By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s talk radio FAQ #1. GMs – excuse me, “market managers,” overseeing more-stations-than-they-have-time-to-hear – are anxious, now forced to pay attention to 15 hours a week they’ve had on autopilot for decades.
Short answer: Nobody can
Thousands of our talk radio brothers and sisters will always owe him for leading the format that extended AM radio’s useful life. On my TV show I reminded Michael Harrison of a prediction he made at the TALKERS New York conference 20 years ago, that talk will eventually save FM, where music formats are now largely robotic and under assault from streaming and satellite competitors that users love. Many pay to subscribe.
By Mike Kinosian
Meanwhile though, it must never be forgotten that through it all, genuine heroes continue to surface and walk among us.
Precisely as in life itself, cream has a glorious tendency to rise to the top in the radio industry.
Round One of March PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March survey covered February 27 through March 25. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. The Covid-19 crisis began hitting the U.S. halfway through this survey – around March 13 – and the big gainers were the all-news stations. In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were both up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the February survey – +0.5 and +1.1, respectively. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rose 0.4 shares for a 4.2 share and the #5 rank in the market. Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago increased six-tenths for a 4.5 share and the #5 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago spikes 1.9 shares – the biggest February to March jump in this group of 12 markets – to finish March with a 7.7 share and the #1 rank in Chicago. Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco is up 1.2 shares for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another 1.5 shares to finish March with a 12.9 share and its ninth straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KYW-AM, Philadelphia added 1.9 shares for a 6.6 share and a leap from #8 to #3. See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.
KGO, San Francisco Brings John Rothmann Back for Evenings. Back in 2011, talk show host John Rothmann was let go from Cumulus Media’s news/talk KGO, San Francisco along with a number of other local air talent. Now, nine years later Rothmann is back on the air holding down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 program (5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturdays). Rothmann is featured in a story in The Jewish News of Northern California and he tells the paper that being on the air during this pandemic comes at a time that people want to connect. “There is a huge hunger for KGO as a community forum, and I’m helping fill that role, and people are responding. My board is loaded from the time I come in until the time I head home.” He adds, “People crave contact with others, and because we no longer have the physical contact, talk radio is the most intimate, immediate medium, and KGO is the only live, local talk show.”
WABC Launches New Weekend Show. Dubbed, “The Right vs The Left,” the Sunday afternoon show on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” “pits a WABC air personality on the right vs. well-known political commentators and activists on the left to offer listeners opposing sides of a range of current issues.” This Sunday (4/19), WABC morning co-host Sid Rosenberg takes on left-leaning actor Michael Rapaport at 4:00 pm and WABC midday co-host Curtis Sliwa spars with “The Aggressive Progressive” Christopher Hahn at 5:00 pm. WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi says, “At WABC, our goal is to present both sides of the story so that our listeners can get to the truth of every issue. This special program does that in an entertaining joust between two strong, knowledgeable, opinionated-yet-open-minded personalities. The result is engaging talk radio that pulls in the audience and keeps them there.” The station says the program debuted last weekend with morning show co-host Bernard McGuirk going against Hahn and overwhelming response from listeners spurred it to set up the second and third matches, with the possibility of more right vs. left battles in the coming weeks.
President Trump Wanted to Host Daily Talk Radio Show; But Didn’t Want to Affect Rush Limbaugh’s Program. According to a piece in The New York Times, President Trump was eager to launch a daily, two-hour talk radio show in which he would take calls from Americans – without a call screener – to talk about the coronavirus pandemic. However, he balked because he didn’t want to compete with conservative media icon and supporter Rush Limbaugh. He would have wanted to do the program in afternoon, the time when Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks show airs live.
Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, WHO Funding, Trump vs Governors, Health Care System, China Under Scrutiny, and the November Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The official tally of U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths and projections of future cases; the controversy over President Trump’s order to suspend funding to the World Health Organization for its deference to China; the question of the president’s power versus that of the states’ governors; the state of health care and the health of medical personnel in the cities where hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients; questions about China’s truthfulness about its handling of the outbreak in Wuhan; and how the November elections will be handled in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KTRS, St. Louis Longtime Morning Host and PD McGraw Milhaven Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The morning host and program director of independently owned and operated KTRS, AM 550 in St. Louis, McGraw Milhaven, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Milhaven, a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, discuss what it’s like broadcasting from home during Covid-19 and President Trump’s handling of the crisis as well as the state of political news/talk radio in a timely conversation of interest to industry pros and listeners alike. 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. A special, four-week tribute series hosted by Ryan Seacrest and streamed LIVE on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia stations debuts this Friday. It’s called, “iHeartRadio’s First Responder Fridays with FirstNet, Built with AT&T,” and is designed to honor first responders and medical professionals on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic. Seacrest is asking listeners on air on iHeartRadio stations across the country, online and through social media to share stories of how their lives have been positively impacted by police, fire, EMS and hospital workers by using #iHeartFirstResponders on social media and calling 1-833-3FRIDAY. In honor and support of these first responders and medical professionals, AT&T is committing $5.5 million to provide much needed support in the form of nourishing meals through World Central Kitchen, Feeding America, Salvation Army, and Team Rubicon…..RCN Boston and iHeartMedia are partnering to honor local community heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. The partnership was developed to show appreciation during these uncertain times to the people who are working tirelessly to keep the community safe and comfortable. These heroes include medical professionals, first responders, delivery service workers, cleaning staff, cooks, teachers, stock clerks and others. RCN and iHeartMedia Boston are asking for nominations of individuals or organizations who are going above and beyond during these unprecedented times. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, April 24. Ten heroes will be selected to receive a $250 gift card to continue their amazing work for which they are being recognized…..On-air pro Bryan “B-Dub” Washington announces via Facebook that he’s leaving his afternoon personality and APD/MD roles at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.” He writes, “The last two years have been absolutely amazing. I’ve had some of the coolest experiences of my entire life here, and it’s so hard to say goodbye, but the time has come. I’ll have more to tell you, soon. It was by choice, and when I am able to, I’ll explain why.”…..The company’s cost-saving policy forces midday air personality Jodee Woods out of Midwest Communications’ country KVOX-FM, Fargo…..Condolences to the family and friends of All Pro Broadcasting owner Willie D. Davis, who passed away yesterday (4/15) at age 85 after a long illness. In addition to his career as a broadcaster and businessman, Davis was a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was a key defensive player on the 1960s-era Green Bay Packers. He won five NFL championships (including two Super Bowls) as a member of the team before retiring from the game in 1969. All Pro Broadcasting owns hot AC KHTI and adult contemporary KATY-FM in the Riverside-San Bernardino market. Davis also formed Milwaukee Radio Alliance LLC with Bill Lynett in 1996. It owns adult contemporary WLDB-FM, alternative WLUM-FM, and oldies WZTI-AM.