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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

| September 15, 2020

Van Harden Announces Retirement from WHO-AM, Des Moines in January. Thirty-four-year WHO, Des Moines morning personality Van Harden announced he’s retiring from the station on January 8, 2021, capping a 50-year radio career. In a public statement, iHeartMedia notes that during Van Harden’s time at WHO, he’s won five Marconi awards for his work as the host of the morning show and has been inducted along with co-host Bonnie Lucas into the Iowa Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Harden says, “I know people will ask why I am retiring. My answer is, after 50 years, why not? For years people have asked me if I ever think about retirement and I have told them, ‘Yes, at 2:45 weekday mornings.’ Getting up has been the biggest challenge of the job and it has gotten more difficult as time has gone on, but I wouldn’t trade any of those past mornings for anything. I want to deeply thank my past co-hosts and good friends, Patti Christensen, Connie Murad, and Bonnie Lucas, especially Bonnie, after putting in 25 years of her own, for being such fabulous on-air partners. I could make a huge list of incredible co-workers from the past 50 years that have made this an amazing ride. Besides the on-air shows it was a great honor to be the program director of WHO for 30 years and of KXNO from the day we put it on the air as a sports station. It has been a privilege to have hired and worked with so many talented people on both stations.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. In today’s report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, he notes that news/talk stations in PPM markets have been remarkably consistent in their 6+ AQH share increases this year over last. Based on Nielsen Audio’s data, 64% of news/talk outlets in PPM markets were up August 2019 – August 2020. For the two previous surveys, growth was very similar as is evidenced by the 65% up from July 2019 – July 2020 and the 68% up from June 2019 – June 2020. Returning to the August data, 55% of news/talk stations were up from July 2020 to August 2020 with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.3), WTAM, Cleveland (+2.0), and WISN, Milwaukee (+1.8) leading gainers. Joining WLW and WISN as #1-ranked stations in their respective markets in August were Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Mike Kinosian also provides cume data in this report and notes that 54% of news/talk stations in PPM markets showed improved cume from the July 2020 survey to August 2020 with Nexstar Media Group’s WGN, Chicago leading the gainers. See his complete report here.

Minnesota Public Radio Reporter Quits in Solidarity with Victims of Air Personality. According to a report by WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio news reporter Marianne Combs resigned her position with the public media company after her editors did not run her investigative piece about the actions of an unnamed air personality at sister triple A station KCMP, Minneapolis “The Current.” Combs tells WCCO-TV that she spent two months speaking to eight women who were “sexually manipulated and psychologically abused” by the staffer. Combs says that she was told that although editors found the behavior “creepy,” it did not rise to the level of illegality and was therefore not worthy of news coverage. MPR president Duchesne Drew told WCCO-TV that they are “blindsided” by her resignation and believed she was continuing to work on it but that he stands by his editors’ decisions. He also adds that editors discussed with Combs how to strengthen the story to allow it to “meet our standards.”

Jim Meyer to Retire from SiriusXM CEO Position. After seven years as chief executive officer of SiriusXM, James E. Meyer announces he intends to retire on December 31, 2020. Meyer was named CEO in April of 2013 after serving as interim CEO since the previous December. Under his watch, revenue has more than doubled to an expected $7.7 billion and the number of subscribers has grown to 34.3 million. SiriusXM says that current president of sales, marketing and operations Jennifer C. Witz will become CEO. Meyer will remain on the company’s board of directors and will serve as vice chairman. Board chair Gregory Maffei says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.” At the same time, SiriusXM announces that David J. Frear will leave the EVP and chief financial officer position to pursue other opportunities and Sean S. Sullivan is appointed to that role. Sullivan has been serving in a similar capacity for AMC Networks since 2011.

Salem Radio Network News Presents September 29 Debate Coverage. When the first presidential debate takes place on Tuesday, September 29 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. SRN begins coverage with an hourlong “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt, joined by special guests and SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. The debate itself runs with no commercial breaks from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm and will be followed by a “SRN Debate Wrap-Up” at 10:30 hosted by Hewitt. SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup says, “Excitement in anticipation of this first 2020 debate has been building for months. With the polls tightening and no teleprompters on stage, our debate coverage promises to highlight the first gloves-off, no-holds-barred encounter between these two candidates for the highest office in America.”

Hurley in the Morning Charity Passes $1 Million Mark. With last Friday’s 13th Annual “Hurley in the Morning” Charity Golf Tournament at The Harbor Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey in the books, the charity founded by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley pushes the charity’s total funds raised since its inception past the $1 million mark. Hurley says, “The latest installment generated more than $50,000, which has enabled the ‘Hurley in the Morning’ Charity to surpass $1 million raised in our history. We are so grateful for the amazing support that we have received over the years. It’s also very gratifying that we have proven that you can safely and responsibly hold an outdoor event during the pandemic. The annual charity event was modified to respect social distancing and was made as contactless as is humanly possible.”

The Presidential Race, Western Wildfires/Climate Change Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, PA Protests/BLM Movement, Facebook Whistleblower Memo, Iran Assassination Plot, and Hurricane Sally Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The November presidential election; the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington and the debate over climate change and its effect on the wildfires; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the protests in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after police kill a knife-wielding man; a Facebook whistleblower’s memo about the company’s challenges dealing with voter manipulation; President Trump warns Iran after rumors of its intent to assassinate an American ambassador; and Hurricane Sally’s projected path into the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jim Richmond Named Director of Sales for Bonneville Seattle. Sales pro Jim Richmond is named director of sales for the Bonneville Seattle Media Group. Richmond was most recently general sales manager for Entercom San Francisco and assumes the role held by Cathy Cangiano prior to her promotion to SVP and market manager. She says, “I believe Jim Richmond’s experience, combined with his business acumen and strong leadership skills are well aligned to capitalize on opportunities that we have identified as integral to our success. In addition to his responsibilities leading the sales teams, he will be a key contributor to our Leadership Team and our constant efforts to align with Bonneville’s purpose.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcaster and journalist Rita Cosby is named the chair of the Global Service Institute at Long Island University.  In this role, Cosby will lead the Institute’s “game-changing and innovative educational initiatives to inspire a timely commitment toward volunteerism and elevate the importance and power of service. During this unprecedented moment with the economic devastation caused by the virus, the need for volunteers to assist drastically depleted nonprofit organizations has never been greater.” LIU president Dr. Kimberly R. Cline says, “The Global Service Institute established LIU as a premier destination for developing values-driven global citizens who will impact their communities. With her global experience exploring critical headlines and lifelong dedication to service, Rita Cosby is an exemplary leader who will elevate the Institute to even higher levels.”…..This week’s Westwood One blog examines a number of Nielsen case studies that indicate AM/FM radio ad campaigns lift TV viewership. The studies compare those who had been exposed to AM/FM radio ads for TV tune-in with people who had not heard the ads. The studies show that while on-network promos and paid TV buys reach heavy TV viewers, AM/FM radio TV tune-in campaigns reach medium and light TV viewers. In one case, the returning season of a scripted cable drama ran an AM/FM radio campaign that represented only 5% of the media plan but generated 20% of the total campaign impressions. 70% of the AM/FM radio impressions were from persons 18-54, while half of the paid TV and TV promo impressions were from persons 55+…..iHeartRadio and Treefort Media announce a new docuseries podcast titled, “DRAFTED,” that follows top college football players as they prepare to enter the NFL Draft. The program is produced in association with Klutch Sports Group and is narrated by Emmy-winning actor Keegan-Michael Key. He says, “I’m excited to be part of this series because it gives mega fans like myself intimate access and insight into the world of these incredible athletes. It’s really special to be able to hear everything they’re going through, and experience their nerves, excitement and tension leading up to one of the biggest events of their lives. I look forward to every moment.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. An internal memo from Entercom chief operating officer Susan Larkin reveals the company’s “hub-and-spoke” programming philosophy for its alternative and country radio stations. As a reduction-in-force for air talent and programmers takes place, we learn that Entercom is creating national and regional program hosts for certain dayparts and is realigning its programming management. For country, Tim Roberts is named format captain/VP of country programming with John Foxx and Kevin Callahan serving as regional vice presidents. Marci Braun, Justin Cole, and Scott Roddy are named regional brand managers. On air, Katie Neal is the national midday host and “Rob and Holly” are national night hosts. In the alternative format, Mike Kaplan is format captain/SVP of alternative programming with Matt Malone, Christine Malovetz, and Leslie Scott serving as regional vice presidents of programming. Regional brand managers are Bailey and Bryce Segall. Kevan Kenney is the national night host and regional on-air personalities are: “Cane and Corey” for mornings, “Church of Lazlo” in afternoons, and morning shows “Dave and Mahoney,” “Gregr,” and “Stryker and Klein.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr begins hosting the Camping World Concert Series “Taking the Highways Across America” tonight, featuring the legendary country group Alabama. Parr hosts the Key Networkssyndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program. He’ll host the 10-week virtual concert series that will feature such country acts as Martina McBride, Chris Young, Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Lady A, Brett Young, Little Big Town, and Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Parr says, “I am SO excited to team up with Camping World and host their virtual concert series, ‘Taking the Highways Across America!’ We are having a ball bringing it to all of our affiliates and fans ‘Across The Country!’ Plus, we are hitting the road for some NEW adventures in the Parr-V very soon.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that Charlie Maxx is promoted to production director and assistant program director at country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia. She also hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Mark Razz says, “Charlie has a depth of experience that will be so helpful in her expanded role her at 92.5XTU. I look forward to putting our heads together to move the station forward.” In addition, WXTU promotes Jennifer “JJ” Scordo to production staffer and weekend personality.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

| April 9, 2020

JVC Media Giving Away Free Airtime. The company that operates stations in New York and Florida is announcing it is opening the airwaves of all of its stations to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community.  JVC Media’s Florida stations include talk outlet WDYZ-AM/W288CJ “Florida Man Radio.”  Its Long Island group includes news/talk WRCN “LI News Radio 103.9.”  The company says the message is simple: “In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in NY call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30 second voicemail showcasing your business.  The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.”  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “This is the time for radio to shine.  We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities.  I don’t see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that.”

Neuhoff Media Using Radio to Connect Teachers and Students. In an effort to ameliorate the disconnect between teachers and students in Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media announces the Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project initiative.  The project is named in honor of the Neuhoff Media co-founder.  The company will make available specific periods of time each day for public school teachers to present lessons, read books, and review specific material on air.  These programs will ensure educators are readily accessible to all students and their parents while under stay-at-home orders.  Neuhoff Media president and CEO Beth Neuhoff comments, “We have the ability for teachers to talk directly to students each day regardless of technology.  We wanted to find some small way to help bridge the gap between teachers and primary students.  We are simply providing local educational leadership the opportunity to use our most popular radio stations to connect with students and their parents.”

Bonneville Outlines Coronavirus Initiatives. Company president Darrell Brown issued a press release outlining Bonneville International’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus crisis efforts.  Brown says, “Bonneville has always prioritized our purpose above our profits.  Our mission and the reason our company was created was to be a trusted voice that builds up, informs, connects and celebrates the families and communities we serve, and there is a great need right now for all of those things.”  Some of the company’s initiatives include: News/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is providing statewide newscasts for other radio groups and supporting local businesses through an “Open for Business” campaign; in Salt Lake City, the cluster is operating the “Stronger Together Utah” campaign to promote local businesses while “Newsradio” KSL-AM/FM is hosting a daily coronavirus call-in show and a related podcast; and Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM is producing the podcast “COVID-19: Seattle” as the station’s “Gee and Ursula Show” started a “Letters of Hope” project to send messages of encouragement to the elderly.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh talk show host Wendy Bell is trending on Twitter for stating on the air that she’s “on the fence” about the conundrum of saving lives versus protecting people’s livelihoods.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the KDKA-AM personality said, “We’re told that we need to shut down the economy.  There’s a cost.  Everything shuts down, but to what end?  Yes, every life lost is one too many.  Yes, that’s the talking point.  That’s what we’re going to say.  But ultimately dollars and cents boil down to, ‘Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than 1% of our population?’ Many of whom are already ill or aged.  I’m on a fence.”…..The nationally syndicated “Small Business Advocate” program hosted by Jim Blasingame adds new affiliate stations KFAQ, Tulsa and KSHP, North Las Vegas, Nevada.  The program is syndicated by Skip Joeckel’s Talk Shows USA.  Joeckel says, “Small businesses need all the help they can get and Jim’s program has been dedicated to helping them since 1997!”…..This year’s National Headliner Awards – bestowed since 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City – have been announced and in the radio division, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News wins first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for coverage of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last year.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco took home the first-place honor for “Radio Stations Newscast (all markets)” category for its morning news coverage of the Kincade Fire on October 24, 2019.  Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore won first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for “FBI Raids Mayor Pugh’s Home” by reporter Scott Wykoff and the station’s news staff.  Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington won first place in the “Radio Stations Feature and Human Interest Story” category for “Rock Creek Rescue” in which reporter Megan Cloherty recounted the “riveting and fascinating story about a WTOP staffer who becomes a hero after saving a woman who had fallen into an icy, life-threatening Rock Creek.”  See all awards here…..Entercom reports that according to data from Podtrac, Triton, and Apple Podcast Top Charts, it is experiencing “blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.”  Entercom says it hit new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

WCCO, Minneapolis Meteorologist Mike Lynch Retires. After a 40-year career with Entercom’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, meteorologist Mike Lynch is retiring from the station.  In a Facebook post, Lynch says, “It’s been an incredible run that I have been so blessed to have the privilege of doing.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and WCCO Radio has been part of my life from the get-go.  I can picture in my mind my parent’s kitchen radio on corner shelf at 6617 Lakeshore Dr.  I remember hearing greats like big Bob De Haven, Howard Viken, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman, and others.  When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5:00 am with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece.  When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen… It was Steve Cannon though who took me under his wing and launched my career.  I couldn’t have done it without his kind heart.  I’ve had so many wonderful experiences at WCCO Radio.”

Glenn Beck Publishes New Book, Arguing with Socialists. Nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck releases his latest book, Arguing with Socialists (2020, Threshold Editions).  According to the publisher, the Premiere Networks personality’s new book “arms readers to the teeth with information necessary to debunk the socialist arguments that have once again become popular and proves that the free market is the only way to go.”

U.S. Coronavirus Infections/Deaths/Projection, Sanders Drops Out, Vote-By-Mail Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Linda Tripp Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and the death projection; Bernie Sanders drops out of the Democratic race for the nomination; the debate over the potential for the November election to be handled by mail; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, claiming it acquiesced to China in downplaying Covid-19 early on; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and Clinton whistleblower Linda Tripp dies among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Red Apple Media President Chad Lopez Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The president of Red Apple Media, the New York City-based firm that recently acquired heritage radio outlet 77WABC from Cumulus MediaChad Lopez, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Red Apple Media is a division of the Red Apple Group – a multi-billion-dollar company in the energy and supermarket businesses owned by its CEO and founder, John Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis, in addition to being a self-made business mogul and a former top-tier NYC Republican mayoral candidate, is a talk show host in his own right with a syndicated weekly show, “The Cats’ Roundtable,” that emanates from friendly cross-town talk rival WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”.  He is also a lover of radio and has an extremely warm spot in his heart for WABC and its legacy.  Chad Lopez comes to the position of president of this new endeavor with an extraordinary background in New York City radio management and sales.  He was a kid from Queens who grew up listening to NYC radio and, after attending college in the area and serving four years in the Navy as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, worked his way up through the ranks of Big Apple radio that included 16 years in sales managing at CBS Radio – including such giant outlets as WFAN, WINS, WCBS AM/FM and the New York Yankees Radio Network.  He stepped up the corporate ladder after his time with CBS and became VP/market manager for the New York cluster of Cumulus Media which involved overseeing hot AC WPLJ, urban WNBM, country WNSH “NASH-FM” and news/talker 77WABC.  When Red Apple Media acquired 77WABC, Lopez was promoted to president of the company.  Commenting on the purchase of WABC by Catsimatidis, Michael Harrison recently stated, “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local businessperson with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”  Harrison and Lopez discuss Red Apple’s plans for 77WABC along with the state of radio in this extraordinarily transitional year for New York City, the nation, the world and the American broadcasting industry.  This is a deep-dive conversation about the business that professional radio broadcasters should not miss!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” names Kevin Sucher executive director.  Milwaukee native Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years, teaching himself recording and sound engineering skills that eventually led to a career as a music producer.  Through his producing work, he built relationships with artists and influential professionals in the entertainment industry and that led to a national career in artist management in which he worked with artists, including: Eric Benét, David Foster, Train, The Tenors, and Michelle Branch.  Radio Milwaukee board president Juli Kaufmann comments, “While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience.  He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team.  We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin’s leadership.”

Friday, January 24, 2020

| January 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio 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.

Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter.  The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina.  She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016.  Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team.  I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”

Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns.  That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market.  And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show.  New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920.  In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage.  Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics.  New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio.  TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology.  The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.”  The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here.  For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.

TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio.  In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.”  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met.  We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career.  Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.”  This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month.  CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24.  The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November.  Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group.  AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there.  They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market.  Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.”  They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show.  There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations.  The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

| November 19, 2019

BREAKING NEWS – Masked Intruders Break In and Set fire to Hong Kong Office of The Epoch Times.   Four masked intruders dressed in black (three of which are pictured above in a still from a security camera) set fire to the printing press of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in the early hours this morning (11/19), marking the fourth attack on the Hong Kong facility of the international news organization since its opening more than a decade ago.  According to a breaking report in The Epoch Times online edition, the manager of the printing press said that the incident took place around 3:40 am HKT at the facility located in the Mong Kok area, as the newly printed newspapers were about to be delivered to the stands.  Moments after staff at the press opened the factory door, however, the men walked into the facility and pointed batons towards the workers, shouting, “All of you don’t move!” Surveillance footage from the printing shop shows two of the men dressed in all black carrying batons, while one of them holds newspapers, and another carries two containers containing a flammable liquid, which he poured onto the factory machines and newspapers.  The other black-clad man then ignited fires with a lighter. The men immediately ran away after the fires started. The whole incident lasted about two minutes. The fire caused the sprinkler system to turn on, and a staff member used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The staff then called the police and fire department, who arrived shortly afterward. The Tsuen Wan police bureau has launched an investigation.  Two print machines, four rolls of printing papers, and several stacks of newspapers in the factory suffered damage from the fire. Some papers were also damaged by the water.  In February 2006, thugs broke into the print shop and attempted to smash the presses. In October 2012, the door of the print shop was damaged. In December 2012, seven men carrying multiple tool boxes appeared and began attempting to break through the gate. They fled after police were called.  The Epoch Times has a long history of persecution in which reporters have been arrested and suffered violence at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.  Talk show hosts interested in booking a spokesperson from The Epoch Times to discuss today’s break-in may do so by contacting Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company by phone 917-865-3991 or email at victoria@dcradiocompany.com

PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of news/talk stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey.  This report delves into commercial news/talk listening by market, comparing data from October 2018 to October 2019.  A review of the 47 PPM markets (Puerto Rico not included), show news/talk listening (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share) was up in 19 of those markets and down in the other 28 PPM markets.  Markets that saw gains were led by Chicago, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, and Memphis.  Markets losing share were led by Denver, Providence, Seattle, and Milwaukee.  Which markets, as of October 2019, are the biggest news/talk listeners?  The top five are: Milwaukee (13.4 share), Cincinnati (12.9 share), Orlando (12.1 share), Minneapolis (11.9 share), Middlesex (10.8 share).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nick Kayal Exits Nashville’s “102.5 The Game.” Morning drive sports talk personality Nick Kayal exits Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” in a move that appears to be a cost-saving effort.  The show currently stars Braden Gall and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason.  Kayal joined the WPRT morning show in 2018 after having previously served with WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Sports Fanatic.”  Gall and Mason discussed Kayal’s departure on today’s program and an appreciative good-bye text from Kayal appears on the morning show’s page on the station website.

TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated “John Fredericks Show” – based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia – is broadcasting today (11/19) live from the White House.  Fredericks says the show will be “no-holds-barred as we delve into White House and GOP strategy for passing USMCA, prescription drug pricing, vaping restrictions, stopping surprise medical billing, and of course, the impeachment witch hunt.”  Guest will include members of Congress as well as press secretary Stephanie Grisham, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Vice President Mike Pence…..Sports talk radio personality Matt Jones – whose “Kentucky Sports Radio” program is based at WLAP-AM, Lexington – announces he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Mitch McConnell.  FOX 17 Nashville reports Jones made the announcement on Friday (11/15).  Jones says he intends to publish a book about McConnell titled, Mitch, Please, sometime in the New Year.  After he made that announcement in August, he was fired from his TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington.  The station says Jones will not return to air there.  Jones briefly was off his radio show after the Kentucky Republican Party filed a complaint about his candidacy being promoted on the radio…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that he hears Rachel Williamson – currently president of Cox Media Group’s multiplatform advertising organization Gamut – is the odds on favorite to take over for Jimmy de Castro as senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Chicago operations.  During her career, Williamson has served as director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group and director of national ad sales for Cumulus Media, among others…..iHeartMedia adds an FM translator to the WVOC-AM, Columbia, South Carolina news/talk brand.  The station can now be heard on W278CY, Columbia at 103.5 FM…..ABC Audio is presenting three special programs for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  For news/talk stations there is “America’s Bounty.”  Hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky with reporting by correspondents Alex Stone, Jason Nathanson, Jim Ryan, Michelle Franzen, and more, the program takes listeners to an egg farm in New Hampshire, a five-generation livestock farm in South Dakota, and a hydroponic vegetable farm in New Jersey to report on the people who produce what ends up on America’s table.  The program also visits a vineyard in California’s Santa Maria Valley, where sustainable winemaking is their mission…..Public media firm KQED, San Francisco is creating a dedicated news desk to cover the Bay Area’s housing and affordability crisis.  The desk is comprised of journalists Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari, and Molly Solomon.  The team’s goal is to provide ongoing coverage of housing and affordability issues in the Bay Area for multiple KQED platforms.  The formation of KQED’s housing desk has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative…..Last Friday (11/15), Eric Goranson, host of “Around The House With Eric G.” and Jeff “JT” Tracy, host of “Barbecue Nation,” – both distributed in syndication by Envision Networks – led the effort to raise funds for the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center via the “Operation Helping Our Heroes” radiothon on KPAM, Portland “AM 860 The Answer.”  The production netted $51,225 for supporting active military, veterans, and their families in obtaining benefits, services, and resources to meet their basic needs.  Below from left to right are: Tracy, retired Portland and KPAM radio legend Bob Miller, and Goranson.

Entercom Presents Live Event Addressing Addiction Hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. The two-hour live event titled, “I’m Listening,” takes place Thursday (11/21) before a live audience at the Entercom Baltimore Performance Studio presented by Recovery Centers of America and hosted by radio host, television host, and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky.  The program airs live on adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and Facebook Live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Dr. Drew and a panel of expert speakers will discuss substance abuse, suicide prevention, and information on how to get help.  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Millions of people are affected by mental illness.  It is our goal to open up the conversation and help end the stigma surrounding mental health.  We are proud to leverage our platform and voices to help provide the appropriate resources and information to those affected and encourage people to talk.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, Trump Hospital Visit, A Warning Book Released, Trump West Bank Reversal, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong University Siege, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, and Fresno Shooting Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The impeachment testimony scheduled for this week and the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; controversy over President Trump’s unannounced, weekend visit to the hospital; today’s publication of the book A Warning by Anonymous, purportedly a White House insider; Trump’s reversal of the 1978 U.S. policy declaring West Bank settlements illegal; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the siege by Chinese soldiers of the protester-occupied Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; the protests in Iran after the government shut off the Internet; and the investigation into the football party shooting in Fresno that left four dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Glenn Kalina becomes part of the morning show at Entercom’s classic hits WOGL-FM, Philadelphia alongside incumbent AM drive host Marilyn Russell for the new “Glenn Kalina and Marilyn in the Morning.”  Kalina had been doing weekend and fill-in work for the station.  Kalina has worked on air in the market on WMWX-FM, WIOQ-FM, and the former WLCE-FM…..Actress, model, and radio personality Claudia Jordan exits urban contemporary KRNB-FM, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7.”  Air personality Rudy Rush moves from KRNB to Service Broadcasting’s co-owned hip hop KKDA-FM, Dallas “K104” as part of the “DeDe in the Morning” show, led by DeDe McGuire…..ABC Audio presents two music-oriented shows for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The three-hour country music special, “Every Girl At Christmas,” is hosted by Trisha Yearwood and includes appearances by Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge, Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Luke Bryan, and more.  “Rock & Reelz” is a three-hour program hosted by Journey’s Jonathan Cain that takes a look back at some of the greatest rock songs from popular films such as Goodfellas, Easy Rider, Bohemian Rhapsody, and more.  The special features artists including Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Aerosmith, Bob Seger, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Journey.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

| October 9, 2019

FOX News Radio Utilizing Series of Hosts in 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET Slot Beginning with Harry Hurley as Immediate Replacements for Starnes.  As reported in TALKERS (10/3), FOX News Radio has kicked off a midday show titled, “Fox Across America,” to replace Todd Starnes (who departed the network last week) in its midday 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET slot.  Reports indicate that Fox will be filling the vacancy with a series of hosts with no word yet on the company’s timetable or whether it is even looking for a permanent talent to take over the show.  The first host being utilized in the position is WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley who, in addition to his daily morning show, has been serving as one of the top fill-in personalities on the network for more than a year.  Hurley, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” and the 2019 New Jersey Broadcasters Association “Broadcaster of the Year,” has been hosting “Fox Across America” since last Thursday (10/3).   He has hosted mornings in Atlantic City for more than a quarter century where he enjoys legendary status.

TALKERS News Notes.  Sports talk radio pro Chris Carlin announces via Twitter that he’ll be doing some fill-in work on ESPN’s WEPN, New York with afternoon drive host Michael Kay when Peter Rosenberg takes time off for the Jewish holidays.  Carlin was let go from Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WFAN last month as the station pared some expense from its early afternoon show that featured Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott…..PRX announces that it is ending production of “Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen” after 20 years.  PRX chief content officer John Barth comments, “‘Studio 360’ has presented a who’s who of diverse cultural leaders, performers, and creators with verve and style.  Anchored by Kurt Andersen’s sharp, inquisitive, free-range mind and personality, a generation of creative producers has explored an impressive scope of arts and culture.  We’re proud of all that ‘Studio 360’ has brought into the lives of listeners over a remarkable 20 years.”…..MLive.com reports on the sale of Michigan radio group Jackson Radio Works from owners Susan and Bruce Goldsen to Jamie and Katina McKibbin.  Jamie McKibbin has worked for the company – as a radio host, station manager, and since 2015 as general manager – for the past 23 years.  The cluster includes news/talk WKHM-AM/W268CA, sports talk WKHM-HD2/W270CJ, CHR WKHM-FM, and country WIBM-AM/W240DG “The Power Cow.”  Jamie McKibbin says, “I love Jackson, I love the community, I love being a part of the community.  I’ve had a passion for radio since I’ve been a kid.”…..Salem Media Group closes on the swap of KKOL-AM, Seattle to Intelli LLC for that company’s KPAM-AM, Portland.  Salem has been airing its conservative news/talk with its Salem Radio Network programming on the station as “AM 860 The Answer” under an LMA.  Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage was the exclusive broker for this deal.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens’ Ukraine Business, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Syria Policy, and NBA-China Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and his administration’s announced refusal to cooperate with requests for documents and testimony; the Republicans’ interest in the Ukraine dealings of Hunter and Joe Biden; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. military policy in Syria as Turkey prepares to invade Northern Syria; and the NBA’s controversial relationship with China after the Houston Rockets’ general manager made a public statement supporting Hong Kong protestors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Stephens Media Group Closes on Mapleton Acquisition. The $21 million deal that transfers 37 radio stations from Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications to David StephensStephens Media Group closes.  The deal includes seven stations in the Medford, Oregon market; six stations in Merced, California, five in the Monterey, California market; six stations in the Redding, California market; six signals in Spokane, Washington; three stations in Alexandria, Louisiana; and four stations in Monroe, Louisiana.  The acquisition doubles the size of Stephens Media and completes Mapleton’s exit from the radio business.  KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

WWO Blog: Marketers on Audio.  In this week’s blog from Westwood One, data from presentations at the recent 2019 ANA Masters of Marketing conference is presented for the radio industry.  WWO says three hot topics were audio, brand building, and the power of emotion.  Some of the positive news regarding audio included the observation from Accenture Interactive that, “Forward-looking CMOs recognize the growing potential of audio and interactive voice as a dominant medium, elevating the importance of determining smart marketing strategies that can deliver brand messaging without a screen.”  Also noted was Proctor & Gamble’s use of AM/FM radio: “Major brands like P&G are using AM/FM radio to supplement digital and make their TV better.  Marketers and agencies were amazed to learn that P&G is now America’s fifth-biggest advertiser on American AM/FM radio after being absent from AM/FM radio for decades.”

Beasley Feted at ‘Free Speech Gala.’ Pictured above is Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley (right) with Frederick J. Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post (left) and Media Institute president Richard Kaplar (center) at Monday’s 40th Annual “Free Speech Gala” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.  Beasley received the American Horizon Award for her visionary industry leadership in helping grow a family-owned radio business from a single AM station into a 65-station multi-media corporation.  Ryan received the Freedom of Speech Award for upholding principles of free speech and free press throughout a journalism career that has spanned print, broadcast, cable, and digital media.  FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks delivered the keynote remarks.  Photo: Gerald Barnes

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In celebration of the release of his autobiography, Me: Elton John (2019, Henry Holt & Co), Elton John and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive event on Wednesday, October 16 at 10:00 pm ET (7:00 pm PT) at iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles in which the company will host “iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John.”  The event will feature an exclusive interview hosted by Jim Kerr and will be broadcast across more than 297 iHeartMedia stations digitally on “Big Classic Hits” and “Soft Rock.”  The CW Network will also livestream the event on The CW App and CWTV.com…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces that Enrique Santos will anchor mornings on its Spanish hits WBZY “La Z 105.3.”  The “Tu Mañana con Enrique Santos” morning show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.  Station PD Orlando Rosa says, “With the increased importance and size of the our U.S. Hispanic audience in Atlanta, both Spanish and English speaking, we’re excited to welcome a top-rated, on-air talent like Enrique Santos in morning drive on ‘105.3 La Z’ with Karla, our local talent who will integrate the local happenings in Atlanta with Enrique.”…..WAY-FM chief operating officer Lloyd Parker announces that current Charleston station manager Brian Driver is named general manager for the WAY-FM properties in South Carolina.  Driver comments, “Thirty-one years ago as a 15-year-old in Dallas getting started in radio, I could have never imagined I would have the opportunity that I now have today.  I have been honored to work for WAY-FM in every facet that I have since day one and could not have gotten as much accomplished in Charleston without the help and leadership of Jim Marshall.  To now be the general manager of WAY-FM Charleston, in such an incredible ministry, is an absolute honor and a blessing that I could not have imagined.”