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Thursday, October 1, 2020

| October 1, 2020

Round Two of September PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Rating Takeaways from this second round of markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds one-tenth to finish with an 8.0 share but slides back to the #3 rank as Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM powers into the #2 rank. Across town, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM remains in the #1 spot on the strength of a one-share gain and a 9.5 share finish. iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston jumps a full share to finish the September survey with a 4.9 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM falls five-tenths to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank. After six consecutive months at #1, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle falls into the #2 spot after losing eight-tenths and finishing with a 6.4 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Newsmax TV Reaches 9.6 Million Cable Viewers. According to Newsmax TV, the cable channel’s “total household reach jumped to 9.6 million, up from 2.9 million in August 2019, according to Comscore data.” Newsmax Media Inc CEO Christopher Ruddy says that viewership has increased steadily all year and he credits viewer interest in Newsmax’s election coverage coupled with its new shows like “Greg Kelly Reports,” “Sean Spicer’s Spicer & Co.”, and “The Chris Salcedo Show.” Ruddy says, “Viewers are clearly voting for Newsmax TV with their remotes. The growth is even more remarkable when one considers we just launched our first prime-time show in July.” The company says Newsmax TV has live or original news shows airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm ET and has launched significant daytime coverage on weekends. The network is also planning a daily morning show to debut in the next 60 days, with more prime-time show launches expected soon.

iHeartMedia Expands Board of Directors; Appoints Cheryl Mills to Board. The board of directors of iHeartMedia, Inc. is expanded to eight and Cheryl Mills is named to the new seat. Mills is the founder and CEO of BlackIvy Group LLC, a firm that builds and grows commercial enterprises in Sub- Saharan Africa to meet the needs of an expanding consumer population and growing business sector. Mills previously served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counselor to the U.S. Department of State. She also was SVP for corporate policy and public programming at Oxygen Media and was deputy counsel to the President at the White House and served as an associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan and Hartson. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Cheryl Mills is joining the iHeart board. Her depth and breadth of experience, her leadership in policy, business and entrepreneurship, education and media, and her deep commitment to public service, will provide strong and unique value to our board and our company, and we are looking forward to her contributions.”

Cumulus Media Completes Initial Closing on $208 Million Tower Deal. This news from Cumulus Media Inc is relative to the $213 million deal that transfers its tower assets to Vertical Bridge. This initial closing is for the $208 million tower portfolio monetization transaction. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We are thrilled to have expeditiously completed the first closing of this significant transaction. Pro forma for its completion and based on our Q2 ending cash balance, we will have reduced net debt by nearly $325 million during 2020 and by nearly $580 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018. Our further improved liquidity position and covenant-lite, long-dated debt will continue to support our growth initiatives and allow us to take advantage of accretive opportunities as we navigate through near-term uncertainties to drive long-term shareholder value.” After transaction fees and expenses and related costs, Cumulus received approximately $202 million in net proceeds at the initial closing. The use of net proceeds from the transaction are governed by the company’s Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 and its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026. As defined in the debt agreements, net proceeds of approximately $64 million from assets being sold and not being leased back and net proceeds of approximately $96 million from assets being sold and leased back are required to pay down the Term Loan and be applied to a tender offer with respect to the 6.75% Notes on a pro rata basis. The paydown from the Sale-Leaseback Proceeds is required to be made at closing for the Term Loan portion and within thirty (30) days of closing for the 6.75% Notes. As such, at closing, the Company paid down approximately $49 million of its Term Loan at par, and it intends in the near future to launch a tender offer for up to approximately $47 million of the 6.75% Notes at par. Cumulus Media entered into a master lease agreement for the continued use of substantially all of the towers that were sold. That deal includes the 10-year initial term of the lease, followed by five option periods of five years each. The annual lease payment obligation for the assets leased back in the initial closing is approximately $13.2 million, subject to customary escalators, and will be accounted for as a reduction of the financial liability and interest expense. Cumulus anticipates that one or more subsequent closings will be held for the assets comprising the remainder of the previously announced $213 million purchase price, subject to adjustment based upon due diligence and the curing of outstanding site defects.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Starnes Media Group principal, nationally syndicated talk show host, and KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” owner Todd Starnes (right) at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference in Atlanta where he served as a keynote speaker. He’s pictured here with conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza (left)…..The “Margaritaville Podcast” joins the portfolio of cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales representation firm Crossover Media Group Sales. The recently launched podcast, hosted by Jimmy Buffett’s production coordinator Heikki Larsen features interviews with friends, colleagues, and fans of the Margaritaville global lifestyle brand inspired by the singer, songwriter and best-selling author. Recent guests have included Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and Jimmy Buffett video producer Stan Kellam. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund says, “Fans of the Margaritaville lifestyle constitute an extremely devoted, enduring, cohesive, socially conscientious and upscale fan base. Heikki and his show are a valuable addition to the CMGS portfolio, as it enables us to offer an even more diverse and versatile slate of inventory for marketing partners.”…..AdLarge Media announce its newest sports partnership with National Sports Network for exclusive ad sales representation of NCAA basketball play-by-play coverage on radio. AdLarge Media co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “We’re very excited to offer our advertisers these NCAA basketball games on radio. With the addition of these top-tier college basketball games from National Sports Network, the AdLarge sports portfolio delivers continuous access to engaged sports fans.”…..PodcastOne acquires the exclusive distribution and sales rights for the health and wellness podcast “The Dr. Gundry Podcast.” The program is hosted by New York Times best-selling author of The Plant Paradox (Harper Wave 2017), Dr. Steven Gundry. He says, “I’m proud for ‘The Dr. Gundry Podcast’ to now be part of PodcastOne. Its robust podcasting network is a great platform to continue to empower listeners and share the knowledge and tools to help people live their best life.”

Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Parade. On Wednesday (9/30), a pro-police, pro-Trump parade of cars organized by KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root drove down the Las Vegas strip. Root, pictured here with supporters, tells TALKERS magazine he estimates there were more than 1,000 cars taking part in the parade. Root says he waited at the parade’s finish line – the Nevada Governor’s office building – and “shook hands, and high-fived, and took photos, and thanked every single car of my fans.” You can read the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage here.

The Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, New Stimulus Deal, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, Down Financial Markets, BLM Movement/Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The November presidential election and the aftermath of Tuesday night’s debate; the debate over the reliability of mail-in voting; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Midwest and talk about a fall/winter second wave; negotiations between congress and the Trump administration over a new stimulus package; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. financial markets suffer their worst month since last March; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various cities; and the deadly California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

DYNAMIC DUO EXCLUSIVE!  “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and John Catsimatidis Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Radio enthusiasts won’t want to miss this brand-new audio gem! Legendary music radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and WABC, New York owner John Catsimatidis are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morrow (also known as “Cousin Brucie”) is one of the last of his generation still standing. He is the quintessential heritage disc jockey who has been a major on-the-air radio figure in New York City through several golden eras since 1959, performing on such storied stations as WINS, WABC, WNBC and WCBS-FM and, until recently, across the nation on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Just a few weeks ago, to the delight of his multi-generational legion of fans, he was hired to host a Saturday evening music show on WABC, the station where he played to millions back in the 1960s and early 1970s during the heyday of his magnificent career. The other member of this dynamic duo, Catsimatidis is a well-connected radio lover and big business heavyweight whose Red Apple Media purchased WABC – now a news/talk outlet – from Cumulus Media late last year. He’s a prominent New York City-based, self-made mogul and syndicated radio talk show host involved in an array of industries that, in addition to communications, includes supermarkets, energy, and real estate development. He’s also a former and potential future New York City mayoral candidate. The result is a free-wheeling conversation that covers radio, music, politics, several surprises and the New York state of mind – an instant classic.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-Air pro Julie Guy signs a multiyear contract extension with Entercom’s adult contemporary WLYF-FM, Miami “101.5 LITE FM” to continue co-hosting the “Julie Guy & Tamara G” morning show. Entercom Miami SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “As a veteran of the station, Julie encapsulates the spirit of ‘101.5 LITE FM’ and sets the tone for our programming slate each morning. Her distinct energy and solid rapport with Tamara translate to a quality morning show and I’m happy to keep her in the fold for years to come.” Guy has served as a morning show host for “101.5 LITE FM” since 2013…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” adds the nationally syndicated program “The Sweat Hotel,” with host Keith Sweat to air in the 9:00 pm to 2:00 am slot. Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “Keith Sweat is an R&B legend and ‘KISS 104.1’ is excited about him joining our lineup. Keith brings just the right blend of slow jams and sensual sounds that will keep our listeners entertained throughout the night.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

| February 3, 2016

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’  In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historianbensonjim Jim Benson.  Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication.  Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently.  To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

siriusxm2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM.  Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report.  Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM.  We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year.  Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers.  We actually delivered 2.3meyerjim million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million.  Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year.  We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion.  We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion.  And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion.  Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more.  And this year, you should expect more of the same.  We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business.  We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.”  Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come.  Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors.  “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars.  It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content.  It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations.  All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use.  Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17.  Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”

The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2).  The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

bensonchadChad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage.  The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary.  Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary.  Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.

kbetNew Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas.  National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Lasrootwayneallyn Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm.  Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’  Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends.  He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class.  Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government.  He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”

Odds & Sods.  Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week.  The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00sedanojorge pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez.   Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth.  Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan.  Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire  with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  hardwickkishaCNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager.  The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM Thehickcox Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events.  Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”

wfas-amsportsCumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports.  Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports.  Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone.  He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future.  There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.

Monday, May 12, 2014

| May 12, 2014

wyay logo newIt’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk.  As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.”  The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12).  The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in thegrahammichael overnight slot.  Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs.  The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle.  Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives.  Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world.  Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”

kkzn logoProgressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver.  The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known.  KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go.  She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.

rutkowskikenSecond of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski.  The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something.  “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business businessrockstars logoRockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski.  “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’?  We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.”  Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them.  “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.”  To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway.  With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26.  Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces.  The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement.  It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families.  Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity.  And God bless all of you who protect our freedom.  We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”

gallaghermikeCrowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show.  The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadlineduring the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9.  Gallagher says,I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.”  Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the projectIf the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.

merlonilouWEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent.  A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later.  Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sportsbenztim personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz.  The new lineup takes place later this month.  WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled.  This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player.  When you add in fauriachristianthe sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.”  Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX.  More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season.  Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University.  He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.

mohnjarlMohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO.  Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR.  When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year.  NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl.  His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism.  He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends.  He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.”  According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission.  I love public radio and NPR.  It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever.  I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.”  Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.

harrisheidiOdds & Sods.  Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas.  Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour.  As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges.  The response has been incredible andcrabtreebryan humbling.  We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News.  The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the broomheadmikeUniversity of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season.  WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them.  Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.

katzparadeBonAirKatz Serves as Grand Marshall.  WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade.  On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond.  Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Midwest Communications seeks news directorBelieve it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win.  You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom.  Wewhbl logo need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer.  We set the news standard in our market.  It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper.  We do some enterprise reporting.  We do some investigative work.  If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you.  We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package.  Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: kelly.meyer@mwcradio.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please.  Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

scanlandanRadio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies.  Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home.  He was 74.  Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York.  Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio.  Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

conwaysimonWHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors.  In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500.  Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host).  She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: doctordaliah@hotmail.com.