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Monday Memo: Format Solution? Ever get a song stuck in your head? Consultant Holland Cooke shares one that stuck in his 40 years ago. And when you click-to-listen in this week’s column, HC thinks you could hear an opportunity. Check it out here.
Impeachment/Bolton Manuscript, Presidential Race, Coronavirus Concerns, U.S.-Iran Tensions/Rocket Attack on Baghdad Embassy, the Grammy Awards, and Kobe Bryant Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment trial of President Trump and the related manuscript by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton in which he suggests there was a quid pro quo; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; the Wuhan coronavirus and concerns about a global epidemic; the tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards ceremony; and the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Sports Talk Station ‘The Gambler’ Launches in Akron-Cleveland. This new gambling-centric sports talk outlet on WARF-AM, Akron launched by iHeartMedia Cleveland airs a mix of traditional sports talk shows and wagering-focused programs. iHeartMedia says, “‘FOX Sports 1350 AM, The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from the VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network) and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including ‘My Guys in the Desert,’ hosted by American sportscaster, Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast a mix of programming offering betting guides, handicapping, and betting strategies as well as signature programming from FOX Sports Radio, including ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd’ and ‘FOX NFL Kickoff Simulcast,’ as well as ‘The Red Zone’ and ‘The Lombardi Line,’ hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager Mike Lombardi.”
Karyn Cerulli Succeeds Bob Bolinger at Entercom San Diego. The Times of San Diego has the story from the market’s Entercom cluster. Director of sales Karyn Cerulli is promoted to SVP and market manager for the station group as Bob Bolinger is leaving the role he’s held with the cluster since 2015. Bolinger tells the paper he’s not retiring. “The last four and a half years I have spent with Entercom have been among the most rewarding of my career. I am very proud and grateful for what this amazing Entercom San Diego team has accomplished and wish them and Karyn only the very best.” Bolinger joined Entercom from CBS RADIO. He’d been with the San Diego stations since 2009.
iHeartMedia Names News Executives. In Pennsylvania, iHeartMedia announces that Brit Goldstein is named area president for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania. At the same time, Nick Mickley is the new market president of iHeartMedia Harrisburg, Reading, and Lancaster; and Dave Hovel is named area SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania. In this new position, Goldstein is responsible for creating new business and revenue opportunities, overseeing all programming, business and sales teams for iHeartMedia Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Eastern Shore stations. He reports to division president Shosh Abromovich. In his new role, Hovel oversees all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for the Salisbury, Wilmington, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, and Williamsport markets.
New Lineup at KIRO-FM, Seattle; ‘Tom & Curley’ Move to PM Drive. It was a year ago that the “Candy, Mike & Todd” show – co-hosted by Candy Harper, Mike Lewis, and Todd Herman – took over for the “Ron & Don” – featuring Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill – in afternoon drive on Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Now, that show is gone and the late morning “Tom & Curley” program hosted by Tom Tangney and John Curley moves to afternoon drive, effective Wednesday (1/29). While both Candy Harper and Todd Herman exit the station, Mike Lewis partners with the station’s Aaron Mason to host the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. The new late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) features award-winning Seattle journalist Ursula Reutin and the station’s Gee Scott, who moves from the evening daypart. Regarding the afternoon drive change, KIRO-FM program director Bryan Buckalew says, “Tom and John are at the top of their game. They have a unique ability to tackle the news from both sides of the issue, which consistently connects with listeners.”
Tim Weisberg New Host of Art Bell’s ‘Midnight in the Desert.’ Beginning tonight (1/27), radio pro Tim Weisberg takes over the hosting duties on the late-night radio show, “Midnight in the Desert,” the last program created by the late Art Bell. Weisberg has been filling in on the program since 2018. He currently serves as digital managing editor for Townsquare Media’s New Bedford, Massachusetts stations. He’s also hosted the paranormal radio program/podcast “Spooky Southcoast” for 14 years – a project he’ll continue in addition to his new duties. Weisberg has served as a writer/researcher/producer on paranormal television programs such as “Ghost Stalkers,” “Ghost Asylum,” and “Haunted Towns.” He has also been featured in front of the camera on programs such as “Ghost Adventures,” “My Ghost Story,” “MonsterQuest,” “Most Haunted Towns,” and will be featured in two upcoming television series in 2020. He is also the author of two books on the paranormal and is an award-winning sportswriter covering the New England Patriots and previously covering the Boston Celtics. “Midnight in the Desert” was started by Art Bell in 2015. The title of the program comes from a song written specifically for Bell by country music superstar Crystal Gayle. Bell and subsequent hosts have continued to use the song, with Gayle’s blessing, as the program’s closing theme, something Weisberg said will continue. “Although nobody will ever replace Art Bell, we at MITD think it’s important to honor his memory as the one who started it at all, especially this program. While the best way we can pay tribute is to just continue to discuss these topics in a long-form, objective style, keeping the name and the theme song is just a small touch to make sure Art is never far from our thoughts.”
Round Three of Holiday PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The survey period was December 5 through January 1. Spoken-word radio always faces a challenge during the calendar month of December due to holiday-related lifestyle changes and Christmas music listening. In this batch of markets, the most positive news comes out of Kansas City where, thanks to the success of the Super Bowl bound Chiefs, sports talk radio enjoyed increased listening. Union Broadcasting’s WHB got a three-tenths bounce to finish with a weekly 6+ AHQ share of 3.9 – good for the #9 ranking. Entercom’s KCSP adds a half share to land at 2.7 and the #15 ranking in the market. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.
TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Don Steinberg wrote a piece – published Saturday (1/25) – for Philadelphia Magazine that’s a deep-dive into Philly-based Entercom. Interviewed for the piece are CEO David Field, Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff, and others. The story addresses the company’s struggling stock price, its efforts to establish a leading position in the digital audio entertainment realm, and former employees’ gripes about management style, among others. Read it here…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is being asked by the U.S. State Department – via its Foreign Press Centers – to host a telephone briefing for foreign journalists to explain the Iowa Caucuses. The briefing is non-partisan. Conway says, “It’s a great honor to be asked. The point is to make sure that journalists around the world understand the process and report it accurately.”…..Sports media personalities Mark Titus and Tate Frazier are joining FOX Sports and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One for the new “Titus and Tate” podcast, available in visual formats on FOXSports.com, the FOX Sports app and social media platforms. The audio version from Westwood One is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more. Westwood One is the exclusive audio distribution and ad sales representation partner of the “Titus & Tate” podcast..…Barstool Radio on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Miami Beach today through Friday, ahead of Super Bowl LIV. Barstool’s biggest personalities, including Dave Portnoy, Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, Kevin ‘KFC’ Clancy, PFT Commenter, Kayce Smith, Willie Colon and others – will host their shows live from Tequila Chicas in the heart of South Beach…..The Mayo Clinic Radio team unveils the new “Mayo Clinic Q&A” podcast. It features Mayo Clinic physicians, researchers, and care teams sharing knowledge about topics including cancer, heart health, scientific advances, artificial intelligence, and wellness. Mayo Clinic Radio co-hosts Thomas Shives, M.D., and Tracy McCray anchor the new podcast. Mayo Clinic Radio says, “While the weekly, hour-long ‘Mayo Clinic Radio’ program will continue to deliver easy-to-understand answers on more than 250 outlets across the U.S., each episode of the ‘Mayo Clinic Q&A’ podcast will highlight one subject.” Dr. Shives adds, “With the resources of Mayo Clinic and thousands of physicians and medical experts supporting us, this tool is one more way to educate busy consumers on how to stay healthy and also help them learn more about serious or complex health topics.”…..iHeartMedia Denver announces that Mike Rice is the new play-by-play announcer for the Colorado Rockies baseball on flagship KOA, Denver. Rice has been with KOA since 2002, serving in a number of sports roles, including studio host for the Denver Broncos, fill-in play-by-play announcer for the Colorado Rockies, and anchoring morning sportscasts. He also serves as sports director for KOA, a position he will retain. Rice joins Jack Corrigan, who is entering his 18th season as a play-by-play announcer for the Rockies. In addition to play-by-play duties, Rice will host “Rockies All Access,” airing every Saturday on KOA…..Entercom sports talk outlet KRLD-FM, Dallas and the MLB’s Texas Rangers extend their broadcast deal to have the station continue to serve as the team’s radio flagship for the Texas Rangers Radio Network and the team’s English language radio play-by-play broadcasts…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show with host Chris Hill adds new stations KIFG-AM and KIFG-FM in Iowa City and WPVC-LPFM, in Charlottesville, Virginia to its roster of affiliates.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, Premiere Networks announces today that “The Sweat Hotel” – starring Keith Sweat – will move from the overnight daypart to the evening slot on iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WVAZ “V103.”…..Dallas rock outlet KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” unveils the lineup for BFD 2020, taking place Sunday, May 24 at Dos Equis Pavilion. Featured acts will be: Disturbed, Chevelle, The Pretty Reckless, Dirty Honey, The HU, Puddle of Mudd, Badflower, and Dinosaur Pile-Up. iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Patrick Davis says, “‘The Eagle’ is delivering yet another stellar lineup to kick off the summer concert season with BFD 2020. Fans of ‘97.1 The Eagle’ always expect a great lineup and this year’s will not disappoint them.”
Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come? Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month. Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals: Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million. That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3. The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio. Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.
Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute. Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent. He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo. You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks? No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…” Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year. Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012. Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell. “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations. Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC. Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program. “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program. White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN. Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years. Adamski passed away suddenly last February. Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.
Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk. The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2. Premiere Networks’ Bob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.” Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather. It’s for them and what they have to say.”
CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended. Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January. Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.
2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27). The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.