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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

| August 17, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Film Borrowed Future Debuts on October 14. The first documentary film from Ramsey Solutions will premiere on digital platforms on October 14. Titled, “Borrowed Future: How Student Loan Debt Is Killing the American Dream,” and produced by Dave Ramsey, it “uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry, exposes how it’s built to work against the 45 million Americans currently in debt for their education, and shows that it’s possible to beat the student loan system.” The film is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loan debt, a debt-free college graduate, and high schoolers who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans. DiCicco says, “This film is a warning for kids and teenagers who aren’t victims of the student loan industry yet. I want viewers to walk away from this film with eyes wide open to the true cost of student loans. Teens need to know that they can have the American Dream — they just shouldn’t listen to America on how to get it.” Dave Ramsey adds, “The student loan problem is out of control, and it’s messed up millions of lives. Smart young people got sucked into a false narrative about what success looks like, and it’s left them paralyzed. It’s time to call the student loan industry what it is: an epic failure.” See more about the film here.

Phil Valentine Update: Family Says He Remains in ‘Grave Condition.’ The status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine has not improved as his family provided an update last night (8/16) asking his fans to “pray for a miracle” as he remains in “grave condition.” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and initially Valentine told his listeners that while he was pretty sick, he believed he was “on the other side of it.” His family revealed on July 22 that he’d been hospitalized and was eventually put on a ventilator due to his suffering from COVID pneumonia. Although Valentine had expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines and disagreed with mask mandates, his family says he was never an “anti-vaxxer,” but he does regret not being more “pro-vaccine.” His family is urging his fans to get vaccinated.

Salem Media Group Promotes Jamie Cohen to SVP of Broadcast Digital. Digital media pro Jamie Cohen is promoted to senior vice president, broadcast digital for Salem Media Group. The company says that in his new role he’ll oversee all aspects of the digital operations for Salem’s local and national/network digital efforts. Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella comments, “Jamie has done a tremendous job building Salem’s digital enterprise for our local stations. Overseeing all aspects of our digital operations, both locally and nationally, will open more channels of opportunity and unify our efforts in reaching our audiences through digital avenues and monetizing our digital assets.” Cohen says, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and am bullish on our future. With the emergence of platforms like Salem Now, the Salem Podcast Network and other innovations, our audience has never been bigger. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us and I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Phil Cianciola to Host Mornings on WOSH-AM, Oshkosh. Radio pro Phil Cianciola is named morning drive host for Cumulus Media’s WOSH-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin “NewsTalk 1490,” effective August 23. The station says, “It is important for WOSH that we retain a local voice in mornings and provide a show that will be uniquely Oshkosh. We wanted to find someone who would get what Oshkosh and the Valley are all about and would be able to entertain our listeners while also providing the news and community information that matters most. That’s a lot to ask of someone, but we’re confident that Phil fits our needs perfectly.” During his career Cianciola has served at Milwaukee news/talk outlets WISN and WTMJ. He comments, “I believe in LOCAL radio. The magic of radio is the relationships we build with listeners over the air. It’s all I’ve ever done. I guess you could say radio is in my blood.”

Brian Hauswirth Named News Director at KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. News pro Brian Hauswirth joins Zimmer Communications to serve as news director for news/talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “93.9 The Eagle.” In this role, he becomes the newest member of the “Wake Up Columbia” morning drive program. Zimmer Communications operations manager Jeremy Washington states, “We’re thrilled to have Brian Hauswirth be part of our Zimmer News Network. Brian shares our vision for excellence in broadcasting and will strongly enhance our award-winning local news coverage in Mid-Missouri.” Hauswirth most recently served with Missourinet where he was a senior capitol reporter, covering the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City. His radio station experience includes time spent working at KMZU, Carrollton; KTRS, St. Louis; and KRES-KWIX, Moberly. In addition to his new role, Hauswirth will continue his 23rd season as a college football scoreboard host at Learfield, where he handles the updates for five major colleges across the nation, including Mizzou, Alabama, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Wyoming.

Audacy and Urban One Enter into Digital Platform Relationship. A content distribution partnership between Audacy and Urban One will put audio from the latter’s 57 stations in 13 markets onto the Audacy digital platform. Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to amplifying diverse voices and delivering premier audio content to the communities in which we serve. We’re delighted to unite with a power player in the audio space to expand and enhace our content offering and add dozens of dynamic brands to our library.”

iHeartMedia Launches Progressive Podcast Network Cool Zone Media. The launch of Cool Zone Media will highlight “vital voices often overlooked in today’s rapidly changing political landscape,” according to iHeartMedia. The progressive podcast network is being powered by investigative journalist and podcaster Robert Evans. The company says Cool Zone Media will provide an “in-depth look at topics including climate change, the Capitol insurrection, and uncovering QAnon – offering listeners a place unique from others in the political sphere by melding media and politics with storytelling.” The network debuts with the first episode of the new daily podcast, “It Could Happen Here,” that focuses on climate change and picks up where Evans’ 10-episode weekly podcast by the same name left off. Evans, who is serving as the head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by the iHeartPodcast Network’s executive producer, Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate and elevate other vital voices in today’s progressive political landscape for the network.

TALKERS News Notes. Canton radio stations WHBC-AM “News/Talk 1480” and WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” wrapped their 14th Annual Aultcare Wish-a-thon to benefit Wishes Can Happen on Friday August 13 and the Alpha Media outlets helped raise a record $334,928. The charity grants wishes to children with severe and terminal illnesses in Northeast Ohio. The record number was an increase of almost $145,000 over last year’s event, thanks in large part to the many businesses, individuals and foundations who stepped up…..PodcastOne announces it has secured the exclusive sales and distribution rights for B-Real’s “Dr. Greenthumb” podcast and the sales rights to the show in its vodcast form. “Dr. Greenthumb” launched in January of 2020 as a program dedicated to all things entertainment, music, and cannabis and now has more than 300 recorded episodes to date that include guests such as Tommy Chong, George Lopez, Tony Hawk, Matt Barnes, John Sally and Ricky Williams. B-Real says, “PodcastOne has set the bar for what podcasts have become. With their amazing roster of shows, best-in-class distribution and advertising approach, there is no other platform for the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ podcast. I am excited to partner with Norm Pattiz and the PodcastOne family.”…..Pictured below are staffers from the Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations celebrating their honors from the 2021 State Television and Radio (STAR) Awards presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. News/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” was honored with four STAR Awards including: Radio Station of the Year, Radio Personality of the Year (Tara Servatius), Best News Talk Show (Tara Servatius), and Production PSA.

Benztown West Coast Commercial Production Director Jeff Kelly Dies at 50. The company announces the untimely death of Jeff Kelly, who had joined Benztown in January as West Coast Commercial Production Director. Kelly passed away unexpectedly on August 13 at the age of 50. He and his fiancé had recently moved to L.A. to work with the Benztown team in its Glendale studios. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “We are deeply saddened we were not able to spend more time with Jeff and we will miss him very much. Jeff was incredibly energized and excited about working for Benztown and his recent move to L.A. from Albuquerque, and his positive attitude and tremendous talents were inspiring. His production, writing and VO skills were among the very best in the business and I am incredibly grateful for his contributions to our company, the Commercial Production Department and YamanAir.”

Biden on Taliban in Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, New Trump Book, Western Drought/Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). President Joe Biden defends his Afghanistan pullout amidst the Taliban’s resurgence and the social chaos; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and mask mandates for schoolchildren; the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, Peril, that chronicles the final days of the Donald Trump administration; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 23, 2020

| October 23, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Dead Lives Matter,” looks back at this past week of October 19 – October 23, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Mike Siegel, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Bob Costantini, chief correspondent, Ear on the White House; and Victoria Jones, executive editor, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

iHeartMedia Acquires Voxnest. This acquisition brings podcast programmatic platform Voxnest into the iHeartMedia fold (iHM previously owned a minority stake in Voxnest). Voxnest is described by iHeartMedia as “the leading consolidated marketplace for podcasts and the best-in-class provider of podcast analytics, enterprise publishing tools, programmatic integration and targeted ad serving.” iHeartMedia says that now it is able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory at scale by allowing the effective and efficient monetization across an entire range of podcast inventory on this one-of-kind programmatic platform. This additional inventory will increase the monetization of iHeartMedia’s full range of podcasts and advance the podcast marketplace for both buyers and sellers. iHeartMedia will also be able to drive greater monetization for creators of podcast content – wherever they currently publish their shows – by connecting Voxnest’s advanced ad technology with multiple publishing platforms across the industry. Voxnest ad technology capabilities also includes: Dynamic ad insertion; audience and content targeting to the right listeners based on demographics, territories, devices and interests; programmatic podcast buying across all audio platforms by providing native support of VAST and OpenRTB. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “This is an important addition to the iHeart digital product ecosystem, which includes our SmartAudio suite of data-driven broadcast radio advertising solutions; our position as the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher with massive distribution and promotion across all our broadcast assets; and the iHeartRadio digital platform. The addition of iHeart’s offerings to Voxnest will ensure critical mass for the platform and accelerate its growth.  As we continue to invest in podcasting and lead the industry, we anticipate this acquisition will have an important impact on iHeart’s ability to more fully monetize its podcast inventory, and will also benefit the other podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network and the advertisers who are using it.”

KZRG, Joplin Adds Two to News Department. KZRG, Joplin, Missouri program director Peter Thiele says that in a continued commitment to Joplin and the Four-State area, the Zimmer Radio news/talk outlet is expanding its news team with the hiring of multimedia journalists Steve Scott and Dalton Evans. Thiele says Zimmer Radio is committed to local news on-air, online, and on app, focusing on breaking news, severe weather, and operating a 24-hour newsroom. Market manager Chad Elliot states, “We are excited to grow our news team at a time when other media companies are cutting their commitment to local news. Zimmer is making a stronger commitment to breaking news and weather coverage for the communities we serve.” Thiele adds, “The long-term growth of KZRG is tied to being the first stop for news, weather, and opinion and being a listener-focused destination.”

VP Broadcasting Launches New Talk Outlet in Allentown. The simulcast of WHOL-AM and W295CR in Allentown, Pennsylvania flips from a tropical music format to news/talk featuring local personality Joe Ligotti in morning drive, followed by Radio America’s Chad Benson from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Dana Loesch from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The station will air classic rock on weekends. VP Broadcasting CEO Victor Martinez names “Diamond Boy” Luis Torres program director for the station. Torres says, “I’m excited for the trust Victor has in me and for the opportunity VP Broadcasting is giving me to bring a new outlet and style to the Lehigh Valley. I believe this mix of the new generation of talk combined with classic rock music is what the area had been missing.”

SiriusXM’s Jim Meyer Confident in New Howard Stern Deal. During Thursday’s third quarter earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the current contract negotiations with Howard Stern. He said, “Howard tells me he’s never been happier. And our relationship with Howard is very strong. He is producing fantastic content and his show has never been better. We had very productive conversations regarding a long-term renewal of this agreement. From my perspective, we are far along, but it’s never done until it’s done. I am very confident we will have an agreement soon to announce shortly.” When asked for details on what a new deal might entail, he said, “I can tell you that where we are in the discussions today, we have a set of economics that Howard’s team is happy with and I’m happy with. Obviously, we’ve got to get the deal completed. And it would certainly be a long-term arrangement.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read or listen to the entire earnings call here.

TALKERS News Notes. A message to subscribers from Nielsen Audio notes that the October 2020 PPM survey is the first monthly PPM data release that will see the results of its headphone adjustment and outlier mitigation enhancements. Nielsen will host a client webinar on Tuesday, October 27 to review the data (set to be released early next week). Nielsen will also spotlight insights from the October data, along with a recent consumer sentiment study “to provide context for the organic growth we’re seeing beyond the headphone enhancement.”…..Sun Broadcast Group announces two new additions to its staff. Amanda Stetzy joins the company as media research analyst and Alyson Tiller is named assistant traffic coordinator. SBG says the new hires come on the heels of the recent expansion of the sales team, with the addition of Jackie Cardillo and Angela Codella. Chief operating officer Danno Wolkoff says, “As advertising demand continues to grow at Sun, we needed more people to support the sales team and ensure that our advertisers’ and agencies’ needs are met, and campaigns run as ordered. Amanda and Alyson will help our salespeople deliver exceptional client service and 100% accountability. I am delighted to welcome them both to Sun.” Previously, Stetzy served with Regional Reps and Tiller served with CBS Radio.

Presidential Election Issues Top News/Talk Story for October 19-23. The related presidential race, Thursday’s debate, ballot issues, the polls, and foreign election tampering all came together to make the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19 stats & projections, health care, vaccines, and psychology. Coming in tied at #3 was accusations, scandals & corruption, the Hunter Biden emails, and Donald Trump’s Chinese bank account, followed by the economy, stimulus package, business openings, and the education crisis all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new chairman of the BMI board of directors is Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley. Beasley, who joined the board in 2014, most recently served as vice chairman of the BMI board. She succeeds Michael J. Fiorile, chairman of the Dispatch Printing Company, who has been elected presiding director of the BMI Board. Beasley says, “It is truly an honor to have the privilege of serving as chair of the BMI board of directors. Many thanks to Michael Fiorile for his innovative vision, tireless collaboration, and insightful leadership over the past several years in his role as chairman of the organization. I look forward to working together with the board, Mike O’Neill, and the outstanding BMI team to continue to serve the evolving needs of music creators, publishers, and licensees in today’s dynamic marketplace.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee’s urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7” is hosting “Your Vote is Your Voice,” a special broadcast with vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris on the importance of voting, what to expect at the polls, deadlines for voting absentee, and more. The special airs Monday (10/26) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and is being hosted by “V100.7” air personalities Bailey Coleman and Reggie Brown.

Monday, July 13, 2020

| July 13, 2020

Pending Business: What Would Maslow Do? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that motivation – a stop on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – is something that can be challenging in times like these.  But, he says, “We are in a motivation transition that can solve the long-term need to stay in the game and give you the control to move the performance bar as high as you need it.” Read his piece here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Fall Schools Opening Debate, Portland Protests, Presidential Race, Trump Commutes Roger Stone Sentence, Violent Crime Surge, Washington Redskins to Change Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future infections; the debate over re-opening schools in the fall; the violent BLM protests taking place in Portland, Oregon; the November presidential election, plans for a Florida Republican National Convention, and Joe Biden’s polling numbers; President Trump commutes the sentence of former “fixer” Roger Stone; the surge in violent crime statistics in a number of American cities; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins announce they will change the team’s nickname were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Broadcasters, Podcasting? Radio was late to this party and is scrambling to follow listeners to the digital platform. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke describes an opportunity in broadcasters’ dilemma. Read it here.

New Hampshire Talk Host’s Relationship with WSMN-AM, Nashua Ends After Video Post Goes Viral. New Hampshire talk host Dianna Ploss is no longer hosting her program on Bartis-Russell Broadcasting’s WSMN-AM, Nashua, New Hampshire after posting a video of herself verbally assaulting a landscaping crew with racist language for speaking Spanish while doing their jobs. The station carries a lot of brokered programming and it’s believed that Ploss also brokered her program. Apparently, Ploss became incensed when she heard a white crew leader speaking Spanish to his staff. After the video went viral, the radio station severed ties with her and posted the following on its website. “Dianna Ploss is no longer associated or affiliated in any way with WSMN or Bartis-Russell Broadcasting, LLC. We at WSMN value freedom of speech, freedom of expression and assembly. We will not tolerate discrimination, racism or hatred. We continue to present and offer on air opportunities for discussion, education and the exchange of opinions and ideas.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station performances in his “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of markets. Regarding the news/talk format, Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin stays in the #3 rank in the market after repeating the 5.5 share it posted in May. iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh sheds four-tenths, finishing the June survey with a 6.2 share good for the #6 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis drops 1.5 shares to a 7.4 share and falls back to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN falls to #2 after losing 1.2 shares and posting a 7.2 share. Across town, Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops six-tenths for a 5.5 share finish good for the #6 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville falls to the #2 rank after losing a half share and finishing the June survey with a 9.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

It’s Official: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 Million. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal between E.W. Scripps and SiriusXM for the latter to acquire the podcast platform Stitcher was imminent. Now, Scripps announces that deal is done and it’s getting $325 million for the unit that includes: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including the comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform. The press release states, “Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $4.5 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.” The deal includes $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; and earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Cumulus Media Cuts 3% of Workforce. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has permanently removed 3% of its staffers from the payroll. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that 94 staffers have been affected by the move. The company put the cuts into effect the same day it announced to affiliate stations that the Westwood One News service would be shut down at the end of August due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the radio industry.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Golic will remain with ESPN after ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” program ends on July 31. Schefter says Golic will work for the sports giant as a college football analyst – a position he held for 10 years before launching the “Mike & Mike” morning radio show with Mike Greenberg. The status of Golic’s co-host Trey Wingo – whose contract with ESPN is ending – is still unknown at this time…..Bonneville Denver announces that it is hiring Nate Jackson to serve as an air personality on sports talk KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says Jackson will be heard across all of the station’s programs as a contributor and fill-in host, in addition to contributing digital content to 1043TheFan.com. KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nate is a fascinating person with an incredible perspective on sports and life based on his experiences. While he’s obviously a talented writer, Nate also has a very entertaining and warm personality that we look forward to developing as one of our on-air talents.”

Atlanta’s Black-Targeted Radio Stations to Unite for Voter Registration Effort. This initiative involves Black-targeted radio stations in Atlanta owned by Cox Media Group (WALR “KISS 104.1”; Entercom (WVEE “V103” and WAOK-AM “1380 News/Talk); Radio One (WAMJ/WUMJ “Majic,” WHTA “Hot 107.9,” and WPZE “Praise 102.5”) and Core Radio Group (WWSZ) teaming up “with the common goals of voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization in advance of the November 2020 election.” The goal of “Black Radio United For The Vote” is to register black voters across metro Atlanta, and to get them to the polls in the coming election on November 3, as well as encouraging them to participate in the 2020 Census. Black Radio United For The Vote is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its affiliates to make these goals a reality. Each month through September, beginning on July 23, the participating radio stations will dedicate a full day of on-air programming to educate, inform and inspire Atlanta’s black community to register to vote, check their current registration status, and participate in the 2020 Census.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the death of former Windy City radio executive and station group owner Seth Mason. He passed away on Saturday (7/11) after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71. Mason was the general manager for legendary rock outlet WXRT in the 1970s and was managing WSCR for Infinity when the company debuted the sports format on WSCR at its original dial position at 1160 AM. Mason retired from radio management and ownership in 1998…..Programming pro Laura Lee is named interim program director for Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting’s alternative WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD102.5.” Lee will also host the midday program, taking over for Rachael Gordon, who recently resigned from the station. Lee was most recently program director and afternoon host at alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7.”

Judge Puts Three Ed Stolz Stations into Receivership; Larry Patrick to Sell Them. The result of a 2016 complaint against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting Group by Warner Music Group and other music companies alleging KREV, San Francisco; KFRH, Las Vegas; and KRCK, Palm Springs played music for which it did not have the rights, was a $1.2 million award for the plaintiffs in the copyright infringement portion of the complaint. Stolz appealed that decision, to no avail, and later agreed to sell the stations to pay the award. However, after it appeared to the plaintiffs that Stolz was not really trying to sell the stations, they asked the court to appoint a receiver to sell the stations in order to receive their award. The court agreed and moved to put the stations into receivership to force the matter. Larry Patrick of media brokerage firm Patrick Communications – who is charged with operating the stations and selling them – estimates that the three stations are worth a somewhat less than half of the jury’s $1.2 million award.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

| May 19, 2020

Report: WIND-AM, Chicago’s Amy Jacobson Barred from Governor’s Pressers. A report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder reveals Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered reporter Amy Jacobson barred from his daily COVID-19 press briefings after she was one of the prominent speakers at Saturday’s Freedom Movement USA-sponsored protest of his stay-at-home order. Jacobson is news anchor and morning co-host on Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM. The governor’s press secretary emailed Jacobson saying her participation in a political rally “attended by people holding hateful Nazi imagery” means she’s forfeited her status as an impartial journalist. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman told Feder he’s disappointed the governor is trying to limit the scope of questions at the briefings and hopes Pritzker will change his mind.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Experiencing ‘Double-Digit Growth’; Launches App Updates. According to Entercom, its digital platform RADIO.COM is experiencing “continued double-digit audience growth.” The company says, “Demand for RADIO.COM’s premium audio content continued to grow and in March, time spent listening increased by 22% month-over-month. It also delivered double-digit growth in total listening hours (TLH) for nine straight months continuing in April. And Entercom’s portfolio of all-news and news/talk stations are up 61% year-over-year in TLH. Updates to the app include new personalized recommendation features to the platform. “The update elevates the audio consumption experience by offering users a personalized homepage tailored with additional stations and podcasts based on listening habits. The enhanced experience will allow advertisers the opportunity to target listeners more precisely than ever before and serve more contextually relevant messages. The platform has also added a new discovery experience where users can easily browse hundreds of radio stations and over 15,000 podcasts grouped by themes, category and location, as well as ‘City’ pages for the top 25 U.S. markets that aggregate local news and sports content, local stations and relevant podcasts to the respective city.”

WWO: Five Strategies Using Apple Metrics. If you are a podcast producer using Apple metrics, Westwood One Podcast Network executive editor John Wordock has some tips for you in this week’s Westwood One blog. He says the best way to fight the misperception that podcast consumption is declining is with Apple’s metrics that give you a look at past episodes, duration, devices, total time listened, time per device, and average consumption (a.k.a. completion rates). He boils it down to five strategies: Strategy #1: Focus on storytelling and preparation. If publishing an interview podcast, podcasters should do their homework, know their questions beforehand, and anticipate the answers. If producing a scripted show, podcasters should do table reads with their producer, pick apart their episode, and look for ways to improve their story. Strategy #2: Get creative with pre-roll ads. Because listening decisions are made so quickly, podcasters should avoid starting an episode with ad copy if possible. Strategy #3: Experiment. Podcasters can use Apple metrics as instant insight into how content performs, how listeners react, and how ads are received. Strategy #4: Hold the audience. Podcasters should strive to hold 80% of their audience to the mid-roll position and use it as a draw for advertisers. Strategy #5: Deal with dips. Through the Apple dashboard, podcasters will spot potholes in the listening pattern. How can podcasters stop listeners from fast-forwarding through the ads and leaving large divots on the data screen? The best podcast reads are often seamless and connect with the topics being discussed. See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. As commercial radio celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, CBS News Radio and the National Press Club are producing “Celebrating a Century of Sound,” a 10-part series that marks the role audio has played in the lives of Americans for the past 100 years. The feature is a part of CBS’ “World News Roundup,” anchored by CBS News correspondent Sam Litzinger and consists of 10 one-minute chapters, plus a mini-documentary, chronicling the history of radio from crystal sets to digital platforms, and from soap operas and symphonies to rock-n-roll, all-news, talk, and sports radio…..iHeartMedia produced a series of speech highlights from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” – the special podcast event it created for America’s graduation month that features commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. The “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast was released last Friday (5/15) and, following its digital release, iHeartMedia’s more than 850 broadcast radio stations across the country aired featured clips from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” every hour, culminating Sunday night with a series of 30-minute on air commencement specials on all music stations and 60-minute specials on all talk stations…..Lemonada Media debuts its sixth weekly podcast series titled, “In Recovery with Dr. Nzinga Harrison, M.D.” Dr. Harrison co-founded and serves as chief medical officer of Eleanor Health, a revolutionary, evidence-based, outpatient approach to treatment. Lemonada says, “From substances to sex to work, each week Dr. Harrison addresses why addiction should be treated like other chronic medical illnesses and the many complex aspects surrounding treatment and recovery.”…..A new study released by AdLarge Media reveals that NASCAR broadcasts stand to attract a significant number of new fans this year. AdLarge says that fans hungry for live play-by-play “are getting their fix from NASCAR races, which are broadcast live on 435 U.S. radio stations from the Motor Racing Network: The Voice of NASCAR and the Performance Racing Network.” AdLarge partnered with radio research firm NuVoodoo Media Services for the study that concluded: 84% of those who intend to tune in to the live broadcasts this season are existing NASCAR fans; 16% are new to NASCAR this year; and 28% of those new to NASCAR this year share positive impressions of sponsors and advertisers associated with a NASCAR event.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Michael Flynn Case/Russia Inquiry, IG Firing, Pressure on China, Trump vs WHO, and MLB’s Opening Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The concerns about re-opening states’ economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; the DOJ’s decision to drop charges against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and allegations Barack Obama was responsible for the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick at the request of Mike Pompeo; some 100 nations pressure China for more transparency on the origins of the coronavirus; President Trump threatens to exit WHO permanently; and Major League Baseball’s proposal to begin the 2020 season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Randi Kirshbaum Exits Saga Portland; Station Disputes Her Use of the Word ‘Terminated.’ According to an account in the Portland Press Herald, programmer and air talent Randi Kirshbaum wrote on Facebook that she’s been terminated by Saga Portland for refusing to resume working from the company’s offices. Kirshbaum was programming triple A WCLZ, hot AC WMGX, and worked on air at WCLZ and country WPOR. Saga says she was not terminated but laid off for not following the terms she agreed to for working remotely. Kirshbaum says her doctor recommends she work remotely to prevent contracting pulmonary fibrosis as the result of coming in contact with COVID-19. She says she’s been able to do everything she needs to from home, but Saga Portland SVP of operations Chris Forgy tells the paper it’s “virtually impossible for her to be a supervisor and not come back.” He says her work-from-home deal required the company assess the situation every two weeks and it would be the company’s call when she was to return. Kirshbaum says she did not agree that her return would be up to Saga.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Nashville, Cromwell Media names Chris “Crate” Atticus program director, brand manager, and midday host for rock WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.” Atticus has been serving as APD and imaging director at iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Atticus was assistant program director and imaging director for WBUZ from 2010 through 2014. He comments, “I’m stoked to come home to Cromwell Media. It’s a dream come true to return to ‘The Buzz’ and take the reins of ‘Nashville’s Rock Station.’” Cromwell also promotes afternoon personality Hayley St. John to assistant program director…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces that Spanish Hits WBZY “Z105.7” is now also broadcasting on WRDA-FM at 96.7, a signal licensed to Union City located southwest of Atlanta. The company says the signal expansion will “reach thousands of new listeners in the Atlanta community, allowing a larger audience to enjoy its Spanish contemporary hit radio programming.”

Friday, September 13, 2019

| September 13, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format.  More than half of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the July survey to the August survey, led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+1.0).  Comparing August 2018 to August 2019, about half the stations were up and the other half were down.  Gainers included KFXN (+1.5) and Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” (+1.4).  Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the only sports talker to rank #1 in its market with a 5.6 share.  Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia ranked #2 with a 6.7 share.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

New iHeartRadio Sports Digital Platform Launches. The new iHeartRadio Sports website allows listeners to find broadcast sports radio stations, sports podcasts, and latest sports news in one place.  iHeartMedia says that listeners can access more than 195 live broadcast and digital stations and episodes from more than 25,000 sports podcasts, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “3 and Out with John MiddleKauff,” “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” “Sports Wars,” and more. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says, “iHeartRadio has long been a destination for the biggest sports fans and now provides the premier destination where they can find all their favorite teams, podcasts, personalities and stations all in one place.  Sports listeners are incredibly passionate and this new destination utilizes the power and reach of iHeartMedia and its programming to create an encompassing all-things-sports experience like no other, for those enthusiastic fanatics everywhere whether it’s getting outstanding play-by-play of the latest Dodgers game to sports betting podcasts for expert picks and analysis.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/13).  The new episode titled, “And the Buzz Just keeps on Coming!” looks back at this past week of September 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Charles Freedman, host, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  Nan Su, San Francisco editor, The Epoch TimesAlexi Cohan, reporter, Boston Herald; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Lisa Wexler, host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘America in the Morning’ Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Next Tuesday (9/17), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the award-winning, weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” which launched September 17, 1984.  The program – currently heard on more than 330 affiliate stations – grew out of what was originally the last half hour of the five-and-a-half hour overnight “Larry King Show.”  When King was cut back to five hours, Westwood One used the last half hour to launch a morning news magazine.  It later expanded to one hour.  After Larry King left the radio show, his replacement – Jim Bohannon – hosted the program.  Current host John Trout took over hosting duties from Bohannon in 2016 (although Bohannon continues to contribute reports to the program).  Westwood One EVP news and talk Bart Tessler says, “Our 332 affiliates know that ‘America in the Morning’ is the show to turn to for the best and most comprehensive coverage of breaking news overnight.  Jim Bohannon created a legacy and John Trout continues the tradition of ensuring Americans are informed and entertained at daybreak.”  The program has won many industry awards, including the top prize for “Best News Magazine” the last two years at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Broadcast from Mobile. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will host his Salem Radio Network program from the offices of Mobile, Alabama’s FairHope Direct on Wednesday (9/18).  FairHope Direct is run by president & CEO Doug Meduna and his company recently made a $15,000 contribution to the Christian non-profit relief agency Food For The Poor.  Last month, SRN raised funds for the charity that delivered emergency food to displaced children and families along Colombia’s border with Venezuela.  Gallagher will interview Doug Meduna on his show. Gallagher says, “Thanks to awesome people like Doug Meduna and his team at FairHope Direct, our generous listeners network-wide donated a total of $730,000 in August.

Coleman Exits WACV-FM, Montgomery. Attorney, political operative and talk show host Baron Coleman leaves his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s WACV, Montgomery, Alabama “News Talk 93.1FM” and hints that he’ll be back on the radio in the market on Monday, on a different station.  Coleman tells Yellowhammer News, “I’m thankful for my time at Bluewater.  The last five years have been an incredible learning experience.  But, ultimately, the time was right to move on.  I’ll be announcing a fantastic opportunity in the next day or two, and I look forward to getting back on the air on Monday.” WACV says Jack Campbell and Joey Clark will co-host the late morning show.  It’s rumored that Little Engine Broadcasting’s crosstown WRBZ-AM/W238CE is flipping from classic hits to talk on Monday and that Coleman will surface there.

Dan Sileo to Join Twitch for Sports Talk Show. Thwarted in his effort to get back on terrestrial sports talk radio, Dan Sileo is joining Twitch.tv with the assistance of consultant Don Kollins.  Sports media personality Tony Bruno also hosts a show on Twitch and Sileo says he’ll be on with Bruno next week to make the announcement.  His program will follow Bruno’s.  Sileo was just hired to host afternoons on iHeartMedia’s KGME-AM, Phoenix, but four days into his new gig, pressure from the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes got him yanked.  The Coyotes just inked a deal to broadcast their games on the station and the club was nervous about Sileo’s past missteps on social media.

Ken Newman Named DOS for Cox Media Group San Antonio. At the San Antonio operations of Cox Media Group, Ken Newman is the new director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO, rock KISS, and country KCYY.  CMG San Antonio VP and general manager David Abel says, “Ken brings a wealth of industry knowledge and sales expertise to his new role, making him the ideal sales leader for our market.  Our clients expect the very best from CMG and I am confident our teams will continue to deliver exceptional service under Ken’s leadership.”

Rob Sussman Exits ‘Delaware 105.9 FM.’Talk radio host Rob Sussman exits Forever Media’s news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  The station adds Radio America’s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch.  Sussman arrived at WXDE almost two years ago from his previous position as news director at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa.  He’s ready for his next opportunity and can be reached at Sussman.ra@gmail.com.  In July, the station parted ways with local host Susan Monday and fellow local host Ed Tyll resigned his position.  Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher was added to the late morning daypart and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” program began airing in the early afternoon slot.  Forever Media acquired the station and nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting earlier this year.

WGTK-FM, Greenville Demonstrates PEP Station Responsibilities. Pictured above is WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94-5 The Answer” air personality Joey Hudson (left) on air with South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (right) broadcasting from the Salem Media Group station’s transmitter tower.  WGTK-FM is a FEMA designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after a national or local emergency.  Hudson broadcast from the WGTK PEP module using only backup generators and the equipment installed in the FEMA facility the agency maintains at the station’s broadcast tower.  As the PEP station serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, it is equipped with back-up communications equipment and emergency power generators designed to enable continuous broadcasting independent of public utilities and without refueling for approximately 30-45 days.  Hudson says that although this exercise had been planned for weeks, with Hurricane Dorian passing through the Carolinas last week, the “practice scenario” provided by FEMA was timely as he simulated how he would provide essential information to the public immediately following devastating damage by a hurricane in the Carolinas.

John Bolton’s Exit and Cancelled Taliban Talks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 9-13.  The exit of John Bolton from his national security advisor position in the Trump Administration and the related cancellation of secret talks with the Taliban in Washington tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was “sharpie-gate” and the NOAA controversy.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China relations and North Korea’s missile test, followed by stock market activity and the economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

McGorry Elected to BFoA Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that William McGorry, chairman of Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, has been elected to the board of directors of the BFoA.  McGorry oversees Broadcasting &Cable’s Hall of Fame nominating process and manages the annual awards event.  Proceeds from the black-tie gala benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America and The Paley Center for Media.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Bill has been a long-time supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, and we are delighted that he is joining the Board.  Every year, Bill ensures that the Broadcasters Foundation is a recipient of some of the proceeds from Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame Awards dinner. Those much-needed funds go to helping broadcasters in need across our industry, either in monthly or one-time emergency grants. We are grateful for his contributions.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Nikki Imbrascio is officially introduced by Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach as the new midday host on hot AC WRMF.  She was previously with CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” as midday host. WRMF brand/content director Leo Baldwin says, “After an extensive search we are so happy to bring Nikki and her major market experience to Hubbard West Palm Beach.  WRMF has been looking for its mid-day voice for quite some time and I am excited for Nikki to get started!”…..In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Robbie Bridges resigns his position as operations and brand manager for Townsquare Media’s operations there, including programming country WOKQ. Taking his place is Sammy Cruise, who leaves his gig at Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK, West Palm Beach to return to the station he served with in the past…..Buffalo radio icon Roger Christian is ousted from Entercom’s hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5.”  Christian was on air on the 102.5 frequency for 43 years, going back to its time as a rock outlet.  Christian says he was told the position is being eliminated and the daypart will be voice-tracked.  However, Christian was scooped up quickly by Radio One Buffalo LLC’s Buddy Shula who’s bringing him aboard his oldies WECK-AM to handle weekends and fill-ins.