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Friday, September 25, 2020

| September 25, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Mensch, the Bench and the Stench!” looks back at this past week of September 21 – September 25, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Scott Sands, talk show host, WSPD, Toledo/SVP Programming, North Ohio Area, iHeartMedia Communities DivisionHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joe Thomas, talk show host/program director, WCHV, Charlottesville. 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 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

Edison Research Releases The Infinite Dial Profiles Listeners of Popular U.S. Radio Formats. Yesterday (9/24), Edison Research presented its latest webinar titled, “Radio Format Profiles: An Infinite Dial Study” that revealed data about P1 listeners based on 11 individual radio formats. The study was conducted in January and February of this year, prior to listening habits being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to P1 listeners of spoken-word radio such as news/talk and sports talk, there are stark differences in listening habits in a number of categories. For example, when it comes to online audio listening – listening to an AM/FM station online or a stream available only on the internet – sports talk P1s were tops among all radio format P1s with 82% (Persons 12+) saying they listened online in the last week. However, for news/talk P1s, just 51% had done the same, beating only classic hits P1s (39%). Listening to an AM/FM station online was again done most by sports talk P1s with 45% saying they had done so in the last week. News/talk P1s tied for third place, with 26% saying they had done so in the past week. Regarding podcast listening, news/talk P1 were in the bottom half of the 11 formats with 53% saying they had ever listened to a podcast and 32% saying they had listened to a podcast in the last week. Sports talk P1s were more into podcasts with 69% saying they had ever listened to a podcast and 40% (second only to alternative rock P1s) saying they had listened to a podcast in the last week.

Newsmax TV Debuts ‘The Benny Report.’ A new weekly program is premiering on Newsmax TV tomorrow evening (9/26) as Benny Johnson, conservative social media star and chief creative officer for Turning Point USA, debuts “The Benny Report” at 6:30 pm ET. Newsmax TV says, “If you’ve never experienced the world according to Benny, you’re in for a treat as this funny, quick-witted, viral storyteller shares his creative insights on the political world. Benny believes that entertaining tales told straight from the heart and without politically correct B.S. can win the culture war for conservative-thinking Americans… He has more than 1 million followers on his social media accounts and his viral political videos have racked up over 2 billion — that’s right, 2 billion — views on broadcast and online mediums.” Based in Washington, DC, Johnson previously served as viral politics editor at Independent Journal Review, BuzzFeed, TheBlaze, National Review and The Daily Caller.

The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Battle Over Filling Her Seat Top News/Talk Story for the Week of September 21-25. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and the Republican-led Senate’s determination to fill her seat before the November election was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the presidential race and the debate over the reliability of mail-in voting. Coming in at #3 was race relations, police reform, and the protests over the lack of charges against the police involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, followed by the U.S. COVID-19 statistics and projections 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 complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate will take place on Tuesday evening in Cleveland and FOX News Radio announces it is providing live coverage of it and the other three presidential and vice presidential debates. FNR says its coverage begins with an hour-long pre-show at 8:06 pm ET and will conclude at 11:29:50 pm ET. The debates themselves will be 90 minutes in length uninterrupted. Coverage will be led by FOX News Radio’s national correspondent Jared Halpern and FOX News Radio political analyst Josh Kraushaar…..According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio has fired KWMU-FM, St. Louis general manager Tim Eby after an investigation into allegations of unfair treatment of staffers of color. The group St. Louis Public Radio Journalists of Color complained about what they said was inequity and racism at the public news/talk station. The University of Missouri St. Louis – owner of the station – investigated and announced yesterday (9/24) that Eby has exited and that public radio consultant Tom Livingston will serve as interim general manager while a search is conducted for a permanent GM…..SiriusXM announces it is exclusively premiering the long-lost comedy album from the legendary Lenny Bruce tonight at 8:00 pm ET on its Comedy Greats channel. The album is titled “Lenny Bruce Is Out Again” and is the unreleased album fully authorized by Bruce’s daughter, Kitty Bruce. She’ll speak with SiriusXM host Ron Bennington during a special hour-long interview that will air at 5:00 pm ET. Also joining the panel will be actor Luke Kirby, who won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Bruce on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and comedian W. Kamaul Bell.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Special programming takes place tonight on SiriusXM Satellite Radio that celebrates the release of the remastered and expanded reissue of Prince’s “Sign O’ the Times” album and the new deluxe box set with a special new docuseries on the Volume channel. Tonight’s program, “Prince Sign O’ the Times – The Audio Biography,” airs at 8:00 pm and is hosted by Alan Light. It tells the story of the iconic album’s recording sessions, the behind-the-scenes workings and relationships, and the period of time that sparked Prince’s unmatched creativity and features interviews with vocalist (and former fiancé) Susannah Melvoin, The Revolution’s Lisa Coleman and Matt Fink, saxophonist Eric Leeds, engineer Susan Rogers, and Prince historian Duane Tudahl.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

| June 30, 2020

iHeartMedia Launches BIN: Black Information Network. This new venture is a standalone unit within iHeartMedia that will be the “first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” iHeartMedia says BIN: Black Information Network “is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding.” It is being led by Tony Coles – who also serves as division president of iHeartMedia markets group – as president of the unit. Tanita Myers – most recently with Reach Media – will be director of news operations.  iHM says national founding partners are: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. Content will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and on “dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news – all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective – in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days.” BIN will also provide the news service for iHeartMedia’s 91 hip hop, R&B, and Gospel stations across the country. iHM says, “BIN’s unique partner supported business model is tailored to its mission of providing comprehensive, accurate and trusted information and news. The national Founding Partners of BIN: Black Information Network will support building this new platform for Black journalism and trusted news, and this partnership support will enable BIN’s focus to be on providing a reliable, responsible, and responsive news service to the Black community without the daily pressure of ratings.” Coles says, “BIN: Black Information Network will fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with full focus on the Black community. We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network. Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be prouder of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN.”

PPM Analysis: Has Pandemic-Related Listening Peaked? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps his “extra” ratings reports on the effects pandemic-related radio listening has had on Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey data by asking if pandemic-related listening has peaked after its unusual April spike. He says that in the PPM era, month-to-month gains or losses of a full share or more are noteworthy. “To underscore the genuine rarity of what transpired in the April 2020 survey period, there were nearly four times as many of these swings then as were registered in April 2019. Indexed against April 2020, roughly 70% as many stations notch declines of -1.0 or greater, while only approximately 40% as many stations rack up a +1.0 or more (May 2020 versus April 2020, 6+).” Kinosian says what’s truly amazing is that 75% of sports talk stations were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) April to May with no live sports play-by-play since March. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Chicago Radio Host William Kelly Sues Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor Over COVID-19 Restrictions. Illinois business owner and WCGO-AM, Chicago talk show host William Kelly – along with three other plaintiffs – are suing Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Major Lori Lightfoot, complaining that their acts violated the plaintiffs’ rights under several sections of the station constitution, violated their rights to equal protection under the law, and that both exceed their authority in several instances. Kelly says, “We have filed suit for the people of Illinois. Every other lawsuit has, so far, missed the mark. Lives are being destroyed. People are going bankrupt. If we succeed, Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker will pay a price, in the form of legal damages, for the terrible harm they’ve caused to people’s lives and liberties.” See the complaint here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager and VP of content Todd Manley and his consulting company EarSight Studios is working with Crain’s Chicago Business to produce its podcast, “Crain’s Daily Gist.” Crain’s Chicago Business publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We are thrilled to partner with Todd to help us grow our audience in audio. We’ve had tremendous success with ‘The Daily Gist’ since its debut last year, and we expect even stronger growth with Todd’s production help.”…..According to a story at Crossing Broad, Entercom Philadelphia personality John Barchard is leaving the sports talk WIP-produced podcast “Go Birds” that he co-hosts with Eliot Shorr-Parks and James Seltzer. Citing family and health as concerns he must put to the forefront, Barchard says the decision to leave was his and he calls it one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make…..ESPN promotes commentator Pablo Torre to full-time host of the “ESPN Daily” podcast. This is part of a new, multi-year contract for Torre, who will also make appearances on ESPN shows such as “Highly Questionable” and “Around the Horn.” Current “ESPN Daily” host Mina Kimes is joining the network’s NFL Live team as an analyst and will host “The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny” football podcast. She will continue to be a key contributor to “ESPN Daily.”

This Year’s Gracie Awards to Be Streamed on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 45th Annual Gracie Awards will be streamed virtually on September 10. The Gracies Gala, originally scheduled for May 19, was intended to be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and the Gracies Luncheon, originally scheduled for June 24, was intended to be held in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street. The 2020 honorees will now be celebrated through a series of digital acceptance speech montages along with a virtual awards ceremony. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks says, “The leadership of AWM/F, which annually presents the Gracies as our largest fundraiser, has had one singular focus – to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate our outstanding winners in whatever manner is feasible this year. Therefore, we have made the decision to shift this year’s events to virtual experiences to ensure recognition of all winners in this very important year.”

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, the USA gymnastics scandal, presidential race strategy, progressive rock, diversity management, campus safety during police reform, and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Black Lives Matter Movement/St. Louis Guns Incident, Russian-Taliban Bounty Allegation, U.S.-China Relations, Iran Issues Trump Arrest Warrant, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Louisiana law that would have limited abortion options; the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in re-opening states and projections about future infections; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the case of the St. Louis couple who drew weapons on protesters; the allegation that Russia is offering the Taliban bounties for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and President Trump’s reaction to the story; relations between the U.S. and China as the latter clamps down on Hong Kong; Iran issues an arrest warrant for Trump and numerous other officials in the death of General Qasem Soleimani; and sports leagues making plans to open or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the nationally syndicated “American Top 40” show, Premiere Networks announces that this weekend (7/4-5) host Ryan Seacrest will begin a yearlong celebration that will include his highlighting an iconic artist moment from the show’s archives every weekend – including interviews with the stars and the show’s creator and original host Casey Kasem. Listeners will also have the opportunity to win prizes and one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the year. Premiere president Julie Talbott says, “Over the past five decades, ‘American Top 40’ has become a cultural touchpoint for millions of people around the globe. Casey Kasem created the gold standard that we carry on today, and we’re so proud of how Ryan has expanded that legacy.  He’s taken the show to new heights over the past 16 years with added reach, engagement, and technology, while continuing to drive impressive results for our partners.” The program debuted the weekend of July 4-5, 1970…..Legendary rock bank U2 is getting its own channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The U2 X-Radio channel launches tomorrow (7/1) at 3:00 pm ET.  p.m. ET, exclusively on SiriusXM Channel 32. SiriusXM says, “U2 X-Radio is U2 as you have never heard them before. An extraordinary and unique audio experience exploring the band’s history, idols, influences, and current passions, plus inspiration, conversation, culture, commentary and ideas from the band and guests. All curated by U2. The dedicated and exclusive channel will come to life with music and radio shows that celebrate music from across the globally acclaimed, four-decade career of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, including their biggest hits, deep cuts, live concert recordings and rarities, as well as music from artists that are connected to or inspire the band.”

Friday, May 29, 2020

| May 29, 2020

Cox Media Group Names Daniel York President and CEO. The board of directors of Cox Media Group announces Daniel York is the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective today. York most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief content officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV. York assumes the role previously held by Kim Guthrie, who left the company last month. Executive chairman Steve Pruett says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the president and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.” York says, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

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, “Aside From That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Beach?” looks back at this past week of May 25-29, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / webmaster, Scamicide.com; Lars Larson, talk show host, KXL, Portland / Compass Media Networks; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center.  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;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer 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.

Report: KFNS-AM, St. Louis Morning Host McKernan Leading Group to Acquire the Station. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that KFNS-AM, St. Louis sports talk personality Tim McKernan is leading a group of potential investors to buy KFNS from current owner Randy Markel. Earlier this year, Markel announced he was on track to sell 50% interest in the station to two local businessmen. But the coronavirus pandemic has put that deal on hold. Now, sources tell Caesar that Markel and McKernan have signed a letter of intent for the sale. McKernan hosts the morning drive program “The Morning After” on the station. The report indicates McKernan’s investor group includes former St. Louis Blues player Pat Maroon. Markel tells Caesar he’s in the process of selling the station for “seven figures” but he can’t reveal to whom – just that the deal will happen, or not, by July 1.

POTUS Appears on Buck Sexton Show. Several days after Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Buck Sexton visited the Oval Office for “private, exclusive conversation” with President Trump, the president made good on his promise to appear on Sexton’s radio program. The two discussed America’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and why we have to move forward before it’s too late; how “Russia Gate” makes Watergate look like small potatoes; why his executive order curtailing the power of social media platforms was necessary; what his administration has accomplished the last three and a half years; what he thinks about running against Joe Biden, and more. Photo by Shealah Craighead

Urban One Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 3.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, revealed net revenue for the quarter was $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. Urban One is reporting an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million compared to operating income of approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III says, “We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees. On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure. Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our cable TV and digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open state by state, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times.”

TALKERS News Notes. After announcing her retirement from Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago several weeks ago, morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks did her last shift at the all-news station today (5/29). WBBM gave her a “proper send-off” by airing a compilation of audio looking back at her time with the station as well as colleagues saying “good-bye.” Morning editor Zac Weber said, “The news can be ugly and scary and overwhelming sometimes, but you, more than anyone else, served as a constant reminder that we can always be hopeful, and always expect the best from you.”…..Three honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter were bestowed upon Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” over the Memorial Day weekend. The awards were for work done in 2019. “New Jersey 101.5” deputy digital editor Sergio Bichao and reporter David Matthau won The Spotlight Award for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Afternoon drive host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category for a portfolio of opinion pieces. The team of Eric Scott, director of special projects; Patrick Lavery, afternoon anchor; Louis C. Hochman, digital managing editor; and Dan Alexander, digital news reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse…..Entercom New York all-news outlets WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were honored with 10 2019 New York State Associated Press Association News and Broadcast Contest Awards. The two stations were jointly honored with a first-place award in the Podcast category for their collaboration on “The Breakdown,” a deep-dive into America’s infrastructure crisis. WCBS-AM took home nine other first place awards, including for Outstanding News Operation, Spot News Coverage, and Newscast…..SiriusXM announces that comedian Adam Carolla will host a special, virtual edition of his popular tour show “Adam Corolla Is Unprepared” on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 pm ET. This one-hour special video broadcast will feature Carolla hosting via Zoom. In this “Unprepared” show, Carolla – while sheltering in place from his home – improvises stand-up based on one-word suggestions from audience members pulled at random. Additionally, SiriusXM will also air a separate, exclusive two-hour “Unprepared” special featuring previously recorded comedy club shows from last year…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston at Joint Base Andrews preparing to board Air Force Two for Vice President Mike Pence’s flight to Atlanta for a memorial service honoring evangelist and best-selling author Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who died on May 19.

Statistics & Projections and 100,000 Deaths Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll of more than 100,000 and projections for future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the re-opening process and the state of the economy. Coming in at #3 was health care, tied with antibodies, testing, and the wearing of masks, followed by President Trump vs NC over the Republican National Convention, the presidential race, and politics 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 complete chart here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Great Talk Host Opportunity: WBAL-AM, Baltimore Seeks PM Drive Personality. The Hearst news/talk station says: “Meaningful live and local talk is very healthy at WBAL NewsRadio FM & AM in Baltimore. We have stayed true to our mission for 95 years: a 24/7 local connection and commitment to breaking news and captivating talk. We are also the home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. This is a rigorous search for a dynamic individual, or team, to host PM drive. Beyond on-air responsibilities, our team is active on social media and in the community. Our presentation aims to be lively, fast, riveting and our hosts understand the pulse of Baltimore, Maryland and the country. We believe you can’t spell ‘Baltimore’ without B-A-L. Your mission is to create a daily PM drive program that transcends all formats as a ‘must listen.’ Be prepared to provide audio samples, but let’s start with your philosophy for local talk in 2020 and your background and life experiences. Your first step is to apply on-line at Hearst Television Careers here. Please know your interest will be held in strict confidence. Check us out at Hearst.com…a dynamic privately held organization with unmatched cable, television, radio, magazines and newspaper platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” show joins the program schedule at Midwest Communications’ urban contemporary WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “Stacks 92.1.” The program is hosted by DeDe McGuire and is syndicated via a partnership between Dallas-based Service Broadcasting Group and Compass Media Networks. Station operations manager Terry Stevens says, “The playlist on ‘Stacks 92.1’ has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fits that vibe. All fun and no drama. After listening to ‘DeDe in the Morning’ and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on ‘Stacks 92.1!’”

Monday, May 18, 2020

| May 18, 2020

Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Battling the Virus. As the cooped-up are coping, radio talkers are listening. In last week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke polled a panel of weekday hosts, who describe the mood they’re monitoring. This week, HC rounds up weekend ask-the-expert hosts, who describe how callers’ questions flesh-out listeners’ lives during the shutdown now easing in phases. Read it here.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Trump IG Firings, Michael Flynn Case, Pressure on China, Ahmaud Arbery Case, Presidential Race, and Fred Willard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concerns about safely re-opening the economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the political battle heating up over President Trump’s firing of inspector general Steve Linick; the DOJ’s dropping of the charges against Michael Flynn for lying in court and Republicans’ efforts to involve Barack Obama in the case; some 100 countries pressuring China for an investigation into its coronavirus efforts; the case of murdered Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery; the latest poll numbers in the presidential race; and comedian Fred Willard dies at 85 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Get Ready. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that as most parts of the country begin transitioning out of mandated self-isolation, your clients are working through a maze of regulations and protocols completely new to them. Go with the “Three-E Theory” – be empathetic, energetic, and easy. Read his column here.

Mancow Asks Court to Toss Defamation Suit. A story in the Daily Herald by Harry Hitzeman reveals that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller is asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the defamation suit filed against him by former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald. If you recall, Mancow aired on his radio show secretly recorded tapes of MacDonald in which he wonders if child porn could be placed on the computer of a Christianity Today editor with whom he had a beef. MacDonald was subsequently ousted by his church’s board in 2019 and in response MacDonald filed suit against Muller late last year. Now, Muller files the Motion to Dismiss arguing that MacDonald is a public figure and it was Muller’s “duty as a Christian and media member to shine a light on MacDonald’s true character.” MacDonald’s lawyer is saying Muller’s motion comes too late, too long, and also argues Muller’s lawyer has a conflict of interest in the case as he once represented MacDonald. The two sides have a court date of June 12.

Josh Wolff Named VP of Programming for iHeartMedia Harrisburg-Lancaster. Programming pro Josh Wolff is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania markets. In this role Wolff will oversee all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for all of the Harrisburg and Lancaster brands. He will continue to program CHR WAEB “B-104” and rock WZZO in Allentown. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Dave Hovel says, “With Josh’s strong leadership skills in Allentown, it was a no-brainer to elevate him to oversee iHeartMedia Harrisburg and Lancaster. The entire Harrisburg/Lancaster team is excited to have Josh in the role to lead and grow our iHeart footprint in the markets.” Before joining iHeartMedia’s Pennsylvania region, Wolff served as the music director and assistant program director for adult contemporary KESZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain” in Phoenix.

Beasley Delaying 2020 Q1 Financial Report. In a May 15 filing with the SEC, Beasley Broadcast Group, parent of Beasley Media Group, says it is unable to meet its Form 10-Q filing deadline due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business operations. The company notes that an order issued by the Securities Exchange Commission grants a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports. Beasley says it intends to file its Quarterly Report no later than June 29. In addition to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its ability to complete its quarterly review, “the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused disruptions to the Company’s business and operations, and the related uncertainty as to when or the manner in which the conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will subside have made it necessary for it to seek an amendment to its credit facility that would, among other things, amend certain financial covenants. For the quarter ended March 31, the Company was in compliance with its financial covenants related to its credit facility. However, at that time the Company was projecting that it was unlikely to be able to comply with its First Lien Leverage Ratio as of June 30. As a result, the Company is seeking and expects to enter into an amendment to its credit facility in the coming weeks, and projects that it will be in compliance with the financial covenants, as amended, over the next 12 months. If the Company is unable to obtain an amendment to its credit facility, it would result in an event of default, which would materially affect its results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.”

Townsquare Media Promotes Dobbins to VP. Sales pro Sarah Dobbins is promoted from director of sales for Townsquare Media’s Portland station group to vice president of sales for Northern New England, including the Portland and Augusta markets as well as the Portsmouth, New Hampshire market. She’ll report to regional market president & chief revenue officer Christine Sieks. Dobbins says, “Townsquare Media has an unbelievable combination of local marketing resources designed to help local businesses grow. Now more than ever, our local brands, digital marketing solutions, and attribution tools make Townsquare a powerhouse in Northern New England. I am excited to partner with Christine Sieks in maximizing our resources to drive sales growth throughout Maine and New Hampshire.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – host at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM – was one of the high-profile leaders of Saturday’s “Open Illinois Rally” organized and co-hosted by Josh Ellis of American Revolution 2.0. Mancow and a number of politicians and candidates gathered to “address the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic response.” The intent was to demand the state legislature “work on guidance and provisions to safely open Illinois businesses and resume our work lives.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine it was a “great honor” to have President Trump call into his radio show on Friday (5/15). Conway says that when Trump was running for office, the two spoke many times but this was the first time they talked with Trump as president. “It doesn’t matter what people think about him, this is the President of the United States who picked up the phone and spoke directly to my audience.” Conway’s show is also heard on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities…..Nexstar Broadcasting is presenting “COVID-19 The Virtual Town Hall” to be aired on its television stations across Connecticut tonight (5/18) at 7:00 pm.  The audio from the event will be carried by iHeartMedia’s 11 Connecticut radio stations. The Town Hall will include: Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and numerous state representatives and health care experts…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar tomorrow (5/19) at 11:00 am called “2020 State of Media Sales Study” that will consist of answering such questions as: What’s on the minds of local media sellers as they operate in a post COVID marketplace? Where do they expect to find ad revenue? What verticals will have the most potential in Q3 and Q4 in 2020? And, which types of accounts will pose the biggest challenges? The webinar will share findings from the April 2020 study of media sales professionals about the past year and current, unusual conditions…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds two new affiliate stations as KBRN-AM/ K280GR, Boerne, Texas and KIVA-AM/ K229CL, Albuquerque, New Mexico add the show to their weekend program schedules…..Westwood One News is presenting “The Summer of COVID-19” as its Memorial Day Weekend special. WWO says, “Barbeques and beaches. Death rates and vaccine hopes. It is going to be a summer like no other. American traditions are under threat, from backstage ball fields to seasonal staples like family vacations and summer camps, while others still plan to hit the road or take to the skies during an unprecedented health and financial crisis… correspondent Christopher Cruise explores how we got here and where we are going, or not going, this summer.” It replaces “The Week in Review” on May 23-24.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Long Island, Connoisseur Media’s four-station cluster that includes hot AC WALK-FM, rock WWSK-FM “94.3 The Shark,” classic hits WBZO “103.2 MAX,” and adult contemporary WKJY-FM “KJOY 98.3” shined a light on the mental effects of social distancing with a special live stream concert last night (5/17) to benefit The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Long Island Chapter. The “Be Well Long Island” benefit concert featured performances and appearances by: Johnny Rzenick of the Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Jett, Scott Stapp, DMC from Run DMC, Kevin Martin and Brian Quinn of Candlebox, Fitz and The Tantrums, Vintage Trouble, and more. WWSK music director Brian Orlando says, “There are thousands of people suffering in silence right now. We at Connoisseur Media want them to know that they’re not alone.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 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, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; 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; 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;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  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.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties 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 and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”