Ramsey Solutions’ Film Borrowed Future Debuts on October 14. The first documentary film from Ramsey Solutions will premiere on digital platforms on October 14. Titled, “Borrowed Future: How Student Loan Debt Is Killing the American Dream,” and produced by Dave Ramsey, it “uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry, exposes how it’s built to work against the 45 million Americans currently in debt for their education, and shows that it’s possible to beat the student loan system.” The film is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loan debt, a debt-free college graduate, and high schoolers who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans. DiCicco says, “This film is a warning for kids and teenagers who aren’t victims of the student loan industry yet. I want viewers to walk away from this film with eyes wide open to the true cost of student loans. Teens need to know that they can have the American Dream — they just shouldn’t listen to America on how to get it.” Dave Ramsey adds, “The student loan problem is out of control, and it’s messed up millions of lives. Smart young people got sucked into a false narrative about what success looks like, and it’s left them paralyzed. It’s time to call the student loan industry what it is: an epic failure.” See more about the film here.
Phil Valentine Update: Family Says He Remains in ‘Grave Condition.’ The status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine has not improved as his family provided an update last night (8/16) asking his fans to “pray for a miracle” as he remains in “grave condition.” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and initially Valentine told his listeners that while he was pretty sick, he believed he was “on the other side of it.” His family revealed on July 22 that he’d been hospitalized and was eventually put on a ventilator due to his suffering from COVID pneumonia. Although Valentine had expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines and disagreed with mask mandates, his family says he was never an “anti-vaxxer,” but he does regret not being more “pro-vaccine.” His family is urging his fans to get vaccinated.
Salem Media Group Promotes Jamie Cohen to SVP of Broadcast Digital. Digital media pro Jamie Cohen is promoted to senior vice president, broadcast digital for Salem Media Group. The company says that in his new role he’ll oversee all aspects of the digital operations for Salem’s local and national/network digital efforts. Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella comments, “Jamie has done a tremendous job building Salem’s digital enterprise for our local stations. Overseeing all aspects of our digital operations, both locally and nationally, will open more channels of opportunity and unify our efforts in reaching our audiences through digital avenues and monetizing our digital assets.” Cohen says, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and am bullish on our future. With the emergence of platforms like Salem Now, the Salem Podcast Network and other innovations, our audience has never been bigger. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us and I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Phil Cianciola to Host Mornings on WOSH-AM, Oshkosh. Radio pro Phil Cianciola is named morning drive host for Cumulus Media’s WOSH-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin “NewsTalk 1490,” effective August 23. The station says, “It is important for WOSH that we retain a local voice in mornings and provide a show that will be uniquely Oshkosh. We wanted to find someone who would get what Oshkosh and the Valley are all about and would be able to entertain our listeners while also providing the news and community information that matters most. That’s a lot to ask of someone, but we’re confident that Phil fits our needs perfectly.” During his career Cianciola has served at Milwaukee news/talk outlets WISN and WTMJ. He comments, “I believe in LOCAL radio. The magic of radio is the relationships we build with listeners over the air. It’s all I’ve ever done. I guess you could say radio is in my blood.”
Brian Hauswirth Named News Director at KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. News pro Brian Hauswirth joins Zimmer Communications to serve as news director for news/talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “93.9 The Eagle.” In this role, he becomes the newest member of the “Wake Up Columbia” morning drive program. Zimmer Communications operations manager Jeremy Washington states, “We’re thrilled to have Brian Hauswirth be part of our Zimmer News Network. Brian shares our vision for excellence in broadcasting and will strongly enhance our award-winning local news coverage in Mid-Missouri.” Hauswirth most recently served with Missourinet where he was a senior capitol reporter, covering the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City. His radio station experience includes time spent working at KMZU, Carrollton; KTRS, St. Louis; and KRES-KWIX, Moberly. In addition to his new role, Hauswirth will continue his 23rd season as a college football scoreboard host at Learfield, where he handles the updates for five major colleges across the nation, including Mizzou, Alabama, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Wyoming.
Audacy and Urban One Enter into Digital Platform Relationship. A content distribution partnership between Audacy and Urban One will put audio from the latter’s 57 stations in 13 markets onto the Audacy digital platform. Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to amplifying diverse voices and delivering premier audio content to the communities in which we serve. We’re delighted to unite with a power player in the audio space to expand and enhace our content offering and add dozens of dynamic brands to our library.”
iHeartMedia Launches Progressive Podcast Network Cool Zone Media. The launch of Cool Zone Media will highlight “vital voices often overlooked in today’s rapidly changing political landscape,” according to iHeartMedia. The progressive podcast network is being powered by investigative journalist and podcaster Robert Evans. The company says Cool Zone Media will provide an “in-depth look at topics including climate change, the Capitol insurrection, and uncovering QAnon – offering listeners a place unique from others in the political sphere by melding media and politics with storytelling.” The network debuts with the first episode of the new daily podcast, “It Could Happen Here,” that focuses on climate change and picks up where Evans’ 10-episode weekly podcast by the same name left off. Evans, who is serving as the head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by the iHeartPodcast Network’s executive producer, Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate and elevate other vital voices in today’s progressive political landscape for the network.
TALKERS News Notes. Canton radio stations WHBC-AM “News/Talk 1480” and WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” wrapped their 14th Annual Aultcare Wish-a-thon to benefit Wishes Can Happen on Friday August 13 and the Alpha Media outlets helped raise a record $334,928. The charity grants wishes to children with severe and terminal illnesses in Northeast Ohio. The record number was an increase of almost $145,000 over last year’s event, thanks in large part to the many businesses, individuals and foundations who stepped up…..PodcastOne announces it has secured the exclusive sales and distribution rights for B-Real’s “Dr. Greenthumb” podcast and the sales rights to the show in its vodcast form. “Dr. Greenthumb” launched in January of 2020 as a program dedicated to all things entertainment, music, and cannabis and now has more than 300 recorded episodes to date that include guests such as Tommy Chong, George Lopez, Tony Hawk, Matt Barnes, John Sally and Ricky Williams. B-Real says, “PodcastOne has set the bar for what podcasts have become. With their amazing roster of shows, best-in-class distribution and advertising approach, there is no other platform for the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ podcast. I am excited to partner with Norm Pattiz and the PodcastOne family.”…..Pictured below are staffers from the Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations celebrating their honors from the 2021 State Television and Radio (STAR) Awards presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. News/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” was honored with four STAR Awards including: Radio Station of the Year, Radio Personality of the Year (Tara Servatius), Best News Talk Show (Tara Servatius), and Production PSA.
Benztown West Coast Commercial Production Director Jeff Kelly Dies at 50. The company announces the untimely death of Jeff Kelly, who had joined Benztown in January as West Coast Commercial Production Director. Kelly passed away unexpectedly on August 13 at the age of 50. He and his fiancé had recently moved to L.A. to work with the Benztown team in its Glendale studios. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “We are deeply saddened we were not able to spend more time with Jeff and we will miss him very much. Jeff was incredibly energized and excited about working for Benztown and his recent move to L.A. from Albuquerque, and his positive attitude and tremendous talents were inspiring. His production, writing and VO skills were among the very best in the business and I am incredibly grateful for his contributions to our company, the Commercial Production Department and YamanAir.”
Biden on Taliban in Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, New Trump Book, Western Drought/Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). President Joe Biden defends his Afghanistan pullout amidst the Taliban’s resurgence and the social chaos; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and mask mandates for schoolchildren; the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, Peril, that chronicles the final days of the Donald Trump administration; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pete Kaliner Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for Early Afternoon Show. North Carolina talk radio personality Pete Kaliner is joining Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte as host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show, effective July 26. Kaliner, who has been hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WWNC, Asheville, returns to the station where he spent a dozen years as news reporter and talk show host. Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landress says, “For three decades, ‘Noon to 3’ has been synonymous with an icon that is irreplaceable. We know that no one will ever replace Rush, and we’re not attempting to replace him. Bringing Pete Kaliner back to WBT represents our commitment to serving this community by utilizing his decades of experience in covering national issues and how they affect us here. We are excited by the future that having Pete on this team brings.” Kaliner says, “Returning to WBT is somewhat surreal, as it has been such a huge part of my life. Being a part of WBT for all those years meant being a part of Charlotte’s unique and inspiring story. WBT and Charlotte are inextricably connected by a century of history. I am sincerely humbled and honored to be entrusted to help contribute to the next chapters.” The station adds, “And, just as WBT has supported the community of Charlotte for over 99 years, Pete will join in this commitment to service by raising awareness to anti-poverty and animal welfare organizations as WBT approaches its Centennial celebration in 2022.”
Larry Elder Sues California Secretary of State for Keeping Him Off Recall Ballot. In a suit filed in California Superior Court, Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder complains that California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has improperly applied the state’s election code that requires candidates for governor submit five years of tax returns. Elder is among a number of people who filed as a candidate in the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder’s suit says that he fully complied with the code that requires filing of the tax returns and was informed by the Secretary of State that everything appeared to be in order and therefore the state’s Elections Code says it’s incumbent on the Secretary of State to correct any redacting errors that might have occurred. Further, Elder says the law requiring the filing of tax returns specifically applies only to “direct primary elections” so it’s debatable whether it applies to recall elections at all. Additionally, the way the law is being applied does not require Gavin Newsom to file his returns and this, Elder argues, violates his equal protection rights under California’s Constitution. Read the court filing here.
TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on 11th Episode of Limbaugh Tribute Podcast Series – Premiere Networks and EIB Network Presenting ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast series is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo Snerdley. Premiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series details legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series gives listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to becoming the number one talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “It is gratifying to share this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best are providing an insider’s look at his life and career, presenting a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” Michael Harrison states, “I am honored to be part of this magnificent project. Congratulations to the entire team at Premiere including the production wizards Phil Tower and Chris Kelly for their superb craftsmanship.” You can listen to the first 11 installments of this historic 12 part series including the latest featuring Michael Harrison and Salem Media Group VP Phil Boyce titled, “Talkers,” by clicking here.
TTWN Expands Relationship with The JOY FM. The Total Traffic and Weather Network announces an expanded newswire content partnership with The JOY FM. Under the agreement, TTWN will provide news, sports, show-prep and audio content via its 24/7 News Source wire service to The JOY FM’s 14 radio stations across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. TTWN says that with a completely redesigned all-in-one broadcast interface, 24/7 News Source provides its affiliate partners with market-customized text and audio news, weather, sports, and entertainment updates, including format-specific content and show-prep, plus the ability to instantly click-n-share stories via social media. TTWN SVP of affiliate sales Jack Dunkle says, “TTWN delivers custom solutions for all formats to meet our affiliate partners’ needs, including more than 200 Christian Radio affiliates. We’re excited to expand our partnership with The JOY FM to provide more of their stations with trusted, premium newsroom content.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is hiring Hollywood entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to contribute show biz reports to Steve Bertrand’s afternoon drive program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rubin is based at Nexstar’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles and he also contributes to the NewsNation cable channel. WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells staffers, “These added resources help WGN report and tell stories that other audio platforms can’t deliver.”…..Compass Media Networks unveils the lineup of NFL games that it will make available to radio stations this season. The season starts on September 9 with the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compass Media Networks says the schedule will feature a double-header every Sunday for all 18 weeks of the regular season along with full coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders…..3G Broadcasting’s WADK-AM, Newport, Rhode Island adds a translator to its broadcast at 101.1 FM. Station owner Bonnie Gomes says WADK can now operate 24 hours and they’ll be rounding out the program schedule soon. “We’ll make the announcement as our programming increases, but we’re still going to be the source for wide, local news, and a resource to the community. That’s who we are, we’re not going to change.”…..The Undefeated columnist, commentator and host Clinton Yates is leading a new The Undefeated and ESPN podcast, “Black History Always,” produced by Roj Grobes, beginning July 28. Yates says, “With ‘Black History Always,’ we’re looking to remind people that who we are as a culture is a living, breathing entity in all parts of American society. It’s not just history books and social media. The humans who make up the fabric and backbone of this country aren’t all superstars or slaves. We contain multitudes and everyone deserves to be heard. So, tune in.”…..RAB announces that the deadline for entries for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards has been extended to August 23. For more information and to register, click here.
Jiggy Jaguar Interviews Stars at Exxxotica Conference. Pictured above is Transmedia World Wide talk host James “Jiggy Jaguar” Lowe (center) at last weekend’s Exxxotica conference in Chicago interviewing two adult film stars for his radio program.
COVID-19/Paul-Fauci Battle, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, Trump Books/Trump and the GOP, Bezos Space Flight/Philanthropic Awards, Western Drought and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 U.S. states, vaccine hesitancy, and the Senate floor accusations between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Tony Fauci; the status of Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and Republicans’ plans to kill debate and negotiate a new bill; the ongoing backlash against teaching critical race theory in schools; the various books detailing the final year of the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space flight and his awarding $100 million to CNN’s Van Jones and chef Jose Andres; and the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Got Local News? Guard it. Now more than ever – with the pandemic upending the life we were accustomed to – consultant Holland Cooke says “you will continue to distinguish your product from your robotic audio competition, and what’s-left-of the newspaper, by telling listeners something useful that nobody else is telling them.” In this week’s column, some simple tips. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, Fatal Denver Rally Shooting, VP Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Trump’s COVID Case, New Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, Hurricane Delta-California Wildfires, and NFL COVID Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the matter of mail-in voting; the fatal shooting at a Denver political protest gathering and tensions in the city; Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and President Trump‘s bout with the disease; negotiations for a new federal stimulus package; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Hurricane Delta drenches Louisiana and the ongoing California wildfires; and the positive COVID-19 cases popping up in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Take It or Leave It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about selling news/talk radio in a time when your sales planning priorities can shift as quickly as the news cycle changes. He says that “organizing chaos is part of our new sales world” and offers some strategies to keep sellers on track during these unpredictable times. Read it here.
Carmean Joins Entercom Sacto As GSM. The market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Boise (Idaho) cluster – Rick Carmean – is named general sales manager of Entercom Sacramento. According to Entercom Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Stacey Kauffman, “Because of the rich history and success of Entercom Sacramento’s portfolio of brands and assets, expectations are high for this team. Rick’s vast experience in audio, sports, and digital – coupled with his track record of producing winning results – make him an excellent and valuable addition to our strong leadership team. We are excited to welcome Rick to Entercom and Sacramento.” Carmean adds, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to represent the top-rated radio stations in the market and work with a talented team of sales professionals and on-air talent.” Carmean previously was Red Zebra Broadcasting’s president and chief executive officer and held digital advertising leadership roles at AOL and Source Media. In addition to sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” Entercom Sacramento consists of rhythmic CHR KSFM; CHR KUDL “106.5 The End”; classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; and alternative KKDO “Alt 94-7.”
More Than 2,100 “Attend” NAB’s Online Radio Show. The week-long digital experience began one week ago (Monday, 10/5) and continued through this past Friday afternoon (10/9) at RadioShowWeb.com. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Radio Show in-person attendance has recently been averaging 2,000, while this year’s online event attracted 2,143 registrants. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith comments, “Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this [past] week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry.” RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber remarks, “The Radio Show is an industry favorite. Having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders, and partners has been tremendously valuable. The good news is all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing should anyone want to re-watch a specific session or may have missed any of the sessions or presentations.” Among the highlights were a keynote by Dave Ramsey, and a “CEO Town Hall” with Mary Berner (Cumulus Media); David Field (Entercom); and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia). The Town Hall was moderated by NBC News senior business correspondent/MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. Next year’s Radio Show will co-locate with the NAB Show, which has been rescheduled for October 9-13 (2021) in Las Vegas.
KBA Honors Talbott. Bluegrass native Julie Talbott will be presented with the Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association at today’s (Monday, 10/12) 2:00 pm virtual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards event. Fifteen years after joining Premiere Networks, Talbott was named president of the company in January 2014 ; she oversees operation of Premiere Networks’ more than 100 radio programs and services. In addition, she manages business partnerships with talent, as well as leading/maintaining affiliate relationships to sell/service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and the 24/7 News Network. Talbott previously was chief operating officer of MJI Broadcasting, which was acquired by Premiere’s parent company Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Talbott began her career at BBDO Advertising. The Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” is presented in recognition of achievements and accomplishments of former Kentuckians who have earned fame or acclaim in their respected field.
AWMF and ESPN Launch Scholarship For Black Females. The mission of the partnership between the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) and ESPN is to provide black women a path into careers in sports media. ESPN’s donation of $10,000 will provide two educational scholarships to assist black females pursuing such career paths. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks remarks, “It has been wonderful to collaborate with ESPN to conceptualize this scholarship. Through this strong partnership, we’re proud to continue our work in pursuing greater diversity in the sports journalism work force.” ESPN vice president of corporate communications/AWMF board member Katina Arnold notes, “Diversity and inclusion is ESPN’s #1 focus. We want to support and create concrete ways to grow the pipeline of black talent in the sports industry. The ESPN and AWMF scholarship is the perfect way to fulfill ESPN’s mission of supporting black and African-American women pursuing careers in media.” Selection of student winners will be based on applicants developing an essay of 750 – 1,000 words, highlighting the importance of black women in sports media. Applications are due in less than six weeks (11/20). AWMF and ESPN will select one black female undergraduate student winner and one black female graduate student to receive the scholarships payable to each winning student’s educational institution.
TALKERS News Notes. Former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert Buck Sexton debuts his Premiere Networks’ three-hour show in Tampa Bay tonight (Monday, 10/12, 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) on iHeartMedia’s WFLA “News Radio 970.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tampa/Sarasota Tommy Chuck comments, “We are excited to have Buck Sexton join our on-air lineup of strong local and national personalities. His life experience gives him unique perspective that our audience will be very interested to hear.” Sexton adds, “I’m honored to have my show join WFLA, [one of] the greatest heritage stations in the country. I can’t wait to begin speaking every night to listeners in the Tampa Bay area, one of the best talk radio audiences there is.” WFLA’s revised weekday lineup is: “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am); “AM Tampa Bay” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman” (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Buck Sexton (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Also in the iHeartMedia Tampa Bay cluster, personal finance host Dave Ramsey moves his daily talk show to news/talk WHNZ “1250 Impact Radio” from cross-town Beasley Media Group’s WHFS “Money Talk 1010.” According to iHeartMedia market president Chris Soechtig, “We’re excited to add ‘The Dave Ramsey Show to our [2:00 pm – 5:00 pm] line-up. [Dave] brings a new group of listeners to 1250 WHNZ who pay attention to what’s coming out of their speakers and applying what they hear.” ….. Designed to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots in next month’s election, Beasley Media Group’s “Your Vote – Your Voice” initiative will include recorded fifteen- and thirty-second PSAs, as well as custom content that will be featured on the chain’s 64 radio station websites. Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase notes, “This initiative is a great reminder that no matter who you choose, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the polls.” Customized messaging encouraging listeners to vote will be displayed using Quu RDS technology across the company’s in-car dash platforms ….. Technology entrepreneur Matt Moog is named interim chief operating officer of Chicago Public Media, which includes public radio news/talk WBEZ. Moog succeeds Steve Edwards, who performed those duties on an interim basis as well, but segues back to his vice president and chief content officer responsibilities. Chicago Public Media’s CEO role opened up a year ago when Goli Sheikholeslami exited to join New York Public Radio. Earlier this year, American University Washington, DC public radio news/talk WAMU “The Medium Is The Message” chief content officer Andi McDaniel was appointed CPM’s chief executive officer, but departed. The search for a permanent Chicago Public Media CEO is expected to resume next year ….. During a Washington State gubernatorial debate last week, governor Jay Inslee remarked that, “We follow science in Washington.” Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM host Dori Monson tweeted, “The state where I could go to Olympia and change my ‘birth cert’ to say I was a girl on 10/2/61 HAHAHAHAHA.” That tweet has led to Monson’s indefinite suspension from his KIRO-FM duties, as well as his pre-game and post-game hosting chores for Seattle Seahawks football games ….. An integral cog of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan, has died at his Danville, California home. After his playing career, Morgan became a baseball analyst on television and radio. The former second baseman did color for games of the Reds (1985); San Francisco Giants (1986 – 1994); and Oakland A’s (1995). Morgan attained national exposure on ABC-TV’s baseball telecasts and had a 20-year run (1990 – 2010) as Jon Miller’s analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” During that stretch, he was in the ESPN Radio booth for post-season and World Series contests. In 2011, he hosted a daily syndicated radio show for Sports USA Radio Network. In addition to the Reds, Morgan played for San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hall of Famer was 77 years old.
Midwest Communications Taps Villarreal As Wausau VP/MM. Eight-year Laredo, Texas-based International Business & Marketing consultant Milko Villarreal, Jr. is appointed vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ five-station Wausau, Wisconsin cluster. Midwest Communications president and chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We welcome Milko to the family and look forward to many successful and prosperous years to come. His passion and desire to win are a great fit for our already positive Wausau operation.” Villarreal, who begins his new assignment in three weeks (11/2), remarks, “I am thrilled to join Midwest. The Wright family has a long-standing tradition of excellence in broadcasting. Ideologically, and operationally, I believe we are a very good fit; I look forward to making a positive contribution.” The former NAB radio board member succeeds Brett Lucht, who passed away three months ago. In addition to news/talk WSAU and sports talk WRIG, Midwest Communications’ Wausau cluster consists of country WDEZ, CHR WIFC, and rock WOZZ.
NEP & Edison Research To Implement COVID-19-Related Protocols. The exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/13). Edison Research co-founder and executive vice president Joe Lenski states that, “More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history. The member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll. In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020. It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.” In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in the in-person exit polls remain safe. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls. As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.
“WTMJ 2021” Airs Tomorrow. The nine-hour broadcast (9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, 10/13) on Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk WMTJ “News Radio 620” looks at events and issues that will shape the year ahead. It will feature interviews with Wisconsin’s most influential names such as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers; senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson; Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Medical College of Wisconsin chief executive officer Dr. John Raymond; and community activist Frank Sensabaugh. Good Karma Brands Milwaukee vice president and market manager Steve Wexler explains, “Every year, WTMJ brings our listeners an all-day look at the issues shaping our future. Little did we know how tumultuous a year 2020 would turn out to be when we gathered last year.” Presidential politics is the leadoff topic at 9:00 am. It will be followed by public safety (10:00 am); sports in the age of COVID-19 (11:00 am); business and the economy (12:00 noon); healthcare (1:00 pm); entertainment (2:00 pm); education (3:00 pm); local and state government (4:00 pm); and the racial divide (5:00 pm).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (Monday, 10/12), Mz Shyneka takes over in afternoon drive on Core Radio Group Atlanta urban contemporary WWSZ “Streetz 94.5.” Core Radio Group president and chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “It is my pleasure to sign Mz Shyneka to afternoons. Her addition to our great team keeps us at the forefront of this competitive Atlanta market.” According to Mz Shyneka, “I am overwhelmed with joy to be back on the radio in my hometown. I can’t wait to continue making history at the only black-owned station in Atlanta.” She most recently did afternoons for Radio One’s cross-town similarly-formatted WHTA “Hot 107.9” ….. Elsewhere in Atlanta, after an approximately 20-year tenure at Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104,” Saturday morning “Spotlight Gold” host “Youngblood” exits ….. Under a new one-year deal, all Villanova football and basketball games for the 2020 – 2021 season will be carried on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM.” Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Our motto at ‘Ben’ is ‘Playing Anything We Feel Like,’ and we feel like playing some Villanova games. It will be a great season for Villanova sports.” Program director Chuck Damico notes, “We’re thrilled to add Villanova football and basketball to ‘95.7 Ben FM’ this year. It’s an honor to deliver these games to their passionate fans and alumni.” Meanwhile, Villanova Sports Properties vice president and general manager Drew Young adds, “The affiliation with ‘Ben FM’ expands our reach in the Delaware Valley and gives the ‘Nova Nation’ a prominent new home on the FM dial.” ….. The former 15-year afternoon personality/music director at Bahakel Communications Colorado Springs rocker KILO, Jack Wilson, has died from coronavirus. Wilson left KILO in 2015 and did weekends in Phoenix for Hubbard Radio’s similarly-programmed KUPD. KILO’s Facebook page notes, “It is with deep regret that we share this news with the KILO Nation. He was and will always be a big part of the KILO family. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.” The 38-year-old Wilson is survived by his mother (Pattie Ray); a 17-year-old daughter (Bella); and a six-year-old son (Jack Jr.) ….. “The Quick Silva Show with Dominique Da Diva” moves to Reach Media for distribution and syndication. Reach Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “I’ve had the opportunity to see this show grow tremendously. Quick Silva and Dominque Da Diva are two very strong radio talents who have an authentic connection to their audience. I am confident that the show will continue to be a huge draw for the listening audience. The beauty of this is that this is one of few syndicated afternoon shows.” The program will be carried from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm by Radio One stations in Washington, DC (WKYS); Philadelphia (WPHI “Hip-Hop 103.9”); Baltimore (WERQ “92-Q Jams”); Cincinnati (WIZF “101.1 The Wiz”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”).
Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.
The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.
Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era. He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.
Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.
Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.
COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.”
Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.
Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.
KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.” KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.
Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.
TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis … Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” … Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” … A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.
And the (Topical) Hits Just Keep on Coming – Stay focused on China! Although the news itself can hardly be called “good,” news/talk radio continues to be the beneficiary of a non-stop tsunami of intensely compelling topics playing out on multiple tracks that has kept the format a major appointment destination for news junkies as well as people with a casual interest in current events. According to TALKERS research, yesterday’s (8/13) most-discussed topic remained the mysterious and controversial death of Jeffrey Epstein (which it has been all week) followed closely by the economic implications of the US-China trade war. The Hong Kong protests have generated enormous interest and people are still extremely engrossed in the Dayton/El Paso shootings which have spawned opinions and analysis of gun control legislation, violence in American entertainment and the nation’s handling of mental illness. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “It appears that talk show hosts would be wise to stay focused on China and educate themselves to every aspect of its Communist government’s relentless strategy to compete with US interests on all fronts going forward from a position of unfair trade practices to outright hostility for what will likely be years to come.”
Arizona Coyotes Now Skating With KGME. As part of a multi-platform broadcast and streaming agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and the Arizona Coyotes, iHM sports talk KGME “Fox Sports 910” takes over as the NHL team’s principal radio outlet. Additionally, the Arizona Coyotes Audio Network will provide exclusive content via the iHeartRadio app (when the NHL season starts on October 3). Coyotes’ games were previously carried by Bonneville Phoenix-owned KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7.” According to iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little, “The entire team at iHeartMedia is excited to be the new home for the Arizona Coyotes, especially at such an exciting time for the team. Working together, we will build our all-in agreement between the Arizona Coyotes and ‘Fox Sports 910’ across our entire iHeartMedia platform of well-known audio brands in Phoenix and on our iHeartRadio app.” The Coyotes were recently acquired by California-based Meruelo Group, whose holdings include Meruelo Media. Coyotes president and chief executive officer Ahron Cohen comments, “We are thrilled to partner with ‘Fox Sports 910.’ As we strive to build and cultivate new Coyotes fans, this multi-dimensional partnership – including iHeartMedia’s multitude of media platforms – provides us with unparalleled touchpoints to a broad cross-section of the Valley’s population. Equally important is iHeart’s ability to deliver an exceptional fan entertainment experience for all of our robust Coyotes content that will enhance our fans’ connectivity to the team.” Play-by-play announcer Bob Heethuis will return for his 15th season with the team and Paul Bissonnette will be back as analyst. All 82 regular-season games will air on “Fox Sports 910” and simulcast on Tucson sibling KTZR “Fox Sports 1450 AM.”
KOZN Prepares Severe Homecoming. Host of “The Bottom Line” on SummitMedia-owned sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN Omaha,” Mike’l Severe, returns to cross-town NRG Media’s similarly-formatted KOZN “1620 “The Zone” tomorrow (Thursday, 8/15) after a five-year absence. Severe and Damon Benning will form “Severe and Benning in the Morning” (6:00 am – 10:00 am). NRG Omaha market manager Mark Shecterle comments that University of Nebraska football national champion Benning and local radio/television sports personality Severe “will offer listeners a new blend of morning sports radio. They will be able to give listeners an intense focus on all local sports. We are excited to bring back Mike’l Severe to the NRG family.” Former morning show co-host Gary Sharp transitions to mid-days (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) replacing Nick Bahe. Shecterle notes that Sharp will have “the platform to fully exhibit his expertise in sports analysis and his legendary interviewing skills. Gary has deserved his own show for a while and we are thrilled that he will be anchoring our mid-day slot. By moving [Sharp] to mid-days, we truly believe we have a sports-talk line-up second to none.” John Bishop and Josh Peterson-hosted “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” continues in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), while Nebraska football post game show, “Big Red Over Reaction,” will be simulcast on KOZN’s classic rock cluster-mate KOOO “101.9 The Keg.”
iHM Wheeling/Parkersburg Boosts Bommer to MP. The onetime vice president of business operations for the Wheeling Nailers, Craig Bommer, is named market president for iHeartMedia’s West Virginia stations in Wheeling and Parkersburg. Region president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and West Virginia Tim McAleer states, “I am excited for Craig to lead and demonstrate his leadership capabilities as market president by helping to grow each market’s revenue.” Bommer remarks, “This opportunity is a new and exciting challenge in my career path. I look forward to working with everyone to help build upon the success each market has achieved.” The West Liberty University alum began his career at iHeartMedia in 2016 as senior vice president of sales for the company’s Wheeling and Parkersburg stations. Those outlets include: news/talk WWVA “News Radio 1170”; news/talk WLTP “News Radio 910”; sports talk WBBD “Fox Sports AM 1400 Wheeling”; WEGW “Eagle 107.5 The Rock Station”; adult contemporary WKWK “Mix 97.3”; WOVK “Country 98.7”; CHR WVKF “Kiss 95.7”; classic hits-oldies WDMX “Mix 100”; WNUS “Country 107”; and CHR WRVB “102 The River.”
TALKERS News Notes. After working at Premiere Networks the past 21 years, senior director of affiliate sales Tom Garrett departs. Garrett previously programmed in Rockford (Illinois) at WROK & WZOK. In addition he was responsible for non-traditional revenue event marketing for Connoisseur’s Rockford and Quad Cities (Illinois-Iowa) stations ….. The relationship between afternoon drive talent George Plaster and Ryman Hospitality Properties’ WSM-AM, Nashville has come to an end after one month. In a tweet sent out yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13), Plaster writes, “Sorry to pass this [a]long, but I have parted ways with WSM-AM. My intention is to begin a podcast with a target around Labor Day. Thanks to all of you who supported us.” Plaster hosted “Sports Night” shows in Nashville on sports talk stations WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WPRT “102.5 The Game,” as well as WWTN “Super Talk 99.7.” He took a break from radio three years ago but joined WSM-AM in 2017 for a weekend program; Plaster’s weekday effort commenced July 15 ….. Brand manager/morning host of Townsquare Media Bangor (Maine) sports talk WEZQ “92.9 The Ticket,” Dale Duff, will segue to 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, effective next Monday (8/19). Duff makes room for Wayne Harvey’s 6:00 am – 8:00 am “Morning Line.” Harvey has worked at Bangor stations WABI-TV and WZON-AM “The Zone.”
The Return of the Pitch Pod. For the second straight year, attendees of “Podcast Movement 2019” can venture inside CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One “Pitch Pod” and tell their story for a chance to win consultative services from the Westwood One Podcast Network. This mini-studio is located in the main hallway of the conference. The Podcast Movement kicked off yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13) and runs through this Friday (8/16) in Orlando at Rosen Shingle Creek.
Urban One, Smith Slapped with Sexual Harassment Suit. On the same day “Hurricane” Dave Smith exited as Radio One Atlanta’s vice president of programming/operations, former urban contemporary WHTA “Hot 107.9” on-air personality Feleg Abraham (using the air name Shorty Mack) filed a lawsuit in the (Georgia) state court of Fulton County alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment by her then-boss (Smith). After working at “Hot 107.9” for 14 months, Abraham left in February 2018 and now does mid-days for Davis Broadcasting Columbus, Georgia urban contemporary WFXE “Foxie 105.” Radio One parent, Urban One regional vice president Timothy Davies last week declined to comment about Smith’s dismissal; however, in a published report last Monday (8/5), Smith claims he was terminated owing to “a misunderstanding.” Urban One executive vice president/chief administrative officer Karen Wishart states, “The allegations made by Feleg Abraham against Dave Smith, both former employees of Urban One, are unsettling. As a company founded by an African-American woman [Cathy Hughes] with a long history of empowering women in the workplace, Urban One takes these allegations very seriously. After Ms. Abraham left Urban One to take a new job, we were notified of her complaint and conducted a thorough, independent investigation. In light of the ongoing litigation, we cannot provide further comment on this matter.” Charges in Abraham’s lawsuit include intentional infliction of emotional distress by Smith; negligent infliction of emotional distress by Urban One; negligent hiring, retention, and supervision; assault and battery; and false imprisonment. The suit claims Smith made “unwanted sexual comments about Ms. Abraham’s body and would often ask her when he would be allowed to see her naked.” It references an incident that allegedly took place on May 22, 2017 in which Smith is said to have trapped Abraham in his office. As Rodney Ho reports in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, a statement regarding the lawsuit released yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 8/13) by Smith reads, “This is an organized attempt by some former employees looking to capitalize on the #MeToo climate. I categorically deny these disgusting statements. I have no further comment.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Music director and afternoon drive host of Entercom Miami classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach,” DJ Holiday, adds even more responsibilities as assistant program director. Entercom South Florida senior vice president/market manager Keriann Worley explains, “This is a natural move for DJ Holiday and our station. DJ Holiday has grown up with this music and has an intimate knowledge of the market, having spent many nights spinning at Miami clubs. We’re thrilled to have him step up into the APD role and look forward to his increased contributions to the station’s success.” Holiday, who has been with “The Beach” since it debuted in 2016, opines, “There’s always something new to learn and room to grow professionally. I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my Entercom family for the opportunity to do so.” … KNDD “107.7 The End” mid-day talent “Alyssa” is promoted to music director at the Entercom Seattle alternative outlet. Program director Leslie Scott remarks that, “In her three years here, Alyssa has proven to be a huge music lover, a supporter of all things ‘107.7 The End,’ and a champion of the power of radio. I can think of no better team in alternative than ours and Alyssa’s new position reinforces that.” Alyssa notes, “It is an honor to be part of this incredible team. I’m looking forward to jumping into this role under the guidance of Leslie and [assistant program director/afternoon drive talent] Walt [Flakus].” … Effective this Friday (8/16), seven-month KXOJ “94.1 Tulsa’s Christian Music Station” evening show host Jeremiah St. James adds assistant program director duties at the Stephens Media Group contemporary Christian station. According to Stephens Media Group owner David Stephens, “Jeremiah is one of those rare talents whose potential seems limitless. He is forward-thinking and is more about where radio is going than where it has been.” SMG senior vice president of programming & technology/KXOJ program director Bob Thornton notes, “Jeremiah is a gifted imaging and branding specialist who is going to bring a tremendous amount of energy and new ideas to our building.” ….. Program director Caleb James exits NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9” and hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5.”
July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for San Antonio, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – The rollercoaster ride continues for iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather,” which was +1.1 in April (4.2 – 5.3, 6+); an equally divided -1.0 in May and June (5.3 – 4.8 – 4.3, 6+); and now +.7 in July (5.0, sixth to fifth, 6+). Up until April when it logged a 5.3, WOAI hadn’t reached the five-share level (6+) since August 2016’s 5.2. For the third month in a row, Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” loses one-tenth (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1, #22 to #24, 6+).
In June, KTSA’s sports talk sibling KZDC “ESPN San Antonio” and iHeartMedia’s KTKR “Ticket 760 – San Antonio’s Sports Station” were tied at #32. Both are flat at .3 (6+) and are again deadlocked – this time at #30.
This is the seventh report in a row Texas Public Radio news/talk KSTX (+.3, #16 to #12) logs a 6+-share between 3.3 – 3.7 (3.5 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.3, 6+).
San Antonio Music Formats – Roaring back from June’s one-half share loss with a July uptick of eight-tenths (3.8 – 4.6, 6+), Alpha Media adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack-FM – Playing What We Want” returns to the top ten (#11 to #7). Prior to June – when it slipped to 3.8 – San Antonio’s version of “Jack” last fell below a four-share (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Enjoying a July 2019 jump of eight-tenths as well and zooming from #17 to #11 is iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits,” which records its third bump in succession for a collective +1.4 (2.1 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.5, 6+). This (3.5) is the first time in exactly one year that “Latino Hits” hits a three-share (3.1, July 2018). Five successive negative or neutral trends resulted in a nearly 50% decline (-.6) of its 6+-stat (1.4 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+), but iHeartMedia regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 answers with a gain of seven-tenths to 1.5 (#22, 6+). When Univision Radio rhythmic hot AC KVBH gained one-tenth in June (to 2.1, 6+), it suspended at four a consecutive string of negative or neutral moves that accounted for an overall -1.4 (3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.0, 6+). “The Vibe” now adds another six-tenths to 2.7 (#20 to #16, 6+). In mid-April, Tejano KXTN transitioned to KVBH “The Vibe.” While Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies KONO-FM is the market pacesetter the fifth month in a row, “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” erodes by -1.1 (8.2 – 7.1, 6+). Whereas May’s +1.1 took KONO-FM to 8.5, its highest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 8.8, July’s 7.1 is its lowest 6+-showing since 6.0 in “Holiday” 2018. “San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” had been in the runner-up slot five successive times before progressing to #1 in March. Significant alternating ups/down continue for Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZLV. In the last four reports, San Antonio’s version of “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” has been +.5 (April); -1.0 (May); +1.5 (June); and now -1.2 in July (3.9 – 2.7, 6+). KZLV spirals from #10 to #16. Entering the July 2019 sweep, Alpha Media regional Mexican KSAH notched three straight positive or neutral trends netting nine-tenths (2.3 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.2, 6+). That entire increase drifts away with a -.9 to 2.3 (#13 to #19, 6+). June’s 3.2 was its best 6+-showing since November 2018 (3.3). Four consecutive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia CHR KXXM accounted for an overall gain of four-tenths (3.4 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 3.8, 6+) but “96.1 Now” (#11 to #14) falters by seven-tenths to 3.1, its lowest 6+-stat since December 2018 (3.1, as well). Within two-share range (6+) 19 sweeps in a row before dialing up a June gain of eight-tenths to 3.2 (6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KMYO regresses by one-half share to 2.7 (#13 to #16, 6+). June’s 3.2 marked the first time since December 2017’s 3.0 that “Latino Mix 95.1” hit a three-share (6+). There’s just no separating Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader” and iHeartMedia’s KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station.” They both showed June decreases of two-tenths and now July losses of one-half share: KCYY is 7.2 – 6.9 – 6.4 (6+) and KAJA is 6.2 – 6.0 – 5.5 (6+). The country rivals are anchored at second and third, respectively. Recent shifts for “Y-100” include: -.8 (December); -1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.8 (January 2019); +.6 (February); -.6 (March); +.6 (May); and -.5 (July). “KJ-97” has been +.5 (September 2018); -1.1 (October); +1.0 (December); -1.0 (“Holiday” 2018); +3.0 (January 2019); –1.9 (March); and -.5 (July).
Spoken-Word Formats – Immediately following an erosion of nine-tenths this time last month, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk KFBK “Sacramento’s News, Weather and Traffic Station” repeats its June 6+ AQH-share (5.2) and market rank (fifth). Co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” continues an alternating down/up pattern that commenced in December 2018 and includes July’s positive spike of seven-tenths (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.3 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 3.2 (#14 to #12, 6+).
In five consecutive sweeps without an increase, Bonneville’s KHTK lost exactly half (-.6) its 6+ AQH share (1.2 – 1.2 – .9 – .8 – .6 – .6, 6+), but “Sports 1140” ends the slide with a one-tenth gain to .7 (#26 to #23, 6+). It is now tied with Entercom’s KIFM-AM “ESPN Radio 1320,” which repeats June’s .7 (#24 to #23, 6+).
Albeit flat in seventh-place, Capital Public Radio news/talk KXJZ notches its third straight increase for an overall +1.5 (3.5 – 4.5 – 4.7 – 5.0, 6+); December 2018’s 6.9 is the highest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQEI has an October 2018 through July 2019 topline of .6 – .6 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .5 – .7 – .6 (#24 to #25, 6+).
Sacramento Music Formats – There is interesting June 2019 – July 2019 movement for Lotus Communications regional Mexican stations with the KVMX call letters. On the plus side, KVMX-FM – which notched a .3 (6+) in April, May, and June – hangs out a multiple of seven in July to 2.1 (+1.8, 6+) and pops in the top twenty at #15. On the other hand, KVMX-AM, which was trending .9 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.7 (6+) for a collective March 2019 through June 2019 gain of +.8, vanishes from print in July. After checking in with a 1.3 (#20, 6+) in June, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KLVB disappears as well. Frozen on 4.2 (6+) in March, April, and May before slipping to 4.1 (6+) in June, iHeartMedia urban-rhythmic oldies KHYL adds six-tenths to 4.7 (6+) as “V-101” progresses from tenth to eighth. Notwithstanding it is #1 the sixth month in a row (including January’s first-place tie with iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK), Entercom-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” falters -1.1 in June/July (8.9 – 8.3 – 7.8, 6+). “The Eagle” held the lead position ten consecutive survey periods before shifting to #2 in December. Seven of its recent fluctuations include -1.1 (November 2018); -.8 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.0 (February 2019); -.5 (April); +.9 (May); -.6 (June); and -.5 (July). In each of the last 16 survey periods, Entravision Communications’ KNTY notched a 6+-share between 2.0 – 2.5. That streak comes to an end as KNTY drops eight-tenths to 1.3 (#16 to #19, 6+). That’s not the only thing though that KNTY dropped during the July 2019 sweep: Country “101.9 The Wolf” became regional Mexican La Tricolor and is simulcasting KRCX (1.7 – 1.6, -.1, flat at #18). Returning all of June’s half-share increase and one-tenth more (2.3 – 1.7, -.6, 6+), Spanish adult hits sibling KXSE “104.3 La Suavecita” slips from #15 to #17; June’s 2.3 was its best 6+-stat since 2.4 in November 2018. Three straight downturns (5.6 – 5.0 – 4.2 – 3.7, 6+) by Entercom alternative KKDO produce a combined -1.9 and “Alt 94.7” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). This immediately follows April’s gain of nine-tenths. While it repeats at #2, iHeartMedia classic rocker KYRV “93.7 The River” surrenders three-tenths to 6.3 (6+), thus halting four consecutive upticks that netted a +1.4 (5.2 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 5.7 – 6.6, 6+). Adult contemporary stations hold this California market’s eighth and tenth slots in July 2019. Specifically, Entercom’s KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites,” without a gain the past three sweeps for a collective -1.6 (6.2 – 5.7 – 4.6 – 4.6, 6+), picks up one-tenth to 4.7 (#8, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s KBEB “92.5 The Breeze” is off two-tenths in June/July (4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9, 6+). “Mix” and “The Breeze” continue at eighth and tenth, respectively. June’s 4.6 was the weakest 6+-stat for “Mix” since September 2015’s 4.5. Formerly “92.5 The Bull – #1 for New Country,” KBEB transitioned to adult contemporary as “The Breeze” in early-November (2018). It netted a +2.1 in three straight positive spikes (2.4 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.5, 6+), in advance of March/April’s -.8 (4.5 – 4.3 – 3.7, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – As a result of six straight February 2019 through July 2019 decreases (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.3 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+), Entercom’s KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” is -1.9 and slips from #11 to #12.
Co-owned sports talk/Pirates flagship KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” which dropped seven-tenths in May (6.8 – 6.1, 6+), forfeits the two-tenths it picked up in June (6.1 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+) but carries on in fourth-place. The ultra-consistent September 2018 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG 970 AM – ESPN Pittsburgh” is 2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 (#23 to #17, 6+).
Bouncing back from June’s loss of six-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths, Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” progresses from tenth to ninth and is trending 4.2 – 3.6 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.9 (6+).
Pittsburgh Music Formats – In four straight decreases, iHeartMedia alternative WXDX was an overall -1.8 (4.8 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+); however, “105.9 The X” erases one-third of that deficit with a July uptick of six-tenths (3.6, #12 to #11, 6+). July 2019’s top three “Steel City” finishers are separated by one-half share. The combination of iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “94.5 3WS” gaining four-tenths and co-owned rock WDVE sputtering by twice that margin (9.5 – 8.7, -.8, 6+) results in “3WS” progressing from third to first and WDVE segueing from first to second. WWSW is a combined +1.2 in June/July (7.7 – 8.5 – 8.9, 6+) with July’s 8.9 its best 6+-stat since 13.6 in “Holiday” 2018 when “94.5 3WS” was #1. The six most recent shifts for WDVE, which was #1 the past five reports, are: +.8 (February); +.8 again (March); -.9 (April); +.6 (May); +.6 again (June); and -.8 (July). In four straight upticks, Steel City Media adult hits WRRK was +2.3 (6.9 – 7.4 – 8.0 – 8.2 – 9.2, 6+), but “96.9 Bob FM” relinquishes eight-tenths in July to 8.4, sliding from second to third. In June, “Bob” reached the nine-share level (9.2, 6+) for the first time since December 2017’s 9.0. The just-concluded positive streak directly follows a -1.8 in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (8.7 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 6.9, 6+). As Steel City Media-owned hot AC WLTJ “Q-92.9” records its third straight boost for a net gain of nine-tenths (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.9, unchanged at #9, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted WBZZ “Star 100.7” has its third consecutive down or flat report for an overall loss of nine-tenths (5.0 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 4.1, flat at #8, 6+). The +2.0 advantage WBZZ held over WLTJ in April is down to two-tenths. Apparently, it is that time again for Forever Media to pull its Nielsen Audio subscription as five Forever Media stations that have been listed in April, May, and June disappear from print, as they’ve done before. The five are: classic hits-oldies WKPL (1.7, June 2019, 6+); classic country WLYI (1.4, June 2019); country WOGI (.9, June 2019, 6+); country WOGG (.8, June 2019, 6+); and classic hits-oldies WPKL (.7, June 2019, 6+).