Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+). Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.
Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.
Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot. Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.
Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump – Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.
Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.
TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.
Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.
Pending Business: One Year Later. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa recognizes the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and notes that, while the radio sales climate is nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic, “the uphill process of slowly rebuilding an economy is emerging and it depends heavily on a foundation of sellers… you can feel the confidence of target business categories coming back as vaccines and mandated safety standards become more and more mainstream.” Read his column here.
Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg. “Non-music stations – particularly AMs –are at a fork in the road,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, he explains why “ambiguity is your enemy.” Read it here.
Salem Media Group Names Shaun Thompson WIND-AM, Chicago PM Drive Host. Weekend talk host Shaun Thompson is being promoted to the afternoon drive slot at Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Thompson takes over the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show today (3/22) from Steve Cortes, who is leaving the station to pursue a new national television project. Thompson has been serving as a weekend and fill-in host on the station since 2016. He most recently filled in for Cortes from July through November of 2020 when Cortes took a hiatus to work on the re-election campaign of Donald Trump. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “It’s rare in radio to have transition as smooth as this one. Shaun Thompson has developed such a deep bond with our listeners because he was one of them before becoming a talk show host. He knows this city and this audience and what they care about. His passion and personality make him a unique talent. We’re excited to have him join the lineup as a full-time host.” Thompson says, “Twelve years ago, I made my first phone call to a talk radio station as a listener. Five years ago, I had the opportunity to host my first show on AM 560. During that time, I’ve come to appreciate this format and the listeners who spend time with us every day. I look forward to providing my perspective each afternoon and engaging with the audience. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I’m also thankful for Steve Cortes and his friendship. He’s made it so easy for me to slide into this role as he’s prepared to leave. I look forward to having him on the show as a regular guest.”
WPHT Supports Liberty USO Via Radiothon. WPHT, Philadelphia held its fourth annual USO Radiothon on Friday (3/19) between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm to raise awareness and funds for the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. From the time a service member enlists, the USO is by their side until the day they transition back to the community. Through the USO Radiothon, WPHT brought many of the untold stories about the good work done by the Liberty USO to its listeners and raised awareness of the amazing effect that this charity has on active duty National Guard and reserve military personnel and their families. Co-hosted by WPHT morning host Rich Zeoli and mid-morning host Dom Giordano, the event raised thousands of dollars for the worthy cause. This year to aid the fundraising, Dom Giordano reached into his charity bag of tricks and called upon some national celebrities to each jot off a quick autographed doodle and send it to him be bid upon by listeners. Giordano tells TALKERS, “We had Bill O’Reilly, Brad Thor, Geraldo Rivera, Mike Rowe, Herschel Walker, Lee Greenwood, and Jesse Watters. Nelson Perez, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, even contributed one. The doodles also provided a lot of fun during the broadcast and a listener even bid $300 for my wife’s doodle of me.”
Entercom Launches ‘The Bet 105.9’ in Chicago. A new, sports-betting focused radio station is hitting the air in Chicago as Entercom unveils “The Bet 105.9” on the HD2 channel of WCFS-FM. The station is a “BetQL Audio Network” and CBS Sports Radio affiliate and programs airing on the signal include: “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker, “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley, CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney,” “The DA Show” and “Reiter Than You.” Entercom regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “Since legalization in 2019, sports betting has exploded in the state of Illinois and we’re delighted to enter the arena of this rapidly growing landscape to deliver insightful content to our listeners with the launch of this new station. The station will serve as the home for several favorites from the BetQL Audio Network and CBS Sports Radio Network, giving listeners a wide array of expert analysis.”
iHeartMedia Reveals New Downtown Cleveland Facilities. The nine Cleveland radio brands operated by iHeartMedia will have a new home by the end of the year. The company is moving to Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland and it says the 10-year agreement with K&D Group provides space for the stations’ studios along with the company’s sales, marketing, digital and Total Traffic operation in a new, state-of-the-art street level facility. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “We are thrilled to return our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the downtown business district will further drive the passion to serve the community we all call home.” New office features will include five conference rooms, 11 studios featuring cutting-edge technology, eight service booths for news, traffic, and podcast creation, and phone audio sound via Sound+. A marquee broadcast studio and mixed-use podcast content creation room both face street level on Euclid Avenue. Studio designs are by Beneville Studios and AUX1 design.
Tom Hamilton Named Market Manager for Curtis Media’s North Carolina Sports Talk Trio. Radio management pro Tom Hamilton is returning to Curtis Media Group as the new market manager for the sports talk trio “Hub Sports” WSJS-AM, WMFR-AM, and WPCM-AM in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point market. Hamilton previously served as GM of WSJS and WMFR with Curtis Media Group from 2007 until 2011. Curtis president and COO Trip Savery comments, “We are very pleased to welcome Tom back to Curtis Media Group. He has enjoyed much success in the Triad for many years, and we look forward to Tom leading our efforts with WSJS Sports.”
Jerry Donadio to Lead Sales at ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. The Times of San Diego reports that San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mightier 1090” names sales pro Jerry Donadio vice president of sales and marketing. Station operator Bill Hagen tells the paper that Donadio will be responsible for building revenue growth for “The Mightier 1090.” Donadio tells the Times, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I now have the opportunity to return to 1090 and build my own sales team. Prior in my career, I’ve always been in media sales with an existing infrastructure. I’m really excited to be part of The Mightier 1090’s renaissance.” Donadio was most recently serving with KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM as an account executive from 2017 to 2020.
COVID-19, Spring Break, Asian Protests, Border Crisis, Cuomo Troubles, Trump Social Media Platform, Chauvin Trial, and Deshaun Watson Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concern about variants and the rollout of vaccines; the chaos in Florida as the beach towns are inundated with spring break revelers; protests in the Asian community over the shooting deaths of six Asian women in the Atlanta area; the crisis of young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the allegations of sexual misconduct by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the news that Donald Trump will launch a new social media platform within the next few months; the ongoing jury selection in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; and the allegations of sexual harassment against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nunn Boosted to YEA Networks President. Three-year YEA Networks executive vice president of sales Shawn Nunn is elevated to the newly- created position of president at the independent radio and podcast company. Chief executive officer George Laughlin notes, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Shawn for more than 20 years. He is a trusted advisor and a highly-effective leader, who has been essential to the incredible growth and expansion of the company over the past three years. Under his leadership, YEA Networks will continue to deliver the highest quality products and services to the audio industry.” Nunn adds, “I am more than grateful to George for this opportunity. I have worked with many on the YEA team for much of my career and I am honored to take the lead. George’s vision and passion for this industry is immeasurable and I look forward to continuing this journey with him.” Texas native/Texas State University alum Nunn previously spent five years as Townsquare Media’s vice president of national sales; four years as GAP Broadcasting’s vice president of sales; and has held media industry positions in Dallas, Seattle, and Colorado Springs. YEA Networks’ syndicated programs include: various Kiddnation podcasts, “The Hollywood 5,” “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” and “Tino Cochino Radio.
WCMC-FM Shifts “SportsChannel8: The Radio Show” to Weekdays. Saturday morning’s 10:00 am -12:00 noon “SportsChannel8” will begin airing weekdays in the same slot on Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh sports talk WCMC-FM, starting next Thursday (8/15). As a result, “FM 99.9 The Fan” will have nine consecutive hours of local sports talk programming each weekday. WCMC program/operations director Dennis Glasgow states, “We couldn’t be more excited to add the ‘SportsChannel8’ brand to our weekday lineup. Not only do we add another two hours a day of outstanding local content, we’ll also be offering probably one of the most engaging, entertaining, and hyper-local shows I have ever heard in my six years in ‘The Triangle.’” The show is hosted by longtime North Carolinian Hayes Permar, along with Josh Goodson and Brian Geisinger. Permar remarks, “We are incredibly excited and humbled to be part of the already outstanding lineup that ‘99.9 The Fan’ offers listeners every weekday. Our crew is made up of guys who all grew up and became sports fans in North Carolina; our show has and will continue to reflect that.” Coinciding with the change, ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard will transition from WCMC to co-owned/similarly formatted WCMC-HD2 “Buzz Sports Radio” and add an extra hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm).
TALKERS News Notes. Exiting Total Traffic & Weather Network, owing to restructuring, are senior vice president of affiliate services Roger Nadel; vice president of affiliate sales for the southeast Christopher Leonard; and head of operations for the southwest John Winder ….. After an 18-year career as an NFL QB (the first seven with the Philadelphia Eagles and the last 11 with the Washington Redskins), Sonny Jurgensen hung up the helmet and spikes in 1974. The soon-to-be (8/23) 85-year-old Hall of Famer is now hanging up the headsets as the longtime Redskins’ radio analyst. He made the announcement before last night’s (Thursday, 8/8) pre-season, pre-game show. Jurgensen commented, “I’ve had so many wonderful memories of teammates I’ve played with and talked about during my years in radio and television. The relationships with coaches and executives over the 50 years have been special. My broadcast partners such as Sam Huff, Frank Herzog, Doc Walker, and George Michael lived through the glory years together – all great memories. My good friend Andy Ockershausen was responsible for bringing together the original broadcast team of ‘Sonny, Sam, and Frank.’ After 62 years in professional football, I still have my health and wonderful family; a special thanks to my beautiful wife, Margo, for letting me work the weekends for all those years. I’ll always be a fan of professional football and appreciative of all that it has done for me, my family, and our city” ….. KTUL-TV, Tulsa marketing consultant Jessica Foster joins Stephens Media Group Tulsa as director of sales. SMG owner David Stephens notes, “Jessica has the well-rounded media experience we need to maximize revenue. Her ties to the local advertising community and reputation for excellence adds to the strength of our cluster.” Senior vice president of radio and digital sales Summer Kirkland comments, “Having worked alongside Jessica for several years, I have witnessed the way she incorporates her vast media knowledge with a passion for people to achieve success.” Prior to KTUL-TV, Foster worked at Interep/D&R; Entercom St. Louis news/talk KMOX; and several stations in Atlanta and Springfield, Missouri. The Stephens Media Group Tulsa cluster includes news/talk KCFO “AM 970 Talk You Can Trust,” sports talk KYAL “97.1 The Sports Animal,” contemporary Christian KXOJ and KXOJ-HD2, alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge,” and KTSO “Totally Awesome 80s” ….. Part of next Monday’s (8/12) debut of iHeartMedia Reading, Pennsylvania’s news/talk WRAW “News Radio 1340” will be the return of Rush Limbaugh to the market. Regional senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Allentown and Harrisburg Jeff Hurley comments, “We’re thrilled to bring an all-star lineup of talk radio programs to Reading. We’re confident that WRAW will become a favorite source for compelling news, talk, and entertainment.” The station’s weekday lineup will include: “The RJ Harris Breakfast Show” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Buck Sexton (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” (9:00 pm – 10:00 pm) ….. As part of an extended relationship with NRG Media Omaha, all hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball games of the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks will air on sports talk KZOT “1180 AM – The Zone 2.” In the event of a hockey conflict, any and all basketball games will be heard on sports talk KOZN “1620 AM – The Zone” or KOIL “News Talk 1290.” NRG Radio Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle remarks, “We are extremely excited to continue our partnership with UNO. As the sports leader in Omaha, it is important that we associate our stations with great sports programs like UNO. We look forward to broadcasting UNO sports on our stations this upcoming year, and many years to come.” UNO vice chancellor of athletics Trev Alberts notes, “NRG Media has provided our hockey and basketball teams with a reliable radio home for many years; we are pleased to continue this mutually beneficial relationship. NRG Media is a recognized leader in sports broadcasting in Omaha, and its stations allow our fans to follow the Mavericks, both over-the-air and through live streaming.” Gary Sharp will be back for his seventh season calling UNO men’s basketball. He will work with former Maverick Kyler Erickson who will begin his first season as analyst for all home games. Likewise, Donny Baarns enters his first year of lead play-by-play announcer for UNO hockey broadcasts. He will work alongside Terry Leahy who has provided color commentary for all 22 seasons of UNO hockey. Lester St. James will return for his 10th season as the rink-side reporter for all home games. Meanwhile, Jon Schriner replaces Baarns as play-by-play voice of Omaha women’s basketball ….. The Wall Street Journal is among the first to report that Facebook is offering news outlets millions of dollars for the rights to put their content in a news section that the company hopes to launch later this year. The project involves the social network striking deals potentially worth millions of dollars to publishers including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal, among others. The Journal reported yesterday (Thursday, 8/8) that Facebook representatives had told news executives that they’d pay as much as $3 million a year to license stories, headlines and other material. Publishers could pick between putting the stories directly on Facebook’s tab or putting previews in that go back to the original site. These arrangements would last for three years. Thus far though, it’s unclear if any publishers have signed on yet.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted this afternoon (Friday 8/9) on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “The Nation Grieves and Argues!” looks back at this past week of August 5-9, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Mike Siegel, syndicated talk show host, GCN; Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Rick Ungar, syndicated talk show host, “The Rick Ungar Show”/former CEO Marvel Entertainment; and Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist and medical profession podcaster. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
Cool Job Opportunity. There are actually three of them to share – all at Fox News. A freelance writer is needed for the Fox News Headlines team. You will write news for the national news network, conceptualize, write, compile enterprise stories, fact check, and build show content newscasts. This is a shift-based role, including overnight and weekend shifts. You will work some holidays and must be available off-hours in the event of major breaking news. Among the responsibilities are writing fast-paced newscasts; generating creative and innovative ideas for writing news segments; and communicating daily story development with producers and editors. A degree in journalism or related field is preferred. Click here to apply. In addition, Fox News Radio D.C./New York is seeking an overnight freelance anchor. The person in this position will work under tight deadlines, must have a passion for breaking news, and be flexible to work on a days’ notice. In order to be considered for this role, a link or MP3 file of a demo reel/air check is needed. Among responsibilities are writing for a one-hour live national newscast; writing five-minute and one-minute newscasts; and handling live breaking news coverage during national newscasts. Requirements include strong writing skills; ability to work under tight deadlines; flexibility to work primarily weekend shifts; and at least five years’ experience as a news anchor. Network or major market experience is preferred. Click here to apply. Needed as well is a freelance producer/news editor to supervise the staff for the network radio news operation. This person will work with news anchors to craft content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. Responsibilities include: formatting, programming, coordinating, and producing a live news program; producing segments and reporter hits; handling staffing issues when managers are not present; and working on developing stories as the day progresses. Candidates must: be highly skilled in writing and copy editing; have familiarity with social media; be able to handle breaking news situations; have strong editorial judgment; and be able to interact with high-profile talent. Click here to apply.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Director of sales for Townsquare Media’s four-station Cedar Rapids (Iowa) cluster, Brian Sines, transfers to Texarkana (Texas/Arkansas) to become market president/chief revenue officer of the company’s five stations there. Townsquare senior vice president Todd Lawley notes, “I have worked with Brian the past five years and watched him build Cedar Rapids into one of the top performing clusters at Townsquare. The Cedar Rapids market hasn’t missed a budget in three years and holds a dominant position with both their broadcast and digital performance. I’m confident that Brian will quickly build upon the high performing team that serves the community, our listeners, and the clients of Texarkana. It is extremely rewarding to again have the ability to promote from within, which is a direct reflection to the level of talent we have at Townsquare.” Sines remarks, “I am excited to join the team in Texarkana. Townsquare is fortunate to have such a long-tenured team in place that truly cares about our clients, our listeners, and super serves the community. I look forward to working with the number one media team in the market and starting a budget-busting streak of our own.” Sines formerly held market manager, GSM, and director of sales positions in Des Moines, Madison (Wisconsin), and Burlington (Iowa) at stations owned by the then-Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Townsquare Media’s five Texarkana stations are country KKYR “Kicker 102.5”; CHR KPWW “Power 95.9”; classic rock KYGL “Eagle 106.3”; urban AC KMJI “Magic 93.3”; and gospel KOSY “790 AM.” ….. Program director Al Payne has left Cumulus Media Kansas City urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Prior to his KC tenure, Payne programmed in Dallas (KRNB); Washington, DC (WKYS); Detroit (WMGC, WGPR, WDMK); Baltimore (WERQ, WWIN); and Greensboro (WQMG) ….. WLXX “92.9 Nash FM,” Lexington (Kentucky) promotes on-air talent Deidre Ransdell to program director of the Cumulus Media country outlet. Cumulus Lexington general manager Scott Frazier opines, “Having Deidre Ransdell as WLXX program director is like naming [Houston Astros RHP] Justin Verlander as your starter in game one of the World Series. She brings talent, experience, drive, and the will-to-win to the station. I’m very much looking forward to working with her.” Operations manager Anthony “Twitch” Longo comments, “It’s a great day when we get to promote someone as talented and hardworking as Deidre. She is a force to be reckoned with; to say I am excited to have her at the helm of “92.9 Nash FM” is an understatement.” After a 15-year career in education, Ransdell has been a Lexington on-air talent the past 18 years. She joined WLXX’s morning show in 2001 and has been heard in various other day-parts on the station. Last year, Ransdell added overnights at Nashville’s co-owned/similarly formatted WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” and is heard on various other country stations on Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Radio Network …. As voted by the Academy of Country Music membership, the ACM announces its officers for the 2019 – 2020 term. They are: Ed Warm (chair); Lori Badgett (president); Chuck Aly (vice president); Carmen Romano (treasurer); Gayle Holcomb (sergeant-at-arms); Paul Moore (parliamentarian); and Tommy Moore (secretary). Outgoing chair Duane Clark comments, “The Academy’s history is one of continually building upon its successes and supporting the artists we love, and the music they create that shapes our culture. I am grateful for – and proud of – the hard work and dedication of the Academy’s board, our partners, and our passionate staff. With Ed [Warm] stepping in as chair, I am confident we are in the best hands to guide our organization to new heights.” Warm remarks, “I have greatly enjoyed my involvement with the Academy and am looking forward to carrying the torch from Duane. I’m proud to work with the many talented industry people who volunteer their time for our artists, industry, and fans.” ….. Adult contemporary WLDR “101.9 – Northern Michigan’s Music Leader,” Traverse City joins Blarney Stone Broadcasting rock sibling WQON “Q-100,” Grayling (Michigan) as an affiliate on the Detroit Lions radio network. Blarney Stone Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Sheryl Coyne notes, “We know how important Detroit Lions football is to their passionate fan base in Northern Michigan; we’re proud to be able to deliver all the games in such professional broadcasts.”
Rasberry Receives MIW “Airblazer Award.” Longtime co-host of YEA Networks’ syndicated “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Kellie Rasberry, was honored with the 2019 MIW “Airblazer Award” during the 31st annual Talentmasters Morning Show Bootcamp (MSBC). Radio Advertising Board president/chief executive officer Erica Farber made the presentation. Now in its fifth year, the MIW “Airblazer Award” stems from an alliance formed between the MIW Group and MSBC and honors a deserving on-air radio personality. In addition to her work as co-host of “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Rasberry co-hosts (with her husband, Allen Evans) the weekly podcast, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’” She is on the board of directors of Kidd’s Kids, a non-profit organization that takes children with life-altering conditions to all-expenses paid trips to Disney World with their family. After more than two decades in radio, Rasberry has won several “Favorite Female Radio Personality of the Year” awards. She was a co-host on Fox Television’s “Dish Nation,” “Love Letters with Matthew & Kellie,” and webcast of the “Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.” During “Women of Radio Week,” she co-hosted “Live! With Regis.” Pictured (left to right) are Farber, Rasberry, and 2018 MIW “Airblazer Award” honoree Mercedes Martinez of Entercom Las Vegas hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.”
July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Boston, Miami, and Seattle. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – Winning ways continue for iHeartMedia news/talk WRKO, which nets +1.5 via seven successive positive or neutral trends (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.6, 6+). Moreover, July’s impressive +.9 propels “AM 680 – The Voice of Boston” all the way into the top ten (#12 to #8), with 3.6 (6+) surpassing November 2014’s 3.3. Up one-tenth in consecutive sweeps (.4 – .5 – .6, June and July, 6+), co-owned WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” repeats at #26.
The combined sports talk share of this sports crazy market’s two high-powered FMs deflates by -2.4 (June 2019 – July 2019, 6+) with Beasley Media Group-owned WBZ-FM absorbing 75% of that hit (5.6 – 3.8, fourth to seventh, 6+). Nine recent shifts for “98.5 The Sports Hub” include: +.9 (October 2018); +.8 (November); -1.0 (December); +.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.6 (January 2019); -.8 (February); +.8 (May); -1.4 (June); and July’s whopping -1.8. “The Sports Hub” is the lead station of the Stanley Cup runner-up Bruins; Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and the Celtics. The month-to-month drop-off for Entercom-owned sports talk WEEI-FM is one-third that of “The Sports Hub” (3.9 – 3.3, -.6, 6+); the flagship of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox flagship slips from eighth to tenth. Sample shifts for WEEI-FM include: -.5 (September 2018); +.5 (October); +.6 (November); -2.0 (December); -.7 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.7 (January 2019); -1.0 (February); -.5 (March); +.6 (April); and -.6 (July).
WBZ-AM is truly locked on 5.0 (6+), as that is what “News Radio 1030” logs for the fifth successive month. The iHeartMedia-owned news-talk hybrid progresses from sixth to fifth; it was +1.3 in January/February (4.3 – 5.5 – 5.6, 6+).
By regaining the one-tenth it lost in June (3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5, 6+), Boston University news/talk WBUR returns to the top ten (#11 to #9, 6+), while WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (2.2) and market rank (#16).
Boston Music Formats – Not only does Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies WROR replicate June’s increase of six-tenths (7.6 – 8.2 – 8.8, 6+), “105.7 – 80s & More” is #1 for the fourth month in a row. When WROR dropped two-tenths in May, it snapped at four a consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a +2.2 (5.6 – 6.2 – 6.8 – 7.8 – 7.8, 6+). Boston’s (6+) pacesetters thus far this calendar year have been: iHeartMedia-owned CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 – Boston’s #1 Hit Music Station” (January, 7.3, and February, 7.4, 6+); WROR (March and April, 7.8 – both times, 6+); WROR and WXKS-FM (May, 7.6, 6+); WROR (June, 8.2 and July, 8.8, 6+). At the same time that iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull Boston’s #1 For New Hit Country” improves by six-tenths (2.1 – 2.7, #17 to #13, 6+), Beasley Media Group’s WKLB “Country 102.5” regresses by seven-tenths (4.7 – 4.0, seventh to sixth, 6+). A June loss of three-tenths by “The Bull” ended six successive sweeps without a loss that netted six-tenths (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+). This is the highest 6+-share for “The Bull” since August 2017 (2.7, as well). “Country 102.5, meanwhile was a cumulative +1.3 in four straight “Holiday 2018 through April 2019 bumps (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+). In four consecutive positive spikes, Northeast Broadcasting triple A WXRV gained a collective nine-tenths (1.8 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+), but “92.5 The River – Boston’s Independent Radio” forfeits six-tenths to 2.1 (#12 to #17, 6+). Up a combined-eight-tenths in May/June (6.1 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites” forfeits one-half share to 6.4 (6+) but continues in third-place. June’s 6.9 was its highest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2018’s 14.5. Albeit a collective -1.2 in six straight down or flat moves (3.1 – 2.8 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WJMN “Jam’n 94.5” improves from #19 to #18. In the market’s CHR arena, iHeartMedia’s aforementioned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is a combined -.7 in June/July (7.6 – 7.2 – 6.9, 6+) but repeats in the runner-up slot. A one-half share increase in May took “Kiss 108” to 7.6, its strongest 6+-performance since August 2018’s 7.8. Meanwhile, Entercom’s similarly-formatted WODS “103.3 Amp Radio” is down or flat the sixth straight time for a net loss of four-tenths (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1, #17 to #16, 6+).
English-Language Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, iHeartMedia news/talk WIOD “News Radio 620 – Miami’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station” has lost just two-tenths and carries on at #18 (2.7 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+).
Seven successive sweeps without a loss yielded three-tenths for Entercom’s WAXY (.6 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .8 – .9 – .9, 6+), but “Sports Talk 790 The Ticket” is off one-tenth in July to .8 (#25 to #26, 6+). Co-owned WQAM – which recently rebranded from “Sports Radio 560” to “560 The Joe” – has a January 2019 through July 2019 topline of .6 – .5 – .7 – .5 – .6 – .5 – 6 (#29 to #30, 6+).
While it remains at #20, Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN falters by four-tenths to 1.9 (6+), thus snapping four straight up or flat reports that produced a net gain of two-tenths (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.3, 6+).
Miami Music Formats – Without an increase the last three ratings periods and down three-tenths in that March through June stretch (2.9 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.6, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned urban contemporary WMIB “103.5 The Beat” ends the slide with a +.6 to 3.2 (6+) and jumps from #16 to #12. This is its best 6+-showing since December 2018 (3.2, as well). In four straight drops, Spanish contemporary sibling WZTU was a collective -1.7 (5.1 – 4.8 – 4.7 – 4.1 – 3.4, 6+). “Tu 94.9” pulls the plug in July though by picking up three tenths to 3.7 (6+) and returns to the top ten (#12 to #10). June’s 3.4 was its weakest 6+-stat since October 2017 (3.4, as well). Flat at #15, Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WRMA “Ritmo 95.7,” which had faltered by seven-tenths in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+), gains one-tenth to 2.8 (6+). Miami’s pacesetter the seventh consecutive ratings period (including a three-way tie at #1 in February), Cox Media Group-owned adult contemporary WFEZ “Easy 93.1,” follows June’s increase of eight-tenths with a July loss of three-tenths (6.8 – 7.6 – 7.3, 6+). Eight-tenths has been a common fluctuation recently for “Easy” as it was down eight-tenths in February; up by that magnitude in March; and up again by eight-tenths in June. Entering the “Holiday” 2018 sweep, “Easy 93.1” finished on top seven straight times. Following three up or flat trends in succession that netted nine-tenths (2.9 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.8, 6+), CHR cluster-mate WFLC returns roughly half that increase with a one-half share decline to 3.3 (6+). As a result, “Hits 97.3” exits the top ten (#9 to #11); June’s 3.8 was its highest 6+-share since December 2017’s 4.0. “Hits 97.3” responded to March’s one-tenth loss with an April increase of six-tenths. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia-owned/similarly-formatted WHYI “Y-100 Miami’s #1 Hit Music Station” recaptures half of June’s loss of four-tenths (2.6 – 2.8, +.2, 6+) and advances from #16 to #15. When “Y-100” added one-tenth in March, it curtailed five straight reports without an increase for a collective setback of nine-tenths (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.5, 6+). WHYI posted a half-share increase in May. Even though Entercom’s similarly-formatted WLYF picks up one-tenth to 5.5 (6+), thus suspending four straight sweeps without an increase that led to an overall -1.2 (6.6 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 6.1 – 5.4, 6+), “101.5 Lite FM” slips to #4. It had been in third-place the past four months. Anchored at #7, Cox Media Group urban contemporary WEDR “99 Jamz” is a collective -1.1 through six straight negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+). Spanish Broadcasting System-owned Spanish tropical WXDJ is -1.1 in five straight down or flat trends (4.9 – 4.8 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.8, 6+) as “El Zol 106.7” falls from eighth to ninth.
Spoken-Word Formats – Recapturing the three-tenths it dropped in June (4.9 – 4.6 – 4.9, 6+), Bonneville news/talk KIRO-FM remains in fifth-place. Co-owned KTTH “Conservative Talk Radio” is up a cumulative one-half share in three straight sweeps without a loss (1.2 – 1.2, 1.4 – 1.7, flat at #22, 6+). This comes directly after losing roughly 43% (-.9) of its 6+-stat due to three straight down or flat trends (2.1 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+). In five successive negative or neutral reports, Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned KVI “Talk Radio 570” has lost more than half (-.9) of its 6+ AQH share since February (1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .7, #24 to #26, 6+).
Bonneville sports talk/Mariners’ flagship KIRO-AM “ESPN 710” is a collective -1.3 in three straight drops (4.3 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.0, #13 to #14, 6+). With its 6+ stat sliced by more than 60% (-.9) via four consecutive slips (1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – .6 – .5, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KJR-AM “Seattle’s Sports Radio 950” falls from #27 to #28.
For the third time in the last four sweeps, Sinclair Broadcast Group all-news KOMO logs a 2.8 (2.8 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8, #16 to #15, 6+).
This calendar year, Northwest Public Radio news/talk KUOW has ranked #1 (January, February, and March); #2 (April); #1 (May); #3 (June); and now #2 (5.6 – 5.5, -.1, July 2019, 6+).
Seattle Music Formats – June’s first-place tie is broken with an exclamation point. Specifically, iHeartMedia-owned KZOK “102.5 Seattle’s Classic Rock Station” dials up a July uptick of nine-tenths and has the top spot all to itself. At the same time, Hubbard Broadcasting CHR KQMV “MOViN’ 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station” surrenders eight-tenths (6.1 – 5.3, 6+) and segues from that first-place tie to #3. Thus, the two stations that were locked together in June are now separated by nearly two full-shares. There’s much more to the story though as KZOK is an impressive +3.3 owing to eight straight bumps (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 6.0 – 6.1 – 7.0, 6+). Immediately in advance of this positive run, KZOK was -1.6 in four consecutive ratings periods without an increase (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.9 – 4.9 – 3.7, 6+). A collective -1.0 in four successive down or flat trends (7.0 – 6.8 – 6.8 – 6.6 – 6.0, 6+), KQMV applied the brakes in June with a gain of one-tenth. “MOViN’” made it to #1 in April, the first time it reached the lead spot since November 2018. Tacking on six-tenths to July’s boost of eight-tenths (3.7 – 4.5 – 5.1, 6+), iHeartMedia adult hits KJAQ “96.5 Jack FM Playing What We Want” jumps from sixth to fourth. Moreover, Seattle’s version of “Jack” reaches the five-share threshold (5.1, 6+) for the first time in nearly ten years (5.0, October 2009). Not only has Hubbard Broadcasting’s KNUC more than doubled (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in eight successive up or flat sweeps (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+), “New Country 98.9 The Bull” enters the top ten (#11 to #8). Furthermore, it leapfrogs Entercom’s KKWF “100.7 The Wolf – #1 For Country,” which erases May’s +.9 with June/July’s combined -.9 (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.1, 6+) and exits the top ten (#6 to #12). Prior to April, when it regressed by six-tenths, “The Wolf” was a cumulative +1.4 as a result of three straight upticks (3.3- 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.7, 6+). Bustos Media regional Mexican KDDS “99.3 La Gran D” pops on with a .7 (6+) and checks in at #26. Not only does a loss of six-tenths to 4.2 (6+) by Entercom’s KISW curtail three consecutive positive spikes that produced a +1.1 (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5 4.8, 6+), “Rock 99.9” fades from the top ten (#4 to #11). This is the third month in a row that Entercom adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound” (4.5 – 4.4, -.1, flat at #6, 6+) and Hubbard Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted KRWM “Warm 106.9” (4.4 – 4.3, -.1, ninth to eighth, 6+) are separated by one-tenth. Prior to eroding by -1.1 in April, “The Sound” was an overall +1.5 through three consecutive increases (3.7 – 3.8 – 5.1 – 5.2, 6+). Entering the May sweep, “Warm 106.9” recorded a 4.8 (6+) in three of the previous four reports (4.8 – 4.0 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+) and was #1 in December and “Holiday” 2018. Without an increase the seventh time in a row for a collective -2.3 (5.1 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Sinclair Broadcast Group hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5 Today’s Best Mix” is now in a four-way tie at #15.
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. 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.