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Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

| September 10, 2020

Backbone Serving Broadcasters in Work-from-Home Era. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of broadcasters to work from home beginning in the spring and many still are. Radio engineering departments scrambled to get equipment into the homes of hosts who required it. But Backbone has been busy providing high-quality audio connection to a number of broadcasters and educational institutions with its equipment-free service. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian talks with Backbone founder, president and CEO Richard Cerny in a piece that illustrates how the Backbone technology is being used. He tells TALKERS, “This is sort of the only way you can really revamp a station without having to buy all new equipment. Other than the tower and tower building, there is no brick and mortar here. Your bedroom is ‘the studio.’ You can have local hosts on the LUCIE (the pre-codex) that goes into New York. A producer working out of his house takes all the inputs; adds commercials; puts it back into the cloud; and [the final product] goes out to the tower. At the same time, it streams and makes podcasts – all of this stuff is automated. Unless you want to make edits, you just push a button to launch and publish a podcast wherever you want to send it.” Read the entire story here.

PPM Analysis: All-News. According to data from Nielsen Audio’s monthly PPM surveys, listening to news radio shot up in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit American shores and although the 6+ AQH shares for news stations has bounced around a bit since March, 75% of all-news stations had higher AQH shares during the August 2020 survey than they did during the August 2019 survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian analyzes the format in today’s report. Comparing July 2020 and August 2020 data, exactly half of the news stations in PPM markets were down (6+ weekly AQH) and half were up. Looking at 6+ cume, although half of the news outlets were up during the August 2020 survey compared to the July 2020 survey, the average spike in cume was 67,244 while the average dip in cume was just 14,500. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

iHeartMedia to Acquire WWRL, New York; Black Information Network to Air on Station. As it continues to expand the reach of its newly created BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia announces that the 24/7 comprehensive national audio news service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective will be heard on New York City’s WWRL-AM, effective November 2. That is when iHM begins operating the station under an LMA. The company has also entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with current owner NJ Broadcasting LLC.  BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “We are excited to welcome WWRL AM as the newest member of the Black Information Network family. This station has a long history of service in New York City, and in the ‘60s was an important voice for change for the Black community. At BIN, we are proud to continue that legacy, and to once again make AM 1600 a trusted source for the news and information that impacts Black New Yorkers.” The station is currently airing “Radio Mirchi,” a Hindi format operated by Entertainment Network Limited.

Radio America to Syndicate ‘The Best of Ricochet.’ A new, one-hour weekly program is being syndicated by Radio America beginning Saturday, September 19. Radio America says “The Best of Ricochet” is a “fast-paced digest of the Ricochet Audio Network’s bright and informative podcast streams. No orthodoxy, no party-line rants – we have a multitude of smart, engaging, iconoclastic thinkers who span the center-right spectrum. You’ll find college law professors, moms, libertarians, pop-culture addicts, vets, and the occasional note from the road from a truck driver.” The program is hosted by James Lileks, the longtime co-host of the “Ricochet Podcast” (alongside Peter Robinson and Rob Long), the author of several books (including the now legendary Gallery of Regrettable Food) and has been the sole contributor to lileks.com since 1997. He’s a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

45th Gracies Awards Streams Tonight. The Alliance for Women in Media are reminding the industry that this year’s 45th Anniversary Gracies Awards is being streamed live on the AWMF Facebook page at 7:00 pm ET. This year’s program is being hosted by “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson and supports the AWMF’s many educational programs, charitable activities, public service, and scholarship campaigns that benefit women in media. The evening will include Malin Akerman, Sanjay Gupta, Angélica Vale, Cassie DiLaura, and more as presenters, and will honor such luminaries as Katy Perry, Danai Gurira, Michelle Williams, Gayle King, among many others.

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it is moving the NAB Show scheduled for April 11-14, 2021 to October 9-13, 2021 in Las Vegas. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says in making the announcement, “With a new date set for the 2021 NAB Show we are looking at the entirety of the calendar next year with fresh eyes. We plan to continue bringing the industry together in a number of ways. In the short-term, we are excited about the online events planned for next month – the Radio Show (October 5–9) and NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange (October 14–15). These signature events, combined with our virtual NAB Show New York (October 19–29), offer dynamic content and engagement opportunities all month long to bring the industry together to restart, reengage and refocus.”…..The American Uncensored News Network announces it is actively seeking conservative radio and television shows for its AUN-TV network, “The Uncensored News Network.” AUN-TV says its mission is to create “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots production. Content is distributed via its AUN-TV Network and its sister website www.aun-tv.com. At the same time, AUN-TV founder Dana Allen announces that Rick Trader – producer and host of the “Conservative Commandos Radio Show” – is named president and CEO of AUN Network…..NPR and a group of 12 public radio stations across the country announce they are launching the first localized daily news podcast, one that blends national stories and local reporting. The podcast is titled, “Consider This,” and NPR senior director for on-demand programming Neal Carruth comments, “This project is truly the best reflection of the public radio mission. ‘Consider This’ is now a collaborative podcast that will know where users are and deliver them the news of the day from their community and beyond. It demonstrates what only the public radio network has the ability to do.” Participating stations include: WGBH and WBUR in Boston; WNYC, New York; WHYY, Philadelphia; WAMU, Washington, DC; WBEZ, Chicago; WMPR, Minneapolis; KERA, Dallas; KPCC and KCRW, Los Angeles; KQED, San Francisco; and KOPB, Portland…..Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s Podcast Network – and actor/comedian Will Arnett are partnering to produce “The Journey is Now,” a new weekly podcast in which Arnett explores “human perspective, growth, and awareness.” Arnett will be joined on each episode by a well-known guest for a deep-dive into their story, struggles, regrets, and the obstacles they’ve overcome…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston (right) conducting and exclusive one-on-one interview with Vice President Mike Pence (left). Clugston flew from D.C. to Pennsylvania with the vice president on Air Force 2 yesterday (9/9), then joined his bus tour across the region that included stops at a pro-life gathering, as well as an address to energy industry employees at PennEnergy Resources, LLC in Freedom, Pennsylvania.

ViacomCBS and iHeartMedia Enter into Podcast Deal. This three-year deal between ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth Group and iHeartMedia calls for iHM to “create dozens of original podcasts, both new and those that leverage iconic intellectual property and extend powerhouse franchises from the biggest and most beloved brands.” Those brands include: MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, CMT, VH1, TV Land and Logo. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “These are some of the most iconic brands in the world. First and foremost – as fans of these brands – we wanted to see them have a really strong presence in podcasting. So our plan is simple: We will swing all of our resources behind these incredible brands – with support from our production teams, our huge distribution and marketing muscle, and the biggest and best audio sales team in the country – to make sure they get the audience they deserve in this incredible new medium.”

IBA Partners with AdLarge for Network Ad Sales. The Independent Broadcasters Association enters into a network radio ad sales partnership with AdLarge Media to create two new independent radio station networks. The IBA says its board approved the membership offering on August 17 and says, “The membership fee is designed so that every radio station can afford to participate and benefit from all the deliverables underway. The cost of membership is $100 per station annually plus one :60 unit of advertising per week, Monday – Friday 6a-7p.”  AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld comments, “We are thrilled to work with Ron and the independent radio stations across the country that are joining the IBA. This partnership comes at a most opportune time, giving independent radio groups and stations more power and prominence in network radio advertising. Ron’s [Stone] industry leadership in creating the IBA will help thousands of radio stations nationwide generate additional revenue and we are honored to be a part of it.”

Bob Woodward’s Rage Book, the Presidential Election/Vote-By-Mail, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, California Wildfires, Kansas City Chiefs’ Fan Rules Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The audio of tape of Bob Woodward’s interview with President Trump for his book Rage that reveals the president purposely downplayed the COVID-19 threat; the November presidential election and the controversy over voting by mail and the challenges facing the USPS; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and projections for future cases; the state of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs ban Native American garb at games 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. Rock radio pro Steve Dent joins Cumulus Media as morning drive personality for alternative WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X.” Dent was most recently with iHeartMedia’s Dayton cluster as program director for alternative WZDA and classic rock WTUE. WNDX program director Steven Lewis says, “‘93.9X’ has continued to grow and establish its brand since it launched last May. Steve Dent brings years of experience in the format, a passion for the music, strong on-air skills, and the tools to take mornings to the next level. I couldn’t be happier to have him on the station and part of our Cumulus Rock family.”…..Beasley Media Group promotes Dawn Santolucito to assistant program director and marketing director for WKLB-FM, Boston “Country 102.5.” She has been serving as music director and marketing director at the station since August 2017. She says, “‘Country 102.5’ is a special station, near and dear to my heart. I am excited to take on this new role and I am looking forward to all the things our incredible team will accomplish together.” At the same time, Jim Clerkin rises to music director and producer for the “Jonathan Weir and Ayla Brown Morning Show.”…..In Chicago, iHeartMedia gets FCC approval to change the call letters of country-turned-rock WEBG-FM to WCHI-FM.

Monday, August 31, 2020

| August 31, 2020

Monday Memo: Announcers, You Have Been Replaced…for $47.  Seldom at a loss for words, consultant Holland Cooke admits he “won’t even TRY to describe” what he regards as a breakthrough, “after what we, as an industry, have suffered from failed consolidation, and as pandemic remote-broadcast mode has obsoleted the station workspace as we knew it.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The New-Talk of Sports Talk. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the dramatic changes in what sports talk hosts are discussing today compared to just a year ago. “Today, players and on-air personalities are tackling complex issues with newer topics up for discussion everywhere from social media to your station’s dial position. Let’s be clear, this is not about play-by-play, this is about selling your local sports talker hitting on topics that last year at this time weren’t up for consideration on a sports talk show sheet.” Read more here.

Madison Advertiser Pulls Ads from News/Talk WIBA-AM. A piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Daniel Bice indicates that Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin has pulled its ads from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison after talk host Vicki McKenna voiced support for Kyle Rittenhouse – the 17-year-old Illinois resident charged with homicide in the deaths of two protestors. Group Health Cooperative chief business development officer Allan Wearing tells Bice that McKenna has a right to her opinions and his  company has the right to pull its advertising. McKenna – whose show is also heard on sister station WISN-AM, Milwaukee – says she’s being “smeared” by the newspaper and that Bice wrote that she’s encouraging people to “murder protesters.” Bice says he wrote no such thing.

Cleveland, Tennessee Sportscaster Suspended After Insensitive Comment. Play-by-play broadcaster Gary Ownbey has been suspended by Hartline LLC for a comment made during a high school football game broadcast last week on “101.3 The Buzz” in Cleveland, Tennessee. After Ownbey stumbled over some of the players’ names during the broadcast, he said, “I don’t know where they’re getting these foreigners from.” Hartline and Bradley County Schools issued a joint statement that read, in part, “Now more than ever, it is critical for our organizations to reinforce our public commitment to equity for all. ‘101.3 The Buzz,’ Bradley County Schools, and Bradley Central High School will not condone this type of action or behavior. We believe this is contrary to our overall goals of empathy, affirmation, and creating a culturally responsive environment for all.” Hartline LLC owner Steve Hartline added, “The comments made during Thursday night’s game do not in any way reflect the culture nor views of the station. We respect our student-athletes, and their families and are proud to showcase their accomplishments on and off the field.”

Civil Unrest/Deadly Portland Shooting, Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Hurricane Laura Destruction, Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The civil unrest in cities where protests are ongoing and the shooting death in Portland; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools to students and the outbreaks on numerous college campuses; the destruction in Louisiana after the landfall of Hurricane Laura; and the death of actor Chadwick Boseman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Expands Black Information Network Across On-Air Signals. The new BIN: Black Information Network launched last month by iHeartMedia is adding four on-air signals to the group of radio stations carrying the 24/7 national audio news service “dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” The company has entered into Local Marketing Agreements with M-10 Broadcasting for WQLL-AM, Baltimore; Alexander Broadcasting Company for W257DC, Montgomery, Alabama; Beasley Media Group for WTEL-AM, Philadelphia; and an LMA with an Asset Purchase Agreement with Potomac Radio Group for WUST-AM, Washington, DC. BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is of course to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Baltimore, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and provide millions of listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Springfield, Illinois, Mid-West Family Communications announces that effective tomorrow (9/1) news/talk WMAY-AM begins airing on the 92.7 frequency in the market. Currently the home of country WUSY-FM, the move will put the company’s heritage news/talk station on three signals: 970 AM, 94.7 FM via W234CC, and the full-market class B1 FM WUSY. Station general manager Mike Paterson says in a press release, “Now more than ever, people across Central Illinois are relying on WMAY for breaking news and insightful coverage and commentary of important local, state, and national issues. Moving WMAY to 92.7 FM expands its reach into downtown office buildings and to inform consumers in surrounding counties. The pandemic, the rebuilding of the local economy, the election, statehouse scandals, and more – these are all reasons why people need a reliable way to stay informed and stay connected. Expanding our on-air reach, in addition to our streaming audio and our extensive online and social media presence, brings that vital information to every place that our audience needs it.”…..“The Armstrong & Getty Show” adds a new affiliate station to its roster as Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” begins airing the KSTE, Sacramento-based program. Starnes Media Group president Todd Starnes comments, “I’ve known Armstrong & Getty since my days at KFBK in Sacramento. I have no doubt that our KWAM listeners across the Mid-South will be thoroughly entertained by their show. Armstrong & Getty are making talk radio fun again.”…..In conjunction with the Seattle Police Foundation’s “Got Your Six” fundraising campaign, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s talk KVI, Seattle helped raise more than $50,000 earmarked for protective eyewear for Seattle police officers. The effort began on August 18 as KVI morning host John Carlson encouraged his listeners to donate funds in the aftermath of reports that police were being targeted with potentially eye-damaging laser pointers…..Former Georgetown University basketball coach and former WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” sports talk host John Thompson is dead at age 78. Thompson led the Georgetown Hoyas to the 1984 NCAA Championship. After leaving coaching in 1999, he began a 12-year career as a radio sports talk host on WTEM’s midday show alongside Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore hot AC WWMX-FM “Mix 106.5” announces its new morning drive team of Steve Kramer and Jessica Dutra, who will host the “Kramer & Jess” show beginning September 14. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Kramer and Jess are both optimistic, energetic and downright entertaining, which is exactly what Baltimore listeners are craving to start their day. Their undeniable passion will be a welcomed addition to our morning drive, and we look forward to introducing them to our audience, both locally and nationally.” The pair were most recently with iHeartMedia’s KHTS-FM, San Diego where Kramer was a morning co-host while Dutra served the station as co-host, producer, and social media coordinator for the morning show…..A new program is being offered in syndication from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in partnership with Oceanic Tradewinds and T & T Creative. The show, “Winning with Jekalyn Carr,” features hit music popular in both the inspirational and urban formats as well as interviews, creative features, and a plethora of video lifestyle content. The show premieres on Labor Day (9/7) in both video and audio formats and then launches with a regular hour-long, daily radio program and a two-hour-long weekend offering. All programs are barter free through September 27.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

| July 14, 2020

Roland Martin Joins iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network. Journalist Roland Martin is becoming part of iHeartMedia’s BIN – Black Information Network – programming initiative as a commentator. His podcast “#RolandMartinUnfiltered” is also being made available on the iHeartPodcast Network. BIN: Black Information Network is iHeartMedia’s recently launched “24/7 comprehensive national audio news service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” In his role with BIN, Martin will exclusively curate custom commentary segments for BIN to be broadcast daily throughout the network’s 24-hour news feed. His commentary will be available on more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices, as well as on local AM/FM broadcast radio stations in numerous U.S. cities. Director of news operations Tanita Myers says, “When we launched BIN: Black Information Network, we knew how extremely important it was to provide a forum for trusted voices within the Black community and there’s perhaps no one more trusted and reliable in Black media today than Roland Martin. He has built a legacy that has paved the way for other Black journalists and continues to use his platform to bring a much needed perspective on topics that matter to both Black Americans and the nation in general.” Martin comments, “I am excited to provide daily commentaries to BIN. We are living in a time where we need more coverage about the issues facing African Americans. In addition, I am really thrilled to partner with the iHeartPodcast Network to distribute and market the ‘#RolandMartinUnfiltered’ audio podcast. We have seen tremendous growth with the daily video show, and we can’t wait to do the same with the audio podcast.”

TALKERS Magazine to Publish 2020 Heavy Hundred on Thursday (7/16). This Thursday (7/16), the editors of TALKERS magazine will publish the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We look forward to Thursday’s publication of the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in ways that put them among the “most important.”

Edison: COVID-19 Affects Morning Show Listening. According to data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, U.S. radio listeners 13 and older began their morning listening 75 minutes later that before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. Edison says that “pre-COVID-19, the point in the day when 50% of those in the U.S. age 13+ recorded their first entry of their audio day was around 7:15 am. During Q2 fielding of Share of Ear, it was not until 8:30 am that half of respondents had recorded any audio usage.” Edison Research director Laura Ivey says, “This finding challenges our thinking about how those in the U.S. listen to audio during traditional drive times. With many people staying at home or working from home during Q2, they did not engage with audio as early as they did pre-COVID. This data shows that if Americans continue current work patterns, audio strategies may need to be adjusted.”

Westwood One: Direct-To-Consumer Retail Sales Continues to Surge. The data comes from the second annual Direct-To-Consumer Media Attribution and Awareness study in which Westwood One with LeadsRx and MARU Matchbox is seeking to understand the marketing effectiveness of direct-to-consumer firms and the state of their brand equity. Noting that even before the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce was surging (e-commerce represented 11.8% of total U.S. retail sales up from 6.9% in the first quarter of 2015) the study sought to examine direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands who sell online and the marketing practices that lead to success. Cumulus Media|Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “Direct-to-consumer brands are entering their second act now, seeking to grow through market penetration and attract the masses via TV and AM/FM radio. This study validates the brand-building sales effect of broadcast media as TV and radio drive seven times the search and site traffic lift of Google and Facebook.” Another finding from the study is that AM/FM radio is a catalyst for increased effectiveness of Google and Facebook ads during the pandemic. During 2019, Facebook and Google ads saw a 15% increase in performance due to AM/FM radio advertising. During the pandemic in Q2 2020 radio’s impact on Google/Facebook performance surged to 20%. See more here.

IAB: COVID-19 Cuts Projected U.S. Podcast Revenue in Half. The U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study from IAB includes results from 2019, projections for 2020 and beyond, and a detailed industry analysis. The key revenue takeaway is that IAB had projected podcast revenue to rise 29.6% in 2020, but after the coronavirus pandemic struck, that figure has been revised to an increase of 14.7%. The positive news is that projections indicate the third and fourth quarters of 2020 should improve. That said, U.S. podcast revenue is nearing the $1 billion mark. Looking back, the study finds the total market year-over-year revenue estimate increased 48% to $708.1 million in 2019, from FY 2018’s total market estimate of $479.1 million. Another finding relevant to news and news/talk radio pros is that the calculation of 2019 podcast advertising revenues based on genre indicates that news podcasts grabbed 22% of the podcast revenue, leading the pack (comedy was in second place with 17% of the podcast revenue). See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. In Boston, Beasley Media Group is teaming up with RCN Business to award a total of $200,000 in marketing support to assist the Small Business Association Grant Program. The companies say they have created a customized program designed to help local businesses get back up and running, without having to worry about marketing budgets. The program is offering designated small businesses the opportunity to be considered for a $10,000 media schedule to use on one of five Beasley Media Boston radio stations – including sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”. A total of 20 small businesses will be selected to receive a grant to help advertise…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that conservative talk host Joe Walsh’s new program on suburban WCGO-AM, Evanston and the affiliated GAB Radio Network is moving from a delay broadcast slot to the live 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot. Walsh, a former U.S. Representative from Chicago and a former WIND-AM talk host, has been back on the radio for about seven weeks. WCGO general manager Chuck Duncan says, “I think this will probably come as welcome news for his Chicago listeners as they can now interact with him live versus having to listen via stream in order to participate. His call volume has been off the charts, with major activity from New York, Philly, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Miami, and his streaming audio numbers are the highest we’ve ever seen from any show on the station — averaging about 2,700 unique instances a day.”…..FOX Sports Radio is touting its success on digital platforms in the absence of live sports. Premiere Networks says June 2020 was FSR’s second-best month ever in terms of podcast listens. “Year over year, the network’s total podcast audience grew 88%, bringing the monthly total to more than 16.5 million for the FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network. On the streaming front, FSR’s audience grew 70% from April 2020 to May 2020. The following month, May 2020 to June 2020, FSR’s streaming audience grew an additional 13%.  Year over year, FSR’s streaming was up 55%, marking the network’s second-best streaming month of all time.”

Radio Pros Paul Vandenburgh and Mimi Griswold Among 2020 Inductees in NY Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The board of directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association announces the Hall of Fame Class of 2020.  This year’s class includes WGDJ-AM, Albany owner, general manager, and talk host Paul Vandenburgh; Galaxy Media Partners VP of programming Mimi Griswold; WNBC-TV, New York anchor David Ushery; and WVVH-TV, Hamptons owners Greg and Ernie Schimizzi.  NYSBA president David Donovan says, “The Class of 2020 represents the best in the broadcasting profession. While the inductees represent a cross section of broadcasters from across the state, they share one key characteristic. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serve their local communities. We are honored to have them join the ranks of the legendary broadcasters from New York.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Fauci, Schools Opening Debate/Foreign Students Lawsuit, Presidential Race, Portland Unrest, U.S.-China Tensions, Washington Redskins Name Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The soaring number of new COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future cases; President Trump’s divergence from Dr. Tony Fauci on the seriousness of the pandemic; the debate over opening U.S. schools in the fall and 18 attorneys general sue the White House over the foreign students ban; the November presidential election; the protests and clashes with police in Portland, Oregon; the U.S. challenges China’s claim to territory in the South China Sea; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change the name of the team 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. In Providence, Hall Communications announces that it is elevating afternoon drive host and production director Kevin Palana to program director for country WCTK-FM “Cat Country 98.1.” Palana is taking over for company VP of programming Bob Walker who is moving south to lead programming at the company’s Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida operations. In this role, Palana will also program classic hits WNBH, New Bedford, Massachusetts “BIG 101.3.” Palana says, “I want to thank Tom, Bob, and everyone at Hall for this opportunity. I grew up in this market and there is no place I’d rather live. I look forward to working directly with Courtney Kelley and Brian Mulhern of ‘Cat Country’ mornings and the entire staff in Providence and New Bedford.”…..Townsquare Media’s hot AC KCIX, Boise “MIX 106” brings Angie Morales into the morning drive show alongside John Moug for the “Moug & Angie Mornings” program. Moug says, “Townsquare Media has given us this incredible opportunity to connect with the Treasure Valley in a real way. We’re here to have a ton of fun, laugh until we’re light-headed, but also not hide from the real-world issues that we’re all facing on a daily basis. Plus, the fact that I get to do this show with one of the funniest people I’ve ever met takes the cake!”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents are launching “Kiss 108’s Chromebooks For Kids” – a fundraising campaign to purchase Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. Now through Labor Day weekend, “Kiss 108” is encouraging listeners to make a donation and support students in the community.