Moskowitz, Siegel Named VP/Sales for iHM New York. The appointment of Todd Moskowitz as vice president of sales of iHeartMedia New York City news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York” and the promotion of Marc Siegel from sales manager to VP/Sales of co-owned WAXQ “Q-104.3 New York’s Classic Rock Station” are effective immediately. Both will report to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia New York Bernie Weiss who states, “Marc and Todd are proven sales leaders with a long track record of delivering results for clients, teams and stations. They have the talent and experience to coach their teams in coming up with the most effective marketing solutions to maximize the ROI for their clients.” Moskowitz remarks, “I am excited to lead sales for one the most legendary radio stations in New York City and work with some of the best and brightest people in our business.” Siegel comments, “Classic rock is a format that transcends time and is as popular as it has ever been. I am very excited for this opportunity and I look forward to the next step in the journey with my iHeartMedia colleagues.” Moskowitz most recently was market president for Townsquare Media’s Danbury, Connecticut cluster. He began his career with CBS Radio Hartford, before joining Cumulus Media Bridgeport, Connecticut and eventually CBS Radio New York City all-news WINS. Before arriving at iHeartMedia New York at the end of 2016, Siegel was head of global audio sales at Bloomberg Media, and was local sales manager for New York public outlet WNYC, where he managed radio, podcasting, digital, and events sales.
TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on Debut Holland Cooke Show on RT America. Says Donald Trump Has Been A Boon to Talk Media Business. As reported last week in TALKERS, noted media consultant and TALKERS correspondent Holland Cooke was named to fill the big shoes of Thom Hartmann as host of television network RT America’s long-running “The Big Picture” program. His debut installment of the half hour weekend show aired this past Friday (10/6) and is being met with positive reviews. Cooke divides the opening show into two segments. In the first, he welcomes panelists Brian Keane and Harvey Wasserman to discuss renewable energy… which could be the silver lining as Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria. And in the second segment, he asks TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and talk media pundit Steve Malzberg, “Are we really THAT angry?” referring to the tone of today’s conversation in talk media. Asked if Donald Trump is the best thing that could happen to talk radio and television, Harrison replies, “From a purely business standpoint – getting ratings, giving us material to use, creating interest, keeping people tuned to their radios and TVs – he’s the best thing that’s happened in years. I don’t remember anything like it.” To view the entire program, please click here.
Sirott Selected to Call Bruins Action. Inbound from Tribune Chicago news/talk WGN-AM, where he was studio host for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, Judd Sirott becomes the game caller for the Boston Bruins, whose NHL games are carried on CBS Radio Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming/CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mike Thomas comments, “We are very excited to have someone with the exceptional reputation and experience that Judd has join our team at ‘The Sports Hub.’” Sirott adds, “I am incredibly fortunate, privileged, and humbled to be the radio voice of the Boston Bruins on ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ I didn’t just hit the lottery – I hit the Powerball. [The Bruins are] an ‘Original Six’ [NHL] team in a spectacular hockey market and one of the world’s greatest cities.” He succeeds Dave Goucher, who left last summer to become the television play-by-play voice for the Vegas Golden Knights, and joins analyst Bob Beers. An interesting note about Bruins’ radio play-by-play announcers: The only ones serving in that capacity going back to 1924 are Frank Ryan (28 years); Bob Wilson (25.5 years); Goucher (16 years); Fred Cusick (13 years); Bob Neumeier (five years); Bill Harrington (three years); Jim Laing (one year); and Dale Arnold (one-half year).
Cumulus DC Combo Arranges Blood Drive for Vegas Shooting Victims. Coordinated by Cumulus Media Washington D.C. news/talk and hot AC cluster-mates WMAL “Where Washington Comes to Talk” and WRQX “Mix 107.3,” the “Vegas Victims’ Blood Drive” will be held this Wednesday (10/11) from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in suburban Washington D.C. (McLean, Virginia). WMAL program director Bill Hess states, “The injured – including some from our area – face a lengthy recovery. This is one thing we can come together and do to help in our own individual way. We invite our friends and listeners to roll up their sleeves and join us in this effort.” WRQX program director Rob Roberts notes, “Distance doesn’t lessen the impact of what happened in Las Vegas. This is our chance to help someone and it costs nothing but a little time. We’re proud to do our part.” On a side note, “Mix” assistant program director/music director/mid-day talent Ashley Nickels is a Las Vegas native. Excluding the shooter, 58 people were killed last Sunday night (10/1) in Las Vegas. The dead included 36 women and 22 men; the oldest was 67, the youngest 20. Six of the dead were from Nevada, 35 from California, 13 from other states, and 4 from Canada. An additional 489 people were injured. The attack became the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States, having surpassed the death toll of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, where 50 died, including the gunman.
Broadcast Station Mergers, Acquisitions Hit $4.47 billion in Q2. The top radio deal was the $82.8 million sale of Emmis Communications’ Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” to Meruelo Media. According to estimates from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, the transaction was the largest single radio station sale since 2012 and represents nearly 34% of the quarter’s $245 million radio deal total. The second-largest radio transaction was the radio portion of Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Media with an estimated value of $58.4 million for news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago and the programming of one additional FM station. That was followed by Educational Media Foundation‘s purchase of three FMs from Entercom for $57.5 million – classic rock KSWD “100.3 The Sound,” Los Angeles; KSOQ-FM, which simulcasts KSON-FM “New Country,” San Diego; and WGGI, which simulcasts WGGY “Today’s Best Country – Froggy,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Next was the sale of four Alpha Media AM stations, 14 FM outlets, and two FM translators to Dick Broadcasting Company for $19.5 million. Saga Communications sold its six-remaining owned-and-operated television stations and three LMAs to Morgan Murphy Media for $66.6 million, while at the same time, expanded its radio business with the third-largest radio deal of the quarter, paying $23 million to Apex Media for seven FM stations, one AM, and four translators.
Levy Exits KJR-AM. Related to his August 26 arrest for soliciting a prostitute, KJR-AM morning show host Mitch Levy departs the iHeartMedia Seattle sports talk outlet after a 23-year tenure there. According to a report in The Seattle Times, Levy entered which is known as an “Alford plea,” an acknowledgment of enough evidence for conviction without a formal guilty plea. He was sentenced to two years of probation plus a deferred sentence that will be dismissed if he completes probation without being charged with another crime. Levy was one of 110 men arrested in an undercover operation called “Operation on Demand.” The 50-year-old Levy reportedly placed $160 in cash on a bedside table in anticipation of a half-hour of sex. On Twitter, he wrote, “As most of you realize by now, my 23-year tenure at KJR is over. I am fully aware that I have disappointed so many from the loved ones closest to me to all of you who have given me the opportunity to entertain you on weekday mornings. I’m deeply sorry. I’d like to thank KJR and iHeartMedia for the golden opportunity that was never taken for granted. Now, I must continue tending to me, my emotional demons and my family. Some day I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to earn back your trust and respect.”
CPR’s Wycisk Sets Retirement Plans. It won’t become effective for another eight months, but 40-year Colorado Public Radio (CPR) president Max Wycisk is announcing he will retire on June 30 (2018). Board chair Dean Salter remarks, “On behalf of the CPR board of directors, we thank Max for his service and for the many notable accomplishments achieved during his tenure. Max is recognized as a pioneer in public broadcasting and his vision set CPR on the path to its current success. He leaves one of the strongest public radio organizations in the country with a sound financial base, a talented and committed staff, and loyal listeners. We look forward to an orderly transition to ensure the continued success of CPR.” According to Wycisk, “While the world has undoubtedly changed over the past 40 years, CPR’s mission has remained steadfast and our importance has grown. The organization is stronger than it has ever been – a testament to our dedicated staff, the donors who support us, and the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on us each and every day. It has been an honor to lead the development of a vital community resource that’s uniquely positioned to have an even greater future ahead.” Prior to becoming CPR’s president, Wycisk was a program director and an on-air announcer there. Among other things, he is responsible for transforming CPR from a single-signal station to a statewide network, which includes CPR News, CPR Classical, and CPR’s triple A Open Air, which are broadcast on 34 statewide signals and online.
WGN Slots Chicago Inno Tech Briefs. Starting today (10/9), Tribune Chicago news/talk WGN-AM adds “The Inno Minute,” a 60-second breakdown of Chicago’s top tech news. Airing weekdays in the 5:00 am hour on “The Opening Bell with Steve Grzanich,” the segment is a snapshot of topics covered at ChicagoInno.com. WGN-AM vice president of programming & content Todd Manley notes, “The stories that the team at Chicago Inno chases and shares are so powerful we wanted them on WGN every day.” Reporter Katherine Davis and Chicago Inno associate editor Jim Dallke will serve as producers. “Chicago Inno is incredibly excited to be working with WGN radio on ‘The Inno Minute,’” Dallke comments. “Chicago’s entrepreneurship scene is thriving, and we are thrilled to be able to work with WGN to inform Chicagoans on the innovation that is driving the city forward.” Elsewhere on the station, former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka will appear for football commentary each Monday in morning drive with Steve Cochran and every Friday with afternoon driver Roe Conn. Ditka formerly had a similar radio arrangement in the market on WMVP “ESPN 1000.”
Salem Talk Hosts Headed Back to the White House. Approximately two and a half months ago (7/25), Salem Radio Network talk hosts Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt conducted day-long broadcasts from the White House. The two will return to the Nation’s Capital next Tuesday (10/17) for live “Tax Reform Day” broadcasts from the White House. Hewitt (right) and Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup are planning for invited guests including treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, as well as other senior White House and administration staff.
Cavaliers, Monsters, iHM Cleveland Sign Multi-Year Extensions. As part of the new pact, all 82 regular-season contests, as well as five preseason and all playoff games of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers will air on iHeartMedia Cleveland news/talk WTAM and co-owned rocker WMMS. In addition to these two flagships, the Cavs are on a 30-station radio network. John Michael returns for his seventh season as the franchise’s play-by-play announcer, while Jim Chones is back for his eighth year as analyst. The Cavs have reached an extended agreement with Murray Hill Broadcasting to continue broadcasting all of its games in Spanish. Meanwhile, for the second consecutive year, all 76 regular-season games of the AHL Cleveland Monsters will be broadcast on iHeartMedia Cleveland alternative WMMS-HD2. Tony Brown returns for his third season as the radio and television play-by-play voice of the Monsters. Brown spent two years in the NAHL as the voice of the Odessa Jackalopes; one season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers; became the radio voice of the Indy Fuel in the ECHL; and then came to the Monsters in their Calder Cup-winning season of 2015-2016.
Osgood As It Gets. The longtime host of Westwood One’s “The Osgood File” – Charles Osgood – was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” last night (Sunday, 10/8) from the News and Documentary Emmys. Celebrating with Osgood (in the center with his trademark bowtie) backstage were his family and colleagues, including Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler, and senior vice president of Affiliate Sales Dennis Green.
TALKERS News Notes. Fill-in host Rob Carson – who will be on iHeartMedia Phoenix news/talk KFYI and CBS Radio Las Vegas’ similarly-formatted KNXT next week – recently joined the conservative-leaning LibertyOne TV/video podcasting network and he explains, “My experience as an audio/video podcaster and live Facebook/YouTube podcaster is propelling my career forward in many ways. I hope to consult talk hosts about the new digital platforms. I’ve only been on for two weeks and my LibertyOneTV.com show attracted 18,000 viewers last Friday [10/6]. After two months, my daily podcast on PodcastRadioNetwork.com is their second-biggest podcast. This journey beyond terrestrial radio is incredible.” ….. The appointment of Karen Wishart as an Urban One executive vice president becomes official on January 1, 2018, when she replaces Linda Vilardo as chief administrative officer. In the meantime, those two will work together to transition Vilardo’s duties. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Wishart will be paid a base salary of $425,000 with an opportunity to make up to $150,000 in bonuses ….. The official charity of iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO afternoon drive talent Simon Conway is The Puppy Jake Foundation, which acquires, raises, and trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Last Friday (10/6), the fourth annual, two-hour free sandwich giveaway to benefit The Puppy Jake Foundation raised more than $28,500. The event brought in $4,000 in year one; $6,000 the second year; and $23,000 last year. Conway remarks, “People drove long distances and handed over huge sums of money. My show’s sponsors stepped up too, one of them called in and doubled his initial $1,000 donation.” Over 200 pounds of meat, buns, and sauce were all donated. So far, 22 service dogs have been provided to veterans; five more dogs will graduate the program in March ….. As of next Monday (10/16), Genesee Media Brockport-Rochester, New York sports talk WRSB “97.5 The Team” will transition to Spanish variety as “Mi 97.5.”
Delilah Taking Leave of Absence Following Her Son’s Suicide. On Saturday (10/7), the 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight host posted on Facebook about the suicide, which occurred early Tuesday morning (October 3). “I will be absent from the radio and on social media for a time as I grieve and try to process this loss with my family,” Delilah (Rene) wrote as she grieves the loss of her teenage son Zachariah, who battled a long bout against depression. In what reportedly will be the only statement at this time by the Premiere Networks’ personality, Delilah states, “My dear friends, I need to share some devastating news with you. My son, Zachariah, took his life. He was being treated, counseled, and embraced fiercely by family and friends while battling depression. My heart is broken beyond repair and I cannot fathom how to go on, but I have to believe he is at peace with the Lord and that God will get us through. We will be playing some of my favorite shows from the recent past. I’ll look forward to my return, as you all lift me up so very much. Please pray for my beloved Zacky, and I will pray for all suffering from this debilitating disease called depression.” In a Facebook post earlier this year, Delilah revealed that Zack was autistic. The mother of 13 children, including ten she adopted, Delilah previously lost a son, Sammy, who died in 2012 from complications of sickle-cell anemia. According to The New York Daily News, Sammy’s death came two years after he was adopted from a Ghanaian refugee camp in West Africa. Delilah’s nightly show is heard on 180 (mainly adult contemporary) stations and on the American Forces Network. She was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in April, following her November 2016 induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Delilah has updated her Facebook home page to include the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), which offers free, 24-hour emotional support for people in distress, as well as resources that provide aid.
iHeartMedia Philadelphia Taking Bids to Beat Breast Cancer. The cluster is doing so in its annual “Bid for Breast Cancer” fundraiser to benefit the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). It begins today (10/9) and will include an auction through next Monday (10/16). According to iHeartMedia Philadelphia vice president of programming Brian Check, “We have again pulled together all the resources of our six stations to collect one-of-a-kind autographed items to benefit a cause that affects many women in our community. AACR is known for bringing together the greatest minds in cancer research and helping patients worldwide, as well as right here in the Philadelphia area.” AACR Foundation executive director Mitch Stoller explains that this year, “More than 300,000 women will hear the words, ‘You have breast cancer.’ The AACR’s mission is to prevent and cure all cancers, including breast cancer which is the second-most common cause of cancer-related death among women in the United States. We are grateful to iHeartMedia Philadelphia and the community for their support in this ‘Bid for Breast Cancer.’ Proceeds will enable the AACR to fund groundbreaking cancer research that will lead to more cancer discoveries, saving more lives.” Auction items include an Ed Sheeran-autographed guitar; a guitar autographed by Brad Paisley; a Green Day-autographed guitar; jacket autographed by Bruno Mars; Rolling Stone Magazine autographed by Harry Styles; and a Red Hot Chili Peppers-autographed guitar. In a similar “Bid for Breast Cancer” event last year, iHeartMedia Philadelphia raised over $15,000.
Chicago’s “B-96” Reveals “Jingle Bash” Lineup. The 18th annual Pepsi “Jingle Bash” from CBS Radio Chicago CHR WBBM-FM “B-96” is roughly two months away (12/7) and will be headlined by Taylor Swift, along with Backstreet Boys, Fifth Harmony, Khalid, Logic, and Sabrina Carpenter. Vice president of programming for CBS Radio Chicago/WBBM-FM program director Todd Cavanah states that the “B-96” “Jingle Bash” has been a “must-see holiday event in Chicago for almost two decades. This year, we are thrilled to have the world’s biggest superstar – Taylor Swift – as our headliner. In the holiday season, the ‘Jingle Bash’ is a wonderful way for our community to come together and celebrate an exceptional night of pop music.” Breaking the news on-air was “B-96” afternoon air talent “Tyler.” The station’s December 7 “Jingle Bash” will be held in Rosemont (Illinois) at the Allstate Arena. In other station concert news, Emmis New York rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” will present “Hot for the Holidays” on December 14 at the Prudential Center. Scheduled to appear are Chris Brown, 21 Savage, Meek Mill, Cardi B, and Dave East & Tee Grizzley. Meanwhile, CBS Radio San Francisco CHR KMVQ “99.7 Now” will have Taylor Swift headline its December 2 “Poptopia” concert at San Jose’s Sap Center. Slated to perform as well are Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Fifth Harmony, Niall Horan, Khalid, Logic, and Dua Lipa.
WDVE Radio-thon Raises $814,000. Easily surpassing last year’s total of $605,000, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s WDVE “102.5 Rocks” raised just over $814,000 during the tenth annual “DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon.” The beneficiary is Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. WDVE morning show personalities Randy Baumann, Bill Crawford, Val Porter, and Mike Prisuta, as well as Michele Michaels and Sean McDowell, shared stories from patients, families, and staff from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh during the two-day radio-thon. Market president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh – West Virginia Tim McAleer comments, “The ‘DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon’ continues to exceed our expectations. WDVE has terrific listeners who rally for the kids. I am in awe of the dedication and efforts of our on-air talents to raise funds for the children in our Pittsburgh community.” Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation president Greg Barrett adds, “It is truly unbelievable to witness the generosity of WDVE, their loyal listeners, the corporate sponsors and partners, and this amazing Pittsburgh community who have supported the radio-thon over the past ten years. Without this remarkable support each and every year, providing this level of expert, compassionate care to our patients and their families simply would not be possible.” Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, comedian Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly”), and WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon made donations by phone. The “DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon” has raised nearly $5 million to benefit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, leading provider of pediatric care in the Pittsburgh community.
Duran Supports Third Annual “Carney Awards.” A joint production between The Elvis Duran Group and Radcliffe Road Pictures, the third annual “Carney Awards” will be held in approximately three weeks (10/29) at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. Named in honor of the Oscar and six-time Emmy winning actor Art Carney, the Carney Awards were created by Elvis Duran Group CEO David Katz, his brother – Emmy-winning producer Jim Katz, and Carney’s son – actor voice-over artist, Brian Carney. Duran is morning personality on iHeartMedia New York CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and syndicated by Premiere Networks. “I never understood why the hardest-working actors in Hollywood were almost always excluded from receiving awards and recognition for the great work that they do,” Duran comments. “We created the Carney Awards to rectify that injustice. Character actors are the backbone of almost every movie and television show ever made. It’s time for them to get the recognition they so deserve. I don’t want people pointing anymore saying ‘Hey, it’s that guy.’” David Katz notes, “Elvis is the first to admit that his co-hosts are the backbone of his radio show. Our desire to celebrate those in supporting roles has picked up great momentum and has caught the attention of Hollywood, which is always good for radio.” This year’s honorees are Xander Berkeley, William Fichtner, Richard Kind, William H. Macy, and Wendie Malick. Past honorees include Bob Balaban, Steve Buscemi, Gary Cole, Conchata Ferrell, Dan Hedaya, and David Paymer. Tom Bergeron of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” will host the awards program. Tickets are complimentary to radio industry members.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The guest emcee at the 73rd annual Congressional Correspondents Dinner in just over two weeks (10/25) at the National Building Museum will be Bobby Bones, whose eponymous weekday morning show originating from iHeartMedia Nashville’s country WSIX-FM is heard on more than 100 affiliates. In addition to his Monday through Friday Premiere Networks’ syndicated morning program, Bones hosts a weekend “Country Top 30” countdown and authored “Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book.” The event’s headline entertainer will be “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent Roy Wood, Jr.; house speaker Paul Ryan will deliver keynote remarks ….. General sales manager of iHeartMedia Pittsburgh classic rock WDVE and country WPGB “Big 104.7” Bobbie Loesch is promoted to regional senior vice president of sales for the Pittsburgh-West Virginia region. The company’s region president Tim McAleer remarks, “Bobbie’s extensive experience in our region makes her the perfect fit to oversee sales for our robust media and entertainment assets. We are lucky to have her; she is an expert at multiplatform sales and consistently helps our partners reach their goals.” Loesch – who begins her new duties next Monday (10/16) – adds, “I have worked with the iHeartMedia Pittsburgh team for over a decade, so I am excited to lead such a talented group. It is great that we are such a tight-knit team and that we are all passionate about helping our partners succeed.” ….. Starting next Monday (10/16), Cameron Moore takes over 10:00 am – 3:00 pm duties on Beasley Media Group Charlotte CHR WNKS “Kiss 95.1.” Operations manager/program director John Reynolds comments, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Cameron to Beasley’s Charlotte team. [Her] expanded experience in every aspect of radio programming will help ‘Kiss’ continue the solid growth we have been having all year. Cameron is a great example of our goal to mentor and groom excellent talent within our company.” Moore adds, “It is an honor to be part of the ‘Kiss’ team. I look forward to playing all of the hottest hit music and getting out on the streets to meet all of [our] loyal listeners.” Winston-Salem native Moore most recently worked at Midwest Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Missouri cluster ….. The yearly signature event for CBS Radio Chicago triple A WXRT “93-XRT” is its Goose Island Holiday Jam. The ninth such event will feature performances by Spoon with special guest Real Estate and takes place in two months (12/10) at the Chicago Theatre. WXRT program director and operations manager Greg Solk explains, “The WXRT Goose Island Holiday Jam was created to showcase some of the most dynamic talents around, and to offer a memorable annual holiday event for Chicago music fans. This year’s fabulous double bill of Spoon and Real Estate will certainly accomplish that goal.” ….. As of today (10/9), 2016 Texas Radio Hall of Fame inductee Gary Lee Love joins John Walton classic country KXXF “105.3 Free,” Beaumont (Texas) for afternoon drive duties. Station owner John Walton states, “It is quite a coup for [us] to acquire a partnership with the Gary Lee Love Show. Gary is a bigger-than-life personality who is a household name in Southeast Texas and a great entertainer. Love most recently did a similar shift on cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KAYD “Nash-FM.”
Hundreds Attend “The House FM” and “My Praise FM” Kid DJ Day. The sixth annual “Kid DJ Day” was held over a week ago (9/30) at the 89.7 “The House FM Where Christian Hits Live” and 88.7 “My Praise FM” studios. More than 550 Kid DJs and 888 total family members attended the free event. “The House FM” and “My Praise FM” founder and chief executive officer Doyle Brewer remarks, “We had such a great day hosting 888 guests. The families were making such great memories with the petting zoo and so many other activities. Our ministry has always been focused on supporting families on the air with our programming and any other way we can.” Kids were invited to be DJs for a day, receiving a tour of the radio station and having a turn on-air. They were asked to discuss a variety of different topics, prompted by the DJ; parents received an email recording of their child’s on-air time. Listener-supported Christian radio network “The House FM” broadcasts from Oklahoma City to Wichita; sister network “My Praise FM” broadcasts in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
Austin’s September 2017 Report to be Re-Released. Owing to audience estimates being inadvertently omitted for Austin subscribing HD-multicast KKMJ-HD3, Nielsen Audio will issue a revised September 2017 PPM ratings report for that Texas market this Wednesday (10/11) at 12:00 noon. Reporting for Entercom urban AC KKMJ-HD3 apparently had not been entered into one of Nielsen Audio’s internal systems. Audience estimates for other Austin stations will reportedly not be affected. Prior to August’s +.1 to 1.6 (#19, 6+), KKMJ-HD3 hadn’t had an increase in five consecutive sweeps for a net loss of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 1.7 – 1.5, 6+) but disappeared from print in the September sweep that was released last week.
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
Savage, Westwood One Sign Multi-Year Renewal. Under terms of a just-signed pact, “The Savage Nation” host Michael Savage and Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One will continue their long-term relationship. Westwood One president and Cumulus Media’s executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are proud to extend our relationship with this top-notch talent [who has] a unique voice in American radio. He has some of the most engaged fans and is a proven, consistent, ratings generator. We look forward to many more years together.” Savage states that his Westwood One deal, “caps my winning the National Radio Hall of Fame nomination. My show is famous for my ‘news, views, and reviews,’ and we will take it to new levels in January 2017. We will be doing a three-dimensional show on broadcast stations, as a live stream, and with special segments created only for subscribers.” With a Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, Savage was the 2007 recipient of TALKERS‘s “Freedom of Speech” award. He has authored more than 25 books with his newest – “Scorched Earth” – coming out next month. First aired locally in San Francisco in 1994, “The Savage Nation” now airs nationally on 235 stations.
Who Are Radio’s Highest-Paid Talents? Whether it is professional athletes or movie/television stars, we are constantly fascinated by the salaries of those with an elevated profile. Some will find it curious – if not grossly unfair – for instance, that Alex Rodriguez will draw approximately $27 million next year from the New York Yankees to do basically nothing. There is a curiosity as well about the W-2 forms of certain radio personalities. In a Karen Blankfeld-written Forbes Magazine article, we discover the identity of the industry’s top six moneymakers. The names and perhaps even the order might not totally surprise you, but the figures could. Checking in at #6 is Glenn Beck ($13 million). “Aside from his conservative-leaning news site The Blaze, he makes a small fortune annually from his publishing imprint Mercury Ink,” Blankfeld notes. Bill O’Reilly ($18.5 million) is listed at #5 but his inclusion here is a stretch since the Fox News anchor does not have a long-form radio presence. Fox News stable-mate/Premiere Networks‘ Sean Hannity ($29 million) comes in at #4 with Blankfeld remarking he “remains the go-to host for conversations and confessions with the GOP elite.” By now, you have probably correctly guessed the top three, but in a countdown hat-tip, the radio talent at #3 is iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss FM” morning star and Premiere Networks’ “AT 40” host Ryan Seacrest ($55 million), who isn’t hurting too much without the “American Idol” checks. With a staggering $79 million, another Premiere Networks personality – Rush Limbaugh – is listed at #2. “He celebrated 28 years with iHeartMedia in August by renewing his contract,” Blankfeld states. Eclipsing everyone though at #1 is Howard Stern ($85 million) and it is perhaps fitting he is first, given his self-described “King of All Media” moniker. “His new five-year, eight-digit contract with Sirius will extend to a new app and video streaming of the show,” Blankfeld explains. Add the figures up for these six stars and the total is approximately $280 million. Forbes bases the list on estimated June 1, 2015 – June 1, 2016 pretax income, before deducting management and legal fees.
Emmis New York City Makes Morgan SVP/Market Manager. It is quite a significant week for Emmis upper management. As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, Tuesday, 8/9), Chuck Williams takes over as senior vice president and market manager of the four-station cluster in the company’s home market of Indianapolis. There, he succeeds Charlie Morgan, who served in that capacity the past seven years before being named interim market manager of Emmis New York earlier this year. Morgan now removes the “interim” title, as he officially is named Emmis New York City’s senior vice president and market manager. Company president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh declares that, “Charlie is one of radio’s truly gifted leaders. His inspirational leadership has been a catalyst in improving our results in Indianapolis and his deft skills are already having an impact in New York. I am thrilled he has decided to focus this next exciting stage of his career on ensuring [our New York City stations] continue to play an important role in the lives of listeners in the Tri-State area and these brands deliver on their enormous potential.” Morgan comments, “When a 35+-year radio veteran can honestly call his most recent seven years the most fun and most rewarding of his career, you know you are talking to one very fortunate man. That statement is true for me, thanks to the company and the culture that [founder, chief executive officer, chair] Jeff Smulyan, [president of radio programming] Rick Cummings, and Pat Walsh have built and nourished. Add to that the all-star team of talent I have worked with in Indianapolis, and you begin to understand my good fortune. For the past seven months, I have had the rare privilege of working with the talented team at Emmis New York. We have legendary brands in the most vibrant city in America. I have fallen in love with the people, the passion, and the opportunity to build on the legacy in New York.” Prior to joining Emmis, the Butler University alum spent more than 21 years as vice president and general manager of Susquehanna (now Cumulus Media) Indianapolis and he is a former president and chief operating officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions. In addition, Morgan is board chair of the Country Radio Seminar. Results from Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM report indicate Emmis New York City urban AC WBLS is in fifth-place (5.1, 6+); rhythmic CHR sibling WQHT “Hot 97” is tenth (3.5, 6+); and co-owned gospel WLIB is #31 (.4, 6+).
Cumulus Media Nashville Names Meltesen Sr. AE/Sponsorship Sales. The former publisher of Nash Country Weekly – Jeff Meltesen – is appointed senior account executive/sponsorship sales for Cumulus Media Nashville. He will focus on clients of the cluster’s two country stations (WKDF and WSM-FM) and sponsorship sales of events/promotions for all Cumulus Media Nashville properties. WKDF “Nash FM” and WSM-FM “Nash Icon” general sales manager Rhonda Rollins comments, “We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s experience join our team. His sales, business, and marketing acumen are market tested and will help us elevate the conversation with our customers.” Meltesen remarks, “Cumulus Nashville’s high quality events featuring high profile artists present a unique opportunity for brands that want to make an impact in Nashville. Our sponsorships are backed by the power of our popular Nashville radio stations, so there is built-in media value for our partners.” Before joining Nash Country Weekly, Meltesen was marketing director for Nashville Songwriters Association International. Up a whopping +1.4 from June, WSM-FM “Nash Icon” finishes second (7.3, 6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 Nashville PPM sweep, nine-tenths behind Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” (8.2, 6+). Elsewhere in the Cumulus Media Nashville cluster, urban AC WQQK “92-Q” is #7 (5.2); WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” is #8 (4.6, 6+); and tied at #12 – each with 3.7 (6+) – are sports WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WKDF “Nash FM.”
A Case of Copyright Infringement? Apparently, that is what Paul Bereswill is thinking, as he becomes the most recent photographer to sue a radio company over a copyrighted photo used on a radio station’s website. Specifically, the case in the southern district of New York has Bereswill alleging that Cumulus Media New York City talker WABC used his pictures of New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and a post-game photo of the NHL‘s New York Rangers on the WABC website without his prior consent. In addition to attorney’s costs/fees, Bereswill reportedly is seeking damages and profits or the statutory $150,000 per work.
Ex-Talkers Win Minnesota Political Contests. One of Rush Limbaugh‘s former guest hosts – Jason Lewis – defeated Darlene Miller and John Howe yesterday (Tuesday, 8/9) to win the Republican nomination for congress in Minnesota’s second congressional district. Lewis spent ten years on Minneapolis talker KSTP-AM and later was heard on cross-town KTLK-FM. Five years ago to the day, Genesis Communications Network began syndicating his show. Lewis will face Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee Angie Craig and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby in November. Meanwhile in that state’s sixth district, another former talk show host – Republican representative Tom Emmer – won his primary race for re-election. Emmer was a state legislator before co-hosting morning drive with Bob Davis at KTLK-FM in 2011- 2013. Emmer was Minnesota’s Republican nominee for governor in 2010, losing in a very close race to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Mark Dayton.
Odds & Sods: Starting in four weeks (9/6), “The Sports Junkies,” the 6:00 am – 10:00 am program on CBS Radio Washington, D.C. sports outlet WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” will be simulcast on regional cable sports network CSN Mid-Atlantic. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard comments, “‘The Sports Junkies’ are the most dynamic radio personalities in [the market] with a dedicated fan base of listeners on radio, streaming, and via podcast. We are thrilled to work with our partners at CSN on this important brand extension of our original programming.” ….. Topics ranging from research and insights affecting radio listeners and advertisers to storytelling will be featured in “Radio Impact Reports,” a new blog from the RAB. According to the first post, the blog will, “share current news, information and insights about broadcast radio, while using this social space to encourage an open dialogue with broadcasters, advertisers, agencies and even listeners. One thing is for certain – our focus will be on continued growth and innovations taking place, ensuring radio’s bright and exciting future.”
Doris Freeman Passes. The class of 2014 Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame inductee died this past Saturday (8/6). Doris Freeman began her career approximately 80 years ago as a feature radio singer and tap dancer. She raised millions of dollars over the decades for organizations such as the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Center, Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, March of Dimes, and the United Negro College Fund. Freeman hosted daily and weekly radio shows on Jackson, Tennessee’s WDXI; a daily children’s television show in Jackson; and headed up Cousin Tuny Enterprises, one of Jackson’s first advertising agencies. As a single mother of four, she became Jackson’s first female radio advertising representative with WDXI in 1948 and later at WTJS, and WJAK. For more than 20 years, Freeman produced/hosted live radio coverage of the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Visitation will be held tomorrow (Thursday, 8/11) 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Jackson, Tennessee’s Northside Methodist Church; funeral service (also at the Northside Methodist Church) is this Friday (8/12) at 11:00 am.
CBS Sacto Raises Rufer to VP/Programming. Hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” Sacramento program director Chad Rufer is boosted to vice president programming of CBS Radio‘s five-station cluster – which includes “Now 100.5” – in California’s capitol city. CBS Radio Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim comments, “I am looking forward to working with Chad on cluster-wide programming initiatives. He has consistently delivered outstanding results. I am confident that he will have a significant impact growing ratings for the cluster.” Rufer remarks, “I am very humbled by the trust that Steve Cottingim and the executive team at CBS Radio has in me. Taking on this new role and being surrounded by such an all-star programming team is truly a dream come true.” Prior to joining CBS Radio Sacramento six years ago, Rufer was director of programming for Fort Myers Broadcasting Company; programmed KKMG, Colorado Springs; and operations manager of Saga Communications Clarksville, Tennessee. With each station’s July 2016 6+-share and 6+-rank in parentheses, the CBS Sacramento cluster consists of adult contemporary KYMX “Mix 96” (7.6, #2); hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5” (4.7, #5); country KNCI (4.4, #7); rhythmic CHR KSFM “KS-102.5” (3.5, #10); and KHTK “Sports 1140” (1.3, #20).
LA Rams Ready NFL Return with Radio Team. The city of Los Angeles welcomes back the NFL with the return of the Rams from St. Louis. As TALKERS reported last Friday (8/5), former Rams player D’Marco Farr announced that after seven years, he is leaving Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” and the afternoon drive “The Fast Lane” show for “new opportunities.” From the “That Didn’t Take Long” file, the “new opportunity” for Farr is handling sideline reporting for the team’s English-language radio broadcasts on flagship ESPN Sports KSPN “ESPN LA 710” and simulcast partner Entercom classic rocker KSWD “100.3 The Sound.” Set to call game action and analysis are J.B. Long from the Pac-12 Network and former UCLA, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones Drew. KNBC-TV (channel 4), Los Angeles weekend sports anchor Mario Solis and Fox Deportes’ Troy Santiago will call the games on the team’s Spanish-language flagship – Lotus Spanish sports KWKW “ESPN Deportes 1330.” KSPN vice president and general manager Scott McCarthy states, “We could not be more thrilled about the broadcast team who will be bringing Rams games to life for listeners in Southern California and beyond. J.B., Maurice, and D’Marco are experienced and outstanding play-by-play broadcasters. We look forward to hearing them on ‘ESPN LA 710’ during Rams games and also during the week.” KWKW director of programming Juan Rodriguez comments, “Mario Solis and Troy Santiago are admired by the Latino sports enthusiasts for their professionalism and the profound emotion which they bring to each and every broadcast.” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff remarks, “We are excited these two dynamic teams will bring our games to fans across the region in our first season back in Los Angeles. All of these announcers combine unique experience, passion for the game, and ties to Southern California, which will help connect our fans to Rams football during this historic year.” KSPN midday co-host Steve Mason; former Raiders, Jaguars, and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison; and former NFL cornerback Eric Davis will do KSPN’s three-hour pre-game show. Meanwhile, KSPN morning co-host Travis Rodgers will host the two-hour post-game show, while Jeff Biggs will report at halftime. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM report for Los Angeles, KSWD ranks #16 (2.6); KSPN #32 (1.0); and KWKW is unlisted.
Max Media Norfolk Cuts Ties With Nielsen Audio. When Norfolk PPM ratings information was released last Thursday (8/4), five Max Media outlets were noticeably absent and the reason was a financial decision. In a message to clients and agencies, Max Media Norfolk general manager Dave Paulis explained why the cluster is no longer a Nielsen Audio subscriber. “This decision is one we have been discussing for many years,” he writes, “and it comes down to one simple issue – return on investment. Since the advent of PPM in this marketplace in 2008, ratings have dwindled to the point where even the leading stations are not in the position to price [themselves] to match their market position. The elimination of this burdensome subscription will allow Max to diversify, make our products better, and free up dollars to market the radio stations.” Noted with June 2016 6+-rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Max Media Norfolk includes classic hits-oldies WVBW “92.9 The Wave” (#3, 6.0); country WGH-FM “Eagle 97.3” (5.0, #7); CHR WVHT “Hot 100.5” (#9, 3.8); sports WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1″ (#12, 2.3); and gospel WGH-AM “Star 1310” (#15, 1.9).
Turnbeaugh Takes Over As iHM Nevada/Central California Programmer. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas JoJo Turnbeaugh is elevated to senior vice president of programming for the company’s stations in Nevada and central California. According to Nevada/central California region president Glynn Alan, “JoJo’s broad scope of both format and multi-market experience – combined with his winning attitude and track record – will bring extensive benefits to our region.” The region’s executive vice president of programming Steve Geofferies comments, “JoJo has a history in the central California region and he knows the brands in each of those markets. He added new duties earlier this year and created exceptional results in Las Vegas. We expect more of the same for our region.” Turnbeaugh remarks, “I am honored by the faith and trust that Glynn Alan and Steve Geofferies are placing in me. I am also very excited to work with the great team of leaders already in the region.” Turnbeaugh previously programmed KCCY, Colorado Springs; was assistant program director for KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” Denver; and was an on-air talent at KYGO, Denver.
Westwood One, Dr. Gupta Extend Their Partnership. Practicing neurosurgeon and CNN‘s multiple Emmy award winning chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta signs a multi-year agreement to continue hosting Westwood One’s “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.” Westwood One chief operating officer Charles Steinhauer comments, “Dr. Gupta is one of the most trusted voices on health issues. We are delighted to extend our relationship so that we can continue to meet the demand of listeners who want to live better lives.” Dr. Gupta notes, “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to share the secrets of a happier and healthier life that I have learned as a doctor and as a roving reporter who has traveled the world for the last 15 years. There are little things we can do to live a better life and I will teach you how to make them a part of your life.” The weekday, 60-second feature airs on 400 stations, including nine of the top ten markets.
The Presidential Race, US Cash Payment to Iran, Rio Olympics Troubles/Action, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/6-7). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the controversy over the US’ payment of $400 million to Iran the day Americans were released from that country; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro (as well as the actual action of the games) as it entered its opening weekend; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this past weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Returning for its second season this Thursday (8/11) is “Undeniable with Joe Buck,” a weekly show produced for radio by AT&T/DirecTV, and Vince Vaughn‘s Wild West Television. Affiliates include Entercom sports outlet KGMZ “The Game,” San Francisco; CBS Radio Washington, D.C.’s WJFK “106.7 The Fan”; iHeartMedia-owned KGME, Phoenix; and CBS Radio St. Louis talker KMOX. Among those Buck will interview in season two are Brett Favre, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Torre, Joe Theismann, and Kerri Walsh Jennings ….. Oldies WKVA, State College-Lewistown (Pennsylvania) becomes the 38th affiliate of “Animal Radio News Update,” a minute-long, weekday segment featuring worldwide pet news. Host Hal Abrams comments that, “America’s love affair with their pets is growing at breakneck speed. With the pet industry nearing $63 billion dollars yearly, more and more stations are realizing a new way to increase revenue with our weekday offerings.”
“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “for every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”
Public Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because, “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.