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Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Monday Memo: New Normal HR? NOT Normal

| June 8, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you’ve been broadcasting remotely during the shutdown, and are daydreaming about getting back to what was left of radio station camaraderie, I’ll quote Cher from “Moonstruck:” “SNAP OUT OF IT!”

First the Good News: The reason you’re working remotely is because you’re still working.

They’ve fired everyone else, and more cutbacks are on the way; the bigger the company you work for, the more brutal it’ll be.

Read More

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

| March 11, 2020

WABC PD David LaBrozzi Added to Bold “Super Panel” Designed to Address Existential Industry Question at TALKERS Convention. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of WABC, New York/Red Apple Media, Inc. director of programming, content & branding David LaBrozzi to what is being described as a “bold super panel” to tackle the existential industry question, “Can Radio Be Saved and, If So, How?” at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention in New York on Friday June 5. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This 90-minute session will feature an extraordinary lineup of seven individuals reflecting a wide perspective on the past, present and potential future of radio’s role in society.” In addition to LaBrozzi, the panel consists of (in alphabetical order): MediaVision CEO, Lee Abrams; RAB president and CEO, Erica Farber; Radio Hall of Fame chairman and Soundmind LLC partner, Kraig Kitchin; SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, Joe Madison; and former CBS Radio/Entercom executive VP of programming, Chris Oliviero. One more panelist will be named shortly along with an introducer. Michael Harrison will serve as moderator. For more information about the forthcoming TALKERS Convention see story below.

Sean Hannity to Head All Star Lineup of Speakers at 23rd Annual TALKERS Convention Set for NYC on Friday June 5. In what has become an annual tradition, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his role as one of the key speakers at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention. He will also again host the morning networking event, “Breakfast with Hannity.” Hannity will engage in the popular presentation, “A Fireside Chat with Sean Hannity” hosted by Michael Harrison.” VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This year’s 23rd annual convention is a celebration of TALKERS magazine’s 30th anniversary and we are pleased to report that we’ve lined up an extraordinary roster of about 60 speakers and a powerful agenda to make it a truly meaningful life changing and career enhancing event for each and every one of our attendees. Details about the agenda and sponsorship opportunities will continue to be posted here on Talkers.com daily. This year the event is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. Speakers are being recruited from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry — including talent, programmers, managers and owners and the agenda focuses on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age including fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. Attendance is only open to members of the media industry and communications students and an advance sellout is expected. Non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To make reservations at the “official” hotel of the event, the Hilton New York Fashion District (located across the street from the venue) and receive a discount (while rooms last) please click here.

Unique Trophy: Red Apple Launch Party for WABC at NYC Opening of ‘Cats.’  The 77WABC launch party to celebrate the much-anticipated closing on the former Cumulus Media-owned station by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media took place Monday evening (3/9) at the legendary outlet’s studio in New York City.  During the packed event that included 77WABC air personalities and executives as well as representatives from the ad buying community, Catsimatidis was welcomed into radio industry ownership with the presentation of the “Beacon” – a recently replaced 77WABC tower obstruction light.  During a brief speech, Catsimatidis reassuringly told the gathering, “We only buy companies, we do not sell them.  We are here to stay!”  Pictured above are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis Jr., John Catsimatidis, the “Beacon,” Red Apple Media/77WABC president Chad Lopez, and Margo Catsimatidis. Photo: Jillian Nelson

iHeartMedia Issues Coronavirus Memo to Staff. Company CEO Bob Pittman and COO Rich Bressler sent a memo to the entire iHeartMedia staff regarding the coronavirus epidemic.  Here’s what it said: Team, at iHeart, our two most important priorities are serving the communities across America in which we live and work and protecting the health and safety of our employees. iHeart reaches nine out of 10 Americans – more than any other media company — and our reach comes with the responsibility to be a voice for information, context and trusted companionship.  Like you and like our listeners nationwide, we see increasing daily media coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and as a company we want to make sure we do the right thing.  In addition to the work we do around the specific health risk, as media industry leaders we are also concerned that anxiety and excessive worry over the virus can have its own negative impact.  We also know that some of you and your family members are feeling this anxiety personally.  The latest information suggests that coronavirus can be very serious if you’re older or sick, just as the flu can.  But, like the flu, its effects seem to be relatively mild for the majority of people who catch it, with the exception of older people, those with respiratory ailments or those with compromised immune systems.  To put the coronavirus into some perspective, the country did not experience the same anxiety-fueled reaction around diseases like measles, Zika, SARS, West Nile, Ebola or Bird Flu, to name a few examples, and health professionals say those were all likely more dangerous than the coronavirus although maybe not as widespread.  For your own personal health and the health of those around you, if you’re sick, please stay home and don’t expose yourself to others; that’s the same request we have if you have the flu or a bad cold or any other contagious disease – plus wash your hands often and follow CDC recommendations about disease prevention and guidelines about when to stay at home after travel to any “hot spot” countries or contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.  Right now, the potential for panic is an additional concern we need to address.  We know that for people to remain calm they need information on a continuing basis about what’s going on.  We also need to make sure we disseminate accurate and timely information to help the health professionals manage this outbreak, and to that end we will also be airing daily coronavirus updates on our stations to help supply that necessary information to our communities.  At iHeart, we will continue to operate with our usual business practices, and we will adjust them as needed.  Because we want to make our workplaces as safe as possible, we ask that you quickly contact HR4U@iheartmedia.com or (855) 722-4748 if you or anyone in your offices has contracted, or come into direct contact with, coronavirus and we will deal with each situation individually and appropriately.  As a company we adapt and react quickly, and in this situation, that’s never been more critical.  Our focus is on serving our communities, our listeners and our employees, and we are dedicated to using our assets for the public good in every single community we serve.  As leaders in our communities and in media we have a responsibility to help put the coronavirus in perspective by disseminating information and context for our listeners, and we feel this will have the additional benefit of calming anxiety and the ill effects on society that could result from that.  We’re monitoring the situation closely, and as we learn more, we’ll keep you informed.  Thanks for your strong commitment to serving our communities, our listeners and our partners at a time when they need us more than ever.

Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication. The nationally syndicated weekly program “Gun Talk,” hosted by Tom Gresham, is celebrating its 25th year on the air.  Gresham says of his guns and shooting sports program, “‘Gun Talk’ radio is perhaps more important today than when it started 25 years ago.  Whether it’s helping the first-time gun buyer sort out what she needs to buy or exposing politicians who claim to be supporters of the Second Amendment while putting restrictions on this right, there’s plenty to talk about.  Responsible gun ownership is strong, and I’m glad to be part of the movement.”  “Gun Talk” airs live each Sunday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET.  In addition to his radio show, Gresham has created and hosted “Personal Defense TV” and “Gun Talk TV” and has written magazine articles and books about firearms safety and training.

PPM Analysis: Ratings ‘Extra.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this “extra” look at radio station performances based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey.  Which stations gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share compared to the Holiday 2019 survey and which stations lost the most shares?  See it all here.

The Coronavirus Epidemic, the Democratic Primary, Financial Markets React to the Coronavirus, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The status of the COVID-19 epidemic and the debate over the best policies to contain it; Tuesday’s primary elections and Joe Biden’s lead in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus epidemic; and Vladimir Putin’s move to secure his role as leader of Russia through 2036 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast from ESPN Audio, starring Jalen Rose and David Jacoby, is planning another live recording of the program at the historic Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Tuesday, April 21.  ESPN says the “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast first began as a passion project for the guys under ESPN’s Grantland banner.  As the podcast developed into a hit in the summer of 2011, it grew to include a YouTube show, then to a national ESPN radio show.  From the radio show, “Jalen & Jacoby” grew – yet again – into a late-night TV show before landing in the afternoon on ESPN2 and, where it airs currently at 4:00 pm ET on ESPN.…..The University of Washington athletics department and exclusive multimedia rightsholder Huskies Sports Properties, announces today a new, five-year broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia sports talk KJR-AM, Seattle to run through the 2024-2025 athletic season.  The deal means KJR will provide comprehensive coverage for all Huskies sports including men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football game broadcasts.  Promotional support will happen on KJR-AM and sister stations classic hits KJR-FM, adult hits KJAQ-FM “96.5 JACK-FM,” and sports talk KFNQ-AM…..The “Joy on Paper” radio show hosted by Patzi Gil and dedicated to the world of books, celebrates its 5th anniversary on March 17.  Last year, on the program’s fourth anniversary, Gil’s guests were the writing couple Andrew Grant and Tasha Alexander, both popular authors.  This year they’ll return with breaking news that Andrew Grant is now two writers in one – the talented author of the Paul McGarth series will join his brother Lee Grant (a.k.a. Lee Child) to carry on the Jack Reacher series.  Gil says, “I don’t know how I will introduce him now.  But, whether he is Andrew Grant or Andrew Child, he is a fabulous writer and I am proud that he and Tasha will be joining me.  Tasha is the New York Times best-selling author of the ‘Lady Emily’ mystery series.”

Emmis Communications Announces Non-Broadcasting Acquisition. The acquisition of Lencore Acoustics Corporation – a Long Island-based business in the sound masking industry – gives Emmis Communications Corporation a foothold in a non-broadcasting business.  According to the press release, “Sound masking technology introduces barely perceptible background sound into a space to make environments more comfortable, ensure speech privacy, and increase workplace productivity.”  It adds that Lenore does business in nearly every U.S. state, and Europe (London).  Lencore’s 33 employees become Emmis staffers immediately.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Today’s announcement is the product of a long process, looking for the right place to infuse the Emmis hallmarks of sales and marketing excellence.  Emmis’ experience in building best-in-class operations, coupled with its unique people-first culture is the perfect fit to complement the talented Lencore team, and will give them the resources and support necessary to grow the business.  We believe that the continued move toward open-concept offices makes effective sound masking solutions more and more important.  We’re excited about where this business can go.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Multimedia pro Joey Fortman is named morning drive personality and digital media specialist for Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  In addition to her past experience as a radio personality, Fortman is the founder of “Reality Moms,” a multimedia digital influencer agency.  Bonneville Bay Area director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Joey Fortman is a very unique talent who excels at both on-air and digital content creation.  She is the perfect fit to connect our listeners to our advertisers and sell their products on-air and via our fast-growing digital channels.”…..The husband-and-wife duo of Robby Bridges and Rochelle Gagnon are joining MacDonald Garber Broadcasting’s CHR WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan to host the morning show. Additionally, Bridges will serve as station program director and Gagnon will take on promotions director duties.  The duo recently served at iHeartMedia’s WDVD, Detroit.  Bridges says, “We’d like to thank Trish and Peter Garber, Diane Hansell and Gary Berkowitz for this awesome opportunity to join their team to create big, fun, live and local radio in one of America’s premiere vacation cities.”…..Central Florida Educational Foundation promotes Dean O’Neal to vice president of operations in which he’ll oversee the organization’s seven Christian radio stations.  O’Neal was most recently program director for non-commercial Christian contemporary WPOZ-FM, Orlando “Z88.3.”  As the same time, Therese Romano is named PD for WPOZ.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

| February 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dow Activity/Bitcoin Value Swings, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Requests Military Parade, Government Shutdown Threat/Immigration Policy, FBI Surveillance Memo/Texting Scandal, Illegal Charged with NFL Player’s Death in DUI, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Black Panther Film, LA Times Sale, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The Dow returns more than 500 points and the related fluctuating value of Bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; President Trump requests the Pentagon stage a military parade; the renewed threat of a government shutdown and President Trump’s insistence on immigration reform being tied to a spending bill; the release of the Nunes FBI surveillance memo and the suggestion that the FBI texting scandal involved Barack Obama; a twice-deported illegal alien is charged in the DUI death of Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson; the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; the political messages within The Black Panther film; the Los Angeles Times is sold to a SoCal billionaire doctor; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. St. Louis morning drive personality Courtney Landrum re-ups with Entercom’s hot AC KYKY “Y98” on a multi-year deal.  At the same time, the name of the morning show is being changed to “Courtney and Company.”  The station says that “Y98” personalities Jen Myers, Kevin “The Intern” Berghoff, and Lance Hildebrand will remain on the show.  Landrum began her professional career as producer for “The Steve and DC Morning Show” in St. Louis in the early 1990s.  She joined “Y98” in 1999 as producer and co-host of “The Phillips and Company Morning Show,” and has been with the morning show ever since…..In Los Angeles, SVP/market manager Val Maki and VP/sales Janet Brainin make an unexpected exit from Meruelo Media Los Angeles, operator of classic hip hop simulcast “KDAY” – KDAY, Redondo Beach and KDEY, Ontario – and hip hop KPWR “Power 106.”  Both transitioned to Meruelo after having been with Emmis at KPWR for years prior to the sale of the station to Meruelo…..KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” evening personality Cassidy Quinn is covering the Winter Olympics embedded as a reporter for NBC.  KUPL program director MoJoe Roberts says, “There is no better-suited person to capture the stories and behind-the-scenes moments than Cassidy!  We can’t wait to see and hear these highlights come to life from her perspective.”…..Indiana-based Woof Boom flips former Christian contemporary WKHL, West LaFayette to adult contemporary (with new calls WLQQ) as “Q106.7” after purchasing the station from Educational Media Foundation…..Eric Garcia exits his audio revenue chief position at Spanish Broadcasting System and his additional position as VP/GM of WSKQ/WPAT, New York.  At SBS New York, Albert Rodriguez COO of SBS is the interim general manager and Elizabeth “Liz” Paulino was promoted to general sales manager.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

| June 17, 2016

wjbxBeasley Builds News/Talker WJBX in SW Florida.  Flipping Spanish sports talk WJBX-AM, Fort Myers and adding translators W268AH, Bonita Springs at 101.5 and W282BY, Fort Myers at 104.3, Beasley Media Group creates “WJBX News Talk and More” to serve Fort Myers, Naples and Marco Island.  The station is airing national superstar Dave Ramsey and a lot of FOX News Radio content – Kilmeade & Friends, John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, and Alan Colmes – plus the Compass Media-distributed morning show “This Morning – America’s First News with Gordon Deal.”  The station will use CBS Radio News for hourly newscasts.  Beasley SW Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “We’re ready to deliver thought-provoking topics that inform, educate and inspire our audience.  Our listeners will hear from a top selection of influential national voices.  We’re excited to add WJBX to our incredible lineup of stations here in Southwest Florida!”

wgan logoWGAN, Portland Morning Host Mike Violette Resigns from Station.  Off the air since June 2, WGAN, Portland listeners now know where morning drive co-host Mike Violette has been – riding his motorcycle and playing golf.  The 12-year morning personality announced via Facebook earlier this week that he asked to be let out of his contract with the Saga Communications station and the station agreed, giving him a “nice severance package.”  Violette implied he was getting a little burned out and now that his kids are done with college and on their own, he wants to see what else is out there.  The station will announce his replacement on Friday afternoon during Howie Carr’s live broadcast of his syndicated show as he does the program from WGAN.  See the Portland Press Herald story here.

saverytripCurtis Media Promotes Trip Savery to President and Chief Operating Officer.  North Carolina operator Curtis Media Group promotes Trip Savery to president and COO, what CEO and chairman Donald W. Curtis calls a formality.  “We have actually been working this way for the past year.”  Savery was SVP and general manager of country WQDR, Raleigh.  Savery says, “I am honored to continue my career at Curtis Media Group in this role, and want to thank Don Curtis and the many talented people I have the privilege of working with every day for our continued success.”  Savery is a native of Chapel Hill and serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters as vice president of radio.  In addition, he serves on the board of visitors of the UNC Children’s Hospital, as well as the board of advisors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

podcastone bJim Berk Named CEO of PodcastOne.  Media industry executive Jim Berk is appointed to the PodcastOne board of directors and will serve as the company’s CEO.  PodcastOne founder and chairman Norm Pattiz says, in making the announcement, “We have created an unmatched footprint in the podcast space and now are building a more robust executive team to allow PodcastOne to take full advantage of our organic growth and strategic opportunities.  Jim has done tremendous work in transitioning companies to their next stage of growth, and with him joining the PodcastOne leadership team, our possibilities are endless.”  Pattiz, who was CEO, retains his post as executive chairman.  Berk comes to PodcastOne from his most recent position as CEO of Participant Media – a “global entertainment company focused on socially relevant film, television, publishing and digital media.”  Berk also was president & CEO of Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. during which the company embarked on a “record expansion of locations with record revenue and profits, while also making Hard Rock a music and television entertainment brand.”  Berk was also the founding executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Foundation (The Grammy Foundation).  Berk comments, “It’s exciting to enter this media space during a time of unprecedented expansion as consumer interest for the audio format in on-demand programming is experiencing rapid growth…PodcastOne is already demonstrating impressive year-on-year growth.  I look forward to working closely with Norm, Kit, Gary, Greg and the entire executive team to build on their success.”

talkersten logoOrlando Club Massacre Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 13-17.  The murders of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando by a man claiming to support Islamic State was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the senate filibuster and talk about changing gun laws; at #3 was the presidential race and the activities of the candidates; followed at #4 by the slaying of British MP Jo Cox and next week’s vote by Britons on whether to exit the European Union.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

allwoodamandaAllwood Appointed Promotions Director at CMG Atlanta.  Promotions pro Amanda Allwood is heading to Atlanta to serve as promotions director for Cox Media Group’s cluster there.  Allwood will oversee promotions and event marketing for adult contemporary WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM” and news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM.  Allwood was most recently with SiriusXM in New York as senior manager of promotions and event marketing.  She’s also worked in promotions for CBS RADIO in Tampa and CMG in Tampa and Orlando.  CMG programmer Chris Eagan says, “Amanda has the critical eye that we need to take our events and promotions efforts to the next level.  She understands how crucial it is to integrate sales, programming and digital into one superpower to make these radio brands sparkle!”

mcdanielkelseyAlpha Ups McDaniel to Director of Marketing Post.  KBFF, Portland promotions director Kelsey McDaniel is promoted by Alpha Media Portland to director of marketing for the entire cluster.  The company says McDaniel is “known by most for her enthusiasm for the music industry, amazing event execution and overall hard work but, she’s also known for her competitive Sunday night BINGO addiction and searching endlessly for the love of her life, a golden retriever puppy.”  Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell says, “This is a well-deserved promotion for Kelsey as she is about to celebrate her seventh year with us.  She has demonstrated outstanding leadership of our promotions team and has elevated our interaction with listeners and clients on all levels.”  If addition to CHR KBFF, Alpha Portland also operates triple A KINK, country KUPL, news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM/FM, and talk KUFO-AM.

johnnyblondieliveTestimony Continues in Cumulus vs Johnny Burke & Blondie.  According to a report from MLive.com, the testimony continued in a federal courtroom in Michigan this week in Cumulus Media’s suit against former WHNN, Saginaw-Bay City morning team Johnny Burke and Bonnie Belger-Holzhei, a.k.a. Blondie.  Cumulus attorneys are trying to show that Burke and Belger-Holzhei violated the terms of their contracts by soliciting the radio station’s clients for the Internet radio show they launched after being fired by the station.  This week, station operations manager Scott Stine testified that the pair are also using bits and prep service products they used when they worked at WHNN.  Stine said they had access to a “shared drive” with station client information but the pair’s attorney argued Cumulus has no proof they ever used the information.  Read the MLive.com account here.