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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

| June 17, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Heidi Harris.  As reported in TALKERS yesterday (6/16), KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris has tested positive for COVID-19.  She told her listeners on the air and via Facebook yesterday that she’s tested positive for COVID-19.  Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She attempted to do her show yesterday from bed via phone.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted a phone interview with Harris yesterday afternoon.  To listen to the entire conversation, please click here.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news. Kinosian notes that “whereas the highly unusual statistical oddity from the March 2020 sweep in which every news station meeting our ratings criteria managed to post a 6+ improvement, all but two eligible news outlets experienced some degree of erosion in the May 2020 survey period (April 23 – May 20).” Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (+0.3) and Entercom’s business news WDCH, Baltimore (+0.1) were the two news stations to see weekly, 6+ AQH share gains. However, almost 70% of all-news stations saw their 6+ numbers rise from the May 2019 survey to the May 2020 survey. Just one all-news station – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago ranked #1 in May, though three others ranked #2. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Art Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network Re-Launches. The Dark Matter Digital Network that Art Bell created before his death in April of 2018 is re-launching through the efforts of Bell’s former show producer David Rubini who is now serving as DMDN’s operations director and executive producer. Rubini says that beginning today (6/17 – what would have been Bell’s 75th birthday) affiliates can pick up “Best of Art Bell” in addition to the new “Midnight in the Desert” show hosted by Nathan Stolpman on weeknights, Alexis Brooks on Friday nights, famed author and researcher Mike Bara (Ancient Aliens) on Saturday nights, and Hollywood director and actor Sean Stone (Born On The 4th of July, JFK, The Doors) hosting Sundays. Rubini says, “Dark Matter Digital Network has been intoxicating to many PDs who have a desperate need to find a traditionally unique, time-tested, and reliable programming alternative that can serve them both late nights and overnights. Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight in the Desert” fills this void.”

Beverlee Brannigan Exits SVP of Programming Post with SummitMedia. In an announcement via Facebook, radio pro Beverlee Brannigan says she’s left her SVP of programming position at SummitMedia less than six months after accepting the promotion from her previous Wichita market president and general manager position and corporate vice president of radio programming post. She writes, “Friday was my last day with SummitMedia. Business. It happens. Here’s what I don’t want you to say about that: ‘Radio sucks. I’ll never listen to those stations again.’ That’s dumb and mean. Business is hard, and my former colleagues and friends are putting their hearts into making their radio stations the best they can be. So please listen more. And advertise there, because it works… Another thing I’d like is more cat pictures and memes about punctuation and grammar showing up on my timeline. You know where to find me. See you soon.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM, Chicago is in talks with Garry Meier to take over the afternoon drive daypart on the station after current PM drive host Roe Conn’s contract runs out at the end of this year. Feder says his sources confirm Nexstar Media Group EVP Sean Compton is talking Meier about the move. Meier has been off terrestrial radio since exiting WGN in 2014. He’s been podcasting since 2016. Meier and Conn worked together as “Roe & Garry” on Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM from 1996 to 2004. Meier left WLS after being unable to come to terms on a new deal…..Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” announces two new affiliate stations are adding the show to their program schedules. Missouri Ozarks Radio Network Inc’s KWPM-AM/K286CK, West Plains, Missouri is carrying the “Free Talk Live” Saturday evening show. Dimes Media Corp’s KWWV-HD2/K253BR “K-News 98.5” is adding the Saturday and Sunday programs…..Entercom reports that, according to comScore, RADIO.COM grew its U.S. monthly unique users by 6 million in May 2020 versus May 2019, calling it the “fastest growing digital audio platform in the United States in May.” The company adds that RADIO.COM’s “total monthly active users across (MAU) all platforms is now over 40 million, with strong MAU growth also contributing to the platform’s expanding first-party data set and rapidly growing addressable audio impressions across both streaming and podcast.”…..As reported by The Current, Chicago Public Media announced it has laid off 12 and is ending the production agreement with the music show “Sound Opinions” as a result of the “financial pressures from the pandemic.” “Sound Opinions” is hosted by Chicago-based music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. The program will continue to air on CPM’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago and its affiliates across the country, but CPM will cease to produce it after August 28…..Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media announces the two companies have laid off more than two dozen employees and have cancelled, “Live from Here,” the national program that evolved out of Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” “Live from Here” was hosted by Chris Thile…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and Estrella Media have struck a deal for Estrella’s KRCA-TV, Los Angeles and KBUE-FM “Que Buena” to serve as the official Spanish-language TV and radio homes of the Los Angeles Chargers.

SiriusXM Acquires Simplecast Platform. The combination of SiriusXM’s newly acquired podcast management platform Simplecast with its monetization platform AdsWizz “creates an end-to-end solution that enables creators to publish and generate revenue from their podcasts, all in one place.” SiriusXM offers no details on the financial aspect of the acquisition but says, “The acquisition expands and strengthens SiriusXM’s and Pandora’s tools and monetization services for podcasters and publishers.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Beijing Coronavirus Flareup, BLM Protests/Statues Controversy, Trump’s Police Executive Order, John Bolton Book, Presidential Race/Tulsa Rally, Social Media Censorship, Financial Markets Activity, and China-India Himalayan Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the states with rising and falling numbers, and projections for future cases and deaths; the outbreak of COVID-19 in Beijing; the Black Lives Matter protests, Seattle’s CHOP zone, and the controversy surrounding Confederate and Colonial-era statues; President Trump’s police training executive order; the Trump administration’s suit to prevent former national security adviser John Bolton from publishing his book; the presidential race and President Trump’s planned Tulsa rally; the reactions to Google’s and Facebook’s treatment controversial content and ads; the world’s financial markets react to the pandemic and racial strife; and the battle between China and India over a Himalayan border region 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. The weekend country music radio show “Buckwild Saturday Night” – hosted by Bryan “B-Dub” Washington – changes its name to “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night as it transitions to distribution via Skyview Networks. B-Dub says, “I am beyond excited to partner with Skyview Networks for the rebrand into ‘B-Dub Radio Saturday Night.’ The team at Skyview Networks has shared detailed and impressive ideas that will continue growing the show and adding to the listener experience through our amazing affiliates.  I’m thrilled to be part of this new vision!” Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Country radio programmers are constantly seeking partners who offer high-quality content and talent.  B-Dub is the partner for them. With an ability to create a weekly party for his listeners, B-Dub will continue to grow his radio network and offer a smart investment return for his advertisers.”…..Nationally syndicated radio personality Tino Cochino is launching a new podcast titled, “The Aircheck,” in which he sits down with other radio stars from around the country to share stories about radio. Cochino’s recent guests have featured a who’s who of talent, including Bobby Bones, JoJo Wright, Ebro Darden, J-Si Chavez, and more. He says, “I love radio. To me, the personalities are and have always been the stars. The thing is, they’re the ones always doing the interview. No one ever interviews them! That changes now.”

Monday, June 24, 2019

| June 24, 2019

Big Changes at KNBR, San Francisco as Gary Radnich and Bob Fitzgerald Exit. Sports talk fans in the Bay Area are shocked by the unexpected tweet from KNBR, San Francisco personality Gary Radnich in which the 27-year station host announced he’s retiring immediately.  He wrote, “Plan was to retire at the end of the year but with my 70th birthday ahead it makes sense now. Thank you audience for 36 years of TV-Radio!”  Radnich has been partnered with Larry Krueger in middays. There’s considerable scuttlebutt in the Bay Area as to whether the sudden retirement was really Radnich being forced out by station owner Cumulus Media.  The announcement comes on the heels of a report in The Athletic that Bay Area sports personality Greg Papa is exiting Entercom’s crosstown KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game” for an on-air position with KNBR (he’d also handle radio play-by-play for 49ers games).  For what it’s worth, The Athletic writes that Radnich was “let go.”  Shortly after the Radnich news hit, we learned that KNBR also is parting ways with Bob Fitzgerald, who co-hosted the “Fitz and Brooks” show with Rod Brooks.  It appears Brooks will continue hosting the show solo.

Drew Horowitz to Retire from Hubbard Radio.  At the end of 2019, radio executive Drew Horowitz will retire from his president and COO position with Hubbard Radio.  Horowitz has been with the company since it acquired Chicago stations (and clusters in three other markets) from Bonneville in 2011. Chicago media maven Robert Feder broke the news today.  Horowitz says he’ll take some time off after December “and explore other opportunities, including serving on corporate boards, teaching, and taking classes.”  Horowitz began his sales career with WFYR-FM, Chicago in 1976.  During his career he served as chief of Lakeshore Communications, GSM at WCLR (now WTMX) including 19 years with Bonneville.  In a memo to Hubbard staffers, chair and CEO Ginny Morris says, “Drew came to Hubbard Radio as a part of our transformational acquisition of four Bonneville markets in 2011.  Since that time, Drew has been instrumental in helping us further grow the company as we added clusters in Phoenix and Seattle, bolstered our cluster in St. Louis and most recently, acquired our operations in West Palm Beach.”

Monday Memo: Retire ‘Trivia.’ In this week’s edition of the Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke recommends that you DO call-in questions that ask listeners to think, but that you DON’T call it “Trivia,” for four reasons.  See what those reasons are here.

TALKERS News Notes. Veteran Philadelphia and New Jersey broadcaster Gary R’nel, guest-hosted last night (6/23) for Walter M. Sterling on the Westwood One syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” show…..Also from Philadelphia, several reports out of that city indicate that the KYW-AM air staff represented by SAG-AFTRA and Entercom have agreed to terms on a new contract for the on-air employees at the all-news station.  The KYW staffers had been working without a contract for the past eight months…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reminds us that Windy City radio legend Garry Meier, who is currently producing his own podcast, is sitting in on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM all this week for morning drive personality Mancow Muller…..The most recent episode of the “Opie Radio” podcast from Gregg “Opie” Hughes is titled “R.I.P” in which Hughes says his deal with Westwood One for the podcast is ending.  He says he intends to keep producing the podcast…..Westwood One News manager John Stolnis is pictured at right accepting the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award won by the news staff for breaking news coverage of last year’s Parkland Florida School shooting.  The awards dinner was held Friday night at the National Press Club in Washington, DC…..Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “The Score” announces the inaugural “McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing” (named for afternoon drive duo Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins) taking place on August 5 at Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge, Illinois to benefit Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We’re very excited to launch the inaugural ‘McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing’ and to raise money for a fantastic organization like Turning Pointe. It should be a great day of golfing with ‘The Score’ talent and local sports celebrities.”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 launches the new program “Hacks on Tap,” a weekly podcast hosted by longtime campaign strategists and friends David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and Mike Murphy, a veteran political consultant for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign and many others.  The two take listeners behind the scenes of top-level American politics and campaigns, offering their insider perspectives and analyses on the state of American politics in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk RadioTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Big gainers from April to May are KNPR, Las Vegas (+1.2); KXJZ, Sacramento; KCUR, Kansas City; and WPLN, Nashville – all up 1.0 share.  Both KNPR and KCUR realized big year-over-year weekly 6+ AQH share increased with KNPR rising 3.8 shares and KCUR going up 2.2 shares. Just three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in May: KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KCFR, Denver.  See the whole report here.

The Harry Hurley Charity Juggernaut Keeps Rolling.  WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley’s “Hurley in the Morning” 12th Annual Charity Golf Open held this past Friday (6/21) at the Harbor Pines Golf Club was a huge success.  The event, in conjunction with Hurley’s 11th Annual Charity Dinner at Resorts Casino Hotel (with Fox News personality Todd Starnes) held earlier this year, has raised a record $100,000 thus far in 2019 and has surpassed $900,000 over the past 12 years.  Hurley, a former TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” recipient recently named the New Jersey Broadcasters Association “Broadcaster of the Year” for 2019, distributes the funds raised by his charity to worthy causes throughout New Jersey, the Northeast and across the nation.

Partying with Howie Carr.  The two photos here are from the annual Summer Kick-off Party for affiliates, sponsors and industry friends of “The Howie Carr Show.” Howie and Kathy Carr held their annual get-together at their Boston-area home this past Friday evening (6/21).  Above are Howie Carr (left) and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (right). Below are (from l-r): Yappy Days author, Bernadette Duncan; “Howie Carr Show” producer and on-air personality Grace Curley; and WBSM, New Bedford, morning host Phil Paleologos.

Steve Austin’s New Podcast Tops 1 Million Downloads. Returning from a six-month hiatus, Steve Austin’s latest podcast episode on PodcastOne gets more than 1 million downloads.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since January, we’ve been running Steve’s classic podcasts from the last five years.  There is no substitute for original content from the ‘global icon and national treasure,’ Steve Austin.  He hits the ground running and is reaching his biggest audience ever.  Welcome home, Steve.”

Three Named to Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it has elected John David, senior advisor to the National Association of Broadcasters; Jinny Laderer, co-founder and CEO of vCreative; and Deborah Roberts, award-winning ABC News correspondent for “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America,” and “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” to its board of directors.   BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “John, Jinny, and Deborah are industry leaders who have exemplified the Foundation’s philosophy of ‘giving back’ through their tireless efforts to advance broadcasting and to support our charitable mission of helping colleagues in need.  It is with great pleasure that I welcome these highly respected professionals to our board of directors.”

Trump Calls Off Iran Strike, 2020 Presidential Race/Dem Primary Debates, Mayor Pete Town Hall, Immigration Policy/Deportation Ramp-Up, and Boris Johnson PM Bid Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The downing of a U.S. Air Force drone by Iran and President Trump’s calling off a retaliatory strike; the 2020 presidential race and this week’s TV debates between 20 of the Democratic candidates; presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg faces angry constituents over the police killing of a black man; the Trump Administration’s illegal immigration policy and the delay of a deportation program; and the call for British prime minister candidate Boris Johnson to explain a domestic incident in which police were called to his home were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York City hot AC WKTU has a new program director as Chris Conley – who also programs sister adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 LITE FM” – assumes the responsibilities.  Conley is also brand manager for AC for iHeartMedia…..In Los Angeles, Taxi License Corporation names Jamillah Muhammad operations manager for urban contemporary KJLH-FM.  She was most recently vice president for the marketing and management firm The Lewis-Kortez Group. She says, “I am extremely excited to join the KJLH family as the new operations manager.  With my passion for radio, serving the community, and improving brands, I know we can lead this heritage station to success.”…..On-air pro Carmine Gialanella moves up from his evening show shift at iHeartMedia’s CHR WLDI, West Palm Beach “WiLD 95.5” to afternoon drive. Market SVP of programming Rad Messick says, “Carmine’s the ultimate team player for ‘WiLD 95.5.’  His enthusiasm and commitment is second to none.  It’s a thrill to reward his performance with this well-deserved new afternoon opportunity.”…..Albany Broadcasting names Jeff Weber market manager for its six music-formatted stations in the Albany market.  Weber joins the company from Charleston, South Carolina where he was general sales manager for a two-FM combo.  Company COO Steve Borneman says, “Jeff has tremendous experience in radio and he has a local connection to Albany which makes him the perfect choice.  We’re thrilled to have him…..Cumulus Media is spending $250,000 in technology to boost the signal strength of Worcester market hot AC WXLO-FM (licensed to Fitchburg, Massachusetts) to reach into the adjacent Boston market.  Cumulus says, “Thanks to MaxxCasting, WXLO has the ability to bring its programming to as many as one million more listeners in the Boston area.”  Cumulus RVP Bob Goodell adds, “We’re excited that the 450,000-plus listeners who tune into ‘104.5 XLO’ on a weekly basis, many of whom commute in and out of the City of Boston, will now be able to hear the radio station on their entire commute.  MaxxCasting has also given us the opportunity to reach new listeners who live in the greater Boston area, giving us the opportunity to expand our footprint.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

| June 5, 2019

Cumulus Makes $115 Million Term Loan Prepayment.  In a statement, Cumulus Media announces that it has made a $115 million on its first lien senior secured term loan.  It adds that in the year since emerging from bankruptcy, it has reduced its total outstanding debt by $200 million and bringing net leverage down from approximately 5.8x at emergence to approximately 4.8x with this payment. Cumulus made the debt prepayment with proceeds from sale of six radio stations to Educational Media Foundation that brought in $103.5 million in cash.  Cumulus is also agreeing to sell KLOS-FM, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media for $43 million and plans to use those net proceeds to pay down more debt. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In our ongoing efforts to strengthen the business, Cumulus has been relentlessly focused on executing our key strategic priorities and meeting our financial objectives.  The milestone we achieved today — $200 million of debt reduction in the first year since we emerged from Chapter 11 — resulted from those efforts and is another example of the progress we continue to make in implementing our business plan.  I would like to thank the entire Cumulus team for the hard work and dedication which have produced such a tremendous record of achievement over the past year, and I have every confidence that, together, we will be able to further improve our financial position and continue to deliver on the goals we have laid out for the business.”

PPM Analysis: Internet Streams. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the internet stream ratings from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey.  In this report, Kinosian ranks stations based on streaming listening – iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles ties with Entercom’s rock KISW, Seattle at the top with a 0.7 (weekly, 6+ AQH share).  He also breaks down streaming listening by format (sports talk comes out on top in the PPM markets) and by market.  See him entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former WLS-AM, Chicago personality Garry Meierwill be doing some sub work on the Cumulus Media news/talk station.  Meier was on WLS-AM with then-partner Steve Dahl during the early 1980s and again with former partner Roe Conn from 1995 to 2004. He’ll sit in with current WLS-AM morning host Mancow Muller on June 21 and them fill in for him during the week of June 24…..In Houston, sports talk media personality Paul Gallant announces via social media that he’s exited Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” where he was most recently co-host of the “Mad Radio” morning show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne.  Gallant had been working without a contract since the beginning of the year.  He continues to co-host the weekly, Friday night “Just Sayin” television program with Patti Smith and John Granato on KUBE-TV…..New York sports talk radio host Tony Paige – overnight personality on Entercom’s WFAN – announced to his listeners that he’ll retire from the station on September 14.  He’s been with WFAN for the past 16 years.  He told his listeners that his health is fine, he just thinks it’s time…..KGO, San Francisco afternoon drive host Chip Franklin riled up FOX News Channel host Leland Vittert during a recent appearance on the cable news channel.  Franklin held up a photo (pictured at right) of John McCain, causing Vittert to ask him why he was doing it. Franklin told him, “In the off-chance the president’s watching.  Real heroes out there, Pete Buttigieg, others that have served this country, just a thought.”

TALKERS Convention Set for This Friday in New York City. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running and most important convention in the talk media industry (radio, television, satellite, internet) – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – is set for this Friday, June 7 in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater. More than 67 speakers will address the hottest issues, challenges and opportunities facing talk radio and its related media and business communities before a sold-out crowd of media professionals. TALKERS will provide on demand video coverage of the key sessions of this colorful event shortly after it takes place for those who have been locked out due to on-site space limitations. For the latest agenda and information about this historic convention, please click here.

Trump in England, Trade Wars with China and Mexico, 2020 Presidential Race, Impeachment Talk, Big Tech Anti-Trust Investigation, Parkland Deputy Charged, Red Meat/White Meat Controversy, and Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Run Ends Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The official state visit to the U.K. by President Trump; the tariffs the U.S. is placing on Chinese exports and threatening to put on Mexican exports; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Democrats increasing talk of impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into possible Big Tech anti-trust activity; former Parkland, Florida deputy Scot Peterson is charged with failing to protect the students at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School; the new report equating white meat and red meat in high cholesterol potential; and James Holzhauer’s improbable “Jeopardy!” run ends were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Iconic LA Jock Humble Harve Dies at 84.  Legendary radio personality and Boss Radio jock Humble Harve, a.k.a. Harvey Miller, died at his home in Camarillo, California yesterday (6/4) at the age of 84. The Philadelphia native arrived in Southern California in the mid-1960s as PD and air personality at KBLA.  He worked at KHJ-FM, Los Angele from 1967 to 1971. Read more at Don Barrett’s LARadio.com here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Raleigh-Durham market, Curtis Media Group drops the classic country on WQDR-HD3/W225DF and launches a new hot AC format branded as “STAR 92.9.”  The station will feature the Charlotte-based “Bob & Sheri” show in morning drive. Curtis general manager Terry Ratliff says, “Our success with our top 40 station, ‘Pulse FM 96.9/102.5,’ led us to launch the new ‘STAR 92.9.’  It gives us the opportunity to go beyond today’s hits to play a deeper library of superstars.  We are also very excited to welcome Bob and Sheri to the Triangle.  They have a proven track record in other North Carolina markets, and we look forward to introducing them to the Triangle on ‘STAR 92.9.’”…..Jason “Budman” Paige is the new co-host and executive morning show producer for the “Big Mama and the Wild Bunch Show” Beasley Media Group’s CHR WXKB-FM, Cape Coral, Florida (Ft. Myers/Naples market). Beasley SWFL operations manager Adam Star says, “‘Budman’ is a game changer.  He has so many different unique skillsets to bring to the table.  We are ecstatic to have him on the ‘Big Mama and the Wild Bunch’ team.”…..Adams Radio names Lisa Layne vice president and market manager for its Salisbury/Ocean City, Maryland group that includes rock WZBH “The Beach,” CHR WOCQ “OC 104,” classic rock WGBG “Big 107.7,” country WUSX, and classic hits WOCQ-HD2/W282AW “KOOL FM.”  She says, “I am so excited for this next chapter of my radio career. I’m confident that as the new leader for Adams Radio Delmarva we will grow our brands and get even better results for our clients.  I look forward to serving the community and building a legacy we all at Adams Radio can be proud of.”

Thursday, May 12, 2016

| May 12, 2016

Talkers2016 logo lgGOING, GOING… TALKERS Convention Registrations Close Today.  The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention is on the verge of being an early sellout.  Registrations will not be taken after 5:00 pm ET today.  The event – TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations – will take place one week from tomorrow on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  TALKERS EVP Kevin Casey states, “This installment of the historical and colorful conference will be extremely contemporary in its focus in terms of talk media’s need to open the tent to younger demos, expand its menu options, become indispensable to the public and strategically integrate both its old and new media platforms into an effective, symbiotic system.”  Casey will personally moderate the panel, “The Millennials and the Media.”  The conference will feature a power-packed day of non-stop panels, presentations, addresses, live broadcasts, technology exhibits and tremendous networking opportunities at the “Breakfast with Hannity,”  “Salem Luncheon” and “Radio Hofstra University Closing Reception.”  More than 65 industry leaders from programming, sales, technology, research, management and ownership will be participating in speaking roles.  Registrations ($299 per person and open only to media industry professionals) can only be taken over the phone with credit card by calling 413-565-5413 before 5:00 pm ET today.  For complete agenda, hotel, sponsorship and travel information, please click here.

latzerjonAlpha Media Appoints Latzer Regional Interactive Sales Manager.  Media sales pro Jon Latzer is named to the regional interactive sales director position with Alpha Media.  The company’s VP of business development, Lindi Glasgow, says, “We are excited about this new position to better serve our Alpha markets and clients.  Digital and mobile are key to our 360 approach to drive ROI for our customers.  Jon’s radio, digital and start-up experience make him the perfect fit for the job and Alpha culture.”  Latzer has served in sales and management capacities at media firms including CBS, iHeartMedia, Katz Radio Group, TuneIn and Rovi.

The Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Deal, MIT Islamophobia-Global Warming Lecture, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, Brazil President Impeachment/Looming Summer Olympics,  and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11).  The activities of the candidates for president and Donald Trump’s scheduled meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan; the fallout over former Obama Administration staffer Ben Rhodes’ comments that it purposely mislead the media in order to secure a nuclear deal with Iran; controversy over Australian professor’s MIT lecture suggesting a connection between Islamophobia and global warming; the charge that Facebook’s trending topics are manipulated by people averse to conservative topics; the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the related concerns over public safety at the this summer’s Olympic Games; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2016 PPM Data.  The third of four rounds of April 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The April 2016 survey period covered March 24 to April 20.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

drasaProfile: America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiles talk show host and “America’s Health Coach” Dr. Asa in a piece published today (5/12).  Ten years ago, Dr. Asa Andrews hosted a one-hour, late Sunday evening show in Nashville.  Now, Dr. Asa is preparing to celebrate the decade mark and his show is heard nightly from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight.  In addition, he hosts a daily 10:30 am – 11:00 am syndicated television program that is seen in 300 markets.  Dr. Asa comments, “I have always been a big believer that, if you serve people, and give them hope and practical help, you can impact their lives.  Ratings and revenue will come if you do that with great programming.  It is through a very conscious effort that we do not ‘hawk’ products or become an info-mercial.  We have been successful because the show’s focus is our desire to help people, stations, and communities thrive.”  Read more here.

ramseySalt16Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Stops in Salt Lake City.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey brought his Smart Money event to Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall (home of the Utah Symphony!) on Wednesday (5/11).  The program, focusing on how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future, was promoted with the help of local affiliate KNRS “Talk Radio 105.9.”  KNRS general manager Joyce Wirthlin says, “Another Dave Ramsey Salt Lake event created a tremendous opportunity for us.  In addition to generating sponsorship revenue, it provided an opportunity for our current and potential endorsement clients to see firsthand the powerful influence of the Ramsey brand.  Listeners of the show are incredibly engaged and loyal and there is nothing more telling of that connection Dave has than looking around a room full of thousands of people that are a part of his tribe.”  On Tuesday (5/10), Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day event along with best-selling author Chris Hogan and Ramsey personality Christy Wright.  Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia regional vice president Stu Stanek, KNRS program director and personality Rod Arquette, Rachel Cruz, Wirthlin, and Ramsey.

Odds & Sods.  Chicago radio legend Garry Meier is launching a daily podcast that will feature interviews with “ameiergarry wide range of guests from authors to Academy Award winners and everyone in between.”  Meier states, “All of the growth in broadcasting appears to be in the digital arena.  As that migration happens more and more every day, week, month and year, I’m happy to be riding that wave.”  Meier says that Howard Stern, Richard Lewis and Chicago Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough will be among his first guests…..Radio personality and XtreMedia founder Kevin McCullough reports that his weekend talk show “Radio Night ‘Live’” – a talk radio/television simulcast – has acquired its 300th affiliate station with the addition of KOTK, Omaha “AM 1420 The Answer.”  “Radio Night ‘Live’” is a show that was launched with an adjusted format after McCullough’s eight-year run with former radio partner Stephen Baldwin.  McCullough says the show’s current success is the result of work with “amazing partners like Salem Media Group, depetroRaimondorally16GCN, and BizTV/Radio.”…..WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro (pictured here with mic) joined Rhode Island State Representative Patricia Morgan in a recent rally at the Rhode Island State House against Governor Gina Raimondo.  Critics of the governor say her efforts to market Rhode Island by going outside the state to a New York design shop indicates she is “out of touch” with Rhode Islanders.  Interestingly, the rally drew supporters ofgravelineShanghai16 both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders who are critical of Raimondo.  See a video news report about the rally here…..Checking in with TALKERS magazine from Shanghai is “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline, pictured here with the city’s iconic skyline behind him.  Graveline has been reporting from the giant CES Asia ellerFM16show but says he’ll be back in the states in time to join fellow broadcasters at the TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on Friday, May 20…..Local, independent station owner Anne Eller announces the addition of an FM translator signal to her station, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina.  She says she was blown away by the response to the addition of the 98.5 FM signal.  “It is fantastic.  Of course the signal goes further and doesn’t drop off in the evening.  Businesses are calling me!”

Friday, March 11, 2016

| March 11, 2016

cumulus logoCumulus Reports Q4 and 2015 Full-Year Numbers; Net Revenue Dipped 7.5% in 2015.  The net revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were not pretty but there was no expectation that they would be.  The company’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was $308.8 million – down 6.2% from the same period in 2014.  For all of 2015, net revenue was $1.1 billion; that represents a dip of 7.5% compared to all of 2014.  Other fourth quarter numbers reveal big drops in the digital sector (- 42.7%) and in political advertising (- 78.3%).  However, broadcast advertising was relatively flat (- 0.5).  Breaking that down further, local advertising was flat (- 0.6) but national advertising was off 10.5% and network advertising was down 2.8%.  New Cumulus CEO Mary Berner was brutally frank about the state of the company she’s beenbernermary leading for five short months.  She told investors during yesterday’s conference call, “As you can see by the continued underperformance we experienced this quarter versus our peers, we have a lot of work to do to stabilize the business.  We are organizing that work around four foundational issues which I believe are responsible for our underperformance, and I will give you some context for the moves we are making to correct Cumulus’ trajectory.  First, a well-constructed operational plan wasn’t or couldn’t be executed at Cumulus due to a lack of management tools and information, as well as a misalignment of authority and responsibility across many functions. Second, the company had a corporate culture characterized by a lack of focus, accountability, and collaboration and under-investment in human capital which collectively resulted in significant turnover and economic leakage.  Third, revenue was meaningfully impacted by multi-year declines in ratings across the entire platform in part due to a command and control operating strategy that often ignored local market dynamics.  And finally, a substantial amount of leverage on the balance sheet has reduced the company’s capital flexibility while increasing the pressure to execute in operational turnaround quickly.  Our operational turnaround strategies thus are organized around these issues and are as follows; enhanced operational blocking and tackling, institute initiatives to improve the company’s culture and drive ratings growth.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read the whole transcript here.

cookehollandAnalysis: The 2016 Infinite Dial.  Yes, AM/FM radio is still the dominant audio listening device in-car, but, according to the most recent Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital,infinitedial16 listening to podcasts and use of digital devices (especially smartphones) is continuing to rise at a steady rate.  Consultant Holland Cooke attended yesterday’s webinar on the study and files this story for TALKERS magazine.  Among some of the more interesting findings: 93% of persons 12-24 own a smartphone; 21% of those surveyed own no AM-FM device in their home; and 60% own an Internet-connected television.  See more here.

talkersten logoThe Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 7-11.  The activities of the candidates for president, the primary elections, and the debates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the Hillary Clinton private email server matter.  Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by the European migrant issues 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

meiergarryGarry Meier Enters Podcast World.  According to a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Windy City radio legend Garry Meier is launching a new podcast on his garrymeier.com platform.  The first show will stream on Saturday night.  Meier is hoping to build a subscriber base, converting the free listeners into paying customers.  Initially, he will produce three one-hour shows per week for free.  His first guest on the program will be Howard Stern, who Feder notes has called podcasting “for losers.”  Meier has been off the radio since Tribune cancelled his show on WGN.fm in November of 2014.  Read Feder’s story here.

gallagherTrump16Gallagher Anchors SRN’s GOP Debate Coverage.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher was in Miami last night (3/10) anchoring Salem Radio Network’s coverage of the GOP debate at the University of Miami.  The debate was aired on CNN and the audio simulcast was provided by SRN.  Gallagher is pictured here speaking with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump after the conclusion of the debate.  SRN personality Hugh Hewitt served on the CNN panel that questioned the four remaining GOP candidates.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative Review published a short piece about viewers tuning out of last night’s GOP debate and leaving the post-debate coverage on both Fox News Channel and CNN for Mark Levin’s new LevinTV.com.  The story features Twitter messages from people announcing their unhappiness with the Fox and CNN coverage and desire to get analysis from LevinTV…..At the Kevin Adell-owned religious urban-targeted station WFDF, Detroit, Oakland county executive L. Brooks Patterson is being paired up with radio pro Nancy Skinner for a program called “B.S. on 910.”  The weekly show will air from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Patterson is a staunch conservative and Skinner is a liberal.  Patterson is not being paid for his role on the program…..ABC News is offering a new podcast from staffer Dan Harris, author of the best-selling book 10% Happier.  The book recounts Harris’ reluctant journey into meditation.  The podcast is called “10% Happier with Dan Harris,” and will involve Harris interviewing gurus, scientists, teachers, celebrities, athletes and executives about their meditation practices “as he investigates whether enlightenment is real and whether there is anything beyond just 10%.”