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Thursday, June 17, 2021

| June 17, 2021

Weekly Reach, Average Audience Post Highest Levels In 14 Months. As the nation continues to reopen and returns to pre-pandemic routines, the industry experiences another month of radio listening gains. According to results from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period, radio’s weekly reach is at its highest level since March 2020 and has grown each of the past four months. In the latest sweep (May 2021), radio’s reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, which is within two million of where it was before lockdown precautions took effect last year. In May 2021, radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience also scored its highest level since March 2020. Coinciding with vaccination rollouts and more normal commutes, AQH audience levels have increased 11% since January. PPM’s year-over-year (May 2020 – May 2021) weekly reach and AQH comparisons stand at a 108 index and 120 index, respectively. From a weekly reach perspective, May 2021’s radio audience is 8% larger than this time last year, while the AQH audience is 20% larger versus May 2020. May 2021 listening gains were widespread, with all major dayparts at or near AQH peaks since COVID-19 began. Weekday morning drive and weekends hit their highest audience levels in 15 months. May 2021’s weekend AQH (6.6 million) is 300,00 higher than March 2020’s 6.3 million, before the peak of the lockdown. Even though news/talk is lower than in prior months (12.6% in May 2021, compared to May 2020’s 13.6%), it does remain the most-listened to format in PPM markets. Registering its third gain in a row (4.1% – 4.2% – 4.4% – 4.6%), sports talk posts its highest AQH share since COVID-19 began, surpassing October’s high point (4.5%) when football season was in full swing.

Round One of May 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). In presenting his “Ratings Takeaways” from this round of markets, Mike Kinosian notes that, while it erodes by one full-share from April 2021 (9.6 – 8.6, 6+), Cox Media Group Atlanta’s WSB-AM & WSBB is the only mainstream news/talk outlet to reach #1 (24th consecutive month, 6+). Meanwhile, the lone news/talk stations from the aforementioned metros that finished in the top 20 (6+) and posted an April 2021 – May 2021 increase are Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (3.2 – 3.4, 6+) and Townsquare Media-owned WKXW, Middlesex (3.8 – 4.1, +.3, 6+). Off one-half share and three-tenths, respectively are Audacy NYC news siblings WINS (3.2 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+) and Mets key station WCBS-AM (2.7 – 2.4, #15 to #16, 6+). Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR (Giants) improves by eight-tenths (4.3 – 5.1, 6+) to progress from fourth to third. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

IBA/Vipology Technology Contest Creates Nearly $1 Million In Local Sponsorships. During an eight-week “Key Word Contest” (April 19 – June 11), participating Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) member stations collectively generated approximately one million dollars of revenue from local sponsors. IBA president/Adams Radio Group chief executive officer Ron Stone notes, “Hundreds of our member stations were able to generate new revenue from our group contesting. “Vipology’s technology, member execution/management, and data follow-up was nothing short of spectacular. We are planning a second contest for the fall; many participating groups have already indicated their interest in participating again.” Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee adds, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, Kansas, I’m proud of our team for building the technology and supporting hundreds of stations across the country in their effort to sound big on-air and powerful in their markets.” Participating stations’ on-air personalities gave three key words throughout the day. Listeners were then encouraged to enter the words on the IBA “contest widget” on that station’s website. Listeners correctly identifying the day’s ‘Winning Key Word” became eligible for that day’s random drawing to win $1,000.

Shattuck Set To Join WTIC-AM. Formerly the senior editor of Lowell Massachusetts’ “The Lowell Sun,” Tom Shattuck will become the mid-day host (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) on news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk” next Monday (6/21). The Audacy Hartford outlet will feature all-local programming from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Audacy Hartford senior vice president/market manager Stephanie Perl opines, “Radio is best when it is local, when we can discuss and look at the local issues affecting our listeners. Being able to expand our local weekday programming further separates WTIC-AM from other radio stations in the state and we look forward to unveiling this new slate of content to our audience.” According to Shattuck, “[WTIC-AM] has been serving the people of Connecticut for almost 100 years. I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of this great station. These are extraordinary times and I look forward to talking about our politics and culture with the thoughtful, astute WTIC-AM audience.” Shattuck previously was editorial page editor of The Boston Herald and executive producer of Boston Herald Radio. In addition, he spent four years at Boston’s WTKK as executive producer of the afternoon drive show and was a content manager, web designer, and executive producer at cross-town news/talk WRKO. In other WTIC-AM changes, morning show co-host Brian Shactman will add “Extra Time with Brian.” As of next Monday (6/21), the station’s revised 5:00 am – 6:00 pm lineup will be: “WTIC Sunrise Special” (5:00 am – 5:30 am); “Mornings with Ray and Brian” (5:30 am – 9:00 am); “Extra Time with Brian” (9:00 am – 10:00 am); “The Tom Shattuck Show” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); and “The Todd Feinburg Show” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm).

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place last Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

TALKERS News Notes. After a five-year run at KNBR “The Sports Leader” and KTCT “KNBR 1050,” program director Jeremiah Crowe is set to depart the Cumulus Media sports talk facilities the middle of next month. A new assignment has not been announced for Crowe, who is reportedly relocating to Las Vegas … Starting next Wednesday (6/23) at 9:00 am, Audacy Chicago sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” will air a 24-hour “What About Chicago?” radiothon. In partnership with former Chicago Bears player Sam Acho, the radiothon will benefit Athletes For Justice and the Austin Harvest program. WSCR afternoon talent Danny Parkins comments, “I hate when people who don’t care about our city ask ‘What about Chicago?’ in bad faith. The name ‘What About Chicago’ is a defiant response and this radiothon will hopefully highlight what Chicago is really about: A Chicago radio station partnering with a Chicago charity with a mission to help improve the lives of Chicago kids in a Chicago neighborhood.” … In acknowledgement for its protest coverage following the death of George Floyd, Audacy San Francisco all-news KCBS-AM & KFRC has won a national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for “Best Radio Breaking News Reporting.” KCBS-AM & KFRC director of news & programming Jennifer Seelig comments, “I’m incredibly proud of my team’s thoughtful and compelling protest coverage. On behalf of everyone at KCBS-AM & KFRC, I’d like to thank SPJ for this prestigious honor. [We strive] to deliver comprehensive coverage of stories that resonate with our audience. This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to our community.” KCBS-AM & KFRC was the only commercial station in the country to win in any category … Even though its officials have not released an official statement, Cox Media Group continues to rectify digital damage apparently caused by a ransomware attack. Those trying to stream a CMG station hear the following, “This stream is currently unavailable and we are working diligently to bring it back online. Our radio stations continue to broadcast 24/7; you can listen to us over the air – thanks for your patience.” Cox Media Group news/talk outlets include WSB-AM & WSBB, Atlanta; WHPT, Tampa, WDBO, Orlando; and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.

Facebook Censors Harry Hurley’s “Heavy Hundred” Post.  A post regarding Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” morning host Harry Hurley being named to the TALKERS list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (“Heavy Hundred”) has been censored by Facebook. In an article posted this morning on the “WPG Talk Radio” website, Hurley (pictured with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2021) says that his story about receiving the honor was taken down by the social media giant with the explanation that it does not meet Facebook’s community standards and that the URL to the feature is considered spam. To read the entire article, please click https://wpgtalkradio.com/facebook-censored-my-post-about-talkers-magazine-honor/. 

Now Saluting “Kentucky Colonel” Roten. WVHU “News Radio 800” morning talk host Tom Roten was recently presented a plaque commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions as Kentucky Colonels are presented for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. The honor stunned Roten, who happened to be emceeing a grant award ceremony. Kentucky Colonels executive director Sherry Crose spoke of Roten’s commitment to the community and years of promoting charitable organizations and then made the surprise presentation. Having just marked his 20th anniversary at the iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia – Ashland, Kentucky station, Roten remarked, “This is such a tremendous honor – I am very grateful.” Roten has interviewed hundreds of guests from the region including many from the Commonwealth. He regularly talks to state and federal lawmakers from the Bluegrass State and speaks to representatives of many Kentucky charitable groups. For over 10 years, Roten served as public service director for iHeartRadio’s Huntington-Ashland cluster and has written/produced hundreds of PSAs for non-profit organizations. Approximately 30 Eastern Kentucky charities received a portion of $2.1 million in grants that the Kentucky Colonels will award this year. Kentucky Colonels are that state’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.

Total Subscribers To Paid Audio Services Double in Six Years. According to data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear,” 47% of Americans 13+ now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. That’s just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials. I believe we’ll see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies. Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. Such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well.” Growth has come across the board from SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Audible audiobook subscriptions to music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Pandora Premium or Plus.

KCUR Enlists Edgell As Midwest Newsroom Managing Editor. Effective July 6, public radio news/talk WFYI, Indianapolis project manager/assistant editor Holly Edgell will join University of Missouri-Kansas City’s similarly-programmed KCUR, Kansas City as managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom. KCUR general manager Sarah Morris states, “We are thrilled to have had such a strong pool of candidates and delighted that Holly will be joining the Midwest Newsroom as a KCUR employee. Holly has extensive leadership in working with newsrooms across the midwest and beyond. She will help form and create a highly functional and collaborative team for the hub.” NPR managing editor for collaborative journalism Kenya Young adds, “We’re excited to see Holly join our team of stellar managing editors leading the hub newsrooms across the country. Holly at the helm ensures our mission to plan shared coverage and create stories that reach local, regional, and national audiences. Holly will be an agent of change in the midwest region; I look forward to seeing how she shapes collaborative journalism within our network.” KCUR is lead partner in the NPR-formed Midwest Newsroom, a collaborative among Nebraska Public Media; Iowa Public Radio; St. Louis Public Radio; and NPR.

iHeartPodcast Network Adds Three True Crime Mysteries. The new entries include: “Missing On 9/11”; “After The Uprising: The Death Of Danye Dion Hones”; and “Algorithm.” From the producers of “Missing In Alaska,” “Missing On 9/11” traces the whereabouts of a woman living near the World Trade Center who disappeared on that horrific day. John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski-hosted “After The Uprising” is an 11-part series that examines the truth behind the hanging death of a St. Louis Black Lives Matter activist. From iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, Ben Kuebrich-hosted “Algorithm” is an examination of a reporter’s algorithm he claims can detect serial killers.

Friday, October 11, 2019

| October 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 7-11. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of whether the president implied he’d release Ukraine financial aid in exchange for President Volodymyr Zelensky investigating Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential election.  Coming in at #3 was Turkey’s invasion of Syria, followed by U.S.-China relations at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

| September 16, 2019

Monday Memo: When YOU Win, Congratulate THEM.  With all the cutbacks local radio has been through, relevant local news is all the more conspicuous.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke urges stations to enter news awards competitions and offers a way to tout wins on-air.  Read it here.

Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, New Kavanaugh Claim, Purdue Parma Files for Bankruptcy, UAW Strikes at GM, Ric Ocasek Dies, and Antonio Brown Plays in NE Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The drone attack on a Saudi oil processing facility and accusations Iran is responsible; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual harassment while a freshman at Yale; oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy; the UAW votes to strike against General Motors; The Cars co-founder Ric Ocasek dies at 75; and embattled football player Antonio Brown plays for New England in week 2 among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Comparing weekly 6+ AQH share data from the July survey to the August survey, 46% of the stations on our panel went up while 40% went down (14% were flat).  Looking at the year-over-year comparison, 50% of stations saw their ratings go down, while 46% were gainers.  Four public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the August survey: KQED, San Francisco (7.1); WAMU, Washington (8.2); KPBS, San Diego (6.0); and WUNC, Raleigh (8.5).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Tom Tolbert Renews Deal with KNBR, San Francisco.  Bay Area sports talk radio personality Tom Tolbert signs a contract extension with Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM/FM.  The 23-year station personality currently co-hosts the afternoon drive program with Larry Krueger and Rod Brooks.  Tolbert played for two seasons with the Golden State Warriors during his seven-year NBA career.  He currently serves as host of KNBR’s “Dubs Countdown to Tipoff” pre-game shows.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Tom is the heart and soul of the KNBR brand and we’re excited to have him stay in the family here at ‘The Sports Leader.’  He has a special bond with Bay Area sports fans and his unrivaled passion for the game can be heard every weekday during ‘Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks.’  We are extremely proud to extend our relationship with Tom for years to come.”

Barnett Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Sales pro Dave Barnett moves to Denver from his most recent position with iHeartMedia’s WDAE, Tampa.  As senior vice president of sales in Denver, Barnett will be responsible for overseeing the spoken word and sports stations – KOA, KDFD-AM/K299BS “Freedom 93.7,” and KHOW – as well as the company’s sports partnerships with the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and University of Colorado.   In Tampa, Barnett was vice president of sales for “NewsRadio WFLA” and sports talk WDAE.  He also served as the director of sports where he worked closely with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning.  He says, “I am thrilled to be back in Denver and working with the variety of legendary brands including KOA, ‘Freedom 93.7’ and 630 KHOW.  Denver is a very special place and an incredible radio market – I look forward to working with our incredible partners as well as the legendary voices that you hear on each of our stations and sports properties.”

‘America’s 1st News’ Announces KTTH, Seattle New Flagship. The nationally syndicated “America’s 1st News” with Matt Ray is now emanating from new flagship station KTTH-AM, Seattle.  The program – airing live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is heard on 85 affiliate stations.  Ray says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with [KTTH program director] Jason Rantz and the engineering staff [at KTTH] in the past and they’re the best in the business.  We’re thrilled to join the team on a permanent basis.”

Becki West Rises to VP Sales/Director of Agency Partnerships. Philly sales pro Becki West is promoted from general sales manager with iHeartMedia to vice president of sales and director of agency partnerships.  In this role, West will be responsible for overseeing the sales team as well as continuing to offer marketing solutions to the company’s agency partners.  She will continue to oversee sales for adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze.”  Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore says, “Becki has been crucial to the growth of our sales team and sales management team.  Her relationships with our clients in the market are second to none and are an essential element to helping us cultivate our major initiatives.”

Cumulus Names John Toohey VP of Finance. In this new role of vice president, finance with Cumulus Media, John Toohey will handle financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and special projects.  He will report to EVP and chief financial officer John Abbot.  Toohey was with Charter Communications (and predecessor Time Warner Cable) for 12 years, most recently as group vice president, media sales finance, Spectrum Reach.

Beasley Supports Greater Boston Food Bank. Pictured above are staffers from Beasley Media Group’s Boston operations at the Greater Boston Food Bank on September 11 helping sort and pack 12,206 lbs. of food that will provide 10,172 meals or feed a family of four for 2.3 years.  The effort was part of the company’s ongoing Community of Caring Initiative.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “This is the second year that the Beasley Boston Team sorted thousands of pounds of food at the Greater Boston Food Bank.  It feels good to work together to help others in need.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” former artist manager and radio personality Ayisha Jaffer is named afternoon drive host and promotions coordinator, effective today (9/16). Her duties will include booking the station’s weekly “414 Live” on-air performance show featuring Milwaukee artists.  Station PD Jordan Lee says, “When I think of Milwaukee success stories, I think of Ayisha.  Born and bred here in Milwaukee, she’s traveled the world and worked with some of the coolest artists in contemporary music.  She brings knowledge, industry experience, and passion to the ‘Radio Milwaukee’ team.”…..Podcaster Cadence13, via its C13Originals division, is presenting a documentary series titled, “Long May They Run,” dedicated to chronicling iconic touring bands who’ve had a lasting impact on music culture, the industry, music streaming, touring, their fans and beyond.  Season one focuses on the jam band Phish. The series is created, directed, and produced by C13Originals, and hosted and written by Dean Budnick, a veteran music journalist, editor-in-chief of Relix Magazine, author, and filmmaker…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the appointment of Erin Voden as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions for its Washington, D.C. market, effective immediately.  She’ll oversee and manage sales at the company’s television and digital media properties serving the Washington market…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing in two new markets. WSVM-AM, Charlotte, North Carolina and KBST-AM, Odessa, Texas add the program to their weekly program schedules.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

| June 25, 2019

It’s Official: Greg Papa Joins KNBR. The news of the arrival of Bay Area sports media figure Greg Papa at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR is official – he’ll be co-hosting the midday show with John Lund, effective July 16. Papa, a longtime radio voice of the Oakland Raiders, also begins serving as play-by-play man for the San Francisco 49ers this season.  This news from Cumulus comes a day after TALKERS reported that longtime KNBR air personality Gary Radnich is retiring from the station and that host Bob Fitzgerald (who serves as play-by-play voice of the Golden State Warriors) is exiting.  The station’s new lineup has “Papa & Lund” airing from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Fitzgerald’s former partner Rod Brooks is joining the Tom Tolbert-led afternoon drive show, as is Radnich’s co-host, Larry Kreuger.  The new “Tolbert, Kreuger & Brooks” show will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  This is a return to KNBR for Papa, who hosted his own show on the station from 2001 through 2003.  He’s also worked with Lund in the past.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Greg brings unrivaled knowledge and top-notch entertainment value to every broadcast he leads.  His connection with the Bay Area sports fan runs deep on many levels through his history in the local market, and we are proud to reunite him with John Lund in middays on ‘The Sports Leader.’” Regarding the exit of longtime personality Gary Radnich, Cumulus San Francisco VP/GM Doug Harvill says, “From the time Gary Radnich started at KNBR he was a pioneer in the sports talk format.  He built a close relationship with listeners through his entertaining and intriguing perspective on sports and life.  I cannot express how appreciative all of us at KNBR are for the opportunity to have partnered with him on his KNBR journey.”

Andrew Kalb Exits ABC Radio News. Radio news pro Andrew Kalb announces he’s exited ABC News as part of “a restructuring led by new management.” Kalb, who’s been with ABC News for the past 22 years, says, “It has been an honor to lead a talented team of broadcast and digital journalists and storytellers, and to successfully re-launch the ABC News Radio business, which now serves over 1,650 radio stations.  Most recently, I also was executive producer and helped launch the ABC News daily audio podcast, ‘Start Here,’ which was recognized with a Murrow award last week for ‘innovation in journalism.’  Along the way, I have served our affiliates in partnership and with pride, understanding that all success is the result of teamwork and collaboration.  To my many friends in radio, both at ABC and across the industry, thank you for the opportunity to work with you.  I am looking forward to my next exciting opportunity.”  Kalb can be emailed at: andrewkalb@gmail.com.

The New York Festivals Radio Award Winners Presented in NYC. The winners of the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards were presented in New York last night and RTE Ireland was named Broadcaster of the Year for the third year running.  Almost Tangible LTD. from the U.K. was named Production Company of the Year.  ESPN Films was named Grand Winner for its “30 For 30” podcast.  Pictured above is “30 For 30” producer and host Jody Avirgan (right) accepting the award at last night’s ceremony.  You can see all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. New Jersey talk radio station WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” was honored with five of the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists’ Signature Awards at a ceremony held last Saturday (6/22) in Newark.  Four of the Townsquare Media station’s full-time staffers and one freelancer were honored for “compelling news reporting on-air, online, and through the use of video.”  Michael Symons and Sergio Bichao took 2nd place in the Investigative Reporting category for their four-part series on New Jersey’s pension system, detailing spiraling costs and sky-high individual payouts.  Dino Flammia is the 2nd winner of the Herbert Morrison Award for Best Audio Story for his series on the challenges and successes seen in treating mental health issues in New Jersey.  Michael Symons is the 3rd place winner of the Herbert Morrison Award for Best Audio Story, for the audio presentation of his and Sergio Bichao’s pension series.  Louis C. Hochman is both the 1st and 3rd place winner of the Gabe Pressman Award for Best News Video. The first-place award is for his video of a community memorial service after a Long Branch teen killed his entire family and a friend.  The 3rd place award, shared with freelancer Jay Lassiter, is of Lassiter’s long-form interview with former legislator Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, detailing her decision to publicly disclose a domestic violence incident…..Radio news pro Steve Nikazy is calling it a career at Entercom’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia.  After 29 years with the station, Nikazy will retire on June 28…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis is honored with the distinction of making the St. Louis Top Workplaces list.  The designation comes after a survey from Energage – a culture, technology, and workplace improvement research company.  Hubbard operates sports talk WXOS-FM “101ESPN” and four music-formatted stations in the St. Louis market.  Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski says, “This Top Workplace designation is especially important to us. In February of last year, we acquired KSHE and ‘105.7 The Point’ from Emmis Communications. We had twice the number of employees that we had to fit into the same square footage.  We really worked hard to provide all of our employees with a great workspace.  We focused on instilling confidence in the leadership and being attentive to the process of blending workplace cultures.”

Radio Exec Rick Devlin Dies at 75. Longtime radio executive Rick Devlin died on May 15 at the age of 75.  During the course of his 40-year career, Devlin was general manager at WOR, New York; ABC Radio; and RKO Radio. He also served as president of the Radio Network Association and was a member of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Six-Station Deal in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This deal will transfer six radio stations and an FM translator in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania market from Backyard Broadcasting PA LLC led by Daniel J. Farr to Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania LLC led by Van A. Michael.  The stations are: country WILQ-FM, hot AC WLMY-FM, sports talk WWPA-AM/W267BJ, rock WZXR-FM, rock WCXR-FM, and oldies WBZD-FM.  The price of the sale has not been announced.

2020 Presidential Race, Iran Sanctions, Southern Border Migrant Issues, Trump Rape Accusation, Census Citizenship Question, and U.S.-China Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The Democrats competing for their party’s nomination to face President Trump in 2020; the new sanctions placed on Iran in the aftermath of its shooting down a U.S. drone; the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border and the politics of migrant issues; writer E. Jean Carroll’s allegation she was raped by Donald Trump in the early 1990s; the issue of including the question of citizenship on the next U.S. census; and the tensions between the U.S. and China over tariffs 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. Big news from Chicago as on-air legend Terri Hemmert announces she’s giving up her midday show at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, where she’s been working for the past 45 years.  The 71-year-old personality will continue to serve with the station on a part-time basis, including continuing to host the Sunday morning “Breakfast with The Beatles” program…..LM Communications hands programming duties for its Charleston, South Carolina stations rock WYBB “98 ROCK” and triple A WCOO “The Bridge” to company PD Chili Walker, who is program director for its Charleston, West Virginia stations rock WKLC “ROCK 105” and classic hits simulcast WMXE/WWQB.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

| September 4, 2018

Steve Gill Returns to the Nashville Airwaves on WLAC. Nashville-based media personality Steve Gill ended his syndicated radio program that was heard in mornings on WLAC and distributed via Radio America in January of 2013. Now, he’s returning to the WLAC “TalkRadio 1510” air with his “Tennessee Star Gill Report” that is airing from 7:30 am to 8:00 am daily.  Gill is the CEO of Gill Media and the political editor of The Tennessee Star.  He was also morning drive host on WWTN-FM, Nashville prior to joining WLAC in 2006.  iHeartMedia Nashville region president Dan Endom says, “There isn’t a more credible or recognizable conservative voice in Tennessee than Steve Gill.  With the top names in national conservative talk already on TalkRadio 1510 WLAC, including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the addition of a Tennessee conservative voice like Gill rounds out the lineup with a strong local connection.” “Tennessee Star Gill Report” also airs on several radio stations across Tennessee, including WETR, Knoxville and WNWS, Jackson.  Gill says, “Our goal with the radio show is the same as with The Tennessee Star news site: to provide the critical news and insight that the liberal mainstream media overlooks, ignores or in too many cases covers up.  Based upon the numbers that The Tennessee Star has generated in the first 18 months of operation, with over 8 million visitors, there is clearly a demand for the facts, news and analysis that we provide on line and now, on air.”  In the past two weeks Nashville-based Star Digital Media has launched two new online news sites in addition to The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star (www.theohiostar.com) and The Minnesota Sun (www.theminnesotasun.com).  The company plans to expand into additional states over the next few months.

Bonnie-Jill Laflin Joins KNBR, San Francisco Morning Show. Radio and social media personality Bonnie-Jill Laflin is appointed to the on-air team of the “Murph & Mac” morning show on Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco, hosted by Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey.  Laflin is a former cheerleader for the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco 49ers. Her radio experience includes hosting SiriusXM’s “The Rush Hour” and “Fantasy Football Show.”  The station says she’ll appear in station videos across knbr.com and its social media platforms, in addition to her role on-air.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to add the talented Bonnie-Jill Laflin to the KNBR lineup.  A San Francisco native, she has maintained her passion for Bay Area sports and has a deep-rooted connection to the KNBR brand.  Her experiences and relationships built in the front office, on the sidelines, behind the microphone, and on camera will provide our core audience a rare perspective on their favorite local teams.  Bonnie-Jill is an established personality that will connect with our listeners on a multitude of platforms and keep KNBR on the leading edge of content creation from day one.”

iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and NPR’s Jarl Mohn Keynote Closing Session at IAB Podcast Upfront. At this Thursday’s Interactive Advertising Bureau’s fourth annual podcast upfront in New York, iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and NPR CEO Jarl Mohn will host the closing fireside chat titled, “Leaders of the Audio Revolution Debate the Future of Sound.”  It will be moderated by IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg.  IAB says U.S. podcast advertising captured $314 million in revenue in 2017, a rise of 86% over $169 million in 2016, according to the latest IAB/PwC Podcast Advertising Revenue Study for full-year 2017 and is predicted to continue to surge to $659 million by 2020.  The press release goes on to say, “iHeartMedia is the largest commercial radio podcaster and NPR is the largest non-profit radio podcaster in the U.S. and these two media titans will share their views on the power of audio, the future of the audio/podcast ecosystem, the role of spoken word and the driving factors behind on demand and podcast listening.”

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured above is music mogul Clive Davis (center)after announcing on WOR, New York that he is organizing a memorial concert for Aretha Franklin at Madison Square Garden on November 14.  He told WOR’s Len Berman (left)and Michael Riedel (right)that it was scheduled before her passing as a tribute show but will now be a memorial concert…..In the U.K., the country’s most-listened-to morning host Chris Evans is leaving the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show on December 21 after 13 years at the station to join Virgin RadioWireless CEO Scott Taunton says, “We are beyond thrilled that Chris has chosen to come back to Virgin Radio. He is the biggest name in radio and is synonymous with the brand.  He has the most exciting breakfast show in the industry and has an energy that captivates audiences.”  The station relaunched two years ago and is heard in the UK only on DAB and online…..After a 12-year stint with RadiOhio’s Columbus sports talk WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan,” program director Jay Taylor announces he’s leaving the station as his current contract ends…..Today the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh begin before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Salem Radio Network is presenting gavel-to-gavel coverage each day from Capitol Hill correspondent Wally Hindes.  Additionally, the network’s nationally syndicated Hugh Hewitt show will have exclusive commentary and perspective from U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) each day.  Hewitt show executive producer Duane Patterson says, “It is quite a coup to land color commentary on these important hearings from Senator Sasse – a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – each day.”…..Midwest Communications is flipping sports talk WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “The Team 92.1-FM” to adult contemporary on Wednesday (9/5).  A report in the Lansing State Journal quotes Midwest Communications Lansing vice president and market manager Mark Jaycox saying the station wasn’t profitable as a sports talk outlet.  It carried three shows syndicated by the Spotlight Radio Network: “Michigan’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels,” “The Drive with Jack Ebling,” and “The Spartan Beat with Rico Beard.”  It also aired programming from FOX Sports Radio Network…..iHeartMedia Cincinnati and E.W. Scripps’ WCPO-TV are entering into a deal in which the TV station will provide the radio stations – including news/talk WLW and WKRC – with local weather forecasts and news features.  WCPO-TV reports that it will also provide “Don’t Waste Your Money” consumer reports from the station’s John Matarese to the iHM radio stations…..Westwood One begins its 32nd consecutive year as the exclusive network radio partner of the National Football League.  Thursday’s opening night game will be called by play-by-play man Kevin Harlan and color analyst Boomer Esiason will make his final appearance in the booth for his farewell broadcast.  NFL Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner is taking over the lead color analyst role on Monday.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Jeff Sessions Criticism, Kavanaugh Hearings, Labor Day Holiday/State of U.S. Economy, Nike’s Kaepernick ‘Just Do It’ Campaign, First Man Controversy, NBC News-Ronan Farrow Battle, NFL Pre-season, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, tied with the related criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Trump; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the Labor Day holiday weekend and the state of the U.S. economy; Nike’s use of national anthem protestor Colin Kaepernick in its new “Just Do It” campaign; the controversial omission of the U.S. flag planting on the moon in the new film First Man; the argument between NBC News and Ronan Farrow over the news organization’s handling of the Harvey Weinstein investigative report; the NFL pre-season; and the MLB playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the holiday weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Corinna Delgado moves from Cumulus Media’s CHR KRBR, Houston to the company’s hot AC WRQX, Washington Mix “107.3” to star as the midday host.  She started her career at KMVN in her hometown of Anchorage after serving in the U.S. Army Reserves as a combat medic.  WRQX program director Rob Roberts says, “There were so many great candidates, but Corinna blew me away with her passion for the job. She also possesses an incredible set of digital and social skills.  Plus, anyone trained as a combat medic obviously has a place in radio today.”…..Urban radio pro Lou Bennett is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s urban adult contemporary WRBO, Memphis.  He was most recently with Elite Radio Group as director of operations and program director for its Natchitoches, Louisiana stations.  Cumulus Media Memphis operations manager Danni Bruns states, “We are exhilarated to have Lou as our newest team member at Cumulus Memphis. WRBO was built on soul just like our unique city and Lou has the exact soul we need to keep 103.5 WRBO a powerhouse on the air, as well as in the community.  I look forward to watching him grow WRBO’s ratings and plant his feet in The Bluff City.”…..In San Diego, Jeremy Pritchard is promoted from APD and music director to program director for Entercom’s alternative KBZT “ALT 94.9.”  He assumes the PD role from cluster operations manager Kevin Callahan…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Ramonski Luv exits his role at iHeartMedia’s urban AC WVAZ where he was hosting the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon shows…..The nationally syndicated “Bob & Sheri” show is the new morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WTCB, Columbia, South Carolina “B-106,” effective today (9/4).