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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

| November 12, 2020

WGY, Albany’s Chuck Custer to Retire Next Month. Albany radio personality Chuck Custer is retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGY-AM/FM on December 18. He currently hosts the morning drive program with Kelly Lynch. Before taking on that role in 2011, he served as news anchor on Don Weeks’ radio show. Custer also previously served as news director and program director for “News Radio 810 & 103.1.” Custer began his WGY career as evening news anchor in 1984. iHeartMedia Albany SVP and market manager John Cooper says, “For over 36 years, Chuck Custer has been synonymous with WGY. From his time as the leader of the award-winning WGY news department, his outstanding work with ‘Don Weeks in the Mornings’, his current co-host position with Kelly Lynch, and most importantly all the time he’s contributed to the people of the Capital District. Chuck has been the consummate professional. He’s a great broadcaster who will long be remembered.” Custer comments, “It was a lifelong dream to work at WGY, a powerful, influential station with a great history and heritage. I’ve been very fortunate to have such a great run here. I’ve worked with many tremendous and talented people, made many friends, and I have had an opportunity to take on many different challenges. For 36-plus-years, I’ve loved what I was doing and loved coming to work. Not many people can say that.”

Urban One Posts Third Quarter Net Revenue Decrease of 17.2%. Reporting results from the third quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc says net revenue was approximately $91.9 million, a decrease of 17.2% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $44.2 million, an increase of 1.3% from the same period in 2019. Urban One posted a net loss of approximately $12.8 million in Q3 of 2020 compared to a net income of approximately $5.4 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “During the third quarter, we saw continued sequential improvements in radio revenues: compared to Q2 2020, our radio segment revenues were up 54.3%. This improvement will continue into fourth quarter where same station radio division revenues are currently pacing down only mid-single digits compared to Q4 2019, including political advertising. Most remarkably, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to grow our Q3 2020 Adjusted EBITDA by 2.3% compared to Q3 2019 and by 61.3% compared to Q2 2020. This was largely driven by impressive performance in our TV, Digital and Reach Media divisions, all of which grew their Adjusted EBITDA by double digit percentages, or better, year-over-year. During this 2020 election cycle we have seen record-breaking political advertising revenues, in excess of $20 million across our entire platform of radio, digital and TV assets. I believe this reflects the increasing recognition of the importance of our audience, and the trusted platform we provide our clients to reach Black America… Our cash and liquidity position remains robust, with approximately $102.2 million of cash on hand at September 30. We received strong support from lenders for our recent bond exchange offer, which extends the maturity of both our secured notes and unsecured term loan, thereby giving the Company more flexibility to opportunistically access capital markets during the course of 2021. As part of the exchange agreement we will also reduce our outstanding debt by $25 million.”

KKAT, Salt Lake City Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey is joining the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot, effective November 16. Cumulus Salt Lake City VP and market manager Patrick Reedy says, “Now, more than ever, Dave Ramsey’s insights and solutions for life and money bring clarity and straight talk to improving listeners’ financial lives. We are incredibly excited to welcome ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ to the powerful 860AM lineup.” KKAT program director Chris Hoffman adds, “I’ve personally seen the power of Dave’s message change people’s lives. I can’t wait for our audience to experience it for themselves. I look forward to hearing their debt-free screams!”

KYW, Philadelphia Announces New On-Air Lineup. The retirement of morning drive co-anchor Brandon Brooks sets in motion a series of changes at Entercom’s all-news outlet KYW, Philadelphia that take effect November 23. Current afternoon drive co-anchor Ian Bush is moving to mornings to serve as co-anchor alongside Carol MacKenzie. Jay Scott Smith rises from his part-time anchor position to co-anchor afternoons with co-anchor Michelle Durham. Also, fill-in anchor Denise Nakano is named midday anchor. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “As KYW Newsradio broadens its reach on crystal-clear 103.9 FM, we are happy to expand the roles of these outstanding journalists. Ian, Jay, and Denise bring invaluable experience and insight that will help Philadelphia’s most-trusted news team serve our region at this critical time and beyond.” Bush, Smith, and Nakano will all contribute to KYW Newsradio’s growing array of digital offerings, including original podcasts.

Jim Bohannon Goes Back to College. Pictured above on the campus of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia is Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon (second from right) along with a group of students from the school’s student-run radio station “Z87.7.” Bohannon visited the school to conduct a radio seminar and speak to individual audio production classes about his industry experience as a talk show host. Bohannon also appeared as a guest on the station’s “1:35” program. Pictured with Bohannon are (from l-r) students Christopher Barker, Cameron Verona,Savannah Richards, Zach Swindell, Brett Loftis, Bohannon, and faculty member Dale Van Cantfort.

Harrison Podcast Presents a Special Salute to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Taking a brief departure from its usual format of spotlighting a single individual, the Broadcasters Foundation of America is the subject of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “This past week’s election and its aftermath continued the drama, intensity and anxiety that have made 2020 one of the most challenging years in modern history – and thus, one of the most difficult in the lifetimes of those of us born after World War II. The economic crisis sparked by COVID-19 has certainly added to the problems facing millions of people in our country who have either lost their jobs or their businesses and many more who are living with the uncertainty of whether they will still have their jobs and businesses in 2021.” Harrison continues, “All that aside, the radio industry has been hard hit by economic challenges for years leading up to 2020 – through good times and bad – due to a variety of reasons… some unavoidable and some, unfortunately, of its own making… none of which can be blamed on its day-to-day working people. Escalating cutbacks in the radio business are nothing new in the 21st century. The COVID-19 era has only made difficult matters even worse. Firings have primarily targeted the working folks in the trenches, including engineers, producers, programmers, news reporters, DJs, talk show hosts, salespeople, programmers, and mid-level managers.” Harrison adds, “It is important to note radio is always on the front lines of supporting charities and initiatives that rush to the aid of victims suffering from just about every hardship inflicted by disease, natural disasters, and economic calamity. But the only humanitarian organization that I know of that for decades has consistently been standing up for broadcasters facing personal disasters is the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” The Broadcasters Foundation of America derives most, if not all, of its revenues from individuals and companies, large and small, in the radio and television industries creating a process by which broadcasters can support broadcasters in their time of need. 2020 has proven to be a difficult year for the organization due to the economic impact of the corona virus upon its individual donors – and especially with COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of many of the organization’s annual fund-raising events. Harrison concludes, “Keeping in mind that a significant portion of this podcast’s audience are members of the professional broadcasting community, and to personally take a momentary break from the stresses of today’s political turmoil, this installment of our podcast will diverge from its usual path and be devoted to raising awareness of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” The podcast’s guests this week are WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley, Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson and Foundation board member and longtime host of TV’s “Inside Edition,” Deborah Norville. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Trump Refuses to Concede/Biden Transition Process, Georgia Recount/Senate Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Trump Media Ambitions, Veterans Day, and Tropical Storm Eta to Hit Florida Again Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The refusal on the part of Donald Trump and a fair number of Republican members of Congress to admit that Joe Biden won the election and the transition process to President-Elect Biden; the state of Georgia’s intent to do a hand recount of the ballots and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and Pfizer’s statement its vaccine appears to be 90% effective; speculation about Donald Trump’s post-White House media ambitions; the Veterans Day holiday; and Tropical Storm Eta to hit Florida again were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Condolences to the family and friends of classic rock WIMZ-FM, Knoxville afternoon drive personality Billy Kidd, a.k.a. William Winningham, who died unexpectedly yesterday (11/11). No details of his passing are available but the station posted the following to its website: “It is with the very heaviest of hearts that we here at 103.5 WIMZ bring you the terrible news of the passing of our friend and colleague, William Winningham, also lovingly known as Billy Kidd. We know you have many questions, as do we. Just remember how much Billy loved this community and the people who made it so great! We will be posting and airing tributes to Billy in the days to follow. We appreciate the many friends and listeners who have expressed their concern and love for Billy. Thank you all from the depths of our hearts. We love you Billy!”…..Alpha Media and Superadio, LLC announce an affiliation agreement to bring the “Ebro in the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” to its hip hop-formatted stations in Portland, Oregon; San Antonio; and Amarillo, Texas. Alpha Media VP of content Phil Becker says, “I admire and appreciate the talent and perspectives of Ebro, Laura, and Rosenberg and I’m proud of Alpha for continuing to be trendsetters in the media space by becoming the flagship affiliate. The radio industry has become too reliant on phony phone calls and the assumption that listeners want characters over authenticity. ‘Ebro in the Morning’ understands that and will be a wonderful addition to our portfolio of stations, and I look forward to working closely with them.”…..Team Jubal Productions announces its formation to independently launch “The Jubal Show” in national syndication. The program debuts today on iHeartMedia stations KXJM-FM, Portland “JAM’N 107.5”; KSLZ-FM, St. Louis “Z107.7” and WMKS-FM, Greensboro “100.3 KISS FM.” Team Jubal Productions is led by Alex Fresh, Jubal Fresh and Eric Weiss. Craig Whetstine is handling affiliate sales for the show.

Friday, November 6, 2020

| November 6, 2020


NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “The Envelope Please!” looks back at this past week of November 2 – November 6, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, London, UK; Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Michael Zwerling, talk show host / owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling On Sunday.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom and Urban One Announce Station Swap Involving Four Markets. A swap between Entercom and Urban One encompasses stations in three markets. Under the terms of this deal, Entercom acquires WPHI-FM, Philadelphia; WHHL-FM, St. Louis; and WTEM-AM, Washington, DC. Also, Entercom gets the format, brand and creative assets of Urban One’s WFUN-FM, St. Louis “The Lou” which will be moved to Entercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis. In return, Urban One acquires Entercom’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM, and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Both companies will begin operating their respective acquisitions under LMAs beginning November 23. The addition of WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” gives Entercom a second sports talk outlet in the DC market, complementing WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan.” Entercom DC SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “For years, WTEM has established itself as the go-to home for everything surrounding The Washington Football Team, and we’re proud to enhance our position as unrivaled leaders in sports radio by adding the station to our portfolio. The Washington Football Team is a pillar in the D.C. sports community, and we look forward to providing our listeners a home to tune in to all the action on game days and stay up-to-date throughout the year.”

Entercom-Urban One Deal Gives All-News KYW, Philadelphia an FM Presence. With Entercom’s acquisition of Philadelphia FM signal WPHI from Urban One, Entercom announces it will simulcast heritage all-news KYW-AM on the 103.9 FM signal. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “In this critical time for our community and country, simulcasting the iconic ‘KYW Newsradio’ on FM will greatly expand the reach of important, credible local journalism and enhance the listener experience on the crystal-clear FM dial. This station is the heartbeat of the community and we’re really excited about serving more listeners while providing additional access on top of 1060 AM, RADIO.COM, and smart speakers. The simulcast will begin on November 23.

Entercom’s 2020 Q3 Net Revenue Down 30%. On the positive side, Entercom Communications’ net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $268.5 million and that was up 53% from the second quarter of this year. However, that was 30% below the $386 million posted in the third quarter of 2019. The company notes that net revenues improved each month during the third quarter compared to the prior year: July was down 36%, August was down 32% and September was down 25%. Digital climbed 41% over the same period in 2019, posting revenue of $47.3 million. Entercom reports a third quarter operating loss of $259,000, compared to operating income of $79.5 million in Q3 of 2019. Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to make significant organizational improvements in the third quarter in the face of the deeply challenging pandemic. Third quarter net revenues were up 53% from the second quarter while our continuing work on enhancing our business model yielded an 18% reduction in operating expenses versus the prior year enabling us to rebound to positive Adjusted EBITDA of $31 million. We expect further improvement in both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter. We continue to suffer from the deep impact of the pandemic which has caused many of our advertisers in businesses such as concerts and live events, tourism, gyms, nightclubs, museums, movies, theme parks, public transportation, airlines, restaurants, and others to temporarily cease or significantly curtail their operations and advertising. We look forward to welcoming them back once we emerge from the pandemic. We continue to build and transform Entercom into a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach, robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, music, sports and news. Entercom is strategically well positioned for future performance as our enhanced capabilities enable us to expand our customer relationships and accelerate growth.”

Cumulus Promotes Ken Roberts to Market Manager for Washington, DC. Rising from his vice president, sales position with Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC duo to vice president and market manager is Ken Roberts. He takes over for Jake McCann, who exits to lead the Philadelphia-based real estate investment firm The HOW Group, LLC. Roberts will lead the duo of news/talk WMAL-FM and sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 The Sports Capital.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “Since joining the Cumulus team in 2016, Ken Roberts has done a terrific job leading our sales effort in Washington, D.C. His creativity, experience, leadership, and performance made Ken the ideal choice for this key role. Ken has earned this promotion and we are excited to have him lead this highly talented and effective D.C. team!”

Twitter Permanently Suspends Stephen K. Bannon’s Account. Former White House chief strategist, former Breitbart chief executive, current talk media host Stephen K. Bannon has had his Twitter account permanently suspended after he tweeted that President Trump should fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray and then went further, “I’d put the heads on pikes. Right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.” At the same time, Facebook shut down the page of the pro-Trump group Stop the Steal. A Facebook spokesperson commented to CNN, “In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events. The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

The Presidential Race, Electoral College, and Trump Lawsuits Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The 2020 presidential election, the Electoral College, and Donald Trump’s lawsuits combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was congressional races, local races, and propositions, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections and health care at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Based on Nielsen data, Newsmax TV broke its previous ratings records with Tuesday’s election night coverage. Newsmax Media says Newsmax TV reached 3 million viewers with the highest per minute viewership at 592,000 viewers. Moreover. Initial OTT reports indicate the network reached an additional 4 million viewers on Election Day and the day after on OTT services such as Roku, YouTube, Xumo, Pluto and others…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that the sale process of sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis is ongoing despite owner Randy Markel’s belief that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19. Markel is selling the station to a group led by current station manager John Hadley. Markel tells the paper that the process is in the hands of the lawyers now and that the deal “will get done.” Hadley is currently tweaking the station to be a true all-sports outlet. Several weeks ago it ended its deal with general issues talker Frank O. Pinion who’d been hosting the afternoon drive daypart…..iHeartMedia receives approval from the Federal Communications Commission for an increase in its authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100% (subject to certain conditions set forth in the Declaratory Ruling). The FCC concludes that the public interest would not be served by prohibiting foreign investment in iHeartMedia of up to 100%. The decision allows holders of iHeartMedia warrants to have those warrants exchanged into Class A or Class B shares of iHeartMedia common stock and affords iHeartMedia flexibility to accommodate increased foreign investment that may result from share purchases by the public…..Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s The Thing” podcast is joining iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcast Network in January. Baldwin says, “With the shift over to iHeartRadio, we’re breathing new life into a project I’ve been passionate about for nearly a decade. Hosting this show and speaking to so many remarkable people over the years has been such a joy, and I’m eager to see where we go from here.”…..Beasley Media Group unveils the Bravery Network in the Ft. Myers market.  The weekend public affairs radio program is hosted by CHR WXKB “B103.9” morning show personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones and is dedicated to shining a light on important issues ranging from PTSD and wellness to saluting Veterans who are making a difference in the local community. Jones says, “Florida has one of the largest veteran populations in the United States. As an Army veteran, I know first-hand the importance of finding resources after service can be both complicated and unique. The Bravery Network hopes to not only streamline these resources but bring awareness to those who don’t know about the struggle of reintegration into society.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation announces its 2020 Board of Directors. Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer at Beasley Media Group, is named co-chair, effective immediately. She joins Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris as co-chair of the organization. Pierre Bouvard, Gary Chapman, Erica Farber, David Kennedy, Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Heidi Raphael have been re-elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors. In addition, Ginny Morris, Gary Chapman, David Kennedy and Jack Goodman will continue to serve additional two-year terms on the Executive Committee.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A collaboration between Beasley Media Group and Broken Bow Records will result in their first-ever virtual “Country Christmas Concert.” The event will take place on Wednesday, December 16 at 8:00 pm on Beasley’s WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia; WKLB-FM, Boston; WSOC-FM, Charlotte; WKML-FM, Fayetteville; KCYE-FM, Las Vegas; WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; and WQYK-FM, Tampa. Beasley says the show will be hosted by local station personalities in an “up-close-and-personal setting.” Artists scheduled to perform include: Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Jimmie Allen, Runaway June, Elvie Shane, and Lainey Wilson…..Cox Media Group San Antonio names Craig Jones director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO-FM, rock KISS, country KKYX-AM/K285EU, hot AC KSMG, classic rock KTKX-FM, country KCYY, and oldies KONO-AM. CMG San Antonio VP and market manager David Able says, “Craig is an influential leader who has a long track record of success leading highly talented sales teams within our industry. I have no doubt that under Craig’s leadership our sales team will thrive and continue to deliver strong results for our clients.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

| October 6, 2020

The 2020 Radio (Virtual) Show. Consultant Holland Cooke is covering the NAB and RAB-produced 2020 Radio Show for TALKERS magazine that’s being done virtually this year and he reports today about the “CEO Town Hall” panel that was moderated by (clockwise from top left) NBC NewsStephanie Ruhle and included iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman, Entercom’s David Field, and Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner. The mantra from the CEOs was uniformly one of the audio industry’s resilience. But the execs also were plainly touting the digital opportunities that are allowing audio companies to expand and experiment during this time of disruption. Read Holland Cooke’s coverage here.

‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Broadcast During Veterans Day Week. For Veterans Day week this year, the Fisher House Foundation announces a fresh edition of the Jeff Wyatt Group-produced “The Fisher House Story – A Family’s Love” is available in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations in the U.S. and around the world. You can check out the show demo here. As most TALKERS readers are aware, Fisher Houses are “homes away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary, free lodging so families can be close to their loved one during a medical crisis. This year’s special – in three-hour, one-hour, or 30-minute versions – is once again hosted by WMAL-FM, Washington morning personality Mary Walter and features stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Your listeners will hear from Army combat scout Ben Breckheimer, whose vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while deployed with his team to Afghanistan; a Lt. Col. who was shot in the 2014 Ft. Hood shooting; and a Navy veteran who needed a double lung transplant. These are just a few of the many stories that will be told “in their own words” for your listeners. The show will be ready for download by November 2. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at The Jeff Wyatt Group at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

‘Women to Watch’ Expands to Two Hours on WPHT, Philadelphia. The weekend talk program “Women to Watch,” hosted by Women To Watch Media LLC founder Susan Rocco, is expanding to two hours on flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia. WTW says, “In partnership with JAKIB Media, the show in New York has since grown from a 30-minute to a 60-minute show. Now, the show is growing and expanding on its flagship ‘Talk Radio 1210’ WPHT in Philadelphia to two hours.” The program is available in national syndication. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are very excited to have ‘Women to Watch’ expand to two hours on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT. Susan does a fantastic job telling the meaningful and compelling stories of women leaders around our region and the world.” Rocco adds, “I always wanted Women to Watch Media to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are bringing a new type of leadership to all industries.”

Rich O’Brien Named Chief Development Officer at Sun Broadcast Group. Rising to chief development officer for Sun Broadcast Group is Rich O’Brien. He’s been serving with the company for the past two years and was most recently VP of programming and affiliate relations. Sun Broadcast Group president Warren Friedland says, “Rich has been instrumental in building Sun to where it is today. With this appointment, Rich will oversee all our programming and affiliations, working closely with our producers. Rich is highly respected and has tremendous experience in developing and growing quality, compelling, and impactful programs and services to be used by radio stations in all size markets. Sun Broadcast Group is one of the fastest growing companies in the radio network space, and Rich’s appointment demonstrates Sun’s continued commitment to serve the radio industry and its advertisers.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” afternoon personality Marc Silverman is in remission after treatment for Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In a tweet, Silvy said it’s been “the weirdest, craziest, hardest and most humbling spring/summer of my life.” He co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Waddle…..WTOP, Washington launches season three of the “Not for Lazy Moms” podcast with host Monique Samuels, one of the stars of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” Also on the show with her is her husband, former Washington Football Team offensive tackle Chris Samuels. WTOP director of news and programming Julie Ziegler says, “What I love about Monique is she is not afraid to speak about what’s on her mind. The show covers topics that real people can relate to and that is so refreshing. We are excited to have ‘Not for Lazy Moms’ as part of the WTOP podcast community.”…..The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program schedule at Information Communications Corp’s WABN, Abingdon, Virginia.

Trump COVID-19 Battle/Leaves Walter Reed, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, California Wildfires, and Hurricane Delta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 battle and his decision to discharge himself from Walter Reed Hospital; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for fall/winter outbreaks; the November presidential election and Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the ongoing California wildfires; and Hurricane Delta approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Kristen Herrmann is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia. Herrmann has been with the station since 2012 and has served as morning and afternoon host. WBEN brand consultant Chuck Damico says, “Kristen is the perfect person to move into the role of program director for 95.7 BEN FM. Nobody knows the brand and audience better. We’re very lucky to have her here and excited for the future of the radio station!”…..Entercom adds Josh Holleman to the air staff at country WYCD, Detroit, joining incumbent morning personalities Rachael Hunter and Steve Grunwald for the “Josh, Rachael and Grunwald in the Morning” program. Holleman, who’s most recently been hosting afternoons at Hubbard Radio’s WIL-FM, St. Louis, served with Entercom Detroit at WDZH-FM from 2015-16. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As the home of Detroit’s best country, we look forward to integrating Josh’s fun and energetic style into our award-winning morning show alongside Rachael and Steve. His impressive knowledge of the country music landscape and familiarity with our city as a native Detroiter will add a unique layer to our morning programming and help deliver a fresh, dynamic listening experience for our listeners to kick off their days.”…..iHeartMedia Chicago unveils the programming lineup for WIIL-FM “Rock 95 FIVE.” The morning drive program is being hosted by Angi Taylor with Abe Kanan serving as executive producer and contributor, Walt Flakus hosts middays, Klinger is the afternoon drive jock, and Maria Palmer hosts evenings. Regional SVP of programming for Chicago James Howard says, “We have assembled a dream team of talent whose passion for rock and Chicago will bring the ideal companionship for our audience.”…..Entercom drops the FM translator from sports WSSP-AM, Milwaukee and will launch hip hop “HOT 105.7” on W289CB, fed by WXSS-HD2. Entercom Milwaukee market manager Andrea Hansen says, “As part of our commitment to amplifying diverse voices in our content and talent lineup, the new ‘HOT 105.7’ will engage fans with today’s hottest music, relevant entertainment and a focus on issues important to African Americans and the multi-cultural community in Milwaukee. This strategic launch will also enhance our portfolio that already includes a prominent sports station and a pair of market leading brands focused on super-serving the female audience, ensuring we are delivering robust opportunities for advertisers to connect with diverse communities throughout Milwaukee.”

Monday, February 10, 2020

| February 10, 2020

Monday Memo: THIS Time for Sure! A week after Rush Limbaugh’s news stunned us, many affiliates are still asking what to do.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a suggestion. Read it here.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus/Economic Impact, Attacks on Cops, Trump Budget-Border Wall Funding, and the Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses and the buildup to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and its effect on the Chinese economy and the world’s financial markets; the two planned attacks on New York City police officers; President Trump’s budget proposal that includes heightened military and border wall spending and reduced foreign aid and safety net spending; and Sunday night’s Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group to Sell Ohio Papers to Cox Enterprises Inc. The Apollo Global Management-controlled Cox Media Group is agreeing to sell its Ohio dailies – the Dayton Daily News, the Springfield Sun-News, and the JournalNews to its former owner, Cox Enterprises Inc. (CEI is a minority owner of Cox Media Group).  If you recall, CEI sold the majority of CMG to Apollo in a deal that closed in December.  However, the courts reversed the FCC’s ruling to rescind the cross-ownership ban, forcing CMG to either sell the newspapers or take them off a daily print schedule in order to comply with the ban.  Apollo Global Management co-lead partner of private equity David Sambur says, “Apollo is committed to strengthening local media.  When faced with the unfortunate requirements of an antiquated regulation, we would not accept an outcome that reduced local news coverage for the people of Dayton, Springfield and Butler County.  We applaud the FCC for working with us and providing us the flexibility to find a stable, long-term buyer who is committed to providing the citizens of Ohio with award winning journalism.”  Following the sale, Rob Rohr will continue his role as vice president and general manager of CMG broadcast outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO, and rock WZLR plus WHIO-TV.  Following the sale, the Ohio newspapers will be under the interim operational leadership of Jana Collier, who currently serves as vice president of content at CMG Ohio.  The sale of the papers to CEI is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Eclectic Gathering.  A diverse group of communications figures gathered last night (2/9) for a dinner symposium on media and politics organized by Newsmax at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Among the topics discussed were the 2020 presidential race, the state of talk radio, and the history of tabloid journalism in Western culture.  Pictured (l-r): Bernadette Duncan, author/professor; Michael Harrison, founder TALKERS;  Cable Neuhaus, legendary journalist/correspondent; Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax; Iain Calder, former president/editor, National Enquirer; Steve Lapa, president, Lapcom Communication Corp.; Herb Mallard, international issues blogger; and Nicole DiCocco, executive director, H.O.P.E. Foundation for a Better Tomorrow.

Entercom and NBC Agree to Share Content in Philly.  This content-sharing partnership between Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM and NBC’s WCAU-TV “NBC 10” and WWSI-TV “Telemundo62” is multiplatform across all broadcast channels, websites, and social media.  As part of the agreement, KYW Newsradio and WCAU and WWSI “will work together to better serve the community via improved access and coverage of live, local breaking news, general news, weather, sports, politics and entertainment in both English and Spanish languages.”  Content from the partnership will also be shared across Entercom Philadelphia sister stations WPHT-AM, WIP-FM, WTDY-FM, WOGL-FM, and WBEB-FM.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re thrilled that the region’s most experienced and innovative radio team is joining forces with the most forward-thinking team in local television.  This strategic partnership will provide the Philadelphia area with the most immediate, accurate, and compelling news, weather, traffic, and entertainment reports.”

WWO Blog: Agencies Want More Reach and Better Attribution from Podcasting. According to the latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, a new study of advertisers and agencies suggests that in order for podcasting to become a $2 billion per year advertising medium, it will have to achieve 44% reach and improved attribution.  In the study, agencies and brands say the responses from the 95 executives surveyed centered around improved measurement and attribution.   Besides that, “Some indicate content will need to step up: ‘Larger scale content…a big breakthrough in the content space.’ Others note podcast discovery and search needs improvement.  A number feel big marketers coming into the podcast space will be a major accelerator.  Several point to the major opportunity to monetize ‘the longer tail shows which are being relatively ignored.'”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Illinois U.S. Representative Joe Walsh has ended his race for the Republican nomination for president.  Walsh was hosting the evening program for Salem Radio Network and a local afternoon show at Salem’s WIND-AM “AM 560 The Answer” prior to his late-August announcement he’d challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes in his column, Walsh has no plans to attempt to return to the talk radio business.  He told the Daily Herald, “I don’t like President Trump, so I have no home on conservative talk radio.”  Steve Cortes took over the WIND-AM show and WIND-AM morning drive co-host Dan Proft is hosting the syndicated evening show…..Legendary actor Robert Conrad – who hosted a talk radio show on the Southern California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio network in his later years – died on Sunday (2/8) at the age of 84.  His radio program was called “The Lounge with Robert Conrad.”  Of course, he starred on such television hits as “The Wild, Wild West” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”

Post Impeachment, Steve Bannon Transitions Radio Show. With the impeachment trial of President Trump behind the nation, Stephen K. Bannon transitions his “War Room: Impeachment” radio program into the new two-hour daily radio show “War Room: 2020” and “War Room: Pandemic” on The John Fredericks Radio Network.  Joining Bannon on the programs are former Trump for President campaign communications director Jason Miller and Brexit comms chief Raheem Kassam.

PPM Analysis: AC Part 2. In this second look at the adult contemporary Holiday 2019 PPM survey results, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of data from the past six Holiday PPM surveys from Nielsen Audio.  See the story here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The NAB announces that top 40 radio legend John Records Landecker will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2020 NAB Show during the April 20 Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore in Las Vegas.  NAB EVP of industry affairs Steve Newberry says, “John Records Landecker has had a profound impact on radio and has inspired generations of new talent.  His induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”…..At the Buffalo operations of Townsquare Media, Chris Crowley adds operations manager for the cluster to his duties.  Crowley will continue to serve as brand manager for country WYRK and adult contemporary WMSX.  Simultaneously, urban AC WBLK afternoon personality Yasmin Young is promoted to brand manager for the station…..Pacific Media Group announces David Baronfield is the new market manager for its Oahu station group, beginning February 18.  The Oahu cluster includes CHR KDDB “102.7 Da Bomb,” rhythmic AC KUMU, alternative KPOI “ALT 105.9,”and Hawaiian KQMQ “Da Pa’ina.”  He was most recently director of sales and Hagadone Media Group Hawaii.  Pacific Media Group president and CEO Chuck Bergson says, “After an extensive nationwide search, David was the perfect person to step in as the leader of the Honolulu stations.  He is a proven and accomplished leader who has extensive experience in the radio business, has excelled in medium and large markets across the country serving in all aspects – programming, engineering, promotions, and sales.  David has been successful in the Hawaii business community, developed key relationships, and has an understanding of what makes Hawaii such a special and unique place to live and do business.  In the end, what made David different from the rest is his understanding of what makes radio ‘magic,’ and that is when it is live, local, and community-based.”