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Monday, March 23, 2020

| March 23, 2020

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Community.  “When normalcy is upended, it is human nature to take comfort hearing how others are faring” and consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “it’s less misery-loves-company than we’re-all-in-this-together.”  And in this week’s column, he cautions that, right now, stations are making a lasting impression.  Read it here.

The State of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Federal Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stock Selloff, Unemployment Rises/Recession Predictions, Summer Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic; the federal stimulus package being debated in congress; the global stock selloff is predicted to continue; the expectations of high unemployment figures to be reported and a recession is being predicted for the U.S.; and the possibility the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Warning, Speed Bumps Ahead. Radio sales pro and president of Lapcom Communications, Steve Lapa, writes in this new TALKERS column Pending Business about how to work in the sales environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Lapa has tips for planning and prioritizing for sales staffers dealing with limited in-person collaborations, online meetings, minimal studio and talent access, constant price fluctuations, and more.  Read it here.

WABC, New York Adds Bill O’Reilly ‘Morning Edition.’ Conservative commentator and talk show host Bill O’Reilly is joining the daily program lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York via his Key Networks-syndicated morning drive radio feature, “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” launched in late April 2019 and between the two shows O’Reilly is heard on more than 200 stations.  O’Reilly says, “WABC is the station I listened to as a kid.  It is a legacy radio outlet and I hope I can add to the legacy with honest, no spin daily commentary.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks is so proud to be associated with Bill O’Reilly and ‘The O’Reilly Update.’  The content has been superb and the tremendous response is a testament to Bill and the talent he brings to the airwaves, with a style unmatched in media.  We’re thrilled to welcome the great WABC New York, bringing our affiliate group to over 200 stations in 10 months.”

Salem and Hugh Hewitt Agree to Contract Extension. This new deal between Salem Radio Network and talk host Hugh Hewitt runs through December of 2028.  Hewitt has been a host on SRN since July of 2000.  In April of 2016, he moved from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on the network, to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who had hosted the “Morning in America” show.  Salem says that Hewitt’s national footprint has grown to more than 450 affiliate stations and he’s also seen on a video simulcast on Townhall.com.  Hewitt appears regularly on NBC News programs, including “Meet the Press,” and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post.  Hewitt says, “I look forward to not only this fall’s presidential election but the next two presidential campaigns and all the news in between them as well.  The past 20 years have been two decades of upheaval and crisis, a sudden devastating attack on America, of war and terror and now a pandemic, of hard-fought elections and massive legislative and legal changes.  It’s been a privilege to cover these breaking news events for three hours a day with the extraordinary team and guest list we have assembled and rely upon.”  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger states.  “Hugh has been a Salem stalwart since 2000.  He’s one of the most respected voices in American media today, and as Salem continues to grow our national and international footprint, Hugh’s program remains a flagship show for the news/talk format which Salem helped pioneer.”

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of Nielsen’s February PPM SurveyTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of February PPM data from Nielsen Audio. Some positive weekly, 6+ AQH share movement among spoken-word stations includes: iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding a half share to January’s 1.8 share hike to finish February with a 7.6 share and the #2 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis tacks four-tenths on during the February survey to land at an 8.0 share and the #2 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville piles another six-tenths onto its January share-and-a-half increase to finish the February survey with a 10.4 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Beasley and Borrell to Present ‘Crisis Marketing for Local Business’ Seminars. This series of complimentary webinars from Beasley Media Group and Borrell Associations takes place tomorrow and Wednesday (3-24/25) as part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing ‘We Are All in This Together Community of Caring Initiative.’  It consists of five, 30-minute webinars focused on crisis marketing for local businesses impacted by the current coronavirus situation.  Topics addressed will include: valuable tips for communicating with customers & non-customers, how to craft creative & appropriate marketing messages, and common concerns & opportunities faced by local businesses.  Beasley is making the session “open to any interested businesses, however, it is especially relevant for local companies located within Beasley Media Group markets.”  The webinar will be moderated by Beasley Media Group chief digital officer Todd Handy and vice president of digital sales Dan Frisbie.  Local marketing experts Gordon Borrell, Jim Brown, and Corey Elliott of Borrell Associates “will provide valuable guidance on how local businesses can not only survive but thrive and make a difference in times of crisis.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “850 ESPN” program director Matt Fishman tells TALKERS that the station has created a new show to get fans ready for the only major sports event on the calendar – the NFL Draft – taking place on April 23.  Beginning tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, WKNR is presenting “ESPN Cleveland’s Countdown to the Draft” hosted by Tony Grossi…..The South Bend cluster of Federated Media – including news/talk WTRC, Niles, Michigan “Michiana’s News Channel” – is launching “Operation: Restaurant Rescue.”  The stations have produced a digital menu of area restaurants that are offering carryout or delivery options and allows consumers to buy gift cards for some of the establishments…..Racing star Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, is resuming his SiriusXM show, “Happy Hours.”  The show airs Wednesday’s at 1:00 pm on the SiriusXMNASCAR Radio channel with Matt Yocum as co-host.  Harvick says, “Matt and I figured it would be good to get back on SiriusXM to talk to the fans and try to entertain folks during this downtime.  Even though we’re not racing, there’s still plenty to talk about, both the things involving our sport as we look ahead to the season, and also what’s happening in our daily lives away from the track.  I hope we can take your mind off other things and maybe make you laugh a little bit along the way.”

iHeartMedia Stations to Play National Anthem.  At 12:00 noon ET today, all iHeartMedia radio stations will play a version of the National Anthem.  The company says, “In these challenging times, we want to take a moment of solidarity to celebrate our collective strength as a nation and recognize the heroic efforts of so many workers on the frontline – including our doctors, nurses, health care professionals, caregivers, and other critical responders who are working night and day to get us through this. Today, iHeartMedia will honor the resilience of Americans by encouraging the masses to unite through the healing power of music as our 850+ radio stations and formats across the country air a version of the National Anthem.  We want to send our heartfelt thoughts, concern and support to any family who may need it as we face these tough times together as a country.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions announce that “The 55th ACM Awards” will take place on Wednesday, September 16 – in a city and venue yet to be announced – and will air on CBS TelevisionKeith Urban will serve as host and the lineup of performers will also be announced at a later date…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Orlando announces that its Earthday Birthday Number 27 Music Festival set for April 18 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds will be postponed to September 5 at the same venue…..In response to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia Charlotte is launching “Carolina Cares,” an initiative to help the local community by highlighting local organizations and services necessary during times of crisis.  Across all its stations’ websites, iHeartMedia Charlotte is promoting various local organizations offering services to individuals as well as businesses that are operating on limited hours and restaurants that are offering delivery, pickup or gift cards during this pandemic.  Local organizations highlighted will include Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, American Red Cross and Classroom Central, with more to be added on a need basis…..Entravision Communications announces “El Show del Mandril” – starring Ricardo Sanchez – is the new morning drive show on Regional Mexican KDLD, Santa Monica “Viva 103.1 FM.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom.  During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment.  First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.  This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.  Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.  And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10.  He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR.  I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence.  I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.”  Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst.  Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format.  This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different.  About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey.  However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share.  Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively.  Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey.  See all the data here.

RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue.  The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast.  This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”  The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million.  The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.”  It is being released today to RAB members.  It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media.  The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing.  Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018.  2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018.  Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019.  The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019.  On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods.  Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year.  Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance.  Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.”  iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.”  It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry.  The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM.  Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.  The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space.  Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.

Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986.  In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters.  Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years.  Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me.  I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown.  I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence.  We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah.  AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics.  We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show.  Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.  MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

| February 6, 2019

Forever Broadcasting Buys Delmarva’s Radio Assets for $18.5 Million. The acquisition of Delmarva Broadcasting’s 10 radio stations in the Mid-Atlantic by Forever Broadcasting will, when consummated, mean the end of Delmarva’s radio business. Delmarva is a subsidiary of Steinman Communications and that company continues in the media business as publisher of LPN/Lancaster Online.  Forever Media will be getting news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, hot AC WSTW-FM and Gospel WFAI-AM in the Wilmington, Delaware market; country WXCY, Havre de Grace, Maryland; classic hits WAVD-FM, Ocean Pines, Maryland; classic hits WNCL, hot AC WAFL-FM, and sports talk WYUS-AM in Milford, Delaware; and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware.  Forever Media owns radio stations in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Talk Host Doc Thompson Killed in Jogging Accident. Talk radio host Doc Thompson, a.k.a., Michael Thompson, was killed on Tuesday (2/5) while jogging near railroad tracks in Haltom City, Texas.  The 50-year-old radio personality was hit by an Amtrak train.  Thompson was hosting his own digital “Daily MoJo 5.0” program. Previously, he’d worked for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as well as iHeartMedia’s WRVA, Richmond.  Thompson leaves behind his wife, Yuna, and three young children.  A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist his family here.

Spotify to Acquire Gimlet Media and Anchor. As reported this morning by Variety and numerous other sources, music streaming giant Spotify is acquiring New York-based podcasting platform Gimlet Media for $230 million as it positions itself to become a major player in the podcasting industry.  The report indicates that Spotify also is acquiring Anchor FM Inc., a platform that assists in podcast creating, publishing, and monetization.  Spotify chief Daniel Ek says his company is in a merger and acquisition mode, seeking to spend up to $500 million on deals this year.  He’s quoted saying, “These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world’s leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience as well as enhance the Spotify brand.”  At the same time as it announced these deals, Spotify released fourth quarter 2018 and full-year financial data.  Although Spotify produced its first-ever quarterly operating profit of $107 million in Q4 of 2018, it expects to return to losses due to its M&A mode.  However, Spotify is reporting 96 million premium subscribers globally – an increase of 36% compared to 2017 figures.  It also saw its total monthly active users rise to 207 million during Q4, an increase of 29% over the same period in 2017.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dana Loesch is delving into possible mysteries surrounding the arrest of former Trump campaign official Roger Stone.  Loesch interviewed Stone on her Radio America-syndicated talk show, discussing his indictment and the special counsel’s investigation, and he suggests the special counsel’s office may have tipped off CNN to his arrest.  Hear it here…..As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, sports media personality Barry Rozner is leaving the fill-in and weekend host position he’s held with sports talk WSCR “The Score” for the past 10 years.  Rozner was co-host of the Sunday morning baseball show “Hit & Run” with Joe Ostrowski.  In addition to fill-in work, Rozner continues to serve as a sports columnist for the suburban Daily Herald…..Public radio news/talk KQED, San Francisco names Vinnee Tong managing editor, news.  In her new role, Tong will “help deepen KQED’s commitment to regional news on broadcast and digital platforms and work to increase representation of underrepresented voices and perspectives in KQED’s coverage.”  Tong has worked at KQED since 2011 in editor and producer roles.  Before working in public radio, she was a reporter at the Associated Press…..SAG-AFTRA is launching a new podcast hosted by president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White featuring in-depth interviews, industry insights, and compelling stories affecting the entertainment and media industry.  New shows are released every other Tuesday…..The “Motley Fool Money” weekend radio show with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate WLBR-AM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to its roster of stations…..SiriusXM is presenting a new audio documentary celebrating the Comedy Grammy Award category.  The show is timed to air in conjunction with this Sunday’s Grammy award show.  Comedy producer Dan Pasternack hosts “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: The 60 Year History of the Comedy Grammy Award,” that premieres Thursday (2/7) at 5:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Comedy Greats…..The staff of iHeartMedia news/talk WOR, New York celebrated this week’s debut of the new evening program “WOR Tonight with Joe Concha & Lis Wiehl” with a lunch at the legendary Patsy’s Restaurant in Times Square.  Pictured below are (from l-r): WOR program director Tom Cuddy, talk host Mark Simone, Concha, Wiehl, morning hosts Michael Riedel and Len Berman, assistant program director Scott Lakefield, and news director Joe Bartlett.

Report: Radio Digital Revenue Climbing Towards $1 Billion Mark. A report released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates indicates that local radio stations brought in $804 million in digital ad revenue during 2018 and projections for 2019 are for an increase as high as $949 million.  The report – to be released to RAB members today – analyzes online ad revenue from 3,121 radio stations in addition to survey responses from 1,715 local radio buyers and a survey of 132 radio managers.  The data indicates that the average radio station earned more than $250,000 in digital revenue in 2018, an increase of 15% over 2017.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “Digital has been integrated into all facets of broadcast radio’s offering both in programming and sales, and the results are definitely paying off. As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers, we expect to see continued growth.  The RAB is focused on providing digital training and continued knowledge-building for our members so they can better serve their clients.”

Celebrating Super Bowl LIII.  In Boston, Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” serves as the official flagship radio station of New England Patriots football.  So, at yesterday’s parade in downtown Boston, Beasley staff was on hand giving out “Never Gets Old” signs all along the parade route. Pictured above are (from l-r): Beasley Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and WBZ-FM and national spoken word/esports format brand manager Mike Thomas.

State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Warren ‘American Indian’ Controversy, Ralph Northam Controversy, North Korea Weapons Report, and Super Bowl LIII Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  The State of the Union Address; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the potential candidates for president in 2020; Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Texas Bar registration card in which she identifies as American Indian; the racist photos in Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook; the report indicating North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and selling weapons to other nations; and the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charley Connolly exits iHeartMedia’s Cleveland station group where he programmed country WGAR and adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.”  Connolly had been with the cluster since 2010…..Condolences to the family and friends of Alpha Media Biloxi-Gulfport production director Chuck Edwards, who died on January 30 at age 49. Alpha notes Edwards started his career at “Surf 107-1” – currently WXYK, Gulfport.  He later moved on to rock WCPR where he was part of the morning show that became “The Cruise, Chuck and Rebecca Show” with Kevin Cruise and Rebecca Allen.  Edwards also served as the PA announcer of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Alpha Biloxi-Gulfport operations manager Kenny Vest says, “Chuck was one of the most talented production guys in the industry who could literally do it all.  He had such a wide variety of deliveries and was great at writing copy.  He also had the ability to turn on that booming voice that could get any crowd excited as he did at the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans games for so many years.  Chuck was loved by so many and will be sorely missed by all of us who had the pleasure to know him.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

| February 7, 2018

KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Chats On Air with iHM CEO Bob Pittman.  During a visit to the Houston offices of iHeartMedia, company CEO Bob Pittman took a few minutes to sit in on the Michael Berry show based at flagship station KTRH, Houston.  He talked with Berry about his belief in the audio experience.  “I’m bullish on audio…depends on how you count it, we’re probably the number two podcaster in the U.S., behind NPR.  Podcasting has shown that, oh my gosh, people actually want to listen to people go in depth.  Certainly, radio has this enormous listenership…but we’re adding these pieces to it to make this even better and we’re doing this because the audience wants it.”  He also expressed his belief that smart speakers – such as Google’s Alexa – are the new clock/radio for the consumer’s home, citing their growth in popularity and ease of use.  Check out the segment here.

PodcastOne Series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” Rebranding with Expanded Scope.  Beginning this week, in marking its third anniversary, the weekly PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” will transition to a new name and incorporate a wider scope of guests and topics.  Under the new title, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” the program will be less targeted to the talk media and radio industries and more aimed at a worldwide general audience consisting of what its host,TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, describes as “media freaks,pop culture aficionados, political junkies and the philosophically curious.”  Although the newly positioned podcast will still include guests from the talk media field, it will also delve deeper into politics, science, the arts, technology, sociology, sports and philosophy.  As far as the weekly audio interviews with talk media figures that “Up Close and Far Out” has encompassed are concerned, Harrison will continue to conduct them and post them on Talkers.com.  According to Harrison, “Nothing will change in that regard.  We have been very successful with the Talkers interviews and will continue to do them.  I will basically be doing an extra podcast each week with this expanded vehicle.”   In announcing the expansion of the PodcastOne series, company founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “I met Michael Harrison decades ago in Los Angeles when he was managing editor of Radio & Records.  He also was a leading major market music and talk personality on KMET and syndicated nationally as a star performer on several of the top networks including Westwood One.  He had an amazing range and skill set as a broadcaster.  He voluntarily gave that up as the years passed to concentrate on his role as a trade magazine publisher and industry thought-leader.  In time, most folks in the business forgot that he was one of the best interviewers and all around broadcasters in radio.  I’m pleased to say that his performance on ‘Up Close and Far Out’ these past three years caused many people in the industry to take notice of his outstanding talent as an interviewer beyond just the topic of radio.  It has led to a number of stand-out, major market fill-in appearances and now, this new podcast.  I’m delighted to roll out one of the best kept secrets in the radio business – Michael Harrison as a world class talk show host.”  To listen to the debut installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview” featuring a deep-dive conversation with The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, please click here.

Judge Shoots Down Request by Nielsen and Bubba Attorneys to Use Electronic Devices in Pre-Trial Conference.  When the pre-trial conference gets underway on Friday (2/9) at 11:30 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the lawyers for both sides in the Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge case will be without their laptops, iPads and smartphones.  Lawyers for both parties filed a Joint Motion to Permit Use of Electronic Equipment, but were denied.  Nielsen is suing Bubba the Love Sponge for $1 million for damages related to the ratings manipulation case in the Tampa market.  Bubba is countersuing.

TALKERS News Notes.  There’s a programming change at Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM/W229AG, Atlanta “680 and 93.7 The Fan” as the morning drive and late morning shows flip-flop.  “The Front Row” with Steak Shapiro, Sandra Golden, and Brian Finneran moves to the morning drive slot and the Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino show moves from mornings to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The rest of the program schedule stays as is…..Another high-profile departure from NPR happens amidst allegations of sexual impropriety.  This time, award-winning investigative journalist Daniel Zwerdling exits the organization, according to a report in The Current.  The story says that all NPR would confirm is that Zwerdling is no longer on the staff.  Zwerdling himself states that allegations of sexual harassment are untrue and that he retired from NPR in January.  But, the story notes that “at least two NPR staffers reported Zwerdling to human resources in November.”  It also reports that subsequent allegations go back to the mid-1990s.  Zwerdling is quoted saying, “The allegations are not true.  When the movement started sweeping across the nation recently to expose sexual harassers and predators, I applauded it.  I still do.  The current national reckoning regarding sexual harassment is a momentous opportunity for America to make itself a better, safer and more equitable country.  Yet as many have already observed, there are also perhaps predictable and troubling collateral casualties along the way. The allegations against me are one of those instances.”

Former WFNI-AM/WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Staffer Loses Harassment Case Against Emmis.  The complaint against Emmis by former WFNI and WIBC, Indianapolis digital brand manager Kristine Esser Slentz was dismissed after Emmis sought a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgement and was granted those motions.  The court also sustained Emmis’ objections to Slentz’s evidence as hearsay.  In her complaint, Slentz said that two show producers with whom she interacted in the course of her job, called her a “bitch” behind her back and criticized her work, among other actions she says created a hostile work environment.  But the court granted Emmis’ motions due to its agreement that any name-calling was hearsay – never heard by Slentz herself, and that the actions alleged on the part of the two producers, if true, did not cross the thresholds necessary for a hostile work environment claim.

Nominees Being Accepted for National Radio Hall of Fame. March 30 is the deadline for nominations for the 30th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction that will take place in New York City in November.  The NRHOF nominating committee wants you to know you should make suggestions for individuals in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Networks/Syndication (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), Music Format On-Air Personality, and/or Spoken Word On-Air Personality.  National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone anniversary in New York City.  As we prepare for the special evening, it’s our priority to provide everyone the opportunity to be a part of it, starting with suggestions for our 2018 nominees.”

RAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Grew 13.4% in 2017.  This data comes from the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates study called, “Benchmarking Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues.”  This is the 6th annual RAB-Borrell report that analyzes online ad revenue from more than 10,000 radio stations, as well as survey responses from more than 1,300 local businesses that buy radio advertising.  Among the findings: 1) 85% of radio advertisers are also buying some form of digital advertising, and that three-quarters of them are buying digital and radio together; 2) digital ad revenue now accounts for 7.5% of the average station’s ad revenues, up from 6.3% last year; 3) digital revenue grew 13.4% in 2017, to a total of $700 million.  The forecast for 2018 is even higher; and 4) radio advertisers’ top marketing goal is to acquire new business, and they rank social media and radio as the top two methods to achieve those goals.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Digital has been integrated into all facets of broadcast radio’s offering both in programming and sales, and the results are definitely paying off.  As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers we expect to see continued growth.  The RAB is focused on providing digital training and continued knowledge building for our members so they can better serve their clients.”  RAB members can get the full report here.

Dow Activity/Bitcoin Value Swings, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Requests Military Parade, Government Shutdown Threat/Immigration Policy, FBI Surveillance Memo/Texting Scandal, Illegal Charged with NFL Player’s Death in DUI, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Black Panther Film, LA Times Sale, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The Dow returns more than 500 points and the related fluctuating value of Bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; President Trump requests the Pentagon stage a military parade; the renewed threat of a government shutdown and President Trump’s insistence on immigration reform being tied to a spending bill; the release of the Nunes FBI surveillance memo and the suggestion that the FBI texting scandal involved Barack Obama; a twice-deported illegal alien is charged in the DUI death of Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson; the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; the political messages within The Black Panther film; the Los Angeles Times is sold to a SoCal billionaire doctor; and NBA 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. St. Louis morning drive personality Courtney Landrum re-ups with Entercom’s hot AC KYKY “Y98” on a multi-year deal.  At the same time, the name of the morning show is being changed to “Courtney and Company.”  The station says that “Y98” personalities Jen Myers, Kevin “The Intern” Berghoff, and Lance Hildebrand will remain on the show.  Landrum began her professional career as producer for “The Steve and DC Morning Show” in St. Louis in the early 1990s.  She joined “Y98” in 1999 as producer and co-host of “The Phillips and Company Morning Show,” and has been with the morning show ever since…..In Los Angeles, SVP/market manager Val Maki and VP/sales Janet Brainin make an unexpected exit from Meruelo Media Los Angeles, operator of classic hip hop simulcast “KDAY” – KDAY, Redondo Beach and KDEY, Ontario – and hip hop KPWR “Power 106.”  Both transitioned to Meruelo after having been with Emmis at KPWR for years prior to the sale of the station to Meruelo…..KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” evening personality Cassidy Quinn is covering the Winter Olympics embedded as a reporter for NBC.  KUPL program director MoJoe Roberts says, “There is no better-suited person to capture the stories and behind-the-scenes moments than Cassidy!  We can’t wait to see and hear these highlights come to life from her perspective.”…..Indiana-based Woof Boom flips former Christian contemporary WKHL, West LaFayette to adult contemporary (with new calls WLQQ) as “Q106.7” after purchasing the station from Educational Media Foundation…..Eric Garcia exits his audio revenue chief position at Spanish Broadcasting System and his additional position as VP/GM of WSKQ/WPAT, New York.  At SBS New York, Albert Rodriguez COO of SBS is the interim general manager and Elizabeth “Liz” Paulino was promoted to general sales manager.

PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on adult contemporary.  The Holiday survey is usually a bonanza for adult contemporary outlets since Christmas music is such a part of their programming and the fluctuations in 6+ numbers from the December survey to the Holiday survey bear that out as “eight of 10 adult contemporary facilities noted here (80%) are up December 2017 – Holiday 2017, while 18% are down; the remaining 2% are steady.”  Looking at a comparison of Holiday 2016 to Holiday 2017, “approximately the same number of adult contemporary stations on this sample decline year-to-year (49%) as improve (46%), while the remaining 5% are flat.”  An amazing 38 AC stations ranked #1 in their respective markets (6+) during the Holiday survey.  See the whole report here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

| February 9, 2016

furstalanEntercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his newKMBZ AM & FM duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.

tuurihowardHoward Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications.  Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications.  Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations.  Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization.  He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”

The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8).  Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

rabRAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%.  According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million.  The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year.  This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210.  Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space.  Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.”  The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products.  Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising.  That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising.  Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising.  There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%.   RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector.  Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits.  The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory.  The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”

WW1SBSound16Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards.  This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative.  Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast.  In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes.   Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial.  The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country.  Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study.  The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names.  The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/.