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Monday, January 18, 2021

| January 18, 2021

Monday Memo: We Are Changed. “New Year, new challenges…AND opportunities!” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, HC lists “10 Fresh Insights into People’s Changing Behaviors,” based on “billions of tweets (yes, with a B).” Read it here.

Wednesday’s Biden Inauguration Preparation, Capitol Assault Investigation, Impeachment, Trump Pardons and Commutations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccinations, Social Media and Free Speech, Migrant Caravan, Navalny Arrested, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; the ongoing investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill; the House’s vote to impeach Donald Trump again; speculation about the coming pardons and commutations from President Trump; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and criticism of vaccine rollout problems; social media’s banning “spreaders of misinformation” and the issue of free speech; a new migrant caravan from Honduras crosses Mexico for the U.S.; Putin opposition figure Alexei Navalny returns to Russia and is detained; and today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Pending Business: How Do You Like to Be Coached? Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says he recently worked with two top 20 market radio stations with no formal system for sellers to give feedback to air talent handling live reads. “The pattern is predictable. The seller sells, the host does the endorsement read, and results are disappointing. The host reads are off target and the dance begins. No one has taken the time to adjust the feedback system.” Read his column here.

Joe Zarbano Exits WEEI, Program Director Role. The Boston Globe reports that Joe Zarbano has left his PD role with Entercom sports talk station WEEI, Boston. Zarbano first joined WEEI in 2007 as an intern and rose through the ranks to become program director in 2016. He stated in a company-wide memo, “After careful thought and consideration, the time has come for me to pursue new challenges and step away from WEEI. In May of 2007, I walked into 20 Guest St. to begin an internship that I was so excited about I couldn’t sleep the night before. Little did I know, it was the beginning of a 14-year journey that would lead me to some of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life.” The Globe says that while WEEI won a Marconi for Sports Station of the Year in 2018, the Nielsen ratings have been kinder to crosstown competitor WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The paper notes that in the fall ratings period, WBZ-FM “was first in the market in the men 25-54 demographic, while WEEI was a distant fourth.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville Midday Trio Exits for Outkick Gig. According to a piece in the Nashville Post, the trio of Johnathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky, and Chad Withrow – hosts of the “Midday 180” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” – are leaving the station for a new role with Clay TravisOutkick. Travis is building a new Outkick OTT Network that will launch later this year. The Post says Travis’ new venture intends to air from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET with live audio and video plus a podcast network. Hutton tweeted, “We’re parting ways with the station, but ‘We’re Not Leaving.’ We remain in the business to win. A priority for each of us was to ensure we’d continue to work with one another, as we are the closest of friends, and we will continue to raise the bar.”

Emily Pankow Named General Counsel for Red Apple Media. Longtime Red Apple Group counsel Emily Pankow is appointed to the general counsel role for Red Apple Media, owner of WABC, New York and operator of WLIR-FM, Long Island. Pankow launched her legal career with Red Apple Group as an associate. CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Red Apple Media and WABC Radio will be well served by Emily’s legal insight. She has proven herself time and time again as an asset to our company over the past 15 years. Since the acquisition of WABC, Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.” Pankow comments, “I’m honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company’s growth under John Catsimatidis’ leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media’s success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”

Jordy Culotta Exits WNXX, Baton Rouge. Co-host of the “Off the Bench” program (7:00 am to 10:00 am) Jordy Culotta exits the Guaranty Media spors talk station. Culotta co-hosted the program with T-Bob Hebert and it’s unclear at this time if the company will replace Culotta or continue with Hebert hosting solo.

Retired Wisconsin Radio Personality John Moser Dead. WTMJ, Milwaukee reports that longtime WBEV-AM, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin radio personality John Moser has died, just two weeks after delivering his final broadcast for Good Karma Brands’ WBEV-AM. The details surrounding Moser’s passing are not clear. His family says he went into the woods near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to hunt coyote and did not return. Authorities later found his body and the cause of death is under investigation. Moser began his career in Beaver Dam in 1973. During his time there, he served as a news announcer, disc jockey, marketing consultant and general manager.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s not a lot of detail on this but Townsquare Media is dropping the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from its talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls. The company posted the following to its websites: “As of January 18, 2021 the show ‘Pratt on Texas’ will no longer be heard on Townsquare Media radio stations in Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls, Texas. Townsquare Media thanks Mr. Pratt for his years of service hosting ‘Pratt on Texas,’ and wishes Mr. Pratt the best in his future endeavors. An additional announcement will be forthcoming concerning future programming on KFYO, KYYW, and KWFS-AM.” Pratt posts on his website that the move is the result of “cancel culture,” apparently implying that his show has been pulled because of his conservatism. Pratt says his ratings “are as great as ever.”…..All day today (1/18), SiriusXM’s Urban View channel and the Joe Madison show are honoring the legacy and celebrating the influence of Martin Luther King Jr. Madison is hosting a special edition of his morning show featuring speeches, sermons, and never-before-heard interviews. Madison is sharing his address to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on King’s legacy, King’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech and “Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool” sermon, Rev. C.L. Franklin’s “The Eagle Stirreth the Nest,” and exclusive new interviews with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, attorney Raymond C. Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and journalist Joan Walsh. Topics will include the 13th Amendment, supporting Black colleges and Black youth in the South, health equity, and white supremacy…..ABC News Radio is offering extensive live anchored coverage of the inauguration events, starting with the COVID-19 memorial ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. On Wednesday, January 20 ABC News Radio will offer a primetime special report that includes coverage of the planned celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from the Capitol with reporting by correspondent Karen Travers, correspondents Alex Stone and Mark Remillard, and multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara. Coverage will also include reporting and analysis by former White House correspondent Ann Compton, political analyst Steve Roberts, and ABC News’ political team and security experts. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post a special edition on Wednesday featuring the latest reporting on the Inauguration.

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Friday, September 23, 2016

| September 23, 2016

marconi-awards-logoMarconi Award Winners Announced. More than 20 Marconi Awards were presented last night (Thursday, 9/22) in Nashville. TALKERS congratulates all the winners and nominees.

“Legendary Station of the Year”: CBS Radio New York all-news WINS

“Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Premiere NetworksDeliah

“Major Market Personality of the Year”: Fred Toucher & Rich Shertenlieb (“Toucher & Rich”) of CBS Radio Boston’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”

“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Brooke Fox & Jubal Flagg (“Brooke & Jubal”) of Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle rhythmic CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5”

“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Chaz & AJ of Connoisseur Media New Haven rocker WPLR

“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman of Cookeville Communications’ Cookeville, Tennessee talker WHUB-AM “1400 The Hub” & W299BY “107.7 FM”

“Major Market Station of the Year”: Jerry Lee-owned adult contemporary WBEB “101.1 More FM,” Philadelphia

“Large Market Station of the Year”: Hearst talker WBAL, Baltimore

“Medium Market Station of the Year”: Cox Media Group Dayton country WHKO “K-99.1”

“Small Market Station of the Year”: Ham Broadcasting Cadiz, Kentucky country outlet WKDZ

“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: Lewanee Broadcasting‘s WLEN, Adrian, Michigan

“CHR Station of the Year”: Zimmer’s KTXY “Y-107,” Columbia, Missouri

“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Los Angeles’ KRTH “K-Earth 101”

“Country Station of the Year”: Cox Media Group Houston’s KKBQ “The New 93-Q”

“News-Talk Station of the Year”: Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington, D.C.

“Noncommercial Station of the Year”: Seton Hall University rock WSOU, South Orange, New Jersey

“Religious Station of the Year”: Salem Media Group Dallas’ KLTY

“Rock Station of the Year”: Zimmer’s KCMQ, Columbia, Missouri

“Spanish Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Houston’s KLOL “Mega 101”

“Sports Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Detroit’s WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket”

“Urban Station of the Year”: Howard University-owned WHUR, Washington, D.C.

cookeholland2016-radio-show-logoNAB/RAB Radio Show: Final Day Wrap-Up.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Nashville covering the NAB/RAB Radio Show for TALKERS and he presents a compact report of some of day two’s key takeaways.  Among them are sound bites from radio’s captains of industry and key players from the “Radio Show Advertiser Breakfast.”  Also included are Cooke’s notes from a variety of digital media- and marketing-oriented sessions, including those run by Dave Ramsey, Gordon Borrell and more.  See it all here.

mckayjeff-2“Heard” In Nashville. While noted media consultant Holland Cooke is providing our exclusive coverage of panels and presentations taking place at this week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, special features correspondent Jeff McKay is talking to attendees about what is being said at the events. Click here to see what people are telling him.

nelson-rayNelson Named VP/MM For Cumulus Huntsville. Former vice president/general manager/cluster director of sales for Cox Radio Birmingham, Ray Nelson, is appointed vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media‘s cluster in Huntsville (Alabama). Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown cumulus-huntsvillecomments, “Ray’s track record of success speaks for itself. Adding him to our team of market managers was an absolute no-brainer. I am excited for Ray and for our talented team in Huntsville.” Nelson notes, “I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Cumulus Huntsville cluster; Huntsville is a fabulous growth market. I appreciate the confidence that Jeff Brown and the entire Cumulus management team have demonstrated in selecting me to champion Cumulus Huntsville.” Nelson’s previous background includes vice president and market manager for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) Ann Arbor (Michigan) and general manager/general sales manager/national sales manager for Fritz Broadcasting Saginaw (also Michigan). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio’s spring 2016 book for Huntsville, Cumulus Media-owned CHR WZYP is #2 (7.7); WHRP “Today’s Best Variety of R&B” ranks #3 (4.8); AM-FM talk combo WVNN finishes #5 (3.1); country WWFF “Nash Icon 93.3” is #8 (1.3); and AM-FM sports duo WUMP “The Ump” ranks #10 (.6). Leading the field is iHeartMedia country outlet WDRM (11.1, 12+).

carr-howiepagsCarr, “Joe Pags” Picked Up For Simulcasts by Newsmax TV. Boca Raton, Florida-based conservative Newsmax TV adds weekday afternoon simulcasts of Howie Carr and Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo. According to Newsmax TV chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy, “The addition of both these shows not only give us important new voices to our diverse lineup of thoughtful, informative broadcasters, they help us expand our broadcasting footprint into the late afternoon hours. Our audience tells us they newsmax-tvare hungry for useful, intelligent, and independent programming. Howie and Joe provide just that.” Carr comments, “I have always had the greatest respect for the entire Newsmax team. I now look forward to reaching a whole new TV audience every afternoon with my show. I couldn’t be more pleased to be joining Newsmax TV.” Pagliarulo remarks, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Newsmax TV team. Having my show in a prime slot on this amazing, growing network is an honor I cherish as it adds a new dimension to the show for my listeners and now viewers.” National Radio Hall of Famer – and author of “The Brothers Bulger” and “Hitman” – Carr originates his four-hour conservative talk show from Entercom-owned WRKO starting at 3:00 pm; “Joe Pags” begins his three-hour syndicated program at 5:00 pm from iHeartMedia‘s WOAI, San Antonio. Carr – syndicated on the Howie Carr Radio Network – is #14 on the TALKERS 2016 “Heavy Hundred” and Pagliarulo – whose national show is distributed by Compass Media Networks – is #23.

sb-nation-radioSB Nation Radio Enhances Its Football Programming. Seventeen-year NFL player Keenan McCardell signs-on with SB Nation Radio as an NFL analyst. The former receiver joins the network on “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and Steve Bunin each Wednesday at 5:00 pm (ET). Gow Media chief executive officer David Gow comments, “Keenan is as impressive in the broadcast booth as he was on the playing field. He is an exceptional talent who can break down the nuances and subtleties of the game without alienating any of the audience. Whether you played football or are just a casual observer, you’ll love his insights.” Meanwhile, former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf will host a two-hour (8:00 am – 10:00 am, ET) weekly show (Saturdays) on SB Nation Radio. The onetime #2 draft pick states, “I am so honored and grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Gow and SB Nation has afforded me.” In addition, SB Nation Radio will premiere “The Kayce Smith Show,” a two-hour (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) college football program that will air Monday nights. Smith opines, “One thing missing from the sports industry is the opportunity for women to take strong stances on-air and give their opinions without hesitation. I am so excited to be a part of the SB Nation Radio family and to be able to share this crazy journey with our loyal listeners across the country.” SB Nation Radio chief operating officer and program director Craig Larson declares, “I have never been more excited about the state of our radio network. From top to bottom, there is no doubt in my mind that we have the strongest lineup of personalities in sports radio. The addition of Keenan, Kayce, and Ryan reinforces the idea that SB Nation Radio is truly the next generation of sports talk.” Gow Media has been operating as Yahoo Sports Radio since 2011 and it was rebranded as SB Nation Radio last month (8/1).

wmfsWMFS to Add Martin & Smith to Mid-Days. Starting next month, John Martin and Jason Smith will be inserted into the weekday lineup (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Entercom Memphis sports combo WMFS-AM “ESPN 680″ & WMFS “92.9 FM.” Entercom vice president and market manager Dan Barron states, “We are thrilled to bring this show to Memphis. Jason and John are highly skilled and bring unique insight. I believe listeners will enjoy this fresh, informative, and entertaining show.” Program director Brad Carson comments, “This is a significant day in this market. We couldn’t be more excited about the reporting and entertainment perspective dynamic that John and Jason both bring.” Smith remarks, “I am so pumped to be with my guy John Martin again. I am so grateful to the folks at WMFS. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait to get started.” With WMFS since 2013, Martin is reportedly the youngest sports host in a top 50 market. Smith spent the last six years at The Commercial Appeal as the University of Memphis’ basketball beat writer. The two worked together at The Commercial Appeal. Unchanged at 2.2, WMFS ranks #14 (Nielsen Audio PPM, August 2016, 6+); iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS “V-101” sets the pace in August 2016 with a 10.5 (6+).

abc-debateOdds & Sods. As part of its coverage of the first presidential debate from Hofstra University, ABC News Radio will provide a preview program anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. There will be post-debate analysis until 11:00 pm (ET). Joining Katersky will be wbns-jersey-160x120bBrad Mielke, Karen Travers, and ABC News Radio political analysts Steve Roberts and Trey Hardin ….. To note the signing of a three-year broadcast extension with the NHL‘s Columbus Blue Jackets, Radiohio-owned WBNS-FM “The Fan,” Columbus director of programming & operations Jay Taylor and president/general manager Dave Van Stone are presented an official Columbus Blue Jackets personalized jersey by the CBJ’s Stinger. “The Blue Jackets have been part of our programming since day one and we’re excited to be able to continue this relationship,” states Stone.

kmjKMJ Fundraiser Aids Fresno’s Community Food Bank. A day-long broadcast that featured Cumulus Media Fresno talk KMJ on-air talents John Broekse, Christina Musson, Ray Appleton, and Chris Daniel netted more than $154,000. For each dollar raised, however, Gar Tootelian Inc. kicked in 50 cents, thus elevating the total for the Community Food Bank to $231,000. KMJ vice president and general manager Patty Hixson comments, “I am overwhelmed by the support of our community. We can always count on the generosity of our highly-valued KMJ listeners. A special thanks to the hard work of our talented on-air team.” Money raised will provide more than 1.5 million meals for the less fortunate residents of the Central Valley. Seventeen (17) stations appear in Fresno’s spring 2016 book (Nielsen Audio) with KMJ finishing second (6.0, 12+), three-tenths behind iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KBOS “B-95” (6.3, 12+).

talkers-ten-logoPresidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 19-23.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM again this week is the presidential election.  At #2 on our list of the top news/talk radio stories was killing of black men by police in Tulsa and Charlotte and the riots that happened in Charlotte.  Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of the NYC/NJ/Minn. terror attacks; following at #4 was the Syrian Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with the ‘First Lady of New York Radio’ – Joan Hamburg. She is one of the most-honored, longest-running, and dazzlingly colorful talk radio personalities in the Big Apple – the quintessential live-and-local host. Joan Hamburg’s career in NYC goes back to the legendary WMCA in the early 1970s where she replaced Bob Grant. From there, she moved over to WOR as a featured personality on the historic “Rambling with Gambling” show. She quickly had her own daily midday show where she stayed for more than three decades covering a wide spectrum of topics that included consumer advocacy, shopping, dining, arts & entertainment and “soft” politics. Joan Hamburg was a pioneer in modern remote broadcasting and regularly performed her showhamburgjoan from, among many locations, the storied Broadway celebrity hangout, Sardi’s. For the past few years, Hamburg, now in her eighties, has been holding court live on-air every Saturday afternoon on WABC in addition to producing special features and stories for the station… and she still does remotes from Sardi’s. The conversation between Harrison and Hamburg is a radiophile’s delight – covering remarkable history including such names as Sally Jessy Raphael, the three John Gamblings, Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Rick Buckley, Barry Gray, Dr. Joy Browne and many, many more. Harrison states, “It was an honor and privilege having this true ‘grand dame’ of radio on the podcast. We cover so much wonderful history including the golden era of Broadway. She harkens back to the day when talk radio offered a wide variety of lifestyle topics beyond politics and sports. I am really proud of this interview – it will always be a treasured addition to the amazing audio library of media history that I am gathering in this podcast series.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

| April 23, 2015

iheartmediasoundfront15spiegelexecsiHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC.  Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs.  The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.”  Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising.  We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love.  We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.”  Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “Theiheartmedia logo small Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast):  Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon.  iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger.  The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show.  “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.”  Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.”  iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future.  Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.

emmis logoFacing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders.  In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017.  Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014.  It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.”  In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013.  It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014.  Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.”  It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.”  You can see the entire lender presentation here.

2015 NYC 150Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace.   One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the manybenedettovince challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today.  The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.”  Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold carrkathyGold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerrycrowleyjerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways.  You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-hartenbaumroncoming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one ofleykistom the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an pahigiancaryindependent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian).  This is not to be missed.”  Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout.  For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show.  Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24).  Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs.  O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000.  He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.

wrhu logoHofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise.  One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster.  The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Odds & Sods.  News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million.  Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM.  Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch.  ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist.  From real-timeabcnewsradio news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.”  Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.”  The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday espnradio(4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton.  Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft.  Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin.  Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King.  The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.

FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight.  Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman.  Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider.  Kallen has been involved inkallen jackie the sport of boxing for almost 35 years.  She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management.  Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes.  Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.  He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.  He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  To book either, email: boxinginsider@gmail.com.

Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22).  The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.