Westwood One: Strategies for Creative and Marketing in COVID-19 Era. The latest Westwood One Blog presents some of the takeaways from a number of studies looking at what makes effective creative and what constitutes a reasonable marketing plan in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. According to NuVoodoo research, clients should reconsider any copy that includes “We’re all in this together” as 35% of those surveyed are already tiring of it and that number is only likely to grow. System1 finds that ads that delivered a “a strong connection to local community and togetherness” appear to be working well. Other aspects System1 believes are effective include use of “established brand characters, ads that make use of familiar scenarios or taglines, ads set in a specific time and place in the past, ads that highlight the human connection in the current state of ‘betweenness.’” However, coronavirus ads run the risk of not being perceived as unique and marketing pro Mark Ritson laments the generic ads ring as cliched and not “distinctive.” Read the blog here.
Entercom Adds Translator to WYRD-FM, Greenville. The news/talk station gets an FM translator simulcast as W236CD, Seneca, South Carolina begins airing the station’s audio. Entercom says the addition of this frequency to WYRD-FM’s broadcast “extends the reach of the Upstate’s No. 1 news/talk radio station to Pickens County and into Oconee County, bringing its coverage to additional cities including Seneca, Pickens, and Clemson for the first time.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi adds, “‘106.3 WORD’ serves a vital role as the Upstate’s trusted source of information. We are thrilled to expand the over-the-air signal for ‘106.3 WORD’ to Pickens and much of Oconee County on 95.1 FM during this critical time in which demand for live and local news and talk is rapidly rising. This expansion allows us to maximize our reach in the region and more broadly meet the needs of our listeners and advertisers.” In 2019, the station expanded to Anderson County on 101.5 FM.
Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination and Retaliation Case. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride is suing Entercom claiming that she was discriminated against and suffered retaliatory actions after complaining to her superiors. Entercom filed a Motion to Dismiss based on a jurisdictional error (claiming it should have been filed in Eastern Pennsylvania District as opposed to New Jersey District) as well as arguments that McBride failed to sufficiently demonstrate a hostile work environment or a retaliation claim. In response, McBride’s attorney argues since the bulk of McBride’s clients were located in New Jersey, the suit was filed in the proper district. Her attorney also lays out arguments that McBride has satisfied pleading requirements for her claims.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Lockdown Protests, Pressure on China, Michael Flynn Case, and Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; a number of states begin re-opening their economies; groups of protesters rail against the social distancing requirements in their states; the U.S. and other countries put pressure on China to open up to investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; Republicans seek an investigation into the FBI’s treatment of Michael Flynn; and the presidential race and the allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FOX News and Spotify Ink Deal for Podcast Distribution. The new deal between FOX News Media and Spotify will have the latter distributing FOX News Podcasts on its global audio streaming platform. Effective today (5/5), FNR’s catalogue of more than 20 original series, including three new programs slated to debut in May — “The Trey Gowdy Podcast,” “The Proud American Podcast Series” and “FOX Top 5” — will be made available globally on Spotify, reaching more than 286 million monthly users. FOX News Radio VP John Sylvester says, “Throughout these unprecedented times, FOX News Audio has become a destination for listeners to get up to the minute information, whether it’s the latest on the current coronavirus pandemic, insights from the 2020 presidential campaign or in-depth interviews with leading newsmakers. We are pleased to partner with Spotify, offering their millions of subscribers worldwide access to our best in class content.”
TALKERS News Notes. Rochester producer and radio personality Pauly Guglielmo is leaving the “Brother Wease Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” to pursue his marinara sauce manufacturing career full time. Guglielmo began selling his grandfather’s marinara sauce commercially in 2014. Recently, he had the opportunity to acquire the plant that’s been making the sauce. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story here…..The latest episode of the podcast “The -30-: The End of the News,” hosted by Save Journalism Project co-founder John Stanton, features Joshua Koran, head of innovation labs at Zeta Global, discussing “the current digital ad marketplace, how dominant players like Google can ‘play by a different set of rules,’ and how Google will continue to engage in the same kinds of data collection and measurement it claims harms the privacy of consumers when others do it.” Listen to the podcast here…..The weekend radio show, “The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour,” from Hillsdale College is being added to the lineup at Starnes Media Group’s KWAM-AM/W300DE, Memphis “The Mighty 990.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nashville CHR WNFN-FM re-brands as “Hot 106.7.” To celebrate, the Midwest Communications station is launching the new brand with its $5K Payday awarding someone in the Middle Tennessee area $5,000. Station brand manager Joe Breezy says, “I fully expect ‘Hot 106.7’ to be a Nashville powerhouse. Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country, so it’s about time we turn up the heat with the all NEW, ‘Hot 106.7.’”…..iHeartMedia Chicago stations are honoring Chicagoland teachers and nurses in a weeklong celebration, kicking off on National Teachers Day (today 5/5) and culminating on International Nurses Day on Tuesday, May 12. Throughout the week, each station will feature on-air shout outs for teachers and interviews with school principals, parents and students. From May 6 through May 8, 103.5 KISS FM’s midday host Showbiz Shelly will host Zoom classroom takeovers to speak directly with students during the week of celebration…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the launch of Entravision Digital, a division that consolidates its digital reach, data, creative, and programmatic capabilities into a unified solutions offering. Entravision chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa says, “By combining our comprehensive digital capabilities into Entravision Digital, advertisers and agencies have a single source to access a rich combination of audiences, media, performance solutions, and consumer insights. Entravision Digital has a global reach and is an exceptional complement to our television, radio, and digital media assets serving the U.S. Hispanic market. We are excited to extend the Entravision brand to these businesses and look forward to continued success in the media technology marketplace.”
Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church. MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial. The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch. Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies. That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church. MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal. The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.
Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke. In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention. Read it here.
Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army. To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000. Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.” He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”
Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands. Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis. Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston. We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”
Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price. The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.
TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora. Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media. Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017. However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.” The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media. This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S. It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian. He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.” The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.” This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.
Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels. A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal. Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation. Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988. She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style. She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors. Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming. In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.” She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown. He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role. She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands. Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues. The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show! Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.
iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Rises 3%. Revenue for iHeartMedia, Inc. – whose shares became listed on the NASDAQ on July 18 of this year – was $948.3 million, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2018. Digital revenue increased 33.4%. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, revenue was $2.66 billion – an increase of 2.8% over the same period in 2018. The company says, “Our traditional radio business, which is comprised of our Broadcast and Networks revenue streams, is stable and growing. Broadcast revenue declined by 0.6% on a reported basis and increased 0.4% excluding the impact of political revenue, while Networks grew 9.2% year-over-year driven primarily by growth in our Total Traffic & Weather network. Networks also grew sequentially by almost 300 basis points over the second quarter. Our growth was also driven by our Digital revenue stream, which grew 33.4%. Digital revenue growth was primarily driven by growth in podcasting, as well as other digital revenue. Audio & Media Services declined 14.3% on a reported basis and increased by 0.2% excluding the impact of political revenue. Political revenue primarily impacts our Broadcast and Audio & Media Services revenue, and therefore these revenue streams tend to show greater variance in non-political years. Sponsorships increased by 4.4% year-over-year. Importantly, all of our revenue streams grew year-over-year excluding the impact of political revenue, demonstrating the continued momentum in our business.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q3 Net Income Up 1.5%. Net income for Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2019 third quarter was $66.1 million, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2018 and the company says that “reflects increased revenue in the Company’s Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Wilmington market clusters. Net revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the Company’s other market clusters.” For the first nine months of 2019, net income was $189.5 million, an increase of 4.1% over the same nine-month period in 2018. Station Operating Income increased 12.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019. The company says the year-over-year increase is primarily attributable to higher revenue in the 2019 third quarter and lower station operating expenses related to $1.7 million of non-recurring bad debt expense that was recorded in the comparable 2018 period, partially offset by higher expenses at recently acquired stations. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout the third quarter, we continued to advance our revenue diversification initiatives and actively manage our local radio broadcasting and digital platforms, while implementing our operating disciplines at recently acquired stations to drive SOI growth and margin expansion. Record third quarter net revenue of $66.1 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in four of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset the approximate $0.9 million of combined political, spectrum and United States Traffic Network traffic revenue recorded in the 2018 third quarter, which did not recur in the 2019 third quarter…Third quarter results also began to reflect financial contributions related to our new and expanding digital development and diversification initiatives. Beasley generated a year-over-year increase in digital revenue of approximately 37%, with digital now accounting for 7.4% of total revenue, compared to 5.4% of total revenue in the prior year period. Going forward, we remain committed to increasing digital share of total revenue as we continue to aggressively roll out our digital transformation strategy across the organization.”
Urban One Third Quarter Net Revenue Basically Flat at $111.1 Million. While third quarter net revenue was up just 0.3%, Urban One’s broadcast and digital operating income was up 3.2% on $44.8 million, compared to the same period in 2018. Operating income was approximately $32.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019, compared to approximately $32.1 million for the same period in 2018. Urban One CEO and president Alfred Liggins III says, “During the third quarter we completed the sale of WDMK to Beasley Broadcasting, as a result of which our cash position improved, and net leverage was reduced. On a same station basis, our third quarter radio revenues were up 4.2%, and I was pleased that we were able to grow the Radio Broadcasting segment Adjusted EBITDA by 6.6%. Same station core radio revenues, excluding political, are currently pacing down low single digits for the fourth quarter. Cable Television advertising was robust in the quarter, up 7.8%. While digital revenues decreased by 6.4%, we were able to post significant Adjusted EBITDA growth in that segment as a result of improved cost control. Overall, we were able to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 5.8% for the quarter, and I believe we are well positioned to achieve our strategic goals for the year, with Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $138-$140 million.”
Nielsen Announces Plans to Split into Two Companies. Along with its third quarter financial results, Nielsen Holdings Plc is announcing that it will “separate the Global Media and Global Connect businesses through a spin-off of the Global Connect business.” Global Media is the audience measurement division and Global Connect is the consumer data division. CEO David Kenny says, “We are pleased with our third quarter results. Both Media and Connect revenues were ahead of our expectations, reflecting strong execution as well as our focus on driving faster, bolder decisions to enhance value for Nielsen and for our clients. We also announced today the conclusion of our strategic review and our decision to separate Global Media and Global Connect. As we look forward, we remain focused on executing on our growth strategies and positioning both businesses to create value for our shareholders.” The strategic review was led by chairman of the board of directors James Attwood, who says, “Nielsen has two strong and global franchises — Global Media and Global Connect. Following an extensive review process, which included an in-depth analysis of our businesses, strategies and market opportunities, the Board concluded that separating into two independent, publicly traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation. As independent companies, both Nielsen — the Global Media business — and the new company consisting of Global Connect will enjoy added flexibility and further strengthen their paths toward a new phase of growth, productivity and industry leadership.”
Q3 2019 Flat for Saga Communications. Third quarter net revenue for Saga Communications, Inc. was $31.3 million, basically flat compared to 2018’s Q3 figure of $31.7 million. Station operating expense increased $171 thousand to $23.6 million and operating income decreased $520 thousand to $4.8 million compared to $5.3 million for the same period in 2018. Net Income decreased $361 thousand to $3.3 million for the quarter. On a same-station basis, third quarter net revenue decreased $1.4 million to $30.3 million. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, net income was flat with the same period in 2018 at $9.4 million. Net revenue decreased $610 thousand to $91.3 million. On a same-station basis for the nine-month period, net revenue decreased $3.8 million to $88.1 million. Saga reports having $42.3 million in cash on hand as of November 4, 2019. The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the quarter.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on the public radio news/talk format. More than 60% of public radio news/talk stations were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) compared to the September 2019 survey. Year-over-year, the results were split about 50/50, with half the stations up and half down. Four high-performing public outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in October. They were: WAMU-FM, Washington; KPBS-FM, San Diego; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin. Perennially top-ranked public outlet KQED, San Francisco ceded the #1 spot to Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco in October. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep All of Envision Networks’ Products in 2020. This agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Envision Networks is an expanded sales representation agreement that now includes all Envision Networks shows and services. Envision Networks CEO and president Danno Wolkoff says, “We started with Sun Broadcast Group selling all of our Spanish inventory and began adding more general market advertising to their networks as we grew. SBG’s ability to maximize our lineups and create networks with such high advertiser demand fueled the development of many new shows and services. It’s only fitting that Jay [Bailey], Julio [Aponte] and the Sun team now represent all of Envision Networks’ advertising sales in 2020 … we’re thrilled to be working together.”
TALKERS News Notes. Greenville, South Carolina news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” adds a translator to its broadcast. Now carrying the station’s signal is W270AM, Anderson, South Carolina at 101.5 FM. Anderson is about 25 miles southwest of Greenville. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We’re happy to meet the demand from listeners and advertisers to expand 106.3 WORD’s over-the-air signal to Anderson County using 101.5 FM. Anderson is a fast-growing market that we are looking forward to serving with 106.3 WORD’s programming on all of our platforms.”…..Kentucky sports talk host Matt Jones will be off his WLAP-AM, Lexington-based program after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. Jones has announced he’s exploring the possibility of running as a Democrat for McConnell’s senate seat. The iHeartMedia station asked Jones to step away from the program after the complaint was issued. Jones was relieved of his duties at WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after he made his political ambitions known…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting a news special titled, “30 Years After the Fall: The Legacy of the Berlin Wall,” that explores the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Correspondent Chas Henry hosts the program as he reports from the site where the Berlin Wall once stood. He talks to scholars about why the wall was constructed and with residents who watched it come down. The half-hour program airs Thanksgiving weekend. Stations interested can contact Jim Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-840-7933 for more information.
Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Mormon Family Massacre, China-Hong Kong Tensions, New HIV Strain, and OK Boomer Meme Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The impeachment process against President Trump; the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Democratic victories in Virginia and Kentucky in Tuesday’s elections; the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family by drug cartel members in Mexico; the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong and China; the discovery of a new strain of HIV; and the controversy over the “Ok Boomer” meme were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fresno market, iHeartMedia names Angel “Visa” Jarquin program director for hip hop KBOS “B95.” He comes to “B95” from his most recent position with the company’s CHR KDON, Monterey where he was afternoon drive personality and assistant program director. iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Central California and Nevada Tony Matteo says, “Angel’s incredible track record of success and his experience in the format make him an ideal fit to spearhead this market’s leading brand in Fresno. We’re excited to bring his energy to the ‘B95’ team.”…..JVC Media announces the addition of Long Island radio personality Bill “The Wiseman” Wise as morning host at WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1” JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “The Wiseman is a great addition to our staff. He will not only be on the airwaves of ‘Oldies 98.1,’ he will also work with the team to develop new and exciting live events and concerts for ‘Oldies 98.1.’ I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country outlet WYCD, Detroit hosted last night’s “Stars and Strings Presented by RAM Trucks Built to Serve” event that raised more than $25,000 for Folds of Honor, the organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Entercom has now raised more than $275,000 to support the cause. The RADIO.COM event featured performances by Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Young, and Ryan Hurd…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach, Florida announces the all-star lineup for its “Earthday Birthday Number 27” music festival taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Orlando Amphitheater. Performing will be: Shinedown, Halestorm, Theory Of A Deadman, Beartooth, Fozzy, Dirty Honey, New Years Day, Crobot, and Dinosaur Pile-Up, with more to be announced…..Cox Media Group classic hits WSRV, Atlanta “97.1 The River” will celebrate its 14th birthday with “The River’s Rockin’ Birthday Bash Presents: Journey with Pretenders” on Thursday, August 13 at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta. Station director of branding and programming Chris Eagan says, “We can’t wait to celebrate The River’s 14th birthday with our awesome fans. Journey and Pretenders will definitely put on an unbelievable show to help us party on August 13!”
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. More than half of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the July survey to the August survey, led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+1.0). Comparing August 2018 to August 2019, about half the stations were up and the other half were down. Gainers included KFXN (+1.5) and Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” (+1.4). Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the only sports talker to rank #1 in its market with a 5.6 share. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia ranked #2 with a 6.7 share.” See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
New iHeartRadio Sports Digital Platform Launches. The new iHeartRadio Sports website allows listeners to find broadcast sports radio stations, sports podcasts, and latest sports news in one place. iHeartMedia says that listeners can access more than 195 live broadcast and digital stations and episodes from more than 25,000 sports podcasts, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “3 and Out with John MiddleKauff,” “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” “Sports Wars,” and more. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says, “iHeartRadio has long been a destination for the biggest sports fans and now provides the premier destination where they can find all their favorite teams, podcasts, personalities and stations all in one place. Sports listeners are incredibly passionate and this new destination utilizes the power and reach of iHeartMedia and its programming to create an encompassing all-things-sports experience like no other, for those enthusiastic fanatics everywhere whether it’s getting outstanding play-by-play of the latest Dodgers game to sports betting podcasts for expert picks and analysis.”
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental 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, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/13). The new episode titled, “And the Buzz Just keeps on Coming!” looks back at this past week of September 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Charles Freedman, host, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; Nan Su, San Francisco editor, The Epoch Times; Alexi Cohan, reporter, Boston Herald; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Lisa Wexler, host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT. This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
‘America in the Morning’ Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Next Tuesday (9/17), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the award-winning, weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” which launched September 17, 1984. The program – currently heard on more than 330 affiliate stations – grew out of what was originally the last half hour of the five-and-a-half hour overnight “Larry King Show.” When King was cut back to five hours, Westwood One used the last half hour to launch a morning news magazine. It later expanded to one hour. After Larry King left the radio show, his replacement – Jim Bohannon – hosted the program. Current host John Trout took over hosting duties from Bohannon in 2016 (although Bohannon continues to contribute reports to the program). Westwood One EVP news and talk Bart Tessler says, “Our 332 affiliates know that ‘America in the Morning’ is the show to turn to for the best and most comprehensive coverage of breaking news overnight. Jim Bohannon created a legacy and John Trout continues the tradition of ensuring Americans are informed and entertained at daybreak.” The program has won many industry awards, including the top prize for “Best News Magazine” the last two years at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.
SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Broadcast from Mobile. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will host his Salem Radio Network program from the offices of Mobile, Alabama’s FairHope Direct on Wednesday (9/18). FairHope Direct is run by president & CEO Doug Meduna and his company recently made a $15,000 contribution to the Christian non-profit relief agency Food For The Poor. Last month, SRN raised funds for the charity that delivered emergency food to displaced children and families along Colombia’s border with Venezuela. Gallagher will interview Doug Meduna on his show. Gallagher says, “Thanks to awesome people like Doug Meduna and his team at FairHope Direct, our generous listeners network-wide donated a total of $730,000 in August.
Coleman Exits WACV-FM, Montgomery. Attorney, political operative and talk show host Baron Coleman leaves his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s WACV, Montgomery, Alabama “News Talk 93.1FM” and hints that he’ll be back on the radio in the market on Monday, on a different station. Coleman tells Yellowhammer News, “I’m thankful for my time at Bluewater. The last five years have been an incredible learning experience. But, ultimately, the time was right to move on. I’ll be announcing a fantastic opportunity in the next day or two, and I look forward to getting back on the air on Monday.” WACV says Jack Campbell and Joey Clark will co-host the late morning show. It’s rumored that Little Engine Broadcasting’s crosstown WRBZ-AM/W238CE is flipping from classic hits to talk on Monday and that Coleman will surface there.
Dan Sileo to Join Twitch for Sports Talk Show. Thwarted in his effort to get back on terrestrial sports talk radio, Dan Sileo is joining Twitch.tv with the assistance of consultant Don Kollins. Sports media personality Tony Bruno also hosts a show on Twitch and Sileo says he’ll be on with Bruno next week to make the announcement. His program will follow Bruno’s. Sileo was just hired to host afternoons on iHeartMedia’s KGME-AM, Phoenix, but four days into his new gig, pressure from the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes got him yanked. The Coyotes just inked a deal to broadcast their games on the station and the club was nervous about Sileo’s past missteps on social media.
Ken Newman Named DOS for Cox Media Group San Antonio. At the San Antonio operations of Cox Media Group, Ken Newman is the new director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO, rock KISS, and country KCYY. CMG San Antonio VP and general manager David Abel says, “Ken brings a wealth of industry knowledge and sales expertise to his new role, making him the ideal sales leader for our market. Our clients expect the very best from CMG and I am confident our teams will continue to deliver exceptional service under Ken’s leadership.”
Rob Sussman Exits ‘Delaware 105.9 FM.’Talk radio host Rob Sussman exits Forever Media’s news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station adds Radio America’s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch. Sussman arrived at WXDE almost two years ago from his previous position as news director at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa. He’s ready for his next opportunity and can be reached at Sussman.email@example.com. In July, the station parted ways with local host Susan Monday and fellow local host Ed Tyll resigned his position. Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher was added to the late morning daypart and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” program began airing in the early afternoon slot. Forever Media acquired the station and nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting earlier this year.
WGTK-FM, Greenville Demonstrates PEP Station Responsibilities. Pictured above is WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94-5 The Answer” air personality Joey Hudson (left) on air with South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (right) broadcasting from the Salem Media Group station’s transmitter tower. WGTK-FM is a FEMA designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after a national or local emergency. Hudson broadcast from the WGTK PEP module using only backup generators and the equipment installed in the FEMA facility the agency maintains at the station’s broadcast tower. As the PEP station serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, it is equipped with back-up communications equipment and emergency power generators designed to enable continuous broadcasting independent of public utilities and without refueling for approximately 30-45 days. Hudson says that although this exercise had been planned for weeks, with Hurricane Dorian passing through the Carolinas last week, the “practice scenario” provided by FEMA was timely as he simulated how he would provide essential information to the public immediately following devastating damage by a hurricane in the Carolinas.
John Bolton’s Exit and Cancelled Taliban Talks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 9-13. The exit of John Bolton from his national security advisor position in the Trump Administration and the related cancellation of secret talks with the Taliban in Washington tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was “sharpie-gate” and the NOAA controversy. Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China relations and North Korea’s missile test, followed by stock market activity and the economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
McGorry Elected to BFoA Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that William McGorry, chairman of Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, has been elected to the board of directors of the BFoA. McGorry oversees Broadcasting &Cable’s Hall of Fame nominating process and manages the annual awards event. Proceeds from the black-tie gala benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America and The Paley Center for Media. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Bill has been a long-time supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, and we are delighted that he is joining the Board. Every year, Bill ensures that the Broadcasters Foundation is a recipient of some of the proceeds from Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame Awards dinner. Those much-needed funds go to helping broadcasters in need across our industry, either in monthly or one-time emergency grants. We are grateful for his contributions.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Nikki Imbrascio is officially introduced by Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach as the new midday host on hot AC WRMF. She was previously with CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” as midday host. WRMF brand/content director Leo Baldwin says, “After an extensive search we are so happy to bring Nikki and her major market experience to Hubbard West Palm Beach. WRMF has been looking for its mid-day voice for quite some time and I am excited for Nikki to get started!”…..In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Robbie Bridges resigns his position as operations and brand manager for Townsquare Media’s operations there, including programming country WOKQ. Taking his place is Sammy Cruise, who leaves his gig at Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK, West Palm Beach to return to the station he served with in the past…..Buffalo radio icon Roger Christian is ousted from Entercom’s hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5.” Christian was on air on the 102.5 frequency for 43 years, going back to its time as a rock outlet. Christian says he was told the position is being eliminated and the daypart will be voice-tracked. However, Christian was scooped up quickly by Radio One Buffalo LLC’s Buddy Shula who’s bringing him aboard his oldies WECK-AM to handle weekends and fill-ins.
Price: Today’s Radio Handle Is ‘Michael.’ Continuity and crisis management expert Howard Price writes today that Gulf Coast stations should be all about Hurricane Michael. With the storm expected to make landfall later today, Price is shocked that so many Gulf Coast radio stations were still in regular programming mode with a potential category 4 hurricane headed straight for them. Hopefully, those stations have prepared for the worst. Price offers some advice to those stations who have not prepared for an emergency with a simple outline of how to create an emergency plan that all station staffers can understand and execute in a short amount of time. Remember, not all emergencies come with the days of warnings that hurricanes do. Some weather events come seemingly out of nowhere. Man-made emergencies such as shootings or other forms of civil unrest also leave little time to plan ahead. Read Price’s entire piece here.
KKOB-AM Is Voice of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Pictured above is the KKOB-AM, Albuquerque hot air balloon (center) among the dozens of other balloons lifting off at the 47th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event opened on October 6 and runs through the 14th. The Cumulus Media news/talk station is the official radio voice of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The station is broadcasting live every day from the event with traffic, weather, and official updates starting at 4:57 am each day.
JVC Media Expands KC Armstrong’s ‘WMAP Radio’ Show to Orlando. The daily, one-hour radio program “WMAP Radio” starring former, longtime Howard Stern show cast member KC Armstrong is branching out from its home on WRCN, Riverhead, Long Island “103.9 LI News.” JVC Media is syndicating Armstrong’s program and the first affiliate station is the company’s rock WOTW-HD2/W231CT “BUD 94.1” in Orlando. The program’s full title is “World’s Most Amazing People with KC Armstrong,” and the station says, “In this era of bad news, fake news, Internet trolls, and general weary cynicism, KC is making quite a positive impression on Long Island and expansion of his show is the next evolution. KC, who many people remember as a cast member of Howard Stern’s terrestrial radio show back in the day, comes to this pursuit carrying some damn dramatic baggage.” KC adds, “My first book comes out on October 27. It’s called Simply Amazing and it includes my struggle with mental illness and health problems along with 11 of my most inspirational interviews. This will be a wonderful opportunity to share this with listeners all over the country.” WRCN general manager Bruce Shepard says, “‘LI News Radio’ is proud to have served as the flagship station for KC Armstrong over the past year. We look forward to the next evolution as his show’s expansion is sure to bring more access to celebrity guests and entertainment.”
TALKERS News Notes. The New York Daily News reports that former WFAN, New York morning show co-host Craig Carton is asking the court not to use the phrase “Ponzi scheme” during his coming trial on fraud charges, arguing that it would prejudice the jury against him. Carton is facing charges in federal court in New York for allegedly using millions of dollars from investors in his after-market concert ticket business to pay off personal expenses, including large gambling debts. But prosecutors argue that a search of his cell phone indicates Carton himself executed several online searches for the terms “Ponzi scheme” and “Ponzi” in the months prior to his arrest. Jury selection for his trial is to begin on October 29…..iHeartRadio and HowStuffWorks in partnership with School of Humans launch a new, true-crime podcast called “Hell and Gone.” This podcast dives deep into the murder of Rebekah Gould, a 22-year old college student who was mysteriously murdered on her way to a gas station in Ozarks, Arkansas 14 years ago. It’s hosted by Catherine Townsend…..Entercom all-news WCBS-AM, New York names Anita Bonita to the station’s staff as a weekend news anchor…..Cumulus Media names Scotty Bastable VP and director of sales for its San Francisco cluster that includes news/talk station KGO and KSFO. Bastable was most recently agency and corporate development manager for CBS 360. He also served in the Bay Area as general manager of Entercom’s adult contemporary KOIT. He begins his new role with Cumulus on November 15.
Nikki Haley to Step Down, Kavanaugh Confirmation Aftermath, Tracking Hurricane Michael, AMAs/Taylor Swift Speech, U.S.-China Trade War, Sears to Enter Bankruptcy, Missing Saudi Journalist, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The announcement that Nikki Haley will leave her Ambassador to the UN position at the end of the year; the aftermath of the contentious nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court; the tracking of Hurricane Michael as it heads toward the Florida panhandle; Tuesday night’s American Music Awards and Taylor Swift’s “get out the vote” speech; the trade war between the U.S. and China; a report Sears has hired a firm to begin bankruptcy proceedings; concerns missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudi regime; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pioneer Valley Radio Reaches Special Milestone. Now in its fourth year of service to Western Massachusetts, hyper-local online radio station, Pioneer Valley Radio (www.pioneervalleyradio.com) has reached a milestone that GM/morning host Brad Shepard describes as “extremely gratifying.” Yesterday (10/9), the station posted its 200th on demand special feature program. Pioneer Valley Radio’s “special feature” programs include interviews with community leaders and in-depth reports on local people and activities that are presented to its listenership above and beyond its daily fare of a morning show, regularly scheduled specialty hosts, video events, and live, local sports play-by-play. The outlet was launched in 2014 by Shepard and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as an experiment in digital era “media station” development. Shepard – a former longtime Springfield, MA morning host on iHeartMedia’s WHYN and Cumulus Media’s WMAS – describes Pioneer Valley Radio’s format as “non-partisan, personality-oriented public affairs covering local politics, business, public safety, health care, and arts & entertainment.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After the recent resignation of long-time program director Ron Valeri, Entercom names Joe Calgaro program director for its active rock WAAF, Boston. Calgaro leaves his post at Saga Communications’ WHQG, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog” to make the move to Boston…..iHeartMedia announces Marc Anthony is being honored with the third annual iHeartRadio Premio Corazón Latino Award at the 2018 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina on November 3 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. In addition, Marc Anthony, Manuel Turizo and Mau y Ricky are joining the lineup that includes previously announced performers Pitbull, Nicky Jam, Steve Aoki, Farruko, Nacho, Becky G, and Zion & Lennox…..Friends, family, and co-workers are mourning the death of classic rock WBVX, Lexington, Kentucky air personality Shea Maddox, who committed suicide early Monday morning. Maddox was the midday host at the LM Communications’ station…..Pictured below is “NASH Nights Live” co-host Elaina Smith (left) with country star Kane Brown (right) backstage at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Brown picked up three awards at last night’s ceremonies: Favorite Male Artist – Country; Favorite Album – Country (for his self-titled album), and Favorite Song – Country (for “Heaven”).
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Mike Pintek Announces Cancer Diagnosis. As reported by CBS Pittsburgh, KDKA-AM midday talk show host Mike Pintek on Thursday (6/29) informed his listeners that he’s been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He said, “What I’m about to do is not easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In early May, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The stats are not great, but that’s the hand I was dealt and it is not operable. They thought it was going to be operable at first, but it is not operable…at this time.” Pintek went on to say that the cancer has spread to his liver and possibly to other areas of his body. He added that the doctors hope that chemotherapy will shrink the tumor enough to make it operable. “My focus is on trying to go through the therapies, to take the medicines, to follow the advice of what I consider to be the best doctors in the world at UPMC Hillman.” He’ll be missing some time on air as he undergoes treatment. He told his audience, “You are my family – my extended family.” Pintek is on his second tour with the station. He hosted a talk show on KDKA-AM from 1982-2005, and returned to the station in 2009.
Wells Fargo’s Ryvicker Addresses Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger. In a missive to investors, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker offers her thoughts on the value of the Entercom–CBS RADIO merger. She concludes that for patient investors, the merger will bring rewards. She says that this will be good for current Entercom stock holders, “This transforms ETM into the industry leader, with one of the best balance sheets in radio and broadcast (<4x levered). You could also expect some upside potential via accretive M&A and shareholder returns late ’18/early’19.” What about CBS RADIO? She notes the station portfolio includes some respected, heritage brands but says, “CBS RADIO has great brands that have been mismanaged – thus there is real opportunity for growth in ratings and revenue. This should be good for Entercom and the industry, which has more or less lacked a leader for quite some time.” CBS people would probably take issue with that and note the company’s very competitive ratings and revenue quarter-after-quarter. But Ryvicker appears to be intimating that the stations should be performing better than they are. She goes on to say that ultimately this deal will be very good for the new Entercom’s cash flow. She’s also especially bullish about what CBS’ sports talk stations will bring to the company. Not only are many of them very successful sports talk outlets, but they come with rights to “about 50 pro teams” and “dozens of division one colleges.”
Successful ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Wraps. Thursday (6/29) was day two and the final day of Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC. This year’s event was the 11th annual and was attended by 62 talk radio hosts/teams – a record number of broadcasters for the radio row. The two-day event took place at the Phoenix Park Hotel and consisted of legislators and experts speaking with talk radio hosts about immigration reform issues. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison attended the radio row, speaking with hosts on 27 radio talk shows. He says, “Interacting on air with that many hosts in a concentrated two-day period about a hot issue such as immigration reform really gives me an invaluable connection and experience with what’s happening in news/talk radio on a grass-roots level. This event showed me first-hand the vibrancy and diversity of the format.” Pictured above left is KXNT, Las Vegas morning drive personality Heidi Harris. At right is KFYI, Phoenix personality Terry Gilberg.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (6/30). The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); and the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon). Closing out the week today, (6/30) the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo) has been be posted. Within the following weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Taking over for Joey Hudson – who’s just agreed to take on the position of general manager for the Mike Gallagher show – at Salem Media Group’s Greenville, South Carolina operations is Val Carolin. He’s been working in radio in Atlanta for the past 20 years, most recently with Cumulus Atlanta. Salem SVP of broadcast operations Allen Power states, “Val’s deep experience in all levels of media (local and national, terrestrial and digital) positions him well to lead our growing Greenville cluster. This expertise combined with his excitement for the Upstate is a winning combination as our next general manager. We are also grateful that Joey Hudson will continue as a local ambassador and talk show host for “‘94.5 The Answer.’”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliate stations, including: KWTO-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KINA-AM/FM, Salina, Kansas; and WMEL, Cocoa, Florida…..At Midwest Communications’ sports talk WNFL-AM/W270AJ in Green Bay, the “Outlaw Radio” program debuts next Saturday night (7/8) at 7:00 pm. A press release says that the show is the brainchild of Magic Matt Alan. It features regulars like radio legend Shadoe Stevens, entertainment manager Howard Lapides, Matt’s musician brother Marty, Hollywood producer Frank Hagan, Mark CG Boyer, and “Outlaw Radio” show producer (and widow of Morton Downey Jr.) Lori Downey Jr. Midwest Communications VP/programming Jeff McCarthy comments, “There’s nothing like it anywhere else on the radio. It’s true escape programming with an original brand.”
GOP Health Care Bill Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 26-30. The status of the GOP’s health care legislation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the number one position on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was legislation aimed at addressing illegal immigration. Coming in at #3 was the SCOTUS-approved portions of President Trump’s travel ban going into effect, followed by the controversy over Trump’s Twitter assault on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski 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.
Talk Show Host/Podcaster Rusty Humphries Writes New Book About Political Debating for Conservatives. Veteran talk show host, podcaster and media coach Rusty Humphries has written and published a new book being released today titled, 7 Ways to Win Political Debates with Your Liberal Family and Friends (Humphries Publishing, 2017). According to Humphries, “If you are tired of being in social situations and being ambushed by liberals who just won’t let it go, this book is for you.” He advises his readers “how to go to important family functions prepared for the onslaught of jabs, jokes, and insults based on your deeply held conservative political beliefs.” The Kindle version of the book is available today-only (6/30) for free. To receive a copy, click here. To arrange an interview with Humphries call 541-450-5708.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. KRBQ, San Francisco “Q102.1” midday personality Billy Vidal is adding music director duties to his responsibilities at the Entercom rhythmic oldies outlet. OM and PD Elroy Smith says, “This decision was very easy for me because Billy is the epitome of a professional whose knowledge of our format is unparalleled. I am excited to continue to watch him grow.”…..In Orlando JVC Media–owned country station WOTW “103.1 The Wolf” announces the addition of MurphDawg & Jenn to the lineup as the morning drive show. JVC EVP Shane Reeve states, “The addition of MurphDawg & Jenn to ‘103.1 The Wolf’ is the latest step in the evolution and tremendous growth of ‘The Wolf.’ We are committed to country in the Orlando market and are here to stay.”…..iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KQXT, San Antonio “Q101.9” brings Premiere Networks syndicated late night personality Delilah back to the station’s lineup, beginning July 3.
Hugh Hewitt to Host Weekend Show on MSNBC. TVNewser is first with the report that Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will begin hosting a Saturday morning show on MSNBC on Saturday (6/24). The program will air live at 8:00 am ET. Obviously, some will be surprised by the addition of conservative Hewitt joining the left-leaning cable news/talk channel, but as The Hollywood Reporter points out in its coverage of the story, MSNBC recently added former Fox News Channel personality Greta Van Susteren and former George W. Bush Administration communications staffer Nicole Wallace. In illustrating the gains MSNBC has made over the last 12 months, THR also notes that Standard Media Index just released a report showing MSNBC’s ad rates are up 43% over last year’s.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second in a series of analyses based on data from the May 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, this time focusing on sports talk. The return of Major League Baseball is usually good for sports talkers during summer ratings periods, and in this report, Kinosian concludes that, for the 6+ demo, “just over half the stations (53%) on the panel are up April 2017 – May 2017; one in four (25%) are down; and the remaining 22% of the sample is flat.” However, “approximately two of every three eligible sports talk stations are down year-to-year (64%) while 26% improve; the remaining 10% are steady.” Just five sports talkers ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the May 2017 survey, led by CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM, Detroit at #2 (behind the company’s all-newser WWJ-AM). See the entire report here.
Joey Hudson Rises to GM of Mike Gallagher Show. Longtime Mike Gallagher show team member Joey Hudson is named general manager for the Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show. Hudson serves as executive director of the Gallagher’s Army: Fallen Officer Fund charity, a position in which he’ll continue to serve. He’s also been GM of Salem-owned Caron Broadcasting’s WGTK-FM and WRTH-FM in Greenville, South Carolina. He’ll leave that position. Mike Gallagher says, “2017 has been the strongest year we’ve had in terms of affiliates, ratings and revenue for our national radio show. Joey is the perfect person to oversee the growing daily operations of our show throughout the rest of 2017 and into the exciting future.”
Warren Franklin Named Morning Host at KYKN. In Salem, Oregon, iSalem Media news/talker KYKN announces that market pro Warren Franklin is named morning drive host. In addition to handling the morning news and commentary duties, Franklin will do 15 live remote broadcasts each month. KYKN program director (and afternoon air personality) Gator Gaynor says, “We are delighted to have someone of Warren’s ability and robust personality on our team.”
Edison Research and NPR Study Smart Speaker Owner Habits. There’s a lot of optimism on the part of radio station operators that the smart speaker – Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod – can bring radio listening back into the home. NPR and Edison Research have partnered to research the habits of current smart speaker owners to see if that optimism is well grounded. The results of the “The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research” will be revealed in part at a June 28 webinar. Edison VP of strategy Tom Webster says, “Although Smart Speakers have not been around for very long, nearly one in five owners say that these devices are the way that they most often listen to audio. The frictionless way in which these devices enable audio consumption is already changing listening behaviors, and potentially increasing audio consumption overall.” The study consisted of a national online survey of 1620 Americans ages 18+. Eight hundred respondents owned at least one smart speaker (160 Google Home, 709 Amazon Alexa-enabled, and 69 who owned both.) Eight hundred and twenty respondents did not own a smart speaker device and were surveyed for comparative purposes.
Starnes Keynotes Writer’s Conference. Pictured above is Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes serving as keynote speaker at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. During the event he also led workshops for more than 500 writers. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Starnes is launching a new, three-hour radio talk show on FNR on July 5. See more about him at toddstarnes.com.
Central PA Host and GM Differ Offer Different Takes on Programming Policy. By now you’ve heard about classic rock WTPA, Palmyra, Pennsylvania weekend personality Bruce Bond’s exit from the station after, as he claims, feeling forced to resign for being ordered not to talk critically about President Trump. WTPA general manager Tim Michaels is now speaking out, telling Fox News that Bond was hired to do an entertainment program. His orders were to not talk politics – nothing specific about being for or against Trump. Obviously, that’s not how Bond expressed it when he first spoke to media about his exit.
New York Festivals 2017 International Radio Program Award Winners Announced. The big winner in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards – the annual awards program honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs – was RTÉ Ireland which was presented with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year. TBI Media UK was honored with Production Company of the Year. RTÉ Radio Ireland earned an impressive 10 Gold trophies, 8 Silver, 10 Bronze, and 12 Finalist Certificates. Among the United States winners were, SiriusXM, CBS RADIO Boston, Westwood One, ESPN, ABC Radio, and iHeartMedia. See the entire list of winners here.
Edwards Returns to Lead Pubcaster WBEZ, Chicago. Windy City media maven Robert Feder tips us that Steve Edwards is returning to public media outlet WBEZ, Chicago after five years away. In 2012 Edwards – who hosted a popular two-hour afternoon show – left WBEZ to become executive director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. Now, he is set to lead WBEZ programming as vice president and chief content officer. Read Feder’s story here.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Election Hacking Hearings, GOP Health Care Plan, Republican Handel Wins Georgia House Seat, Flint Airport Attack, Tropical Storm Cindy/Western Heatwave, ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Controversy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/21). The special counsel investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s testimony from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others about Russian election hacking; the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan critics say is being devised behind closed doors; Republican Karen Handel wins the race for Georgia’s sixth congressional district seat; the attack on a police officer at the Flint, Michigan airport by a suspected radical Islamist; Tropical Storm Cindy approaches Louisiana and the Western U.S. heatwave; the controversy over ABC-TV’s ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ program; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at iHeartMedia’s WWYZ, Hartford “Country 92-5” is “Damon & Cory” – Connecticut radio pro Damon Scott and incumbent WWYZ morning personality Corey Myers. iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited that a well-known local personality like Damon Scott is joining longtime morning host, Cory Myers. Damon Scott is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Connecticut for years. He understands how to connect with listeners and the local community as well as what it takes to be successful in radio.” Scott spent the past 27 years as PM drive host at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR WTIC-FM…..The new morning show is launched on Cumulus Media’s country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” and it’s called “Caddy, CJ and Ali,” featuring Cadillac Jack, CJ and Ali Mac. This comes after the recent move of former morning show co-host Dallas McCade to music director and midday personality. Concurrent with the lineup changes, “Kicks 101.5” takes on the new slogan, “Georgia’s Country For Life.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network signs a contract with SAG-AFTRA top become the first major independent American music syndication network to ratify such an agreement. TKRN CEO and president Tom Kent states, “Our team is more than excited to become a SAG-AFTRA shop! We embrace all of its principles and look forward to a long and prosperous future together. Working with the head of SAG-AFTRA local Brian Lysell has been a total pleasure. Our current and future affiliates know how committed we have been to showcasing excellent talent and this deal is a major indication that our commitment will continue.”
iHeartMedia Throws VIP Party at Cannes. Hip hop star The Weeknd was the featured performer at the intimate VIP dinner hosted by iHeartMedia and MediaLink at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, along with MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan and president/COO Wenda Harris Millard, hosted the party that – for the sixth consecutive year – brought together the “senior most-influential decision makers and thought leaders in the media ecosystem.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; The Weeknd; Michele Anthony, EVP of Universal Music Group; and Scott Borchetta, founder, president & CEO of Big Machine Label Group. Photo by Tony Barson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.