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Thursday, July 15, 2021

| July 15, 2021

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2021 survey period covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.6 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #11 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP also loses four-tenths, finishing the survey with a 7.7 share and falls to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds two-tenths for a 3.7 share but remains in the #9 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM also dips two-tenths for a 5.7 share and again finishes ranked #5 in the market. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls out of the #1 spot after losing seven-tenths and falling to a 5.9 share good for the #3 rank while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM adds 2.2 shares to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 6.5 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

FCC Denies Petitions by Larry Wilson and Paul Stone to Nix Alpha Media Applications for Assignment of Licenses. Minority stake holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed petitions with the FCC to deny the assignment of licenses for the stations that will comprise the new New Alpha, whose pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a ruling handed down on July 13, the FCC’s Audio Division, Media Bureau denied both petitions, paving the way for New Alpha to emerge as scheduled. Wilson argued two points: 1) that the FCC’s assigning the licenses would authorize the restructuring of the company thereby causing him economic injury as a minority stakeholder; and 2) that Alpha officers engaged in corporate misconduct by taking actions – including filing the prepackaged bankruptcy plan – without a vote of the board of directors. (Stone’s petition to deny centered around the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations.) In denying Wilson’s petition, the Media Bureau ruled that he (as well as Stone) has failed to show he has standing in the proceeding since his arguments center around his private interests and not the public interest with which the FCC in concerned. It adds that Wilson’s complaint about corporate governance is outside the Commission’s purview and belongs in a state court. You can read the ruling here.

WCNN-AM, Atlanta Unveils New Program Lineup. From a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM “The Fan” has made changes to its program lineup. First, joining the morning drive team of Brian Finneran and John Michaels are three station personalities from other dayparts. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak, Joe Hamilton, and Hutson Mason are joining the morning show on Monday (7/19) as the show changes names from “The Front Row” to “The Locker Room.” Midday host Buck Belue – currently paired with Mason – will go solo from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The new midday show will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and star Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. The afternoon drive show hosted by Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff moves to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and its producers, Brian Hoyt and Carlos Medina, will host a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Fun Bag” when Atlanta Braves games are not airing. Owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “We’ve got the deepest bench in town with local, live talent. It’s not about how many people are in the room. It’s about the right chemistry. It’s about the right energy. It’s about having the right diversity of voices to reflect the modern conversation about sports.”

Report: Good Karma Brands Talking with ESPN About New York and LA Radio Stations. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles owner ESPN is in “serious talks” with Good Karma Brands to have the latter operate those two stations as GKB is currently doing with ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Marchand writes, “ESPN would make such a move to reduce the head count on Disney’s books, which is nearly 40 people. In New York, it would also alleviate some of the massive cost that ESPN pays to Emmis Communications to lease the 98.7 FM signal. That would effectively put the local business sales and marketing in Good Karma’s hands, while ESPN would retain oversight of the station’s content.” Marchand asserts that ESPN’s interest in radio is taking a back seat to its efforts in the podcast genre.

WGFX Adds ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ to ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’ The new podcast platform branded “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” from Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville announces a new program hosted by NFL analyst Greg Cosell called, “The Install with Greg Cosell.” The podcast is being co-hosted by WGFX-FM midday personality Buck Reising. The show promises to bring “a different approach and sound to how Cosell covers film, as Cosell and Reising go through NFL film that Cosell has watched, through a Tennessee Titans lens.” The show also covers the rest of the NFL. Cosell, a nephew of legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, is the co-author of the book, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays (ESPN 2011) with Ron Jaworski and David Plaut. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “I am thrilled that Greg Cosell is partnering with Buck Reising to host ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ as the latest piece to the expanding 104.5 The Zone Network. ‘The Install’ along with Cosell’s weekly appearance on the Zone with ‘3HL’ will allow him to take Titans fans to even more places.”

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast, Sort Of. One of the most colorful members of the radio industry’s endangered species list – the independent local radio station owner/operatorMichael Zwerling is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling (known to his friends, employees and station listeners as “MZ”) has owned the 10,000-watt Central California heritage news/talk flamethrower, KSCO AM 1080 for the past 30 years. He is widely known in the radio industry for his eccentric personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, prowess in NTR marketing and unwavering commitment to local, community-involved broadcasting. Zwerling, himself, hosts a weekly two-hour, Saturday morning, commercial-free program titled, “The Saturday Special,” in which he tackles a wide variety of issues while taking listener calls and interviewing guests. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison joined MZ as a guest on the show this past Saturday for a half hour segment that candidly addressed political correctness, the First Amendment, the state of media and the future of talk radio. The provocative conversation between Harrison and Zwerling recorded on that broadcast is the basis for this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” So, in a sense, Harrison actually serves as Zwerling’s guest on this week’s podcast. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Vaccines, Trump and the GOP/New Trump Book, January 6 Investigation, Senate Democrats’ Budget, Cuba Protests, Voting Legislation, Western Heat and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The surge of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states and the stalling rate of vaccinations; former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party and the new Trump book, I Alone Can Fix It; the House panel to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget; the protests taking place in Cuba and in Florida’s Cuban community; controversy over the new, stricter voting policies enacted in several states; and the Western heatwave and wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

December 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways – Round One

| December 22, 2020

December 2020 PPM Data – Information for the December 2020 ratings period has been released for 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.

Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2.

Here are some highlights from spoken-word stations finishing in their respective markets’ top 20.

NEWS/TALK

  • After doubling (+1.8) its 6+ AQH share in four straight gains (1.8 – 1.9 – 2.3 – 2.8 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WOR “710 The Voice of New York” forfeits nearly half that windfall with a December 2020 -.8 to 2.8 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #13).
  • Six straight up or flat reports by WABC net three-tenths (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.7, 6+) as the Cumulus Media New York outlet cracks the top twenty (#21 to #20).
  • In addition to progressing from fourth to third, iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KFI “AM 640” is up a collective seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (3.9 – 4.0 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.6, 6+).
  • Off a collective eight-tenths in four consecutive dips (3.6 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Nexstar Media Group Chicago’s WGN “Radio 720” continues at #11.
  • Cross-town Cumulus Media-owned WLS-AM “890 AM,” which was up six-tenths via three straight gains (1.9 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.5, 6+), surrenders half that windfall (2.2, -.3, #13 to #15, 6+).
  • More than doubling (+1.1) its 6+ AQH share in five successive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 2.1, 6+), Cumulus Media San Francisco’s KGO jumps from #19 to #15.
  • After posting four straight flat or up trends for a net gain of three-tenths (1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 2.0, 6+), KGO cluster-mate KSFO “560 – The Bay Area’s Exclusive Hot Talk” relinquishes the entire gain (1.7, #16 to #19, 6+).
  • In three straight upticks, Cumulus Media Dallas’ WBAP was +2.2 (2.7 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 4.9, 6+), but “News Talk 820” erodes by nine-tenths to 4.0 (fourth to seventh, 6+).
  • An overall +2.1 in three successive gains (5.3 – 5.6 – 6.5 – 7.4, 6+), iHeartMedia Houston’s KTRH “News Radio 740” returns one-third of that increase (6.7, -.7, 6+) and ends its November-only run at #1 by segueing to #2.
  • After being a cumulative +1.4 through three straight increases (10.1 – 10.6 – 11.0 – 11.5, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned WSB-AM & WSBB-FM plummets by -1.8 to 9.7 (6+); however, “Atlanta’s News & Talk” is #1 the 18th time in succession.
  • Following three straight gains that accounted for a +1.1 (1.4 – 1.7 – 2.2 – 2.5, 6+), Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” falters by four-tenths to 2.1 (6+) but remains at #17.
  • Having been a combined +1.1 in October/November (3.8 – 4.4 – 4.9, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WOR “710 The Voice of New York” returns roughly half that boon (4.3, -.6, 6+), tumbling from fourth in the Long Island report to ninth.
  • Unlisted 13 successive Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario sweeps, iHeartMedia-owned KKDD “1290 News Talk IE” resurfaced this time last month with a .1 (6+) and adds one-tenth (.2, #18 to #16, 6+).
  • Six straight San Jose sweeps without a loss yield an overall +1.1 (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.7, 6+) as Cumulus Media’s KGO enters the top ten (#11 to #10).
  • The third decrease in a row by Townsquare Media’s WKXW accounts for a collective -1.9 (6.6 – 6.1 – 5.7 – 4.7, 6+) with “New Jersey 101.5” falling from fourth in Middlesex-Somerset-Union to sixth.
  • Following three consecutive Middlesex gains that resulted in a +1.2 (1.7 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.9, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WOR “710 The Voice of New York” regresses by seven-tenths to 2.2 (#15 to #17, 6+).

NEWS

  • Up two-tenths this time last month, Entercom New York City’s WINS drops one-tenth (3.4 – 3.3, 6+) but repeats at #10.
  • In four consecutive down or flat sweeps, cluster-mate WCBS-AM “News Radio 880” has lost a collective six-tenths (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+) and continues at #15.
  • An overall -1.0 via five consecutive reports without an increase (3.9 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), Entercom Los Angeles-owned KNX “1070 News Radio” snaps the skid with a +.4 to 3.3 (6+) and jumps from #11 to #7.
  • Having held Chicago’s runner-up slot the past three months, Entercom’s WBBM-AM & WCFS “News Radio 780 AM & 105.9 FM” (Bears) – which is in alternating up/down sequence (7.0 – 7.3 – 6.4 – 6.9 – 6.5 – 6.8, 6+) – shifts to #3.
  • A combined +1.5 in November/December (7.6 – 7.8 – 9.1, 6+), Entercom-owned KCBS-AM & KFRC is in San Francisco’s runner-up slot the third month in a row.
  • As a result of three straight down or flat reports, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW was a collective -1.5 (6.1 – 5.9 – 4.6 – 4.6, 6+), but “News Radio 1060” ends the slide with a +.3 to 4.9 (flat at #7, 6+).
  • In three straight Long Island upticks, Entercom’s WCBS-AM is up an overall eight-tenths (2.8 – 3.0 – 3.2 – 3.6, 6+)a and is steady at #11.
  • Cluster-mate WINS, which picked up one-tenth this time last month, forfeits two-two-tenths (3.1 – 2.9, #12 to #13, 6+).
  • Adding a +1.3 to November’s half-share increase (5.2 – 5.7 – 7.0, 6+), Entercom’s KCBS-AM & KFRC remains at #3 in San Jose.
  • Up a total of two-tenths through three Middlesex reports without a loss (1.9 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1, 6+), Entercom’s WCBS-AM climbs from #19 to #18.

SPORTS TALK

  • While it remains flat at 2.4 (6+), Entercom New York City’s WFAN (Brooklyn Nets, Giants) slips from #16 to #17.
  • The six most recent fluctuations by Cumulus Media San Francisco’s KNBR “The Sports Leader” (49ers) are: +.6 (July); +1.1 (August); +.4 (September); +.9 (October); -1.5 (November) and +.5 in December (3.4 – 3.9, seventh to fifth, 6+).
  • Recapturing the seven-tenths it squandered this time last month (3.5 – 2.8 – 3.5, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned KTCK “The Ticket – All Sports All The Time” (Stars) advances from #14 in Dallas to #12.
  • A combined +1.0 in October/November (1.7 – 2.3 – 2.7, 6+), Entercom’s cross-town KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” (Cowboys) relinquishes half the windfall (2.2, -.5, #16 to #17, 6+).
  • Advancing from tenth to eighth, Entercom Atlanta’s WZGC “92.9 The Game” (Hawks, Falcons) is up a total of nine-tenths in three straight up or flat moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.6 – 4.0, 6+).
  • Down eight-tenths in November/December (2.6 – 2.3 – 1.8, 6+), WZGC’s foe – Dickey Broadcasting-owned WCNN “680 The Fan” – slumps from #17 to #19.
  • Despite gaining four-tenths, Entercom Philadelphia’s WIP “Sports Radio 94.1” (Eagles) backslides from fourth to fifth and continues an alternating up/down sequence (4.7 – 4.3 – 4.9 – 4.7 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 5.7, 6+).
  • Following a rotating down/up pattern (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.8 – 1.5 – 1.6, 6+), cross-town Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” (76ers, Flyers) repeats November’s AQH share and market rank (1.6, #20, 6+).
  • Jumping from eighth to sixth in Long Island, Entercom’s WFAN posts its third successive report without a loss for a net gain of nine-tenths (3.5 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.4, 6+).
  • In addition to being a collective -1.5 in San Jose (4.1 – 3.4 – 2.9 – 2.6, 6+), Cumulus Media’s KNBR “The Sports Leader” exits the top ten (#10 to #11).
  • In the Middlesex report, Entercom’s WFAN is down three-tenths in November/December (3.1 – 3.0 – 2.8, #14 to #16, 6+).

PUBLIC RADIO NEWS/TALK

  • An overall +2.2 via three straight spikes (2.9 – 3.7 – 4.5 – 5.1, 6+), WNYC Broadcasting Foundation’s WNYC-FM progresses from sixth in New York to fifth.
  • Wiping away November’s loss of two tenths with a December increase three times that magnitude (2.5 – 3.1, +.6, 6+), Pasadena City College-owned KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” rises from #13 in Los Angeles to #10.
  • A combined +1.5 in October/November (3.2 – 3.8 – 4.7, 6+), Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ surrenders three-tenths to 4.4 (6+) yet progresses from fifth to fourth.
  • Not only does it reach double-digits in San Francisco for the first time in the PPM-era, Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED is a collective +2.7 through five straight bumps (7.4 – 7.8 – 8.0 – 8.4 – 9.0 – 10.1, 6+) and is #1 the fifth straight month.
  • Following a +.9 this time last month, Texas Public Broadcasting’s KERA repeats November’s 3.4 (6+) but drops from #12 to #13.
  • In an alternating down/up pattern (2.7 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.4, August 2020 – December 2020, the University of Houston’s KUHF slips from #16 to #18.
  • Expunging November’s loss of one-half share with a December +.8 (2.5 – 3.3, 6+), City of Atlanta Board of Education’s WABE zooms from #15 to #11.
  • Down a combined four-tenths in October/November (5.1 – 5.1 – 4.7, 6+), Philadelphia’s WHYY answers with a December increase of six-tenths to 5.3 (steady at #6, 6+).
  • This is the fifth straight Riverside report without a loss for San Bernardino Community College’s KVCR, which has gained three-tenths in that timeframe (.5 – .5 – .8 – .8 – .8 – .8, unchanged at #13, 6+).
  • One-tenth behind KVCR is Pasadena City College-owned KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” (flat at #14), which is trending .9 – .7 – .6 – .7 (September 2020 – December 2020, 6+).
  • Winning ways continue for Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED, which is #1 in San Jose the fourth month in succession; is +5.9 in five straight spikes (6.6 – 6.9 – 7.7 – 10.9 – 12.3 – 12.5, 6+); and logs its best-ever 6+-stat (12.5) in the PPM-era.
  • In Middlesex-Somerset-Union, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation’s WNYC-FM continues a rotating up/down pattern which includes December’s +.6 (2.0 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 3.5 – 2.6 – 3.2, #17 to #13, 6+).

Thursday, December 3, 2020

| December 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November 2020 survey (10/8-11/4), 50% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up while 28% were down and 22% were unchanged. Gainers were led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+0.6) and KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Jose (+0.5). Comparing year-over-year data, 63% of all-news stations were up with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+2.2) and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+2.0). During the November ratings period, two all-news stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington with a 9.3 share and WBZ-AM, Boston with a 7.0 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

John Kincade Named New Morning Host at WPEN-FM, Philadephia. As a number of Philadelphia radio watchers had predicted, Beasley Media Group brings sports talker John Kincade back to Philadelphia to take over hosting duties at WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” effective January 4. Kincade was a longtime host of the “Buck and Kincade” show (with Buck Belue) on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN-AM, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” He exited that role back in September as part of a budget-related talent shakeup at the station. He has also served as co-host of “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” on PodcastOne. WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “We have a very clear vision for what we want to accomplish at the station and adding John Kincade is a giant leap towards accomplishing those goals. Our team is thrilled that he chose ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ for his homecoming to Philadelphia. We’re excited about the future!” Kincade says, “From the beginning of my search for a new radio home, my conversations with [market manager] Joe Bell and Chuck Damico were the most enthusiastic and interesting. It became clear to me that joining the team at ‘The Fanatic’ was the best place for me to start this next chapter. With guys I have long respected like Mike Missanelli and Anthony Gargano already there, I knew it would be an honor to join their team.”

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz Joins FOX Sports Radio. Former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz becomes part of the weekend lineup at FOX Sports Radio where he joins FSR personality Steve Hartman as co-host of the Saturday afternoon program (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET). The program debuts on Saturday (12/5) on 400 stations and includes highlights and instant analysis on the weekend in games plus conversations with insiders and experts. Schwartz has served as one of the primary fill-in hosts for FSR’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” for the past three years and is a weekly guest on the show. Premiere Networks SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “Building on what’s already the strongest weekend lineup in the game, Geoff’s entertaining and thoughtful approach takes it up yet another notch. FSR’s talented weekend cast is here to deliver exactly what sports fans want before, during and after games.”

WEEI-FM, Boston Raises $1.5 Million for Jimmy Fund. The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on the annual Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that takes place every August, so this year Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI-FM, Boston used the national “Giving Tuesday” (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) to help raise more than $1.5 million for The Jimmy Fund that directly supports innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and helps transform cancer treatment, so patients and their families can spend more time together. Since 2002, WEEI has helped raise nearly $60 million for The Jimmy Fund. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “This was the first time in 19 years we were unable to hold our annual ‘Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon,’ but this broadcast allowed us to continue supporting the fund’s lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. I’m very grateful for the widespread support from our listeners and some of New England’s biggest stars to help make this radiothon a success.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Biden Transition/Trump Tactics, Georgia Runoff Elections, UN Climate Report, the Economy/New Stimulus Negotiations, and NFL’s COVID Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the climbing death toll, and the rollout of vaccines in the U.K. and Russia; the Joe Biden administration transition process and Donald Trump’s ongoing statements calling the election results into question; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the dire tone of the new UN Climate Report; the state of the U.S. economy and current negotiations for a new COVID relief deal; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID cases as the season moves toward the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Progressive Political Talker and Multi-platform Groundbreaker Stephanie Miller Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the longest-running leaders among the relatively rare species of commercial news/talk radio progressives, Stephanie Miller is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Miller’s daily morning ensemble program, now in the middle of its second decade, has developed a large, active, and extremely loyal national audience through a cross-platform array of venues that includes terrestrial radio, SiriusXM Satellite RadioFree Speech TV, podcasts, and online streaming. During the past several years, this three-decade-plus veteran of talk radio has enjoyed groundbreaking success in bringing her “Sexy Liberal Tour” – a theatrical version of her ensemble radio show – to sold out houses at some of the most prestigious theaters in America. Since that got sidelined in early 2020 by COVID-19, she and her business partner Ron Hartenbaum have successfully morphed it into the “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” that has been drawing in gigantic monthly audiences anxious to see and follow what has become a rising force in online political sketch comedy. Ironically, Miller comes to the Left from the Right. She is the daughter of William MillerBarry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican presidential running mate. In a fast-paced, candid, and informal conversation between longtime friends, Harrison and Miller discuss the “survival mode” state of progressive news/talk radio, non-traditional methods of generating broadcasting revenue, the evolution of her successful theatrical (and now online) “Sexy Liberal” offshoot, and her no-holds-barred take on today’s explosive presidential politics. Not to be missed! 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At  Entercom’a hip hop WVEE, Atlanta “V-103,” air personalities Tylerchronicles and Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville join “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” that airs from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Adding Tylerchronicles and Christina ‘Ms. Basketball’ Granville will not only round out our widely popular morning program, but further establish ‘V-103’ as the people’s station throughout Atlanta. Both possess a unique talent for captivating and entertaining their audiences, and I look forward to introducing them to our listeners as part of their morning routines.”…..Eagle Communications closes on the acquisition of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP, Sutherland – both in Nebraska – from Legacy Communications. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

| February 7, 2018

KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Chats On Air with iHM CEO Bob Pittman.  During a visit to the Houston offices of iHeartMedia, company CEO Bob Pittman took a few minutes to sit in on the Michael Berry show based at flagship station KTRH, Houston.  He talked with Berry about his belief in the audio experience.  “I’m bullish on audio…depends on how you count it, we’re probably the number two podcaster in the U.S., behind NPR.  Podcasting has shown that, oh my gosh, people actually want to listen to people go in depth.  Certainly, radio has this enormous listenership…but we’re adding these pieces to it to make this even better and we’re doing this because the audience wants it.”  He also expressed his belief that smart speakers – such as Google’s Alexa – are the new clock/radio for the consumer’s home, citing their growth in popularity and ease of use.  Check out the segment here.

PodcastOne Series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” Rebranding with Expanded Scope.  Beginning this week, in marking its third anniversary, the weekly PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” will transition to a new name and incorporate a wider scope of guests and topics.  Under the new title, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” the program will be less targeted to the talk media and radio industries and more aimed at a worldwide general audience consisting of what its host,TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, describes as “media freaks,pop culture aficionados, political junkies and the philosophically curious.”  Although the newly positioned podcast will still include guests from the talk media field, it will also delve deeper into politics, science, the arts, technology, sociology, sports and philosophy.  As far as the weekly audio interviews with talk media figures that “Up Close and Far Out” has encompassed are concerned, Harrison will continue to conduct them and post them on Talkers.com.  According to Harrison, “Nothing will change in that regard.  We have been very successful with the Talkers interviews and will continue to do them.  I will basically be doing an extra podcast each week with this expanded vehicle.”   In announcing the expansion of the PodcastOne series, company founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “I met Michael Harrison decades ago in Los Angeles when he was managing editor of Radio & Records.  He also was a leading major market music and talk personality on KMET and syndicated nationally as a star performer on several of the top networks including Westwood One.  He had an amazing range and skill set as a broadcaster.  He voluntarily gave that up as the years passed to concentrate on his role as a trade magazine publisher and industry thought-leader.  In time, most folks in the business forgot that he was one of the best interviewers and all around broadcasters in radio.  I’m pleased to say that his performance on ‘Up Close and Far Out’ these past three years caused many people in the industry to take notice of his outstanding talent as an interviewer beyond just the topic of radio.  It has led to a number of stand-out, major market fill-in appearances and now, this new podcast.  I’m delighted to roll out one of the best kept secrets in the radio business – Michael Harrison as a world class talk show host.”  To listen to the debut installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview” featuring a deep-dive conversation with The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech, please click here.

Judge Shoots Down Request by Nielsen and Bubba Attorneys to Use Electronic Devices in Pre-Trial Conference.  When the pre-trial conference gets underway on Friday (2/9) at 11:30 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the lawyers for both sides in the Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge case will be without their laptops, iPads and smartphones.  Lawyers for both parties filed a Joint Motion to Permit Use of Electronic Equipment, but were denied.  Nielsen is suing Bubba the Love Sponge for $1 million for damages related to the ratings manipulation case in the Tampa market.  Bubba is countersuing.

TALKERS News Notes.  There’s a programming change at Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM/W229AG, Atlanta “680 and 93.7 The Fan” as the morning drive and late morning shows flip-flop.  “The Front Row” with Steak Shapiro, Sandra Golden, and Brian Finneran moves to the morning drive slot and the Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino show moves from mornings to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The rest of the program schedule stays as is…..Another high-profile departure from NPR happens amidst allegations of sexual impropriety.  This time, award-winning investigative journalist Daniel Zwerdling exits the organization, according to a report in The Current.  The story says that all NPR would confirm is that Zwerdling is no longer on the staff.  Zwerdling himself states that allegations of sexual harassment are untrue and that he retired from NPR in January.  But, the story notes that “at least two NPR staffers reported Zwerdling to human resources in November.”  It also reports that subsequent allegations go back to the mid-1990s.  Zwerdling is quoted saying, “The allegations are not true.  When the movement started sweeping across the nation recently to expose sexual harassers and predators, I applauded it.  I still do.  The current national reckoning regarding sexual harassment is a momentous opportunity for America to make itself a better, safer and more equitable country.  Yet as many have already observed, there are also perhaps predictable and troubling collateral casualties along the way. The allegations against me are one of those instances.”

Former WFNI-AM/WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Staffer Loses Harassment Case Against Emmis.  The complaint against Emmis by former WFNI and WIBC, Indianapolis digital brand manager Kristine Esser Slentz was dismissed after Emmis sought a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgement and was granted those motions.  The court also sustained Emmis’ objections to Slentz’s evidence as hearsay.  In her complaint, Slentz said that two show producers with whom she interacted in the course of her job, called her a “bitch” behind her back and criticized her work, among other actions she says created a hostile work environment.  But the court granted Emmis’ motions due to its agreement that any name-calling was hearsay – never heard by Slentz herself, and that the actions alleged on the part of the two producers, if true, did not cross the thresholds necessary for a hostile work environment claim.

Nominees Being Accepted for National Radio Hall of Fame. March 30 is the deadline for nominations for the 30th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction that will take place in New York City in November.  The NRHOF nominating committee wants you to know you should make suggestions for individuals in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Networks/Syndication (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), Music Format On-Air Personality, and/or Spoken Word On-Air Personality.  National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone anniversary in New York City.  As we prepare for the special evening, it’s our priority to provide everyone the opportunity to be a part of it, starting with suggestions for our 2018 nominees.”

RAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Grew 13.4% in 2017.  This data comes from the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates study called, “Benchmarking Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues.”  This is the 6th annual RAB-Borrell report that analyzes online ad revenue from more than 10,000 radio stations, as well as survey responses from more than 1,300 local businesses that buy radio advertising.  Among the findings: 1) 85% of radio advertisers are also buying some form of digital advertising, and that three-quarters of them are buying digital and radio together; 2) digital ad revenue now accounts for 7.5% of the average station’s ad revenues, up from 6.3% last year; 3) digital revenue grew 13.4% in 2017, to a total of $700 million.  The forecast for 2018 is even higher; and 4) radio advertisers’ top marketing goal is to acquire new business, and they rank social media and radio as the top two methods to achieve those goals.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Digital has been integrated into all facets of broadcast radio’s offering both in programming and sales, and the results are definitely paying off.  As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers we expect to see continued growth.  The RAB is focused on providing digital training and continued knowledge building for our members so they can better serve their clients.”  RAB members can get the full report here.

Dow Activity/Bitcoin Value Swings, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Requests Military Parade, Government Shutdown Threat/Immigration Policy, FBI Surveillance Memo/Texting Scandal, Illegal Charged with NFL Player’s Death in DUI, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Black Panther Film, LA Times Sale, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The Dow returns more than 500 points and the related fluctuating value of Bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; President Trump requests the Pentagon stage a military parade; the renewed threat of a government shutdown and President Trump’s insistence on immigration reform being tied to a spending bill; the release of the Nunes FBI surveillance memo and the suggestion that the FBI texting scandal involved Barack Obama; a twice-deported illegal alien is charged in the DUI death of Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson; the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; the political messages within The Black Panther film; the Los Angeles Times is sold to a SoCal billionaire doctor; and NBA action 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. St. Louis morning drive personality Courtney Landrum re-ups with Entercom’s hot AC KYKY “Y98” on a multi-year deal.  At the same time, the name of the morning show is being changed to “Courtney and Company.”  The station says that “Y98” personalities Jen Myers, Kevin “The Intern” Berghoff, and Lance Hildebrand will remain on the show.  Landrum began her professional career as producer for “The Steve and DC Morning Show” in St. Louis in the early 1990s.  She joined “Y98” in 1999 as producer and co-host of “The Phillips and Company Morning Show,” and has been with the morning show ever since…..In Los Angeles, SVP/market manager Val Maki and VP/sales Janet Brainin make an unexpected exit from Meruelo Media Los Angeles, operator of classic hip hop simulcast “KDAY” – KDAY, Redondo Beach and KDEY, Ontario – and hip hop KPWR “Power 106.”  Both transitioned to Meruelo after having been with Emmis at KPWR for years prior to the sale of the station to Meruelo…..KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” evening personality Cassidy Quinn is covering the Winter Olympics embedded as a reporter for NBC.  KUPL program director MoJoe Roberts says, “There is no better-suited person to capture the stories and behind-the-scenes moments than Cassidy!  We can’t wait to see and hear these highlights come to life from her perspective.”…..Indiana-based Woof Boom flips former Christian contemporary WKHL, West LaFayette to adult contemporary (with new calls WLQQ) as “Q106.7” after purchasing the station from Educational Media Foundation…..Eric Garcia exits his audio revenue chief position at Spanish Broadcasting System and his additional position as VP/GM of WSKQ/WPAT, New York.  At SBS New York, Albert Rodriguez COO of SBS is the interim general manager and Elizabeth “Liz” Paulino was promoted to general sales manager.

PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on adult contemporary.  The Holiday survey is usually a bonanza for adult contemporary outlets since Christmas music is such a part of their programming and the fluctuations in 6+ numbers from the December survey to the Holiday survey bear that out as “eight of 10 adult contemporary facilities noted here (80%) are up December 2017 – Holiday 2017, while 18% are down; the remaining 2% are steady.”  Looking at a comparison of Holiday 2016 to Holiday 2017, “approximately the same number of adult contemporary stations on this sample decline year-to-year (49%) as improve (46%), while the remaining 5% are flat.”  An amazing 38 AC stations ranked #1 in their respective markets (6+) during the Holiday survey.  See the whole report here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

| October 23, 2017

FCC Commissioner: It Is Time to Update Our Rules to Reflect the Current Media Marketplace.  Those are the words of Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in his FCC blog post titled, “Thoughtfully Modernizing the Commission’s Media Ownership Rules.”  In the post, O’Rielly points to reforms already made under current Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and names the reforms he thinks should be adopted next.  He writes, “If a form is not needed, it should be eliminated.  If a study is duplicative or useless, it should be junked.  When public notice requirements are outdated, at the very least they should be modified.  And when FCC rules are no longer necessary, they should be removed from our books.”  Noting that for almost 10 years the FCC has failed to adequately complete the Quadrennial Review, O’Rielly states, “It is time we fulfilled not only a congressional mandate but the congressional intent of keeping our rules current.  And this can and should be done thoughtfully, consistent with the fundamental propositions of localism, diversity, and competition.  We owe this not only to our broadcasting industry but more importantly, to the American people, who are paying for – in one form or another – market inefficiencies resulting from our rules.”  Among the five principles he outlines for media ownership reform are the elimination of the cross-ownership bans.  “As consumers demand innovative platforms and seamless experiences to consume content, the FCC imposes bans preventing broadcasters and newspapers from delivering synergies that could result in innovative products and more, not less local content.  Eliminating the restrictions on newspaper/radio, radio/television, and newspaper/television combinations is a crucial step.  Previous commissions and bipartisan legislation from Congress already recognized the need for an update.  It’s time to act.”  Read O’Rielly’s entire post here.

NYT: Former FOX News Channel Star Bill O’Reilly Paid $32 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Case.  In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, it’s being reported that former FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly in January agreed to pay $32 million to longtime network analyst Lis Wiehl to settle sexual harassment allegations, a month before the network agreed to a contract renewal with O’Reilly that was to pay him $100 million over four years.  The paper reports that O’Reilly settled five other harassment allegations in years prior.  FNC tells the Times it was aware of Wiehl’s allegations against O’Reilly but says it was unaware of the amount of the settlement as that was a matter between O’Reilly and Wiehl.  The NYT piece notes that News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James had been working to convince both staffers and the public that they were trying to clean up the cable news channel’s image and had recently fired FNC president Roger Ailes in the wake of his sexual harassment troubles, and would let O’Reilly go as well.  This latest matter of workplace sexual harassment in the entertainment world comes as Hollywood is reeling from the Harvey Weinstein harassment scandal.  See the Times piece here.

Bruce Kelly Joins Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, AZ Cluster.  Radio pro Bruce Kelly is named director of programming and operations at Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, Arizona station group that includes news/talk KBTK “97.1 The Big Talker” and music outlets classic hits KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1,” country KSED “107.5 Kolt Country,” and classic rock KWMX “96.7 The Wolf.”  Grenax general manager Stan Pierce says, “[Kelly] is a talented programmer with a long history of on-air success and a creative thinker on the marketing front.  Bringing in someone of Bruce’s caliber reflects our commitment to provide our community of Northern Arizona with top-quality radio.”

Changes at WFOM, Atlanta ‘The Fan 2.’  According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, the pairing of Larry Wachs and Bob Whitfield on Dickey Broadcasting-owned sports talker WFOM, Atlanta “The Fan 2” has ended with owner David Dickey stating he’s looking for a new show partner for Wachs on the newly reconstituted “Regular Guys” show on WFOM (2:00 pm to 4:00 pm).  He also says he wants to build a show around Whitfield with the possibility of adding local programming to WIFN “The Fan 3.”  Read Ho’s piece here.

Westwood One Unveils Kurt Warner Podcast.  New to the Westwood One Podcast Network is a weekly show featuring NFL great and football analyst Kurt Warner, titled “The Kurt Warner Quarterback Podcast.”  The program is delivered fresh every Tuesday morning during the NFL season and features Westwood One play-by-play voice Kevin Harlan.

North Korea War Talk, Trump Tax Plan, McCain-Trump Feud, New O’Reilly Settlement Allegation, Carter NYT Interview, Potential Uranium One Probe, James Toback Harassment Accusations, Mueller Investigates Podesta Group, Astros Win AL Pennant, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The saber rattling between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump; the Trump Administration’s tax reform plan; the ongoing feud between Trump and John McCain and McCain’s shot at the president over Vietnam War draft deferments; new allegations of a $32 million settlement between Bill O’Reilly and a sexual harassment accuser; Jimmy Carter’s New York Times interview; Robert Mueller’s investigation into an Obama-era deal with Russian firm Uranium One; director James Toback is accused of sexual harassment by numerous actresses; the Houston Astros beat the Yankees to win the American League pennant; and Sunday’s NFL action and poor attendance at a number of stadiums were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Sally Quinn Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Longtime Washington Post journalist, columnist, television commentator, Washington insider, author and legendary social hostess, Sally Quinn is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  She candidly discusses her Watergate-era, wildly romantic, extra-marital love affair, and subsequent enduring marriage of more than four decades to legendary Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, as well as her idiosyncratic relationship with religion, sexual harassment in politics as well as media… and much more.  (She claims the late U.S. Senator John Tower tried to rape her in the back of a taxi.)  Quinn is currently promoting her new book, Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir (HarperOne, 2017) and Harrison was granted one of her first interviews.  To hear this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Cumulus Media’s Detroit country station WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1,” Jessica Poxson exits her role as midday personality, assistant PD and music director…..There’s a new CHR station in the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina market as Curtis Media Group flips modern rock WXNR “99X” to rhythmic CHR as “HOT 99.5.”…..The morning duo of Jake and Tanner are back together at Woodward Radio’s WKSZ, Appleton, Wisconsin “95.9 Kiss FM,” effective today (10/23).  Jake Kelly and Tanner Jay joined E.W. Scripps’ country WKTI, Milwaukee for mornings in October of 2015.  Tanner Jay left the program earlier this year for family reasons and Kelly stayed on solo for a while before exiting the station as well.  The two were hosting the morning show on WIXX, Green Bay prior to joining WKTI…..Radio One celebrated the 40th career anniversary of legendary Washington, DC radio and television personality Donnie Simpson last night (10/22) at the Warner Theatre.  The star-studded concert featured Simpson’s favorite regional and national artists, including: Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, BBD, Chante Moore; and Rare Essence…..The Cumulus Media “neXt2rock 2017” national search for the nation’s newest rock star has so far drawn more than 1,800 submissions.  Emerging artists are being rated by Cumulus listeners through October 25.  Ultimately, the winner of this four-month-long competition will receive a record deal with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records and exposure via Cumulus radio stations nationwide.  Mentor judges for the competition’s finale include Big Machine Label Group president & CEO Scott Borchetta; musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child; record producer Bob Ezrin; Sex Pistols guitarist and host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” Steve Jones; and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.