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Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Monday, November 20, 2017

| November 20, 2017

Air Talent Changes at KCMO-AM, Kansas CityTALKERS magazine hears that Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City has let both Greg Knapp and Tom Becka go.  Becka had been hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show since May of 2016.  That daypart is now listed on the station’s website as part of the “KCMO Morning Show” from 6:00 am to 11:00 am.  Knapp had been hosting the 6:00 am to 9:00 am morning show since rejoining the station in January of this year.  He had hosted the afternoon drive show on KCMO until exiting in late April of 2016.  Chicago talk radio pro Bruce Wolf is hosting mornings today through Wednesday (11/20-22).

Salem Moves DC’s ‘The Answer’ to WSPZ, Bethesda.  The conservative news/talk station is already re-branded “AM 570 The Answer,” reflecting its moves to WSPZ.  However, as of today (11/20) it’s still heard on WWRC, Washington at 1260 AM, but it’s probable that Salem Media Group will install a Christian talk or music format on the 1260 AM signal.  Salem bought WSPZ from Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra earlier this year.

Sapienza to Lead Entercom Baltimore’s Sports Programming.  Former longtime Red Zebra programmer Chuck Sapienza joins Entercom to serve as director of sports programming for WJZ-FM, Baltimore and executive producer for Baltimore Orioles and University of Maryland Radio Networks.  He worked for Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington in numerous capacities for 10 years, including serving as program director.  After leaving WTEM, he was executive producer at the Naval Academy Football Radio Network.

Markiewicz Replaces Van Stone at RadiOhio’s Sports Radio Operations in Columbus.  After a 40-year career in broadcasting, David Van Stone is retiring from his position as president and general manager of RadiOhio’s sports talk stations WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” and WBNS-AM “1460 ESPN,” plus The Ohio News Network.  The company announces it is promoting station manager and director of sales Todd Markiewicz to vice president and general manager in charge of the radio operations.  The changes take effect in January.  Markiewicz says, “The opportunity to become the steward of these heritage Columbus radio and digital properties is just a thrill for me.  Dave Van Stone’s leadership over the past 19 years has resulted in our company operating at an elevated level toward our goal of super-serving our listeners, our community and our employees.  My job now is to make sure RadiOhio matches that excellence for years to come and I can’t imagine a better group of radio professionals to accept that challenge with than those already working within these walls.”  Van Stone comments, “These last 19 years working for RadiOhio have been tremendous.  I want to thank the Wolfe family and [RadiOhio chairman and CEO] Michael Fiorile for their confidence and support.  Thanks as well to the outstanding, dedicated RadiOhio staff for their commitment to excellence and for ‘making great radio.’”

Beasley Names VP of Digital Sales.  This is a newly created position at Beasley Media Group and the company welcomes Dan Frisbie to the vice president of digital sales position.  His radio experience includes an eight-year stint as VP of sales for iHeartMedia.  Most, recently he was leading his Frisbie Consulting LLC in which he assisted clients with media, digital, mobile, and video sales strategies and operations.  Beasley EVP of digital Steve Meyers comments, “We are thrilled to bring Dan on board to lead digital revenue growth at Beasley Media Group.  Dan’s experience, enthusiasm and passion for digital, especially as it relates to the radio space, is a perfect complement for our goals to aggressively grow our digital presence and capabilities for our brands and our clients.”

ESPN Radio Announces 2018 Network Schedule; New Podcasts.  In addition to the new morning drive show, “Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio is unveiling its new lineup for the network, effective January 2, 2018.  The WEPN, New York-based Stephen A. Smith radio show joins the network for national distribution in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart.  Ryen Russillo – currently hosting the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show – moves to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with new co-host Will Cain.  That bumps “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” off the schedule (Jones continues with the company on the TV side).  “Spain and Fitz” is the new early evening show featuring espnW voice Sarah Spain with SEC Network commentator Jason Fitz.  In a time shift, the “Freddie & Fitzsimmons” show with Freddie Coleman and Ian Fitzsimmons moves from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am to the new 9:00 pm to 1:00 am slot.  The company also announces new podcasts from Bomani Jones (new episodes 2-3 times per week), Jalen Rose and David Jacoby (whose Jalen & Jacoby podcast will be produced 4-5 times per week), and Katie Nolan (a weekly show).

Entercom Unveils New Analytics Tool for Advertisers.  With Friday’s close of the EntercomCBS RADIO merger, the new Entercom hit the road running with a few high-profile format flips and a statement about its new business practices.  It also announced the new Entercom Audience Analytics tool for radio advertisers.  The company says it offers “advertisers unique data and analytic insights designed to optimize their advertising campaigns and improve return on investment. The enhanced analytics capability is powered by an exclusive partnership in Entercom markets with AnalyticOwl, a broadcast analytics platform used to measure effectiveness and audience response of radio advertising.”  Entercom chief revenue officer Bob Philips adds, “Entercom Audience Analytics will enable us to develop a more consultative relationship with our advertising partners and more effectively measure and validate the important role of radio in the consumers’ path to purchase.  This is a tremendous step toward improving campaign effectiveness and ROI for our advertisers.”

GOP Tax Plan, Celebrity Sexual Assault Allegations/Franken Case, Roy Moore Sexual Predation Accusations, Nuclear Launch Debate, FOX News Channel Supports Hannity, Charles Manson Dies, David Cassidy Hospitalized, Justice League Film, American Music Awards, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Analysis of the effects of the Republican tax reform plan; the slew of sexual assault allegations involving celebrities and the case involving Senator Al Franken; the allegations of sexual predation against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; the debate over the machinations of a nuclear weapons launch after Air Force General John Hyten said he would ignore an illegal request from the president; FOX News Channel issues a statement in support of Sean Hannity after advertiser boycott effort; Charles Manson dies at age 83; 1970s teen heartthrob David Cassidy hospitalized in critical condition; the opening weekend of the Justice League film; Sunday’s “American Music Awards”; Saturday’s games with College Football Playoff implications; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Science Guru and Rising YouTube Star, Isaac Arthur, Guests this Week on Harrison Podcast. He is a high school drop-out from Ohio with a trademark speech impediment and a true geek’s love of science fact and fiction who, after earning his GED diploma, went on to graduate with a B.S. in Physics from Kent State University at the age of 20. He attended graduate school but preferred self-teaching and dropped out to serve in the army in Germany and Iraq. Upon returning home, he became involved in local politics and was appointed a member of the Ashtabula County, Ohio Board of Elections. (He tells Michael Harrison, “We take our elections very seriously here in Ohio.”) But there is a whole other talk media side to Isaac Arthur that caught the attention of Harrison and makes him an ideal guest for the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison,” as well as being a person of significant interest to the commercial media industry. It began as a hobby and has now grown into something remarkable. He is the producer and host of a rapidly growing YouTube channel titled, “Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur.” He writes, produces and narrates stunning video podcasts that run between ½ hour and an hour that curate, explore and explain the provocative leading edge of popular science. In three years, his channel has attracted more than 161,000 devoted subscribers and more than 12 million visits. Harrison, a passionate layman enthusiast of science and astrophysics says, “Isaac Arthur is a quintessential example of the pioneers who are out there laboring on the outskirts of the mainstream commercial radio/TV industries on the exciting frontier of talk media – where audio intersects with video, graphics, education and entertainment. Everyone in the radio business with an eye on podcasting and cross-platform brand expansion can learn from him. Having a personal love for the subject matter he covers, I am his fan!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Mars Dominates AMAs. In the Tracee Ellis Ross-hosted American Music Awards ceremony held last night (11/19) in Los Angeles, Bruno Mars took home six trophies, including “Artist of the Year,” “Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock,” and “Video of the Year” for “That’s What I Like.” Ross’ mother – Diana Ross – was honored for her “Lifetime Achievement.” Among the other highlights from the ABC-TV telecast were Lady Gaga cited as “Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock,” Niall Horan named “New Artist of the Year,” and Coldplay recognized as “Tour of the Year.” Elsewhere in the “Pop/Rock” category, Imagine Dragons won “Favorite Duo or Group”; Mars’ “24K Magic” was “Favorite Album,” while Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieberhad the “Favorite Song” (“Despacito”). Winners in the country format were Keith Urban (“Favorite Male Artist,” “Favorite Song” for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and “Favorite Album” for “Ripcord”); Carrie Underwood (“Favorite Female Artist”); and Little Big Town “Favorite Duo or Group.” Honored as “Favorite Artist – Adult Contemporary” and “Favorite Artist – Alternative Rock” were Shawn Mendes and Linkin Park, respectively. Meanwhile, Mars scored victories in the “Soul/R&B” genre as “Favorite Male Artist,” “Favorite Album” (“24K Magic”); and “Favorite Song (“That’s What I Like”); Beyonce was recognized as “Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alt rock personality and programmer Tamo Sein joins iHeartMedia’s WEND, Charlotte “106.5 The End” to host the midday show and serve as APD and music director.  In this role, she’ll assist in the day-to-day operations of the station’s music programming and scheduling of music logs as well as be responsible for all the station’s imaging and branding.  Sein will report to WEND program director Chuck “DZL” Thompson.  She comes to Charlotte from iHeartMedia’s Richmond cluster where she was music director and afternoon drive host…..On-air pro Jeff Pope is named morning show host at All Pro Broadcasting-owned hot AC duo KHTI-FM “Hot 103.9” and KATY-FM “101.3 The Mix” in the Riverside-San Bernardino market.  Pope has most recently been morning host at Alpha Media’s hot AC KEZR San Jose but he’d worked in the Inland Empire for 13 years prior to that hosting morning drive at iHeartMedia’s crosstown rhythmic CHR KGGI…..SiriusXM is presenting a special invitation-only performance by Duran Duran at the Faena Theater in Miami on December 9.  The exclusive performance will feature Duran Duran playing signature music from throughout their career, including songs from their most recent, top-10 charting studio album, Paper Gods…..Rowdy Yates, host of “Original Country Gold with Rowdy Yates,” is offering a half-hour, “Mel Tillis Tribute Special” for immediate radio airplay on a non-market-exclusive basis.  The tribute features music from Mel, songs that he wrote for others (like “Ruby” for Kenny Rogers and “Detroit City” for Bobby Bare), music from his daughter Pam Tillis and some great stories about his rise to fame along with the hardships that he overcame.  This Compass Media presentation is available to stations in a commercial free format.  The download link is here.  Please email Doug Ingold at dingold@compassmedianetworks.com with call letters, intended air dates and times.  Call Doug with questions at 310-242-8746.

Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs.  This past weekend, Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs took place at the Microsoft Theater Event Deck in Los Angeles from Thursday (11/16) through Saturday (11/18) that included three days of branded programming and artist interviews.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Cat Collins, EVP/In2une Music; Mike McVay, EVP programming & content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; John Kilgo, SVP, talent relations, Cumulus Media; in2une recording artist Taylor Grey; and Suzanne Grimes, EVP corporate marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One.

Monday, May 22, 2017

| May 22, 2017

Brian Wilson Exits WMAL, Washington’s ‘Mornings on the Mall.’  Announcing via Twitter on Friday, DC talk radio personality Brian Wilson says he’s exited Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.  Wilson wrote, “Today is the last day of a wonderful 6 year ride @WMALDC.  Thanks everyone!  I stand ready for the next great adventure.  I’ll miss the awesome folks @WMALDC: B Hess, Larry, Chris, Mary, Heather H & M McKay.  But won’t miss the 2:30 AM alarm!!!!  More soon!”  In the meantime, WMAL program director – and Cumulus news/talk VP – Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that Daily Caller editor-in-chief Vince Coglianese is sitting in as interim co-host while the station seeks a permanent partner for Mary Walter on the program.

TALKERS News Notes. WPGG, Atlantic City adds Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” starring Brian Kilmeade in the late morning daypart, replacing Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck…..In Chicago, Matt Abbatacola leaves CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR where he’s been serving for the past 16 years as a producer, personality and sports update anchor.  He was a longtime producer of the Boers & Bernstein show with the now-retired Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein (who’s now partnered with Jason Goff).  Robert Feder reports that “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen says, “I wish him nothing but the best.”  Read Feder’s column here…..More changes are taking place at Fox News Channel.  According to report by CNN, Fox News Channel has let “The Five” personality Bob Beckel go “for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.”  This move is apparently connected to what is being termed a “growing racial discrimination” lawsuit filed by a number of current and former Fox News Channel staffers.  The story says Beckel allegedly told a black IT department employee that he would leave the room while the staffer worked on his computer because the employee is black.  It further says that when the person filed a complaint, Beckel tried to intimidate the worker to withdraw it.  The suit is being handled by attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen…..If you missed it, former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly wrote an op-ed piece published by USA Today on the passing of his former boss Roger Ailes.  In the piece, O’Reilly says, “We are living in a rough age, with technological advances changing behavior and perspective.  The downside of that is turning us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters.  Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him.  That is the truth.”  Read the piece here…..Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, via his Red Zebra Broadcasting, is agreeing to sell sports talk WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland to the new corporation AM 570 LLC – co-owned by Salem Media Group founders Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson.  The $2.1 million deal includes 58 acres of land.  The towers also carry the diplexed signal of WMAL-AM on a lease.

Trump Visits Saudi Arabia, Russia Investigation/Comey Firing, China Kills U.S. Spies, Weiner Guilty Plea/Abedin Files for Divorce, More North Korean Missile Tests, Iranian Elections, O’Reilly’s USA Today Column, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump makes his first stop in Saudi Arabia on an international tour, receiving a gold medal from the nation and signing a $110 billion arms deal; ongoing talk of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign figures and Russia and the related firing of FBI Director James Comey; the report that an intelligence breakdown led to China killing and imprisoning numerous U.S. spies; Anthony Weiner pleads guilty in the case of his sexting with a minor and the news former Hillary Clinton aid Huma Abedin will divorce him; North Korea conducts more missile tests; Iran holds elections, re-electing President Hassan Rouhani; former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly pens a USA Today op-ed stating Roger Ailes died from the “hatred” cast at him by critics; and MLB, NBA and NHL 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.  Taking over the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” is Kannon.  He was most recently working in the Dallas market at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR KVIL as part of the morning show.  KDMX program director Jay Shannon says, “Kannon is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Dallas/Ft. Worth for several years and he understands how to connect with listeners, as well as what it takes to be successful in this market.”  He also previously served in the market as morning show host at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM…..From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the reports that Federated Media active rock WBYR, Fort Wayne “98.9 The Bear” parts ways with evening personality Barry Thickk.  The station replaces him with the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated “Lou Brutus Hard Drive XL” at night…..SiriusXM announces that David Letterman and his former TV band leader Paul Shaffer will be guests on Elizabeth Cook’s “Apron Strings” show on the Outlaw Country on Wednesday (5/24).  Letterman, a big fan of American roots music, will bring along a playlist of his own hand-picked performances that aired on his network television show over the years.

Adam Bomb and DNCE at the Billboard Music Awards. Yesterday (5/21) in Las Vegas, Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs took place at the Lucky Live Lounge at T-Mobile Arena.  The backstage radio row included more than 20 stations interviewing artists and celebrities.  Republic Records recording artists DNCE performed at the event.  Pictured here is Westwood One syndicated host Adam Bomb (left) with members of DNCE.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

| May 5, 2015

berrymichaelMichael Berry Renews with iHeartMedia.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry inks a new long-term deal with iHeartMedia that runs through 2020.  Berry’s program is based at news/talk KTRH, Houston and is heard on iHeartMedia stations in 13 additional markets.  The former Houston city councilor started his talk radio career with the company in 2005.  Berry states, “While I’m loyal to the company I’ve worked with for so long, this agreement is about the future, not the past. From Bob Pittman, our chairman and CEO, and Rich Bressler, our president, COO and CFO, to Kelly Kibler, my EVPO; Eddie Martiny, my market manager; and Marc Sherman and Bryan Erickson, our programming directors in Houston — every single one of them is committed to our show, our team, and the way we do things.  They’ve provided a platform for me to serve my sponsors, entertain our listeners, and raise money for Veterans, and I’m incredibly excited about our future.”  Bob Pittman comments, “Michael is a great talent, and his audience loves and relies on him – both for the news and important information he provides every day, and for his strong commitment to his community of listeners and the causes important to them.  We are very pleased that Michael will continue his strong work for us, and delighted that he’ll continue to be such a key part of our team.”

lewisloriCumulus Brings Digital and Social Media Pro Lori Lewis Aboard.  This new relationship brings industry-respected digital and social media maven Lori Lewis together with Cumulus Media as she becomes the company’s new vice president of social media.  A press release says in her new position, she’ll work with Cumulus’ programming and sales teams to develop integrated social media strategies for the company’s radio stations and the Westwood One network.  She will also provide social media solutions to Westwood One’s affiliate partners as part of the company’s Enterprise Solutions Group.  Lewis will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey.  Lewis was most recently with consulting firm Jacobs Media.  Lew Dickeycumulus logo comments, “Lori is our industry’s foremost authority on social media.  She has architected successful social strategies for many of the biggest brands in radio.  We are excited for Lori to bring her unique experience and expertise to our station group as well as to our affiliate partners at Westwood One.”  On joining Cumulus, Lewis says, “I am honored to take this newly created role within Cumulus, and to create real value and impact socially for our audiences, advertisers and affiliate partners.  Many mistake social for volume, when in fact it’s about differentiating.  This move, on behalf of Lew Dickey and [Cumulus SVP] Gary Pizzati, speaks volumes of their leadership and foresight in moving Cumulus forward, and I thank them for that.”

entercomEntercom Promotes Kramer to COO, Names Levy to Board of Directors.  Station group president Louise Kramer is promoted to chief operating officer for Entercom Communications Corp.  In a press statement, the company says, “Kramer is a media veteran who has been withkramerweezie Entercom since 2000, most recently serving as station group president.  In this role, she spearheaded the company’s reinvention efforts, focusing on enhancing the company’s future growth and directly overseeing several of the company’s markets.  Ms. Kramer is a member of Entercom’s operating committee and, since 2013, has served as chairperson.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Weezie is an enormously talented and effective leader who has made a huge impact on our organization since she joined Entercom in 2000.  Like so many great leaders, she is totally and selflessly committed to her team’s success, bringing levydavidher vast energy, intelligence, creativity, and high standards to our entire organization.  I am thrilled to see her continue to rise to the highest levels of our company.”  Also, the company reports that David Levy is named to the board of directors.  Levy has served as president of Turner Broadcasting System since 2013.   In this role he oversees all creative and business activities of the Turner signature entertainment networks —TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim — and their digital brand extensions, as well as Turner Sports.

wmal logoCumulus Has a Buyer for WMAL, Washington Transmitter Site.  According to Bethesda Magazine, Cumulus Media has a deal with two prominent area home builders who will turn the Bethesda, Maryland site of WMAL-AM, Washington’s transmitter into a 76-acre housing development.  Winchester Homes and Toll Brothers are reported as the buyer but no sale price has been announced yet.  According to real estate firm CBRE, the land could hold up to 300 homes on quarter-acre lots in accordance with current zoning regulations.  Cumulus will relocate the WMAL-AM transmitter.

younglarry and cohostsRadio One Revamps WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young Show.  The urban morning drive talk show lead by radio personality Larry Young is now being simulcast on Radio One’s translator W291BA at 106.1 FM.  That signal airs Christian music and is branded “PRAISE 106.1.”  Joining Young (center) and co-host Coach (left) is former WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9” midday personality Tim Watts (right).  The station says, “We’re combining the best of the Praise format with the information, entertainment and ‘ground level’ interaction that our listeners already expect from Larry’s show.  For additional color, we’ve welcomed Tim Watts back to be part of this daily roundtable of all things Baltimore and our community.”

gordonmaryGordon Named Sales Manager for iHeartMedia Tampa. The appointment of Mary Gordon as sales manager for iHeartMedia‘s Tampa cluster takes effect in four weeks (6/1). Senior vice president of sales Fernando Bauermeister comments that, “Mary’s experience of leading successful teams made her a natural choice for the position. We are excited to have Mary join our staff and we look forward to her helping our clients grow their business.” Gordon states, “I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to join the team of talented professionals at iHeartMedia Tampa. I look forward to utilizing the amazing assets that iHeartMedia has in its arsenal to find solutions to the key marketing objectives in the west Florida region.” Gordon’s background includes a stint in sports marketing for IMG (International Management Group), as well as being general sales manager – and later director of sales – for Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” and WYAY. The eight-station iHM Tampa cluster includes: urban contemporary WBTP “The Beat”; WDAE “Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio”; talk WFLA; CHR WFLZ “The Hit Music Channel”; country WFUS “US-103.5”; talk WHNZ “Impact Radio”; hot AC WMTX “Mix 100.7”; and WXTB “98 Rock.”

hoyttomHoyt Heads to Louisville as Salem Media Group GM. Founder-president of Missouri-based AdAbilities Tom Hoyt – is named general manager of Salem Media Group Louisville talk outlet WGTK “The Answer” and WFIA “The Spirit – Christian Talk & Praise.” Salem vice president of operations Mike Moran notes, “We were looking for a general manager with a combination of strong leadership skills, management experience, and a proven sales orientation. I believe with Tom we found a man who delivers on all those fronts and brings the additional benefit of knowing and loving the city of Louisville.” Hoyt comments, “I cannot imagine a more ideal opportunity than this position with Salem Media Group in Louisville. The stations are heritage properties with a veteran staff. I am thankful that Mike has selected me and I am looking forward to building on the success the team has established.” Hoyt – who succeeds Tim Hartlage at the Louisville talk combo – previously worked in the market for Cox Media Group; was vice president and chief sales officer for CommunityLink Publications; general sales manager of Emmis St. Louis; and director of sales for Barnstable Broadcasting‘s stations in Greenville, South Carolina. Hartlage continues working for Salem, focusing on local ministry.

sagaSaga Communications Q1 Revenue Down 1.2%; Radio Division Dips 2.6%.  For the first quarter of 2015, Saga Communications is reporting net revenue decreased 1.2% on income of $29.1 million.  Revenue for the radio segment was $24, 276,000 – a decline of 2.6% compared to the same period a year ago (the TV segment was up).  Other data reported included free cash flow up 5.2% to $3.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.4 million for the same period last year.  Station operating expense decreased 0.8% to $22.8 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) compared to $23.0 million for the same period last year.  Operating income was $3.8 million.  Net income for the period was $2.1 million ($0.36 per fully diluted share).

Odds & Sods.  Philadelphia news/talker WPHT will play a role in the local appearance of Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul.  After his press conference at the People’s Plaza on Independence Mall onwpht logo Monday, May 18, the senator will make a special appearance at the Independence Seaport Concert Hall for a discussion focused on his book, Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.  WPHT host Dom Giordano will moderate…..Longtime WGN, rosenbergmiltChicago radio host and current WCGO, Chicago personality Milt Rosenberg was recently honored by the City of Chicago for among other things, “bringing the world of ideas to millions of listeners, combining a scholar’s understanding of the humanities broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Prophet Drawing Contest’ Shooting, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Baltimore Aftermath, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4).  The influx of new candidates for president in 2016 including independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee; the aftermath of the weekend’s shooting of two purported ISIS followers at a “prophet drawing contest” in Garland, Texas; Bill Clinton’s dismissal of criticism of the Clinton Family Foundation finances; the civil and political situation in Baltimore and questions about how Freddie Gray died; and the worsening drought in California and the battle over water policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.