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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

| May 19, 2021

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington DC, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s April 2021 survey period covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, although Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds one-tenth for a 4.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share), it falls from #9 to the #10 rank. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM dips nine-tenths but retains its #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds one-tenth for a 4.3 share and remains ranked #8 while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.6 share finish and is steady at #4. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths for a 6.2 share finish while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM falls from #5 to #8 after losing nine-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 4.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this second round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round ) here.

KERN-AM, Bakersfield and KIVA, Albuquerque Add ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show.’ Effective Monday (5/24), two news/talk stations add Premiere Networks’ “The Rush Limbaugh Show” to their program schedules. American General Media’s KERN-AM, Bakersfield “Newstalk 1180 & The New 96.1 KERN” announces the addition of  in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Rock of Talk LLC‘s KIVA-AM, Albuquerque “The Rock of Talk” adds the show in the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart. KERN regional director of operations & programming Robert Lewis says, “‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has always been the gold standard of talk radio. Having the opportunity to add Rush’s wise words to our broadcast day was a very easy choice for KERN Radio.” KIVA program director and Rock of Talk LLC CEO Eddy Aragon says, “I understand the tremendous value of the Rush Limbaugh brand for our audience as the legacy of the greatest radio host in American history continues. ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ is the perfect complement to our impressive talk lineup. May the second century of radio live on with what we have been blessed to have known!” Premiere Networks says, “The program features Limbaugh’s relevant and entertaining audio from his award-winning career in broadcast excellence. The audio is guided by familiar voices of the program, including Todd Herman, Ken Matthews, Jason Lewis and Brett Winterble.”

Jim Blasingame Announces End to ‘The Small Business Advocate Show.’ Longtime host of the daily talk radio program “The Small Business Advocate” – Jim Blasingame – announces he’s ending the show after more than 23 years after this Friday’s program. Blasingame says that he just turned 72 years old and he’s getting tired of getting up at 4:20 am to begin his broadcast day. He says he’s also putting his weekly syndicated column to bed after 22 years and more than 1,100 columns. He says, “Started my first job in the 4th grade, grew up on a farm, punched a time-card for the first time in 1966, and haven’t missed a day or a deadline since. And as much as I’ve loved every minute of my work as ‘The Small Business Advocate,’ I don’t mind admitting that trying to program and write small business relevance during the pandemic and lockdowns has taken its toll. Perhaps you can relate… The good news is that I plan to maintain my library of archived content, so any interviews we conducted will still work. Please continue to leverage them to your advantage.”

Focus360 Reveals New Logo, Campaign Theme. National radio sales and syndication network Focus360 unveils its new look including a fresh logo and campaign slogan for 2021, “Speak Volumes.” The company says the refresh is the first in several years for the network and follows a record start to 2021 with the company seeing growth of more than 20%. As part of its brand launch Focus 360 is rolling out a new website, a modern, image-focused ad campaign, all new internal graphics and communications and a very active social media strategy across all platforms. Their 2021 campaign slogan “Speak Volumes” was chosen to highlight the company’s success across several of its offerings including the Jelli network which covers major markets across America and reaches almost 100% of the available audience. Founder and CEO Phil Brown comments, “This is an exciting day for all of us here at Focus 360. Our new logo, website and the Speak Volumes campaign tells our story in a most powerful way. It’s been an incredible year so far and we want to show the entire radio industry more of what we have planned. Stay tuned!”

January 6 Commission, COVID-19 Mandates/Vaccines, Israeli-Hamas Conflict, Asian Hate Crime Bill, Trump Organization Investigation, AZ Vote Audit, and Andrew Giuliani’s Gubernatorial Bid Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The U.S. House to propose creation of January 6 Commission to investigate Capitol invasion; the loosening of COVID-19 mask mandates and the battle against vaccine hesitancy; the ongoing rocket fire between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza; the U.S. House’s COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to prevent hate crimes against Asians; the New York State probe into the Trump Organization widens to criminal wrongdoing; the audit of 2020 election votes in Maricopa County, Arizona; and Andrew Giuliani announces bid for New York governor in 2022 among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. An agreement between Newsmax TV and iHeartMedia puts the audio from Newsmax TV shows on iHM’s iHeartRadio digital platform. The deal also allows iHeartRadio users to hear Newsmax podcasts including “The Newsmax Daily with Rob Carson” and “Greg Kelly Reports.”…..A new study from Edison Research called “Clubhouse Users in America” indicates that 15% of social media users 18+ say they have ever used Clubhouse – the invitation-only, audio-based social networking platform that debuted last year. Although Clubhouse has a relatively small number of users compared to other social media networking services, it has garnered significant attention due to its premise of shared audio spaces and the exclusive nature of its invitation-only membership. “Clubhouse Users in America” found that the percentage of social media users who use Clubhouse remained relatively flat over the survey period (Feb 2021 – Apr 2021) and that time spent using the service declined in April. However, those that do use the service use it often, with 44% of Clubhouse users saying they use the service at least once per day, and 28% saying they use it at least once per week. See more from the study here…..The Independent Broadcasters Association announces its next webinar in its members-only series, “Selling In The Culture of Response,” will be held at 2:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 25. The webinar will be presented by Paul Agase, CRO of advertising analytics and attribution company AnalyticOwl. The webinar offer broadcasters, streamers, and publishers advice on using historical response data to demonstrate the results that broadcast delivers and help advertisers and agencies build effective campaigns. See more information about IBA here…..This weekend (5/20-23), SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the 2021 PGA Championship from Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Live hole-by-hole coverage, which SiriusXM will co-produce with Westwood One, airs starting at 1:00 pm ET Thursday through Sunday and continue through the completion of each day’s play…..The Fishnet Syndication program “On the Right Side” with host Reid L. Rosenthal adds new affiliate KRQN-FM, Vinton, Iowa to its roster of stations.

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click 

      here
. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s 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 January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. 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 complete chart here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

| September 25, 2018

It’s a New Deal for Cumulus Programmer Bill Hess.  Programming pro Bill Hess and Cumulus Media sign a new, multi-year contract extension.  Hess is the company’s vice president of news/talk, program director for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, and operations manager for the Washington, DC cluster.  During his 41-year career, Hess has programmed WTEM, Washington; WHJJ, Providence; and WHYN-AM/FM, Springfield, Massachusetts. He served as SVP of programming for Air America Media and has programmed music outlets WASH and WBIG in Washington.  Cumulus Media Washington VP/market manager Jake McCann says, “This is an exciting time for news/talk in our nation’s capital and we have the privilege of being led by one of the strongest program directors in the country.  Under Bill Hess’ leadership and hands-on approach, WMAL has consistently grown ratings.  He works daily with on-air staff to guarantee they are delivering a top-level product to their audience.”

Stone Canyon Buys Northern Arizona Station Group. This deal has three broadcast management pros organized as Stone Canyon Radio and Marketing, LLC buying four Northern Arizona signals from Grenax II Broadcasting for an as yet undisclosed sum.  The stations are: news/talk KBTK-FM/K246AA “97.1 The Big Talker,” country KSED “107.5 KOLT Country,” classic rock KWMX “The Wolf-Classic Rock 96.7,” and 80s rock KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1.”  Stone Canyon’s principals are former Cherry Creek Media CEO Joe Schwartz (left), Emmis SVP John Beck (right), and Withers Broadcasting and Dana Communications president Dana Withers (center).  Schwartz states, “This is a wonderful opportunity for three veteran broadcasters to pool our years of broadcast experience to create exceptional programming, on-the-street marketing, top digital assets, and to bring the best advertising services available to the Flagstaff-Prescott area. In addition, I can’t wait to work with current VP & general manager Stan Pierce and his team.”  Schwartz will be relocating to the Flagstaff area to work with the cluster team and Beck and Withers will remain in their current positions in St. Louis and Mt. Vernon, respectively.  The start of an LMA is expected to be announced in the near future.

WMAL’s Mary Walter to Host Fisher House Foundation’s Talk Radio Special. The Fisher House Foundation’s annual talk radio special, “Home Away from Home – The Fisher House Story,” is being hosted this year by WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning co-host Mary Walter.   The Fisher House Foundation and The Jeff Wyatt Group are producing the program for talk stations around the country to be aired any time from Veterans Day (11/11) through the holidays.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware that the Fisher House program provides “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers.  The homes provide temporary, free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis.  This year’s three-hour radio special will feature stories of our nation’s heroes, families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey.  Show producer Jeff Wyatt says Mary Walter’s love of the military will add to the quality of the program.  “Her talent, well known support for our military, and broad base of listening across the U.S. makes her a great fit to support our wounded, injured, and ill service members and their families.”  Stations interested in the program can contact Wyatt at: jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com

TALKERS News Notes. Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is celebrating 20 years on talk radio in the Ocean State this month. DePetro says that he was working part-time air shifts on WABC, New York while also serving as national sales manager for WABC and sister WPLJ when he was offered a weekend show on WHJJ, Providence in his home state.  After a few months, he took over the full-time job of mid-morning host on WHJJ in January of 1999.  He currently is heard in Rhode Island on WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island.…..iHeartMedia announces the fruit of its partnership with technology platform creators Jelli and Foursquare is a new attribution product for broadcast radio that will offer marketers “a unique combination of iHeartMedia’s massive reach and Jelli’s programmatic buying capabilities, with the attribution and insights tools from location technology company Foursquare.”  iHeartMedia says this is the next step in its effort to make radio easier to buy and measure. It says it “invested in Jelli’s programmatic platform to make the purchase of data driven radio campaigns as easy as digital, and now with the addition of Foursquare, more in-depth campaign measurement and real-world attribution data is now available to advertisers who buy via Jelli’s demand side platform SpotPlan.”  iHM president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky adds, “This initiative with Foursquare and Jelli is the next evolution in the development of our platform, providing retailers and QSRs the same measurement and accountability for broadcast radio as Google is in search and Facebook is in social.”…..Entercom and Telemundo’s KTMD-TV, Houston announce a multi-platform media partnership that includes distribution of content across all partner channels, including KTMD-TV and Entercom’s Houston stations sports talk KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650,” plus country KILT-FM, Spanish KLOL, and hot AC KHMX.  Content will also be distributed across each entity’s websites and social media platforms. Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “We are excited to partner with Telemundo and further serve our community with enhanced coverage.  We’re looking forward to continue bringing our listeners improved access and coverage of live, local news.”…..Sun & Fun Media announces it has hired Tim Closson to join the company as a senior AE.  He was previously manager of affiliate sales for country & sports at Westwood One.  Sun & Fun Media offers a “suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter.”…..Donna Hardwick is appointed chief marketing officer for PRX, the public media program supplier that recently merged with PRI.  Hardwick was most recently senior director of communications & distribution for ITVS.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations/Cruz Restaurant Protest, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein’s Status, Midterm Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Threatens Attacks, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the related restaurant protest that forced Senator Ted Cruz and his wife to leave; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related uncertainty over the status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; the coming midterm elections; the trade war between the U.S. and China; Iran’s threats against Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the U.S. after the deadly attacks on its military parade; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Charlotte market, Beasley Media Group announces promotions at urban contemporary WBAV “V 101.9” and hip hop WPEG “Power 98.”  Brian “Mr. Incognito” Robinson is upped to program director for both stations.  He was most recently APD for WPEG and previously held the music director, afternoon drive host, and morning drive co-host positions.  At the same time, the company bumps Janine Davis up from traffic correspondent for both stations to midday personality at “V 101.9.”  Nikki “Ya Girl Nikki” Davis rises from evening host to afternoon drive personality on “Power 98.” Finally, John Reynolds is promoted to operations manager for the entire cluster.  Reynolds most recently served as the program director and operations manager at CHR WNKS “KISS 95.1” and Adult contemporary WKQC “K 104.7.”  Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening comments, “John is an exceptional leader and very committed to the success of all of our Beasley Media Group Charlotte radio stations. I am looking forward to seeing him continue to build our strong brands for many years to come.”…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Collin Raye’s Rewind Country” adds new affiliate stations WVWF-FM, Waverly, Tennessee and WPAY-FM, Garrison, Kentucky.  “Rewind Country” is a daily, one-minute vignette that “highlights amazing stories behind the greatest country hits, shared by Raye and friends such as Dolly Parton, John Michael Montgomery, and Lorrie Morgan…..ABC Radio, Skyview Networks, and Front and Center Entertainment are introducing radio versions of the PBS programs “The Front and Center Sessions”  — for country stations — and “The Speakeasy Sessions” for rock outlets.  Both series will feature 12, two-hour programs that are being produced exclusively for ABC Radio’s distribution.  ABC Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “We are excited to work with today’s greatest performers in country and classic rock music.  We’re taking a wealth of content and weaving it into fast-paced radio programming that features great music and riveting behind-the-scenes stories and never-before-shared anecdotes from some of the biggest country and rock stars.”…..Westwood One is launching a new urban morning show on its 24/7 network starring former WHQT, Miami “Hot 105 FM” personality Rick Party (right) and former WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1” jock Sasha the Diva (left). Comedian Benji Brown is also named as part of the cast.  WWO says it has 20-plus stations initially lined up to carry the program that is targeted to females 35-44.

Monday, September 28, 2015

| September 28, 2015

bubbaNielsen Investigating ‘Evidence of Ratings Tampering’ in Tampa Market; Bubba the Love Sponge at Center of Scrutiny.  The statement issued on Friday by Nielsen Audio doesn’t mention Beasley Broadcasting’s WBRN-FM, Tampa-based personality Bubba the Love Sponge, but Beasley has been informed of the investigation by Nielsen and the company says it is cooperating.  It isn’tnielsen logo commenting on Bubba’s status with the company but the station is airing “best of” content today (9/28).  Nielsen stated on Friday, “We became aware of evidence of attempted ratings distortion activity in the Tampa market.  We are working to resolve this issue and will provide additional details when they become available. Nielsen is committed to maintaining the highest standards of data integrity and acts swiftly to ensure that those standards are upheld.”  Nielsen will be delaying the September 2015 PPM report for the Tampa/St. Petersburg market.  The rest of the markets will be released as scheduled, tomorrow and Wednesday.

andersoncarlCarl Anderson Named Tucson Market President for iHeartMedia.  Company programmer Carl Anderson will take on the role of market president and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s seven-station Tucson cluster.  Anderson added brand manager for the company’s news/talk/sports stations to his EVP of programming Midwest responsibilities back in March.  Now, along with the new role in Tucson, Anderson will retain the news/talk/sports brand manager responsibilities.  Andersonknstlogo comments, “The career opportunities within iHeartMedia are truly amazing.  I’m honored and humbled in this new venture of leading the Tucson team as well as remain engaged as brand manager for news/talk/sports.  This combined role enables me to grow in a new position while furthering my passion of developing and growing spoken-word programming for the company.”  iHeartMedia’s Tucson holdings include hot AC KMIY “My92.9,” CHR KRQQ, country KYWD “Wild Country 97.1,” hip hop KOHT “HOT 98.3,” news/talk KNST, and Spanish music outlets KTZR and KXEW.

cowherdcolinFOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd Lashes Out at ESPN.  A piece by Matt Bonesteel in the Washington Post details the recent comments by sports talk personality Colin Cowherd on his Fox Sports Radio Network-syndicated show in which he criticizes former employer ESPN.  The foundation for Cowherd’s criticism is the company’s conservative nature.  He says the company has become increasingly “reactionary” over the past “three or four years.”  He specifically criticized the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show, saying, “We used to call it ‘Mickey and Mickey in the morning.’  It’s very Disney, it’s very safe, it’s very likeable, nobody’s going to get yelled at.  It’s a very easy place for advertisers to come in, park their insurance commercial and nobody’s going to be offended.”  Cowherd left ESPN in August after 12 years for a new deal with FOX Sports.  He was taken off the air by ESPN a week before his final show after comments about the education level of Dominican baseball players caused a stir.  Read Bonesteel’s piece here.

limbaughrushNational Talk Shows to Reap Super PAC Money from Promise I.  As reported in the New York Post by Claire Atkinson, the Super PAC Promise I – supporting GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz – will spend $1 million on a national talk radio ad campaign.  Atkinson reports the programs destined to be part of the buy include Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as well as the Laura Ingraham show.  See her story here.

jelli logoFocus 360 Adds Stations to Programmatic Radio Network.  Nine new radio stations are being added to the programmatic networks “Powered by Jelli” from Focus 360.  The company is working in conjunction with Envision Networks for affiliate sales.  Jelli’s cloud-basedenvisionnetworks new programmatic ad platform “traffics, serves and reports campaigns allowing stations and show producers to generate incremental revenue with virtually no time constraints added to in-house sales teams.”  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Ad agencies are increasingly demanding programmatic buying opportunities, and the Focus 360 radio networks powered by Jelli’s technology platform fulfill this growing need.  Jelli’s platform delivers and monitors commercials as they are broadcast, relieving stress on station traffic departments by not requiring them to schedule and report those spots every day.”

simonemarkCantor15WOR, New York’s Mark Simone Raises Funds for Charity at Cantor Fitzgerald.  The annual 9/11 Charity Day at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald brings celebrity traders into its offices to execute trades with the commissions going to various charities.  WOR, late morning personality Mark Simone and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are two of the celebs who participate each year.  Pictured here is Simone manning the phones.  During the day, Simone made a $750 million trade of U.S. treasury bonds – the biggest trade of the day.  All together, $12 million was raised for charity.  Simone’s portion of the commission is being donated to the The Police Athletic League of New York City.  Cantor Fitzgerald’s offices were at the top of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the company lost 700 employees that day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

| April 14, 2015

wheelertomFCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes.  Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.”  Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters.  The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to addressfccnew practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment.  For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies.  These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.”  In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio.  AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years.  The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation.  We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”

cookehollandCooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there.  Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio.   And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings.  Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast.  “HOW impactful is podcasting?  ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend.  To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times.  Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix.  People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’”  The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic.  Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings 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 March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

premierenetworksPremiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal.  The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media.  The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stationsfuturi logo across the U.S.  Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets.  Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time.  This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR.  Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”

envisionnetworks newEnvision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks.  Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship.  Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radiofocus 360 logo station groups and show producers.  Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide.  Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform.  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations.  Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.”  Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money.  In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.”  Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer.  Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts.  The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton.  Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.”  In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status.  To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. 

quiversrobinRobin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award.  Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981.  Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program.  Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life.  A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it.  Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad.  She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects.  Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate2015 NYC 150 reflection of the magnitude of her achievements.  She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time.  It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.”  Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District.  The conference is for working media industry people only.  Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413.  For more information, click here.

Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed.  It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT,alphamedia logo gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide.  Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014.  After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster.  SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013.  Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.

schnittMets15Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener.  The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman.  WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network.  Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.

2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13).  The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

| December 4, 2013

sargentchrisClear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately.  In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager.  He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

loganbruceBruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston.  Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO.  He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.”  CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America.  We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division.  I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”

jericho show logoPro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne.  World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne.  The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest.  Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com.  Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with.  Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place!  I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats.  Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler.  He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster.  With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet.  Actually, more like no bet at all.  We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”

carsonjonCarson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups.  The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend BroadcastingInland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions.  The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-stationbeckmanamberly radio group beginning January 2014.  Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho.   Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau.  With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors.  The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc.  The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting.  Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations.  She has served with the company for the past two years.

raytomThe Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2.  Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a  powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world!  Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone.  Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.”  In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2” today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

homewizards‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group.  KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network.  Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand.  The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating.  They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.”  Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day!  We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study.  Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm.  Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year.  Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers.  Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.”  Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever.  Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform.  Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know.  The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending.  DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired.  DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoSun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform.  SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based adjelli logo platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements.  The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network.  Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change.  A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014.  Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry.  Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to baileyjasonsunaccountability.  We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run.  Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.”  In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service.  It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.

vulpifrankVulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.

hdradio logoHD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims.  In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26.  The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort.  WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised.  The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need.  It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community.  We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”

wrsb logoUpstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports.  Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.

bigjohndogparkDaytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened.  WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach.  Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001.  It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council.  When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill.  Big John urged the sides to find a compromise.bigjohn  Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered.  By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation.  Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how.  Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”