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Friday, August 2, 2019

| August 2, 2019

Michael Savage Petitions Boris Johnson to Lift His British Travel Ban. Back in 2009, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith put Westwood One talk show host Michael Savage on a list of people banned from traveling to Great Britain for “fostering hatred.”  Now, Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, has petitioned newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to have the ban lifted.  In a recent conversation with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison on the PodcastOne show, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Savage spoke about the ban.  He said that although he’s a bit of a homebody and doesn’t travel much these days, he loves the English people and the architecture and might like to visit again someday.  In his petition, Horowitz writes, “The ban has stood in place for a decade.  Now is the time to lift the ban and take a stand for the rights of free speech that have come under assault in the land of the Magna Carta.”  Read the Washington Examiner’s coverage here.

Big Radio Closes on Janesville, Wisconsin Duo. The deal that transfers news/talk WCLO-AM, and country WJVL-FM in Janesville, Wisconsin from Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Bliss Communications to Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio for $5.75 million closes.  Kalil & Co. represented Thompson in this transaction.  Thompson is the son of Scott Thompson, whose Big Radio owns and operates 8 signals in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  These are the last radio stations to be divested by Bliss.  The company sold four Milwaukee market signals to Magnum Broadcasting in 2014.

Grimsley to Retire from Townsquare Lafayette; Burley to Take Over Cluster Leadership. Media executive Mike Grimsley is retiring from his position as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Lafayette, Louisiana, a post he’s held for the past 25 years.  Grimsley began his career in radio at the age of 18 and also worked in the Charleston, South Carolina and Phoenix markets.  Townsquare is promoting Brad Burley from his post as market president and chief revenue officer in the Lake Charles, Louisiana station group to lead the Lafayette cluster.  Townsquare COO Erik Hellum says, “Mike Grimsley broke the mold.  He has uniquely combined leadership, passion, and drive with the sincerest care for his people and dedication to his community – all with a great sense of humor on top.  Mike is one of the original Townsquare leaders and helped build our company with a steadfast commitment to great local radio while building a vibrant digital and event business.  He is a broadcast legend. Thank you, Mike!”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.   The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis.  For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A few changes take place at Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEZQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “92.9 The Ticket.”  Station brand manager Dale Duff is leaving his 6:00 am to 8:00 am show and former WABI-TV morning news co-anchor Wayne Harvey begins hosting “The Morning Line” in the time slot.  Duff’s show will move to the 3:00 pm hour, leading into the Jim Churchill-hosted afternoon drive program….Emmis Communications’ sports talk WFNI-AM, Indianapolis “The Fan” adds another FM signal to its broadcast. The company had removed translator W228CX from the simulcast of WFNI-AM two years ago to do some engineering work on the signal.  Now, “The Fan” is back on the 93.5 FM frequency in addition to AM 1070 and translator W298BB at 107.5 FM.  Emmis Indianapolis vice president and market manager Bob Richards says, “We’re thrilled to have ‘The Fan’ on loud and proud at 93.5, reaching even more fans with the sports and personalities they love, especially in the western and southern areas of central Indiana.”

The 2020 Presidential Race and the CNN Debates Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 29 – August 2. The Democrats hoping to face President Trump in 2020 and this week’s Democratic debates in Detroit were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was President Trump’s criticism of Baltimore, race relations in general, and the NixonReagan recording. Coming in at #3 was immigration and health care reform, followed by Boris Johnson, Brexit, and the British-U.S. economies tied 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.

Wayne Allyn Root is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump in today’s talk media, Wayne Allyn Root, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The Las Vegas-based talk show host, heard daily on the USA Radio Network between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET with the third hour (8:00 pm to 9:00 pm) simulcast on Newsmax TV, is one of the fastest rising stars in today’s news/talk media – catapulting within three years of the launch of his show in local radio to the number 62 position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred.  Harrison and Root discuss the colorful “in-your-face” host’s political and media background going all the way back to his days in Westchester, New York as a three-year old child handing out flyers for then-presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s campaign.  Root’s working-class parents were among the founding members who launched the New York State Conservative Party.  In 2008, Root entered national politics and received the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination to serve as its presidential candidate Bob Barr’s running mate. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s Baltimore cluster, air personality Maria Dennis moves from hosting the midday show on CHR WWMX “MIX 106.7” to the company’s adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9.”  At the same time Corinna Delgado – who also hosts the morning drive show on Entercom’s classic hits WIAD, Washington “94.7 The Drive” – is named the new midday personality for “MIX 106.7.”  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “I’ve worked with Maria for over 20 years.  She’s a consummate professional and an amazing on-air talent.  All of us are thrilled to have her in our Entercom family and we are excited that she’ll now bring her cheerful persona and enthusiasm to ‘Today’s 101.9.’  I’m equally excited to have Corinna Delgado, who is also already part of our Entercom family, join us to take over the midday shift at MIX 106.5.”…..Townsquare Media flips a pair of FM stations in Albany that had been simulcasting a classic rock format branded “Q103.”  First, WQBK-FM becomes adult contemporary as “103.9 The Breeze.”  That station will feature core artists such as Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Boyz II MenAdele, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson.  Second, WQBJ-FM is now alternative rock as “ALT 103.5.”   Operations manager and program director Steve Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘103.9 The Breeze.’  We know the station will be the perfect choice to relax to at work and anytime.  We are thrilled to have ‘ALT’ back on the air playing great alternative music for the Capital region and ‘Dave & Mahoney’ in the morning.”…..On-air pro Brian Moote exits Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP “AMP 97.1” where he’d been co-hosting mornings with Edgar Sotelo for the past 18 months…..iHeartMedia’s rock WDVE, Pittsburgh honored longtime air personality Sean McDowell for his 41-year career with the station.  He retired from WDVE on Wednesday (7/31).  McDowell’s final broadcast party included special guests such as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, current WDVE personalities Randy Baumann, Val Porter and Michele Michaels and past WDVE personalities Jimmy Roach, Herschel, and Kenny Gibbs.  He’s pictured here with the honorary jersey sent by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Photo: Tyler Sing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

| June 4, 2019

Lars Larson Inks New Deal with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland. Talk radio star Lars Larson signs a new deal to continue hosting his daily program on Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” through 2024.  As part of the deal, Larson’s 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm PT show is also broadcast to 21 stations in the Pacific Northwest via Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network.  Larson’s national radio show airs live on some 125 affiliate stations from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT via syndicator Compass Media Networks (with whom Larson also holds a multi-year contract).  Alpha Media SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “With the biggest local talk radio audience in the region, ‘The Lars Larson Show’ reaches more than 3.5 million listeners.  All of us at Alpha Media Portland, our listeners, and our advertisers are excited to extend our relationship with Lars for the next five years.”  Larson comments, “I’m thrilled to renew my relationship with a station I’ve been with through half a dozen presidents, a dozen NW governors, a live volcano eruption, and more than 25 years as a reporter, anchor, and now talk host.”

Cumulus Makes WABC Programmer Change Official. Yesterday (6/3), TALKERS magazine reported that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Dave LaBrozzi has taken over the programming reigns of Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk WABC, New York, replacing Craig Schwalb.  Now, the company makes it official with a press release. LaBrozzi joined WPLJ in May of 2018.  Prior to that he was VP of programming for what is now Entercom’s Baltimore cluster (when it was owned by CBS RADIO) that includes sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300.”  He previously served as regional vice president of programming for iHeartMedia (back when it was Clear Channel) overseeing stations in Pittsburgh; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  Cumulus New York VP and market manager Chad Lopez says, “Dave will be an incredible asset to 77 WABC and Radio 103.9/WNBM-FM, and brings experience in both the news/talk and urban AC formats to his new role with Cumulus New York.  We are looking forward to continuing to grow these stations and to giving their passionate listeners even more of the content and community connection that they rely on and enjoy every day.”

The Thompson Family’s Big Radio to Acquire Two More in Janesville, Wisconsin. Two historical Janesville, Wisconsin radio stations are changing hands as Skip BlissSouthern Wisconsin Broadcasting (a subsidiary of Bliss Communications) agrees to sell heritage news/talk WCLO-AM and country WJVL-FM to Ben Thompson-led Big Radio for an undisclosed sum.  Buyer Big Radio operates eight stations in the Southern Wisconsin markets of Beloit, Freeport, Monroe, and Janesville.  Skip Bliss’ father put WCLO on the air in 1930 and WJVL-FM launched in 1947.  Meanwhile, Big Radio was founded by Ben’s father Scott Thompson in 1996 with the purchase of two Monroe stations.  The sale announcement states that “[u]nder Ben’s leadership, Big Radio remains committed to its founding ideals, providing superior coverage of the community’s local news, sports, entertainment, and information.  Big Radio provides local news 365 days a year and its sports department broadcast over 350 regional high school sporting events last year.  Ben Thompson and Big Radio believe the future of radio is local, and aggressively pursue this strategy to the benefit of its listeners and advertisers.”  Kalil & Co., Inc. represents the buyer in this transaction.

New York’s WOR to Present Live Event Speaker Series. Big Apple news/talk WOR is launching an event series called “WOR Live” that will feature in-depth interviews and compelling speakers.  iHeartMedia announces that for the first event, station morning personality Len Berman will moderate a panel that will analyze the news business in 2019.  Joining Berman will be New York news personalities Rosanna Scotto – co-host of WNYW-TV’s “Good Day New York” – and Ernie Anastos, news anchor at WNYW “FOX News 5.”  The event also features networking opportunities and lunch and takes place at the Cutting Room on June 19 at 11:30 am.

Entercom’s New York All-News Stations Win Big at NYSAPA. WCBS-AM and WINS-AM – both all-news outlets operated by Entercom Communications – won a total of 16 2018 New York State Associated Press Association Awards. WCBS 880 received first place in seven categories, including top honor for “Outstanding News Operation for Radio.”  Sister station 1010 WINS was recognized with top honors in three categories, including for Best Newscast and Best Weathercast.  The stations collectively received second place finishes in six categories.  Winners were honored at NYSAPA’s annual awards dinner on June 1 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Trump’s UK Visit, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Virginia Beach Shootings, U.S.-China Tensions, Mexican Tariff Proposal/Immigration Issues, Big Tech Anti-Trust Investigation, and Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Run Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The official state visit to the U.K. by President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the shootings in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead; the diplomatic and economic tensions between the U.S. and China over the tariffs the U.S. has slapped on Chinese exports; the Trump Administration’s plan to place tariffs on Mexican exports and the Southern border immigration issues; the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into possible Big Tech anti-trust activity; and James Holzhauer’s improbable “Jeopardy!” run were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, iHeartMedia names Bill Black director of urban programming for hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “MIX 92.3,” taking over for Nate Bell, who left that position earlier this year.  Black comes to Detroit from his most recent position with Radio One in Cleveland programming hip hop WENZ and urban contemporary WZAK.  He says, “I am really thrilled to join the iHeartMedia team and be able to do what I love. The talented programmers that I get to collaborate with, coupled with these legendary Detroit urban stations are unmatched and I’m excited to get to work.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Dustin “Fletcher” Matthews program director for alternative WEND, Charlotte “106.5 The End,” effective June 10.  Matthews moves from the company’s St. Louis region where he was director of alternative rock programming.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region SVP Chadwick “A.J.” Hausknecht says, “Dustin is one of the best alternative format programmers in the country.  His unmeasurable creativity and distinctive out-of-the-box thinking will be a great addition to our super passionate and strategic programming family here at iHeartMedia Charlotte.”…..Alpha Media announces that programmer Brown is moving from his PD position in Louisville to Columbia, South Carolina where he’ll serve as operations manager.  He continues as format captain for the company’s urban, urban AC, and gospel brands.  Alpha Media regional president Mike Hartel says, “Brown is a natural leader and he has been a star in our company for a while now.  We can’t wait to bring his big ideas and his big heart to our organization and our community in Columbia!”…..This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (left) appeared on the Food Network program,  “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” hosted by country star Trisha Yearwood (right).  Yearwood also sat down for an interview with Delilah for her podcast “Love Someone with Delilah.”  The three-time Grammy Award-winner discussed her life and career, including her first full-length studio album in more than 10 years, Let’s Be Frank: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra…..Entercom expands its LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network CHANNEL Q to new markets, including: Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, and Washington D.C.  The network now brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music to listeners in a total of 19 local markets and via the RADIO.COM app nationwide…..WAQX, New York morning personality Shelli Sonstein – longtime co-host of Q104.3’s “Jim Kerr Rock & Roll Morning Show” – led her fundraising team in the 2019 NYC Tunnel to Towers Climb that benefits the families of first responders and military personnel killed in action.  Sonstein led her team (pictured below) in their age group with a record time climbing the 104 stories of the World Trade Center.  She says, “I would like to thank Elvis Duran and my co-host Jim Kerr for their very generous donations, and of course, ‘Q104.3’ and iHeartMedia for supporting my efforts.  My entire team finished this very difficult climb and vows to be back again next year to raise even more funds and awareness of this great organization.”

Monday, April 8, 2019

| April 8, 2019

Monday Memo: 2019 NAB Show. The NAB Show is underway in Las Vegas, and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke reports that the convention focus is taking the term “broadcast” quite literally.  He writes: “Huge banners atop the Convention Center proclaim ‘Every story starts here,’ and reiterate the theme of the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention these past several Aprils: ‘Where content comes to life.’ As opposed to ‘where content feeds transmitters.’  While the NAB’s mission remains lobbying on behalf of FCC licensees, its unmistakable message to attendees is – as NPR VP/distribution Michael Beach put it – ‘be offering your content anywhere and everywhere you can do it.’”  Read HC’s column here.

Marc Hochman and WQAM, Miami Sign Extension. Miami sports talk personality Marc Hochman signs a new, long-term contract to continue co-hosting the afternoon drive program on Entercom’s sports talk WQAM.  Hochman works on air with former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder on the “Hoch and Crowder” afternoon drive show.  Hochman says, “I’m so fortunate to be able to continue doing this show with Channing Crowder and our super producer Erick Falero.  The community we’ve built on the air is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever accomplished on radio.”  He previously served in the market as executive producer for the “Dan Le Batard Show,” based at sister sports talker WAXY-AM, Miami.

Carver Appointed to Market President Post at Townsquare Media’s Amarillo Cluster. Sales and management pro Carolyn Carver is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes news/talk KIXZ and three music-formatted stations.  Carver says, “I’m so excited to be back with Townsquare.  The vision, passion, and commitment of Bill Wilson and Erik Hellum to the industry, its clients, and their people is what has set them apart from all others.  The company has a motto of ‘You Matter’ and they stand behind that.  It starts from the top down and it is refreshing to see leaders who believe in their people and make them feel a part of something grand.”

Mike Gallagher Packs the House at WJJK, Montauk’s Casino Event.  More than 600 listeners of Red Wolf Broadcasting’s news/talk WJJF, Montauk, Long Island packed the cabaret theater at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Saturday (4/6) as Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher and an all-star panel saluted the radio station’s seventh anniversary as a news/talk station.  Station officials say it was the best-attended cabaret event in the station’s history.  And to top it all off, since the following day was Gallagher’s birthday, WJJF arranged for a Marilyn Monroe impersonator to sing “Happy Birthday” a la the famous salute to JFK.

Jimbo Visits Janesville. Nationally syndicated late-night talk radio host Jim Bohannon was in Janesville, Wisconsin on Friday (4/5) for an appearance at affiliate WCLO’s remote broadcast.  Pictured above (from l-r) are: Westwood One’s Bohannon, Al Meehan, owner of Barkley’s Burgers, Brews & Dawgs, where the broadcast o originated; Tom Edwards, Tim Bremel, and Tim Beggs of WCLO; and Mark Finnegan of Vets Roll, an organization that provides trips to the Nation’s Capital for veterans.

TALKERS Notes Notes. Satellite receiver changes are taking place for Salem Radio Network and Salem Music Network that affects affiliates of the company’s Christian programming platform.  Salem is switching from satellite to IP and will be upgrading its receiver fleet in mid-2019 to the XDS platform.  Current Wegener satellite receivers will be replaced and upgraded to an XDS Pro receiver that will be fed completely from the internet.  Salem will continue broadcasting on the current Wegener satellite platform while migrating to the new XDS IP receivers and expect to end the SES-2 Wegener satellite feed in early 2020.  This will affect current Salem Wegener affiliates (Christian on SES-2) and NOT current Westwood One XDS (General Market on SES-11) receivers.  Current affiliates should submit a receiver request here…..Mel Wheelerowned news/talk station WFIR, Roanoke, Virginia was honored with top awards by the Associated Press for radio stations in Virginia’s and West Virginia’s largest cities.  “The Roanoke Valley’s Morning News” was honored for “Best Newscast” in competition with stations in Richmond, Norfolk, and Charleston, West Virginia.  WFIR took home second-place honors for its website. WFIR sports earned first-place honors in the “Best Sports Feature” category for their story on “The Making of Negro League Legend Larry LaGrande.”  The judges also gave the station top honors among Virginia stations for “Best Sports Operation” featuring “Greg Roberts Live.”…..New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is signed up to make weekly live appearances on WEPN, New York’s “Michael Kay Show.”  “98.7 ESPN” program director Ryan Hurley says, “We could not be happier about this partnership.  There is a lot of excitement surrounding one of the NFL’s young rising stars and his future. Listeners will not only get an inside look into his week-to-week journey on the field, but they’ll get to know Sam off the field as another member of the 98.7 family when he joins Michael, Don and Peter every week.”…..Pictured below are KQTM, Albuquerque afternoon personality Jim Villanucci (center) with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (left) and Cooper’s childhood friend and former New Mexico Lobos player Daryl Chestnut (right).  The two appeared on Villanucci’s program to promote their youth football camp.

Kirstjen Nielsen Steps Down from DHS/U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Libya Military Action, 2020 Democratic Candidates, Venezuela Tensions, ‘SNL’ Mocks Joe Biden, Netanyahu Campaign/U.S.-Israel Relations, NCAA Final Four, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The forced resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the related state of affairs at the U.S.-Mexico border; the House Ways and Means Committee’s request for President Trump’s tax returns; the U.S. pulls out of Tripoli as the Libyan National Army approaches the city; the Democratic candidates vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, the tensions in Venezuela over infrastructure failures and the presence of Russian troops; “Saturday Night Live” pokes fun at Joe Biden’s inappropriate touching troubles; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election bid and the state U.S.-Israel relations; the NCAA Final Four; and NBA and MBL games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles rock station KLOS is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special one-time-only reunion of the “Mark & Brian Radio Show” on Thursday April 25 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  The legendary KLOS morning team retired from the station in August of 2012.  KLOS program director and Cumulus Media rock format captain Keith Cunningham says, “We’re stoked that Mark & Brian have agreed to get the band back together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KLOS.  If not for the Mark & Brian Show, KLOS may not have reached the 50-year milestone.  The show is an enormous part of the brand’s history and the 25th will be an epic day for Southern California radio listeners.”…..NRG Media’s hip hop KOPW, Omaha “Power 106.9” announces the launch of its new morning show, “Chef West And The Morning Scramble,” featuring Tay Westberry and Alyssa Siebken.  Westberry, a.k.a. Mr. West, previously hosted the evening show.  Siebken is a musician who appeared on season 13 of “American Idol.”  KOPW program director Caleb Farnell says, “Tay has his finger firmly on the pulse of the ‘Power’ listener and Alyssa will be able to bring a valuable perspective to the show.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Morris Diamond, a legendary music business player who passed away recently at age 97.  Diamond got his start serving as a gofer for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  He later got into song publishing and launched his own label, Beverly Hills Records.  He published a memoir of his encounters with music biz greats from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson titled, The Name Dropper or People I Schlepped With……Pictured below at Westwood One‘s Backstage at the ACM Awards on Friday and Saturday (4/5-6) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Mike McVay, EVP programming & content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; Cumulus Country operations manager Charlie Cook, country artist Lauren Alaina; and Cumulus Media VP, label relations John Kilgo.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

| November 8, 2017

John Hancock Signs New Deal with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Afternoon drive personality John Hancock signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Hancock began his career at WBT in 1990.  Over the course of those 27 years, he’s broadcast on almost every daypart on the station.  Earlier this year, he was inducted into the “WBT Hall of Fame” and carries the distinction as the only Hall of Fame member who is still actively broadcasting.  Entercom Charlotte VP and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “John represents one of the most unique radio personalities in America today.  He’s a WBT Hall of Famer and still delivers a contemporary message every day that the listeners can count on.”

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Radio Revenue Basically Flat.  Reporting 2017 third quarter financial numbers, iHeartMedia’s consolidated revenue was down 1.9% compared to the same period in 2016.  But the radio division was up a hair — $2.4 million or 0.3% — compared to the third quarter of 2016.  For the first nine months of 2017, the radio division is up 1.5%.  COO and CFO Rich Bressler notes that the positive figure for the radio division extends “year-over-year revenue growth to eighteen consecutive quarters.”  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “As a true multi-platform, 21st-century media company, we continue to expand the innovative ways for us to engage consumers and to reinvent how we do business with our advertising and marketing partners.  At our iHeartMedia business, in addition to building out a data-first programmatic advertising platform, we are continually growing our content offerings, including iHeartRadio’s podcast platform, with virtually all of the top 200 U.S. podcasts.”

Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Revenue Dips 5.1%.  For the third quarter of 2017, Salem Media Group reports total revenue decreased by 8.2% to $65.4 million from $71.3 million during the same period in 2016.  Breaking down the company by segments, net broadcast revenue was $48.4 million, a decrease of 5.1% from $51.1 million in 2016.  Digital media revenue decreased 12.9% to $10.4 million from $12.0 million the year prior.  Salem’s publishing revenue was down 20.2% to $6.6 million from $8.2 million in Q3 of 2016.

Saga Reports Revenue Increase in Third Quarter.  Reporting third quarter financials, Saga Communications says net revenue was up 1.3% to $30.3 million compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Station operating expense was flat compared to Q3 2016 at $21.8 million and operating income was $5.5 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period last year, with the reduction primarily due to a gain of $1.4 million recognized from the sale of one of the company’s towers in Norfolk, Virginia during the third quarter last year.  On a same-station basis, net revenue declined 1.1% to $29.6 million.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four reports on the performances of stations based on data from the October 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Today, Kinosian reports on public news/talk radio.  He says, “Almost half the stations on this public news/talk panel improve September 2017 – October 2017 (47%, 6+) while roughly one of every three is down (34%); the remaining 19% of the sample remains flat (6+).”  When comparing 6+ numbers year-over-year, “Not quite two of every three stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up (63%,), meanwhile, approximately one in four (27%) decline; the remaining 10% are unchanged.”  Ten public radio news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets in October and two ranked #1.  KQED hit the #1 spot in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets while KUOW was #1 in Seattle.  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial Elections, Trump China Visit, North Korea Nuclear Tensions, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation, Saudi Arabia-Iran Conflict, Sexual Assault Cases, NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  Yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey; President Trump’s visit to China; the ongoing nuclear tensions between North Korea and the U.S.; the aftermath of the church shooting in Texas that claimed the lives of 26; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; Saudi Arabia’s claim Iran fired a missile at Riyadh from Yemen; the sexual assault case of actor Kevin Spacey and the report of Harvey Weinstein’s hiring spies to track actresses and journalists; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bohannon Visits Janesville Affiliate. Pictured above is Westwood One syndicated late-night personality Jim Bohannon (left), Mark Finnegan of the veteran’s organizations Vetsroll.org (center), and Tim Bremel, operations manager and host of “Your Talk Show” on WCLO Janesville, Wisconsin at a remote broadcast at a Culver’s Restaurant.  WCLO is an affiliate of Bohannon’s program.

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Reno radio pro “Big Chris” Hart is named program director at Cumulus Media’s classic hip hop KNEV, Reno “95.5 The Vibe.”  Hart previously served in the market programming and serving on at KWFP and, before that, working at KUUB.  Hart says, “This is one of those opportunities that you dream about in this business.  I’ve competed against and known the Cumulus team in Reno for 17 years.  Now, it’s my distinct pleasure to be joining the best team around and do some great, fun, plain ol’ kick-butt radio with Cumulus, KNEV and the good people of the greatest market in the universe, Reno!”…..Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show’ is joining the American Forces Network beginning Monday (11/13).  The KYSR, Los Angeles “Alt 98.7”-based Woody Show will be added to the lineup on the AFN alternative music channel…..iHeartCountry and Premiere Networks are presenting multi-platform coverage of tonight’s “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.”  In addition to carrying the ABC-TV telecast audio across the 80-some iHeartCountry radio stations, for the first time, iHeartCountry will, among other things, present a Facebook live broadcast of the red carpet arrivals hosted by award-winning radio and CMT personality Cody Alan.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

| December 23, 2014

mcmahonbillThe Valuable Lessons for Talk Radio Taught by the Podcast Series “Serial.” One of the spoken-word audio entertainment stories of 2014 is the phenomenal success of the podcast series “Serial.”  It is a 12-part episodic experiment in audio storytelling by Sarah Koenig that has garnered an enormous listenership of millions and a remarkable amount of media attention.  Basically it is a colorfully delivered “whodunit” murder mystery.  According to noted talk radio consultant, talent coach and TALKERS contributor Bill McMahon, “I first learned about ‘Serial’ the podcast from my Twitter feed.  It was a day I was thinking a lot about the future of radio and audio entertainment.  I was feeling pretty pessimistic.  It took hearing one episode of ‘Serial’ to completely change my mood.  It rekindled my love of audio entertainment and my belief in its power and appeal.  Itserial logo took me back to the experiences that made me fall in love with radio and audio entertainment.  I remembered listening to my first Seattle Rainiers baseball broadcast.  I’d never been to a game or met any of the players, but Leo Lassen’s enthusiasm, excitement, and colorful descriptions allowed me to visualize them in my mind.  It felt like I was right there in the stadium.  I remembered Lan Roberts, the morning personality on KJR, and his fascination with and belief in UFOs.  His vivid descriptions and recorded sounds of his midnight experience waiting for a UFO and its passengers that he expected to land in a field east of Seattle were unforgettable.  My imagination allowed me to see what he saw and feel his anticipation and then disappointment when it didn’t happen.  It was magic.  I felt that same sense of magic listening to ‘Serial.’  It’s no accident ‘Serial’ has attracted so much media attention and millions of listeners for each of its 12 episodes in just three months’ time.  For creators of audio information and entertainment content, especially journalists, news reporters and storytellers of all kinds, there is so much that can be learned from the success of season one of ‘Serial.’”  In an exclusive opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (12/23) McMahon offers his educated take in the practical wisdom revealed by the producers of “This American Life” and Sarah Koenig’s experiment in audio storytelling.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

harrisonherald2smallerMichael Harrison: Spreading the Digital Junkyard.  In an opinion piece published at TALKERS today (12/23), publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) asks pointed questions of media industry practitioners about their perception of the state of digital media.  He writes, “Have you noticed lately that some of your favorite websites have become increasingly user-unfriendly?  Odds are your usual haunts in the newspaper, magazine, general entertainment and information arenas have become cluttered with terribly annoying pop-up ads, videos that start playing loudly without invitation (sometimes more than one at a time) – and maddeningly confusing hodge-podges of editorial and commercial content laid out in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to follow an article without being sidetracked into a unwanted advertisement…Clearly, an unholy alliance of the techno-geeks and sales-freaks have taken control of the major league media website show.  The true internet content programmers and strategists have lost their hold on the situation.  They have stopped programming with the sensibilities of the user in mind.  Sound familiar?”  Harrison is quick to declare he’s not a Luddite; in fact, he’s been a champion of the internet since it became public!  BUT, that doesn’t mean digital is without its serious flaws and certainly doesn’t mean there’s no remaining value in AM/FM radio.  Read Harrison’s entire piece here.

nielsen logoRound One of December PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of December 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The survey period was November 6 through December 3.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

abcnewsradioABC News Surpasses Affiliate Goal.  In a memo to staffers, ABC News president James Goldston announces the news organization – preparing to re-launch its radio news division separate from recent partner Westwood One – has surpassed its goal for signing new affiliates.  Goldston writes, “So far, we’ve signed well over 1,000 stations to affiliation agreements for ABC News, ABC Digital and ABC Air Power – with 200 brand-new affiliates and many stations signing up for more than one ABC service.  Not only have we retained many key affiliates, but we have added several of the most iconic, most-respected and most-listened to stations in America, including WTOP, Washington; WGN, Chicago and KFI, Los Angeles.”  The new service launches on January 1.

Odds & Sods.  Programmer Sue Wilson is promoted to vice president/director of operations at Rubber City Radio in Akron which means she adds supervision of news/talk WAKR to her duties…..SiriusXM begins presenting an audiocast of “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.”  The news program is now airing nightly at 7:00 pm ET on the satcaster’s TODAY Show Radio channel.

bohannonWCLOJim Bohannon Promotes VetsRoll in Wisconsin.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon (second from left) is pictured here on remote with affiliate station WCLO, Janesville, Wisconsin “Newsradio 1230.”  Bohannon appeared on air with station OM and talk personality Tim Bremel (left) and World War II veterans Stan Van Hoose (second from right) and Mitch Bliss (right) to promote VetsRoll.  The organization provides safe ground transportation and an enjoyable experience for World War II and Korean Conflict-era U.S. military veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” to visit war memorials and other related sights in and around Washington, DC.

wachspapsmearSpreading the News!  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured here prior to her recent pap smear) tells TALKERS magazine she’s gearing up to take part in a public service campaign for cervical cancer.  January is cervical cancer screening month and Dr. Daliah says the “Start Spreading the News Campaign” to advise women to get cervical cancer screenings can help to put a dent in the 12,000 cases and 4,000 deaths that happen each year in the U.S.

NYPD Cops Killed/Protests Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, North Korea Internet Fail/Sony Pictures Hack, Positive U.S. GDP News, Christmas Holiday, and NFL Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22).  The murder of two NYC police officers over the weekend and the ongoing police killings protests in New York; the possible candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing violence being perpetuated by ISIS; the loss of internet in North Korea and that nation’s possible connection to the hacking of Sony Pictures; the report of the U.S. gross domestic product rising 5% in the third quarter; the Christmas holiday; and the NFL playoffs push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.