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Monday, March 1, 2021

| March 1, 2021

Monday Memo: On the Air, In the Air. Repetition is a powerful radio tactic. As billion-plus-dollar lawsuits and corporate censorship edicts throttle toxic talk post-January 6, consultant Holland Cooke asks, “Should it take that?” In this week’s column, he cautions that credibility is on thin ice. Read it here.

Pending Business: Stop Fighting, Start Selling. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that the natural reaction from sellers who face objections is to fight. “Your overwhelming instinct is to defend the pitch as designed and sidestep the objections. The poise and discipline you’ve practiced when physically face-to-face with your advertiser is lost in the current fast-moving, rapid-response world of email and text. You push your point instead of ‘listening’ to the voice behind the words in the email, text, or other digital reply.” Read Lapa’s six steps for overcoming this urge here.

Round Four of January PPM Ratings Survey Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM rises 1.5 shares to finish with a 5.7 share and the #4 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh jumps from #5 to #3 after tacking on 1.6 shares for a 7.0 share finish. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM jumps to #1 after adding 1.3 shares to finish the survey with an 8.9 share. And in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM takes over the #1 rank after adding 2.8 shares for an 11.0 share, while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ-AM rises a half share to a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.

John Fredericks Expands Radio Network into Atlanta. In a Local Marketing Agreement deal with WMLB-AM, Avondale Estates, Georgia owner Delmarva Educational Association, the Richmond, Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network begins programming the station and launches a conservative talk format. Talk host and CEO John Fredericks says, “News/talk radio is the last bastion of free and unencumbered speech in America. It’s our final frontier of free speech, and it’s a community devoid of the cancel culture now stifling and squashing free and open discussion in our country. We are honored to bring our fresh and dynamic brand of news/talk radio and cutting-edge commentary to our Atlanta metro listeners.” In conjunction with the launch of the format, John Fredericks Radio Network announces the launch of the daily “Doug Collins Show” hosted by the former Georgia Congressman. It will air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on WMLB-AM. Fredericks adds, “We are very excited to have Doug as part of our radio syndicated network and I believe his show will become immediate must-listen radio not only in Georgia but nationally. Doug has always had his finger on the pulse of America.” Collins’ show will also air live on Fredericks-owned stations in WJFN-AM/W224EB, Chester, Virginia and WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia.

Entercom Makes Lineup Changes at Portland’s ‘1080 The Fan’; Brings AJ McCord Aboard as Midday Co-Host. Portland sports talk outlet KFXX-AM, Portland, “1080 The Fan” announces the addition of KOIN-TV sportscaster AJ McCord to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show alongside Dusty Harrah for the “AJ and Dusty” show. Harrah moves from morning drive as the midday “Dirt and Sprague” show with Andy “Dirt” Johnson and Brandon Sprague shifts to morning drive. FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” continues in the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm slot and “Primetime with Isaac and Suke” featuring Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec continues in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “I’m so excited about this enhanced lineup. With Dirt and Sprague making the well-deserved move to mornings and the addition of AJ McCord in middays, ‘1080 The Fan’ will continue to provide the best content and entertainment for our listeners, and results for our advertisers.”

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Morning Radio Host Russ Martin Dead at 60. Dallas morning drive personality Russ Martin – host of the “Russ Martin Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KEGL-FM, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” – was found unresponsive at his home in Frisco, Texas early Saturday morning after a friend performed a wellness check. Authorities say the cause of death has not been determined but say that at this point, there is no foul play suspected. Martin was a longtime North Texas radio personality. He hosted an eponymous show on then-CBS Radio’s “Free FM” hot talk format on then KLLI-FM prior to its flip to sports talk as KRLD-FM “The Fan” in 2008. He joined KEGL in 2010.

Key Networks Launches ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ on 100 SportsMap Radio Affiliates. The radio show “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” hosted by Michael Barr, is debuting today on 100 SportsMap Radio affiliate stations across the country. Key Networks is syndicating the program that “takes listeners inside the business end of the sports world and explains what it means to fans and their pocketbooks. The show follows the money in the world of sports and the decisions that power the multi-billion-dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show reports on sports trades, salaries, endorsements, contracts, collective bargaining and more – all from an insider’s perspective and explains the money behind the final score.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “In today’s world, sports and business align more than ever. There is no brand better equipped than Bloomberg to report on the news and events that impact the business side of sports. We are delighted to bring this content to the SportsMap network and their affiliates around the country.”

iHeartMedia Launches ‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ in Toledo. WCWA-AM, Toledo is now “FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler.” Station owner iHeartMedia announces the programming lineup will consist of content from FOX Sports Radio and VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network). The company says the lineup will offer listeners betting guides, handicapping and strategies plus signature programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” as well as highly respected Toledo sportscaster Anthony Bellino on weekday mornings. iHeartMedia Ohio and West Virginia SVP of programming Scott Sands says, “‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, assisting our growing audience in navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

Trump at CPAC, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Biden’s Stimulus Bill/Minimum Wage Issue, Cuomo Allegations, Virginia Legalizes Pot, Myanmar Protests, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former President Donald Trump speaks at the final day of the CPAC in Orlando; the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is approved, and concerns about variants; President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package passes the House and the battle over the $15/hour minimum wage proposal; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and increasing calls for his resignation; Virginia becomes the 16th state to legalize marijuana; more violent protests break out in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s virtual Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, February 1, 2021

| February 1, 2021

Mark Chernoff to Retire from WFAN, New York. An internal memo from Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero reveals that longtime WFAN program director Mark Chernoff will retire from his position with the station this year. Oliviero’s memo states: “After nearly 30 years of unmatched success, our colleague and industry programming icon, Mark Chernoff, will step down from day-to-day oversight of WFAN and CBS SPORTS RADIO later in 2021 after a worthy successor has been identified – which trust me will be no easy task. Since no one knows the job better, Mark will be a member of the search committee for the next sports content lead for both brands and, until that time, will remain fully responsible for all operations. Also, Mark will continue on as an advisor to WFAN after the search and transition is complete. I was lucky enough to first meet Mark in 1998 in his windowless sub-sub-basement office out at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. I was a college grad groveling for part-time board op shifts at WFAN. That began a relationship that has evolved into one of the most rewarding, important and genuine friendships of my entire life. One that I have and always will cherish. When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of ‘The  Fan’ than ‘Chernoff.’”

Monday Memo: Cancel Culture Canceled! “Cooperstown controversy! Social media malpractice! First Amendment flap! COVID contagion! Giddy over GameStop!” Anxious alliteration aside, this week’s column from Holland Cooke forewarns fake news fabricators. Read it here.

COVID-19/Vaccine Rollout, Trump Impeachment, GOP Election Deniers/‘Country First’ Drive, GameStop Trading/Financial Markets Activity, Putin Protests, and Myanmar Military Coup Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll and the complications affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; Republican members of congress still implying that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, led by Georgia’s MarjorieTaylor Greene, and the “Country First” drive to “save the GOP” being launched by U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger; the GameStop trading saga and the global financial markets activity; the protests in Russia over Vladimir Putin’s detention of critic Alexei Navalny; and the military detains Myanmar’s leaders were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: All Impressions Are Not Created Equal. Radio sellers are hawking impressions to potential buyers. But, as sales and management pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, all impressions are not created equal. Just as your body uses the same amount of calories from an apple and a processed snack differently, the various “products” your station offers have different impression values. Read more here.

Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The annual Holiday PPM survey is usually not kind to the all-news and news/talk formats due in part to holiday music listening and the changes in listeners’ daily lifestyles because of the holiday season. However, this year was a little different because of the historical aftermath of the November elections. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR dipped only slightly from a 2.8 share in the December survey to a 2.4 share in the Holiday survey. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI adds one-tenth to finish with a 4.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. While Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM was flat at a 6.8 share and the #3 rank, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM was up nine-tenths for a 3.7 share finish at the #7 rank. Meanwhile, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remained the #1 ranked station while dipping seven-tenths to a 9.0 share. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle also stayed in the #1 position while flat with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Remembering the King. Pictured above are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and media consultant and host of RT America’s “The Big Picture,” Holland Cooke, as they discuss the talk media career of Larry King, who died at age 87 last weekend. During Harrison’s appearance, they also talked about Rush Limbaugh and the nature of today’s media. See it here.

‘ESPN Charlotte’ Expands Local Afternoon Drive Show. “The Afternoon Rush” program on 2G Media’s sports talk WZGV-AM/W248CO, Charlotte expands as program director and co-host Bobby Rosinski (left) moves morning personality Molly Cotten (center) to the afternoon show alongside himself and co-host Mark Yarbro (right). Cotten had been co-hosting the morning program with Walker Mehl. The station begins airing ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin” in morning drive with Mehl continuing to host the morning edition of “SportsCenter CLT” as well as an evening edition of the program airing at 6:00 pm.

Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia to Launch New Podcast Network. A collaborative effort between Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia is producing another podcast network, this one called “The Volume.” The two partners have already created “The Herd Podcast Network.” Colin Cowherd says, “There has never been a more exciting time to develop new sports content. Podcasts have totally changed the game, and the expanded use of sports gambling makes this the perfect moment to launch this endeavor. I’m thrilled to work with iHeartRadio and this dynamic group of talent to start building ‘The Volume.’” FanDuel has signed on as a primary sponsor. Five new podcasts will appear on the network that debuts today (2/1): A new “Colin Cowherd Podcast”; an NBA-themed show called “The Jenkins & Jonez Podcast” starring LaJethro Jenkins and Dragonfly Jonez; “Moneyline Monaco” hosted by comedian and sports gambling fanatic Alex Monaco; “Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette” focusing on combat sports; and “Catchin’ Fades With Aqib Talib,” an NFL show hosted by Aqib Talib.

TALKERS News Notes. PhillyVoice.com reports that longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Marc Farzetta is starting his own streaming sports talk show via YouTube called, “The Farzy Show with Marc Farzetta.” Farzetta was let go by Beasley Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in early December. Prior to his two years with WPEN, he served with Entercom’s crosstown WIP for 13 years. The new program streams from 6:00 am to 7:00 am daily. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Hugh Douglas (a former co-host of Farzetta’s) will be a recurring guest on the program…..Nationally syndicated talk host Thom Hartmann publishes his latest book this week. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy — Reclaiming our Democracy from The Ruling Class (2021, Berrett-Koehler Publishers). The publisher says that in this book Hartmann “lays out the ways in which inequality in America has shifted over the last 50 years and identifies a handful of sensical, powerful solutions that address these issues at different levels, such as getting money out of politics, addressing social despair and economic inequality, strengthening democratic institutions of governance, and fighting fear.”…..Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte helped raise $255,000 for three charities in the Charlotte area. In partnership with Moments of Hope Church, WBT was able to donate $85,000 each to The Charlotte Rescue Mission, Kings Kitchen, and Camino Community Center. The awarding of the funds took place on “The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson,” along with Moments of Hope Church pastor David Chadwick (who hosts a Sunday morning show on WBT) present. The live broadcast resulted in an additional $5,000 being donated, which was matched by Moments of Hope and rounded up so that the final total was $270,000, with each charity receiving $90,000…..GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured at left getting her first COVID-19 shot from Pfizer. She says, “It was painless going in, but the next day or two I had some muscle aches, fatigue, and nausea. Thirty hours later, however, I felt great. I know the vaccine scares a lot of people and new variants keep popping up, but I feel we need to protect and plan for the here and now, with expectations that booster shots will be required for the newer strains. The vaccination is not without its risks but COVID illness is much riskier.”

Monday, September 28, 2020

| September 28, 2020

Monday Memo: It’s Not Debatable. As the president and his challenger prepare to take the stage tomorrow night, consultant Holland Cooke can’t resist an analogy about radio programming vs. digital challengers. Read it here.

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated for SCOTUS Seat, the Presidential Race/Tuesday Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, NYTimes Trump Tax Story, BML Movement/Protests, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The president introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and projections for future cases; the New York Times piece that details President Trump’s tax, income, and debt situation; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in numerous cities across the country; and the ongoing wildfires in California, Oregon and others were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartSports Network Debuts. The new iHeartSports Network from iHeartMedia launches today, “servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.” The company says the new network, “with a monthly reach of 75 million listeners, will feature some of the biggest names in sports including Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Joy Taylor and more.” The iHeartSports Network will deliver short-form national, regional local sports reports to listeners on formats that index high against sports interest, including rock, country, hip hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. The company adds, “Scarborough found that 83% of sports fans want a daily update. Nielsen confirms that 89% of sports fans listen to radio each week and radio listeners typically tune in multiple times per day. Research also indicates that almost two-thirds of sports fans do not have the time to seek out additional desired information, so the iHeartSports Network will deliver sports reports to listeners conveniently and timely wherever they are.” iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a product driven network responding to the interests of our listeners. People are passionate about sports and this will deliver the timely regional and local coverage they care most about along with the biggest national stories.”

Sarah Foss Joins Entercom as Chief Information Officer. Advertising executive Sarah Foss is named chief information officer for Entercom. In this role, Foss will “provide strategic direction and oversight for the design, development, acquisition, operation and support of the company’s enterprise technology systems and programs. She will also collaborate with cross-functional executives to create a vision for how digital, data and analytics, and new technologies can help create a differentiated experience and drive efficiency in operations.” Foss was most recently senior vice president, strategic initiatives for FreeWheel Advertisers. Prior to that role, she was general manager, ad tech for Imagine Communications. Entercom EVP and CFO Richard Schmaeling says, “This role is critical to our success in the constantly evolving media landscape and we’re thrilled to have Sarah on board. Her strong business acumen and enriched media technology intellect is incredibly valuable as we continue to evolve and elevate our business.” Foss adds, “I’m thrilled to be joining Entercom at this exciting time in media. We have a unique opportunity to leverage outstanding content and deep community relationships to reach new, targeted audiences through our digital and broadcast platforms. Smart technology choices will accelerate this for us.”

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign is tomorrow night (9/29) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and ABC News Radio is offering three hours of live, anchored coverage the night of the debate, including a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, FiveThirtyEight’s Galen Druke, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams. ABC News Radio will also offer multiple one-minute “Status Reports” throughout the night…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS-AM, Wichita takes home three top honors in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Television & Radio Awards. The station won first place for Complete Newscast by Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward, Jad Chambers, Ronelle Williams; Complete Sportscast by Ted Woodward; and Station Website…..A new podcast series called “The Frost Tapes” is coming to the iHeartRadioplatform. It is an original podcast featuring unheard interviews of towering figures in American life during the 1960s and 1970s conducted by legendary broadcaster David Frost and hosted by his son, Wilfred Frost. Debuting on October 6, the podcast will include unaired behind-the-scenes footage from Frost’s famous 28-hour interviews with Richard Nixon, and huge swathes of interviews that have not been heard since their original broadcast date 50 years ago.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Todd Schnitt is returning to morning drive in Tampa Bay in his alter ego MJ as “The MJ Morning Show” joins Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM “Q105,” effective October 5. As a result of this move, current longtime morning personality Mason Dixon takes over afternoon drive and Geno Knight shifts to middays. Schnitt continued to host his afternoon drive, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Schnitt Show.” The Schnitt Show on Compass Media Networks. Beasley Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Steve Triplett says, “We are excited and proud to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back on the legendary Q105. For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market. I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay!”…..Los Angeles-based “Valentine In The Morning” is the new morning program on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KSOF, Fresno “Soft Rock 98.9.” The program features Valentine along with his co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. To make room for the program, Teri-Ann Schlesser moves to middays…..Programming pro McConnell Adams is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Lansing station group. He’s been serving as brand manager for CHR WJIM-FM “97.5 Now” and adult contemporary WFMK. He says, “I am truly blessed for the opportunities I have been presented by this amazing company. Our multi-platform, ‘Local First’ strategy is second to none at delivering local, original content and entertainment. I am really excited to be working even closer with the talented team here to continue our amazing success.”…..Morning personality John Houston is retiring from Woof Inc’s adult contemporary WOOF-FM, Dothan, Alabama after a 44-year career in radio. The Dothan Eagle reports on Houston’s career and his decision to start sleeping in and spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Friday, August 14, 2020

| August 14, 2020

Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).

PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).

Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

| June 16, 2020

Longtime St. Louis Radio Personality Guy Phillips to Retire from KTRS-AM. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Guy Phillips will retire from news/talk KTRS where he’s been afternoon drive host since February of 2018. Phillips joined KLSQ-FM in 1979. It changed calls to KYKY-FM and he left the Entercom hot AC in 2018 to join KTRS. He tells the paper, “I’d say I thought about (retiring). I’m going to be 68 and I have a granddaughter now, our first. So, it just seemed like the right time.” Phillips was originally co-hosting the show with Julie Buck but she left in early 2019 and Heidi Glaus has been his co-hosted since then.

Florida Air Personalities Test Positive for COVID-19. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa “102.5 FM The Bone” air personalities Mike Calta and Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi, as well as three DJs from Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “Wild 94.1” have tested positive for COVID-19. Calta and his cast members work for Cox Media Group and are broadcasting from home studios for now. Beasley closed its St. Petersburg offices to all but essential employees after a staffer there tested positive.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19. Las Vegas morning drive talk host Heidi Harris told listeners via Facebook that she’s tested positive for COVID-19. Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She intends to do her radio show from home assuming she’s able to handle it.

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories.”  The two-hour, nightly syndicated storytelling radio show, “Our American Stories” produced by American Private Radio, continues to pick up major affiliates and receive stellar reviews. It is now making an impact in Texas having recently added KTRH, Houston and KRLD-AM, Dallas to its growing roster of what now totals more than 225 news/talk stations across the US.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently conducted a fascinating conversation with American Private Radio CEO and the host of “Our American Stories,” Lee Habeeb.  They discuss the program’s unique business model and non-partisan, storytelling approach to unifying the American public through positivity and a knowledge of history. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click here.

BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle CHOP, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, U.S. Re-Opening, SCOTUS Gay-Transgender Ruling, John Bolton Book, and Russia Jails Accused U.S. Spy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Protests in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oregon and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the status of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S. and the current outbreak in Beijing; the re-opening of states across the U.S.; the Supreme Court’s ruling against firing on the grounds of being gay or transgender; former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s book prepares for release; and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is sentenced to 16 years hard labor by Russia for espionage were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor Amy Jacobson’s ban from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been rescinded. Jacobson – with the assistance of the Liberty Justice Center – sued Pritzker and his press secretary after they banned her from press briefings because she appeared at a rally to protest the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They argued she lost her journalistic cred for taking “an extreme position” on the issue and speaking out about it. The Illinois attorney general’s office did not explain its decision but simply stated Jacobson is allowed to participate in press briefings “to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate.”…..At yesterday’s iHeartMedia Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Gary Barber and Brad Gerstner were elected to the company’s board of directors to serve as Class I directors, each for a three-year term ending at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Barber is co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and previously served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gerstner is founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital…..Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says he won’t rule out bringing former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton back to the station after he completes his prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts. Oliviero says it’s the question he gets asked the most. “I understand why people would ask that, especially based on our long history. But the answer is: Who knows? There are so many variables. That said, if a time in the future came where Craig had gotten his life back on track, fulfilled all that was asked of him and was in a position to resume his career, of course we’d talk and discuss.” Fifty-one-year-old Carton is one year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Cleveland Radio Stations to Present ‘Justice for All.’ Five radio groups operating in Cleveland are cooperating to present a 90-minute program titled, “Justice For All: A Conversation about Race, Equality and Inclusion,” that will air on 21 stations tomorrow (6/17) afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. The program will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and other area civic leaders. The show is being anchored by former WOIO-TV news anchor Romona Robinson. Broadcasters Radio One, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Good Karma Brands, and Salem Communications issued the following joint statement: “A discussion as significant as this one requires all of us to come together and listen to each other. Together, our radio stations reach more than 95% of the people in Cleveland – people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We all recognize this unique inflection point in the history of our city and our country. Now is the time to share in a meaningful dialogue that allows us to hear people on all sides, recognize our similar views and discuss how we can begin to work together toward meaningful progress, including justice and equity for all.”

New Format for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The Radio Mercury Awards Advisory Council and the RAB executive committee are announcing “a shift to the 2020 awards competition, a new slate of award categories and a virtual event in lieu of the previously publicized NYC event.” Submissions to the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards are free and open to agencies, advertisers, radio stations/groups, production companies and students. There will be no prize monies or trophies given in 2020. Current Radio Mercury Awards entrants will have their work automatically moved into the 2021 competition. Additionally, 2020 winners will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The Radio Mercury Awards has a long-lasting heritage and reputation in recognizing outstanding radio creative. The advertising and radio industries have put a lot of heart and soul into serving their consumers during COVID-19, and we are looking forward to honoring the excellence of the creative community.” Honorees will be announced via a livestream event at 7:00 pm ET on October 6, 2020.

MIW Radio Group Announces Mentoring Program’s 2020 Class. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2020. Each year, four candidates from the radio industry, representing the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines, are selected annually for the mentoring program. The 2020 class is comprised of the following professionals (pictured above from l-r): Nicki DellaPosta, general sales manager, Entercom, Chicago; Jill Masek, director of sales, NRG Media, Lincoln, Nebraska; Dana Schaeffer, producer, ABC News Radio, New York; and Alyson Sprague, senior director of research & analytics, iHeartMedia. Entercom VP national agency partnerships Lindsay Adams, chair of the 2020 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and a 2006 graduate of the program, says, “The quantity and quality of candidates desiring to develop their careers in radio is astounding. Given the challenges we have all faced this year, the program will prove to be even more valuable to our 2020 mentees who highly reflect the excellence we’re seeing in applications. Let the mentoring begin!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Alpha Media flips KTFM-HD/W277CX from classic hip hop to rhythmic CHR as “WE 103.3.” Alpha Media executive vice president of content/programming Phil Becker comments, “Hip hop is the most consumed music in the world and one that our company is passionate about and believes in. The addition of ‘WE 103.3’ to our San Antonio cluster gives us the ability to offer our advertisers a new demographic and puts us in a great position to continue to be one of the markets most listened to radio operators.” The brand will be programmed by current CHR KTFM-FM program director Ernie Martinez…..On June 25, iHeartMedia and sponsor P&G are presenting “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community, ” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Artists taking part in the event include: Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, and more. iHeartMedia says the celebration will culminate in a one-hour special hosted by Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9:00 pm local time…..WTHR-TV, Indianapolis reports the death of Radio One regional Mexican “La Grande 105.1” program director Grisel Barajas. The 31-year-old also was a TV personality on Telemundo Indy. She died on Sunday (6/14) after being in a motorcycle accident. Barajas was a passenger on the motorcycle driven by her boyfriend, who survived the crash. Radio One RVP Deon Levingston states, “The sudden passing of Grisel Barajas has deeply shocked and saddened us. As the program director for ‘La Grande 105.1,’ Grisel was a valued colleague and trusted friend. She was taken away from us too soon and will be missed by all of us at Radio One Indianapolis and the entire Urban One family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Grisel’s family and friends.”