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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

| October 5, 2021

Round One of September PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. iHeartMedia’s New York City news/talk WOR adds four-tenths to finish with a 2.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises to the #16 rank while Red Apple Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC climbs three-tenths for a 2.2 share finish and the #18 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles dips three-tenths to a 3.8 share but remains in the #7 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN tacks on two-tenths for a 3.6 share and stays ranked #9 while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds nine-tenths for a 6.6 share finish and recaptures the #1 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

iHeartMedia Names Dalena Pajares VP of Sales for St. Louis Cluster. Sales pro Dalena Pajares joins iHeartMedia’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales. The cluster includes news/talk KTLK-FM “104.9 The Patriot” and KATZ-HD2/W279AQ “BIN: Black Information Network” as well as eight music brands. Pajares was most recently an account executive with The Center for Sales Strategy. Previously, she’d served with Hubbard Radio, Emmis Communications, CBS Radio, and Cox Radio. She comments, “I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to join this talented group of people. iHeartMedia St. Louis has powerful solutions to offer emerging brands, our local business community and nationwide advertisers. I’m committed to making a positive contribution and can’t wait to grow and help others as they grow.”

CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group Develops Audio Planning Guide. This week’s blog from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group shares data sourced from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Report, Nielsen’s Nationwide, and the Scarborough Podcast Buying Power study that makes up its Audio Planning Guide. Some of the key findings include: 1) Many media strategists and planners mistakenly believe Pandora and Spotify have the largest share of ad-supported audio listening. At a 76% share, Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” reveals AM/FM radio is the dominant ad-supported audio platform; 2) From the Q2 2021 “Share of Ear” study, Edison reports the 76 share of AM/FM radio is 13 times larger than Pandora and 19 times larger than Spotify; 3) According to the Nielsen Commspoint, the media planning platform, a reallocation of 20%-30% of the TV budget to AM/FM radio generates significant lift in incremental reach; and 4) One of biggest misperceptions of AM/FM radio is that it is a “drive time” medium. The reality is only 40% of U.S. AM/FM radio listening occurs during mornings and afternoon drive times. 60% of U.S. AM/FM radio listening occurs outside of drive times. See more here.

Audacy and Osiris Media Partner for ‘Breaking Waves’ Podcast Series. A new podcast series from Audacy, in partnership with Osiris Media, titled “Breaking Waves” launches on October 12. The series centers around stories and anecdotes revisited by bands, Audacy talent, stations and friends who watched, lived and defined a particular music scene or movement. The first episode is “Breaking Waves: Seattle” and focuses on the emergence and growth of grunge and alternative music in the city in the 80s and 90s. Audacy SVP of programming Dave Richards says, “We are so excited to introduce the ‘Breaking Waves’ podcast series to our audience. This music was such a defining genre in the history book of American culture and set the stage for so many bands that followed. We’re thrilled to bring the genuine storytelling from the people who created and lived the scene – from its start in the 80s into the groundbreaking 90s, to now. This is the first of many podcasts that will give our audience the story of a time and place, that went from local to worldwide.”

Biden Spending Bills/Debt Crisis, COVID-19, Facebook Whistleblower, Pandora Papers, China’s Taiwan Aggression, California Oil Spill, Fed Insider Trading Allegations, France Catholic Church Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4). The status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and the fate of the country’s debt ceiling; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the controversy over booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen’s appearance on “60 Minutes”; the release of the “Pandora Papers” that reveal how the global elite hide their money in off-shore accounts to avoid taxes; China’s military jet flights over Taiwan; the oil spill off the coast of Southern California; the allegations of insider trading by some Federal Reserve officials; and France is rocked by the revelation of decades long sexual abuse of children by Catholic Church employees were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

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, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. 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.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

| October 1, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing.  A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1).  The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of today’s event here.

Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid  traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”

NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCulloughRichard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”

Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”

Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on  programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations …..  Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.

Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.