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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

| June 21, 2019

Randi Rhodes Returns to Radio on ‘Real Talk 910 AM’ in San Francisco. Progressive talk radio personality Randi Rhodes joins iHeartMedia’s KKSF-AM, San Francisco “Real Talk 910 AM, Think Forward” to host the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  She says, “Being back on the radio in one of the greatest cities in America for a market-leading station like ‘Real Talk 910 AM’ is amazing.  I feel such a strong connection to the listeners here in San Francisco and I’m thrilled to get on air and shake things up!”  KKSF program director Cory Callewaert says, “We are beyond excited for the opportunity to bring Randi back to the Bay Area.  She is one of the most powerful progressive voices in the country and with her wit and sense of humor, she is exactly what we need and a one of a kind.”

TALKERS News Notes. The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” program adds new affiliate WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut to its roster of stations…..The nationally syndicated financial talk program “Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill is now heard on 3 Daughters Media’s WGMN, Roanoke and WBLT, Bedford in Virginia…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines announces that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will attend and participate in the 23rd annual “WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride” at the Westfair Amphitheatre & Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 23 and Monday, June 24.  The “WHO Radio Great Iowa Tractor Ride” was started in Grinnell, Iowa in 1996 by WHO Radio’s Farm Broadcasters of the Year recipients Mark Pearson and Gary Wergin. The event was created to bring tractor enthusiasts together for fun, fellowship and celebration of Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage.  The inaugural ride included approximately 90 participants and has grown to more than 600 participants and countless fans.  Last year, tractors from more than 33 states made the trip to Iowa including tractor riders from California, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” for Week of June 17-21 Now Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (June 17-21) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  It currently airs on WONK-FM in the key position of Friday at 6:00 pm as a dynamic programming punctuation mark of the week’s conversation.  Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Donald J. Trump Takes the Stage!”) features a lineup of guests that includes TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; radio talk show hosts Mike Gallagher of Salem Radio NetworkLarry Young of WOLB, Baltimore and Richard Neer of WFAN, New York; political strategist and pundit Dick Morris; and social/political observer Victoria Jones of the DC Radio Company.  The non-partisan-but-hard-hitting program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought.  It was recently picked up by KSCO, Santa Cruz where it airs on Fridays at 6:00 pm.  According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, the program is now available on a market exclusive basis to news/talk stations around the nation.  Bernstein says, “We began this show as an on-air extension of TALKERS magazine research to be played on TalkersRadio and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  The show is nothing short of fantastic and provides a great image-setter for any news/talk outlet.  iHeartMedia picked it up for its new WONK-FM in DC where it fits that station’s mission perfectly and a number of stations have inquired about its availability.  We are in the process of figuring out where we want to go with it.”   For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.

At the NCAA College World Series. Pictured above is the broadcast crew for the NCAA College World Series National Baseball Championship preliminary games.  NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” again produced the games for the NCAA Radio Network, distributed nationally by Westwood One.  They handled 12 games in seven days from Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park.  From left to right are: Westwood One’s play-by-play voice Kevin Kugler, producer Mike Stibbs, color analyst John Bishop, and field reporter Gary Sharp.

Presidential Race 2020/Trump Campaign Kickoff Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 17-21. The Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Trump’s Orlando rally to kick off his re-election campaign was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week the Democrats’ impeachment talk tied with the testimony of Hope Hicks. Coming in at #3 was the U.S.-Iran tensions, including the attack on a U.S. drone, followed by the U.S.-China trade war tied with U.S.-North Korea tensions 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.

Advertising Lawyer Jeffrey A. Greenbaum is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  During periods of technical and social change, it usually takes the legal system time to catch up with laws and regulations that address the new reality.  We’re experiencing such a syndrome today when it comes to the internet and digital era’s impact on advertising and intellectual property, including navigating the FTC, “influencer” social media marketing, the impact of bots on creating false metrics, and the idiosyncratic arena of branded entertainment.  A leading expert on these subjects, attorney Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Greenbaum is the managing partner of the law firm Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz as well as chairman of the Global Advertising Lawyers AllianceBest Lawyers in America has twice named him “Advertising Lawyer of the Year” for the New York metro area.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

PPM Analysis: Urban ACTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on urban AC. Half of the station on our panel saw their weekly 6+ AQH shares rise compared to the April survey, led by WVKL, Norfolk (+1.0).  Comparing May 2018 to May 2019, only 45% of the stations were up, with 55% taking a dip. Six urban AC outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in May (6+) – WBLS, New York; WMXD, Detroit: WFXC, Raleigh; WVKL, Norfolk; WQMG, Greensboro; and KJMS, Memphis.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group promotes Dave “Cruise” Madden to has new co-host of “The Andie Summers Show” on country WXTU-FM.  Cruise initially joined the show as an interim host on January 2 and most recently worked over the past year as the afternoon drive host/APD at sister station WBEN-FM.  Station PD Mark Razz says, “When we needed him to step up and handle interim hosting duties for 925XTU, Dave delivered every day.  We’re glad to have him on as part of ‘The Andie Summers Show.’  He worked hard and deserves this opportunity!”…..West Palm Beach CHR WLDI “WiLD 95.5” announces that Dave Hanson joins the station as creative services director.  In this role at the iHeartMedia station, Hanson will shape and deliver station imaging, and promotional, digital, and social content.  iHM West Palm Beach SVP of programming Rad Messick says, “Dave’s track record across multiple formats in South Florida is outstanding.  We’re excited to tap Dave’s skills, passion, and creative energy to create highly entertaining content that deepens our ‘WiLD 95.5’ audience connection.”  Hanson was most recently assistant director of branding and programming and music director at Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami…..Programming and on-air pro Andy Meadows joins the Tracy Johnson Media Group.  He was most recently operations manager for LKCM Radio Group and hosted the midday show on country KFWR-FM, Jacksboro, Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth market).  Meadows says, “I’m so thrilled to be a part of Tracy Johnson Media Group.  I’m humbled and grateful for this opportunity to work with talent on a full-time basis.  We have a lot of fresh new ideas in the pipeline, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.”

Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action 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. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

| January 8, 2019

iHeartMedia Reorganization Plan Awaits Confirmation. The Modified Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for iHeartMedia is awaiting confirmation by United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur.  Yesterday’s filing of the confirmed plan will allow iHeartMedia to erase $10.3 billion in debt off its books, leaving it with $5.75 billion in debt once Judge Isgur has signed the order.  Last month, the court approved iHeartMedia’s separation from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings as part of the reorganization plan.  Yesterday’s filing will permit iHeartMedia to begin to implement the plan without seeking authorization from the court.  As is usual in bankruptcy cases, once the plan is confirmed by the court, most other claims against the debtor are discharged.  In this case, the judge rules that certain liabilities the company is required to honor after the effective date – called a Cure Claim – and that includes the BMI license agreements, an almost $600,000 payment to SoundExchange LLC, and its Framework Digital Distribution Agreement with Sony Music Entertainment.   Additionally, the new iHeartMedia must honor all SAG-AFTRA contracts and must assume all contractual agreements with the Denver Broncos.  Once signed, iHeartMedia will be in a period between Confirmation and the Effective Date.  There are several hearing dates scheduled and they are: January 10 to consider all confirmation issues other than those scheduled to be heard on January 17, and January 22; January 17 to consider all issues concerning the CCOH separation settlement, other than those issues scheduled to be heard on January 22, and any issues continued from the January 10, hearing; January 22 to consider all remaining issues concerning consideration of the class action settlement related to the CCOH Separation Settlement and the GAMCO Motion; and January 23 to consider all remaining confirmation issues.

‘Our American Stories’ Surpasses 160-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program adds a number of new affiliate stations and now has 163 total affiliates. The program is hosted by Lee Habeeb who is also president of program producer American Private Radio.  He says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly they love the topics we share every night and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  The program is described as “a two-hour, daily radio magazine program that showcases Americans from various industries, including sports heroes, musicians, film performers, political or cultural icons, business leaders, military heroes and more.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is extremely fond of this program stating, “I fully expect ‘Our American Stories’ to be the surprise breakout program of 2019. It is the classiest, best-researched, meticulously produced, dependable piece of quality content to come down the pike in years.  It is conservative news/talk’s knock out answer to public radio and will become an institutional part of the genre for years to come.”

Wayne Allyn Root: I ‘Got the Ball Rolling’ on Trump’s Wall Option.  Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root says he first talked about the idea that President Trump can declare a national security emergency and use $25 billion from the Pentagon budget to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Root points to his November 17 column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that details, among other things, that the president can declare a “national security emergency” and use military money for the project.  Root says, “I shared this column and my idea with my audience on both my Newsmax TV show and USA Radio show in the days before publication.  Then I flew to Wyoming as keynote speaker for the Wyoming GOP annual dinner on Friday 11/16/18.  I shared my idea with that audience.  Result. Two standing ovations.  That column was handed directly to President Trump by my great friend Lee Lipton at Mar a Lago on 11/18/18.  President Trump has talked about this exact option all week in the media.  It’s the hottest topic in the country.  My idea started this all… I’m sure it will come up in Tuesday night’s national presidential address.”

Mike Gallagher Films LifeLock Ad on NYC Streets. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Mike Gallagher is pictured above on the streets of New York filming commercials for identity theft prevention firm LifeLock.  Gallagher has been voicing spots for LifeLock – as have many talk radio hosts since LifeLock is a big advertiser on talk radio – but not long ago he needed the company’s services.  The Salem Radio Network talk host was the victim of a personal security breach when someone accessed his personal information, changed his cellphone number, and tried withdrawing $25,000 from Gallagher’s checking account.  He credits LifeLock with alerting him to the compromises and acting to protect his personal assets.  He says, “I’ve proudly done their commercials for years.  But after seeing for myself how they swing into action, I believe anyone is stupid not to have LifeLock protection.”

Eric Zane Launches Daily Podcast.  After being let go by Cumulus Media last week due to the format flip of WBBL, Grand Rapids from sports talk to country music, morning personality Eric Zane tells Mlive.com he’s doing a daily podcast designed to pick up where his radio show left off.  He’s offering the show to listeners for free and for a fee with various options, including video.  Zane tells MLive he hopes to reach a sizable audience via his 18,000 Twitter followers.  He says, “Most people get some content via podcast or streaming content and they’re a different audience.  They’re zeroed in because of the programming. They seek it out as opposed to background noise.  I won’t ever say radio has no place because it’s still great to get in your car and push a button and there it is.  This medium (podcasts), which was laughed at five, 10 years ago, isn’t laughed at anymore because it’s very viable.”

Steve Triplett to Lead Beasley’s Tampa Stations. Sales and management pro Steve Triplett is named vice president and market manager for Beasley Media Group’s Tampa cluster that includes financial talk outlet WHFS-AM and six music radio stations.  Triplett has been serving as interim market manager and director of sales for the Tampa operations.  He says, “Over the past four years, Beasley Media Group has created something truly special in Tampa.  We have a team of the finest media professionals in the industry and it’s an honor to continuing serving them in this new capacity.”

PodcastOne Partners with LadyGang for Podcast Network.  “The LadyGang” podcast recently celebrated its 200th episode and 40 millionth download.  Now, PodcastOne is entering into a deal with the brand for a podcast development, production, and marketing deal to launch The LadyGang Network on PodcastOne.  The network will feature a female-driven, all-star lineup of pop culture, reality television, and motherhood trend-setters.  PodcastOne says the deal combines its vast resources and reach with The LadyGang’s brand power and curated talent lineup.  The inaugural program under this new network will be “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna,” hosted by Jamie Lynn Sigler and Jenna Parris. Additional programs will be announced soon.

Hogenson Communications to Rep Americans for Tax Reform Campaign. Talk media is the target for Americans for Tax Reform and it has hired Hogenson Communications to represent the organization to talk media for its 12-month campaign.  Scott Hogenson states, “We’re proud to have been selected by Americans for Tax Reform as their talk media partner.  As America’s preeminent tax policy organization, ATR brings a lot to talk media audiences by breaking down complicated policy issues in a way that everyone can understand.”

KNUS, Denver Hosts Boyles and Tubbs to Broadcast from Vancouver, BC During Fact-Finding Mission.  Talk show hosts Peter Boyles and Steffan Tubbs – air personalities on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – will broadcast live from Vancouver, British Columbia during their fact-finding mission to the city’s safe injection sites.  The Denver City Council passed an ordinance that will create safe or supervised injection sites for users to inject heroin, opioids and cocaine in locations that will employ trained medical personnel.  The KNUS remote broadcasts will take place on Friday (1/11).

iHeartMedia Unveils New iHeartRadio Features at CES. The company announces a number of new consumer technology integrations for its digital platform, iHeartRadio.  At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, iHeartMedia unveiled new integrations including the Honda Dream Drive Platform, the new Bixby from Samsung, Roku devices, and Google’s Android TV and Android Auto.  It also launched the fully redesigned iHeartRadio Family app on Amazon Fire Tablet with iOS and Android coming soon.

Border Wall-Government Shutdown, U.S.-Syria Policy, Tlaib Israel Statement, Kim Jong Un-Xi Jinping Meeting, NCAA Football Championship, and NFL Playoffs Action Among Top News-Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). The battle over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the related government shutdown; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria; the controversy over freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s comments that GOP senators are more loyal to Israel than the U.S.; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping; Monday night’s NCAA football championship game; and the NFL playoffs 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. The nationally syndicated Ty Bentli show is off Cumulus Media’s New York City country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.”  What was originally called “America’s Morning Show” back when Blair Garner was lead host and has twice morphed since then has been the only morning show on the stations since its inception.  Now, afternoon drive host Jesse Addy is sitting in hosting mornings as the station teases a new program…..In Los Angeles, “volunteer” air personality Greg Beharrell is named evening host on Cumulus Media’s classic rock 95.5 KLOS…..Afternoon drive host, APD and music director Mark Razz is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia.  With this new role, Razz will move from afternoon drive to middays.  Beasley Philly market manager Joe Bell comments, “Nobody deserves this opportunity more than Razz.  He has been an integral part of 92.5 XTU’s success for years and has demonstrated the leadership, commitment and creativity that you look for in a PD.  Plus, he’s an amazing talent, is loved by listeners and respected within the industry.”…..Midday personality Corey O’Brien is named assistant program director and music director at Broadway Media’s alternative KXRK, Salt Lake City “X96.”…..Buffalo market radio pro Joe Chille is named morning drive host at Townsquare Media’s adult contemporary WMSX, Buffalo “96.1 The Breeze.”  Chille was a longtime personality at WJYE prior to its becoming WMSX.  Most recently, he’d been handling part-time duties at Radio One Buffalo’s oldies WECK-AM…..Beasley Media Group names Sean Varicalli host of the “KICKS Wake up Crew” morning show on country WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia.  Varicalli was most recently midday jock and APD at Curtis Media Group’s country WQDR, Raleigh…..Alpha Media’s WKXI, Jackson, Mississippi “107.5 Kixie” replaces the Tom Joyner show with the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

| April 3, 2017

RTDNA Establishes Voice of the First Amendment Task Force.  In obvious response to statements by President Trump that the press is the “enemy of the people,” the Radio Television Digital News Association announces it is creating the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force.  Saying that the task force is being founded amid “growing attacks on journalism,” the RTDNA “is renewing its commitment to speak out for freedom of the press…The goals of the task force include not only reacting to threats to First Amendment Freedoms, but proactively supporting journalists and educating the public about the importance of a free press to our democracy.”  Task Force co-chair Sheryl Worsley comments, “If the public comes to believe the news media are the ‘enemy of the people,’ one of our country’s most fundamental rights could be lost.  Freedom of the press helps ensure a check on government and helps America stay free.”  RTDNA says members of the task force will be meeting with leaders from radio and television station groups across the country at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this month.  They will discuss recent threats to press freedom and begin to develop a strategic plan to protect and promote the vital role of journalism.

Long-Rumored ‘Mike & Mike’ Breakup Still Full of Uncertainties.  A piece in Philly.com reports that the break-up of 18-year ESPN Radio morning show “Mike & Mike” – with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic – is going to happen, but when and how is still a well-kept secret.  Writer Rob Tornoe cites a Sporting News piece in which both Greenberg and Golic appear to admit the end is near, but both insist they don’t know when or what will take the show’s place in the ESPN Radio lineup.  Also in that story is the report that Mike Greenberg recently signed a new deal with ESPN to work the television side of the company for about $6.5 million per year.  That’s always been part of the narrative – that Greenberg’s new duties necessitate his departure from the radio morning show.  Read the Philly.com piece here.

Derrick Martin Appointed Region President for iHM St. Louis.  Moving from his market president position with iHeartMedia in Norfolk, Derrick Martin returns to the St. Louis area to serve as region president for the St. Louis Region that includes 33 radio stations in St. Louis, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City and Davenport, Iowa and Springfield, Missouri.  He’ll report to Tom McConnell, president of the Midwest/Southeast Division.  McConnell says, “I’m very excited to have Derrick return to the St. Louis Region in this important role leading our brands.  He has a proven track record of success and understands how to build and maintain a strong culture that rewards innovation and team work.”

Beasley Promotes Steve Meyers.  Rising from his director of digital operations with Greater Media to executive vice president of digital for Beasley Broadcast Group is Steve Meyers.  He joined Beasley with the company’s acquisition of the Greater Media stations last fall.  In his new role as Beasley’s EVP of digital, Meyers will oversee the Charlotte and Detroit corporate digital teams.  He says, “I’m honored to take on this leadership role in Beasley Media Group.  Our digital landscape has brought such a unique opportunity to the media space, and combined with our strong Beasley brands, we are creating an outstanding formula for continued growth and success.”

Beasley Names Craig Shemon PM Host at ‘99.3 ESPN’ in Fort Myers.  Sports media pro Craig Shemon is signed by Beasley Media Group to host the afternoon drive show on WWCN, Fort Myers “99.3 ESPN.”  Shemon has worked at both Yahoo! Sports Radio and FOX Sports Radio Network, in addition to handling play-by-play duties for Fox Sports and The Big Ten Network.  He’s done studio work for NBA TV and MLB Strikezone on DirecTV.  Beasley Southwest Florida operations manager Adam Star states, “Craig’s play-by-play experience with the NBA, MLB and NFL is remarkable!  His ability to carry a daily sports show and his highly successful achievements in other national broadcast platforms from Los Angeles to Chicago are truly impressive.  Hiring Craig is a game changer and we’re looking forward to have his success and positive attitude continue here in Southwest Florida on ‘99.3 ESPN!’”

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the San Diego Reader, market radio personality Chris Cantore – XETRA, KPRI, and KBZT – is set to replace sports journalist Kevin Acee on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” in the evening slot.  The piece notes that Cantore has made references in the past to not being a fan of big league team sports and questions what management is expecting of his 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm show.  TALKERS recently wrote about Cantore’s new venture into podcasting via his Yew Media LLC firm.  Read the San Diego Reader story here…..Talk media personality Joe Madison is being honored by his alma mater Washington University in St. Louis with one of this year’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards.  The school says, “The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor Arts & Sciences graduates who exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education, and in so doing bring honor to Washington University through their lives, work, and service.”  Joe Madison, a.k.a. “The Black Eagle,” is heard daily on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel.  He’s a 1971 graduate of the school…..Kate Delaney’s “America Tonight” nationally syndicated overnight program adds new affiliate stations KPAM, Portland; WGSO, New Orleans; KSPI, Palm Springs, California; WKAL, Rome, New York; and WVBG, Vicksburg, Mississippi…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence “NewsTalk 630 & 99.7 FM WPRO” announces that 10-year staffer Tara Granahan is named the permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Granahan began hosting the daypart in January after John DePetro’s exit from the station.  Granahan is an award-winning journalist who joined WPRO in 2007 as host of the morning show.  During her time there, she’s also served as sidekick and co-host with former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and hosted the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show.

Trump Campaign-Russia Investigation, Looming Gorsuch Vote, Trump Foreign Leader Meetings, North Korea Threats, GOP Health Care Plan/ObamaCare Repeal, and NCAA Final Four Among Top News Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible contacts between Trump campaign staffers and Russian agents; Republicans’ plans to confirm Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch; President Trump meets this week with Egypt’s President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago on Friday; North Korea’s nuclear missile threats; GOP plans for a new health care bill and promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act; and the weekend’s NCAA Men’s Basketball games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Medved Broadcasts from Scottsdale. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved is pictured above broadcasting his Salem Radio Network program live from Scottsdale, Arizona – a remote sponsored by KKNT, Phoenix “AM960/The Patriot.”  During the broadcast, Medved was joined by local hosts Seth Leibsohn and Chris Buskirk.  He also autographed copies of his new bestseller The American Miracle for fans.

Exclusive: Sean Hannity Guests on Harrison Podcast TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted an exclusive interview with Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity recorded Monday night (3/27) as the high-profile star was riding home from work. It is now playing on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” They discuss a variety of subjects including the talk show host’s contentious encounter this past weekend with CBS newsman Ted Koppel, who stated that Hannity is “bad for America.” The two also talk about Hannity’s relationship with President Donald Trump and the rapidly evolving state of conservative talk media. At one point, Harrison asks Hannity if it was true that he could corroborate that Trump had told him he was against the Iraq War early on – as the then-candidate stated in one of the presidential debates with Hillary Clinton. Hannity answered that, yes, it was true and that he and Trump had engaged in a number of private conversations and passionate debates over their differences of opinion at that point as to the merits of the U.S. becoming militarily involved in Iraq. To listen to an excerpt from the interview, please click here. To listen to the entire unedited 48-minute podcast conversation between Hannity and Harrison, 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.

Sean Hannity to Receive the 2017 TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS announces that Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk show host Sean Hannity is going to be the recipient of the 2017 TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The award (officially titled “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech”) will be presented to Hannity in New York City on Friday, June 2 at TALKERS 2017: A New Era, this year’s installment of the annual talk media convention. The Freedom of Speech Award is the longest-running and most prestigious honor annually bestowed by the publication upon a member of the greater broadcasting community, although not always the most popular. According to TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison, “The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor presented to a person in the industry who sets a meaningful example of the First Amendment in action, either by having taken a high-profile, risky stand on a controversial issue or working on an exceptional level to make that opportunity available to others. It does not necessarily indicate this publication’s endorsement of the recipient’s position, only his or her right to express it publicly and our salute to them for having the courage to face the consequences. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is the bedrock of all of this nation’s freedoms and values. Without it, this would not be the country we believe it to be in our minds and hearts. It is clearly the most important element that makes American talk media vibrant, alive and indispensable.” Harrison continues, “Sean Hannity is the clear-cut champion of this concept and a high-profile example of it in action in the talk media industry today.”

 

 

Jeff Kapugi Joins iHeartMedia as Regional SVP of Programming for DC-Baltimore.  Programming pro Jeff Kapugi and iHeartMedia work out a deal to bring Kapugi into the company as regional senior vice president of programming for the Washington and Baltimore markets.  In addition to overseeing the programming of CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5,” adult contemporary WASH, classic rock WBIG “BIG 100,” alternative W284CQ “104.7 Cherry Blossom Radio” in Washington and country WPOC, CHR WZFT “Z104.3,” adult hits WQSR “102.7 JACK FM,” and Gospel WCAO in Baltimore, Kapugi will also serve as program director for country WMZQ, Washington.  Kapugi was most recently VP of programming for CBS RADIO Chicago and PD for country WUSN “US99.”    iHeartMedia EVP of programming Meg Stevens comments, “I could not be more excited to bring Jeff Kapugi to DC.  Having worked with him previously, I have firsthand knowledge of his exceptional skills and incredible character.  Jeff’s smart, strategic and passionate about the brands and he will be a tremendous asset for our stations.”

Bohannon to Lead Cumulus Memphis.  Broadcasting management pro Morgan Bohannon is named the new vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s four-station cluster.  Bohannon was most recently area president for iHeartMedia’s Memphis operations.  At Cumulus, he’ll be in charge of rhythmic oldies WRBO, rock WXMX “98.1 The Max,” hip hop WKIM “98.9 The Vibe,” and country WGKX “KIX 106.”  Prior to his work with iHeartMedia, Bohannon was director of sales for Apex Broadcasting.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ” announces MO! takes over the morning show.  The Hubbard Radio alt rocker moves jock Ian Camfield from AMs to middays (10:00 am to 3:00 pm).  Hubbard Phoenix market manager Trip Reeb says, “Mo’s energy and enthusiasm, along with her listener appeal make her a great choice for this daypart.  Ian has got the ball rolling and will be great in middays.  We are thrilled with the new lineup.” MO! has worked at Hubbard Phoenix sister rock KUPD and, had been hosting the midday show on “ALT AZ” prior to the change…..iHeartMedia Sacramento drops the adult hits and the “JACK FM” format on KQJK to re-launch the station as classic rock “93.7 The River.”  The station will also feature longtime Sacramento personalities Dog & Joe, Monica Lowe and Derek Moore as well as the nationally syndicated “Sixx Sense” show with Nikki Sixx.  iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Curtiss Johnson says, “We’re incredibly excited to bring ‘93.7 The River’ to the River City.  ‘93.7 The River’ is built on the Dog & Joe show, a destination morning show with two wildly creative and beloved personalities, a redefined take on classic rock for 2017, and a passion and commitment to community we’ve embraced and called home for many years.”…..iHeartMedia launches “ALT 97.5” on translator W248BQ, Nashville.  The new alternative rock outlet will feature on-air personalities Wells Adams, Gabby Sanderson and Battle.  Program director Rossi states, “We’re thrilled to bring ‘ALT 97.5’ to Nashville’s alternative rock fans. ‘ALT 97.5’ is an alternative station with Nashville sensibilities. We’re excited to serve the community, which has such a loyal and passionate fan base.”…..Country radio legend Lon Helton celebrated his 25th anniversary hosting “Country Countdown USA” over the weekend.  He also was honored at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards where he received his fourth ACM “National On-Air Personality” award…..Beasley Media Group moves Russ Parr from hip hop WZFX, Fayetteville, North Carolina “Foxy 99” to sister rhythmic oldies WUKS “Old School 107.7 Jamz.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Warren “Rhubarb” Jones, who passed away on April 2 at the age of 65.  He was most recently working at Gradick Communications’ oldies WWGA, Tallapoosa, Georgia “Great Classics 98.9.”  From 1985 through 2008, Jones was a personality on WYAY-FM, Atlanta when it was a country outlet.

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of rhythmic CHR stations based on ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2017 PPM survey.  Comparing (6+) ratings data from January of 2017 to February, “Six of every 10 rhythmic CHR panelists are up January 2017 – February 2017 (60%); approximately one of three are down (35%); and the remaining 5% of the sample is flat (6+).  Looking at the changes from February 2016 to February 2017, Kinosian reports, “For all practical purposes, year-to-year percentages represent a complete reversal versus month-to-month stats, as 59% of our eligible rhythmic CHR sample is off year-to-year (6+), while 35% improve; the remaining 6% are steady.”  See all the data here.

Miranda Lambert Visits with Elaina Smith.  Country star Miranda Lambert (left) sits down for a chat with “NASH Nights Live” host Elaina Smith (right) at the Westwood One Backstage at the ACM Awards Radio Row event last weekend.  The event saw some 100 country music stars visit with country radio personalities at the Lucky Live Lounge at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Cumulus Media and Westwood One served as the official national radio partners for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards.

WYCD, Detroit’s Linda Lee Dies at 55.  Almost seven months after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, WYCD, Detroit radio personality Linda Lee Young died on Friday (3/31) at age 55.  Young was a 20-year staffer at WYCD.  For 16 years, she co-hosted the “Edwards & Lee” afternoon drive show with Chuck Edwards.  For the past year and a half, she’s worked with co-host Rob Stone.   Young leaves behind her husband Jeff Young, daughter Gina Holmes Mills, and a stepdaughter Alexa Young.