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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

| June 29, 2021

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TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World. The second video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted. This panel – in addition to featuring a brief video from consultant Holland Cooke – was moderated by Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon and included panelists: Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Paul Gleiser, president/owner, KTBB, Tyler, Texas; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media, New York, RAB; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York, RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, New York.

Remotes: An Oldie But a Goodie. Radio sales pro Kathy Carr writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to keep talk show hosts in front of their audiences. She says the recent trend away from remote broadcasts misses some great opportunities to promote and sell. “Isn’t the mission of a local – or in our case regional – show to cover a certain geographical area? And covering an area includes being on the ground. Just this spring and summer alone, our network will visit 10 different parts of the region to get in front of the listeners via remote broadcasts – at restaurants including 110 Grill and Evviva Trattoria, auto dealerships, seaside inns, and even an arcade. Listeners drive long distances to watch the shows live. Some have come from as far as Ohio.” Read her column here.

WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Raises $100,000-plus for Service Dog Charity. Pictured above is WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive host Simon Conway (standing) at a live event to raise funds for his Puppy Jake Foundation – a charity that helps fund service dogs for U.S. service persons wounded in combat. Joining him were U.S. Navy SEALS Rob O’Neill (center) – whose shot took down Osama bin Laden during Operation Neptune Spear – and Will Chesney (left), who served as the SEALS dog handler on that mission. Conway says, “I am so honored that these true national heroes came to Iowa to support this charity.” Conway’s program – which helped raise more than $102,000 for the Puppy Jake Foundation – is also heard on iHeartMedia stations WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport.

Massachusetts Broadcasters Association to Induct Nine into Hall of Fame. This fall, the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association will induct nine broadcasters into its Hall of Fame, including WAQY, Springfield morning duo “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike “Bax” Baxendale (left) and John O’Brien (right). Other inductees are: WCRB, Boston morning host Laura Carlo; WGBH, Boston jazz show host Eric Jackson; broadcast executive Paul Kelley; former Boston Red Sox play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough; former longtime WMJX, Boston personality Nancy Quill; WCVB-TV, Boston journalist Jorge Quiroga; and former Boston television executive Gerald Walsh.

iHeartMedia Atlanta Commits to Launching 10,000 Black-Owned Businesses. The company is announcing that on the heels of its multi-year commitment to Atlanta-based Operation HOPE revealed back in April, it plans to help 10,000 aspiring Black entrepreneurs in the Atlanta metro area launch their businesses. This is part of the 1 Million Black Business Initiative that aims to create one million new Black businesses by 2030. iHeartMedia says this initiative will continue to amplify the work of aspiring Black entrepreneurs, providing them with top-of-the-line coaching and educational resources and a 120-day free trial, courtesy of Shopify. iHeartMedia Atlanta will also provide social media support and advertising to a select group of entrepreneurs in the future, with additional activations to come. iHeartMedia Atlanta president Drew Lauter says, “We are excited to partner with Operation HOPE to grow Black business ownership here in Atlanta. Our city is the epicenter for entrepreneurial energy, and we are proud to use iHeart’s considerable resources to help owners of Black businesses achieve their dreams.”

George Noory Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension with Premiere Networks. Late night talk radio star George Noory and syndicator Premiere Networks agree to an exclusive, long-term agreement to renew and extend their relationship. Noory will continue to host the “Coast to Coast AM” program that’s heard on more than 640 affiliate stations. Noory comments, “I can’t express how delighted I am that we have extended our agreement well into this decade. As I enter my 18th year as host of this incredible show, ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ I look forwarded to the future. We’re experiencing incredible times and we’ll be there nightly, bringing the best stories and guests to our audience who has made us the #1 rated nighttime talk show in the country.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “‘Coast to Coast AM’ continues to be an overnight powerhouse for our partners, and it’s a credit to George’s dedication to the program and his audience. For the past 18 years, he has brought passion and enthusiasm to the program every night, and we couldn’t be happier to extend our successful partnership.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s edition of Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” former President Donald J. Trump will appear as a guest during the second hour of the show…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “Top of the World: Lessons from Rebuilding the World Trade Center,” an 11-part series featuring the people at the heart of the historic rebuilding of the new World Trade Center. The special programming premieres July 6 on Business Radio channel 132 and will broadcast for 11 consecutive weeks in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Among the major figures featured throughout the series are World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; WTC master planner Daniel Libeskind; National 9/11 Memorial architect Michael Arad; and more…..Audacy and Notre Dame Global Partnerships announce a multi-year radio broadcast agreement for Notre Dame Football. As part of the relationship, all-news WBBM-AM, Chicago will air all Fighting Irish football games on the Notre Dame Radio Network beginning with the team’s season opener on September 5 against Florida State. During Notre Dame football broadcasts on WBBM-AM, non-stop news coverage will continue on WCFS-FM…..C13Originals, the Peabody Award-nominated documentary studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 announces the second season of “Hope, Through History.” This limited-run documentary podcast series is directed and produced by C13Originals and written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and bestselling author Jon Meacham and explores pivotal moments of crisis in American history and how they shaped the nation. Season two explores “FDR, Churchill, and America’s Slow Walk to War”; The Battle of Gettysburg”; “George W. Bush and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” and more.

Facebook Anti-Trust Suit Tossed, COVID-19, Condo Collapse Case, Trump Rally/Trump Org Legal Situation, Big City Gun Violence Spike, House January 6 Investigation, Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, Western Heatwave and Gwen Berry Anthem Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/28). A U.S. District Court judge throws out the Federal Trade Commission’s anti-trust suit against Facebook; the concern about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the flagging vaccination rate in the U.S.; the search for residents of the collapsed Florida condominium and the building’s safety history; former President Donald Trump’s Ohio rally and the legal issues facing the Trump Organization; the spike in deadly gun violence in America’s large cities; the U.S. House legislation to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; President Joe Biden’s push for the bipartisan infrastructure deal; the record-setting heatwave affecting the Pacific Northwest; and reaction to U.S. Olympic athlete Gwen Berry’s National Anthem slight were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 11, 2019

| October 11, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  As the NFL began its 100th season of play, 65% of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the August survey to the September survey, with big gainers Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+1.5), Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston (+1.3), and Entercom’s WKRK-FM, Cleveland (+1.0) leading the way.  Comparing September 2018 to September 2019, 50% of the sports talk stations on our panel are up, with 43% down and 7% steady.  Just one sports talk outlet ranked #1 in its market during the September survey – Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia.  The company’s WFAN, New York ranked #2 in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Envision Networks Adds to Sales and Marketing Teams in Cleveland. Two personnel changes take place in Envision Networks’ Cleveland office.  First, Jen Weisfeld moves from her role as assistant marketing manager to affiliate relations manager.  In this role, Weisfeld consults and assists Envision Networks’ affiliates and potential radio stations throughout the northwest states on their programming, sales, and production needs.  Second, Lara Weidner joins Envision Networks as the assistant marketing manager following a stint as a marketing intern.  In this role, Weidner handles public relations and other marketing aspects for the company’s shows, features, and services.  Speaking about Weisfeld, Envision senior affiliate relations manager Ryan Verardi says, “Super serving our affiliates is our most important job. Jen’s radio experience and knowledge of our shows and services makes her an incredible resource to stations across the country.”  Envision Networks marketing director Dave Hintz adds, “Lara Weidner brings a strong work ethic to our team.  She has done a great job building better processes for the public relations function and produces quality marketing pieces for our sales team.”

Former WCTC, New Brunswick Personality to Receive Easter Seals Honor. Radio pro Bert Baron left Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick where he was the longtime morning drive host to take on the public information officer role with the City of New Brunswick.  On Wednesday, October 16, Baron will receive the 2019 Champion Award from Easter Seals NJ, recognizing Baron’s ongoing commitment to providing opportunities to individuals living with disabilities and special needs.  Baron says, “It’s truly an honor to receive this special recognition from Easter Seals NJ.  It’s one of the many lifelong connections I’ve been fortunate to make through the three ‘ships’ of broadcasting: partnerships, friendships, and relationships. It’s moments like these that make live-and-local radio simply irreplaceable.” During this radio career Baron was elected into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and received a Marconi Award nomination for Best Large Market Personality from the NAB.

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (10/11).  The new episode titled, “DC Reality Show!” looks back at this past week of October 7-11, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine;  Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, Salem Radio Network); Dick Morris, political strategist/author/pundit; Nan Su, reporter, NTDTV/The Epoch TimesChip Franklin, talk show host, KGO, San Francisco; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio 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.

Howard Stern Commemorates Opening of SiriusXM Hollywood Studios. Pictured above is SiriusXM personality Howard Stern (left) with actor Seth Rogen (center) and rap artist Snoop Dogg (right) at the official grand opening of the SiriusXM Hollywood Studios this week.   Other stars appearing with Stern during his broadcasts from California included: Jennifer Aniston, Robert Downey, Jr., Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Levine, Demi Moore, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Golden State Warriors player Chris Mullin is joining Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco as an on-air contributor.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “We are thrilled to welcome Chris into the KNBR family.  Chris brings a unique perspective to both our Warriors coverage and overall NBA coverage, given his great success as a player, coach, and executive.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is adding Sunday afternoon football to its programming via Compass Media Networks.  But WGN listeners won’t hear the Bears – those rights belong to Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM.  Robert Feder also reports that WGN is changing part of its business model and is now airing a full simulcast online, instead of airing different commercials on the stream.  Because of this, the station qualifies for Nielsen’s Total Line Reporting in which its over-the-air and streaming ratings can be combined…..The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that former WGST, Atlanta talk radio host Dana Barrett is running for congress as a democrat.  The piece notes that Barrett considers herself socially liberal and “fiscally responsible.”  She hopes to challenge Republican Barry Loudermilk for the 11th Congressional District seat.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 7-11. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of whether the president implied he’d release Ukraine financial aid in exchange for President Volodymyr Zelensky investigating Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential election.  Coming in at #3 was Turkey’s invasion of Syria, followed by U.S.-China relations 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Alpha Media’s Lincoln, Nebraska station group, Double J is named content director for CHR KFRX.  Double J was most recently with SummitMedia’s rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “POWER 104.3” as APD and morning drive host.  Alpha Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley says, “We are very excited to bring Double J’s excitement, energy, and knowledge to lead heritage KFRX into the next decade with our Alpha Lincoln operation!”…..NRG Media announces that programming pro Jay Michaels is joining the company’s Omaha cluster to serve as program director for hot AC KQKQ “SWEET 98.5” and hip hop KOPW “POWER 106.9.”  NRG Media Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle comments, “I am thrilled to have Jay join our incredibly talented and award-winning staff.  Jay’s music knowledge, creativity, passion for radio and his competitive spirit is second to none.  Jay has a great programming mind, as well as a strong sales mentality, which is important in our business.  I am very fortunate to once again work with Jay, as he is truly one of the best programmers in the business.”…..PennLive.com reports on cuts at Cumulus Media’s Pennsylvania stations WZCY, Mechanicsburg, “Nash 93.5 FM” and CHR WWKL, Hershey “Hot 106.7.”  At WZCY, morning radio host Charles “Chachi” Angelo exits and at WWKL, morning personalities Ryan “DJ Puff” Downes and Steph Pagliaro also exit.

Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

Friday, April 26, 2019

| April 26, 2019

Mark Levin to Air Interview with President Trump. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mark Levin is presenting an exclusive interview with President Trump on his Westwood One program later today (4/26).  In the segment, the president tells Levin he’ll be proud to run on a position that continues prohibiting felons from voting and accuses Democrats of moving to the far left.  Trump also weighed in on the Mueller Report.  Check out some of the audio from the interview here.

NJBA to Induct Class of 2019 into Hall of Fame.  At this summer’s New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention in Atlantic City, the state broadcasters organization will induct seven into its Hall of Fame.  Being enshrined this year will be: Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (who will also present a keynote address at the convention), iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren DavisTownsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson, Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce, Emmis Communications founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan, WFPG-FM, Atlantic City “Lite Rock” morning host Eddie Davis, and late national syndication and WCTC-AM, New Brunswick talk radio legend Bruce Williams.  Also at this year’s event,TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison will address the conference as a featured speaker.

Jim Bohannon Helps WDUN Celebrate 70th Anniversary. Pictured above is Westwood One nationally syndicated late night personality Jim Bohannon (right) with WDUN, Gainesville, Georgia EVP and general manager Bill Maine (left).  Bohannon visited his affiliate station in the market yesterday (4/25) to attend its 70thanniversary celebration luncheon.

Kellie Holeman Named Market President at iHeartMedia Greensboro. Radio executive Kellie Holeman is moving from iHeartMedia’s Toledo operations to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point cluster to serve as market president.  The station group consists of news/talk WPTI-FM and seven music formatted stations.  iHeartMedia area president Bill McMartin says, “I am very excited to have Kellie Holeman lead the iHeartMedia team in the Triad and the Virginia-Carolina region.  Kellie has an extensive track record and brings over 25 years of experience managing iHeartMedia stations in a competitive Ohio media environment.  Our Greensboro team is looking forward to Kellie’s strong leadership, positive enthusiasm, and competitive drive to further lead a best-in-class team at iHeartMedia Greensboro.”  Holeman served as market president for a seven-station market for iHeartMedia Toledo for the past seven years.

Detailed Agenda for Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Posted.  Although speakers and sessions are still being added, the basic detailed agenda for the forthcoming 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most important annual gathering of the talk media industry is now posted and can be accessed here.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The sheer quality of this convention’s lineup of speakers is a testimony to the present-day vibrancy of talk radio and the associated talk media industry. This is the place to be for anyone who is serious about their career and business in the field of talk shows.”  The event will take place on Friday, June 7 in New York City at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  The conference will feature more than 55 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including influential talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, fast-paced day!  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. A full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Panel Discussion to Address Talk Radio’s Challenges and Opportunities Generating Revenue in 2019.  One of the many highlights planned for the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City will be an extremely useful and pertinent panel discussion focusing on the challenges faced by and opportunities available to talk radio in 2019 in advertising sales, digital marketing, and the generation of non-traditional revenue.  Titled, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019,” the session will feature panelists (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, “AsaRx”; Vince Benedetto, CEO Bold Gold Media GroupSuzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood OneChad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus Media New York; Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250 – America’s Mobile Speed Dial; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The discussion will be moderated by Erica Farber, president/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The session will be introduced by Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz.  The panel will identify problems as well as solutions inherent in the sales and marketing of talk radio as the medium integrates its multi-platform assets into the rapidly evolving digital era.   Don’t miss this session!  The TALKERS convention is rapidly heading toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

WMVP’s Zederman Launches Fitness-Nutrition Podcast. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports some podcast news out of the Windy City. Danny Zederman, who serves ESPN sports talk O&O WMVP-AM as executive producer of the late morning “Kap & Co.” with host David Kaplan, is striking out into the podcast space with the health, nutrition, and fitness-focused “The Armchair Nutritionist” program.  Zederman tells Feder, “I target a demographic that usually goes unserved in the health and nutrition marketplace: the newbies trying to figure out health and nutrition in order to get themselves on track in life with the limited time they have in the day.”

Mueller Report Aftermath/Impeachment Talk Top News/Talk Stories for Week of April 22-26.  The reaction to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ calls for impeachment of President Trump were the top news/talk stories this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump Administration’s plan to ignore subpoenas from House leaders.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential candidates and their political strategies, followed by the Southern border migrant issue 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Dave Numme is promoted to format captain for hot AC and rock brands for Alpha Media.  Numme serves as content director for hot AC KEZR and classic hits KBAY in San Jose, positions he will continue to hold.   Numme says, “Alpha Media is progressive in building a culture that empowers our people to initiate new ideas to grow our brands and audience.  It’s exciting to be asked to help share best practices and collaborate with all of our content managers to have fun and win.”…..In Rhode Island, Hall Communications appoints April Shibley to the position of promotions manager for WCTK-FM, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.”  She previously served with Cumulus Media New York as promotions director.  Hall Communications VP of programming Bob Walker says, “April is a true industry pro and we are thrilled to have her join us in Providence.”…..WCMF, Rochester midday personality Dave Kane is the subject of a feature piece in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle this week.  The piece reveals Kane’s thoughts on classic rock from the late 1960s and the 1970s and why it still resonates with people.  Kane is being honored by the Rochester Music Hall of Fame for his 38 years of work on the rock station at a ceremony on Sunday (4/28).

PPM Analysis: Mainstream Rock.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on mainstream rock.  Based on weekly 6+ AQH share, about half the rock stations in PPM markets saw their ratings go up and about half saw them go down.  Comparing March 2018 to March 2019 slightly more than half (56%) of rock stations saw ratings improve year-over-year.  Three rock stations ranked #1 in their respective markets during the March survey: Hubbard Radio’s KSHE, St. Louis; and iHeartMedia’s WDVE, Pittsburgh and WHJY, Providence.  See the whole report here.