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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

| March 18, 2020

iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17).  Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement.  The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.  iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well.  Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018.  That deal was for $325 million.  Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.

TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing.  Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years.  Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19.  The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”).  Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more.  The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions.  The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue.  Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources.  The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.”  Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters.  To sign up, please click here.  To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.

WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits.  Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed.  DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos.  The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens.  DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community.  I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years.  I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.”  DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ.  Reach him at digiac22@gmail.com.

First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released.  The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26.  See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets.  Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo.  Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future.  Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”

Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home.  With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years.  The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house.  Walter himself prefers the laundry room.  Read his advice here.

Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president.  The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands.  Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands.  She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg.  She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.”  Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?”  Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles.  WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality.  The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history.  The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic.  WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.  We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences.  We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right).  Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today.  ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’”  Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming.  In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.”  Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster.  She’ll retain her WSHK duties.  Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station.  Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best.  Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

| January 2, 2020

WFAN, New York Officially Announces New Lineup. On New Year’s Eve, Entercom announced the new lineup for sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” that takes effect on Monday, January 6.  As had been reported in numerous New York media outlets, the station goes from four to three daytime shows with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moving from late mornings to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot, replacing Mike Francesa.  He will host the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm “Mike’s On” program as well as “host special programs, remote broadcasts, and contribute to other shows on WFAN.”  Maggie Gray remains with the station in midday, reunited with longtime WFAN personality Marc “Moose” Malusis for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Moose and Maggie” show.  Prior to her joining WFAN in 2018 with co-hosts Bart Scott and Chris Carlin, she served with CBS Sports Radio co-hosting a Saturday morning show with Malusis.   Malusis currently serves as the host of “Football Sunday” on WFAN with former New York Giants player David Diehl.  The rest of the lineup remains the same, with “Boomer and Gio” in AM drive, Steve Sommers in evenings and John Jastremski in overnights.  Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “This is quite an impressive lineup of talent on WFAN as we remain the one and only place to talk New York sports all day, every day.  Combined with our play-by-play of New York Yankees baseball, New York Giants football, Brooklyn Nets basketball and New Jersey Devils hockey, as well as our slate of National Football League games, we look forward to expanding our position as the flagship station for New York sports fans.”

KABC, Los Angeles Adds Two Evening Shows to New Lineup. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KABC adds two one-hour programs to its evening lineup, effective today (1/2).  Former Secret Service Agent and NYPD officer and New York Times best-selling author Dan Bongino hosts his eponymous 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show and Andrew Klavan brings his “distinctive brand of political satire, cultural commentary, interviews and more” to the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm hour.  Both Bongino and Klavan host podcasts of the same name on the Westwood One Podcast NetworkCumulus Media’s KABC recently announced its daily lineup consisting of “Armstrong & Getty” in AM drive, Washington-based Larry O’Connor from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, John Phillips from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  KABC general manager Drew Hayes says, “We are thrilled to add Dan Bongino and Andrew Klavan to our built-for-election year lineup.  Both Dan and Andrew have strong, thoughtful opinions and huge followings that will make nights on KABC a real destination for common sense listeners in 2020 and beyond.”

Ratings Takeaways from December PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey that covered November 7 to December 4, 2019.  Some positive 6+ weekly AQH share ratings movement for spoken-word stations during the survey includes: Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore adds three-tenths to its five-survey uptick to finish at a 3.2 share and the #11 rank in the market; Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore rises six-tenths to a 4.9 share and #8 in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland adds two-tenths to its fifth survey without a loss to stand at 5.4 share and the #4 rank in the market; and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis adds three-tenths to finish with a 6.7 share and the #4 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here and check out all of Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the December survey here.

A TRIBUTE TO DON IMUS Presented on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview” presents an uninterrupted reposting of a remarkably candid 2016 conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and the legendary talk media personality Don Imus who passed away this past Friday (12/27/19) at the age of 79. It was an illuminating conversation in which Imus candidly discussed the highlights as well as lowlights of his colorful life and career – including his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol; his regret over the Rutgers incident and the lessons he learned from it; his opinion of Al Sharpton and certain radio management figures who played key roles in his career; his ability to generate radio ad revenue that dramatically exceeded ratings expectations; his deep love for his wife Deidre and the significant role she played in his life; his tremendous work in supporting kids with cancer; the handful of radio guests he found most interesting; his view (back then during the primaries) of the 2016 presidential race and for whom he intended to vote … plus a whole lot more. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Tegna to Sell KFMB-AM and FM to Local Media San Diego. Television company Tegna is entering into a deal to sell its two San Diego radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and adult hits KFMB-FM – to Local Media San Diego for $5 million.  Tegna acquired the radio stations with its $325 million purchase of KFMB-TV from Midwest Television in February of last year.  Interestingly, a proviso of the pact with LMSD is that Tegna is keeping the KFMB-AM and FM call letters and the stations will have 30 days to wind down use of the call letters and a year to cease using the calls in relation to sales deals with agencies or local advertisers.  Local Media San Diego operates three Tijuana, Mexico signals in the San Diego market: CHR XHITZ, alternative rock XETRA, and rhythmic AC XHRM.  In February of last year, executives Norm McKee, Gregg Wolfson, and Steve McNeely led a management buyout of Local Media San Diego.

Donald Trump Impeachment, Attacks on U.S. Embassy in Iraq, 2020 Presidential Race, New Year/2019 Retrospectives, Hanukkah Attack, Texas Church Shooting, and North Korea Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/1). The articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Iraq and President Trump’s blaming Iran; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; retrospectives of 2019 and the “teens” decade; five are wounded at a Hanukkah celebration in New York; the Sunday shooting at a Texas church that claimed the lives of two parishioners; and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Extends Deal with Alfred ‘Big Al’ Williams. Denver radio personality Alfred “Big Al” Williams and iHeartMedia sign a new, five-year deal for the former to serve as an air talent for news/talk KOA “850 AM & 94.1 FM.” Williams joined KOA in September of 2019 after a long career alongside Darren McKee on Bonneville’s crosstown sports talker KKFN “104.3 The Fan.”  iHeartMedia Denver president Tim Hagar comments, “Big Al has set the standard for afternoon drive radio.  This long-term renewal is a testament to Al’s impact and importance to iHeartMedia, KOA, our partners and his legion of fans throughout Colorado.  Not only is he a tremendous talent and a great man, but he is the type of guy who you want on your team no matter what you are doing and we are so glad he’s a part of our team.”

Paige Rockwell Named VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Binghamton.  Sales pro Paige Rockwell is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Binghamton, New York stations.  She was most recently director of digital strategy at Townsquare Media’s Utica cluster.  iHeartMedia area president Robert Morgan states, “I am thrilled to have Paige lead our sales organization in Binghamton.  I know she will bring her passion, tireless energy, creativity, and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and expand upon our partnerships.”

TALKERS News Notes. After a two-year absence, CBS News Radio is back providing news programming for Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington.  The station had been using ABC Radio News since 2018.  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “WTOP’s mission is to deliver news that matters to the people in our community, 24/7/365. It’s a mission we take very seriously.  Our partnership with CBS News and the talented journalists who work there helps us accomplish this goal.  We are thrilled to be working once again with the CBS team.”…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that evening host Jay Kanzler exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after more than two years as a full time host.  Kanzler is also a full-time practicing attorney.  He tells the Post-Dispatch, “I managed to do it for a couple of years, but it was just a tough schedule to keep.”…..Entercom names Alex Gold (right) and Cody Tapp (left) the new co-hosts of the midday show on KCSP-AM, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  The “Cody & Gold” show takes over for the former “Show and Vern” program with Ron “Show” Hughley and Josh Vernier.  Hughley exited the station while Vernier moves to Royals insider and host of Royals pre- and post-game shows for the station…..Mary Zatina is named general manager of Wayne State University’s WDET, Detroit.  Zatina served as assistant GM for business and development for the station from 1985-88.  She says, “It’s been a while since I worked at WDET, but I have maintained my strong belief in the station’s mission and the critical role it plays to serve metro Detroiters.  I’ve never stopped listening to and supporting WDET.  I am excited to be coming home and am looking forward to working with this dedicated and dynamic team of professionals.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Isaac “Brooks” Wenzel is named music director and afternoon drive host for country WFMS, Indianapolis.  Cumulus Media brings Wenzel to Indy from its Madison operations where he was midday host on country WMAD-FM and promotions director for the six-station group.  Wenzel says, “I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to join a station with such long-lasting success in an amazing city like WFMS in Indianapolis.  Thanks to Cumulus for giving me this incredible opportunity.”…..iHeartMedia announces former hot AC WMYI-FM, Greenville, South Carolina becomes adult hits “102.5 The Lake.”  Station PD and region SVP of programming A.J. says, “‘102.5 The Lake’ is going to bring listeners a variety of music from a diverse group of artists.  The philosophy of our programming is that we’ll play anything and you never know what you’ll hear next.”…..Westwood One’s “The BOB & TOM Show” moves from Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF to crosstown The Original Company’s classic hits WJPS-FM in the Evansville, Indiana market…..Flood Communications West closes on the purchase of adult contemporary KSID-FM and country KSID-AM, Sidney, Nebraska.  The company paid $300,000 to seller Dead-Short BroadcastingJason James of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Condolences to the family and friends of former country KVOO, TULSA morning drive host Andy Oatman, who passed away on December 30 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Oatman retired from KVOO in 2008.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

| October 22, 2019

Tegna Putting San Diego’s KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM Up for Sale. According to Ken Leighton’s report in the San Diego ReaderTegna has put news/talk KFMB-AM and classic hits KFMB-FM up for sale and intends to announce a potential new owner by November 15.  The story indicates radio station staffers learned about Tegna’s plans in a memo last week.  Tegna bought the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of two San Diego television outlets – KFMB-TV and KFMB-DT2 – back in December of 2018.  The piece reports that iHeartMedia is rumored to be interested and goes on to speculate that KFMB-AM could become a sports talk station, with programming from iHeartMedia’s crosstown KLSD moving to KFMB-AM’s better signal.  However, such an acquisition would put iHeartMedia over the ownership cap in the market and require divestitures.

Hofstra’s WRHU-FM Wins Third Marconi Award. At this year’s Marconi Awards at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas, Hofstra University’s WRHU, Hempstead, New York took home its third Marconi Award.  The school’s station won the Noncommercial Station of the Year in 2014 and 2017.  This year, the station won the inaugural College Station of the Year honor.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a feature-length look at Hofstra’s WRHU.  Kinosian writes that several things make WRHU unique.  “Operated primarily by a roughly 250-member student staff, which in itself is fairly mind-blowing, the noncommercial, educational, community-oriented facility has another 20 or so ‘community volunteers.’”  Read the entire piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. Indianapolis sports talk host Dan Dakich is serving a one-week suspension from his show on Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM “The Fan” for “a failure last year on Dan’s part to adhere to the journalistic principles valued by Emmis,” according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.  However, neither Emmis nor Dakich are responding to inquiries about the specifics of his transgression.  Former Indiana Pacers player Scot Pollard is sitting in as host of Dakich’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show…..Entercom sports talk personality Christian Fauria is doing a marathon radio broadcast on WEEI, Boston to raise awareness of diabetes and raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.  “Christian Fauria’s 25 for 25k” entails Fauria broadcasting live for 25 hours straight from 2:00 pm on November 13 to 3:00 pm on November 14 in an effort to raise $25,000.  Fauria’s son was recently diagnosed with diabetes and during the broadcast, he’ll discuss his family’s journey with diabetes and welcome special guests, including New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, diabetes patients, medical professionals, and Susan Sarro, executive director of the American Diabetes Association in New England…..This week’s Westwood One blog looks at the levels of awareness, usage, and enrollment in their rewards programs for Uber and Lyft among AM/FM radio listeners.  According to a national MARU/Matchbox study commissioned by Westwood One, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are big users of ridesharing.  60% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners used Uber in the past year compared to 37% of light AM/FM radio listeners.  A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners used Lyft in the last year (49%) versus only 21% of light AM/FM radio listeners.  See more here…..ESPN Radio is reporting that its summer ratings (June 20-September 11) with men 25-54 in PPM markets were up 4% over the same period in 2018 (6a-6p).  The upward trend was aided by an increase in time spent listening of 6%.  The morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show was up 5% year-over-year with men 25-54 and enjoyed a 17% increase in TSL for the same period.

Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Tells TALKERS, “We live in a time of journalism by clickbait.”  Criticism of today’s media and journalism is not the exclusive domain of President Donald Trump.  Nor is the observation that the national party committees are above putting their thumbs on the scale to help certain candidates of their own choosing.  Interestingly, a candidate who is ideologically as far from the president as anyone in the race – Marianne Williamson – shares his view that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency.  Although Williamson has not qualified for inclusion in the last two debates, her candidacy remains very much alive.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison caught up with Williamson last week shortly after the Democratic debate on CNN.  To listen to the conversation, please click here.

John McConnell to be Honored by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  Radio industry veteran programmer, executive, and talent agent John McConnell has been named the 2019 recipient of prestigious Arnold Schneider Visionary Award by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for his work on behalf the organization’s mission to improve quality of life and speed the development of treatments for paralysis and breakthroughs in spinal cord research.  The award will be presented at the Foundation’s annual Gala dinner in the Big Apple in November.  McConnell is executive vice president of Workhouse Media and runs the talent agency’s New York office.  One of his clients, the legendary Scott Shannon of WCBS-FM, New York tells TALKERS, “Since the moment he first joined the ranks as a fundraiser and now vice chair, John has left an indelible mark as a leader.  He fractured his neck in 2005 after flipping over his bike.  While he recovered, this experience ignited a passion and purpose to help the Foundation accelerate its mission.  A year to the day after the injury, John ran the New York City Marathon.  He’s since completed multiple marathons, raising millions under the Reeve banner.”  Shannon continues, “I’ve known John for 30 years.  Our love of radio brought us together and we have a wonderful friendship.  And I’m proud to call him my agent.”  This year’s Gala is titled “A Magical Evening” and it is set for Thursday, November 14 at Cipriani South Street located at 10 South Street in New York City.  Those interested in attending or making a contribution may contact the Gala office at 973-933-7114 or events@christopherreeve.org for reservations.

Egan Named GSM for Alpha Media Portland. The Alpha Media Portland station group that includes news/talk KXL-FM, talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” and sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game,” and four music brands names Michael Egan its new general sales manager, effective November 4.  Egan was most recently general manager at Pitt Learfield/IMG College Sports Marketing in Pittsburgh.  Prior to his six-year stint at Learfield/IMG, Egan held senior roles in corporate sponsorship sales for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Portland Trail Blazers.  Alpha Media Portland director of sales Cressy Walton says, “We are very excited to have Mike join us and look forward to the ideas, relationships, and experience he is bringing to our team.  His knowledge, sense of humor, leadership, work ethic, and Oregon roots are a perfect fit.”

Impeachment Inquiry Delay, Syria Withdrawal, 2020 Presidential Race/Gabbard-Clinton Clash, Trudeau Ekes Victory in Canada, Netanyahu Fails to Form Government, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The Democrats delay the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; debate over the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Northeastern Syria; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Hillary Clinton’s calling Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian asset”; Justin Trudeau wins Canada’s prime minister race but will lead a minority government; Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a government in Israel; and Boris Johnson’s asking Parliament to approve his Brexit deal 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. Changes are taking place on air at Connoisseur Media’s Connecticut operations.  Air personality Allan Lamberti is moving from mornings on classic rock WFOX, Southport “95.9 The Fox” to sister adult contemporary WEBE, Westport for afternoons, taking over for Jay Michaels, who is stepping down this week.  Charlie Padgett will assume morning duties on WFOX.  Lamberti says, “I grew up in Trumbull, live in Bridgeport, and have long listened to and admired WEBE108.  I’m extremely excited to take over in my new role on afternoons on such a legendary signal.”…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop KMEL, San Francisco announces the lineup for its 2019 “Holiday House of Soul” taking place on Saturday, December 14 at The Masonic in San Francisco.  The event will feature live performances from artists including Layton Greene, SiR and DVSN.  iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “The KMEL ‘Holiday House of Soul’ is a Bay Area tradition and frequently showcases some of the biggest new stars in R&B.  Previous shows have included talent such as SZA and The Weeknd, just as their careers were in their earliest stages. We’re proud to again feature several of today’s freshest R&B artists who’ve all had a breakout year in 2019 with big things to come in the years ahead.”

Thursday, August 15, 2019

| August 15, 2019

iHeartMedia Q2 Revenue: Up 2.4% To $913.3 Million. The second-quarter revenue increase of 2.4% (to over $913 million) for iHeartMedia is credited to a roughly one-third leap to $91 million in digital revenue. Other figures reported today (8/15) indicated there was a 6.4% gain to $156 million regarding network revenue for iHM’s Premiere Networks and Total Traffic & Weather Network entities. Chief executive officer/chair Bob Pittman states that iHM is the “number one audio company in America and the only true multi-platform audio company able to reach consumers at scale. Radio provides companionship and connection when people want to join the world; they use the music collection segment when they want to tune out and escape the world. As the leader in the radio, or companionship, segment of the audio sector, iHeartMedia uses its unparalleled reach and consumer connection to deliver a compelling experience for our audiences and revenue opportunities across our multiple platforms. As we look ahead, iHeartMedia intends to increase our share of radio advertising spend; participate in TV and digital advertising revenue pools; extend our leadership in podcasting; and drive sponsorship revenue.” According to president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler, “On May 1, we successfully emerged from Chapter 11 and are pleased the restructuring process resulted in a capital structure that matches our successful operating business. As demonstrated in our results, iHeartMedia’s increased revenue and overall positive financial performance reflects the resilience and growth of our businesses and the value of our recent investments, particularly in podcasting and data and analytics.”

CMG Orlando Elevates Campese to Director/Sales. Seven-year Cox Media Group Orlando general sales manager JC Campese is boosted to director of sales for the six-station Florida cluster. Cox Media Group Orlando general manager Jason Meder remarks, “JC’s unique background in events, sales, and digital – combined with his creativity and passion for building and maintaining relationships – make him the perfect fit for our director of sales role. He is well-respected in the industry and is committed to delivering top results for our customers.” Campese adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to continue working with the best team in broadcasting at CMG Orlando. It’s truly an honor to be leading the sales organization; I look forward to continued success with this great team.” Campese joined CMG in 2000 as a director of Cox Events Group and was promoted to director of digital sales in 2009. He previously worked for cross-town CBS Radio (now Entercom) Orlando. In addition to news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” and sports talk WDBO-AM “580 AM ESPN Orlando,” Cox Media Group Orlando’s cluster includes urban AC WCFB “Star 94.5”; WMMO “98.9 Orlando’s Classic Hits”; CHR WPYO “Power 95.3”; and WWKA “Orlando’s Country K-92.3.”

NYPR Names Sheikholeslami CEO. The search that began in January for a chief executive officer of New York Public Radio concludes with the hiring of Goli Sheikholeslami, who will arrive in October from Chicago Public Media where she has a similar title, overseeing news/talk WBEZ. Sheikholeslami succeeds Laura Walker, NYPR’s CEO since 1996; chief operating officer Depelsha McGruder has been interim CEO. New York Public Radio board of trustees chair Mayo Stuntz states, “Goli has dedicated her career to helping some of the country’s most venerable media companies create new content, reach broader audiences, and identify new revenue streams – all while staying true to their core missions. She possesses deep experience integrating traditional and digital media, and she is one of the foremost leaders in the public radio system. All this makes her perfectly positioned to lead New York Public Radio’s next chapter, and continue its commitment to excellent audio, digital, and live programming. We are thrilled to have her begin that journey.” Sheikholeslami comments, “From its incredible coverage of everything about New York City and the region, to its commitment to classical music, to fostering groundbreaking conversations heard around the world, New York Public Radio has shown that public media can not only survive in a challenging media environment, but thrive, grow, and fill an essential void. At a time when local news is in retreat, WNYC’s award-winning local news coverage remains vital and impactful. NYPR is investing in new content and new ways to reach audiences around the world. I am thrilled to be joining the outstanding team at NYPR to build on this rich legacy.” Earlier this year, Sheikholeslami was named one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism. New York Public Radio includes news/talk WNYC-AM, news/talk WNYC-FM, classical music WQXR, WNYC StudiosGothamist, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.

Rose To Enter New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. A “Rose” is entering a baseball Hall of Fame but it’s not “Pete.” On November 3, Howie Rose will be honored at an induction ceremony into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. For the past 13 years, Rose has been the lead radio play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets, whose games were carried on CBS Radio-owned (now Entercom) WFAN from 1987 through 2013 and then on iHeartMedia New York’s WOR (2014 – 2018). When the 2018 season ended, the Mets agreed to a seven-year deal in which Entercom New York all-news WCBS-AM became the team’s radio flagship. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin observes, “Howie is an iconic voice for the New York Mets franchise and has served as a stalwart for the team’s coverage. This distinguished honor further cements Howie’s stature in the sports broadcasting industry and we’re proud that he is part of our team.” New York State Baseball HOF executive director Rene LeRoux opines that, “Howie is certainly one of the very best announcers in sports history. His record of broadcast excellence in multiple sports is well-documented.” Rose adds, “I’d like to thank the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame for including me in an impressive group of inductees this year. I’m honored to be part of a collection of some of the biggest names in baseball history.” The Hall honors players, executives, broadcasters, team staff, and other influential members in New York state baseball. In a previous WFAN stint (1987 – 1995), Rose hosted pregame and postgame Mets broadcasts and did play-by-play of New York Rangers hockey games. The two-time Emmy winner was the Mets television play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports New York/MSG (1996 – 2003) and called New York Islanders hockey games for Fox Sports New York (1995 to 2016). Rose is a 2012 inductee of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

 WBT Jells With Peanut Butter Collection. Setting a new record in total donations, Entercom Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM & WBT-FM “News Talk 1110 & 99.3” collected over 33,000 jars of peanut butter to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. The ninth annual “WBT Peanut Butter ‘N July Food Drive” took place at Charlotte-area Harris Teeter locations. Throughout the drive, shoppers had the option to “virtually” add a jar of peanut butter to their shopping cart at checkout. Entercom Charlotte senior vice president/market manager Matthew Hanlon comments, “This program is important to the entire WBT listening family. I’m proud of our community’s efforts in supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s selfless mission.” WBT morning drive host Bo Thompson and afternoon drive talent John Hancock promoted the drive by broadcasting from participating Harris Teeter stores. In existence since 1981, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (SHFBM) strives to eliminate hunger by the solicitation and distribution of food. Meanwhile, in other WBT news, Hancock announced yesterday that he is retiring from the station in two months (10/17). Of Hancock, Hanlon states, “No one will know how much of his time and energy John has given to serving this community.  He is, by every measure, a success and a true Charlotte treasure.” Hancock has been with WBT the past 29 years and remarks, “I am humbled to be at an historic, three call-letter, 50,000-watt blowtorch in a dynamic city of growth. WBT and Entercom have been great [but] it’s just time to do something else. I’ve been in and around radio for almost 50 years. I’ll keep a tether to the station and my clients, and to the magnificent people of Charlotte. When I set out on a radio career in 1970, I could never have imagined the great people and places that would cross my path.” Prior to joining WBT, Hancock had radio stops in Denver, Jacksonville, and Wilkes Barre-Scranton.

TALKERS News Notes. As a result of lineup changes at Entercom Dallas sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” the station’s revised roster finds: Shan Shariff & R.J. Choppy (5:30 am – 10:00 am); Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Gavin Dawson, Jeff Cavanaugh, Lucious Alexander, & Mike Bacsik (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and Cory Mageors & Kevin Hageland (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) ….. The digital brand manager position that Paul Heling held the past seven years at Midwest Communications’ Green Bay cluster was eliminated yesterday (8/14). Heling previously worked as a promotion director at country stations in Denver (KYGO) and Milwaukee (WMIL). Midwest Communications-owned stations in Green Bay include: WTAQ “News Talk 1360 & 97.5”; WNFL “Sports Radio 1440 & 101.9”; classic country WGEE “Duke FM”; CHR WIXX “Your #1 Hit Music Station”; and adult hits WYDR “94.3 Jack FM.” ….. Latest Hollywood tips, tricks, and trends are discussed by Playboy Radio host Jessica Hall and television producer Mel Lamprey on PodcastOne’s weekly “The Hollywood Filter.” The duo “pull back the curtain, revealing the truth behind the unfiltered Hollywood you rarely see.” New episodes are available every Wednesday. In the series premiere (yesterday, 8/14), Hall and Lamprey cover the allure of tattooing eyebrows through different techniques; week one guest is Kendra Wilkinson, star of E!’s “The Girls Next Door.” ….. Tomorrow (Friday, 8/16) marks the golden anniversary in radio for Salem Media Group Little Rock KDXE “101.1 The Answer” afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) talent Dave Elswick. A conference room celebration with cake and ice cream would certainly be a nice touch and it’s probably in the works. Elswick has a long line of high-profile well-wishers to mark the occasion. Among those stopping by offering congratulations and perhaps grabbing some of the cake are Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and both of the state’s U.S. Senators – John Boozman and Tom Cotton.

BBC World Service Increases Shortwave Broadcasts During Kashmir Media Shutdown. Extended output by BBC World Service on shortwave radio in Indian-administered Kashmir is intended to provide reliable news and information. The stoppage has left people with very few options for accessing news; however, news services from the BBC continue to be available through shortwave radio transmissions in English, Urdu, Hindi, Dari and Pashto. South Asian language services have brought added depth to the BBC’s coverage of the Kashmir story. BBC World Service director Jamie Angus explains that, “The provision of independent and trusted news in places of conflict and tension is one of the core purposes of the World Service. Given the shutdown of digital services and phone lines in the region, it’s right for us to try and increase the provision of news on our shortwave radio services. Audiences in both India and Pakistan trust the BBC to speak with an independent voice. We know our reporting through several moments of crisis this year has been popular and valued by audiences who turn to us when tensions are highest.” Starting tomorrow (Friday, 8/15), BBC News Hindi radio output will be extended by 30 minutes. Next Monday (8/19), BBC News Urdu begins a 15-minute daily program that will focus on news coming from Kashmir.

Holland Cooke is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Prompted by an article he recently wrote in TALKERS (8/5) titled Monday Memo: “Hollywood,” Co-starring AM Radio, media consultant Holland Cooke is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Cooke engage in a spirited chat about the way film writer/director Quentin Tarantino used original air checks from the legendary top 40 station, 93 KHJ within the soundtrack of the hit movie to recreate the atmosphere of Los Angeles circa 1969.  They discuss the elements that made major radio stations of that era the “soundtrack of our lives” and lay out an array of comparisons and contrasts between radio-then and radio-now.  This podcast contains lots of fun and insightful discussion about jingles, music and personalities sure to please devotees of the medium and its history.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

US-China Trade War and Stock Market/Economic Jitters Top News/Talk Conversation.  According to ongoing TALKERS research, the US-China Trade War, Hong Kong Protests and related Stock Market/Economic Jitters have been the most talked about topic(s) on American news/talk radio yesterday (8/14) and so far today (8/15).  Other big topics during this time frame include continuing discussion about the Jeffrey Epstein Prison Death, the El Paso/Dayton Shootings, and the Call for Increased Gun Control Measures, plus Race Relations, the 2020 Presidential Derby and the Chris Cuomo “Fredo” Incident have also gotten tremendous on-air attention.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More than 20 classic rock stations are onboard for “Steve Gorman Rocks!,” a live, five-hour (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) weeknight show that CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One will debut in just over three weeks (Monday, 9/9). CUMULUS MEDIA executive vice president of marketing/Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes notes, “Steve Gorman is a great addition to the line-up of star power here at Westwood One. He will both anchor and amplify weeknights on classic rock radio.” Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland remarks, “Steve brings current, relatable experiences from the rock world to the radio – the guy is really compelling. With a foundation firmly planted in the rock music scene and real time use of social media and live interaction, ‘Steve Gorman Rocks!’ will be a talked-about show on classic rock stations.” Drummer/founding member of The Black Crowes, Gorman, explains, “I’ve toured the world for over 25 years, leaving a small piece of my sanity at every stop. ‘Steve Gorman Rocks!’ is a natural extension of the life I’ve lived. I’ve got a unique perspective on the rock music we all love and plenty of stories to share.” Executive producers Troy Hanson and Scott Jameson will lead the production team and program the music, respectively. Social media personality April Rose will be a contributor to the show. Rose has been an on-camera host/content creator for Maxim.com and Playboy.com, as well as a regular on MTV’s “Guy Code” and “Girl Code.” Gorman began his radio career in 2011 with Fox Sports Radio-syndicated “Steve Gorman Sports!” His current band, Trigger Hippy, is planning an October album release ….. KMYI “Star 94.1” morning drive team member Delana Bennett is boosted to assistant program director/afternoon drive host (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) at the iHeartMedia San Diego hot AC. KMYI program director Joe Haze states, “With Delana’s brand and market equity, she will elevate the listening experience every afternoon for San Diego commuters. Delana’s ability to connect with listeners and relate to [our] busy adult audience makes her an ideal host for afternoon drive.” Bennett, who begins her new duties next month (9/3), comments, “I can’t wait to entertain San Diego on the way home and connect with our listeners. A special thank-you to [morning host] Jesse Lozano and our morning crew for an incredible seven years together.” Prior to her tenure at “Star,” University of Florida grad Bennett co-hosted the “Greg & Delana Show” on XHRM, Tijuana-San Diego ….. After spending 13 years – the last 5.5 as program director – at Window to the World Communications’ Chicago classical outlet WFMT, David Polk has resigned. Polk hosted/produced over 250 episodes of the country’s only weekly live local classical performance series. In addition, he reported on local and global arts/music events and produced a month-long reporting series on Chicago arts education ….. Having most recently done mid-days at Entercom San Diego classic hits-oldies KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” Dave Mason is recruited for weekend/swing duty at cross-town Tegna adult hits KFMB-FM. Director of FM programming Mike V. Vasquez notes, “Our team is made up of radio fanatics, which makes Dave an ideal fit. His level of experience and passion will be a tremendous addition to our team; we’re eager to get him on-the-air.” Mason comments, “Joining [KFMB-FM] is a thrill for me. It’s great to be part of a station that super-serves the musical tastes of San Diego. I’m proud to be joining this legendary staff.”

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.

Salt Lake City

Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.6, 6+), Bonneville-owned KSL “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” is down a collective -1.6 and slips from eighth to ninth. Prior to May, KSL had never fallen below a four-share (6+) in the PPM-era, thus 3.6 is now its lowest-ever 6+-stat under PPM-methodology. A June increase of three-tenths to 3.7 (6+) by iHeartMedia’s KNRS suspended three straight down or flat sweeps that resulted in a collective -1.7 (5.1 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.4, 6+), but “Talk Radio 105.9 – Listen And You’ll Know” sputters by seven-tenths and exits the top ten (3.0, #10 to #12, 6+). KNRS was a combined +1.8 in January/February (3.3 – 4.7 – 5.1, 6+). Anchored at #21, Cumulus Media-owned KKAT “860 AM – Utah’s Big Talker” has a remarkably consistent January 2019 through July 2019 topline: .3 – .2 – .3 – .4 – .3 – .3 – .3 (6+).

Four straight down or flat trends by KUER produced an overall -1.0 (3.1 – 2.5 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+); the University of Utah news/talk station, however, gains three-tenths in July to 2.4 (#16 to #15, 6+).

Salt Lake City Music Formats – Not only does a solid July improvement of eight-tenths by Bonneville-owned classic hits-oldies KRSP curtail May/June’s -1.4 (8.2 – 7.6 – 6.8, 6+), “103.5 The Arrow” leaps from third to first. KRSP – which was an overall +2.5 in five consecutive increases (5.7 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 7.0 – 7.8 – 8.2, 6+) – returns to the top spot where it had an April-only stay. Its format rival, iHeartMedia-owned KODJ, was stuck on 7.4 (6+) in May and June and drops four-tenths to 7.0 (6+) as “94.1 Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” continues at #2. KODJ netted +2.9 via three straight upticks (4.4 – 6.4 – 6.8 – 7.3, 6+); surrendered a -1.1 in April; and was +1.2 in May. KRSP “The Arrow” was displaced in May by co-owned KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music/Better Work Day.” The adult contemporary powerhouse stayed at #1 in May and June but it’s KRSP’s turn to dislodge “FM 100.3,” which erodes by -1.3 (8.0 – 6.7, 6+) and segues to third. Before taking over the runner-up slot in April, KSFI was on top the previous five ratings periods. “FM 100.3” registered a +1.5 in March, following January/February’s -14.4 (21.8 – 7.9 – 7.4, 6+). Three straight increases netted a massive +16.2 (5.6 – 5.7 – 12.7 – 21.8, 6+) for KSFI, the only PPM-market station in “Holiday” 2018 to reach the 20-share level (6+). In five consecutive negative moves, Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted KBEE was an overall -1.5 (4.2 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 2.7, 6+). “B-98.7 Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites” erases roughly half that deficit though with a seven-tenths rise to 3.4 (6+) and reenters the top ten (#12 to #10). In addition to “The Arrow,” Cumulus Media-owned KBER logs a June 2019 – July 2019 uptick of eight-tenths (2.6 – 3.4, 6+) and progresses from #13 to #10. “Utah’s Rock Station” reaches the three-share level (3.4, 6+) for the first time since August 2018’s 3.2. The market’s two major hot ACs were separated by just two-tenths in June but the gap widens to a full-share in July. Specifically, at the same time Capital Broadcasting’s KBZN “Now 97.9 – Today’s Best Music” (steady at #4) dials up a +.7 to 6.2 and reaches the six-share level (6+) for the first time since January’s 6.0, iHeartMedia’s KJMY “My 99.5” drops three-tenths (5.3 – 5.0, fifth to seventh, 6+). Prior to the May sweep, “Now 97.9” had been down or flat three straight times for a net loss of six-tenths (6.0- 5.6 – 5.4- 5.4, 6+). Meanwhile, “My 99.5” is in an alternating down/up pattern that started in “Holiday” 2018 (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 5.0 – 4.9 – 5.3  – 5.0 (6+). Ironically, independent KSOP-FM “Z-104 Utah’s #1 Country” continues a similar down/up pattern that surfaced in December 2018: 4.2 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 3.6 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 5.4 – 5.2 – 5.7 (seventh to fifth, 6+). This (5.7) is its best 6+-showing in exactly two years (6.0, July 2017). Following Cumulus Media alternative KHTB’s half-share June improvement to 2.4, its best 6+-showing since January’s 2.7, “Alt 101.9” sputters by six-tenths to 1.8 (#15 to #16, 6+). Via three straight improvements, iHeartMedia-owned KAAZ was +1.0 (2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.3, 6+), but “106.7 Utah’s Best Rock” drops three-tenths to 3.0 (#11 to #12, 6+).

Las Vegas

Spoken-Word Formats – In back-to-back (June and July) sweeps, Entercom’s KXNT “News Talk Radio 840” gains two-tenths (1.8 – 2.0 – 2.2, #19 to #18, 6+). This marks the fourth consecutive sweep without a loss for Beasley Media Group news/talk KDWN “AM 720 Where Las Vegas Comes to Talk,” which nets two-tenths in that stretch (1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.3, #23 to #22, 6+) and has its best 6+-stat since October 2018 (1.3, as well).

Following five upticks in a row that nearly doubled (+2.8) its 6+ AQH share since “Holiday” 2018 (3.0 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.6 – 5.8, 6+), Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR is a combined -1.3 in June/July (5.8 – 5.2 – 4.5, 6+) but carries on in fourth-place.

Las Vegas Music Formats – Catapulting from #15 to #6, iHeartMedia’s KYMT has more than doubled (+2.1) its 6+ AQH-share in June/July (2.0 – 2.4 – 4.1, 6+). Furthermore, KYMT “93.1 The Mountain” crosses the four-share level threshold (4.1, 6+) for the first time in the roughly three years under those calls/identity/adult hits  format; up until October 2016, it was CHR KPLV “My 93.1 – All The Hits.”. As dramatic as KYMT’s July 2019 +1.7 is, two other Las Vegas stations improve month-to-month by at least a full-share as well – and they are duking it out for the top spot. As a result of five successive negative or neutral trends, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE was -8.0 (12.8 – 7.5 – 6.7 – 6.7 – 5.5 – 4.8, 6+), but “Sunny 106.5 – Better Music For A Better Workday” answers with a robust June/July 2.8 (4.8 – 6.0 – 7.6, 6+) to march from second to first. Before May, KSNE last fell below a five-share (6+) in October 2017 (4.8, as well). “Sunny” was #1 from September 2018 through January 2019. KSNE’s “Holiday” 2018 12.8 is the highest 6+-share for any Las Vegas station since the 14.0 it logged in “Holiday” 2016. Despite registering an impressive +1.1 to 7.2 (6+), Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 – Hits of the Eighties & More” backslides from first (where it had been February through June) to second. The increase follows its combined -1.5 in May/June (7.6 – 7.1 – 6.1, 6+). February’s 8.3 marked the first time KKLZ reached the eight-share level (6+) in its PPM-history. Essentially doubling (+.8) its 6+-share in consecutive sweeps (.7 – .8 – 1.5, 6+), Nevada Public Radio classical KCNV checks in at #21, reaching at least a one-share (1.5, 6+) for the first time since March (1.0). Two relatively lengthy negative streaks are suspended in July. First, by gaining two-tenths to 3.3 (steady at #11, 6+), Beasley Media Group urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Jammin’ 105.7” halts four straight declines that resulted in a -1.0 since February (4.1 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.6 – 3.1,  6+). Meanwhile, Faith Communications contemporary Christian KSOS “SOS Radio,” which was -1.6 as a result of five successive declines (4.3 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 2.7, 6+), adds one-tenth to 2.8 (#13 to #14, 6+). There is only a two-tenths gap (compared to June’s 1.1, 6+) between Beasley Media Group’s KCYE “102/.7 The Coyote” (4.1 – 3.8, -.3, flat at #8, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KWNR “95.5 The Bull,” (3.6, +.6, 6+), which cracks the top ten (#12 to #9). The boost of six-tenths by “The Bull” applies the brakes to five setbacks in succession that resulted in a -1.9 (4.9 – 4.0 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+). A June gain of six-tenths propelled Lotus Communications-owned Spanish adult hits KWID “La Buena 101.9” to reach the five-share level (4.5 – 5.1, 6+), while an improvement of one-half share by KLUC “98.5 Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” (4.1 – 4.6, 6+) gave the Entercom CHR its best 6+-showing (4.6) since September 2018’s 4.8. In July, however, “La Buena” craters by -1.6 (3.5, fifth to tenth, 6+) and KLUC falters by six-tenths (4.0, flat at #7, 6+). Rhythmic hot AC cluster-mate KXQQ was a cumulative +1.1 in five sweeps in a row without a loss (3.9 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 5.0, 6+), but “Q-100.5” spirals by -2.0 in June/July (5.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, #10 to #13, 6+). In May, KXQQ reached the five-share level (6+) for the first time since May 2018 (5.0, as well).

Orlando

Spoken-Word Formats – In addition to being a combined -1.4 in June/July (5.2 – 4.4 – 3.8, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WDBO-FM departs the top ten (#10 to #11); “News 96.5” was up seven-tenths in May. WDBO-FM is now tied at #11 with iHeartMedia news/talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1 – We Say What We Want,” which retrieves all but one-tenth of June’s -.4 (3.5 – 3.8, +.3, #12 to #11, 6+) and is within 3.1 – 3.9 range (6+) for the tenth time in a row. Anchored at #14, news/talk cluster-mate WFLF has a March 2019 through July 2019 topline of 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8 (6+).

Locked together at #19 are Cox Media Group’s sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando,” up one-half share (more than tripling) in four straight sweeps without a loss (.2 – .3 – .3 – .7 – .7, steady at #19, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game – Orlando’s Sports Leader,” which regains June’s one-tenth loss (.6 – .7, #21 to #19, 6+).

An overall -1.3 as a result of four consecutive decreases (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 2.7, 6+), Community Communications’ news/talk WMFE “90.7 Public Radio for Central Florida” falls from #13 to #15.

Orlando Music Formats – In addition to logging three straight upticks that net a +2.9 (7.9 – 9.0 – 9.4 – 10.8, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies WOCL “105-9 Sunny FM – We Own The ‘80s” is on top the third month in a row. Furthermore, July’s 10.8 marks the first time any Orlando station has hit double-digits (6+) since “Holiday” 2018 when iHeartMedia AC WMGF “Magic 107.7” reached 14.3 (6+). An April loss of three-tenths interrupted three consecutive WOCL increases that netted a +3.3 (4.9 – 6.9 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Hot AC sibling WOMX tacks on six-tenths to June’s +.5 (6.0 – 6.5 – 7.1, 6+) and “Mix 105.1” is steady in fourth-place. Prior to dropping three-tenths in May, “Mix” was a combined +.9 in March/April (5.4 – 5.6 – 6.3, 6+). Up eight-tenths through five straight sweeps without a loss (2.1 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), Entercom-owned WQMP “101.9 Orlando’s New Alternative” climbs from #14 to #13 and has its best 6+-stat since September 2018 (2.9, as well). This is the third month in a row iHeartMedia Spanish tropical WRUM occupies the runner-up slot and third time in the last four sweeps “Rumba 100.3” has notched an 8.5 (8.5 – 8.5 – 8.7 – 8.5, 6+). Regarding WRUM’s aforementioned adult contemporary sibling, WMGF “Magic 107.7” has lost one full-share in three setbacks in succession (5.9  – 5.1 – 5.0 – 4.9, flat at #7, 6+). JVC Media’s WOTW “New Country + All Time Favorites – 103.1 The Wolf” drops one-half share (1.6 – 1.1, 6+) and is unchanged at #17. Meanwhile, the five most recent shifts of its format rival, Cox Media Group-owned WWKA “K-92.3 Orlando’s #1 For New Country,” are -.4 (March); +.4 (April); -.5 (May); +.6 (June); and now -.2 in July (4.8 – 4.6, flat at #8, 6+). Still in that Cox Media Group cluster, urban AC WCFB “Star 94.5” is a collective -2.7 in four consecutive decreases (7.8 – 7.6 – 6.3 – 5.2 – 5.1, flat at #6, 6+) and rhythmic CHR sibling WPYO “Power 95.3” is an overall -1.8 owing to three successive dips (5.7 – 5.4 – 4.3 – 3.9, 6+) yet advances from #11 to #10. In June, “Star” fell below a six-share (5.2, 6+) for the first time since June 2018’s 5.5.