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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package 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. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.   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.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. 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; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Radio’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race 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. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”

Friday, May 24, 2019

| May 24, 2019

Legendary DJ “Cousin” Bruce Morrow to Receive TALKERS 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Legendary radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow– an icon from the golden era of hit radio on WABC, New York and current star of SiriusXM’s 60s on Six channel – has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board to be the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Morrow’s impressive career includes not only his work as a radio personality on some of America’s biggest stations but radio station ownership and television work, as well.  TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Bruce Morrow is a symbol of the great disc jockeys of the golden era who paved the way for radio to connect to people’s hearts and minds and that set the stage for modern talk radio to be the bastion of personality that keeps this medium so vital. The fact that ‘Cousin Brucie’ takes calls and does such wonderful interviews is a tribute to this man’s talent, pertinence, and longevity.”  Morrow says, “I am honored to receive this award from TALKERS, especially since so much of my show and work at SiriusXM now consists of talking to callers and artists on the air about their lives and careers and what the music and culture has meant and continues to mean to them.  This is tremendously gratifying.”  The “Lifetime Achievement” award will be presented to “Cousin” Bruce Morrow at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City.  The convention is just a day away from being completely sold out.  To register, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or click here for more information.

Report: WMVP, Chicago Not Happy with Nielsen Ratings Error.  Chicago media reporter Robert Feder has the story.  Yesterday, TALKERS alerted you to Feder’s initial report about Nielsen Audio admitting it failed to include the online listening for sports talk WMVP “ESPN Chicago” in the April PPM survey and it issued new numbers for the station yesterday.  While the ESPN-owned station went up from a 1.2 to a 1.3 share with Persons 6+, vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says in the key demo – Men 25-54 – certain shows were affected by as much as 50%.  Moreover, Pastor tells Feder, “The real story here is that it’s remarkable Nielsen’s PPM device captured any digital listening at all.  By their own admission, PPM technology is inadequate at best when it comes to measuring digital.”  Read Feder’s account here.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is today (5/24) at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

ESPN Radio Changes Roles for Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain. Next week, ESPN personalities Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain expand their roles at the sports media giant. Fitz becomes a regular part of ESPN Radio’s weekday morning lineup as a regular contributor on the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show that features Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, and Mike Golic Jr.  Fitz will continue to contribute to ESPN’s live, on-site digital presence at major events.  Spain begins hosting a new weeknight radio show, “Spain and Company,” that will air nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Co-hosts on the show will include ESPN Radio’s Jason Goff and ESPN college basketball analyst Jordan Cornette.  Fitz says, “Working with Sarah has been incredible and it has – frankly – made me better being partnered with her every day.  Looking ahead, I’m beyond excited to bring my energy and voice to the fans in the morning with the amazing ‘Golic and Wingo’ team and before that, provide an hour of my perspective on ‘First and Last.’”  Spain comments, “I’ve really enjoyed working with Jason, creating a fun and unique show based on our shared sensibilities and interests.  Going forward, it’s a thrill for me to lead the way on ‘Spain and Company’ with a great cast of co-hosts.”

Sterling: Women in Talk – Is This an Issue? Nationally syndicated talk radio host Walter M. Sterling bristles at the question, “Is this the year of the woman? (in talk radio)” He says the better question is, “Is this the moment when men will get out of the freakin’ way and let the proven success of women in talk radio flourish again?”  The two women in the photo at right were superstars of New York City talk radio in 1955.  Find out who they were and read the rest of Sterling’s piece here.

Five Appointed to NAB Radio Board of Directors. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that, in accordance with its by-laws, Radio Board chairman Randy Gravley makes five appointments to the NAB Radio Board of Directors, effective at the beginning of the June Board meeting, to be held June 10-12.  Reappointed for another two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Amador Bustos, president, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; David Field, chairman, president, and CEO, Entercom Communications Corp.; and Bill McElveen, regional president, Alpha Media LLC.  Appointed for a new two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Mary Berner, president and CEO, Cumulus Media and Kevin Perry, vice president/general manager, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting Company.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio personality Thom Hartmann is credited as writer/consultant on the new film, Ice on Fire, that addresses the melting of the polar ice cap and global warming.  The film features actor Leonardo DiCaprio as narrator and will air on HBO on June 11.  Hartmann, DiCaprio, and director Leila Connors also worked together on the 2011 film The 11th Hour.  See The Hollywood Reporter’s review here…..Chicago public radio news/talk outlet WBEZ-FM announces a new local program to air in middays.  Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago Public Media radio station is debuting a local talk show starring Jenn White to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  White moves from “The Morning Shift,” a position she’s been in since January.  CPM CEO Goli Sheikholeslami says, “Midday listening is becoming increasingly important as people check in on what’s happening in the world, particularly with the rise in streaming audio.  We’re meeting this need by investing in new, indispensable programming that will drive the daily Chicago conversation during the key midday listening hours.”

Premiere Networks Celebrates Gracie Winners. Pictured above celebrating their Gracie Awards victories are “The Sean Hannity Show” producer Lynda McLaughlin and “The Breakfast Club” host Angela Yee.  They were honored along with all the other winners at the 44th annual Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.  McLaughlin won the National Talk Radio Producer honor and Yee won in the National Radio Host/Personality category.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Premiere Networks EVP and director of personality sales Dan Metter, McLaughlin, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, and Yee.

Trump’s Stonewalling Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 20-24.  The president’s refusal to answer to subpoenas as the Democrats continue to try to investigate him was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the effort by the state of New York to provide the president’s state tax returns to congress. Coming in at #3 was the Democrats’ increased momentum to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, followed by the 2020 presidential race 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.

Progressive Talk Host and Pundit Bill Press Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the major players on the struggling liberal side of commercial talk radio, Bill Press, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Press is a pioneer in the “progressive” genre on both radio and cable TV.  He was the liberal voice in the historic CNN debate show “Crossfire” from 1996 to 2002.  Today, he is a regularly featured talking head on MSNBC as well as CNN and is an opinion contributor to the DC-based political publication, The Hill.  He is also a prolific author and critic of conservative talk radio who writes about the virtues of the Democrats and the dangers of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.  Press announced last week that he is about to conclude a 14-year run hosting a daily morning radio talk program that been heard on a variety of terrestrial and online platforms and has attracted a respectable critical mass of loyal listeners.  In its place, he will be devoting his energies to podcasting and has every intention of continuing to be an active voice in the national conversation as we approach the 2020 election. Harrison and Press talk about the difficulties that have faced the liberal brand of commercial news/talk radio, the emerging field of podcasting and the growing field of candidates looking to make Donald Trump a one-term president.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Gone is Cumulus Media’s CHR WYRG, Indianapolis “Energy 93.9” and in is classic rock “93-9X, Indy’s Rock Station.”  Cumulus picked up fellow CHR WZPL back in February in a swap with Entercom.  WZPL has consistently outperformed WYRG over the years so the format change is not a surprise.  Cumulus corporate PD Troy Hanson says, “We are excited to expand the successful ‘93X’ brand to Indianapolis with the new ‘93-9X.’ Shout out to [KXXR/MSP program director] Derek Madden, our brainchild on this project, as we fill a hole in the marketplace with a much-needed rock station.  The partnership opportunities this brand adds to our Indy cluster portfolio and rock platform are limitless.”…..San Antonio hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3” welcomes Tony Cortez to its airstaff as evening personality.  Cortez joins the Cox Media Group from his most recent position with Alpha Media’s crosstown CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1.”  Cox San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison says, “Tony’s style, experience, and love for our great city make him the perfect addition to our Magic team. He’s sure to bring a new level of fun and energy to our evening listeners.”…..Country radio pro Jessica Tyler – most recently with Cumulus Media’s WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1” – is joining Townsquare Media’s New Hampshire country duo WOKQ, Portsmouth and WPKQ North Conway to serve as assistant brand manager for both stations and midday personality on WOKQ.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits format.  From March to April, weekly 6+ AQH share movement was split fairly even, with about half the stations on the panel going up and the other half going down. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s WJJK-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7) and iHeartMedia’s WWBB, Providence “B101” (+1.6).  Year over year, about 70% of the stations on our panel enjoyed a ratings increase, with WJJK showing an impressive 3.2 share increase and iHeartMedia’s KLTH, Portland and Bonneville’s KRSP, Salt Lake City both notching 2.5 share gains. Meanwhile, 10 classic hits stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in the April survey.  Find out which stations they are by reading the whole report here.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

| April 25, 2019

Hubbard Radio’s All-News WTOP, Washington Takes 2018 Revenue Crown. The 2019 edition of the annual BIA Advisory Services Investing in Radio Market Report is released and accompanying that is the ranking of radio’s top revenue-earning stations from 2018. Once again, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington was #1, earning $69 million in ad revenue.  As seen in the graphic above, iHeartMedia music-formatted stations in Los Angeles and New York take the next four slots.  But Entercom’s all-newsers in New York and Chicago – along with sports talk WFAN, New York – show their earning power consistency with return appearances at the same spots in the top 10.  One news/talk station – iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles – makes the list in the #10 spot as it did last year.  BIA notes that over-the-air advertising remained relatively flat at $13.3 billion (down 1.6% from $13.5 billion in 2017).  It was digital advertising platforms at local radio stations that saw revenue growth across the industry.   The report indicates digital income rose 8.1% to $923 million.  Putting over-the-air advertising together with digital revenue gave radio a 2018 revenue figure of $14.2 billion and, BIA says, “positioned radio as the fifth most significant local advertising platform, behind direct mail, mobile, online/digital, and local television.”  BIA Advisory Services SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Although local radio stations are still important players in their markets and are managing to maintain their position in the top five advertising platforms, we do expect the OTA advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to decrease this year by 1% to 2% and through the next few years.”  He adds that combined radio revenues will remain relatively flat for at least the next five years, while digital platforms will hit $1 billion by 2020.  See more about the report here.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 PPM survey, today zeroing in on public radio news/talk. A slight dip in weekly 6+ AQH share affects the format as 53% of stations go down and just 38% see a ratings increase from the February 2019 to the March 2019 survey.  The same situation applies to the year-over-year comparison – 53% of stations saw their 6+ number decrease from the March 2018 survey. There were four public radio news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in March: KQED, San Francisco; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KUT, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

iHeartMedia Q1 Radio Biz Revenue Up 2.9%.  In a 10-Q filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, iHeartMedia releases financial data from the first quarter of 2019 that indicates the company’s radio and streaming revenue was $766 million, up almost 3% compared to the same period in 2018.  The company as a whole reports first quarter revenue of $1.38 billion, an increase of slightly less than 1% compared to the first quarter of 2018.  Consolidated operating income dropped from $60.9 million in Q1 2018 to $28.3 million this year due to impairment charges of $91.4 million.

SiriusXM First Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Up 10%. The acquisition of Pandora by SiriusXM adds a little wrinkle to the company’s 2019 first quarter financial report.  The company reports total revenue of $1.7 billion, an increase of 27% over the same period in 2018, that was driven by bringing Pandora into the fold.  On a pro forma basis, revenue increased 10%, hitting $1.9 billion in the first quarter.  But the Pandora acquisition impacted the company’s bottom line as net income was $162 million in Q1 of 2019, down from $289 million during the same period a year ago. During the quarter, SiriusXM added 131,000 net new self-pay subscribers, bringing its total above the 29 million mark.

TALKERS News Notes. Another major national award for Westwood One News comes on the heels of its recent National Headliner honor from the Press Club of Atlantic City. Now, the Society of Professional Journalists is bestowing its Sigma Delta Chi award upon Westwood One News for “Radio Breaking News Reporting” for the network’s coverage of the Parkland Florida School shooting and aftermath in February of 2018.  The award recognizes “resourceful and complete coverage of a major breaking news event, emphasizing both deadline reporting and continuing coverage as the story develops over succeeding days.”  Last year, Westwood One News won the honor for its coverage of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting…..Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson is joining the WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM-based Ravens Radio Network as color analyst alongside play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky for this season.  Johnson worked on game broadcasts during the past two seasons and earns the promotion to the booth.  Cary Pahigian manages the Hearst radio stations and says, “Jarret’s NFL experience, unique insight, and enthusiasm is a major component of our superb Ravens broadcast team.”…..Bay Area public media corporation KQED announces that DeLinda Mrowka is promoted to the newly created position of chief audience officer.  In this executive role, Mrowka is “responsible for extending brand, deepening audience engagement and growth, and strengthening the membership and corporate sponsorship programs for one of the largest stations in public media.”  Mrowka started her KQED career in 2013 as the station’s executive director of marketing and communications before being promoted to vice president of corporate sponsorship in 2015.  In 2017 she was again promoted to vice president of marketing, with broad responsibilities overseeing the audience development, marketing, digital fundraising and corporate sponsorship teams.

PodcastOne Issues Request to Luminary. The subscription podcast start-up Luminary is facing the issue of a number of content creators requesting their shows be removed from its service for various reasons.  PodcastOne is one of those companies.  It made the move when it became aware that Luminary was carrying PodcastOne’s podcasts without permission.  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since Luminary’s focus has been promoted solely as a paid subscription model, we were surprised to see them also use the free model which they have spoken negatively about and compete against.  If they want to reach our audience to promote their site, then they should do the ‘unthinkable’ and advertise in our podcasts as hundreds of other advertisers do.”

WPG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley to Receive Inaugural Broadcaster of the Year Award from NJBA. Atlantic City morning drive personality Harry Hurley – heard daily on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WPGG-AM – is being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association at its 71st Conference and Gala this summer with the first-ever “Broadcaster of the Year” award.  NJBA president and CEO Paul S. Rotella, Esq. says Hurley meets all of the criteria for this award “with a high degree of professionalism and a passionate dedication to his craft and the NJBA is very proud of our inaugural ‘Broadcaster of the Year’ recipient!”

Mueller Report Aftermath/Impeachment Talk, Trump vs Subpoenas, 2020 Presidential Politics/Biden Enters Race, Financial Markets Rally, Southern Border Crisis, Sri Lanka Bombings Aftermath, Putin-Kim Meeting, ‘Jeopardy!’ Record Breaker, Avengers: Endgame Film, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24). The response to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ debate over impeachment possibilities; President Trump’s rejection of subpoenas from the U.S. House; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020, including Joe Biden’s entry into the race; U.S. financial markets hit records in latest rally; the state of the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border; ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings; Russia’s Vladimir Putin meets with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the record-breaking “Jeopardy!” streak by James Holzhauer; the new Marvel Comics film Avengers: Endgame; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Panel Discussion to Address the Challenges Facing Talk Radio by Heightened Political Correctness.  One of the many highlights planned for the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City will be an extremely timely and pertinent panel discussion focusing on the challenges being faced by talk radio during the current era of heightened political correctness.  Titled “Talk Radio in the Era of ‘Watch What You Say,’” the session will feature panelists Michael Berry, host, “The Michael Berry Show”; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart MediaBrett Winterble, host KFMB-AM, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO-AM, Providence. The session will be moderated by Bill Hess, VP of news/talk, Cumulus Media and program director, WMAL, Washington, DC.  Talk radio depends on the free-wheeling exchange of ideas, tolerance for controversy, and, most important, a healthy understanding of and respect for the First Amendment in order to operate effectively. These tenets are clearly under assault in the age of advertiser boycotts, righteous indignation and widespread hypocrisy.  This session will earnestly attempt to identify the issues at play and offer solutions to overcome the challenges and obstacles they present. Don’t miss this session!  The TALKERS convention is rapidly heading toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Phoenix classic hits outlet KOOL-FM adds market radio personality Dee Garcia to its morning drive “The Niko Show” with host Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou.  She joins the Entercom station after having worked in the Valley at such stations as hot AC KMVA-FM and hip hop KKFR.  She says of her new gig, “I am honored to join Niko on ‘The Niko Show’ on KOOL.  Niko and [producer Abe] are positive, fun, and hardworking.  They are exactly the kind of people that you want to share your mornings with.”…..Alpha Media’s hot AC KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota “Mix 99.1” names Zannie Kaye program director and morning drive personality.  Cluster operations manager Jeff Spence says, “We are more than excited to add Zannie Kaye to our Alpha Mankato team as our new host for the ‘Mix 99.1’ morning show and PD duties.  Zannie has a lot of experience and has had a terrific career in lots of different markets, including Minneapolis.  His energy is contagious and his warm and funny nature will win fans over immediately.”…..SummitMedia appoints sales pro Larry Jennings general sales manager for its Birmingham, Alabama stations that include: urban contemporary WBHK “98.7 KISS FM,” hip hop WBHJ “95.7 JAMZ,” and Gospel WAGG-AM “HEAVEN 610.” SummitMedia market president John Walker says, “Larry is exactly the professional we were looking for to lead our outstanding team. He has a proven track record of team building, talent development, client relations, community involvement, and revenue performance.”…..Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia rock station WMMR-FM signs morning team “Preston and Steve” – Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison – to a new, multiyear contract extension.  The duo joined WMMR in May of 2005 and Beasley says the show has “maintained the top-rated morning show position in Philadelphia” since it launched.  The company says the show has “led the way in embracing innovative multi-platform initiatives, including creating daily, full-show and highlight episode podcasts, inventing their own ringtone service, producing daily/weekly video programs, and cultivating a formidable social media audience.”  Pictured below (from l-r) are: agent Glenn Goldstein, BBGI president Bruce Beasley, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Elliot, Morrison, Beasley Philly market manager Joe Bell, Beasley EVP of strategy and innovation Buzz Knight, and Beasley rock format brand manager Bill WestonPhoto: BP Miller/Chorus Photography

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

| August 28, 2018

News/Talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Cuts Ties with Jeff Styles. The longtime WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality had been suspended by Cumulus Media after his arrest on aggravated assault charges stemming from a road rage incident on June 15.  Now, after the station’s internal investigation, Jeff Styles has been let go from the news/talk outlet.  A portion of the station’s statement says, “There is nothing more we can say about it because we do not know the specific considerations and scope of the internal investigation nor the specific findings of the internal investigation.”  Styles recently launched a website dedicated to telling his side of the story.  During the incident, Styles was shot in the arm by motorist Nickolas Bullington.  On the JeffStylesAmerica.com site, he lays out his explanation of what happened during the confrontation with Bullington and displays Bullington’s history of court appearances and motor vehicle violations.  Styles’ attorney had argued that there was no probable cause to charge Styles but the judge eventually bound the case over to a grand jury.  WGOW-FM’s “The Morning Press” show is being hosted by Jim Reynolds and program director Kevin West.

WABC, New York Launches ‘Sid Sports Sunday’ Program.  Beginning September 9, WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg debuts his new, weekly sports talk show, “Sid Sports Sunday” from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Cumulus Media’s news/talk 77 WABC Radio.  Rosenberg co-hosts the station’s “Bernie and Sid in the Morning” program with Bernard McGuirk.  The station says the show “is created with the listener’s sports needs at its epicenter – from expert fantasy picks, to incredible player interviews, to live look-in’s at stadiums across the country.”  Cumulus Media New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez adds, “Our listeners and our advertisers have been begging for Sid to contribute to New York’s explosive sports conversation with more regularity.  ‘Sid Sports Sunday’ will cover it all every week.”  Rosenberg says, “I’m so proud of the work we do daily on the ‘Bernie and Sid in the Morning’ show. There is no better variety show in the country. But it is no secret that I wanted to get back to my roots and host a serious sports show. I want to thank Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb for this wonderful opportunity.”

Annual WEEI-NESN Jimmy Fund Radiothon Raises More Than $4.4 million.  This year’s fundraiser was the 16th annual to benefit the Boston-based Jimmy Fund that supports adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  WEEI launched the fundraiser in 2002, regional sports cable channel NESN joined the cause in 2003.  This year’s event helped raise more than $4.4 million and, to date, the “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” has raised more than $53 million.  Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “The Jimmy Fund makes significant contributions to those battling cancer in the Boston area and we are proud to support its efforts through this yearly event.  It is an honor for our team to give back to the community by raising funds on behalf of the organization and we are blown away by the incredible generosity of WEEI listeners who make this event so successful year in and year out.”

Rich Brody to Wrap 45-Year Sales Career This October.  Currently serving as an account executive for Beasley Media Group’s classic hits WROR-FM, Boston, Richard Brody will retire from the radio business on October 26 after 45 years of service to the Boston radio industry.  The company says that in addition to being an “extraordinary and award-winning sales professional,” Brody is known as “a great mentor and friend, and fierce advocate for the radio industry as a whole.” During his career, Brody hosted a jazz program on WCAS, Cambridge and worked in the sales department at Boston stations including: WCOZ, WBCN, WVBF, WXKS “Kiss 108,” Mix 98.5 (now Mix 104.1), WZLX, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and, of course, WROR.  Beasley Media Boston GSM Jesse Carbone says, “When Richard Brody walked into my office a couple of weeks ago and said he was ready to retire, at first I didn’t believe him.  I didn’t think Rich would ever stop working, but after a few minutes I realized it was in fact true.  The guy who had spent more than four decades becoming a legend in the radio industry was finally ready to travel, visit family and friends, and hopefully sleep past 3:00 am.  Throughout his career, Rich not only sold the stations for which he worked but he also championed the medium with unmatched passion.  The radio industry will not be the same without him.”

Edison Research: 54% of Radio Listeners Hear Medium ONLY in the Car.  This data point is one of a number from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study that will be revealed during the company’s presentation at the NAB/RAB’s Radio Show in Orlando.  As you can see in the infographic above, the younger a consumer gets, the more they only hear radio in the car.  Find out more from Edison Research at its “Miles Different: In-Car Audio 2018” presentation on September 27 at 1:30 pm at the Radio Show.

NextRadio Available on New Samsung Galaxy Note9. The inclusion of an FM chip and the support for NextRadio by Samsung on its new Galaxy Note9 is thrilling for NextRadio, says NextRadio president Paul Brenner.  “The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is especially exciting, as this model is a showcase for premium technology and industry-defining innovation. We look forward to the Galaxy Note9 being available to millions of users who will be able to listen to free radio on their phone in North America…Through the free NextRadio app, Galaxy Note9 consumers can listen to live, local radio stations.  Also, when cellular coverage is congested or unavailable, the FM chip will provide life-saving information from local radio stations.”

iHeartMedia’s AUTOFLYTE EDGE Launched to Assist Auto Dealers in Marketing Decisions. This marketing tool for auto dealerships is a collaborative effort between iHeartMedia and AUTOFLYTE that features daily sales and market share data throughout each region to help dealerships market smarter and faster.  iHeartMedia says, “In an age when real-time analytics and insights are vital to a business’ success, dealerships have been confined to analyzing OEM reports and 60- to 90-day-old registration data to guide their sales and marketing strategies.  Now, for the first time, auto dealerships will be able to utilize iHeartMedia’s AUTOFLYTE EDGE tool to receive up-to-date, daily automotive sales insights from their surrounding area, allowing them to completely customize and quickly update their sales and marketing strategies based on current market dynamics and trends.” iHeartMedia EVP of automotive business developments & partnerships John Karpinski says, “We are committed to technology-driven innovation and having the ability to offer even more targeting solutions for our advertisers that leverage the unparalleled local reach of radio.  AUTOFLYTE has partnered with the industry authority for automotive sales statistics to create the most powerful and credible insights tool available and we have partnered with AUTOFLYTE to bring this revolutionary technology to the market. With the new AUTOFLYTE EDGE platform, we will provide our auto partners the ability to break free from previous automotive marketing confinements and use timely information to precisely target new buyers.”

TALKERS News Notes. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia executive producer Eric Camille is promoted to assistant program director for the Beasley Media Group sports talker. Camille joined “97.5 The Fanatic” in 2009.  Program director Eric Johnson says, “Eric Camille cares deeply about ‘The Fanatic.’  It shows in everything he does…whether it’s creating compelling imaging, making sure of all our on-air schedules are coordinated, or acting as a programming, sales and promotions liaison.  It’s a privilege to have him on our team.”…..The Federal Communications Commission is getting into the podcast game with a new series called, “More Than Seven Dirty Words,” designed to educate and, as the press release says, “maybe even do the impossible: make telecom interesting.” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai comments, “One of the wonderful things about the digital age is the many ways to share information, so we’re excited to launch this new FCC podcast.  What really has struck me during my time at the agency is the dedication that our staff has for the mission of the FCC, and I’m glad we’re able to shine a light on their efforts to make America a better, stronger place.”  The podcast is hosted by FCC policy advisor Evan Swarztrauber.  Guests will share their personal stories behind some of the headline-making news from the commission and break down issues across the spectrum of the FCC…..There are two management announcements from Midwest Communications as the company brings former NRG Media Omaha market manager Kurt Luchs aboard to oversee its five-station Kalamazoo cluster that includes news/talk WKZO and sports talk WQLR.  Also in Michigan, Midwest appoints Mark Jaycox manager of the four-station Lansing group that includes sports talk WQTX-FM.  Most recently, Jaycox was with Adams Outdoor’s Lansing office…..Kevin Gabbay joins news/talk 77 WABC, New York and the rest of the Cumulus Media New York cluster as director of marketing & promotions…..According to a report in Variety, ESPN is making some changes to the “Get Up!” morning program hosted by Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle, and Jalen Rose.  The story says Beadle is exiting the show and re-locating to Los Angeles to focus on her other ESPN duties, including hosting “NBA Countdown.”  Jalen Rose will continue to appear on “Get Up!” when his “NBA Countdown” duties allow.  Greenberg exited the successful ESPN Radio “Mike & Mike” show to take on the role hosting mornings on the company’s flagship cable channel…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live coverage of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York…..Westwood One is continuing to urge all major commercial broadcast radio stations to register their existing C Band downlinks with the FCC before the Commission evaluates the 3.7-4.2 Ghz C Band for additional mobile broadband data services. These potential services could create insurmountable interference to programming that thousands of stations receive by satellite. The deadline for registration is now October 17, 2018.  Typically, registration requires a Frequency Coordination Study ($1,500) plus a $435 filing fee. During the 90-day window, the FCC waived the first fee and only the $435 filing fee applies. It is possible the FCC will later charge the $1,500 study fee. Westwood One’s satellite provider, SES, has set aside a pool of funding to reimburse those broadcasters for whom the $435 registration fee is a hardship. This reimbursement is subject to the terms set by SES for earth stations registered between July 25, 2018 and October 17, 2018 in the continental United States.  For questions, contact SES directly at FCCregistration@ses.com

John McCain’s Passing, Trump-Russia Investigation, Lanny Davis-CNN Story Controversy, Trump Announces U.S.-Mexico Trade Deal, Deadly Jacksonville Shooting, NFL Pre-season, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). The passing of Arizona Senator John McCain, the White House’s reaction, and speculation about who will fill his seat; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Michael Cohen attorney Lanny Davis admits to being source of CNN story that claimed Trump had knowledge of Trump Tower-Russia meeting; President Trump announces steps toward new trade deal with Mexico; the aftermath of the deadly shooting at an egame competition in Jacksonville; the NFL’s pre-season; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Chuck Fredrick to Lead Cumulus Indianapolis. Former iHeartMedia Cincinnati market manager Chuck Fredrick is joining Cumulus Media as vice president and market manager for its Indianapolis cluster that includes CHR WYRG, country WFMS, and classic hits WJJK.  Fredrick comments, “Grateful to Mary Berner and Dave Milner for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do.  I am especially excited about joining and partnering with the Indianapolis team, giving our best in all that we do.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Kansas City hot AC KZPT “99.7 The Point” announces its new morning show will be “Ponch & Nikki in the Morning” featuring Brian “Ponch” Hudgens and Nikki Vivas.  Ponch joins the Entercom station after working for 17 years at Steel City Media’s crosstown CHR KMVX “MIX 93.3.”  He says in a Facebook post, “I’m coming back to morning radio in Kansas City on ‘99.7 The Point!’  I will also continue my journey with Strange Music.  Managing, promoting, and developing some of the best artists on the planet!  Music and radio are two of my BIGGEST passions.  Being able to do both, I am literally living my dream.  As a bonus I get to do a morning show with one of my dearest/closest friends, Nikki Vivas!!!”…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Lou Lombardo is the new midday jock at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois.  Lombardo previously worked at Cumulus Media’s alt rock WKQX, Chicago…..News about the new morning show at Community Broadcasters-owned alternative WZLB, Fort Walton Beach “103.1 The Blaze” is expected soon as station program director Wes Styles announces the station has ended its carriage of the “Bubba the Love Sponge” program.  Styles comments, “We’re excited about the evolution of the station.  A new logo, voice, and morning show.  Things are happening at ‘THE BLAZE!’  And we are confident these changes will create a better listening experience for our devoted fans and an enhanced advertising environment for our clients.”…..Chicago radio pro LaMont WattsFuture Vision Entertainment is buying two FM translators from Windy City Broadcasting for $3.5 million.  They will be fed by an HD signal of SBS’ WLEY-FM and will air Watts’ “Clubsteppin” R&B format that currently airs online.  The translators are W236CF, Chicago (atop the Willis Tower) and W236BF licensed to suburban Bolingbrook.

Friday, May 25, 2018

| May 25, 2018

Gregg Henson Named WRVA and WRNL, Richmond Program Director.  Talk radio pro Gregg Henson is named program director for Richmond stations news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910.” Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We are very excited about the addition of Gregg to the Richmond team.  Entercom is the leader in news and sports radio and we’re confident Gregg’s extensive industry experience will ensure that we continue to bring the most engaging content to our listeners.”  Henson has worked in sports talk in Detroit as well as in news/talk in markets including Dallas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Townsquare Media Sells North American Midway Entertainment Back to Previous Owner.  Three years ago, Townsquare Media, Inc paid $75.5 million for North American Midway Entertainment and it was the lynchpin of the company’s Entertainment division.  Now, Townsquare is selling the mobile amusement company back to previous owner Danny Huston for $23.5 million. Townsquare has made no secret of the fact that the investment hasn’t panned out, so the sale is not surprising.  In addition to the cash sale price, Townsquare also stands to benefit if Huston sells the company within the next 10 years. It would get a 15% residual interest in any future proceeds of a sale.  Townsquare says it will hang on to the net proceeds from this sale, “pending future investment.”  For the year ended December 31, 2017, NAME generated net revenue of $92.2 million and a net loss of $33.7 million.

Alex Jones Sued by Sandy Hook Families.  The anger in Newtown, Connecticut – and beyond – over talk show host and InfoWars chief Alex Jones’ assertions that the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax has boiled over into a new lawsuit against the broadcaster filed by four families of the slain children, two families of killed educators, and one FBI agent.  The suit also names Wolfgang Halbig and Cory Slanka – who assisted in video production and website management – as well as Jones radio syndicator Genesis Communications Network.  The suit – filed in state court in Connecticut – alleges that Jones does not believe that the massacre was a hoax but continued to promote the narrative on his program and on his website. “Jones is the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims and promote their harassment and abuse…the Jones defendants concoct elaborate and false paranoia-tinged conspiracy theories because it moves product and they make money.  Not because they truly believe what they are saying, but rather because it increases profits.”  The five counts in the suit are: invasion of privacy by false light; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and unfair trade practices.  Jones addressed the suit on his radio program this week saying the allegations in the suit are “out of context.”  Jones is also being sued in Texas state court by two other families of Sandy Hook victims.

Entercom Promotes Nine in Senior Management. President and CEO David Field says, “We are fortunate to have such a talented team of leaders at Entercom and it is a pleasure to be able to promote several of them today in recognition of their increasing roles and responsibilities.  These are exciting times at the company and as we roll ahead with our investments and execute our transformational plans, we will continue to offer meaningful professional growth opportunities for our top performers.” The promotions include the following: Fred Bennett, senior vice president, Traffic Weather Information Network; JD Crowley, chief digital officer; Mike Dash, senior vice president and deputy general counsel; Liana Huth, senior vice president, programming innovation; Jen Morelli, senior vice president, events and experiences; Jenny Nelson, senior vice president, ad sales marketing; John Pacino, senior vice president, product and engineering; Sam Rogers, senior vice president, national sales; and Jeff Sottolano, senior vice president, radio and Radio.com programming.  Chief operating officer Weezie Kramer adds, “This is a strategic move to position ourselves for success in the long-term.  We are making great progress and we are excited about where we are headed.  With this new, elevated leadership structure, we are poised to maximize our capabilities and scale as one of the best radio broadcast operators in the industry.”

Canceled North Korea Summit Top News/Talk Story This Week. The canceled summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia Investigation.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China trade and military relations, followed by the state of the Iran nucleal deal 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. June 30 is the last publication day for most Cox Media Group’s sports verticals, including SECCountry.com, Landof10.com, and Diehards.com.  CMG has not explained the reason behind the move. Usually, lack of revenue is the reason for shutting down a business, but SEC Country’s Christopher Smith tweeted, “The Cox Media Group sports verticals grew traffic 36.9 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.  We were rocking it.  Even our Facebook traffic was up.”…..This morning (5/25), WFAN, New York morning team Boomer Esiason and Greg Gionnatti broadcast their show live from Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey for their “Boomer and Gio’s Kickoff to Summer” show. The program featured the live music of Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. It also included a “Hairiest Back Contest” during the broadcast…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti are booth announcers for the series and former NHL center Ray Ferraro will serve as rinkside reporter with Florida Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein hosting the pre-game, intermission, and post-game reports.

Brian Kilmeade Scores Exclusive POTUS Interview.  When President Trump spoke at a forum in the Long Island community of Bethpage Wednesday (5/23) discussing the problem of violent MS-13 gang-related activity in that town and across the country, FOX radio and TV talk personality Brian Kilmeade was on hand to cover it.  In the process, Kilmeade scored an exclusive stand-up interview with the president that covered a variety of issues pertaining to gang violence and the broader topic of border security and immigration reform.  The president defended his recent comment describing gang criminals as “animals” by describing MS-13 members as being “stone cold killers…vicious killers.”  The extensive interview ran yesterday on the FOX News Channel’s morning show “Fox & Friends” co-hosted by Kilmeade along with Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

Radio Historian and Videographer Art Vuolo Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted radio historian and videographer Art Vuolo is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Vuolo has been chronicling radio conferences for nearly 30 years and archiving the very best radio personalities on video since 1979. He has recorded video of some of the greatest on-air legends in studio doing their shows. In many cases, these are the only recorded documents of these figures in existence. His entire library will be featured in a permanent exhibit soon to be unveiled at the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. Harrison describes Vuolo as “the biggest devotee of American radio that I have ever met.” He was aptly dubbed “Radio’s Best Friend” by legendary DJ (and current WCBS-FM, New York morning host) Scott Shannon in the early 1980’s… a moniker that has stuck over the years. On June 8, Vuolo will be the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Lifetime Achievement award at the annual TALKERS convention in New York City, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Harrison and Vuolo take a deep-dive conversation into the golden era of radio’s top 40/personality stations and then some. This interview is a radio freak’s delight. To listen to the entire podcast, 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.

TALKERS Magazine Posts the 2018 Heavy Hundred. The 2018 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” has been posted. This annual list – compiled by the editors of TALKERS and known informally as the Heavy Hundred – ranks American radio talk show hosts in importance from one to 100. Today, TALKERS presents the 24thedition of this prestigious list in which the editors use a number of hard and soft factors in creating the ranking, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task. This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously. Congratulations to all of the radio talk show hosts who made this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits-Oldies. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic hits-oldies.  Kinosian reports that 59% of qualifying classic hits-oldies stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers go up from April 2017 to April 2018.  There were nine stations that ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets and 21 that ranked in the top three.  iHeartMedia’s WWSW, Pittsburgh “3WS” wears the April crown for the highest 6+ market share at 11.2%.  See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The campaign to get a Detroit street named after Bob Seger continues as Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM promises to play 24 hours of Seger’s music on June 2 to drum up support for the effort.  The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” challenged WCSX-FM program director Jerry Tarrants, saying they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page.  Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed.  As a result, listeners will be able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station…..In Rochester, Entercom’s classic rock WCMF is hosting the annual Roc City Rib Fest – a BBQ and music festival featuring nationwide and local food favorites. The four-day, family-friendly festival will feature live music from Sean Patrick McGraw, Branded, and Kid Kurry, among others…..iHeartRadio is presenting holiday weekend-themed content.  Today it launched a suite of playlists “perfect for kicking back and enjoying this weekend.  From playlists to enjoy the unofficial start of summer to patriotic anthems to reflect and honor those who give everything for our freedom, iHeartRadio has what you are looking for.”