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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

The Nitty Gritty of Online Radio Listening

| April 23, 2020

By Phil Valentine
Talk Show Host
WWTN-FM

 

NASHVILLE — The talk radio world has been holding its collective breath as March numbers come in. I had to talk several colleagues off the ledge who thought ratings were going to take a nose dive. After all, they said, nobody’s in their cars. They’re all at home. Drive time, especially, is going to take a beating, I was told.

I had to explain that ratings come from the universe of people who are listening to the radio, not the population at large. Even if that universe is smaller, talk radio’s numbers should be higher, not lower. If you’re listening to the radio these days, odds are you’re listening for information and perspective. That’s where talk radio shines.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

| February 27, 2019

Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Hanoi. Hitching a ride with a motorcyclist in the photo above is Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity as he broadcasts both his radio and TV shows from Vietnam to cover President Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  Hannity, who will work from Southeast Asia through Friday (3/1), said via Twitter, “Getting to work in Vietnam traffic was crazy so I hopped out & this guy gave me a lift. #VietNamSummit.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Coming off the previous Holiday 2018 survey all of the all-news stations on the panel saw their weekly 6+ AQH share improve.  More than 60% of the stations were up – based on the same metric – from last January’s survey to this year’s.  Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (+1.5) and WWJ, Detroit (+1.0) led the gainers.  Both stations also ranked #1 in their respective markets in January, along with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (10.4 share) and Entercom’s KCBS-AM (7.1 share in the San Jose market).  See the whole report here.

Westwood One: Midday Listening Tops Drive Time. In the latest Westwood One blog post, chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard writes that, based on data from Nielsen, the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart represents 26% of radio listening by adults 25-54, compared to 21% each for morning and afternoon drive.  The extra hour (drive times have just four hours each) accounts for the difference but Bouvard points out that advertisers buying only drive times are missing out. “Countless sales lift and ROI studies conclude that the number one media factor that drives sales is reach.  The more people a campaign reaches, the greater the sales lift.  Increasing reach insures a campaign can impact sales.  Restricting AM/FM radio buys to drives times misses 60% of the radio audience. It reduces reach and harms advertiser sales lift.” See the difference between advertisers’ perceptions about when heavy radio listening occurs and when it actually does based on Nielsen data in the blog post here.

SAG-AFTRA Goes Public in Entercom Negotiations Matter. The union representing some radio staffers with Entercom stations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco is calling out Entercom, asking it to “engage in fair contract negotiations.”  SAG-AFTRA says its members at those stations have been in active negotiations for new union contracts since late last year.  While, negotiations are ongoing, SAG-AFTRA says “members are going public for the first time with their disappointment with the company’s proposals.”  President Gabrielle Carteris adds, “The company’s suggested proposals would erode significant benefits in our members’ contracts and lack recognition of the major contributions our members make to Entercom stations across the country.  We encourage a real partnership with Entercom as we look to achieve a meaningful and fair resolution of these negotiations.”  What are the hang-ups?  SAG-AFTRA says its members “are seeking fair increases to compensation, benefits, and limited benefits for part-time employees as well as a willingness to participate in the shift to the digitally focused radio business.  Entercom is seeking to dramatically slash severance benefits and eliminate jobs with the expanded use of pre-recorded and non-local shows.”

TALKERS News Notes. The seasonal, 20-part series “Tax Tips” is being made available to affiliates of Westwood One News.  Correspondent Ann Cates hosts the one-minute feature.  Topics cover the withholding calculator, smartphone filing, phone scams, earned income tax credit, how to find online help, the taxpayer bill of rights, ghost tax preparers, IRS audits, and more…..“CHANNEL Q” is now available in six more markets as Entercom expands the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  The company says the format brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music to listeners in 14 markets and via the RADIO.COM app nationwide.  It’s now available in New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Hartford, and Portland.  Entercom Southern California SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “We’re extremely proud and excited by the tremendous growth of ‘CHANNEL Q,’ its success is a testament to the desire to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.  ‘CHANNEL Q’ began as a passion project for our team in Los Angeles and we are thrilled to see the great reception it has received from coast to coast. We look forward to informing and engaging with new listeners in these new cities we are now a part of.”…..The Bob & Tom Show launches its new comedy app.  The Bob & Tom Show app offers fans the ease of listening to the show on their local station, as well as one-touch access to the Bob & Tom comedy channel, called “Bob & Tom 24/7.”  “Bob & Tom 24/7” features The Bob & Tom Show live every weekday morning, plus classic highlights, bits, songs and segments from the show’s rich archive of digital audio content…..SiriusXM NFL Radio is covering this week’s annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis today through Sunday, March 3.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s expert hosts in Indianapolis will include Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 member Gil Brandt, former NFL front office executives Mark Dominik and Pat Kirwan, former NFL players Charles Davis, Jim Miller and Brady Quinn, plus Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, John Hansen and Adam Caplan.

Trump-Kim Jong Un Summit, Cohen Testimony, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, AOC-Ivanka Wages Spat, Venezuela Unrest, India-Pakistan Tensions, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). The meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the congressional testimony expected from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; the status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the House’s vote to nullify President Trump’s emergency declaration; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the media argument over wages and entitlements between Ivanka Trump and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the violence in Venezuela as Nicolas Madura clings to power; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tomorrow Marks 10thAnniversary of Paul Harvey’s Passing.  Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo alerts TALKERS magazine that tomorrow (2/28) will be the 10th anniversary of the death of radio news legend Paul Harvey.  He provides a video of what he believes is Harvey’s last address to the industry (delivered at the 2003 R&R TRS event) – a 17-minute keynote speech that you can see here. Art also relates a funny, personal story.  “My late mother, Amy Vuolo, actually made Paul Harvey’s famous ‘For What It’s Worth’ department (his end-kicker story.)  In 1974, she lectured for Weight Watchers which had bumper stickers that said, ‘My Spare Tire is in the trunk.’  A member of her class put the sticker on her car and someone broke into the trunk and stole the spare tire!  True story.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place on March 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles will feature performances by Alicia KeysAriana Grande, Halsey, Garth Brooks, John Legend, and Kacey Musgraves, with more to be announced.  The sixth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards is being aired (delayed) at 8:00 pm ET on FOX television.  It’s also airing live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio platform…..JVC Media announces that radio pro Steve Harper is joining the company as a member of the Long Island events team and member of the afternoon show on WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1.”  JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “Steve is a great addition to our staff.  He will not only be on the airwaves at JVC, he’ll also work with the team of Long Island Events – the JVC NTR company – to develop new and exciting live events and festivals.  I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country radio pro Andy Roberts exits the Champaign, Illinois operations of Saga Communications where he was most recently program director for country WIXY and classic country WYXY.  He’d also served as morning host at WIXY for more than 20 years.