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Monday, September 28, 2020

| September 28, 2020

Monday Memo: It’s Not Debatable. As the president and his challenger prepare to take the stage tomorrow night, consultant Holland Cooke can’t resist an analogy about radio programming vs. digital challengers. Read it here.

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated for SCOTUS Seat, the Presidential Race/Tuesday Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, NYTimes Trump Tax Story, BML Movement/Protests, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The president introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and projections for future cases; the New York Times piece that details President Trump’s tax, income, and debt situation; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in numerous cities across the country; and the ongoing wildfires in California, Oregon and others were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartSports Network Debuts. The new iHeartSports Network from iHeartMedia launches today, “servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.” The company says the new network, “with a monthly reach of 75 million listeners, will feature some of the biggest names in sports including Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Joy Taylor and more.” The iHeartSports Network will deliver short-form national, regional local sports reports to listeners on formats that index high against sports interest, including rock, country, hip hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. The company adds, “Scarborough found that 83% of sports fans want a daily update. Nielsen confirms that 89% of sports fans listen to radio each week and radio listeners typically tune in multiple times per day. Research also indicates that almost two-thirds of sports fans do not have the time to seek out additional desired information, so the iHeartSports Network will deliver sports reports to listeners conveniently and timely wherever they are.” iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a product driven network responding to the interests of our listeners. People are passionate about sports and this will deliver the timely regional and local coverage they care most about along with the biggest national stories.”

Sarah Foss Joins Entercom as Chief Information Officer. Advertising executive Sarah Foss is named chief information officer for Entercom. In this role, Foss will “provide strategic direction and oversight for the design, development, acquisition, operation and support of the company’s enterprise technology systems and programs. She will also collaborate with cross-functional executives to create a vision for how digital, data and analytics, and new technologies can help create a differentiated experience and drive efficiency in operations.” Foss was most recently senior vice president, strategic initiatives for FreeWheel Advertisers. Prior to that role, she was general manager, ad tech for Imagine Communications. Entercom EVP and CFO Richard Schmaeling says, “This role is critical to our success in the constantly evolving media landscape and we’re thrilled to have Sarah on board. Her strong business acumen and enriched media technology intellect is incredibly valuable as we continue to evolve and elevate our business.” Foss adds, “I’m thrilled to be joining Entercom at this exciting time in media. We have a unique opportunity to leverage outstanding content and deep community relationships to reach new, targeted audiences through our digital and broadcast platforms. Smart technology choices will accelerate this for us.”

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign is tomorrow night (9/29) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and ABC News Radio is offering three hours of live, anchored coverage the night of the debate, including a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, FiveThirtyEight’s Galen Druke, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams. ABC News Radio will also offer multiple one-minute “Status Reports” throughout the night…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS-AM, Wichita takes home three top honors in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Television & Radio Awards. The station won first place for Complete Newscast by Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward, Jad Chambers, Ronelle Williams; Complete Sportscast by Ted Woodward; and Station Website…..A new podcast series called “The Frost Tapes” is coming to the iHeartRadioplatform. It is an original podcast featuring unheard interviews of towering figures in American life during the 1960s and 1970s conducted by legendary broadcaster David Frost and hosted by his son, Wilfred Frost. Debuting on October 6, the podcast will include unaired behind-the-scenes footage from Frost’s famous 28-hour interviews with Richard Nixon, and huge swathes of interviews that have not been heard since their original broadcast date 50 years ago.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Todd Schnitt is returning to morning drive in Tampa Bay in his alter ego MJ as “The MJ Morning Show” joins Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM “Q105,” effective October 5. As a result of this move, current longtime morning personality Mason Dixon takes over afternoon drive and Geno Knight shifts to middays. Schnitt continued to host his afternoon drive, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Schnitt Show.” The Schnitt Show on Compass Media Networks. Beasley Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Steve Triplett says, “We are excited and proud to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back on the legendary Q105. For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market. I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay!”…..Los Angeles-based “Valentine In The Morning” is the new morning program on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KSOF, Fresno “Soft Rock 98.9.” The program features Valentine along with his co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. To make room for the program, Teri-Ann Schlesser moves to middays…..Programming pro McConnell Adams is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Lansing station group. He’s been serving as brand manager for CHR WJIM-FM “97.5 Now” and adult contemporary WFMK. He says, “I am truly blessed for the opportunities I have been presented by this amazing company. Our multi-platform, ‘Local First’ strategy is second to none at delivering local, original content and entertainment. I am really excited to be working even closer with the talented team here to continue our amazing success.”…..Morning personality John Houston is retiring from Woof Inc’s adult contemporary WOOF-FM, Dothan, Alabama after a 44-year career in radio. The Dothan Eagle reports on Houston’s career and his decision to start sleeping in and spend time with his children and grandchildren.