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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

| December 2, 2020

Entercom Names Rick Dayton Afternoon Host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. Almost three months after former afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell was taken off news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s air for suggesting park rangers shoot people caught defacing public monuments (she was officially fired on October 16), Entercom names local news pro Rick Dayton host of “KDKA Radio Afternoon News hosted by Rick Dayton,” effective December 7. Dayton has worked in television news in North Carolina, at WOWK-TV, Charleston, West Virginia; and at KDKA-TV, Pittburgh. He’s most recently been a fill-in host for the station. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rick is ingrained in the local community and has a tremendous news reputation in the market. He is a beloved personality who will engage the listeners daily with content and information and I’m excited to welcome him to our weekday lineup.” Dayton adds, “After spending more than a decade back home in western Pennsylvania, I am honored to join KDKA Radio and build on its iconic legacy. To talk with KDKA’s loyal listeners each day and to discuss important issues is something I do not take lightly. I cannot wait to get those conversations started on Monday afternoon.”

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Fires Morning Host Marc Farzetta. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, morning drive host Marc Farzetta is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” after a little more than two years in the daypart. Farzetta let fans know about his departure via Twitter in which he said: “I was informed a few hours ago that today was my last day hosting the Morning Show at 97.5 The Fanatic… I’m so proud of the work we did taking that time slot to heights it hadn’t seen in the station’s 15-year history in the sports format.” Farzetta had been hosting the show with Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. At this time, it’s not clear if they remain with the station or not.

OPINION: Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility. In the response to the on-air statement by Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova about former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales president Ron Hartenbaum pens a piece for TALKERS explaining his take on the responsibilities of broadcasters who find themselves in such a position. diGenova, while appearing as a guest on “The Howie Carr Show,” said, “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Read Hartenbaum’s response here.

UNCF First Recipient of iHeartMedia’s Media Grant Program. The new iHeartRadio Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program from iHeartMedia is designed to “support organizations that are making a positive impact within the communities iHeart serves and to use iHeart’s multi-platform media network to deliver messaging that is timely, relevant and hyper-targeted to most effectively serve impacted communities.” The company says that the inaugural Spotlight Grants will provide a nationwide platform for Black-focused community organizations to “inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice; celebrate Black excellence, achievement, and culture; help members of the Black community express themselves and address the unique needs of their communities; and invest in educational programs and individuals that are inspiring the next generation of Black journalists and leaders.” Long-time partner UNCF, an organization that helps fund 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has been named the first partner and will receive a minimum media grant of $350,000 to be used through the end of the year. The all-new PSA airs now through the end of the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations and will bring attention to the many social, financial, educational and mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to communities of color and the threat to America’s progress for a more equitable society. UNCF is asking listeners to donate $10 online at UNCF.org/donate to help HBCU students who had to withdraw from school because of COVID-19 challenges get back to college in the spring. Additionally, iHeart will again host UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax as a guest on the iHeartRadio Communities public affairs show in the coming weeks.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new sports channel coming to SiriusXM as the satellite radio company and NBC Sports have partnered to create NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM that will launch tomorrow (12/3). Sirius XM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “The NBC Sports Audio channel is a terrific addition to the SiriusXM lineup. Fans of NBC Sports’ great programming and talent will get access to an outstanding sports talk lineup every weekday, and our subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of many top events on the sports calendar.” Shows airing on the channel will include: “PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “Brother From Another with Michael Holley and Michael Smith,” and more…..Entercom Chicago is presenting its 25th annual “Good Neighbor Radiothon” on all-news WBBM Newsradio (WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM) to raise money for The Salvation Army. Hosted by WBBM Newsradio news anchor Pat Cassidy, the live program will encourage listeners to donate through the station’s phone bank or online via the station’s website…..Prior to Thanksgiving, Cox Media Group Atlanta’s radio stations – including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations to supply holiday meals for local families in need and collected a grand total of 2,127 pounds of dry food, 1,325 pounds of frozen turkey, and monetary donations that will provide 25,816 meals for hungry children, hardworking families and struggling seniors…..Entercom Milwaukee is presenting WSSP-AM  1250AM The Fan’s 14th annual “FAN Toy Drive,” to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. This year’s 24-hour virtual on-air event will aim to raise funds and toys for the hospital’s patients. Listeners will be encouraged to donate via the station’s website…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division and Pegalo Pictures are premiering the podcast, “American Coyote” that tells the true story of America’s most successful coyote, Elden Kidd. While active, Elden was responsible for ushering over a thousand people across the border — and was unfazed even after cheating death multiple times and spending two years incarcerated in a Mexican prison…..iHeartMedia Stockton’s “Fox Sports AM1280, Stockton’s Only Sports Station,” announces an extension of its broadcast agreement with the University of the Pacific to continue to broadcast the university’s men’s and women’s Pacific Tiger basketball games through the 2020-2021 basketball season.

COVID-19/Vaccines, Trump Tactics/Barr Statement, DOJ Pardon Bribery Investigation, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Nuke Scientist Death, and the NFL’s COVID Problem Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, concerns about private gatherings fueling the pandemic, and the promise of soon-to-be-available vaccines; Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to call the election results into question and Attorney General William Barr’s public statement that his agency had found no evidence of widespread election fraud; the DOJ’s investigation into a possible bribery scheme involving pay for pardons; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fallout from the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; and the NFL’s strategy for dealing with growing COVID-positive players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In a move that’s not too surprising to the staffers at the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting, the company’s two radio stations – hip hop KZGO-FM and alternative KQGO-FM in Minneapolis – are being sold to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed sum. The Pohlad family owns MLB’s Minnesota Twins and until 2018 games were broadcast on KQGO. Now, with Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM, the family has little use for the signals. Both stations will flip to religious formats in the New Year. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..SiriusXM and the family of Bob Marley announce a new, exclusive year-round channel dedicated to the legacy of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio launches tomorrow (12/3) and will feature the cultural icon’s entire music catalog, both live and recorded, including rare recordings, some of which have never been made available to the public. The channel is being curated by the Marley family and will include a wide range of Caribbean music from its inception to present day.

Monday, July 23, 2018

| July 23, 2018

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this month’s final look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk.  Comparing 6+ numbers, 51% of news/talk stations saw their weekly AQH share decrease from the May 2018 survey to the June survey.  Looking at year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations realized AQH share gains.  In the June 2018 survey, 13 news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their markets (6+), with Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati ranking #1 in their respective markets. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Releases Podcast Insights Study. This “marketers guide to podcasting” from Nielsen Audio explores the purchasing habits of podcasting fans in the fast-moving packaged goods category – groceries, booze, pet goods, personal care items, etc.  Based on its Homescan panel with additional data from an online questionnaire of those panelists who identify as fans of podcasting, Nielsen says, “The podcast listener tends to spend more at the grocery store on a weekly basis according to our research.  Advertisers who can leverage the podcast audience may find a greater ROI since this group tends to spend more.”  The study examines the buying habits of avid podcast fans based on podcast genre.  For example, the graphic at right shows the top five product categories purchased by fans of news and politics podcasts, as measured by the influence those fans have had on a category’s annual sales.

WFAN’s Joe Benigno Off the Air Today.  Contrary to the report published on Friday (7/20) in TALKERS based on a New York Post piece, midday sports talk personality Joe Benigno will not be on the air today.  Benigno – who is accused of sexual harassment in a suit filed against him, WFAN, and other staffers in New York state court in Brooklyn by former WFAN sales exec Laura Lockwood – was on vacation last week when the suit was filed.  Initially, the station said Benigno would be back on the air today (7/23) and that it looked forward to defending itself and Benigno. However, after letting clients know that Benigno would remain off the air today, the station is apparently doing its own investigation into Lockwood’s claims and deems it wise to keep him off the radio for now.  The station has not made public his return date.

NBC Sports Radio Adds Chris Simms and Peter King to ‘Pro Football Talk Live.’  Two NFL experts are added to the roster of NBC Sports Radio’s “Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio.”  The press release from NBC Sports says former NFL quarterback Chris Simms continues as a part-time co-host during the radio/TV simulcast hours on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, and that NFL insider Peter King joins the program for a weekly, two-hour simulcast.  “Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio” launched in January of 2015 and is currently heard in morning drive on more than 150 affiliate stations.  It’s also heard on SiriusXM.

iHeartMedia’s ‘FM 96.9 The Game’ New Flagship for Orlando Magic.  Jumping from Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM, Orlando to iHeartMedia’s simulcast of WYGM-AM/W245CL “FM 96.9 The Game” is the NBA’s Orlando Magic.  The station will serve as the flagship for the franchise’s radio play-by-play.  Dennis Neumann is handling play-by-play, Richie Adubato takes on the color analyst duties for all home games, while Brandon Kravitz serves as pregame, halftime and postgame host for all games, and will provide sideline reports for all home contests.  Additional programming includes the nightly, half-hour “Magic Drive Time” hosted by Dante Marchitelli.

Wither ‘Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw?’  We know that Shelly Dunn is retiring from radio and the “Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw” program that’s been heard in the San Diego market for the past 28 years.  But now that rock KFMB-FM owner Tegna has announced that it and the show have failed to come to terms on a new agreement, where the show will land is the big question.  For its part, Tegna says, “After extensive negotiations and a generous offer to the DSC team, we were unfortunately unable to reach an agreement to keep the show here at KFMB.  We wish the DSC the very best with their future pursuits.  We also want to thank and wish Shelly Dunn well on her retirement, which she announced last week.  She’s had an incredible 30-year career and will be missed.  We are looking to the future and remain committed to our listeners in San Diego.”  Dave Rickards posted a series of tweets showing his removing the show’s stuff from the KFMB studios and saying he has a new place to put it, and ending with, “Announcement coming shortly.”  Some industry watchers believe the show might be destined for Entercom’s struggling sports talker KWFN, based on the idea that the DSC show would be a good way to draw listeners to the newly flipped station – that is if Entercom wants a non-sports show in morning drive.  Stay tuned.

Chad Benson Show Clears on ‘Power Talk 1360’ in Modesto-Stockton.  The Radio America nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is now airing in the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFIV “Power Talk 1360” in the Modesto-Stockton, California market.  KFIV-AM is added to the recent list of affiliates to begin carrying the show, including KTAR-FM, Phoenix and KSTE-AM, Sacramento.

Trump-Putin Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-E.U. Trade War Threats, Trump-Rouhani Threats, Jeanine Pirro-The View Spat, Trader Joe’s Slaying/Standoff, Toronto Shooting, Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 Films, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of President Trump’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Trump tariffs on goods from the European Union and concerns about a new trade war; President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani exchange threats; FOX News star Jeanine Pirro’s boisterous exit from an appearance on ABC’s “The View”; the slaying of a Trader Joe’s staffer after a standoff with an armed man in Los Angeles; the deadly shooting in a Toronto restaurant; the opening weekend of the Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 films; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

EXCLUSIVE TALKERS AUDIO: Michael Harrison Interviews Former CBS Radio CEO/President Dan Mason About VSiN and the Potential Impact of Legalized Sports Betting on Media. Launched in 2017, VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) is the first media network dedicated to providing news, analysis and proprietary data to the millions of Americans who bet on sports and make gambling a multimillion-dollar industry. Launched by sports media legend Brent Musberger and fueled by award-winning broadcasters and legendary odds makers, VSiN’s mission is to inform and entertain these consumers wherever and whenever they want it. A dedicated SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel (204) is among the platforms on which VSiN is available, which also include live video streaming, web (www.VSiN.com), mobile and social. One of the principals in the VSiN organization is former CBS Radio CEO/president Dan Mason who serves as a strategic advisor and investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations. Mason, who served in the top position at CBS Radio for 15 years, is one of the most colorful and accomplished figures in the radio industry today. He is a Radio Hall of Fame inductee who also serves as an advisor to iHeartMedia and chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, in addition to participating as a talent in network sports play-by-play announcing and commentary (women’s basketball and horse racing). TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who worked closely with Mason in the late 1980s establishing WZLX, Boston as one of the nation’s leading classic rock stations, caught up with him yesterday (7/17) for an exclusive telephone interview. They discuss VSiN and the potential impact of legalized sports betting on the media industry. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking on the title of director of music programming in Baltimore for Entercom is Tom Cook.  The company announces he’ll be responsible for programming adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5.”  Cook was most recently Michigan regional operations manager for Townsquare Media.  Entercom SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys comments, “We are delighted to welcome Tom to our team.  He has an amazing track record of accomplishments at the various stations he has programmed and we look forward to him bringing that enthusiasm and experience to us here in Baltimore.”…..On-air pro Dan Day exits his role as evening host at Guaranty Media’s classic rock WDGL, Baton Rouge “Eagle 98.1.”  At the same time, the company announces that Mike Benson– who also serves as an account executive for the cluster, is returning to the air to host the midday program.