By Holland Cooke
- Dr. Fauci and the Biden transition team’s pandemic advisers and state governors are pleading with us to skip Thanksgiving this year. It doesn’t take a rally. Contact tracing pinpoints “small social gatherings” as significant spreader events. We’re begged to Zoom instead of hugging those we only get to hug once a year.
- Predictably, we won’t. United Airlines alone added 1,400 flights. Then do the math. Figure 2-3 weeks, like after Easter/Passover, then after The Fourth, then after Justice Coney Barrett’s Rose Garden introduction. Hug grandparents on Thanksgiving and you might not be able to on Christmas.
- Consensus forecasts: At present rates, another hundred thousand Americans will die before the Inauguration; and January will be worse than April was.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Sales managers: Come down off the ledge! While nervous sales reps are REACTING to cancellations as the economy dives, smart sellers are PROACTIVELY turning-lemons-into-lemonade. And canny clients are using radio to sound relevant, helpful, and like we’re-all-in-the-same-boat…
“We want to keep our people working.”
This is a commercial copy point we’re using at client stations, in spots for local service retailers. Another empathy message pertains to restaurants, increasingly restricted to take-out and drive-thru business. They’re really hurting; and I’ve heard several offering gift cards “that never expire.”
Mapleton Communications Sells 37 Stations in Seven Markets to Stephens Media Group. This is an exit from the radio business for California-based, Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications. The price for the 37 stations in Medford, Oregon; Merced, Monterey, and Redding, California; Spokane, Washington; and Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana was not revealed in the press release. But, with Mapleton previously agreeing to sell KSFN-AM, San Francisco and its Chico, California stations to Bustos Media, it will have divested of all of its radio assets. The buyer in this transaction is Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group, led by David Stephens. Stephens begins operating the stations immediately under an LMA. Stephens Media owns stations in Tulsa and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Rochester, New York; and Yakima and the Tri-Cities in Washington. Several news/talk and sports talk stations are involved, including KYOS-AM, Merced; KQMS-FM and KNRO-AM in Redding; KCMX-AM in Medford; and KGA-AM in Spokane. You can see Mapleton’s stations here. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.
KMOX Promotes Amy Marxkors to Daily On-Air Role. Effective immediately, Amy Marxkors begins a regular on-air role with Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis joining station institution Charlie Brennan as a co-host of the “Total Information AM Overdrive” Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and will stay on the air for “The Charlie Brennan Show” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Marxkors joined the station in 2018 as a sports reporter and host. Prior to joining Entercom, she served as co-host of the St. Louis Blues weekly hockey show “Chili’s Week in Hockey” in 2016, that aired on KMOX. She joined the Blues radio broadcast in 2017 and became the first woman to host the pre- and post-game of a radio broadcast for any St. Louis professional sports team in February 2019. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “Amy is a rising star in radio and has shown tremendous growth on air while covering everything from the Blues Stanley Cup run to discussing local and national issues during our long-form talk shows. She has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to the impact she can make on KMOX.” In addition to her role on the morning show, Marxkors will continue to cover the St. Louis Blues and the National Hockey League by hosting a weekly hockey podcast.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories” Delivering Official Welcoming Address. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s post presents the convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories.” The first two videos already posted today are of RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
News and News/Talk Radio Analysis. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an assessment of “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.” Formats involved in this report are news/talk, all-news (including business or financial news), and public radio news/talk. As this report is based on Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, the rating metric is weekly, 6+ AQH share from subscribing stations. Looking at the May PPM survey, the #1 market for news and news/talk is Washington, DC. On the strength of Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, and American University’s public radio news/talk WAMU-FM, the format garnered a 22.7 share in May. Rounding out the top three markets are Milwaukee and San Francisco. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Sources in Philadelphia tell TALKERS magazine that news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart has exited Entercom. We’ve reached out to Entercom Philadelphia for confirmation but have not yet heard back…..In addition to his work as a nationally syndicated talk show host for the Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt also serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation. In that capacity, he announces two coming events being held at the library in Yorba Linda, California centered around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969. On July 20, the “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration will commemorate Nixon’s call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon. Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby, and John Price – who were with Nixon the night he made the historic call will be in attendance. Then, on July 23, the library will present the “Splashdown Celebration” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin to honor the legendary Apollo moonwalker…..ESPN’s annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research is again teaming up with eBay for Charity for its 15th year. Bidding for the 80-plus VIP packages and experiences is now available on eBay and will remain open through July 10. Senior vice president of ESPN Audio Traug Keller says, “Everyone at ESPN Radio is beyond proud to have played a role in raising funds for cancer research with the ESPYS Auction the last 15 years. Seeing the support from fans bidding on experiences or directly donating to the V Foundation is truly something unique and special.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program reports the addition of new affiliate station WSLW-AM/FM in Lewisburg, West Virginia and the expansion of carriage of the show on existing affiliate KINN-AM/FM in Alamogordo, New Mexico…..The Houston Chronicle reports that longtime market radio news pro Charles L. “Chuck” Scott died on June 28 after complications from a fall and previously diagnosed lung cancer. Scott most recently served with Houston Public Media’s KUHF-FM. During his long career he worked in the news department KIKK-AM, KNUZ-AM, and KQUE-FM. He also worked for a number of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s at WLS-AM, Chicago.
Simmons Takes Over for Ryan at Salem Boston. At Salem Media Group’s three-station Boston cluster, Pat Ryan retires as general manager and general sales manager Carole Howley Simmons is promoted to the GM position. Salem operates three Christian stations in the market – WROL-AM, WEZE-AM, and WWDJ-AM. Salem regional VP Jeff Reisman says, “Throughout Carole’s tenure she has proven herself to be a creative and compassionate leader, skills that will serve her well as GM. Carole brings a wealth of local-market knowledge and tenacity that will be instrumental in growing the Salem Boston radio stations/digital services to their full potential.”
Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Tariffs Strategy, U.S.-China Trade Talks, 2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform-Detention Facilities, and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The meeting in the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the U.S.’s tariffs strategy, including proposed tariffs on European Union goods; President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping enter into trade talks; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and controversial reports of conditions at border detention centers; and Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal 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. Classic call letters are returning to California’s Central Coast as Cumulus Media announces the launch of classic hits KRUZ. At the same time, the company announces that classic hip hop KVYB at 103.3 FM signs off in the Santa Barbara market and moves to the 106.3 FM frequency in the Oxnard market. Cumulus Oxnard/Ventura RVP and market manager Sommer Frisk says, “Everything good takes time. And, after more than a decade, it’s time we bring KRUZ 103.3 FM back to the Central Coast! It’s also the right time to move ‘106.3 The Vibe’ to Oxnard to give the fans what they’ve been begging for. With the combination of KRUZ 103.3’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister brand ‘106.3 The Vibe,’ we will provide new and exciting ways for our listeners and marketing partners to engage with the fans up and down the Central Coast.”…..Entercom names Brian Shannon morning show co-host for classic rock KGON. Shannon joins Terry Boyd on “Terry Boyd’s World,” effective July 8. Shannon says, “I am incredibly excited to be going home to radio and to be working alongside one of Portland’s best, Terry Boyd. Radio is my happy place and I’m planning to be a part of this station and this city for a long time.” Prior to joining Entercom, Shannon was an editor and anchor for KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”…..iHeartMedia re-brands country WCKY-FM, Toledo as “Buckeye Country, 103.7 ‘CKY.” Market president Shosh Abromovich says, “We’re so excited to once again be playing some of country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s through today. You may even hear some older classic country from time-to-time.” The Bobby Bones show remains in morning drive. Bob Delmont and Bob Pickett will split middays. Meaghan Mick continues in afternoon drive. Tom Travis handles evenings and “CMT with Cody Allen” airs in the overnights…..Speaking of Bobby Bones, his Premiere Networks-syndicated “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones” program is now airing on the Chris Stevens-owned “Chris Country” format heard in numerous markets in the UK. Also joining “Chris Country” is “Women of iHeartCountry,” an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Amy Brown. Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers…..Last weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah welcomed more than 100 guests to her home outside Seattle for the fifth-annual “Farm to Table” fundraiser for her non-profit foundation Point Hope. 2019 marks Delilah’s 15-year commitment to Point Hope, an organization she established as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. The immediate focus of the Foundation is supporting children in the U.S. foster care system, as well as refugee children in Ghana. Pictured below is Delilah (left) and four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Daughtry, who performed for the dinner guests.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — An overview of all-news stations begins our thorough four-part series of April 2019 ratings recaps.
The following scoreboards reflect data from such properties that appear in the top 20 (6+) in April 2019, a ratings period that covered March 28 – April 24.
Nielsen Audio releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. As a result, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations paying that company for its data.
All but three stations listed here are owned by Entercom. The exceptions are iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (also listed in Providence); WTOP, Washington, DC (Hubbard); and KOMO, Seattle (Sinclair Broadcast Group).
Anderssen Adds Atlanta Duties at WSB-AM. Continuing as Cox Media Group’s news, talk, and sports format coordinator, Drew Anderssen is appointed senior operations/program manager for the company’s Atlanta news/talk outlet, WSB-AM. Director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs notes, “Drew and I have worked in lockstep for the last five years as format leaders for all of our outstanding Cox Media Group news/talk stations. He brings an overwhelming amount of experience and passion and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure [WSB-AM] remains a dominant leader in the radio space.” Anderssen comments that WSB-AM is “one of America’s strongest and most iconic radio stations. It has been a career-long dream of mine to become part of this award-winning team. I am thrilled to work one-on-one with Pete Spriggs and the entire team to help shape the future of the WSB brand.” Anderssen previously oversaw programming, news, digital, and social media planning as OM/PD at co-owned WDBO-FM, Orlando. Prior to joining Cox Media Group in 1998 as Tulsa news/talk KRMG’s operations manager, he spent several years in promotions, research, and programming in Texas and Oklahoma. WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 Nielsen Audio sweeps – is a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+).
Thrall To Call Some Reds Ballgames. Seven-year Pensacola Blue Wahoos play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall bumps up from the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds to “the show,” joining the Reds’ broadcast team on iHeartMedia news/talk WLW and the Reds’ radio network. After 45 years of calling Reds’ games, Marty Brennaman will be retiring after this season; Jeff Brantley will continue working alongside Brennaman as color analyst. Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus notes, “Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our ‘utility’ broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the ‘Reds on Radio’ post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill-in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.” Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith comments, “We are incredibly proud of Tommy for taking this well-deserved step in his career. Since Opening Day 2012, he has been an invaluable part of our organization and we are grateful for his numerous contributions to ‘Hoosville.’” Thrall and Brantley worked together on three games last September. They are scheduled to call the Reds – Chicago White Sox spring training matchup later this month (2/27).
Applications Now Accepted For Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program. In its 18th year, this experience pairs up-and-coming women currently working in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Beasley Media Group is once again lead sponsor of the initiative for women interested in advancing their careers. Chair of the 2019 Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s mentoring committee/Entercom Chicago national sales manager Lindsay Cerajewski states, “This unique initiative provides an amazing opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and access to some of the most influential women in radio. It is very rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.” MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik adds, “We are absolutely thrilled Beasley Media Group has once again generously offered to serve as lead sponsor of MIW Group’s heritage Mildred Carter Mentoring Program; we look forward to another successful year.” Four candidates within the radio industry will be selected for this year’s program. At least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot for a digital candidate. The MIW Group Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter, who, along with her husband, Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, when they signed-on Kansas City’s KPRS in 1950. Deadline to apply for the mentoring program is in less than three weeks (2/20).
Blues Skating To Hubbard St. Louis. Effective with the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season, games of the St. Louis Blues will shift from Entercom news/talk KMOX to Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN.” According to Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski, “It has always been a dream to partner with the St. Louis Blues organization. The Blues management team is a class act and their fans are the best in professional hockey.” WXOS band content director Chris “Hoss” Neupert adds, “The ‘101 ESPN’ team is excited to be the new home for the St. Louis Blues. Our entire team is looking forward to our partnership with the St. Louis Blues and the opportunity to offer innovative content, exclusive interviews, analysis, and coverage for St. Louis fans.”
Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.
FSR Sets Super Bowl Programming. Among the highlights on Fox Sports Radio’s schedule this Sunday (2/3) is a weekend edition of “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” who will be joined by betting experts Steve Fezzik and Brad Powers, as well as FSR personality Jonas Knox. Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is considered the biggest sports betting event of the year. The network’s complete lineup this Sunday includes: Andy Furman and Brian Noe (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Mike Harmon and Kelvin Washington (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm); Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Steve Hartman and Ephraim Salaam (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank (throughout the Super Bowl game); and Jonas Knox (11:00 pm – 2:00 am).
RTDNF Tabs Klobuchar As “First Amendment Defender.” This year’s First Amendment Defender award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be presented next month (3/13) in Washington, DC. RTDNF chair Scott Libin comments, “Senator Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts; worked to advance government transparency; and pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning of Attorney General-designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Senator Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.”
WBUR’s CitySpace Opens Later This Month. The 8,700-square-foot, high-tech multipurpose facility at The Lavine Broadcast Center officially opens to the public in several weeks (2/28), but Boston mayor Marty Walsh joined executives of Boston University-owned public radio news/talk WBUR for a ribbon cutting at the Commonwealth Avenue site on Wednesday (1/30). WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz comments, “CitySpace will be the home for public conversation in Boston. It brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it is a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives.” Mayor Walsh notes, “The city of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves. This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.” The calendar of events already includes discussions with Boston Marathon champions; authors and chefs; brown-bag musical performances by Boston University students; trivia nights with WBUR staff; and adult spelling bees. The venue accommodates up to 275 people and has state-of-the-art audio and robotic high-definition video technology for live streaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. First-year CitySpace guests scheduled to appear include comedian/former Air America host Janeane Garofalo, “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur, composer Philip Glass, and author Margaret Atwood.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Shares Its 2019 “Automotive Overview.” In an ongoing series, the Southern California Broadcasters Association delivers an in-depth analysis of a particular industry or topic directly relevant for its members and the radio industry. This particular report, available on SCBA’s website, “challenges the auto industry’s focus” on non-radio digital platforms by “making a compelling case” for broadcast radio and the influence radio advertising has on today’s car buyers. The overview reveals that “year-over-year vehicle sales have remained essentially flat to down the past four years, highlighting SCBA’s case that media reallocation and a true ROI analysis of current ad spending by the automakers is urgently recommended.” SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “Based on factual research, it is our view that broadcast radio is the underrated and undervalued workhorse for the auto industry. Not only will 23% of auto buyers visit a dealership after hearing a radio ad, but one in ten will actually buy a vehicle after hearing a dealer radio ad. The auto industry must reevaluate its dependence on digital since increased digital ad spending has not delivered increased retail sales. Spending 63% of automotive ad budgets with digital is not sustainable.” Previous SCBA reports include topics such as “E-Commerce Basics to Know,” “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Pandora,” and “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Digital and Social Media.”
Michael Harrison Addresses South Florida Art Community. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as special guest speaker addressing a gathering of approximately 70 emerging local artists last evening (1/30) at a workshop titled “The Thriving Art Exchange” at the CJR Fine Art Gallery in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. The event was presented by the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists and honored the work of Rickie Leiter, publisher of a Palm Beach County-based art industry trade publication, The Rickie Report. In his speech, Harrison focused on opportunities available to independent artists in the rapidly evolving digital era in both the creative and marketing arenas. He opened his talk with a humorous anecdote, “The last time I addressed a group of visual artists was when I served as keynote speaker at the first annual convention of the National Association of Cave Wall Painters.” Harrison said, “It was a time when the standard method of painting was to put colored pigments on your hands and paint directly with your fingers onto the walls of caves. The big issue that year was what to do about the introduction of a new gadget called the paint brush and whether images created with this new technology were truly ‘art.’” Harrison concluded, “The argument became a non-issue when the stone tablet was invented shortly thereafter and paintings could be taken to places outside the cave. That form of disruption was the first example of mobile media!”
“PodGOATs” Launches Today. The series of Comworld Media-produced “PodGOATS” podcasts features Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host Phil Valentine and his millennial son, Campbell Valentine. The elder Valentine remarks, “I can’t remember having this much fun doing something in a long time,” while recent University of Tennessee graduate Campbell counters, “You can’t remember – period.” The two will discuss everything from their top three picks of events that changed the world to what to do if an electromagnetic pulse took down the electrical grid. They talk spies, conspiracy theories, and anything else in today’s society and culture. Five episodes debut today (2/1) with a new podcast – available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, – released once a week each Sunday afternoon.
Grabbing Gronk. Preparing for its coverage of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday (2/3) when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s exclusive network radio partner – Westwood One – has been interviewing players, coaches, and special guests for their weeknight “Road to Super Bowl LIII” program; “Super Bowl Preview”; and “Super Sunday” shows airing prior to Sunday’s big game in Atlanta. Seen above is the voice of NFL Films, Scott Graham, chatting with New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. This is the 32nd consecutive year – and 46th time overall – that Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl.
CBS News Radio Offers Radio Version of “Intelligence Matters” Podcast. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 2/2), former CIA deputy director/intelligence analyst and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell begins hosting a one-hour radio version of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast, which emanates from CBS News’ Washington, D.C bureau. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler notes, “We are delighted to offer Michael Morell’s programs and expertise to our affiliates. Michael’s keen insight into the world of intelligence is a hot topic in today’s fast-moving world. It is the right time to bring his hugely successful podcast to radio audiences everywhere.” Leaders throughout the U.S. intelligence community will discuss national security policy and current events with Morell, a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terrorism efforts of the past two decades.
Rockcastle Media Networks’ Radio Nebraska Network Launches Next Monday. The national radio network expands by creating a Rockcastle Regional Networks division, with the Radio Nebraska Network scheduled to deliver its first newscasts via FTP download next Monday (2/4). Rockcastle Media Networks president/chief executive officer Will Sterrett comments, “When we learned the Nebraska Radio Network folded, our thoughts turned to serving those affiliates and listeners with high-quality radio news. We are excited to offer four newscasts each weekday with much more to come down the road.” As is the case with all other Rockcastle Media Networks programming, the Radio Nebraska Network is available on a market-exclusive, 100% self-contained barter basis. Prior to Rockcastle Media Networks, Sterrett worked in radio news at the CNN Radio Network; Texas State Network; Waitt Radio Networks, Omaha; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTRH, Houston; and WLW, Cincinnati.
Border Wall Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-February 1. The ongoing battle over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers Ten. At #2 this week was Robert Mueller‘s Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was President Trump‘s attacks on intel chief Dan Coats over his report on North Korea and Iran, followed by the record Midwestern cold snap at #4. The Talkers Ten 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.
SiriusXM Finalizes Pandora Purchase. The $3.5 billion deal (at a ratio of 1.44 new SiriusXM shares for each Pandora share) creates a digital audio entity reaching 100 million North America listeners. The closing comes three days after Pandora stockholders approved the acquisition. The deal was okayed by the Department of Justice approximately six weeks ago (12/21). In a prepared statement, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer – who now leads the combined company – notes, “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences. We could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM is a subscription-based national service of curated and exclusive content and programming, and Pandora is the largest U.S. streaming music provider with its highly personalized free ad-supported service. This is a powerful platform under one roof for consumers, content creators, and advertisers. We look forward to creating unique audio packages that combine our strengths and offer an even wider range of content to our listeners.” Pandora’s 16-month chief executive officer and Sling TV founder, Roger Lynch, is leaving the company, as are general counsel Steve Bene, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson.
PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at “Holiday” 2018. Each month, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at four formats and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. Adult contemporary is in the spotlight today as Mike delves into the mostly ups – and occasional downs – AC experienced in the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period. The format that leads the way in the all-Christmas music programming strategy accounts for 77% of “Holiday” 2018 #1 finishers (6+). In addition, Bonneville-owned Salt Lake City AC KSFI is the only station in any PPM-market to reach the 20-share level (21.8, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018. Check out all the facts and figures here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas contemporary Christian KAWA “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” general manager Tim Dukes is named mid-south regional manager over parent company WAY Media properties in Nashville and Clarksville (Tennessee); Louisville and Bowling Green (Kentucky); and Birmingham and Huntsville (Alabama). WAY-FM Network chief operating officer Lloyd Parker states, “We are excited that Tim has accepted the role and challenge of managing our mid-south region. Tim is respected and uniquely-qualified for this position with his many years of mainstream radio experience, plus his time on the pastoral staff at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth and as chief operating officer of the Dallas-based Halftime Institute. He’s going to do a great job.” Dukes – who will continue to manage KAWA until a new general manager is named – remarks, “Joining WAY-FM in 2015 has given me some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most fulfilling, years of my career. Louisville is my hometown. I went to college in Nashville and started in radio there, so this is an especially exciting appointment to me.” His past programming credits include Chicago’s WLUP and Cincinnati’s WEBN, as well as being director of FM programming for Jacor San Diego ….. Today (2/1) on his syndicated show, Tom Joyner announced the “One More Time Experience” multi-city tour, which begins May 10 in Washington, DC and continues throughout the summer. Joyner states, “I hope everyone will be as excited as I am to celebrate with good music, good fun, and good hugs. We have 25 years’ worth of partying to achieve, so let’s do it together.” Confirmed dates and places so far – in addition to May 10 in Washington – include Cleveland (June 7); Indianapolis (June 8); Columbus (July 12); St. Louis (July 13); Raleigh (July 19); and Charlotte (July 20). Also on today’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker announced he is running for president ….. Starting next Thursday (2/7), Afentra – who formerly did mornings at Entercom Kansas City alternative KRBZ “The Buzz,” (“Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz”) – will join cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative” for 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm duty. Cumulus midwest region vice president Donna Baker states, “Afentra has the gift of observing life in a manner that is real, whether hilarious or poignant, and sharing that in a way that truly connects.” Cumulus Media and Westwood One executive vice president, content & programming Mike McVay comments, “The opportunity to bring Afentra to the Cumulus Kansas City cluster was one we simply couldn’t pass up. A talent with her skills, experience and market heritage is a rare find.” KCJK program director Mike O’Reilly notes, “Sometimes in a lineup strategy, you get lucky and make a big splash. Adding Afentra is more along the lines of a tidal wave for Kansas City alternative, while Afentra explains that KCJK “didnʼt just say they wanted me, they showed me. Wanting me – my thoughts and my experience – speaks to my soul. I’m rested, excited, and ready to win.” ….. Assistant music programmer Brian Denicola is promoted to program director of SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel. Senior director of programming Lou Simon writes in an internal memo, “Brian has exemplified a great level of care and focus and has developed relationships with each of you, making sure he has what you need and providing you with inspiration for added creativity. His copywriting; attention to detail in editing logs; and his creativity have all led to this appointment. I will remain in a position of oversight and Bond Collard will remain as the channel coordinator, doing a spectacular job in that role.” Denicola had been programming the channel on an interim basis ….. Three-year WRQX “Mix 107.3,” Washington, DC afternoon drive talent Jason Kidd exits the Cumulus Media hot AC. “Mix” program director/Cumulus Media vice president of hot AC programming Rob Roberts is seeking Kidd’s successor ….. Mainstream CHR KYYY “Y-93” Bismarck (North Dakota) program director Joey Dee transfers to iHeartMedia Omaha sibling KISO “96.1 Kiss FM Omaha’s #1 For All The Hits” as program director/afternoon drive host. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Omaha Erik Johnson comments, “We are extremely excited to welcome Joey Dee to the ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ team. His major-market experience and creative ideas will help make [KISO] a market leader.” Dee adds, “Making my pilgrimage to Omaha is a dream come true for me as a CHR programmer. I am incredibly excited to work with the entire iHeartMedia Omaha team and I look forward to taking ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ all the way to number one.” Dee previously was assistant program director for Hubbard Seattle CHR KQMV “Movin’ 92.5” and has programmed Bismarck’s KKCT ….. On-air lineup adjustments at Entercom Buffalo’s WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” find “Emily” in extended morning drive (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Brandi” middays (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Axe” handling 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight duties.
Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM. Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion. A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a radio division and will likely sell the station. None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station. Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.
John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson. He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.” Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.” Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.
Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist. The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped. WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West. Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”
Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month. McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News. In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye. After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th. What a great run and wonderful experience it has been. This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”
Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets. According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience. Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience. Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.
The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more. The program is distributed by Westwood One. Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward. Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown. Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”
Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET. Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix. Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience. We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide. How cool is that?” The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.” Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”
TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.” Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR. Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them. Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.” Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract. According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee. iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin. We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of Regional Reps and The Tacher Company. In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.” GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.” Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary. Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo. Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.” Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN. Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station. The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
ORLANDO — The NAB here in Orlando has begun with a focus in the seminar rooms on topics including the state of radio today, what the future brings, advertising, and a marketplace of companies highlighting the latest products and technology. However, in the halls of the Hilton — home to the show this year — a big topic is digital and how to properly market and capitalize on new technologies…and of course the news of the proposed SiriusXM–Pandora merger!