6 – 4.3 – 4.0 – 4.6 – 4.3 – 4.3, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies KLUV erupts with a +1.8 to 6.1 (6+) and leaps from fifth to second with its best 6+-showing (6.1) since 7.2 in Holiday 2017. A combined +1.4 in four successive improvements (3.2 – 3.8 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.6, 6+), Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KLTY “94.9 Your Life … Inspired” carries on at #4. At the same time. WAY Media’s similarly-formatted KAWA “WAY-FM Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” has been +.7 (September); -.8 (October); +.6 (November); and a combined -.9 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.2, #30, 6+). Showing December 2018 – “Holiday” 2018 gains of six-tenths each are iHeartMedia’s KEGL “97.1 The Eagle Rocks” (3.8, #11 to #6, 6+) and City of Dallas-owned WRR “Classical 101” (1.6 – 2.2, #21, 6+). “The Eagle” had been off a cumulative one-half share in four straight down or flat trends (3.7 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.2 – 3.2, 6+). Through five consecutive sweeps without an increase, Service Broadcasting urban AC KRNB was a combined -1.0 (3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.3 – 2.1, 6+), but “105.7 Smooth R&B” is up four-tenths to 2.5 (#19 to #16, 6+). Within 5.0 – 5.5 territory (6+) in each of the last 12 survey periods, iHeartMedia classic rocker KZPS “Lone Star 92.5” erodes by -1.2 to 4.2 (second to fifth, 6+). Although it remains at #6, Cumulus Media’s KSCS “New Country 96.3” is -1.4 in six straight down or flat reports (5.2 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.8, 6+). July 2018’s 5.2 represents the best-ever 6+ share in KSCS’ PPM history and the first time it ever reached the five-share level (6+).

Houston

Spoken-Word Formats – Replicating its December loss of seven-tenths (4.3 – 3.6 – 2.9, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KTRH fades from #11 to #16. “News Radio 740” posted a November gain of six-tenths to 4.3, its strongest 6+-stat since February 2017’s 4.4. KTRH was a combined -.9 in August and September (4.1 – 3.6 – 3.2, 6+) and up one-half share in October.

In six straight up or flat trends (.9 – .9 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” is a collective +.5 as the AM flagship of the Houston Texans repeats at #22. Gow Communications’ KFNC “ESPN 97.5” notches a .8 (6+) for the fourth straight month and continues at #25, while KTRH cluster-mate/Houston Astros flagship KBME “Sports Talk 790” drops one-tenth (.6 – .5, 6+) and is flat at #28.

Not only is KUHF without an increase for the sixth successive time for a collective -1.5 (3.4 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 1.9, 6+), the University of Houston news/talk station exits the top twenty (#20 to #21).

Houston Music Formats – An adult contemporary station holds the #1 position in each of the top six PPM-markets. In this Texas metro, iHeartMedia’s KODA “Sunny 99.1” tacks on a +2.4 to December’s +2.2 (7.5 – 9.7 – 12.1, 6+) and sets the pace for the ninth straight time. In “Holiday” 2017, “Sunny” recorded a 12.5, the station’s strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2016’s 10.3 and the first time any Houston facility reached double-digits (6+) since that particular ratings period. Advancing from seventh to sixth, KSBJ Educational Foundation contemporary Christian KSBJ “89.3 – God Listens” is an overall +1.5 via six straight sweeps without a loss (3.3 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+). Similarly, Radio One rhythmic CHR KBXX “97.9 The Box” is a collective +1.6 as the result of five upticks in succession (3.5 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.3 – 4.6 – 5.1, sixth to fourth, 6+). Another positive streak, however, draws to a close as Univision Radio regional Mexican KLTN “Que Buena 102.9,” which was a collective +3.3 through five successive increases (4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 6.0 – 6.8 – 8.0, 6+), erodes by -1.5 to 6.5 (6+) but continues in the runner-up slot. An improvement of one-tenth to .9 (#26 to #23, 6+) by Radio One CHR KROI “92.1 Radio Now” curtails seven ratings periods in succession without an increase for a collective loss of four-tenths (1.2 – 1.1 – .9 – .9 – .9 – .9 – .8 – .8, 6+). This marks the seventh straight sweep without an increase for iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ “94.5 The Buzz,” which is an overall -1.8 since June 2018 (5.0 – 5.0 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.2, #9 to #14, 6+). In four straight reports without an increase, Cox Media Group’s KKBQ “93-Q Country” is a collective -1.5 (5.4 – 4.7 – 4.6 – 3.9 – 3.9, flat at #8, 6+). A cumulative -2.0 in five successive sweeps without an increase (5.7 – 5.0 – 4.9 – 4.2 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+), Entercom adult hits KKHH “95.7 The Spot” departs the top ten (#10 to #11).

Atlanta

Spoken-Word Formats – There’s truly major news here as Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 sweeps – erodes by a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+). Cumulus Media’s WYAY “106.6 Where Atlanta Comes to Talk” is off two-tenths (1.4 – 1.2, #21 to #22, 6+); WYAY was -1.0 in August (2.3 – 1.3, 6+). Recording its seventh sweep in a row without a loss for an overall gain of six-tenths (.1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .4 – .5 – .6 -.6 – .7, 6+), Entercom news/talk WAOK jumps from #28 to #25.

Co-owned sports talk/Atlanta Falcons flagship WZGC “92.9 The Game” drops one-tenth (4.2 – 4.1, 6+) yet improves from ninth to eighth. Prior to November 2018, WZGC was an overall +1.7 in four consecutive positive moves (2.2 – 2.5 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.9,  6+). Flat at #19, Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN “Sports Radio The Fan” is off two-tenths (2.0 – 1.8, 6+). After three straight down or flat trends for a collective -.5 (2.4 – 2.0 – 1.9 – 1.9, 6+), the Atlanta Braves flagship picked up one-tenth in December.

As a result of five straight up or flat trends, WABE was a collective +1.2 (3.1 – 3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.3, 6+), but the City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk outlet surrenders half that increase (3.7, -.6, 6+) and exits the top ten (#7 to #11). Georgia State University news/talk WRAS is unchanged from December in both 6+-share (.7) and 6+-market rank (#25).

Atlanta Music Formats – Not only does Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH follow up December’s +1.0 with a +3.2 (4.4 – 5.4 – 8.6, 6+), “The Fish” swims from fourth to first. In advance of the December sweep, WFSH posted three negative trends in succession that accounted for an overall -1.5 (5.9 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+). In “Holiday” 2017, “The Fish” notched an 8.5 (6+). Registering increases of one-half share each are Entercom urban contemporary WVEE “V-103 The People’s Station” (6.3, flat at #3, 6+) and Cox Media Group adult contemporary WSB-FM “B-98.5” (5.6, steady at #5, 6+). “V-103” was a combined -1.4 in November and December (7.2 – 6.1 – 5.8, 6+), while “B-98.5” snaps at three a consecutive string of (slight) decreases that accounted for a loss of four-tenths (5.5 – 5.4 – 5.3 – 5.1, 6+). Faltering by seven-tenths each are Radio One urban AC and gospel siblings WAMJ “Majic” (5.1 – 4.4, fifth to seventh, 6+) and WPZE “Praise 102.5 Atlanta’s Inspiration Station” (3.7 – 3.0, #13 to #15, 6+). For the last ten (10) sweeps, “Majic” had been within 5.1 – 5.6 range (6+). In an up/down pattern (3.4 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.2, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” departs the top ten (#10 to #14). Its format rival, iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull,” is a collective +1.0 via three straight increases (2.9 – 3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9, tenth to ninth, 6+). November’s gain of six-tenths followed three consecutive decreases that led to a -1.1 (4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 2.9, 6+). Having more than doubled (+1.0) its 6+-stat in three straight positive spikes (.8 – 1.2 -1.3 – 1.8, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned rhythmic CHR WWWQ-HD3 drops three-tenths and departs the top twenty (1.5, #20 to #21, 6+). By gaining one-tenth (3.3 – 3.4, #15 to #12, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” catches Cumulus Media’s WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits” (3.8 – 3.4, -.4, #10 to #12, 6+). “Power” was -1.2 in December, while “Q-100” was -.6. Entering the December 2018 sweep, “Power” had been without a loss the previous seven sweeps for a cumulative +1.1 (3.4 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.5, 6+). When “Q-100” lost one-tenth in October, it snapped at four a consecutive string of up or flat moves that netted three-tenths (4.0 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+).

Philadelphia

Spoken-Word Formats – Flat at #18, Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” is an overall -.9 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (2.9 – 2.1 – 2.0, 6+), immediately following seven straight ratings periods without a decrease that generated a +1.4 (1.5 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+). Steady at 1.3 (6+), Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” climbs from #23 to #22.

The flagship of the Eagles and Phillies – Entercom’s WIP – was -.8 (February 2018); -2.9 (March); +1.1 (April); -.8 (May); -.5 (June); +.7 (August); +1.4 (October); -1.0 (November); and now +.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (6.3 – 7.1, fourth to second, 6+). “Sports Radio 94.1” was #1 in October. Without a loss for the fourth time in a row for an overall +1.0 (1.8 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.8, 6+), Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” zooms from #15 to #12. Prior to October, the key station of the 76ers and Flyers was without an improvement the previous five months for an overall -1.0 (2.8 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 1.9 – 1.8, 6+).

Up seven-tenths in August, Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” spirals by eight-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 (5.1 – 4.3, flat at #7, 6+).

Public news/talk WHYY is a collective -1.1 via three declines in a row (3.8 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+). An August increase of one-half share interrupted three successive negative trends for an overall -1.1 (4.4 – 3.7 – 3.6 – 3.3, 6+).

Philadelphia Music Formats – Registering the largest (6+) December 2018 – “Holiday” 2018 increase of any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here, Entercom adult contemporary WBEB (10.4 – 16.6, +6.2, 6+) repeats at #1. “Today’s 101.1 More FM” was on top from March through June before being dislodged in July. It dialed up a 17.0 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017. Immediately prior to October, WBEB was a collective -2.2 in three consecutive decreases (8.5 – 7.8 – 6.5 – 6.3, 6+). It has a new format challenger: In mid-November, iHeartMedia transitioned rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” to adult contemporary as “106.1 The Breeze – Philly’s Relaxing Favorites.” WISX was off eight-tenths in its first report as an AC (December 2018), but rebounds with a gain of one-half share (2.5 – 3.0, #17 to #11, 6+). On the heels of December’s -1.0 (7.4 – 6.4, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies WOGL “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” further erodes by -1.4 (6.4 – 5.0, third to fifth, 6+). November’s increase of six-tenths applied the brakes to three straight negative trends that accounted for a combined -1.4 (8.2 – 7.5 – 7.0 – 6.8, 6+). WOGL finished first in August and segued to second in September. It’s not exactly the same scenario, but Beasley Media Group’s WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks” follows December’s -.6 with a “Holiday” 2018 -1.0 (6.5 – 5.9 – 4.9, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to December, WMMR had been an overall +1.1 via four straight up or flat trends (5.4 – 6.0 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 6.5, 6+). Erasing December’s eight-tenths’ gain with a “Holiday” 2018 loss of nine-tenths (7.4 – 6.5, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM  shifts from second to third. “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks” was locked on 6.6 (6+) in October and November. Off seven-tenths each are Beasley Media Group’s WMGK “Classic Rock 102.9 MGK” (6.2 – 5.5, fifth to fourth, 6+); Entercom’s WXTU “92.5 Philadelphia’s Country Station” (4.3 – 3.6, eighth to ninth, 6+); and iHeartMedia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” (2.8, #10 to #12, 6+). Trending 6.8 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 6.9 (August through November, 6+), WMGK dropped seven-tenths in December. “Philadelphia’s Country Station” was -1.1 in December and +.6 in November. After a September gain of four-tenths, WXTU surrendered more than twice that increase with a loss of nine-tenths. The September 2018 through December 2018 topline for “Q-102” was 3.5 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.5 (6+).

Long Island

Spoken-Word Formats – After doubling its 6+ share (+1.8) in September and October (1.8 – 2.8 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR “710 The Voice of New York” is a combined -1.5 via three decreases in succession (3.6 – 3.1 – 2.2 – 2.1, #15 to #16, 6+). Down (slightly) or flat for the fourth straight sweep (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.3, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WABC nonetheless inches up from #26 to #25. Its August increase of one-tenth stopped four consecutive down or flat moves that accounted for a loss of three-tenths (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.2, 6+).

Despite recording its third drop in a row for a collective -1.4 (5.6 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+), Entercom sports talk WFAN advances from fifth to fourth. In November, the flagship of the Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and Yankees was in a three-way tie at #1. It wiped away October’s +.6 with a November loss of eight-tenths. The key station of the New York Jets – WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” – is a collective -.5 through three decreases in a row (2.2 – 2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7, #19 to #20, 6+). As was the case with WFAN, similarly-programmed WEPN gained six-tenths in October (1.6 – 2.2, 6+). “ESPN New York” had been off seven-tenths in four straight down or flat trends (2.3 – 2.0 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6, #22, 6+), immediately after five consecutive upticks for a +1.2 (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.3, 6+).

Entercom all-news WCBS-AM is off three-tenths (3.2 – 2.9, ninth to tenth, 6+), while co-owned/similarly-formatted WINS loses four-tenths (3.2 – 2.8, #9 to #11, 6+). The two cluster-mates were tied in December and separated by one-tenth of a share in November. Prior to December, WCBS-AM was up nine-tenths in six straight up or flat trends (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 3.3, 6+), while WINS was up six-tenths in October;

From February 2018 – September 2018, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation news/talk WNYC-FM trended 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 2.0 (6+) and ranked #19 in September. It was unlisted in October and November; resurfaced in December (2.0, 6+); and is off three-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 (1.7, #17 to #19, 6+).

Long Island Music Formats – Repeating at #1, Connoisseur Media hot AC WALK-FM “97.5 – Real Variety” adds a +4.0 to December’s +2.1 (4.4 – 6.5 – 10.5, 6+). “Real Variety” was off one-half share in November. This (10.5) is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017 (12.6). More than tripling (+6.4) its 6+-stat in seven Long Island sweeps in succession without a loss (2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.8 – 6.3 – 9.2, 6+), iHeartMedia New York City adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” carries on at #2. “Lite FM” recorded an 8.5 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017. Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” more than doubles (+1.4) its 6+-stat through five consecutive upticks (1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.6, #16 to #12, 6+). This is the third straight decrease for Connoisseur Media adult contemporary WKJY “Long Island’s K-98.3” for a -1.0 (4.2 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.2, sixth to eighth, 6+). Making identical 3.1 – 2.4, -.7, #11 to #14 (6+) moves are Emmis urban AC WBLS “107.5 – #1 For R&B” and Connoisseur Media classic hits-oldies WBZO “103.1 Max FM,” which was off eight-tenths in December WBLS is an overall -1.5 in five straight down or flat trends (3.9 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.1 – 2.4, 6+). Erasing December’s gain of three-tenths with a “Holiday” 2018 decrease of one-half share (3.1 – 2.6, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 The Beat of New York” falls from #11 to #12. Albeit that it is an overall -1.9 in six straight sweeps without an increase (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.3 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned WBAB “102.3 – Long Island’s Only Classic Rock” returns to the top ten (#11 to #9). Not only is Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” down or flat for the seventh consecutive time for an overall decline of -1.3 (2.8 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 – 1.5, 6+), “Hot 97” drops out of the top twenty (#19 to #24). Prior to December, WQHT had been within 2.0 – 2.9 territory (6+) the previous 49 consecutive Long Island ratings periods. In six straight sweeps without an increase, Cumulus Media country WNSH “94.7 – Nash FM” has lost 50% (-1.2) of its 6+ AQH share (2.4 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.5 – 1.2, flat at #26, 6+).

Riverside

Spoken-Word Formats – This is the third straight down or flat trend for iHeartMedia news talk KKDD “1290 News Talk IE” (.4 – .2 – .2 -.2, 6+), which departs the top twenty (#20 to #21). KKDD debuted in July with a .2 (6+); gained one-tenth in August; was flat in September; and up one-tenth in October.

Co-owned KPWK “Fox Sports Radio 1350 AM” (formerly KUBE) disappeared from print in June; resurfaced in July (.2, 6+); dropped one-tenth in August; added one-tenth in both September and October; dropped one-tenth in November; was flat at .2 in December; and is off one-tenth in “Holiday” 2018 to .1 (#20 to #24, 6+). Similarly-formatted/Los Angeles Angels-owned (LAA 1, LLC) KLAA “Angels Radio AM 830” is unlisted for the 12th month in a row.

A -.4 in December by KVCR wiped away a +.4 via three straight modest increases (1.3 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.7, 6+). Now in “Holiday” 2018, the San Bernardino Community College news/talk station forfeits another two-tenths (1.3 – 1.1, #12 to #13, 6+). Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” is a collective -.4 in three straight losses (.6 – .4 – .3 – .2, #18 to #21, 6+).

Riverside Music Formats – A collective +1.6 in four straight up or flat trends (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 3.2 – 3.9, 6+), Good News Radio contemporary Christian KSGN “89.7 – Family Friendly” advances from sixth to fourth. December’s 3.2 marked the first time KSGN reached the three-share level since January 2018’s 3.1. Conversely, Educational Media Foundation’s similarly-formatted KLRD “Air 1 – Worship Now,” which was up a collective seven-tenths in November and December (1.5 – 2.0 – 2.2, 6+), surrenders one-half share to 1.7 (6+) and departs the top ten (#10 to #11). Anchored in the runner-up slot for the eighth time in a row, Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies KOLA erases December’s loss of four-tenths with a gain of one-half share (6.7 – 7.2, 6+). KOLA hit #1 in May 2018 with a 6.5 (6+). While Entravision’s KLYY “Jose” is #1 for the eighth successive sweep, it has the dubious distinction of suffering the largest (6+) December 2018 – “Holiday” 2018 decrease of any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here (10.5 – 8.5, -2.0, 6+) and is the only #1 station in these 12 markets to show a dip from December 2018. “Jose” was +1.1 in December and +2.5 in September. December 2018’s 10.5 marked the first time any Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario station reached double-figures (6+) since April 2015, when KLYY recorded a 10.4. A loss of four-tenths in October ended five straight increases that netted an astonishing +5.3, more than doubling its 6+-stat since April (4.6 – 6.4 – 6.5 – 6.9 – 7.4 – 9.9, 6+). LC Media urban-rhythmic oldies KQIE “Old School 104.7” is a collective -1.7 via four straight negative trends (3.8 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.1, eighth to ninth, 6+). Up one-tenth (1.3 – 1.4, steady at #12, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KRCD “Recuerdo” is in one-share range (6+) for the 17th successive ratings period.

San Jose

Spoken-Word Formats – Stuck on 2.2 (6+) in November and December, after November’s loss of eight-tenths, Cumulus Media’s KGO is off one-tenth to 2.1 (#16 to #18, 6+). Prior to November’s -.8, KGO posted four upticks in a row for a cumulative +1.3 (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.0, 6+). Co-owned news/talk KSFO, which was frozen on 1.2 (6+) in October and November, is a collective -.3 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (1.2 – 1.0 – .9,  #28 to #27, 6+). Its +.1 in October ended three consecutive downward moves that resulted in the disappearance of exactly half (-1.1) of its 6+-share (2.2 – 2.0 – 1.8 – 1.1, 6+).

Sports talk cluster-mate KNBR “The Sports Leader” is a combined -1.6 in five straight down or flat moves (4.4 – 3.4 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.8, #14 to #13, 6+), while Entercom sports talk KGMZ “95.7 The Game,” which was a collective +.9 in November and December, is off one-tenth (1.5 – 1.4, #23 to #25, 6+).

All-news sibling KCBS-AM, which was off by one-half share in November (6.2 – 5.7, 6+) and up two-tenths in December, is flat at 5.9 (fifth to fourth, 6+).

Unlisted in October and November, Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED returned in December with a 6.7 (6+); it adds four-tenths to 7.1 (6+) and continues at #2. In December, San Francisco Unified School District news/talk KALW debuted with a .5 (6+) and adds two-tenths to .7 (unchanged at #30, 6+).

San Jose Music Formats – Having recorded a gain of one-tenth in September, October, and November, Entercom adult contemporary KOIT-FM is a combined +6.8 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 6.0 – 10.1, 6+), leaping from fourth to first. KOIT-FM was 7.6 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017 and is also #1 in San Francisco. In three straight San Jose slips, iHeartMedia’s similarly formatted KISQ is an overall -1.9 (4.5 – 3.8 – 3.0 – 2.6, #13 to #14, 6+); “98.1 The Breeze” was a combined +1.0 in September and October (3.5 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+). An overall +1.7 in October and November (6.3 – 6.9 – 8.0, 6+), Alpha Media classic hits-oldies KBAY “94.5 Bay FM – The Bay’s Greatest Hits” is a combined -1.8 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.0 – 6.9 – 6.2, 6+); after three straight months at #1, it falls to third. In November, “Bay FM” reached the eight-share level (6+) for the first time since “Holiday” 2016 (8.0, as well). Prior to October, the last time KBAY held the lead spot was “Holiday” 2015 – when it was an adult contemporary outlet. An overall -2.4 as the result of three declines in succession (6.2 – 6.0 – 5.4 – 3.8, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KBRG “Amor 100.3” is now an overall +1.5 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.8 – 4.4 – 5.3, seventh to fifth, 6+). At the same time that Alpha Media hot AC KEZR “Mix 106 – Today’s Best Music” erodes by -1.5 (5.0, third to sixth, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KIOI “Star 101.3” plummets by eight-tenths (4.6 – 3.8, sixth to seventh, 6+ ). “Mix” had been +2.5 in three straight up or flat trends (4.0 – 5.1 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+). Having posted a +1.2 in October and a +.7 in November, “Star” relinquished one-half share in December. A December gain of four-tenths by Empire Broadcasting’s KRTY halted three consecutive negative trends that resulted in a collective -2.4 (6.1 – 5.4 – 4.5 – 3.7, 6+), but “San Jose Hot Country 95.3” falters by eight-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 (4.1 – 3.3, ninth to tenth, 6+). Prior to the aforementioned negative streak, “Hot Country” was an overall +2.1 via five successive gains (4.0 – 4.1 – 4.2 – 4.5 – 5.1 – 6.1, 6+). November’s 3.7 marked the first time KRTY was below a four-share (6+) since January’s 3.8. A collective +1.3 in November and December (2.4 – 2.9 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KYLD “Wild 94.9 – The Bay’s #1 Hit Music Station” regresses by seven-tenths to 3.0 (#11 to #12, 6+). Three increases in a row netted Bonneville-owned KUFX a collective +1.7 (5.2 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 6.9, 6+) but it is now -3.1 in four straight declines (6.9 – 5.9 – 4.8 – 4.3 – 3.8, 6+). Even so, “98.5 K-Fox The South Bay’s Classic Rock” progresses from eighth to seventh. Before shifting to #3 in October, KUFX had been #1 for three straight months. Flat at #26, Cumulus Media classic rocker KSAN “107.7 The Bone” is an overall -1.1 as a result of five straight down or flat trends (2.3 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 1.9 – 1.3 – 1.2, 6+).

Middlesex

Spoken-Word Formats – After holding down the top spot the past six sweeps, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW (8.0 – 6.9, -1.1, 6+) shifts to the runner-up slot. When it lost three-tenths in December, “New Jersey 101.5” had its consecutive string of increases that netted +2.3 halted at six (6.0 – 6.4 – 6.8 – 7.1 – 8.0 – 8.2 – 8.3, 6+). November 2018’s 8.3 was its best 6+-share since January 2018 (8.3, as well). An overall -1.0 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (3.4 – 2.8, 2.4, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR drops from #16 to #17. Entering the December sweep, WOR was without a loss the previous five ratings periods and precisely doubled (+1.7) its 6+-share (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 3.0 – 3.4, 6+). Down or flat for the seventh straight time for an overall loss of roughly half (-.9) its 6+ AQH share (1.7 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2 – .8, 6+) Cumulus Media news/talk WABC remains at #26.

While even at #13, Entercom sports talk WFAN, which was up seven-tenths in October, is now -1.0 via three consecutive slips (4.2 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.2, 6+). Its October increase ended four Middlesex-Somerset-Union decreases in succession that accounted for a -.9 (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.5, 6+). Through five consecutive up or flat trends, similarly-programmed WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” was +1.2 (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.5 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), but the flagship of the New York Jets relinquishes half that increase (-.6) in December and “Holiday” 2018 (2.9 – 2.5 – 2.3, #19 to #18, 6+).

The seven-tenths advantage Entercom all-news WCBS-AM held in December over co-owned/similarly-formatted WINS is down to two-tenths as WCBS-AM falters by four-tenths (2.3 – 1.9, #20 to #22, 6+), while WINS picks up one-tenth (1.6 to 1.7, #24 to #23, 6+). Before losing two-tenths in December, WCBS-AM was up eight-tenths via three straight increases (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.2 – 2.5, 6+). Prior to November, WINS, which was up two-tenths in December, recorded a 1.7 (6+) in each of the previous six Middlesex-Somerset-Union monthlies.

Missing from print in October and November, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation’s WNYC-FM reappeared in December (2.6, #18, 6+) but is down six-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 (2.0, #21, 6+). An August gain of three-tenths halted five straight losses (3.4 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.2 – 1.9 – 1.8, 6+) that accounted for a nearly 50% erosion of its 6+ share (-1.6).

Middlesex Music Formats – In addition to being +3.4 (6+) in its home (New York City) market and +2.9 (6+) in Long Island, iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” is +4.9 in Middlesex and storms from second to first. Moreover, in five straight Middlesex-Somerset-Union improvements (4.9 – 5.1 – 5.4 – 5.8 – 6.5 – 11.4, 6+), WLTW is an overall +6.5. It is #1 in New York City, as well; “Lite” notched an 11.5 (6+) in “Holiday” 2017. The (6+) adult contemporary share in Middlesex swells by an additional +1.7 as Beasley Media Group’s WMGQ “Magic 98.3 Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites” boosts from 4.1 to 5.8 (seventh to third, 6+). This (5.8) is the highest 6+-share for “Magic” since February 2018’s 5.9. As a result of four successive down or flat moves (5.4 – 5.0 – 4.9 – 4.9 – 4.3, fourth to fifth, 6+), iHeartMedia mainstream CHR WHTZ “Z-100” is off by a collective -1.1. Trending a very consistent 3.7 – 3.9 (6+) from June 2018 through December 2018 (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.9, 6+), Cumulus Media country WNSH “94.7 Nash FM” falters by one-half share to 3.4 (ninth to tenth, 6+). Entercom classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “101.1 New York’s Greatest Hits” was +.4 through three straight up or (mostly) flat July through October trends (3.7 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+); -.6 in November; +.9 in December; and now -.4 in “Holiday” 2018 (4.4 – 4.0, fifth to sixth, 6+). November’s 3.5 was its lowest 6+ Middlesex showing since 3.3 in September 2016.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

| January 8, 2019

iHeartMedia Reorganization Plan Awaits Confirmation. The Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for iHeartMedia is awaiting confirmation by United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur.  Yesterday’s filing of the confirmed plan will allow iHeartMedia to erase $10.3 billion in debt off its books, leaving it with $5.75 billion in debt once Judge Isgur has signed the order.  Last month, the court approved iHeartMedia’s separation from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings as part of the reorganization plan.  Yesterday’s filing will permit iHeartMedia to begin to implement the plan without seeking authorization from the court.  As is usual in bankruptcy cases, once the plan is confirmed by the court, most other claims against the debtor are discharged.  In this case, the judge rules that certain liabilities the company is required to honor after the effective date – called a Cure Claim – and that includes the BMI license agreements, an almost $600,000 payment to SoundExchange LLC, and its Framework Digital Distribution Agreement with Sony Music Entertainment.   Additionally, the new iHeartMedia must honor all SAG-AFTRA contracts and must assume all contractual agreements with the Denver Broncos.  Once signed, iHeartMedia will be in a period between Confirmation and the Effective Date.  There are several hearing dates scheduled and they are: January 10 to consider all confirmation issues other than those scheduled to be heard on January 17, and January 22; January 17 to consider all issues concerning the CCOH separation settlement, other than those issues scheduled to be heard on January 22, and any issues continued from the January 10, hearing; January 22 to consider all remaining issues concerning consideration of the class action settlement related to the CCOH Separation Settlement and the GAMCO Motion; and January 23 to consider all remaining confirmation issues.

‘Our American Stories’ Surpasses 160-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program adds a number of new affiliate stations and now has 163 total affiliates. The program is hosted by Lee Habeeb who is also president of program producer American Private Radio.  He says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly they love the topics we share every night and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  The program is described as “a two-hour, daily radio magazine program that showcases Americans from various industries, including sports heroes, musicians, film performers, political or cultural icons, business leaders, military heroes and more.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is extremely fond of this program stating, “I fully expect ‘Our American Stories’ to be the surprise breakout program of 2019. It is the classiest, best-researched, meticulously produced, dependable piece of quality content to come down the pike in years.  It is conservative news/talk’s knock out answer to public radio and will become an institutional part of the genre for years to come.”

Wayne Allyn Root: I ‘Got the Ball Rolling’ on Trump’s Wall Option.  Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root says he first talked about the idea that President Trump can declare a national security emergency and use $25 billion from the Pentagon budget to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Root points to his November 17 column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that details, among other things, that the president can declare a “national security emergency” and use military money for the project.  Root says, “I shared this column and my idea with my audience on both my Newsmax TV show and USA Radio show in the days before publication.  Then I flew to Wyoming as keynote speaker for the Wyoming GOP annual dinner on Friday 11/16/18.  I shared my idea with that audience.  Result. Two standing ovations.  That column was handed directly to President Trump by my great friend Lee Lipton at Mar a Lago on 11/18/18.  President Trump has talked about this exact option all week in the media.  It’s the hottest topic in the country.  My idea started this all… I’m sure it will come up in Tuesday night’s national presidential address.”

Mike Gallagher Films LifeLock Ad on NYC Streets. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Mike Gallagher is pictured above on the streets of New York filming commercials for identity theft prevention firm LifeLock.  Gallagher has been voicing spots for LifeLock – as have many talk radio hosts since LifeLock is a big advertiser on talk radio – but not long ago he needed the company’s services.  The Salem Radio Network talk host was the victim of a personal security breach when someone accessed his personal information, changed his cellphone number, and tried withdrawing $25,000 from Gallagher’s checking account.  He credits LifeLock with alerting him to the compromises and acting to protect his personal assets.  He says, “I’ve proudly done their commercials for years.  But after seeing for myself how they swing into action, I believe anyone is stupid not to have LifeLock protection.”

Eric Zane Launches Daily Podcast.  After being let go by Cumulus Media last week due to the format flip of WBBL, Grand Rapids from sports talk to country music, morning personality Eric Zane tells Mlive.com he’s doing a daily podcast designed to pick up where his radio show left off.  He’s offering the show to listeners for free and for a fee with various options, including video.  Zane tells MLive he hopes to reach a sizable audience via his 18,000 Twitter followers.  He says, “Most people get some content via podcast or streaming content and they’re a different audience.  They’re zeroed in because of the programming. They seek it out as opposed to background noise.  I won’t ever say radio has no place because it’s still great to get in your car and push a button and there it is.  This medium (podcasts), which was laughed at five, 10 years ago, isn’t laughed at anymore because it’s very viable.”

Steve Triplett to Lead Beasley’s Tampa Stations. Sales and management pro Steve Triplett is named vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group’s Tampa cluster that includes financial talk outlet WHFS-AM and six music radio stations.  Triplett has been serving as interim market manager and director of sales for the Tampa operations.  He says, “Over the past four years, Beasley Media Group has created something truly special in Tampa.  We have a team of the finest media professionals in the industry and it’s an honor to continuing serving them in this new capacity.”

PodcastOne Partners with LadyGang for Podcast Network.  “The LadyGang” podcast recently celebrated its 200th episode and 40 millionth download.  Now, PodcastOne is entering into a deal with the brand for a podcast development, production, and marketing deal to launch The LadyGang Network on PodcastOne.  The network will feature a female-driven, all-star lineup of pop culture, reality television, and motherhood trend-setters.  PodcastOne says the deal combines its vast resources and reach with The LadyGang’s brand power and curated talent lineup.  The inaugural program under this new network will be “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna,” hosted by Jamie Lynn Sigler and Jenna Parris. Additional programs will be announced soon.

Hogenson Communications to Rep Americans for Tax Reform Campaign. Talk media is the target for Americans for Tax Reform and it has hired Hogenson Communications to represent the organization to talk media for its 12-month campaign.  Scott Hogenson states, “We’re proud to have been selected by Americans for Tax Reform as their talk media partner.  As America’s preeminent tax policy organization, ATR brings a lot to talk media audiences by breaking down complicated policy issues in a way that everyone can understand.”

KNUS, Denver Hosts Boyles and Tubbs to Broadcast from Vancouver, BC During Fact-Finding Mission.  Talk show hosts Peter Boyles and Steffan Tubbs – air personalities on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – will broadcast live from Vancouver, British Columbia during their fact-finding mission to the city’s safe injection sites.  The Denver City Council passed an ordinance that will create safe or supervised injection sites for users to inject heroin, opioids and cocaine in locations that will employ trained medical personnel.  The KNUS remote broadcasts will take place on Friday (1/11).

iHeartMedia Unveils New iHeartRadio Features at CES. The company announces a number of new consumer technology integrations for its digital platform, iHeartRadio.  At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, iHeartMedia unveiled new integrations including the Honda Dream Drive Platform, the new Bixby from Samsung, Roku devices, and Google’s Android TV and Android Auto.  It also launched the fully redesigned iHeartRadio Family app on Amazon Fire Tablet with iOS and Android coming soon.

Border Wall-Government Shutdown, U.S.-Syria Policy, Tlaib Israel Statement, Kim Jong Un-Xi Jinping Meeting, NCAA Football Championship, and NFL Playoffs Action Among Top News-Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The battle over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the related government shutdown; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria; the controversy over freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s comments that GOP senators are more loyal to Israel than the U.S.; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping; Monday night’s NCAA football championship game; and the NFL playoffs 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. The nationally syndicated Ty Bentli show is off Cumulus Media’s New York City country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.”  What was originally called “America’s Morning Show” back when Blair Garner was lead host and has twice morphed since then has been the only morning show on the stations since its inception.  Now, afternoon drive host Jesse Addy is sitting in hosting mornings as the station teases a new program…..In Los Angeles, “volunteer” air personality Greg Beharrell is named evening host on Cumulus Media’s classic rock 95.5 KLOS…..Afternoon drive host, APD and music director Mark Razz is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia.  With this new role, Razz will move from afternoon drive to middays.  Beasley Philly market manager Joe Bell comments, “Nobody deserves this opportunity more than Razz.  He has been an integral part of 92.5 XTU’s success for years and has demonstrated the leadership, commitment and creativity that you look for in a PD.  Plus, he’s an amazing talent, is loved by listeners and respected within the industry.”…..Midday personality Corey O’Brien is named assistant program director and music director at Broadway Media’s alternative KXRK, Salt Lake City “X96.”…..Buffalo market radio pro Joe Chille is named morning drive host at Townsquare Media’s adult contemporary WMSX, Buffalo “96.1 The Breeze.”  Chille was a longtime personality at WJYE prior to its becoming WMSX.  Most recently, he’d been handling part-time duties at Radio One Buffalo’s oldies WECK-AM…..Beasley Media Group names Sean Varicalli host of the “KICKS Wake up Crew” morning show on country WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia.  Varicalli was most recently midday jock and APD at Curtis Media Group’s country WQDR, Raleigh…..Alpha Media’s WKXI, Jackson, Mississippi “107.5 Kixie” replaces the Tom Joyner show with the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

| December 12, 2018

Which Are the Strongest News/Talk Markets in America? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the data from Nielsen Audio’s most recent PPM ratings – the November 2018 survey – and presents an overview of the PPM markets with the strongest news/talk listenership based on 6+ numbers.  Whether certain markets just like news/talk radio more than others or whether it’s consistently well-programmed stations that attract and keep listeners who are likely to enjoy news/talk – or a combination of the two – is a matter up for debate.  It’s interesting to note that the top two markets for news/talk listening – Milwaukee and Cincinnati – are in states that played important roles in the most recent elections.  The November PPM survey showed Milwaukee’s two news/talk outlets – Good Karma’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN – combined for a 16.3 share (6+).  In Cincinnati, iHeartMedia’s WLW and WKRC combined for a 13.6 share. See the rest of Mike Kinosian’s report here.

Final Open Meeting of 2018 at FCC to Launch Quadrennial Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules. Wednesday’s 10:30 am to 12:30 pm open meeting of the Federal Communications Commission will include, among other agenda items, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would initiate the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the commission’s broadcast ownership rules and other rules.  As most broadcasters are aware, the Commission “is required by law to review certain broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether the rules remain ‘necessary in the public interest as the result of competition’ and to repeal or modify any rule it finds is no longer in the public interest.”  Of the three rules subject to the review, one is the Local Radio Ownership Rule (the other two relate to TV).   Looking at radio, the review will: seek comment on whether the Local Radio Ownership Rule, which limits the total number of radio stations that may be commonly owned in a market, continues to promote competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity in today’s radio marketplace; seek comment on possible modifications to the rule’s operation, including the relevant product market, market size tiers, numerical limits, and AM/FM subcaps; and seek comment on whether to make permanent the interim contour-overlap methodology used to determine ownership limits in areas outside Nielsen Audio Metro markets and on how to treat transactions involving markets embedded within a larger Nielsen Audio Metro market.  Currently, in the largest markets (45 signals or more), ownership is limited to eight stations with no more than five of either FM or AM. Earlier this year, the National Association of Broadcasters proposed the following changes: companies operating in the top 75 radio markets could own up to eight FM stations and an unlimited number of AM signals. Companies in markets 76 and up (and in unrated markets) would be allowed to operate with no limits.  The NAB also added a proposal related to the incubator program that would allow companies in that program to own up to 10 FM signals in the top 75 markets.

iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Court Dates Updated. After the postponement of yesterday’s previously scheduled Confirmation Hearing for iHeartMedia’s Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization, Judge Marvin Isgur set a series of new hearing dates, starting with the December 17 hearing to address class action issues, including the question of whether the company has the authority to settle such claims.  A hearing on January 10 will focus on confirmation issues; hearings on January 17 and 22 will also address the class action matters, and remaining confirmation issues will be addressed on January 23.  This Plan reduces iHeartMedia’s funded debt by approximately $10.3 billion – to $5.75 billion.  The Plan also provides for the separation of iHeartMedia’s radio and outdoor advertising segments.

WIBC, Indianapolis Host Tony Katz Goes into National Syndication. Talk radio host Tony Katz is syndicating a three-hour talk show titled, “Tony Katz Today” via his Tomorrow Media and his first affiliate is Star City Broadcasting’s WSHY-AM/W282CJ, Lafayette, Indiana “The Patriot 104.3 FM.”   Katz hosts the morning drive program on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis as well as the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show.  He says, “The WIBC morning show has been a massive success and continues to grow.  With ‘Tony Katz Today,’ I’m able to talk about the things that matter most to people across the Midwest and across America.  I’m thrilled to be adding ‘The Patriot’ to the family.”  Emmis Indianapolis director of programming David Wood adds, “I brought Tony in four years ago to build our morning show.  He did it in two.  Over the past 18 months doing middays as well, his numbers have only grown.  He’s more than ready to be a part of the national landscape.  He’s a perfect replacement for Laura Ingraham or for any daypart.”

NPR and Coalition of Podcasters Unveil RAD Ratings Technology. RAD stands for Remote Audio Data, the new podcast analytics technology that shares podcast listening metrics back to publishers, “with extreme care and respect for user privacy.”  NPR.org has the story that explains NPR and close to 30 companies – including Acast, AdsWizz, ART19, Awesound, Blubrry Podcasting, Panoply, Omny Studio, Podtrac, PRI/PRX, RadioPublic, Triton DigitalWideOrbit, and Whooshkaa – worked to develop RAD. Podcast advertisers are naturally leery of download numbers for the obvious reason that downloads don’t equal listens.  So, RAD marks the podcast filed at numerous points throughout the program to determine how long the consumer listened.  The story goes on to say, “One of these working groups was focused on security and data integrity, with the goal of keeping user privacy and measurement goals in alignment.  RAD’s current framework supports an anonymous session ID that persists for 24 hours and the analytics endpoints only receive the RAD events, these session IDs, IP addresses and if configured, user agent.” Acast co-founder and chief product officer Johan Billgren says, “Measurement has been one of the open challenges in the podcast industry for a long time.  As the medium continues to grow, universal metrics will be key to its success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck paid off $27,000 worth of layaway items at a Walmart in Texas on Saturday (12/8), just two days before the final payments were due.  The good deed of the Premiere Networks personality was reported in the Dallas News.  Beck said he was inspired by actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry, who paid off all the layaway accounts at two Atlanta Walmart stores.  Beck and his family, who were on the way to a Christmas party, broadcast via Facebook live as they walked into Walmart and met with the layaway department to pay each account individually.  In the video, Beck challenged other conservative media personalities, including Mark Levin, Steven Crowder, and Bill O’Reilly to do the same.  Beck said on his radio show, “You don’t have to spend the money that Tyler Perry or I spent. You can just go in and just give $100, or $50, or $10. You are not going to believe what a difference it makes.”…..Comrex announces a new partnership with audioone gmbh.  The latter firm serves Austria, Germany, and Switzerland supplying the latest in technology for digital broadcast, for both television and radio.  Comrex says it is thrilled to partner with a distributor that shares their care for customer support.  Comrex is exhibiting with audioone at “Hamburg Open,” held at Studio Hamburg MCI GmbH on January 17, 2019…..Baseball play-by-play pro Tim Neverett announces he’s not returning to the Boston Red Sox for radio broadcasts next season, exiting Entercom’s radio play-by-play team.  Entercom is now searching for  his replacement to sit alongside Joe Castiglione for the 2019 season…..Howard Stern and SiriusXM announce they will begin presenting “Howard 100: The Best of the Interviews” on the Howard 100 channel on Monday (12/17).  Celebrity interviews that will be re-broadcast include: Cardi B, Jon Bon Jovi, Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Claire Danes, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lawrence, Paul McCartney, Mandy Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Schumer, Ringo StarrBen Stiller, and many more.

Trump Government Shutdown Threat, Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Sentencing, Google Congressional Testimony, France Terror Attack, Time’s Person of the Year, Financial Markets Activity, Brexit Complications, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Tuesday’s White House meeting between President Trump and democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and today’s sentencing of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee about political bias, privacy matters and other issues; the terror attack in Strasbourg, France that took three lives; chatter about Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”; activity in the world’s financial markets; the political tensions in Britain over the exit from the European Union; the new Aquaman film; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Cat Thomas joins Entercom to serve as operations manager for music outlets hot AC KYKY “Y98,” adult contemporary KEZK, and CHR KNOU “Now 96.3,” effective January 1.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media as vice president of contemporary formats.  During his career he’s also served with CBS RADIO in Las Vegas.  Thomas says, “I can’t tell you how energized I am to be joining the passionate team at Entercom.  I’m looking forward to working with [president of programming] Pat Paxton again, [SVP/market manager] Becky [Domyan] and the entire St. Louis operation.  The dedication and positive culture the staff exude is truly amazing.  We are all playing to win, and I cannot wait to be a part of the great things to come.”…..In Cleveland, iHeartMedia debuts new hip hop outlet “REAL 106.1” on WAKS-HD2/W291BV. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss says, “We are extremely excited to add ‘REAL 106.1’ to our diverse portfolio of stations in the Cleveland market.  ‘REAL 106.1’ will play the top songs from the top artists in the urban format.”…..Longtime Atlanta radio personality Christopher Rude returns to the airwaves in the region.  According to a report by Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rude is now handling mornings on rock outlet WJBB-AM/W296CX, Winder, Georgia. Rude, who hosted his “Rude Awakening” morning show on sports talk WCNN for 15 years, says of working with independent owner Jeff Batten, “It doesn’t take a week and five meetings to get a segment or a promotion on the air.  Reminds me a lot of what got me into radio in the first place.  A group of people who are hungry to see the station grow and they all wear several hats doing it.”…..Cami Marlowe is named afternoon personality and APD at Cumulus Media’s CHR WABD, Mobile.  She was most recently with New South Radio’s CHR WYOY “Y 101” in Jackson, Mississippi.