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Friday, April 9, 2021

| April 9, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “If I Had a Hammer,” looks back at this past week of April 5-9. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Gene “Bean” Baxter, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; Jim Blasingame, talk show host, Small Business Advocate; Noel Paul Stookey, musician / activist, Peter, Paul and MaryVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click 

      here
.   To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Radio Network Host Charlie Kirk Joins WABC, New York for Early Afternoon Hour. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show host Charlie Kirk is taking over the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm hour at Red Apple Media’s legendary WABC, New York on Monday (4/12). Kirk is founder of Turning Point USA, a best-selling author, and host of a popular podcast who joined Salem Radio Network in October of 2020. He says, “I am thrilled and honored to take the same time and station where my friend and American hero Rush Limbaugh launched his national radio show in 1988. I am so impressed with what John Catsimatidis has done since he bought this great station and will commit to doing my part to keep this as one of the top talk stations in America.” Catsimatidis says, “Charlie Kirk has proven to be one of the bright lights of the conservative movement. He’s young, energetic, articulate, and proving to be a great radio talent.” Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “I was fortunate to be the PD at WABC for 14 years. I am thrilled to see WABC once again affirm its status as one of the truly iconic talk stations in the nation, and so blessed to be able to add our newest star Charlie Kirk to their all-star lineup.”

Radio America’s Dana Loesch Featured in The Hill Piece. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Dana Loesch is featured in a story by Thomas Moore in The Hill. The piece, titled, “Dana Loesch has Limbaugh-like aspirations for conservative talk,” explores Loesch’s move to add new affiliate stations in the aftermath of the death of former fellow midday talk host Rush Limbaugh. Loesch is quick to say Limbaugh was a pioneer whose importance to modern talk radio can’t be underestimated and says the idea of being his “heir” is “crazy.” But Radio America and Loesch herself are aggressively working to gain new affiliate stations during this period when news/talk stations that carry “The Rush Limbaugh Show” are examining their options. She tells The Hill her “happy warrior” approach makes her different than her competition. “I don’t like the nonstop, let’s be angry 24-7. And I just don’t even know how that can be maintained, nor do I have any interest in doing that kind of radio. We have fun. And I think that that shows.” Read the piece here.

La Crosse Sports Radio Voice Mike Kearns Passes. La Crosse, Wisconsin television station WXOW reports that longtime La Crosse sports media personality Mike Kearns passed away recently. Kearns worked his entire radio career at Midwest Family Broadcasting’s WKTY Radio doing play-by-play for high school and college football and basketball games. Kearns also hosted “The Lead Balloon Show” weekday mornings from 1981 until his retirement in 2016. Kearns assumed hosting duties for that show from his father Charlie who launched the program in 1948. It’s estimated that between Mike and his father, they called more than 1,200 football and 6,000 basketball games for WKTY over a 68-year period. Kearns, along with his father, was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Tom Wynn Dies at 83. Fargo news/talk station KFGO reports that former morning drive host Tom Wynn has died at age 83. Wynn, who served with the station for 37 years after arriving in Fargo from Lansing, Michigan in 1979, retired from the station in 2017. Wynn hosted “Tom Wynn and Friends” from 5:00 am to 8:00 am with Bonnie Amistadi and Doug Leier until his retirement. Prior to that, he partnered with the late Larry Ristvedt for “Tom and Larry in the Morning.” No cause of death was included in the report.

PodcastOne Content Available on Samsung Free. As the result of an agreement between LiveXLive Media’s PodcastOne and Samsung, all PodcastOne content will be available for the first time ever via the Listen tab within Samsung Free on compatible Galaxy S21, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 series devices. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne strives to make our content some of the most easily accessed content in the podcasting genre. Listening to your favorite hosts and shows shouldn’t be more than a one-tap process and our agreement with Samsung brings fluid accessibility to podcast fans in a new way.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story This Week. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the status of variants combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial and the related issues of race relations and police reform. Following at #3 was gun violence and President Biden’s gun control measures. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

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.

Monday, February 15, 2021

| February 15, 2021

Monday Memo: UQ. “The most-common mistake I hear?” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers talk radio wallflowers “proven dance steps.” Read it here.

Trump Acquitted/Capitol Insurrection Investigation, Trump Georgia and NY Legal Troubles, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, WHO Wuhan Investigation, Winter Weather, and Claudia Conway on ‘American Idol’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s acquittal of Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial and the ongoing investigation into the Capitol insurrection investigation; the legal troubles facing Trump in Georgia relative to his call to the secretary of state seeking vote changes and New York’s probe into his business’ finances; the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the WHO’s coronavirus investigation in Wuhan, China creates more questions about the initial outbreak; the cold, snow and ice affecting much of the U.S., including the South; and Kellyanne Conway’s daughter Claudia appears on “American Idol” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Reminder. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in this week’s column that sometimes we forget what we get paid to do. When sellers face seemingly impossible buying parameters, they pass. But that, Lapa says, can be a knee-jerk reaction to challenging buying criteria. “The time, the details, the resource drain, all fly through your mind as you process the decision to pass. Yet your income is dependent on one (maybe two) critical step(s) in the process. Closing. No close, no deal, no compensation for you or your talent. And don’t forget collections. You get paid when the deal is closed and the check clears.” Read more here.

‘Florida Man Radio’ Expands to Fort Walton Beach. At JVC Media’s newly acquired Fort Walton Beach, Florida cluster, the company is bringing its “Florida Man Radio” format to classic rock WZLB-FM with a target date of March 1. The company says WZLB will be the third affiliate of “Florida Man Radio,” joining flagship WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, Gainesville-Ocala. The “Florida Man Radio” lineup features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive, Justin Clark from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Ed Tyll from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Shannon Burke from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. JVC Media CEO John Caracciolo says, “The vision for ‘Florida Man Radio’ was of a talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big issues of the day while not taking itself too seriously. We’ve invested in great personalities that truly bring the attitude of ‘Unfiltered and Unafraid’ – it’s fun to listen to and we know it will be incredibly popular along the Emerald Coast and throughout Northwest Florida!” JVC Florida director of programming Stevie DeMann adds, “Our shows all approach today’s volatile climate head-on with creativity, humor, and compelling content. We don’t hold back. You’ll hear clearly that our shows on ‘Florida Man Radio’ unapologetically love America and support the men and women of our military. That mindset fits like a glove throughout Northwest Florida, especially with Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field right in our backyard!”

Valdosta, Georgia Mayor and Talk Host Subject of Ethics Complaints. According to a report by WALB-TV, Albany, four Valdosta, Georgia community organizations have petitioned the city clerk to look into what they say are ethics violations by Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson, who is also principal of Small Town Broadcasting, owner of talk outlet WDDQ-FM where he co-hosts the morning show. The organizations – Concerned Clergies of Valdosta, NAACP Lowndes Chapter, The Mary Turner Project, and Valdosta/Lowndes Community Alliance – say Matheson’s comments on his radio program include unsubstantiated claims of illegal voter canvassing and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The organizations claim Matheson has violated six tenets of the City of Valdosta’s Code of Ethics for elected officials. The complaints will be forwarded to the city’s ethics committee.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia sports talk host John Kincade is working to encourage Philadelphia Eagles fans to donate to quarterback Carson Wentz’s charity, The Audience of One Foundation, as well as collecting Wentz jerseys and t-shirts to donate to those in the community in need. It’s widely believed that Carson Wentz will be traded during this offseason and WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” personality Kincade says, “Jamie Lynch suggested on ‘The John Kincade Show’ last week that he was envious of the way the Buffalo Bills fans always find a way to do good for others. It got me thinking. Carson Wentz, no matter what has gone down, will be part of the greatest Philadelphia sports story ever told in that Super Bowl championship. Let’s honor him for the 11 wins he contributed to that effort which, ironically, coincide with his uniform number.”…..BBC World Service, iHeartMedia, and American Public Media announce their collaborative efforts to produce the new podcast, “Deeply Human.” Hosted by writer and musician Dessa, the show strives to answer questions about the inner self: why we do the things we do and how the brain guides us and plays tricks on us. About the podcast that will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network beginning March 1, Dessa says, “It’s funny how much of your own mind is stowed away in a backroom. So many of our behaviors are driven by forces we can’t feel. On this show, I engage with brilliant people across all sorts of disciplines, traipsing around the dimly-lit subbasement of human nature –the parts not listed on the guided tour. People are endlessly fascinating – our accents, our ticks, the way we style our hair and spend our money – and the perspectives I’ve gained on this show help me understand them just a little bit better.”…..The syndicated Erick Erickson show is added to the program schedule at RadioJones LLC‘s news/talk WJAT-AM/W259AK, Swainsboro, Georgia to air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ Presents ‘RESET Live’ Tonight. This evening (1/12) at 8:00 pm ET, Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ is presenting an “all-in-one financial guide called ‘RESET Live.'” Ramsey+ says, “Nearly half (46%) of Americans say their debt level creates stress. New Years’ resolutions are a first step to changing financial habits, but it takes a proven plan and small wins to get real peace of mind.” To take part in this free virtual event, viewers can RSVP to RESET Live by texting “RESET” to 33789 and tuning in at www.daveramsey.com/reset. Nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, bestselling authors Chris Hogan and Rachel Cruze, and Life.Church pastor Craig Groeschel will host the program in which viewers will discover how to: Develop discipline, get small wins with money right away, get out of debt for good, and build better money habits that last. Dave Ramsey says, “We’re looking in the rearview mirror at 2020, a year when so many families were completely devastated financially. Looking ahead, we need a reset – a time for families to leave behind what was lost and dream about what the future will look like. People need a plan for working their way out of debt, saving for the future and building wealth. More than that, they need hope, and that’s what this event is going to provide.” Ramsey Solutions says that Ramsey+ “has guided millions with an easy-to-follow, personalized plan for their money. Members learn Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, which start with saving for an emergency fund. Within the first 90 days, the average Ramsey+ member saves $2,700 and pays off $5,300 in debt.” A Ramsey+ membership comes with access to online financial courses like Financial Peace University, the EveryDollar budgeting tool, the goal-tracking BabySteps app, virtual and in-person classes and communities, and more. People can start a free trial of Ramsey+ by visiting www.daveramsey.com/ramsey-plus.

‘Our American Stories’ Hits 300-Affiliate Milestone. The nationally syndicated program “Our American Stories” announces it has hit the milestone 300-affiliate mark as it welcomes iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot”; Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KJCE, Austin; WILK-AM/FM, Wilks-Barre/Scranton; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland; and Townsquare Media’s KLXX-AM, Bismarck, North Dakota, and more. The program is produced and syndicated by American Private Media and is hosted by CEO Lee Habeeb. He says, “At a time when talk radio is top heavy with what divides us as Americans, listeners are responding to our nightly program that celebrates what brings us together. America is a good and beautiful country – not a perfect country, but a good and beautiful one – and we celebrate the stories that made us who we are each and every day. ‘Our American Stories’ really is about who we are, revealing what President Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The news mostly focuses on what isn’t working in life and the bad things that happen each day. Our show is an antidote to that, a place to be inspired and moved and to learn.”

‘The Dana Show’ to Air on KVI, Seattle.  The Radio America-syndicated talk radio program “The Dana Show” – hosted by Dana Loesch – is joining the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle, effective tonight (1/12). “The Dana Show” takes over the slot previously held by “The Savage Nation.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “We are excited to welcome Dana to KVI, America’s first conservative talk station! Her unique perspective shines a bright light on the issues that matter most to conservatives and their families.” Dana Loesch appears regularly on FOX News Channel and has provided election analysis for ABC, CNN, and FOX. She’s appeared on HBO and has co-hosted “The View.”

CES2021: Finally, You Can Attend!  It’s massive, it’s mind-boggling. You’ve heard so much about the Consumer Electronics Show, but you just couldn’t get to Las Vegas for a week in January. Each year, consultant Holland Cooke has, and he’s reported here. “Lately,” he reckons, “everyone but rioters are avoiding crowds,” and CES has gone-virtual. HC explains how you can attend, and why broadcasters should. Read it here.

Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia Enter into Deal for Podcast and Weekend Show. Talk radio host Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia are entering into a relationship that will make Ferguson’s “Ben Ferguson Podcast” available on the iHeartPodcast platform and his three-hour weekend talk radio program joins Premiere Networks. Ferguson’s radio program – airing live Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm – currently is heard in markets including Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver, and Baltimore. He says, “This is a significant milestone in my career. Partnering with iHeartRadio and Premiere Networks is like being called up to play in the majors. Working with the best in the business has always been my dream and now I get to do what I love in radio and podcasting with a brilliant team behind me!”

TALKERS News Notes. News/talk KFOR and sports talk KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska sports director Jeff Motz is named 2020 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Motz joined Alpha Media’s KFOR in 2006 as a news anchor/reporter and backup sportscaster and earned the title of sports director for KFOR and KLMS in 2013. Motz has also earned numerous gold level and first place awards in sports, news, and severe weather coverage from the Associated Press and Nebraska Broadcasters Association. He has also been the television play-by-play voice of Nebraska Wesleyan University football and basketball since 2006 and is a member of the Nebraska School Activities Association’s media advisory committee…..FOX Sports Radio reports that it has achieved record, year-end audience gains across multiple digital platforms. The FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network garnered more than 221 million podcast listens in 2020, more than doubling the total from 2019. On the streaming front, FSR experienced its best month of all time in the most recent survey, with total listening hours increasing +62% year-to-year…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff,” a six-episode series of special NFL playoff programming in partnership with recently acquired sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group. Led by Nick Kostos of RADIO.COM Sports and host of the platform’s “You Better You Bet” podcast, as well as sports broadcaster Sara Perlman, “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff” serves as previews of the weekend’s upcoming games featuring a mix of sports gambling insight…..Cadence13, a premium podcast company that is part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions announces a new weekly podcast called “The Long Shot,” hosted by Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson and former teammate and longtime friend Davis Reid…..“Hard Factor” and Podcast Ad Reps announce an exclusive sales representation agreement for the daily news podcast. “Hard Factor” is hosted by Mark Borghi, Pat Cassidy, Will Smith, and Wes Shephard, and “focuses on giving the day’s news in a funny and engaging manner without political bias.” “Hard Factor” was launched as a part of the ‘Barstool News Network’ in December of 2018, but exited Barstool to proceed as an independent podcast for 2021…..Frankie Boyer, founder and host of the Frankie Boyer Radio Shows, announces expansion of her “Frankie Boyer Lifestyle Show” on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island. It replaces the Clark Howard Show and is heard weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..New York Public Radio names Rebecca Kaplan Haase senior vice president of sponsorship. She was most recently overseeing sales and content distribution at Hearst Communications’ King Features. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at The Washington Post, where “she helped build a robust, multi-platform advertising sales operation that successfully shepherded the organization through one of the most challenging periods in its history.”

Urban One Prices $825 Million in Senior Secured Notes. Media firm Urban One announces that it has priced an offering of $825 million in aggregate principal amount of its 7.375% senior secured notes due 2028. These notes will bear interest semi-annually at a rate equal to 7.375% per annum and were offered at par value. Urban One says that net proceeds from the offering, to be used together with cash on hand, will be used to repay or redeem the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of April 18, 2017, the Company’s 8.750% Senior Secured Notes due December 2022, the Company’s 7.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2022, and the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of December 4, 2018. The offer is expected to close on or about January 25, 2021.

Democrats Pursue Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep/State Capitols on Guard, Capitol Riot Investigation/Arrests, Social Media and the Capitol Attack, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines/WHO Herd Immunity Declaration, and Belichick Turns Down Medal of Freedom Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). Democrats in Congress announce intent to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump; the strategic preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration and concerns at state capitols about attacks on them; the investigation into the Capitol riot and the ongoing arrests of participants; social media platforms boot Trump, others and Parler is removed from several app stores; the fast-rising number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the WHO’s declaration that herd immunity won’t be achieved this year; and Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Media of Freedom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, January 8, 2021

| January 8, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Responsibility, Integrity, and Credibility,” looks back at this past week of January 4-8, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / talk show host, regional syndication; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioAnne Eller, talk show host / station owner, WCRS, Greenwood, SC; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

KMJ, Fresno’s Ray Appleton Under Scrutiny for “Hanging” Comment. Fresno talk radio host Ray Appleton – heard daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM – is being taken to task, at least by the Fresno Bee, for saying on his program that “certain news editors should be hanged… maybe.” Appleton’s comment came during a monologue in which he complained about the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol compared to coverage of protests and riots in Portland and other cities, implying that reporting on those events was more sympathetic. He posted a clarification to his Facebook page that was later removed. In it, he says the comment was “clearly tongue in cheek.” On his program Thursday, he said, “So if you were upset by that, I didn’t mean it. I humbly apologize. I’m not talking about taking every news editor and hanging them. I mean, come on. Get with it.” The Bee reports that a call to KMJ for comment on Appleton’s comment was not returned.

Del Colliano: Cumulus Corporate Flips on Election Talk Mandate. According to InsideMusicMedia publisher Jerry Del Colliano, who cites an internal memo from Cumulus Media EVP of content Brian Philips, the company did an about-face on Wednesday as the assault on the Capitol building was taking place in Washington, DC. Del Colliano says that contrary to what many of the company’s talk hosts were saying up to that point about the legitimacy of the election results, Philips’ memo ordered all Cumulus and Westwood One personalities not to continue presenting any illegitimacy claim. He wrote, “We need to help induce national calm NOW. Cumulus and Westwood One will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’” He adds, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Del Colliano writes, “Some employees felt the sudden change in direction was so onerous that it in effect dictated what air talent could not broach on the air even after many years of tolerating if not encouraging controversial political talk for the purpose of increasing ratings.”

WFAN, New York Debuts Craig Carton-Hosted Gambling Addiction Program. The program is titled, “Hello, My Name is Craig,” and will air on WFAN-AM/FM, New York on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The 30-minute program is being hosted by Craig Carton and is being presented by 1-800-GAMBLER. In the program, Carton will “drive candid conversations with listeners about different aspects of gambling and provide resources and outlets to those seeking help or looking for ways to help their loved ones.” Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be a regular contributor and the program will feature various guests to share stories of indulgence, falls from grace, and the fight to overcome gambling addiction. Guests will include medical and therapy experts, members of the 1-800-GAMBLER team, founders of rehabilitation treatment centers, and more. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Legalized gambling is a growing part of the modern sports experience and the everyday fans’ conversations. Our obligation and commitment are to serve not only the audience that can responsibly enjoy these gaming elements, but also in a meaningful way help those, like Craig, who have an addiction. With Craig’s voice and unique perspective, along with outstanding partners and the influence of the WFAN platform, we will do just that.” Carton adds, “Each week, we will tackle different aspects of what for some is a fun recreation but for others is an addiction that forever alters and sometimes ends lives. The show will be a raw and revealing look into the fastest-growing vice in the country and I look forward to providing my first-hand perspective for both those dealing with the grip of their gambling compulsions as well as the loved ones in their lives.” Carton, who hosted mornings on WFAN with Boomer Esiason from 2007 to 2017, was convicted of fraud he perpetrated in order to pay off gambling debts. He served a year of a three-year sentence in prison. He returned to WFAN this fall to host the WFAN afternoon show with Evan Roberts.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Talk Host Dave Lee Announces Retirement. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning drive personality Dave Lee announces he’ll retire from the Entercom news/talk station at the end of April. Lee joined the station in September of 1989 from KFGO, Fargo where he was program director and afternoon drive personality. He first joined the station as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. Lee took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.

“Free Talk Live” to Migrate from GCN to Talk Media Network. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman announces that his New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated program will move from current syndicator Genesis Communications Network to Talk Media Network, effective January 18. Freeman says that while GCN has been “a great radio syndication partner” since 2004, for a few reasons (some of them technical) he’s made the hard decision to sign up with TMN. He says, “Talk Media Network is, like GCN, an affiliate-focused network. They don’t have makegoods or cramdowns or other undesirable, unfriendly corporate syndication crap. TMN’s CEO Josh Leng came up through the industry and has himself been a successful talk radio programmer.  He knows what it’s like in the trenches and has built his company with the desires of radio stations and programmers in mind. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Josh and I appreciate his passion for radio.” Freeman continues, “TMN’s also an interesting new take on a syndicate – they don’t have a network studio. Their shows feed directly to Westwood One’s uplink facility. That means that TMN’s overhead is reduced and the potential for failures is lower. It also means we had to start producing our show 100% from the FTL studio, which was no problem, since I’ve had that capability here for years but never used it until now. Since we’re now fully in charge of our program content, phones sound better and our feed on XDS should be a little higher quality as the audio won’t be re-encoded and re-processed at the network studio, since there isn’t one… We will stay on GCN for some time in order to give our stations plenty of time to make the jump. I’m grateful to the crew at GCN for their professionalism and support over the years and especially now. I don’t ever want to burn a bridge and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ted, George, Adam, and the rest of the crew there and wish them only the best.”

SportsGrid Content to Air on SiriusXM. There’s a new sports betting-oriented channel on SiriusXM as the satellite broadcaster inks a deal with SportsGrid. The new SportsGrid Radio channel will feature personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith plus expert contributors and guest analysts. The channel streams live from its production facilities adjacent to New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook. SportsGrid says its real-time reporting includes the daily odds, lines, matchups, injury reports, news and more across pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer.

iHeartMedia Completes Warrant Exchange for Stocks. The company announces that it has completed an exchange of iHeartMedia Warrants (financial instruments that give the holder the right to buy underlying shares at a specific price on or before a specified date) into shares of iHeartMedia Class A Common Stock, the Company’s publicly traded equity, or Class B Common Stock. The company reports that as of December 31, 2020, there were approximately 65 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 7 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and  75 million Warrants outstanding. Following the exchange, there will be approximately 110 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 29 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 7 million Warrants outstanding. The exchange was authorized by a previously issued Declaratory Ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving an increase in iHeartMedia’s authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100%. Certain shares of Class B Common Stock and Warrants were not converted into Class A Common Stock due to current regulatory restrictions applicable to certain shareholders. iHeartMedia expects additional conversions of Class B Common Stock and Warrants into Class A Common Stock.

Attack on Capitol Building Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 4-8, 2021. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol Building in Washington by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing denial of the election results combined with his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss there. Coming in at #3 was Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election that saw both Democrats beat their Republican opponents. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

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 April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019

| September 19, 2019

Nick Reed Back in PD Chair at KSGF, Springfield, Missouri. News/talk KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri morning personality Nick Reed is promoted to program director of the SummitMedia station. Reed joined the station in 2010 as PD and morning host but, for the past several years, has focused solely on his morning show.  Now, he again takes on the program director role.  SummitMedia Springfield president Janelle Moffett says, “Nick’s insight and years of experience are a great asset to our group.  We’re fortunate to have him on our team!”  Reed comments, “I am so very happy to be with KSGF under SummitMedia right now.  There really is a positive energy underway that made me want to be back in the saddle as program director of KSGF.”

Cumulus Media Announces Pricing of $525 Million Senior Secured Term Loan B. In the process of announcing in the pricing of a new $525 million senior secured term loan B due March 2026, Cumulus Media says that upon the closing of the new term loan (expected next week), it “will have fully refinanced the $1.3 billion term loan that the company assumed upon emergence from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018.”  The new term loan will have an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75% with a 1.00% LIBOR floor, issued at 99.5% of par. Proceeds from this issuance, along with cash on hand, will be used to pay down and refinance the company’s existing term loan. Cumulus’ debt will then consist of the $525 million new term loan and $500 million of secured bonds issued in June 2019, representing a $275 million reduction in total debt since emergence.  Cumulus says its financial position will be further improved by the lower interest rates and 2026 maturity of the new debt.

Erick Erickson Show Deep-Diving into Georgia Politics. The recently launched, WGAU, Athens, Georgia-based Erick Erickson show reports that it is doing what it intended to do when host Erickson and Cox Media Group first began considering the project – covering Georgia politics. Erickson’s new program is distributed statewide via the Georgia News Network, airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The company says, “A month into the new Erick Erickson Radio Show, Georgia political leaders are taking advantage of having a new statewide radio program.  In just the last three days, Erickson has interviewed Governor Brian Kemp, Senator David Perdue, and Congressmen Doug Collins and Jody Hice.  Collins is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and Erickson was able to interview Collins to update listeners on the headline-grabbing proceeding of that committee.”

WOR Live Event to Address ‘Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline.’  Next Wednesday (9/25), the “WOR Live” series at The Cutting Room brings in experts to discuss “Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline: Past, Present & Future.”  This event is being moderated by Len Berman, co-host of “Len Berman & Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR, New York. Joining Berman at the lunchtime event will be: Gary LaBarbera, president of Bldg & Construction Trades Council NYC; John Murphy, international rep for United Assoc Plumbers and Pipe Fitters; Thomas Hill, SVP of Boston Properties; and Mark Gregorio, president of TEI Group.

TALKERS News Notes. At the “Drive to Digital 2019” conference taking place at London’s The British Library Knowledge Centre on October 30, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will be featured in the “Driving the Digital Dash” automotive portion of the conference. Beasley, along with numerous audio and tech experts from around the world, will share her insights on key automotive technology trends and the impact on radio listening in cars…..Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform is announcing a new, original podcast for New York Yankees fans, hosted by legendary Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling, titled, “Pinstripes & Bright Lights.”  The weekly podcast will focus on baseball and Yankees history.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “As part of our ongoing content strategy, we seek to diversify on-demand audio offerings on RADIO.COM, the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio and sports content in the U.S.  John is a legendary broadcaster with an unprecedented reputation among baseball fans across the country and we’re looking forward to hearing his insider stories.”…..The nationally syndicated “Around The House with Eric G.” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is added to the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KVI-AM, Seattle “Talk Radio 570.”  Eric G. says, “After spending most of my design career in Seattle, it is good to be back home.”

Iran’s War Threats/Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, Kavanaugh Allegations, Dems Impeachment Strategy, and New National Security Adviser Named Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18). Iran’s threat of “all-out war” after being accused of responsibility for the attack on a Saudi oil production facility; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and criticism of The New York Times’ opinion editor; the ongoing talk of impeachment of the president by congressional Democrats; and the naming of Robert O’Brien as the new national security adviser 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. In Northeastern Wisconsin, Roger Utnhmer is retiring, and his Nicolet Broadcasting is selling its five-station cluster – along with two digital local news platforms – to his sales manager, Bryan Mazur.  Nicolet owns adult standards WBDK, Algoma; classic hits WRKU, Forestville; country WRLU, Algoma; WSBW, Ephraim; and translator W277BP, Sturgeon Bay.   In a Facebook post, Utnhmer says, “I appreciate the great people who have made Nicolet Broadcasting a successful company.  Those include Jeff Wagner in Antigo, Bruce McNeill in Eagle River, Paul Eck in Park Falls and Paul Schmitt and Tim Kowols in Sturgeon Bay.  These guys made me look better than I really am… Thank you for being among the best of the best.  And now to Bryan Mazur I wish you all success going forward. You are inheriting a very solid staff and one of the most beautiful markets in American radio.”…..Pictured below is Beasley Media Philadelphia air personality Kathy Romano (left) with ABC News and “Good Morning America” chief meteorologist Ginger Zee (right) at the 95.7 BEN FM 3rd annual Her Story Luncheon, held yesterday (9/18) in Philadelphia.  Romano is co-host of WMMR’s “Preston and Steve” show as well as the weekly “Her Story” program on sister WBEN-FM. The program showcases dynamic women that are making a significant impact in the community via their business, their charity work or a combination of both.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

| August 20, 2019

WGAU, Athens Debuts Erick Erickson Midday Show. Back in April, WSB-AM, Atlanta afternoon drive talk show host Erick Erickson announced he was planning to launch a midday talk radio show based at Cox Media Group’s WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens, Georgia.  That has become a reality with his new show now airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, following the station’s morning drive program and leading into Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh program.  Back in April, Erickson said he believes that local news outlets are failing to give enough attention to Georgia news and the drive time shows focus too much on the national political scene.  Erickson hopes to syndicate the new show to other talk stations in Georgia.  He is continuing to host his 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on WSB-AM.

Darren Smith Co-Hosts Nightly Show on KOGO, San Diego.  San Diego sports talk personality Darren Smith – who just started his new midday gig with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KLSD-AM “XTRA 1360” – is delving into news/talk with the company’s sister KOGO-AM.  Smith is co-hosting an hour-long 7:00 pm program with “KOGO Evening News” anchor Jack Cronin titled, “Not Sports.”  Smith was a longtime sports talk host on former sports talk XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090.”  This addition to the KOGO program schedule pushed the Chris Merrill-hosted “KOGO at Night” back to an 8:00 pm start.

KGME-AM, Phoenix Adds ‘Roc & Manuch’ to Weekday Lineup. Phoenix sports talk duo “Roc & Manuch” – Mike “Roc” Muraco (left) and Dan “Manuch” Manucci (right) – are joining iHeartMedia’s sports talk KGME-AM “Fox Sports 910” to host the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm daypart, effective September 3.  The two have been on the air in the Phoenix market for more than 15 years, including on KQFN-AM “1580 The Fanatic” and KDUS-AM “NBC Sports Radio.”  The program is being produced by Chris Schubert.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little says, “We’re excited to add ‘Roc & Manuch’ to our expanding local lineup on ‘Fox Sports 910.’ With over 15 years of experience in Phoenix, Roc and Manuch bring with them a vast knowledge of local sports.”

Fargo Sports Anchor Dom Izzo Launching Talk Show.  In Fargo, WDAY-TV sports reporter and anchor Dom Izzo is leaving his 6:00 pm and 10:00 duties with the Forum Communications television station to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s news/talk WDAY-AM/K226CL. Izzo, who’s been with the television station for the past 10 years, will continue to handle the Friday high school football wrap-up and the “Sports Sunday” show on the TV side.  His new radio show appears to replace the last two hours of “AM Fargo-Moorhead with Mike Kapel.”

‘Jet Stream Sports Report’ Launches.  A new, daily two-minute sports feature called “The Jet Stream Sports Report” is being distributed by USA Radio Network.  The program – available via FTP – is hosted by Jason “The Jet” Williams and “brings the fire and energy that is required for the world of sports.”  USA Radio Network says, “Jason’s passion and love for sports and his sharp wit make him a unique brand ambassador.”

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Greenland Purchase Inquiry, Immigration Policy, U.S.-China Trade War/Hong Kong Protests, Epstein Suicide Ruling, NYPD Fires Cop in Garner Death Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; President Trump’s reported interest in buying Greenland for its natural resources; the state of the U.S.-Mexico border and U.S. immigration policy; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the related Hong Kong protests; the official ruling of suicide in the death of alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; and the firing of New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in choke-hold death of Eric Garner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Celebrating 50 Years in Radio.  KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Dave Elswick (right) is pictured above with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) – one of many visitors to the station to help Elswick celebrate his 50th anniversary in the radio business.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In the Washington, DC market, Howard University-owned urban contemporary WHUR-FM names Al Payne program director.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media as PD at urban contemporary KMJK, Kansas City “Magic 107.3.”  He says, “Growing up as an I-95 ‘radio kid,’ there were a few iconic stations that you could only dream of one day having the opportunity to program and influence. 96.3 WHUR is at the pinnacle of my personal list and to say that this is a blessing is a huge understatement.  I look forward to working with the incredible GM, Sean Plater, to help this amazing team of world class broadcasters continue to entertain and serve the DMV under the umbrella of Howard University.”…..iHeartMedia’s CHR WIOQ, Philadelphia “Q102” announces that Eliott King becomes the new evening personality as host of  “Q102 Tonight with Eliott,” effective September 9. Station program director Buster Satterfield says, “Eliott’s passion and level of creativity make him the perfect candidate to lead ‘Q102’ nights.  ‘Q102’ is a heritage station in the Philly community and we’re certain that he’ll help shake things up for the iconic brand.”  King was most recently afternoon drive host at Radio One’s CHR WNOW-FM, Indianapolis…..Alpha Media names DJ Q content director for hip hop WGZB “B96” and urban contemporary WMJM “Magic 101.3,” effective September 1. He’s been serving as assistant program director for the stations for the past five years.  He states, “There is no purpose without a plan.  Success is doing what you love, focusing on your goals, and never giving up the strength and determination to succeed.  I’m excited to be a proud Alpha Media family member and I look forward to bringing a positive culture and creative ideas to the forefront.”…..At Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK-FM, West Palm Beach “New Country 101.3,” Sammy Cruise rises to APD and music director.  He also hosts the afternoon drive show.  Operations manager and brand content director Bruce Logan says, “I am thrilled to have Sammy on the team.  His brand knowledge of WIRK, his talent as an air personality, and his relationships with artists, artist managers and label friends is second to none. Sammy has been invaluable to me as we work to build ‘New Country 103-1’ into South Florida’s home for new country.”

27 Graduate from 12th RTTR Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program. Pictured above are the 27 women who took part in the Rising Through the Ranks Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program in Nashville August 13-15. The program was presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau, in conjunction with BMI and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.  The graduates are (in alphabetical order): Luisa Banks, Cox Media Group; Jill Bernhardt, Cumulus MediaTaylor Brown, Neuhoff Media; Alexandra Byrnes, Entercom Communications; Yvonne Cheng, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Katy Dempsey, Bryan Broadcasting; Jaime Frankel, Beasley Media Group; Adella Fremstad-Nolden, Radio One; Pamela HallKindred Communications; Andrea Hansen, Entercom CommunicationsNichole Hansen, Saga Communications; Traci Harris-Mason, Forcht Broadcasting; Dara Kalvort, Entercom Communications; Tori Kahl, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Shannon Kenefick, Townsquare Media; Adria Lawrence, Emmis Communications; Michelle Mazzara, BMI; Kate Maguire, Summit Media; Elizabeth Nifong, Beasley Media Group; Debbie Payne, Cumulus MediaKristina Schoenbeck, Entercom Communications; Crista St. JohnBonneville International/Mariners Radio; Ava Suppelsa, BMIBrianne Thompson, Leighton Broadcasting; Denise Tolzman, Queen B Radio; Dianna Towns, Neuhoff Media; and Ashley WilliamsCox Media Group.

Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.

Greensboro

Spoken-Word Formats – A collective -1.2 via four successive down or flat trends (4.4 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” ends the slide with an increase of six-tenths to 3.8 (#11 to #10), its best 6+-stat since February’s 4.4.

Up two-tenths in three straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0, 6+), Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” advances from #16 to #14.

Recording its third uptick in a row for a collective gain of nine-tenths (1.6 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.5, 6+), Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” holds down the #13 position the 15th consecutive ratings period. This is the fourth time in the last five reports that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC logs a .8 (.8 – .5 – .8 – .8 – .8, #17 to #15, 6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – Repeating in ninth-place, iHeartMedia-owned rocker WVBZ is a collective +1.7 in four straight bumps (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.2, 6+). In June, “105.7 – Man Up” reached the four-share level (4.1, 6+) for the first time since November 2018’s 4.0. This marks the fifth occurrence in 2019’s seven monthly survey periods that Entercom urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” (9.3 – 9.5, +.2, 6+) ranks #1. An April increase of six-tenths curtailed five straight declines that resulted in a -2.3 (11.4 – 10.8 – 10.3 – 9.9 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+). WQMG’s consecutive streak of reaching double-digits (6+) was snapped at 26 in January. It has been within 9.1 – 9.9 (6+) range ever since. The two exceptions to WQMG’s 2019 reign at #1 are March and June when co-owned adult hits WSMW held the lead. In July, however, “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” spirals by -1.0, erasing June’s improvement of one-half share (9.3 – 9.8 – 8.8, first to second, 6+). Its seven fluctuations this calendar year are: +.9 (January); -.6 (February); +.9 (March); -1.6 (April); +1.1 (May); +.5 (June); and -1.0 (July). Prior to its March stay at #1, WSMW last reached #1 in August 2016 when it logged a 10.5 (6+). Still within that Entercom cluster, rhythmic CHR WJMH “102 Jamz” drops six-tenths (7.2 – 6.6, 6+) but remains in fourth-place. A one-half share loss (4.0 – 3.5, 6+) forces Curtis Media Group regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1 FM” out of the top ten (#10 to #11) with its lowest 6+-stat since November 2018 (3.5, as well). June’s sixth-place tie between the market’s two country rivals is broken as iHeartMedia’s WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” is flat at 5.3 (sixth to seventh, 6+), while Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” is down or flat the third straight time for a cumulative decline of one-half share (5.7 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.2, sixth to eighth, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase, WTQR was a cumulative -1.0 (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, 6+), but erased 70% of that deficit in May with a +.7 to 5.7 (6+). Flat in March, “Q-104.1” cancelled out January’s +.7 with a February -.7 (5.3 – 6.0 – 5.3, 6+). Before dropping two-tenths in March, “The Wolf” had three consecutive shifts of one-half share: -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.5 (February). Over the course of the last 15 sweeps (June 2018 through July 2019), WTQR has prevailed over WPAW ten times (June 2018, July, August, September, October, November, “Holiday” 2018, January 2019, May, and July); WPAW has come out on top four times (December 2018, February 2019, March, and April; and the two were tied in June 2019 (5.3, 6+).

Memphis

Spoken-Word Formats – Up four-tenths in June/July (4.1 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” progresses from ninth to eighth.

In six consecutive negative or neutral reports, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has lost one full-share (4.0 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.0, 6+) and falls from #11 to #13. Its internet stream appeared with a .1 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2018; disappeared from print in January and February; logged a .1 (6+) four straight times; and vanishes in July. Co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790” is without an increase the 13th straight time (including eleven consecutive .1 showings) for a collective loss of three-tenths (.4 – .4 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 -.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+) and is locked at #18.

Memphis Music Formats – Over and above the fact it has nearly doubled (+1.2) its 6+ AQH share since May (1.3 – 1.7 – 2.5, unchanged at #14, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KWNW “101.9 Kiss FM” registers its best-ever 6+-stat (2.5) in the PPM-era. In five successive setbacks (5.3 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.2, 6+), co-owned WDIA was -2.1 but “AM 1070 – The Heart & Soul of Memphis” ends the slide with a +.2 to 3.4 (6+) and proceeds from #13 to #11. A one-half share rise (4.7 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+) takes Entercom hot AC WMC-FM “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” to the five-share level (6+) for the first time since January (5.6). By gaining three-tenths to 10.1 (6+), iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS pulls the plug on four straight down or flat trends that accounted for a -1.8 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+); “V-101” is #1 the ninth time in a row. Prior to June’s loss of six-tenths to 9.8 (6+), KJMS reached double-digits (6+) in each of the previous 14 ratings periods. “Holiday” 2018’s 12.8 is the highest 6+-share since December 2012’s 13.5 for “V-101,” which was +2.3 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (10.5 – 11.5 – 12.8, 6+). Gospel cluster-mate WHAL “Hallelujah 95.7 – Memphis’ Inspiration Station,” which notched four consecutive increases for a +1.6 (5.8 – 6.4 – 7.0 – 7.1 – 7.4, 6+), forfeits nine-tenths to 6.5 (flat at #4, 6+). June’s 7.4 was its best 6+-showing since August 2015’s 7.5. The market’s (6+) adult contemporary share improved by two-tenths in June but is -1.1 (6+) in July. Absorbing the brunt of the decrease is Entercom’s WRVR “104.5 The River” (6.6 – 5.8, -.8, steady in fifth-place, 6+). Until picking up one-tenth in June, “The River” was an overall -2.4 in three straight declines (8.9 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+). While “Holiday” 2018’s 11.3 is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 (#6), this (5.8) is its lowest since May 2017’s 5.7. Eight recent WRVR fluctuations include: +2.4 (October 2018); -1.6 (December); +2.0 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.1 (January 2019); +.7 (February); -1.1 (March); -1.2 (May); and -.8 (July). After adding one-tenth in June, Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (unchanged at #16) sputters by  three-tenths to .7, its lowest 6+-stat since transitioning from urban-rhythmic oldies to AC in late-2017. WKIM surrendered nearly half (-.7) its 6+ AQH-share in April/May (1.6 – 1.1 – .9, 6+). “The Bridge” reached the five-share level (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, but was a combined -4.0 in January/February (5.1 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+). While it repeats in the runner-up slot, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WHRK “K-97.1” is off three-tenths to 9.2 (6+), thus curtailing five straight bumps that resulted in a +2.7 (6.8 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.7 – 8.5 – 9.5, 6+). In June, WHRK reached the nine-share level (9.5, 6+) for the first time since May 2018’s 9.4.

Hartford

Spoken-Word Formats – July’s -1.1 (7.4 – 6.3, 6+) sends Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” from second to seventh with its lowest 6+-stat (6.3) since February’s 5.9. By gaining two-tenths in June, Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM suspended four consecutive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a one-half share loss (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .8, 6+); however, “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” now regresses by one-half share (1.0 – .5, flat at #15). Ever steady, iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410” logs a .1 (#17 to #18, 6+) the 14th report in a row; it was a “no-show” in June 2018.

Frozen on 1.8 (6+) in March and April, iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” follows with three straight sweeps without an increase for an overall loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, flat at #12, 6+).

Up one-tenth to 4.3 (unchanged at #9, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” halts three straight drops that accounted for a collective -1.1 (5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+). University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” has lost six-tenths in June/July (1.6 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+) and slips from #13 to #14.

Hartford Music Formats – An overall -1.0 in five consecutive sweeps without an increase (7.7 – 7.0 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 6.8 – 6.7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WWYZ “Country 92.5” obliterates that deficit with a +1.2 to 7.9 (fifth to second, 6+), its highest 6+-share in nearly two years (8.3, August 2017). Level at #3, classic hits-oldies sibling WHCN “105.9 The River” is a combined +1.9 in three straight reports without a loss (5.3 – 5.7 – 7.2 – 7.2, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.2) since May 2018’s 7.7. Adding six-tenths to June’s +.1 (6.0 – 6.1 – 6.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX jumps from eighth to fifth. Entering the June sweep, “Hot 93.7” was -1.9 via three drops in a row (7.9 – 6.6 – 6.5 – 6.0, 6+). The just-concluded negative streak directly tailed January/February’s +1.1 (6.8 – 7.7 – 7.9, 6+). Having followed April’s increase of nine-tenths with a combined -2.0 in May/June  (8.5 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+), hot AC sibling WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC-FM” picks up two-tenths (6.7, sixth to fifth, 6+). Albeit a -1.4 in June/July (10.8 – 10.4 – 9.4, 6+), adult contemporary cluster-mate WRCH is #1 the 37th consecutive time. Recent “Lite 100.5” fluctuations include: -.8 (November 2018); +1.8 (December); +5.6 (“Holiday” 2018 to 18.0, the strongest 6+-showing for any Hartford station since WRCH recorded an 18.3 in “Holiday” 2017); -6.9 (January); +1.0 (February; -1.0 (March); -1.3 (April); +1.0 (May); and -1.0 (July). Prior to slipping to 9.8 in April, WRCH was in double-digits (6+) in 30 of the previous 32 sweeps. Without an increase the sixth straight time for a collective -1.5 (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.4 – 3.1, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting alternative WMRQ “Radio 104.1” continues at #10. Co-owned Spanish tropical WMRQ-HD2 is down or flat the third report in succession and is -1.0 in that stretch (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). The last time WMRQ-HD2 fell below a two-share (6+) was May 2018 (1.9).

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

| April 30, 2019

Entercom Net Revenue Up 3% in First Quarter of 2019. Net revenue for Entercom Communications Corp. was $309 million in the first quarter of 2019 – an increase of 3% over the $300.6 million figure for the same period in 2018.  Operating income soared to $30.4 million, up from $5.7 million in the first quarter of 2018. At the same time, total operating expenses decreased 5.6% from last year to $278.6 million.  Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I am pleased to report that Entercom delivered another strong quarter of performance as revenues increased 3% and Adjusted EBITDA surged 42%.  Our transformational investments in new products and capabilities and the hard work of our team are beginning to pay off as we capitalize on our scale and the abundant growth opportunities in audio. Second quarter revenues are pacing up by more than 4% and we are excited about our progress across multiple areas of the business and by the dynamic future ahead.”   Today’s report also states that “later today, the company expects to issue $325 million in 6.50% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company plans to use the proceeds of the issuance, as well as cash on its balance sheet and borrowings under its revolver, to repay $425 million of its senior secured Term Loan and to pay fees and expenses related to the issuance.” At the end of the first quarter, Entercom had outstanding $1.29 billion of senior debt under its credit facilities and $400 million in senior notes.  The company reports having $68 million in cash on hand.

Nielsen Reports Q1 Financials; Audience Measurement Revenue Up 1.5%.  As the company’s board of directors continues to consider selling all or part of Nielsen Holdings plc, the company reveals its revenue for the first quarter of 2019 was down 2.9% (on revenue of $1.56 billion), however was up 0.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2018.  The company recently renamed its Watch and Buy segments. They are now Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect, respectively.  During Q1, revenue in the Nielsen Global Media segment increased 0.2% to $826 million, or 1.3% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2018.  Revenue in Audience Measurement increased 1.5%, or 2.2% on a constant currency basis, primarily due to continued client adoption of Nielsen’s Total Audience Measurement system, partly offset by pressure in local television measurement. Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “Our first quarter results were ahead of our expectations, reflecting solid execution and continued focus on improving operational and financial rigor across Nielsen.  While I’m pleased with our first quarter results, we have a significant opportunity to accelerate our growth rate over time as we leverage and build on our incomparable data assets, our global footprint, and the critical role we play in the media and FMGC (fast moving goods company) industries.  We have begun our transformation into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions that drive greater value for our clients and for Nielsen.”

Report: Erick Erickson Planning New Late Morning Show on Athens News/Talker. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta personality Erick Erickson noted on his Facebook page that he’s planning a new talk show for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart that would focus on Georgia news and politics.  Ho reports that WSB program director Pete Spriggs says the show is in the planning stages right now and the company’s news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens would be the show’s flagship.  Erickson would continue to host his afternoon show at WSB. Erickson says he believes that local news outlets are failing to give enough attention to Georgia news and the drive time shows focus too much on the national political scene.

Lars Larson Receives Honor from Right to Work Organization. KXL-FM, Portland-based talk radio host Lars Larson – also heard nationally via Compass Media Networks – is being given the “Lewis and Annabelle Fetterman Right to Work Communication Award” from The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.   The annual honor goes to an individual for their work in highlighting the injustices of compulsory unionism.  Larson says, “When my flagship station, FM News 101 KXL hired me, I got my first taste of forced unionism.  I arrived at my shiny new $9/hr job as afternoon anchor and editor in March of 1980. A big talk guy, whose name I have forgotten, walked up to me and introduced himself as the shop steward and told me in no uncertain terms, ‘You will join the union.’  I told him I had no interest in unions and no intention of joining.  He told me, ‘You’ll join or our contract says you’ll be fired in 30 days.’  Needless to say, I joined, paid the union and endured its extortion.  Years later at KXL, I happily joined an effort to decertify the union (it took two years but it succeeded).  I believe that every American worker should have the right to join a union or to decline union membership.  27 states now recognize this ‘right to work’ philosophy.  Nearly all of the Democratic Party candidates for president of the United States have vowed to kill section 14b of the Fair Labor Relations Act that allows for the ‘right to work.’  I have now worked 44 years in radio and television and have spent most of those years NOT IN A UNION by choice.  Every American should have that choice.”

WGN-AM and Crain’s Chicago Strengthen Relationship. This enhancement of the content integration between Tribune’s WGN Radio and Crain’s Chicago Business will bring Crain’s reporters to the air on WGN live from their Chicago newsroom, beginning Monday (5/6).  Each weekday, “The WGN Radio Crain’s Chicago Business Desk” will feature Crain’s reporters twice daily on WGN during newscasts at 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, in addition to listeners hearing the top business news of the day at 12:50 pm during the “Wintrust Business Lunch” program.  Crain’s publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We’re very happy to expand our relationship with WGN.  The station’s unique relationship with its listeners is a natural for Crain’s as we continue to look for ways to grow our journalism beyond our traditional platforms.”

Entercom and Waze Enter into Multiplatform Partnership. This deal between Entercom and traffic app Waze will – among other things – allow users of both Waze and Entercom’s RADIO.COM app to benefit from each other’s content.  As part of the deal, RADIO.COM will be integrated into the Waze app, so that Waze drivers can get audio content – including local news and sports, local broadcast traffic reports, and the music stations – with ease.  They’ll have access to the RADIO.COM playback and discovery controls, including favorite, local, and recently played stations, directly in the Waze app.  The partnership also allows Entercom to integrate the Waze community-based traffic data into its live and over-the-air traffic reporting across its radio stations. Entercom stations will utilize the Waze data to provide enhanced, real-time and hyperlocal traffic reporting to listeners on all platforms.

Progressive Insurance Named ‘Radio Marketer of the Year.’ The insurance company is being honored with the “Radio Marketer of the Year” award at the 2019 Radio Mercury Awards at SONY HALL in New York City on June 6.  The award is being given to Progressive Insurance “in recognition of the company’s long-term partnership with the radio industry to reach and engage consumers.  Their powerful radio creative differentiates the brand in a crowded category and significantly contributes to record sales for Progressive.” RAB president and CEO and chair of the Radio Creative Fund Erica Farber says, “Progressive Insurance and its creative advertising partner Arnold Worldwide continue to be tremendous partners to the radio industry. Broadcast radio is delighted with the ongoing collaboration with CMO Jeff Charney and his team, and we look forward to their continued innovation in the audio space.”  Charney comments, “Understanding the ‘art and science’ of the medium is key to putting out breakthrough radio campaigns.  It allows us to produce compelling and disruptive content that pushes toward the creative edge in all the right ways.  We sweat every second of each spot, and this recognition proves our company’s out-create approach drives powerful results.”

Sue McNamara Named EVP of Sales for PodcastOne. Sales pro Sue McNamara is appointed to the position EVP of sales for the Eastern U.S. for PodcastOne.  She comes to PodcastOne with a resume that includes roles SVP of advertising sales at CBS Corporation, EVP of sales at Interep, and VP of sales at Total Traffic Network.  PodcastOne executive chairman and founder Norm Pattiz says, “When looking for someone to fill this position, we spoke to a number of our advertisers, and the one name that kept coming up was Sue McNamara.  After our first meeting at our Los Angeles headquarters, I understood exactly why.  She knows audio.  She not only understands advertisers’ goals and needs, she’s been instrumental in creating new, creative opportunities for them.  She’s a perfect fit for podcasting and that makes her the perfect choice for PodcastOne.”

TALKERS News Notes. The online-only broadcasts from the sports talk hosts of “The Mighty 1090” have ended. As reported by KGTV-TV, San Diego, the sports talk format that was bumped off Mexican signal XEPRS on April 11 is no longer an online venture either.  Broadcast Company of the America’s pulled the plug on the digital feed at around 2:00 pm yesterday (4/29), ending almost three weeks of online only content.  The staff were asked to come to the studios and retrieve their belongings.  KGTV-TV notes that BCA previously lost two other of its Mexican signals – XHPRS, formerly a classic hits station, and XEPE, also a sports talk station – after negotiations with the Mexican owners broke down…..WMFS-FM, Memphis “ESPN 92.9” sports talk personality Eric Hasseltine is exiting the Entercom station after almost eight years hosting the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Hasseltine is also the radio play-by-play voice for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, a position he will continue to hold. WMFS program director Brad Carson says Jeffrey Wright, producer for the station’s Geoff Calkins show, will host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daypart for now. Hasseltine says the decision to leave the station was entirely his and adds that it was not an easy decision to make…..Urban news/talk WURD, Philadelphia is bringing air personality Solomon Jones back to the station to host the morning drive “Wake Up with WURD” program, effective Monday (5/6).  Jones tells the Philadelphia Tribune, “I’m pleased to be able to come back.  I missed the audience at WURD and I’m anxious to be able to get started again and to just impact our community.  Doing what I do at WURD is familiar and I think it is ministry.  I want to make sure that our community is informed and engaged.  There are some things that we need to really be talking about and take action on.”…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa hosted nationally syndicated digital expert Kim Komando at a luncheon today (4/30).  KRMG invited 225 listeners to the Women in Business Luncheon presented by Community Care College.  KRMG program director Levi May states, “Kim Komando is a real power player in both the media and technology fields and it’s an honor that she chose Tulsa to visit in 2019.  We are thrilled to have an opportunity to put her in front of our listeners in an intimate setting where she can talk about her successes and share her tips with other women.”  In addition to Komando’s appearance, KRMG news director April Hill moderated a panel discussion of Tulsa businesswomen.

77WABC’s Sid Rosenberg Speaks at NYTimes Protest.  Pictured above is WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg (holding mic) at a protest outside the offices of The New York Times.  The co-host of the “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” program addressed the crowd gathered to protest the publication of a cartoon depicting President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that’s being called anti-Semitic.

2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Sues Banks, Dems Impeachment Talk, NYTimes Cartoon Criticism, Venezuela Political Unrest, Southern Border Crisis, Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame Movie, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Democrat Joe Biden’s rise in the polls and the politics surrounding the 2020 presidential campaign; President Trump sues to prevent Deutsch Bank and Capital One from releasing personal and Trump business financial information; the talk of presidential impeachment among congressional Democrats; the criticism of the New York Times cartoon depicting Trump and Netanyahu as being anti-Semitic; Juan Guaido’s attempt to lead a military uprising against the Maduro government in Venezuela; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border; Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode in the HBO series’ final season; the Avengers: Endgame movie; the NBA playoffs: and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Denver country outlet KYGO has a new program director as Bonneville names Brian Michel to the position.  Michel was most recently with iHeartMedia as SVP of programming for the Atlanta station group…..iHeartMedia announces that Taylor Swift is joining the lineup of KISS-FM, Los Angeles’ Wango Tango concert being held on Satuday, June 1 at The Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California…..SiriusXM is getting ready to present Florida Georgia Line performing in a special invitation-only event at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  The private show will be the first time the GRAMMY-winning duo has performed at the legendary venue and will air on SiriusXM on May 29…..LBI Media names Wynette Gallegos Ortiz director of sales for the Houston market.  Ortiz will lead LBI Media’s sales and operations activities for all of its radio properties and EstrellaTV’s sports and event activations in Houston.  Ortiz has been with LBI Media since 2001, starting as an account executive and quickly moving up the ranks and into management as local sales manager and eventually as general sales manager.

Friday, December 14, 2018

| December 14, 2018

Alpha Media to Sell Biloxi Stations to TeleSouth.  Portland-based Alpha Media announces it has filed to sell its Biloxi, Mississippi cluster to TeleSouth Communications for $2.5 million.  The deal includes sports talk duo WANG-AM/WTNI-AM “103.5 The Champ,” (no mention is made of translator W278CE, Biloxi on which the sports format is heard) rock WCPR-FM, hip hop WGBL-FM, adult hits WQBB-FM, and CHR WXYK-FM. TeleSouth already owns news/talk WOSM-FM that airs the company’s “SuperTalk” format heard on 11 other stations across the state.  To comply with FCC ownership caps, TeleSouth will divest of WXYK-FM.  Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt states, “We are happy our group of great broadcasters in Biloxi/Gulfport are being sold to a good operator located in the state of Mississippi that is dedicated to live and local.  We have a special place for everyone at these stations and wish them the very best.”  Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

ESPN’s Dan Le Batard to Launch Podcast. Next Tuesday (12/18), ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard is premiering his new podcast called “South Beach Sessions.” That’s being called a “preview episode” and the show will begin in earnest on Tuesday, January 8.  The program will feature a one-on-one interview each week and it’s the first original podcast from the newly created Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network. The guest for the December 18 preview is former ESPN staffer Jemele Hill, who has worked extensively with Le Batard over the years on TV and radio.  Le Batard says, “This is really exciting for us and for people who inexplicably want more of us.  ESPN has given us a digital podcast network to create and control as part of a ‘Le Batard and Friends’ universe that will be in equal measure a part of ESPN and apart from ESPN.”  Le Batard hosts the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm as well as the ESPN television show “Highly Questionable” weekday afternoons on ESPN2.

TALKERS News Notes. Public radio pro Jennifer White is named as host of “The Morning Shift” on public radio news/talk WBEZ-FM, Chicago.  She takes over the morning program hosting duties at the NPR member station from Tony Sarabia, who is retiring from the station after almost three decades. White joined WBEZ in 2016 and has been hosting the Friday edition of The Morning Shift, leading its Friday roundtable discussions.  She’s also hosted some of WBEZ’s podcasts, including: “Making Oprah,” “Making Obama,” and “16 Shots.”.….In the Erie, Pennsylvania market, religious broadcaster Inspiration Time, Inc. has re-launched AM signal WZTE, Union City, calling it “Freedom 1530” and is airing “a unique reading of the United States Constitution, mixed with patriotic band music.”  Haydn Tidball, a 2018 graduate of McDowell High School and Jennifer Natalie, 2018 graduate of Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, have voiced WZTE’s continuous reading of the entire U.S. Constitution, with amendments included and changes noted. Station manager Joel Natalie states, “We are so excited to present these young voices reading this very old document. We are calling it, ‘Madison’s and Hamilton’s Greatest Hits.’”…..Alpha Media news/talk KTSA, San Antonio hosted the 20th annual “Wrappin’ with Jack” event at Six Flags Fiesta Texas on Tuesday (12/11).  More than 800 people turned out to help KTSA talk show host Jack Riccardi wrap thousands of gifts for needy families in San Antonio served by Family Service Association. While listeners wrapped gifts, they enjoyed live music from the Ken Slavin Band, holiday treats, carousel rides, and pictures with Santa.  Riccardi says, “Our 20th ‘Wrappin’ with Jack’ was our best gift drive, wrapping party, and broadcast yet.  I truly believe people in San Antonio and South Texas have the impulse and instinct to give.  Our event just creates a way to help people that is local and real.”

WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta Shifts Show Times. According to Rodney Ho’s report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the need for more traffic reports in the 4:00 pm hour to better serve commuters is the reason for shifting two drive-time shows on Cox Media Group‘s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM an hour earlier.  WSB program director Pete Spriggs says as the heavy traffic is beginning earlier than in the past, the need for a clock that allows traffic reports every six minutes means bumping the second two hours of Sean Hannity’s show to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot is necessary.  Hannity’s 3:00 pm hour will air live, followed by Erick Erickson’s program now airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mark Arum’s show moving to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot.

Trump-Russia Investigation and Cohen Sentencing Tie for Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 10-14. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s border wall negotiations and the threat of a federal government shutdown.  Coming in at #3 was the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border, followed by financial markets activity 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.

Washington Examiner Editorial Director Hugo Gurdon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington Examiner, located in the nation’s capital, has built a growing reputation with increasing influence for its coverage of politics, public policy and the federal government from an independent, moderate conservative perspective.  It has evolved through various platform iterations both in print and online since its roots as a group of suburban DC news outlets collectively known as the Journal Newspapers, Inc. which was purchased in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Philip Anschutz.  Anschutz combined them into a single news entity, the Washington Examiner in 2005 under the umbrella of his holding company Clarity Media Group, which in turn operates the publishing company Media DC.  Today, Media DC owns and operates the Washington Examiner, which has grown into a full-service online news organization, along with its weekly print arm, the Washington Examiner Magazine, that has been functioning effectively as a DC insider’s close up look at the workings of the federal government.  It also owns the separately operated national conservative political opinion print magazine, the Weekly Standard.  The Washington Examiner is currently in the process of boldly expanding its weekly magazine to take on a larger scope both in its subject matter and geographic distribution.  Beginning in 2019, it will remain in print, but be nationally distributed and targeted to political observers across America interested in the goings on in Washington, DC.  Washington Examiner editorial director Hugo Gurdon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Gurdon is a distinguished journalist with an international background.  He joined the Washington Examiner after serving as editor-in-chief of The Hill.  Before that, he was an editor and reporter at the Daily Telegraph of London and the National Post of Canada.  His writing has also appeared in such publications as the European edition of the Wall Street JournalFinancial Times and The Guardian.  In this conversation, Harrison and Gurdon discuss the general state of print journalism in the ever-expanding digital era as well as the inner ideological struggles and debates that impact the media within the American conservative movement during the turbulent Age of Trump.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Boston country outlet WKLB “Country 102.5” names Ayla Brown (left) co-host of “The Jackson and Ayla Brown Show” alongside Jackson Blue (right), effective Monday (12/17).  Brown is a former Boston College basketball star and was a finalist on season five of “American Idol.”  She’s been living in Nashville performing and writing music the past few years.  About joining the Beasley Media Group stations, she says, “Country music has brought me all around the world and back to Boston again.  Many have seen me perform, but I am so excited for our listeners to get to know me in a whole new way.  Thank you to the ‘Country 102.5’ team for this incredible opportunity!”…..In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group flips morning and afternoon talent on hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5.”  Program director Kent Phillips moves to afternoons with cast members Jen Pirak and Marina Rockinger.  However, his longtime partner Alan Budwill retires from the morning show after more than 30 years.  Moving to mornings on January 2 is the current afternoon team “Curt & Corine” with current AM show producer Leonard Barokas…..iHeartMedia nationally syndicated personality and KOST, Los Angeles morning host Ellen K is named the first-ever TCL Chinese Theatre ambassador and permanent master of ceremonies for its famed celebrity handprint-footprint ceremonies. Her first emcee gig is today (12/14) as musical artist Pitbull is honored with a hand and footprint ceremony…..Pictured below is Chicago hit radio legend John Records Landecker with the “Bob & Tom” show.  The Radio Hall of Famer appeared at the show’s Indianapolis studios to surprise cast member Chick McGee on his birthday. From left to right are: Grace Yinger, Tom Griswold, Kristi Lee, Josh Arnold, Landecker, and McGee. (Photo: Art Vuolo)