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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

| June 16, 2021

Where Have All the Sales Reps Gone? That’s the question radio sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr asks in a column published in TALKERS today. Carr notes that during her tenure selling at WRKO, Boston, the in-person training sessions and sales meetings were invaluable to sellers, as was the intense competition among the sales staff. “We had a lot of fun, but it was a serious sales atmosphere. With so many people working from home [now], I fear that this environment of training, support, jealousy and rage may be gone forever. How motivated are you really when you don’t know what your colleagues/competitors are doing? Those meetings with managers were inspirational and we had constant training.” Read her column here.

WTMJ, Milwaukee Morning Host Gene Mueller to Retire. Longtime Milwaukee radio personality Gene Mueller is retiring from the radio business after more than 40 years on the air. Mueller is currently host of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” on Good Karma Brands’ “Newsradio 620 WTMJ.” He’ll continue to host the morning program through February of 2022. Mueller recently told listeners, “As hard as it may be for some to believe, the thrill of getting up at 1:45 am each weekday morning has finally worn off after 44 years. I hear there’s this thing called ‘sunrise’ that I’d really like to witness in person on a regular basis as I live in a world where there are no deadlines and every day feels like Saturday. I’ve been blessed with fantastic opportunities over the course of my career, not the least of which was the one I had the past 14 years to host ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News,’ accompanied by so many talented teammates and such supportive management.” Good Karma VP and market manager Steve Wexler comments, “Gene has informed and entertained generations of listeners. He is beloved by so many people in our community because of the authentic, personal connection he’s made with them over the air and in person. We can’t thank him enough for his years of early wake-ups, his commitment to our stations and our community, and of course his sense of humor.” Mueller is expected to continue his work with select advertising partners on WTMJ and contribute occasional content to the station after he leaves the morning show.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Signs Contract Extension with iHeartMedia. WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” morning host Russ Rollins and iHeartMedia agreed to a multi-year contract extension for the leader of the ensemble show titled “Monsters in the Morning.” Rollins says, “I am so very happy and proud of the show we have now. The program has always made a lot of changes and now is very enjoyable for me. I truly love this company and the cast members that make me look good every day. The overwhelming talent of Angel, Carlos, Ryan, Angelique, Savannahand D-Strong keeps me excited to keep broadcasting here at iHeartRadio. I am ‘Real Radio’ for life!” iHeartMedia Orlando SVP of programming Rick Everett says, “I’m excited for the next chapter of the ‘Monsters in the Morning’ on ‘Real Radio 104.1.’  I’ve been amazed over the last 24 years that I’ve worked with Russ and watched him reinvent the ‘Monsters’ brand and see the show continue to perform as one of the top morning shows in Central Florida.”

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

Pictured above taking part on the “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Bruce Avery, general manager, WRHU Radio; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Walter Sterling, talk host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Gary Krantz, CEO Krantz Media Group; Chris Oliviero, SVP/market manager, Audacy New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Dr. Ira Nash, SVP/executive director, Northwell Health Physicians Partners, who introduced the panel. (Not pictured is panel moderator Michael Harrison)

Pictured above taking part on the “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Rich Zeoli, talk host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Juliet Huddy, talk host, WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk host, Genesis Communications Network; Lisa Wexler, talk host WICC, Bridgeport, CT/Connecticut Probate Judge; Larry Young, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; and Lee Harris, morning drive news anchor, WINS, New York.

Mark Chernoff to Guest Host Saturday Show on WCBS-FM, New York. Longtime Audacy programming executive – PD and brand manager for sports talk WFAN and CBS Sports Radio – Mark Chernoff is leaving the company after June 30. Before he goes, however, he’ll get a chance to spin records once again on Audacy’s classic hits WCBS-FM this Saturday night (6/19) from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Although he’s associated with WFAN, Chenoff began in radio playing records while a student at Rutgers University. He says, “I’ve always had a love for classic rock, oldies, classic hits – any kind of rock and roll – and having been a DJ for many years, I thought it would be a lot of fun as my days wind down at WFAN to get the opportunity to be a music jock one more time on our extremely successful classic hits station. WCBS-FM is a station I’ve long admired and respected through the years, having had an array of great jocks and program directors and played a lot of great music throughout all of their formats.” During his time with the company, Chernoff was responsible for programming the former WNEW-FM and the former “K-Rock.” Chernoff adds, “I’ve always been in these two worlds of music and sports, but for me, it’s getting back to my roots, where my first passion in radio was on the music end. Things developed nicely into 28 great years at WFAN, but I’ve always loved being on the music end. Having my roots as a DJ from 1976 until even into 1993, I thought a fun way to end my days with the company would be to go back to my roots and play some rock and roll records.”

Salem Unveils Salem Influencer Network. The sales division of Salem Media Group – Salem Media Representatives – announces the formation of the Salem Influencer Network, a new entity focused on connecting brands with the fans of leading Christian social media influencers. The company says the Salem Influencer Network “is a powerful vehicle to help clients reach the 18-34 young adult generation who are establishing their brand loyalties that will likely continue for decades.” Salem Media Representatives SVP Mike Reed states, “For years, Salem Media Representatives has been helping our advertising clients reach Christian and politically conservative consumers through multi-media advertising campaigns. A frequent request for our clients is to bring them more influencers. Over the last few years, we’ve been meeting the leading Christian YouTubers and Instagrammers who told us they needed representation they could trust to present them to major brands. We decided we needed to get into this world, and www.SalemInfluencers.com was born.” The company says that influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing areas in the advertising world. In 2020, influencers and paid content took the biggest share of digital ad budgets (20%) according to Sarah Bolton, Advertiser Perceptions VP/business intelligence. According to Business Inside Intelligence based on Mediakix data, by 2022, brands are expected to spend $15 billion in influencer marketing. Brands such as CVS, Felix Gray, Kroger, Steve Madden, Bose, Prison Fellowship and World Vision have already tapped into various Salem Influencer Network influencers.

Biden-Putin Summit/Russian War Games, COVID-19, Soaring Housing Market, Cryptocurrency, Juneteenth Holiday, Kamala Harris Latin America Trip, and Western Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Today’s summit between President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Russian Navy’s war games taking place near Hawaii; the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and speculation about the Wuhan Lab origin of the coronavirus; the hot housing market and concerns about a bubble reminiscent of 2008; the up and down value of the world’s cryptocurrency; the U.S. Senate makes June 19 – Juneteenth – a federal holiday; criticism of Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the intense heat affecting much of the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

| October 14, 2020

The Spoken Word Audio Report. People spend less daily time listening to music and LOTS more time with spoken word content. And – for the first time – AM/FM receivers now deliver less than 50% of it. And – like e-commerce and telecommuting – this behavior shift, already in motion before the pandemic shutdown, has accelerated as we’ve quarantined. Consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the 2nd annual report from Edison Research and NPR. Read it here.

Rich Herrera to Program and Host at Cumulus Media’s KCUB-AM, Tucson. Sports radio pro Rich Herrera is named program director and afternoon drive host for Cumulus Media’s KCUB-AM, Tucson “Wildcats Radio 1290.” Herrera, who also serves as an air personality for CBS Sports Radio, returns to the University of Arizona flagship station he programmed beginning in 2001 when it launched as “FOX Sports Radio 1290.” Most recently, Herrera has been with Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” where he was senior executive producer and pre- and post-game shows host. Herrera will continue to host national shows on CBS Sport Radio from Cumulus Tucson studios. Herrera says, “I am excited to join Cumulus and am happy to be reunited with so many good friends and radio professionals in Tucson. The University of Arizona is one of the iconic schools in college sports and to be able to host afternoons and program their flagship is a fantastic opportunity. After working in Major League Baseball, I plan to bring many of those best practices to ‘Wildcats Radio 1290,’ on air and digitally, to build one of the best college flagship radio stations in the nation.”

Key Networks to Handle Ad Sales and Affiliate Marketing for Bloomberg Radio. A new deal between Key Networks and Bloomberg Radio will see the former managing all network advertising sales, affiliate sales, and marketing for Bloomberg’s global 24-hour business radio network, effective October 26. Bloomberg Radio’s signature “Daybreak” shows cover the morning hours of each part of the world, anchored from Bloomberg’s studios in New York, San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong. Throughout the day, Bloomberg Radio delivers in-depth coverage of the financial markets coupled with interviews with newsmakers, analysts, and company executives. In addition to its engaging full-length business shows, Bloomberg offers short-form reports ranging from “Money Minutes” to “The Business of Sports.” Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz says, “Bloomberg is undeniably the gold standard in business news, and we are thrilled to deliver access to Bloomberg’s unmatched global business news resources to radio stations across the U.S. With 2,700 journalists and analysts in more than 120 bureaus, the quality of their network products for local radio stations is clear. We look forward to growing with Bloomberg Radio as we help grow their network.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The resumption of the MLB season, the NBA playoffs, and the promise of the new NFL season didn’t provide enough juice for America’s sports talk radio stations in the Nielsen Audio PPM markets as 47% of those outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares decline and just 35% improved during the September survey (August 13-September 9). In his second format analysis for the September survey, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that gainers from the August to September surveys include Capital Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.2) and Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago (+0.7). It’s hardly surprising that comparing data from September of 2019 (pre-COVID) with September 2020 shows a major falloff for sports talkers. Year-over-year 68% of sports talk stations in PPM markets were down and just 19% improved. Gainers were led by Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (+0.9). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Radio Hall of Fame names NPR’s Noel King this year’s recipient of its “One to Watch” award.  The “One to Watch” award was created in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe. Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities. King is co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Up First.” The RHoF says, “King’s investigative reporting has affected change through her powerful storytelling about social and criminal justice issues. As a correspondent for NPR’s ‘Planet Money,’ her work focused on economic questions that don’t have simple answers, with complex and often conflicted people at the center of these stories.”…..Tomorrow night (10/15), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents a Town Hall broadcast on the upcoming November election. The station says, “New Jersey is facing a general election like no other in its history. Amid the many pandemic related changes, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared almost all voting would be done with mail-in ballots.” Station senior political director Eric Scott adds, “This is the first time the majority of people in New Jersey will cast their vote by mail. And as a result, there is much confusion. There have been documented cases of voting irregularities in New Jersey and our goal is to help everyone who wants to vote be certain their vote will be counted.” The program’s expert panel will be led by New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. Other panelists will include county clerks charged with coordinating the ballots and who can speak directly to any irregularities. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour…..The Alliance for Women in Media announces that this week’s Gracie Interview Series – Virtual Gathering features special guest Susan Larkin, COO for Entercom and moderator Weezie Kramer. The event is tomorrow (10/15) at 2:00 pm ET. The two will discuss the ever-evolving roles in media companies today. Larkin will share how media companies continue to face the opportunities placed in front of them and the ever-important model of monetizing these new business paths. You can register here…..Entercom’s podcast company Cadence13 announces a partnership with Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, co-creators of “Slow Burn,” for distribution of the first season of “Fiasco,” the award-winning documentary podcast series about power, politics and uncertainty. Fiasco Season One: “Bush v. Gore” launches today  (10/14)…..iHeartMedia announces the release of “Aaron Mahnke’s 13 Days of Halloween” from Blumhouse Television and iHeartMedia. The original scripted podcast series stars Keegan-Michael Key as “caretaker” of the purgatorial hotel “Hawthorne Manor.”

The Presidential Race, Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Stimulus Negotiations, New UN Human Rights Council Members, SCOTUS Census Ruling, DOJ ‘Unmasking’ Investigation, and the NFL’s COVID-19 Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The November presidential election; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country and concerns about a fall/winter second wave; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; controversy over China and Russia gaining seats on the UN Human Rights Council; the Supreme Court rules President Trump can end the 2020 census; the DOJ’s investigation into “unmasking” or revealing the names of Americans in NSA foreign intelligence reports by the Obama administration ends without charges; and the NFL’s scramble to save games as some players test positive for COVID-19 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. Longtime radio management pro Mark Krieschen announces he’s retiring from Cox Media Group’s Houston station group – country KKBQ “”93Q,” classic country KTHT “Country Legends 97.1,” and classic rock duo KHPT-FM/KGLK-FM “The Eagle” – effective October 23. Prior to joining Cox Radio in 2005 as VP/GM of CMG Radio Houston, Krieschen held various positions at Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Cox Media Group EVP Bill Hendrich says, “I can’t speak highly enough of Mark and I am certain his Houston team shares my sentiment. In leading the largest market in CMG’s radio portfolio, Mark has been an integral part of CMG Radio’s growth, our impact in the industry and in the communities across Houston. His contributions will always be valued, and he will be remembered for his passionate dedication and leadership style that moved others to give their best, every day.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Anderson, the evening air personality and production director at Beasley Media Group’s classic hits KKLZ-FM, Las Vegas who died on October 9 after suffering health complications. Anderson joined the company in 2006 as the midday personality at KKLZ-FM. After the station flipped from the classic rock to classic hits format, he moved to evenings and took on the role of production director. Beasley chief content officer Justin Chase says, “I’ve known Jeff for nearly 20 years, working with him almost that entire time in radio at both CBS Radio and Beasley. In that time, I’ve come to greatly respect Jeff for his talent, professionalism, and kindness. All of us here at Beasley are deeply saddened by his sudden passing and will miss him immensely.” Anderson spent more than 25 years in the Las Vegas radio market and was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 2008.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

| September 2, 2020

Round Two of August PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these 12 markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips a half share to finish with a 7.9 share and falls to #2 behind Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM which added eight-tenths for an 8.6 share and the #1 rank. Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” climbs eight-tenths to a 4.9 share good for the #7 rank in the market while iHeartMedia’s crosstown all-new WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” loses one-tenth, finishing the August survey with a 6.6 share but rises to the #3 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM remains unchanged at a 7.1 share and continues its now six-survey run at #1. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway from this report (and the first round!) here.

Cumulus Stations Sign Up with ABC Audio for News Service. With the shuttering of the Westwood One News service that took effect on August 30, Cumulus Media news/talk, sports talk and some music outlets were in need of a news affiliation. The company announces that 29 of its news/talk stations – including heritage signals such as WLS-AM, Chicago and KGO-AM, San Francisco — are now using ABC Audio’s news. At the same time, 12 of Cumulus’ sports and music stations are signing on to air ABC’s hourly newscasts. ABC Audio executive director of business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “We’re excited to welcome these big stations back to the ABC Audio family after six years away. Through this partnership, our unmatched reporting including crisis coverage, breaking news, and special programming, will reach new listeners and help ABC Audio continue to be the best in the business.” ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku adds, “We’re in one of the biggest news cycles in history, with no end in sight. Our teams have worked nonstop to not only keep up with but also exceed listeners’ demand for trusted information. We’re thrilled that more stations are noticing our robust offerings and signing on to be part of our affiliate family.”

Pat McAfee Show to Air on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports. After exiting the CBS Sports Radio platform last month, former Indianapolis Colts punter and sports media personality Pat McAfee will be heard on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET, beginning September 9. McAfee says, “I’m very thankful and honored for the chance to be on Mad Dog Sports Radio. SiriusXM is such an incredibly massive platform and the freedom it allows is perfect for our style of show. To say we’re grateful to Scott Greenstein, Steve Cohen, Andrew Moss and all of the other awesome folks at SiriusXM for this opportunity would be an understatement. Let’s do the damn thing. We hope you’ll join us daily.”

Trump Visits Kenosha/Protests/BLM Movement, Presidential Race, Pelosi Salon Flap, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Melania Trump Book, and New Stimulus Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). President Trump’s visit to Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the protests in Kenosha, Portland, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, and the Black Lives Matter movement; the November presidential election; the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pictured maskless in a closed San Francisco salon; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the flareups on some college campuses; former Melania Trump aid Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book about the First Lady; and a new stimulus deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Report: Radio Listening Returning to March Levels. This week’s Westwood One blog includes data from Nielsen Audio from the August PPM survey and the May-June-July diary markets survey that indicates radio listening is returning to its March 2020 levels. The Nielsen data cited notes that “benchmarking against the March PPM survey, August average quarter-hour audiences increased again, now generating 90% of the prior audiences. In terms of weekly reach, AM/FM radio in the PPM markets has recaptured 96% of March cume listening. In diary markets, AM/FM radio has retained 97% of prior weekly cume.” Further, Nielsen says, “In medium and smaller diary markets, AM/FM radio is ‘pandemic proof’: AQH listening in the just-released May-June-July survey is virtually identical to the January-February-March period as AM/FM radio retains 100% of prior listening.” In a sign that more people are back in their cars in the morning, Nielsen notes “in the just-released August PPM data, most of the AQH growth occurred Monday-Friday 6AM-10AM and on weekends.”

iHeartMedia Reveals Results of ‘Trustworthiness’ Study. Based on information from data & analytics firm Engagement Labs, iHeartMedia says that one of the key findings is that “listeners’ trust in radio and its on-air personalities continues to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy over the past year.” The survey of radio listeners found radio to be 79% more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago while social media is 50% less trustworthy during the same time period. In particular, sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has plummeted in recent months, with Facebook down 56%, Instagram down 38%, and Twitter down 140%. The survey of radio listeners age 18-69 ranked media trustworthiness as follows: 75% trust radio, 66% trust television, 57% trust websites, 38% trust Twitter, and 37% trust Facebook. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman comments, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people – and these findings show that radio continues to deliver a much needed and sought out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and iHeartMedia are partnering on a 20-episode podcast series in which the former South Bend, Indiana mayor will discuss “the issues and choices that will define America’s next chapter.” “The Deciding Decade with Pete Buttigieg” debuts on September 9. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Pete created a groundswell of excitement during his presidential campaign run, and he is one of the most admirable and energetic young leaders of our time. We’re excited to bring Pete’s sharp intellect and remarkable eloquence to The iHeartPodcast Network.”…..A new podcast partnership between iHeartMedia and The Recount results in three new weekly shows: “Hell and High Water with John Heilemann,” “Just Something About Her with Jennifer Palmieri,” and “Battleground with David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt.” The Recount executive editor John Heilemann says, “The 2020 election is, without question, the most important election of our lifetime and this exciting trio of podcasts from hosts who’ve operated at the highest level of politics will help listeners cut through the bullshit and understand the big picture of what’s happening ahead of Election Day and beyond. Our content is resonating on our platform and across social media and we are excited to bring it to podcasting with iHeartMedia.”…..Pictured below is GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood during National Blood Donation Week. Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine, “We’re off to a great start to National Blood Donation Week. Multiple governors declared Blood Donation Months, all falling on September 4 (National Blood Donation Day). Not only does this week help raise much needed blood for our blood banks and medical centers that has been drastically lowered during the COVID pandemic, but it unites both Democratic and Republican governors in a common cause. Blood isn’t a political issue, it’s a human life issue and National Blood Donation week proves Americans can come together for a common cause.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Angelique Alston is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s hip hop WPGC-FM, Washington. Since 2013, Alston has served WPGC as assistant program director, morning show producer and events producer. Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Angelique has done a tremendous job elevating our team and I am excited to see her expand her career as brand manager. Her unique way of providing entertainment for our listeners, educating the community with viable content and her engagement with the sales management team tells me she will thrive in this new role. Her ability to multi-task, implore creative thinking, work hard and commit to excellence has led to great success and we are delighted to have her lead WPGC 95.5 FM.”…..Rochester country WBEE announces that air personality Chris Konya is joining “The All New Bee Morning Coffee Club” program alongside Terry Clifford and TJ Sharp. This is a return to Entercom Rochester for Konya. Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “Chris was a fan favorite during his time producing ‘The Breakfast Buzz’ and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to our airwaves alongside Terry and TJ. His humor and wit make him a perfect fit as a co-host for our new weekday morning program and together the trio will create a dynamic show for our community.”…..Premiere Networks’ syndicated Delilah adds three new affiliate stations. Picking up Delilah for evenings are: iHeartMedia’s KBFP-FM, Bakersfield “Sunny 105.3,” Cumulus Media’s WBZE-FM, Tallahassee “Star 98.9,” and McKenzie River Broadcasting’s KMGE-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Mix 94.5.”…..An application has been filed with the FCC for transfer of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP-FM, Sutherland in Nebraska from Legacy Communications to Eagle Communications. Kalil & Co is serving as the exclusive broker.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

| July 1, 2020

WABC, New York Begins Simulcasting on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays. The Red Apple Media-owned news/talk station begins simulcasting on VMT Media’s WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays on Long Island. Red Apple is operating the signal under an LMA. The addition of the signal means listeners on eastern Long Island will now be able to hear the station over the air. WLIR-FM had been airing a classic rock format. Red Apple chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis says, “When we bought WABC, I said we were in radio to stay. Our expansion with this LMA and simulcast is just the beginning. We’re going to deliver news and information that will keep listeners informed with the truth of what’s really going on in New York, Washington, and the world.” Coincidently, this iteration of WLIR-FM, although having gone through ownership and frequency changes over the years, is the artistic and cultural descendent of the original WLIR discussed in this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Listen to it here.

WFAN, New York Celebrates Sports Talk Anniversary. All weekend long, Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is celebrating its July 1, 1987 birth as the nation’s first sports-only radio station with programs hosted by former WFAN air personalities. Some of the personalities hosting shows this weekend include: Richard Neer (Sat. 6:00 am to 10:00 am) a WFAN host since 1988; Howie Rose (Sat. 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm) the station’s first evening host in 1987; Ed Coleman and Dave Sims (Sat. 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Eddie C is now WFAN’s Mets beat reporter, but Coleman and Sims were WFAN’s midday team in the early-1990s; Jody McDonald (Sat. 11:00 pm) was an original WFAN host back in 1987, and still hosts shows on the station occasionally while also working for CBS Sports Radio; Bob Salter (Sun. 6:00 am to 7:00 am) has been WFAN’s public affairs director since 1994, and hosts this timeslot every Sunday; Ann Ligouri (Sun. 7:00 am to 8:00 am) was also an original WFAN host and now covers golf and tennis for the station; Rick Wolff’s “Sports Edge” (Sun. 8:00 am to 9:00 am) is another Sunday morning staple on WFAN, airing in this timeslot since 1995; Suzyn Waldman (Sun. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) was the first voice heard on WFAN, giving the first sports update at 3:00 pm on July 1, 1987, and these days she serves as the analyst for Yankees Baseball on WFAN. She has also served as both the Yankees and Knicks beat reporter, and co-hosted WFAN’s midday show with Jody McDonald as well; Steve Somers & Russ Salzberg (Sun. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm), Somers is the only host who has been on the station full time since Day 1 in 1987! He and Salzberg hosted the midday show as “The Sweater and the Schmoozer” in the mid-1990s; and the Best of Mike and the Mad Dog (Sun. 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), WFAN’s legendary afternoon team for nearly two decades (1989-2008).

Harry Hurley Marks 29 Years on the Radio. WPGG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive talk host Harry Hurley is celebrating his 29th year at the Townsquare Media news/talk station. It was July 1, 1991 that the “Hurley in the Morning” program launched on the station. Hurley says, “It’s been a privilege in every way. I want to thank our many loyal and faithful listeners, who have made it all possible, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade. I also want to thank our fiercely loyal clients who have been with us for decades. It is still amazing, new and fresh to sign on every day at the same radio station where it all began almost three decades ago. My sincere thanks and appreciation to my employer, Townsquare Media for their incredible support. We still have so much work to do. I’m excited about our continued future together.”

Edwards Media Launches Sports Talk Station in Waco Market. The station is being branded “CBS Sports Central Texas” and will air on the HD2 channel of hip hop KWBT-FM “94.5 The Beat.” Edwards Media LLC general sales manager and sports director Rich Richardson says, “We look forward to the opportunity to change the sports radio scene in Central Texas with the best in local, national, and play-by-play sports talk. The current situation in the country has changed the sports scene throughout the world, but there are more chances than ever for hosts and listeners to express their opinions, frustrations, even hypotheticals as to what happens next.  As live sports come back, we plan to do our best to keep listeners informed and entertained on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis while still allowing them to voice their opinions.” In addition to programming from CBS Sports, the station’s afternoon drive daypart will feature “Go Big or Go Home” with local host Big Rich.

Bob Long Retiring from GCN’s ‘Auto World.’ Citing health concerns that for the past few months have kept him from hosting the “Auto World” program distributed by Genesis Communications Network, Bob Long announces he’s retiring from his radio hosting duties. Mark Evans is taking over as permanent host of the program. GCN chief Ted Anderson says, “Bob Long has spent his years in broadcasting building the ‘Auto World’ radio show and will be missed by his fans. Bob has been a long friend of the Genesis Communications Network and we wish him success and health.” Mark Evans has been an “Auto World” contributor for many years and is a master technician who holds a patent on an automatic transmission cooler called Transguard that sells world-wide. Evans has filled in for Long over the years.

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago announces it is adding the program “WGN Showcase” to its Saturday overnight schedule. It will air from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, beginning July 11 and will feature highlights of weekday shows and excerpts of interviews with celebrities and newsmakers conducted by Bob Sirott, John Williams, Anna Davlantes, and Roe Conn. The Nexstar Media Group station says that it will continue a partnership with “WGN Radio Theatre,” which previously ran in the timeslot and presented classics from the golden age of radio, and the show’s host Carl Amari for special themed times throughout the year. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s and founded Radio Spirits, the world’s largest marketer and distributor of these programs…..The deal between Mr. Master – the company that produces Automation Import Manager (AIM) – and Cumulus Media is expanded to put the software to use in all of Cumulus’ 424 local stations across 87 markets. Cumulus Media SVP of revenue strategy and operations John Kaufman says, “We were answering a call from our markets, which were looking for a way to improve the network continuity process and save meaningful time. Mr. Master’s AIM software offers a great solution for all Cumulus markets.”…..ESPN announces that it has reached a multi-year contract extension with host and commentator Bomani Jones to continue his ESPN Podcast, “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” twice per week (Tuesday and Thursday). As part of his deal, Jones will also make regular guest appearances across ESPN Radio sports talk programming. Jones will play a significant role on “Highly Questionable” alongside Dan Le Batard, appearing three or four days each week. He will also continue to be a key contributor across ESPN’s television studio lineup, including “SportsCenter,” “Get Up,” “Outside the Lines” and as a panelist on “Around the Horn.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate stations WDMJ, Marquette; WMIQ, Iron Mountain; and WIAN, Ishpeming; all in Michigan. In addition to carrying the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show the stations will also carry the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russian-Taliban Bounties Issue, BLM Movement/Public Monuments/Mississippi Flag, China’s Hong Kong Crackdown, Mary Trump Book Blocked, and Sports Leagues Plan Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the controversy over the reports of Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan; the Black Lives Matter protests, the movement to take down Confederate and Colonial-era monuments, and changes to the Mississippi flag; China begins cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong; a judge issues a temporary block of Mary Trump’s book; and U.S. sports leagues plan to open or restart their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Rock/Sports Broadcaster Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Weaving a colorful radio story, Harrison and Neer reminisce about a shared experience they had in the very early days of their long careers that had a tremendous influence on their lives and the history of album rock radio. Tomorrow (7/1) marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the progressive rock format at WLIR on Long Island.  On that Wednesday in the summer of 1970, the station transitioned from being an obscure suburban FM station that programmed a block format consisting of “beautiful music” and “easy listening” orchestras, along with classical music and show tunes into one of the most ground-breaking and longest-running FM rock giants of the past half century.  The station has been fertile ground for programming innovations, pop cultural evolution and the individual radio careers of countless personalities.  Harrison and Neer were a couple of college kids instrumental in making the historical transition happen and they engage in a remarkably candid conversation reconstructing the events between 1967 and 1971 that led up to and followed that meaningful format flip that changed their lives forever.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Digital platform RADIO.COM is celebrating Independence Day with two exclusive music events on July 3 and 4 to remind everyone to register to vote. This is a partnership between Entercom and When We All Vote, whose mission is to “increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.” Both events are being streamed live nationwide on-air on select RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app and website. “Party In Place” airs July 3 at 10:00 pm ET across all RADIO.COM alternative stations nationwide and features exclusive sets from: deadmau5, Disclosure, Major Lazer, ODESZA, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Toro y Moi, as well as a world premiere and unreleased music from Flume and Rezz, with a special career-spanning mix from Porter Robinson, all performing virtually from their home studios. On July 4, “Summer Bash,” will feature performances by: Marshmello, Black Eyed Peas, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Kygo, Lil Jon, and Steve Aoki. Entercom SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re looking forward to virtually coming together to enjoy incredible performances that will bring the festival experience right to listeners’ homes. We’re especially proud to celebrate Independence Day by supporting When We All Vote’s important mission to increase voter participation, one of the most patriotic acts we can do for our country.”…..TALKERS magazine confirms that Bob Lawrence has resigned his position as vice president of programming for Saga Communications. There’s no word from Saga on his replacement or a timetable for filling the corporate role. Lawrence took over the position in 2015 after Steve Goldstein exited the company.