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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

| March 16, 2022

John Rosso Rises to President and CEO of Triton Digital. The company’s president of market development rises to president and CEO as Triton Digital founder Neal Schore transitions to managing advisor. John Rosso says of his new role, “I am extremely proud of Triton Digital’s achievements and market-leading innovations and accomplishments and I’m looking forward to guiding the company as we continue to fuel the growth of the global online audio industry. Neal has always insisted that Triton Digital provide unparalleled service, unrivaled expertise and a commitment to excellence, and I look forward to building on that legacy, further expanding Triton Digital and contributing even more to the industry as we move into the next stage of growth.” Schore comments, “I founded Triton Digital in 2006 to reinvent the online audio industry. It has been wildly fulfilling for me to experience Triton Digital delivering innovative technology, attracting the best of the best team, and building an incredible client base in over 80 countries, and I am so grateful to our team and clients for all their loyalty and trust since launching the company over 16 years ago. I’m pleased to assume the role of managing advisor, and to continue to support Triton Digital’s clients and employees under John’s exceptional leadership as Triton Digital continues to carry on our tradition of driving and leading our industry.”

 

Brett Beshore to Lead Alpha Media Dayton Cluster. Radio executive Brett Beshore joins Alpha Media as SVP/market manager for the company’s Dayton station group that includes sports talk WING-AM and four music brands. Beshore has served as market president for iHeartMedia Indianapolis for the past 10 years. Alpha Media regional president and chief compliance officer Bill McElveen commented on the announcement, “Since our former market manager in Dayton, Keith Wright, announced his retirement earlier this year, we’ve been searching for the best possible candidate to lead our awesome team in Dayton, and Brett brings all of Alpha’s core values to the market. He knows how to lead a team and serve a great market and we’re excited to welcome him aboard.” Beshore states, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to join ‘the Pack’ at Alpha Media. Alpha’s Dayton stations have a highly talented team and a solid track record of success in the market with heritage brands such as WDHT-FM, WROU-FM, WGTZ-FM, WCLI-FM and WING-AM.  I look forward to serving our advertiser partners and providing great content for our listeners. I can’t wait to tell the story and find ways to use our stations to build and promote the great city of Dayton.”

 

iHeartMedia Announces Deal with TicketSmarter. A new multi-year agreement between Digital Ally’s TicketSmarter and iHeartMedia is struck that includes national marketing campaigns, prominent website feature displays, and sponsorship of national contests. The national contests will be powered by TicketSmarter and allow iHeartRadio listeners the opportunity to win trips and experiences. TicketSmarter CEO Jeff Goodman says, “We are thrilled to kick off this agreement with iHeartRadio and their innovative marketing team. We look forward to building once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their listeners.”

 

Today’s David Grapples Goliath with Problem/Solution. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today presents a profile of Tampa-based talk personality David Gornoski. The 33-year-old hosts a daily, two-hour show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa that is also distributed as a podcast. He assesses his endeavor as “more of a mission,” rather than a conventional news/talk show, succinctly mentioning the “Neighbor’s Choice” title “felt right” when he started this project approximately seven years ago. “It actually began as an informal book club with some friends I gathered together. We try to make sense of current events through the lens of anthropology – I called our little group ‘a neighbor’s choice.’ I thought we need to shake things up by taking ideas we’ve been [discussing] in our neighborly community to the public. I wanted to introduce a new way of looking at things and began doing a podcast online in 2015.” He says that he views Joe Rogan’s podcast success as something radio should look at. “Joe Rogan does a fantastic show and has been able to build a parallel universe with a younger demographic. If we bring a young, relevant, fresh and interesting perspective to talk radio, there’s no reason why we can’t have 11 million young people tuning into a [terrestrial] radio show.” Read more here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. At 2022 SXSW yesterday (3/15), PodcastOne president Kit Gray took part in the panel titled, “Everything Old is New Again: The Podcast Biz Model, along with fellow panelists Gary Ousdahl of Advanced Management, Jenni Skaug of Sonic Influencer Marketing, and panel moderator Ilana Susnow, head of marketing & audience development for PodcastOne. The goal was to talk about the modern podcast business model and how it has adapted and adopted methods from content industries including TV, radio, streaming, and social media…..Good Karma Brands’ KSPN-AM, “ESPN Los Angeles” and the Los Angeles Lakers agree to extend their radio rights deal, continuing a long-standing partnership. The station will carry all regular-season games as well as all preseason and post-season games. The station has served as the official radio broadcast home of the Los Angeles Lakers since 2009. Handling play-by-play duties are John Ireland, currently in his 11th season as the Lakers radio play-by-play announcer, and Lakers legend and two-time World Champion, Mychal Thompson, who is in his 19th season as color commentator…..The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, in collaboration with iHeartRadio, announce the release of “Payback,” a new multimedia series on the years-long fight by members of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) against what they allege is “institutionalized gender discrimination” in professional soccer. On February 22, 2022, the six-year legal battle between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT came to an end with an announced $24 million settlement and a pledge from the league’s governing body that steps would be taken to ensure equal pay between men’s and women’s teams in all competitions, including the World Cup. “Payback” examines some of the circumstances and events that led to the players’ filing.

 

Broadcasters Foundation Raises $300,000 at Golden Mike Award Gala. More than 270 radio and television broadcasters gathered at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 14 to honor Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, with the 2022 Golden Mike Award and Lesley Visser, the first woman sportscaster to report on all major sporting events with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala was a fundraiser, raising over $300,000 to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which provides financial assistance to broadcasters in acute need. The annual event returned this year following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Pictured here are Howell (left) and Visser (right).

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19, Daylight Saving Time, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the U.S.’s role in sanctions and arming the Ukrainian military, and Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned address to Congress; soaring gas prices and the still rising costs of retail consumer goods; the leveling of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the lockdowns in China, and the still-active People’s Convoy protesting mandates in Washington, DC; the U.S. Senate approves a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time year round; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the capture of a man suspected of killing homeless people, the arrest of an NYC man who beat an elderly Asian woman, and other examples of violent urban crime were some of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

| January 26, 2022

Darren Moore Named Vice President/General Manager for Cox Media Group Ohio. Television sales executive Darren Moore is named vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group Ohio that includes heritage news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, two music formatted stations and WHIO-TV. Moore will oversee all operations at the outlets including news, programming, sales, digital, engineering, production and community affairs. Moore joined CMG 26 years ago as an intern for WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh. He served with WAXN-TV, Charlotte before returning to CMG Pittsburgh where he served in various sales management roles.  CMG EVP of Television Paul Curran says, “Darren’s passion for people, the broadcasting industry and CMG is infectious and inspiring. His strong track record of forging internal and external relationships will make a positive impact on our Dayton operations and in the Dayton community. I look forward to watching him excel in this new role as our approach to broadcasting in Dayton continues to evolve.” Moore comments, “I am honored to join the outstanding broadcasters at CMG Ohio, home to some of the most iconic TV and radio brands in the entire industry. I can’t wait to start working with the Dayton team, further enhancing our award-winning brands, serving our customers and viewers, and partnering with the local Miami Valley community.”

Steve Moore Promoted to OM for Audacy St. Louis. Programming pro Steve Moore is promoted to operations manager for Audacy St. Louis. In this role, Moore will oversee the markets’ six brands, including heritage news/talk KMOX-AM and news/talk KFTK-FM and its four music formatted sister stations. Audacy St. Louis VP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I am beyond delighted to have Steve ascend into this new role. He has been so instrumental in building operational alignment, collaboration, and synergy across our St. Louis footprint. I am looking forward to Steve helping us continue to grow our incredible brands.” Moore comments, “I couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity. I appreciate the trust that Becky Domyan and Audacy have shown me and I’m looking forward to working more closely with Derrick, Leo and the talented broadcasters on these incredible music stations.”

FOXNews.com Tops in Multiplatform Minutes in 2021. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Media’s FOXNews.com finished 2021 as “the top-performing news brand in the competitive set, delivering 38 billion total multiplatform minutes… FOXNews.com also toppled nearly every news organization in the competitive set, outpacing NYTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com in all categories for the entire year.” In its head-to-head battle with CNN.com, FOXNews.com had 37.8 billion multiplatform total minutes compared to CNN.com’s 35.5 billion. CNN.com topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform total views metric (20.3 billion versus 18.4 billion) and in the average monthly multiplatform unique visitors metric (139 million versus 86 million). FOX News says 2021 marked its highest non-election year on record in social engagement. The digital network hit a new high in Instagram interactions, reaching over 286 million, its best year to date. 2021 also was a record year for the highest amount of video views ever for FOX News, driving nearly 4 billion video views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The network saw increases of nearly 10% in YouTube Video Views versus the prior year, driving slightly over 3 billion views.

Round One of Holiday PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 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 Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Nielsen’s annual Holiday PPM survey is traditionally not good to spoken word radio stations as so much listening is attributed to music outlets playing Christmas music. Bucking the trend, both of Audacy’s New York all-news stations were up compared to the December survey. WINS added six-tenths to finish with a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #5 rank while WCBS-AM added four-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #13 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP-AM tacked on two-tenths for a 3.0 share but remained in the #14 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dipped eight-tenths to a 5.8 share and sliding to the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Wendy Bell Gets Weekend Show on Newsmax. Longtime Pittsburgh television and radio personality Wendy Bell is joining Newsmax for a weekend program titled “Wendy Bell Common Sense.” The program will debut this Saturday (1/29) at 4:30 pm ET and “will examine the news of the day with a lively approach to national issues.” (It will air again on Sundays at 3:30 PM ET.) Bell says, “People are hungry for common sense in this country, and that’s what this new program is about. Telling the truth, having great conversations, talking about what really matters. It’s going to be outstanding.” Bell also hosts a syndicated talk radio program that airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy comments, “Wendy Bell has had a remarkable career as a television journalist and radio host, and throughout it all has been an advocate of common sense and American values. We are glad to have her on the Newsmax team.”

Salem Media Group Names Ron DeSantis ‘Culture Warrior of the Year.’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is named “2021 Salem Culture Warrior of the Year” by Salem Media Group. The honor is the result of voting by Salem listeners and DeSantis received 52% of the vote among the six finalists. Salem listeners were given the chance to nominate anyone who fits the category. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Governor DeSantis is well deserving of this honor, and it proves how strong he is not only in Florida, but also across the country. Last year this award was given to Candace Owens, so both honorees are well deserving of the respect and admiration of the Salem audience across the country.”

MIW Offers ‘Understanding Broadcast Law’ Program. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization – dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting – announces a new career enhancing program titled, “Understanding Broadcast Law,” sponsored by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth Law, PLC.  The “Understanding Broadcast Law” program is built to clarify the numerous legal issues inherent to the radio business. In addition to underwriting the program, which runs throughout 2022, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth partners Frank Montero and Kathleen Victory and their team will host a series of free and on-demand videos dedicated to answering questions and providing practical and applicable information as it pertains to radio law. From EEO to FCC license renewals and contracts, to conversations with corporate lawyers, each unique and informative video will be easily accessible on a variety of platforms. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Knowledge is power, and the opportunity to empower more women by demystifying legal issues is huge. We are beyond grateful for Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth’s sponsorship of this important series. Frank and his team are providing an invaluable opportunity to the MIW community and the industry.” To ensure that these instructive videos focus on areas of highest need and priority, MIW is asking for feedback from interested participants. They have created a survey that you can take here.

WhyHunger ‘Hungerthon’ Raises $920,000 from Holiday Campaign. The 36th annual Hungerthon campaign raised more than $920,000 “to support true solutions to hunger and build social justice for all.” The organization WhyHunger partnered with Audacy New York, iHeartMedia New York and SiriusXM to engage listeners and raise funds. Celebrity supporters like vitafusion Gummy Vitamins ambassador Tiffany Haddish, Yoko Ono Lennon and Bruce Springsteen lent their voices to the issue. The radio partners hosted live broadcasts featuring exclusive interviews on topics such as hunger and health, the root causes of hunger, women in food justice and COVID-19’s impact on hunger, while raising funds through auction items, donation drives and social media engagement. The Audacy New York stations – including sports talk WFAN, all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM – hosted a radiothon on November 23 raising more than $400,000. Items donated for auction included a Bruce Springsteen autographed guitar, a Bob Weir autographed guitar, a chance to sit in on WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” show, and more.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Receives Top Score from Charity Navigator. The Broadcasters Foundation of America proudly announces it has achieved a rating of 100 from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. The evaluation process takes place over a seven-year period and uses Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. The Broadcasters Foundation received a score of 100 in finance & accountability, reflecting its solid financial health (stability, efficiency, and sustainability) and commitment to governance practices and policies. In addition, the Broadcasters Foundation also received full credit at 72% for its Program Expense Ratio, which measures the percent of total expenses spent on the programs and services it exists to deliver. BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We are very proud to receive this high level of accreditation from Charity Navigator. We have worked diligently to maximize our budget to provide the aid that so many in our industry desperately need. Life-altering illness or accident can devastate a family’s financial situation, and the Broadcasters Foundation is committed to easing that strain for our colleagues who qualify.” For more information, visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Financial Markets/Inflation/Crypto Plunge, Urban Violent Crime Spike, Midterms/Trump & GOP, Boris Johnson Troubles, the Beijing Olympics, and Baseball Hall of Fame Snubs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The global tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus legal battles over mask & vaccine mandates; the skittish world financial markets, high retail and oil prices & the plunge in cryptocurrency; the spike in violent crime in America’s large cities; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the ropes for violating his own COVID regulations; the drama surrounding the Beijing Olympics; and the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t admit Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds on their final ballots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 3, 2021

| May 3, 2021

Monday Memo: Meet Meg. While syndicated shows compete to fill former Rush Limbaugh hours, some stations are reverting to local hosts. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke introduces you to “a radio newcomer who quickly clicked.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The Long and Winding Road. The seller who needs to provide metrics in a highly accountable media landscape and has no “numbers” to show could be at a competitive disadvantage. But sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa offers strategy for selling news/talk radio when your station doesn’t subscribe to a ratings service. Read it here.

Cardle and Woolley Join KJCE, Austin for Mornings. Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk 1370AM” announces the addition of the “Cardle and Woolley” morning news and talk program to its program schedule in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Jim Cardle (left) is publisher of the online political newsletter TexasInsider.org and has more than 30 years of connections and experience across the political spectrum, from his years on Capitol Hill and the George H.W. Bush administration, to years of working with elected officials from across the state. Lynn Woolley (right) brings more than 30 years of talk radio experience from markets across Texas, including more than 24 years as host of the syndicated “The Lynn Woolley Show,” heard in several Texas markets. He’s also worked as a radio news anchor in Dallas and Austin, a political writer for The Dallas Morning News and The Epoch Times and has worked on the ad agency side of the business in his native Temple and across much of Central Texas. Audacy Austin SVP and market manager Bob Mackay says, “We are excited to provide Austin and central Texas with a new local outlet to join the conversation on issues and concerns people have that affect our area. The combination of Jim’s and Lynn’s opinions and perspectives will be informative and entertaining as we aim to serve the community.”

Cumulus Media Bids Adieu to WTOD-FM, Toledo; Moves ‘The Ticket’ to WQQO-HD2. With Saturday’s closing on Cumulus Media’s sale of Toledo radio station WTOD-FM to Delmarva Educational, Cumulus announces that the sports talk format “The Ticket ESPN” moves to WQQO-HD2. Cumulus Toledo/Monroe VP and market manager Dana DiModica says, “We are sad to see a station like WTOD leave our cluster but are excited to move forward with the change on 100.7 to ESPN sports and to still carry our alternative rock format, now on 94.5’s HD signal. We were fortunate enough to keep all our employees, and that is always our ultimate goal while carrying great programming for our loyal listeners in Northwest Ohio.” “The Ticket ESPN” is home to Cleveland Browns pre-game and post-game shows, Bowling Green State University sports and Central Catholic sports.

iHeartMedia Dayton to Move to New Offices in Dayton Arcade. WDTN-TV, Dayton is reporting that iHeartMedia’s Dayton stations will move into the historic Dayton Arcade in downtown Dayton with the move-in date expected sometime in late September. The iHeartMedia Dayton cluster includes sports talk WONE-AM “980 FOX Sports,” WIZE “Black Information Network, and six music brands. Market president Dave Litteral says, “We are thrilled to be part of the transformation of this historic landmark and bring our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the innovation Space and Arts Centers in the Arcade will cement our commitment to the Downtown Dayton Business District. It’s really the perfect location for iHeartMedia Dayton.”

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend program, “Cindy Stumpo is Tough as Nails,” launches its fourth season on iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM, Boston. Cindy Stumpo hosts the program that airs Saturday nights at 8:00 pm with her daughter Samantha. iHeartMedia says that on the program, “Cindy unpacks the world of construction, real estate, renovations, design and more with help of expert guests. Cindy is known for her raw and uncensored perspective on everything about being a woman who has been successful in the male dominated construction and development industry. Almost nothing is off limits: panic attacks, menopause, abuse, domestic violence, we never know what’s next. Cindy’s social media presence is unstoppable with over 75,000 followers on Instagram and videos on her YouTube Channel regularly garnering 100,000-plus views. Cindy has shown that she is a multimedia force.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s IBA webinar series continues this week with “The FCC EEO Rules and How to Survive Them,” taking place Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Veteran telecom lawyer Gregg Skall will put owners and managers on the path to successful license renewal and FCC EEO audit survival, without FCC fines and sanctions. Most importantly, this one webinar will provide full credit for stations by training management on compliance with FCC EEO requirements. The webinar is for member stations only. See information about joining the IBA here…..This month is the fourth annual Maryland Podcast Month. Founded in 2018, Maryland Podcast Month brings together podcasts of all stripes to “cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.” Maryland Podcast Month is non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced conduct, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows. Founder Brian Griffiths says, “Maryland Podcast Month is all about shining a light on locally produced content. In this time of social distancing, there is no better way to connect to others and connect to our community and topics of interest than through podcasting. Maryland podcasters are still producing great content, and they deserve a bigger spotlight.” For the first time, Maryland Podcast Month is sponsoring the Maryland Podcast Awards. Winners will be announced on Wednesday (5/5).

Michael Harrison Embarks Upon Talk Media “Animal Tour.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has begun a series of talk media interviews on radio, TV, and in print in support of his new music album with the historic rock band Gunhill Road, What Year Is This! and the animal welfare anthem, “I Know You’re Real.” This past week, Harrison has appeared on the Jim Bohannon Show (Westwood One), the Harry Hurley Show (WPG, Atlantic City), “Sterling on Sunday” with Walter Sterling and “The Big Picture” with Holland Cooke on RT America (pictured above). Harrison and Cooke discussed animal welfare as well as the state of media and journalism in the digital era. To view the segment that ran this Friday evening (4/30) please click here. To view the music video version of “I Know You’re Real (spoken version)” featuring Harrison reciting the lyrics he wrote, please click here. Harrison will continue the tour into the spring. To book him on a talk show, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Announces Non-Profit Status. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. organization announces that it has officially achieved designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. The volunteer organization, formerly known as the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group, consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills. The benefits of this IRS structure include additional sponsorship options that will aid in expanding MIW’s reach, enhance mentoring opportunities and magnify MIW’s mission of strengthening radio’s next generation of female leadership. The MIWs have dedicated the past 20 years to this vision. Since its inception, the organization has published an annual Gender Analysis Study that tracks percentages of women placed in senior management roles. Additionally, MIW presents educational panels and networking opportunities at radio broadcasting conferences and collaborates with other industry groups aligned with furthering women’s careers in radio. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Today’s announcement is the culmination of one of MIW’s most ambitious long-range goals. It could not have been done without the leadership of our board treasurer, Valerie Blackburn, and the pro bono work of Foster Garvey PC, we are indebted to them both. We are equally grateful to so many who volunteered their time and expertise to MIW, from the very beginning of the MIW Group in 2000, to those in subsequent years whose participation ensured the continuation of our organization. Each of these women, and men, along with our generous and loyal corporate sponsors, represents a unique and important brick in the MIW foundation.”

COVID-19, Border Crisis/Deadly San Diego Boat Accident, Biden’s ‘American Families Plan,’ Texas Special Congressional Election, Severe Weather in the South, and the NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the skyrocketing death toll in India; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the deadly boat accident near San Diego allegedly involving smuggling; President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; two Republicans will face a runoff after beating the Democrat in the special election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District; severe weather in the South hits Tupelo, Mississippi and threatens more of the region today; and the 2021 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

| November 19, 2020

Westwood One to Offer Michael Knowles Show in January. The relationship between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the Daily Wire expands as WWO announces it will offer the one-hour “Michael Knowles Show” to radio stations beginning on January 4, 2021. The program will be fed live at 5:00 pm ET. Westwood One says, “Michael Knowles will provide a fresh, new voice on radio, delving beyond the headlines and analyzing the top cultural and political issues of the day. Knowles reaches a young conservative demographic, with an extensive following already through his podcast and social media channels. Knowles had the #1 podcast in America throughout most of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with ‘Verdict,’ his podcast with Ted Cruz; and his podcast, ‘The Michael Knowles Show,’ is among the top 10 News Commentary podcasts on the American iTunes Charts. Knowles has 1.12 million Facebook followers, 393.9k Twitter followers, 352k YouTube followers, and 150k Instagram followers.” Knowles has previously served as a guest host for “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

It’s Official: Grace Curley to Take Over Early Afternoons on WRKO, Boston. As TALKERS magazine reported on Tuesday (11/17), iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston begins airing “The Grace Curley Show” in the early afternoon daypart beginning on January 4. Curley’s program is produced and distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network and it replaces “The Vinnie Penn Project” in the WRKO lineup. It will air from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm. Curley is the executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show” – a role she will continue – and also is a Boston Herald columnist. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk and sports Rob Sanchez says, “Grace has a spark ready to be ignited. She is part of the next generation of talk radio hosts and is ready to set the Boston airwaves on fire with her strong and authentic voice. Grace represents core conservative values through a millennial lens and has learned from the absolute best, so she is the perfect lead in for the ‘Howie Carr Show.’”

Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch Partner for PROJECT SHINE. The cross-platform charitable initiative PROJECT SHINE is a partnership between Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch. Cumulus describes it as “an evergreen campaign that will inspire local acts of service and human connection in a world that has seen its share of challenges.” Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips says, “PROJECT SHINE serves as a conduit for human connection. We make it easy for good people to connect with great causes through VolunteerMatch. In every town, in every corner of America, some darkness subsides, and a new ray of light appears. Through service, we help ourselves and the whole world is better for it.” PROJECT SHINE will be promoted on Cumulus’ 422 radio stations and websites across 87 U.S. markets and through Westwood One. Creative promos will feature a new version of Collective Soul’s hit “Shine,” re-recorded exclusively for PROJECT SHINE.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller announces that her “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” continues this weekend with a show on Saturday (11/21) at 8:00 pm ET featuring John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Cumulus Media San Francisco and the University of San Francisco athletics department announce their renegotiated multi-year agreement that will have KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” serve as the flagship station for USF Dons men’s basketball. The station will carry all of the games, including pre- and post-game shows as well as the weekly “Hilltop Hoops Hour” hosted by the voice of the Dons, Pat Olson…..New York Public Radio names Armando Gutierrez chief financial officer, effective December 2. Gutierrez was most recently CFO for CBS Corporation. NYPR says, “Gutierrez brings more than 20 years of experience developing financial strategy, transforming traditional broadcast businesses, and driving digital growth across media organizations.”

Trump’s Denial of Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Obama Memoir, Iran War Drums, Boeing 737 Max Greenlighted, and NFL Intensifies COVID Protocols Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The refusal by Donald Trump to concede the election; the hampered transition process for Joe Biden; the presidential election recount in Georgia and the January runoff elections for that state’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 the vaccine progress announced by Pfizer and Moderna; former President Barack Obama’s new memoir; the talk of war against Iran by Saudi Arabia and Israel; Boeing’s 737 Max gets approval to fly again; and the NFL institutes stringent coronavirus prevention policies for all teams among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Reporter Joe DeStio to Retire. Radio news pro Joe DeStio announces he is retiring from Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh after 40 years in the business. DeStio served with WTAE, Pittsburgh before joining KDKA-AM nine years ago. He also serves as the house announcer for University of Pittsburgh Panthers football and mens basketball. He told listeners, “You get to the point that you realize life is short and while you still have the energy to do things, I want to get into music a little bit. I play the saxophone and I want to get good on that… I want to get good on the golf course, that’s the tallest order, probably… my wife and I want to travel… but, who knows, I may do something part time and I may get back into teaching.”

Former Long Island Radio Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud. The former vice president and general manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting pleads guilty to felony access device fraud in which she purchased “hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges” on the company’s American Express card. Stephanie McNamara Bitis faces 12 to 18 months in prison after the guilty plea. Long Island Radio Broadcasting owns and operates three stations – triple A WEHM-FM, Manorville; CHR WBEA-FM, Southold “The Beach 101.7”; and adult contemporary WBAZ-FM, Bridgehampton – on Long Island. Company owner Lauren Stone says that Bitis, who managed the stations from 2015 through 2017, was fired after “lackluster financial results.” Stone says a suspicious wire transfer caused her to hire outside experts to investigate the stations’ finances and then discovered the personal charges made by Bitis. While Stone says Bitis charged “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in personal expenses, Bitis’ lawyer Thomas Kenniff says Bitis disputes that and says his client was responsible for “no more than $1,000 in any given year,” according to a report in Patch.

RIP Mike Scinto. The passing of talk radio host Mike Scinto on Monday (11/16) was brought to the attention of TALKERS magazine by Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who shares with us the above photo of Scinto (left) with good friend Mike Gallagher (right). Gallagher and Scinto both got their start in talk radio at WAVI-AM, Dayton and for years Scinto would serve as a guest host on Gallagher’s SRN syndicated program. Gallagher paid tribute to Mike Scinto on his national program this morning, extending sympathy and prayers to Scinto’s wife Kathy and their children Zak and Carly, stating, “We will miss him. He was one of a kind.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio pro Michelle Rodriguez joins the “Hawkeye in the Morning” show on Cumulus Media’s KSCS-FM “New Country 96.3.” Rodriguez has been the midday personality on the station for the past seven years. She begins working with Mark “Hawkeye” Louis on November 30. Station program director Mike Preston says, “Michelle has been a shining star on the station for 10 years and pairing her with Hawkeye just made sense. I can’t wait to see the new heights that together they’ll take us to!”…..Entercom flips adult contemporary WDZH-FM, Detroit “98.7 The Breeze” to alternative rock as “ALT 98.7.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “This is a huge opportunity to add alternative to our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to further expand our content offering for Detroiters. ‘ALT 98.7’ will serve as a home for some of today’s top hits from premier artists in the industry, while capturing the distinctive style and flair of the Motor City.”…..Radio One Philadelphia begins transitioning the hip hop format on WPHI-FM at 103.9 to its new home at WRNB’s 100.3 FM frequency. The stations will simulcast the format all this week in advance of the switch on Monday (11/23). Radio One Philadelphia station manager, Ezio Torres states, “I’m excited about the updates to our Philadelphia Urban One cluster as this allows the audience and reach of each of our stations to expand.”…..For the 11th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give. Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of the award-winning morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 90,000 turkeys have been given to those in need. Harvey says, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those less fortunate during the holiday season. On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

| February 11, 2020

Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28.  Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM.  He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000.  Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years.  I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business.  Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia.  It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’”  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years.  Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader.  We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team.  He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.”  Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”

Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent.  Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi.  Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network.  Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion.  Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.”  Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. ​ During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.

Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.”  Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show.  Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000.  Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America.  This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.”  Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap.  I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge.  Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”

SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform.  SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform.  SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways.  We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”  As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.

World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP.  In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award  to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011.  The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day.  The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.  The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP  of The Weiss AgencyDeborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business JournalFrancisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & HildrethPaul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio WorldMichael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University.  Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding.  In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million.  CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support.  The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire.  Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience.  Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.”  Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery.  The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18.  Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York.  The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR.  We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.”  Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station.  The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart.  Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19.  ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms.  ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio.  These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication.  ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long.  This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.”  ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars.  Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community.  Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet.  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years.  Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM.  Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results.  We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment.  It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman.  Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.”  She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City.  The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.

PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 ExtraTALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey.  This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more.  See the analysis here.