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Monday, June 22, 2020

| June 22, 2020

Monday Memo: ‘Mainstream Media’ Redefined.  “For several decades,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “the term has been weaponized, first by scrappy fringe voices railing against legacy networks and newspapers; more recently by FOX News Channel and Rush Limbaugh,” which Cooke finds “ironic, since ratings qualify them as ‘mainstream.’” Now, as Spotify pays former “Fear Factor” host and MMA commentator Joe Rogan a reported hundred million dollars to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounces him “the new Mainstream Media.” And after a bystander’s smartphone captured the George Floyd killing, Cooke asks, “Are not We The People now ‘Mainstream Media?’”  In special segment on his TV show, Cooke and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss how the publisher/consumer balance of power has shifted, even during the pandemic. To view the segment, please click here. To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, please click here.

Pending Business: Creative Always Counts. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “when it comes to selling a personality live read, audience size often takes a back seat. The power of personality reads is based on the trust the audience has in your on-air talent. The trust between them is real because your on-air talent earns that trust with every show. Until you see it at work for your advertisers, you will never truly understand the sell.” Read his entire column here.

NRG Media Names Allyson Hillman Market Manager for Waterloo, Iowa. Radio management pro Allyson Hillman is named market manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo, Iowa cluster that includes news/talk KXEL-AM, rock KFMW-FM, classic hits KOKZ-FM, and classic country KPTY-AM/FM. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We are thrilled to have Allyson join NRG. She brings extensive experience in management and sales to the market. She understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio. We are confident with Allyson’s belief that success comes from a positive culture and strength development that she will continue to develop innovative strategies for the market while providing great local radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. The weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations in our panel are largely coming back down after skyrocketing during the April 2020 PPM survey. Comparing April to May, 65% of news/talk stations regressed while just 24% of news/talk stations improved. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.4, 6.8 share) and iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+0.8, 4.3 share). A year-over-year comparison shows 65% of stations improve while 24% of news/talk stations decline. Stations improving most since May of 2019 include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+4.8, 11.1 share), Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+4.1, 9.3 share) and iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus (+4.0, 9.0 share). During the May 2020 survey, six news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

Pittsburgh Play-By-Play Talent Charged with DUI. Radio play-by-play personality Bill Hillgrove has been charged with DUI in Murrysville, Pennsylvania after driving his car through a grocery store’s plate-glass windows. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Hillgrove – the announcer for Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football games – went into the store to fill a prescription after hitting the building and drove home in his damaged car. Authorities found him there and arrested him after he failed a preliminary breath test.

Trump Tulsa Rally, NY Prosecutor Fired, Bolton Book, Re-Opening of America/COVID-19 Stats, Police Defunding Debate, Presidential Race, and Deadly UK Stabbing Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s Trump campaign rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center; Southern District of New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman is fired by President Trump; the controversy over the tell-all book by former national security adviser John Bolton; states across the country continue re-opening their economies and the COVID-19 statistics and projections; the debate over protestors’ defund the police demands; the presidential race; and the stabbing in England that took the lives of three and is being investigated as a terrorist attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Larry Elder Premieres New Film UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (at center, waving) acknowledging a standing ovation at the Dallas premiere of his new documentary film, UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Elder is executive producer of the film that explores the personal journeys of black conservatives. Attendees at the premiere included former U.S. Congressman Allen West, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, and media personalities, ministers and civil rights activists. SRN V.P. news & talk Tom Tradup says the film is “a groundbreaking documentary that examines self-empowerment and individualism of black conservatives in a compelling, eye-opening perspective.” Elder will talk about the film on FOX News Channel this evening (6/22) when he’s interviewed on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Independent Broadcasters Association Momentum Growing. The movement to create the Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) is continuing to grow and is approaching its stated goal of 3,000 member stations. The IBA announces that an additional 600 outlets have joined during the past week. The movement was launched by Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone when he reached out to 4,000 radio stations gauging their interest in the association. Stone says, “The momentum we are seeing is incredible. We are now up to 424 owners and operators and 2,395 stations. It takes time to build any organization as we all know. To see this kind of growth every week it screams volumes of how much independents need the help this association can deliver. We are going to hit our goal for sure… and very few independents will shy away once the organization is formed and they realize the benefits. It would not surprise me to ultimately have most of the 7,000 independents participating. Our future is in our own hands and we have to make the right choices now.” Stone says benefits of membership in the organization could include: Group Employee Benefits – better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees; Revenue Generation – An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us; Digital Services Group – This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming; Shared Resources – A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both; and Proprietary Systems and Services – Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling. Interested stations can visit the IBA website here.

QGoLive RV Radio Road Trip Seeks Affiliate Stations. The RV pictured above is the vehicle QGoLive’s James Copeland is using to tour the country visiting radio stations offering demos of the QGoLive software that enables studio-quality audio from anywhere on any smartphone or computer. AdLarge Media is serving as affiliate sales rep for the service and it notes that QGoLive is already serving more than 100 stations around the country and recently added affiliates such as Cenla Broadcasting of Alexandria, Louisiana; Jam Media; and classic hits WATH-AM and CHR WXTQ-FM, Athens, Ohio. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman says, “Our QGoLive team are experts in remote broadcasting software. James is on the road to get the word out and to help all operators, large and small, equip their entire team and contributors with remote capabilities. The pandemic has taught us all that radio needs easy solutions for broadcasting from home that sounds great. QGoLive delivers just that, but we can be so much more as broadcasters open up to our new reality”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Saturday, June 27, Global Citizen and the European Commission will present “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert” hosted by Dwayne Johnson and featuring performances by Shakira, Coldplay, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens. The concert will air on 150 iHeartMedia radio stations as well as on the iHeartRadio app. The purpose of the event is to “combat the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities and to call on world leaders to make COVID-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines available for everyone, everywhere.”…..Bonneville’s classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 KFOX” officially announces its new morning show “San Jose’s Great Radio Experiment” featuring Joey V, Chris Jackson, and Karina Farias. Station director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Congratulations to Chris Jackson, celebrating 30 years of rock radio excellence on KFOX.  Joey, Chris and Karina’s unique chemistry has already resonated with rock fans all over the South Bay.”…..Reach Media nationally syndicated radio host D.L. Hughley is in quarantine in Nashville after passing out on stage during a performance. While being treated, Hughley was tested for COVID-19 and the result was positive. Hughley said via social media that he was asymptomatic….. Beasley Media Group Detroit radio personalities Mason and Angie Star (WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM), Gello (WMGC “105.1 The Bounce”) and Randi Myles from “The Detroit Praise Network” are hosting a Zoom conference call with community leaders to discuss ways to bridge the gap between residents and the police department to create “Solutions Not Slogans.” The event will take place on Thursday (6/25) at 7:00 pm and will feature Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Washtenaw Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Shiefield, Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly, and Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren.

Friday, January 25, 2013

| January 25, 2013

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI.  It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa.  The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI.  He refused to take a blood alcohol test andbubba was released on $500 bond.  The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation.  Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday.  Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued.  I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.”  He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.

martinezjrKFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program.  The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday.  J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle.  He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering.  In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic.  He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up!  I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.”  Martinez replaces the David Cruz program.  Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.

wcnnfrontrowWCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings.  Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right).  Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday).  Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012.  The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.

cookehollandAre You Ready for Some Baseball?  Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights.  Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training.  Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game.  Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage.  The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game.  This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global.  But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast.  After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan.  Talk about a busy day for Boomer!  Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham.  Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.  Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.

wfva logoWFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday.  After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent.  The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck.  Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am.  The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region.  Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format.  During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said.  Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA.  By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”

jonesalexKFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming.  Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot.  Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.

Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25.  The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.  At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.