Chris Oliviero Returns to Entercom as SVP/Market Manager for New York. It’s been almost two years since Chris Oliviero left his EVP of programming role with Entercom. On June 1, he returns to the company’s New York offices as senior vice president and market manager for the station group that includes all-news WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, and alternative WNYL “ALT 92.3,” classic hits WCBS-FM, and country WNSH-FM. He assumes the role previously held by Susan Larkin, who was promoted to company chief operating officer. Larkin says, “Chris is an exceptional leader with proven success developing talent, growing many of our leading brands, and building a thriving culture. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to take the helm of his hometown where his energy, passion and drive will help further raise the bar of excellence in the top media market in the country.” Oliviero originally transitioned to Entercom as the company acquired the CBS RADIO properties. He worked for CBS for 22 years and was a senior manager for CBS for years. He comments, “Radio in New York is an incredibly special place, so to have the chance to return to a collection of the most iconic and influential brands on the dial is humbling. Our stations are in many ways the soundtrack of the city. I am confident that along with all my Entercom New York colleagues we will add to this legacy. I can’t wait to reconnect with so many old friends and of course meet new ones as well.”
Sandhill Media to Launch New Talk Station in Idaho Falls; Neal Larson and Julie Mason Recruited for Mornings. There’s no exact launch date set for the new format but Sandhill Media Group says it will move its CHR format off KAOX-FM, Idaho Falls and install the new “Newstalk 107.9 FM” format with market morning duo Neal Larson and Julie Mason as hosts of the AM drive show. Larson and Mason left their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk KID last month. The station plans to air Westwood One’s Mark Levin program as well as other national programs. Neal Larson is also serving as program director for the station. He says, “We’re thrilled at the opportunity to not just continue doing what we love to do, but also join the great and talented team at Sandhill and build something from the ground up. It is a unique opportunity at a truly unique time in our community, state, and country. We can’t wait to unveil to the whole region what we’re putting together.” Mason adds, “While being part of a brand-new station is an incredible opportunity, what we really love is what happens after – building a community of informed and loyal listeners on one side, and also watching that audience create huge value for our advertisers on the other.” Station OM Will Kezele, says, “We have a fantastic core of music stations here at Sandhill, but the one piece we’ve been missing is a news/talk station. This is our moment to fill that void and create something that will be a valuable part of east Idaho for many years to come.” Sandhill will move the CHR format to KAOX-HD2/K286BU at 105.1 FM.
Kim Guthrie to Leave Cox Media Group President and CEO Post. This change comes as a surprise to industry watchers and one has to wonder what caused Cox Media Group president and CEO Kim Guthrie to decide to “move on from the organization after a 22-plus year career with the company.” In a press release, CMG says executive chairman Steve Pruett will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is named. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to thank Kim for her decades of service to Cox Media Group and her leadership during the company’s transition to new ownership. She has been instrumental in positioning CMG for future success as an industry-leading media company.” Guthrie, who will work with Pruett on an orderly transition, comments, “We have built a strong foundation for future growth, including an exceptional senior management team, a successful carveout from Cox Enterprises, and deep, long-term relationships with our communities, customers and partners. I have full confidence in this great team at CMG and I look forward to watching CMG’s future achievements.”
Saga Communications Reports Q1 Financials; Net Revenue Dips 6.5%. The first broadcasting company to report its first quarter 2020 financial data is Saga Communications, Inc and its report comes with a huge caveat – this report doesn’t reflect the hit the company has taken from April 1 to now. Saga states net income increased to $1.7 million from $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 20.3%. However, net revenue was $26.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 6.5% from Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $27.8 million. Free cash flow was $1.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared to $2.6 million for the same period last year. Saga reports having $47 million in cash on hand as of May 4, 2020. It says in its report, “The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, and state and local ‘shelter-in-place’ orders in the states where we operate have impacted and restricted various aspects of our business. Our operations are functioning, subject to regulated restrictions and safety constraints we have enacted in order to protect our employees and customers. As a result of the current challenging economic conditions, our reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not reflective of current market conditions. The company’s advertising revenue has declined significantly as a result of the pandemic and these unfavorable trends have continued into May and June. While we cannot reasonably estimate the length or severity of this pandemic, an extended economic slowdown in the U.S. could materially impact our consolidated financial position, consolidated results of operations, and consolidated cash flows in fiscal 2020 or beyond.”
PPM Analysis: Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the “Extra” edition of his monthly study of Nielsen Audio’s 6+ ratings data from the March 2020 PPM survey. He says this “Extra” coverage of each PPM sweep in the foreseeable future will uniquely detail month-to-month shifts among news/talk; all-news; public radio news/talk; and sports talk stations. Among this month’s data is: A ranking of the strongest spoken-word markets among the 48 PPM markets – #1 is Washington, DC, followed by Boston at #2 and San Francisco at #3; a ranking of the markets that most improved over the February 2020 PPM survey – Portland saw a 4.0 share gain from month to month, with Seattle close behind with a 3.8 share improvement; a ranking of the stations that achieved the highest increase from February to March – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago is the winner here; as well as a look at the stations losing the most ground, month to month (hint: sports talk). See the entire report here.
Entercom All-News Stations Honored with Awards. Two of Entercom’s all-news stations were recently honored for programming quality. KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco garnered 10 2019 Associated Press Television and Radio Association Awards – eight first place awards and two second-place awards. KCBS won first place for Outstanding News Operation, Best Evening Newscast, and Best Spot News Coverage, among others. Meanwhile, the company’s WINS, New York took home three 2020 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards first-place honors from the New York State Broadcasters Association. “1010 WINS” won for Outstanding Spot News, Outstanding Newscast, and Outstanding Use of Digital Platforms.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Rush to Re-Open, Scrutiny of China’s COVID-19 Response, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll plus the projections of future cases; the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ as states begin to re-open their economies; the accusations that China tried to hide the coronavirus outbreak; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and activity among the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Nobody covers the New York City sports radio scene more colorfully than the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, and in today’s column he speculates about the possible return of former WFAN-AM/FM morning personality Craig Carton now that radio executive Chris Oliviero is returning to Entercom as SVP and market manager of its New York stations. Of course, Carton is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted of fraud in a concert tickets Ponzi-scheme. Marchand notes that Oliviero and WFAN program director Mark Chernoff put together the team of Boomer Esiason and Carton back in 2007…..ABC News’ “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Trump in Phoenix on Tuesday as the president was in the city visiting a plant that makes face masks. Muir is featured on ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast with host Brad Mielke speaking about his interview with the president…..Entercom launches a daily “I’m Listening” capsule. The 60-second public service announcements, an extension of the company’s annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative, features the voices and thoughts of artists, celebrities, media hosts, and mental health specialists. The daily capsules will feature singer and songwriter Halsey; former American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist Lizzo; singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Allessia Cara; rock band Blink-182; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic, and more to help listeners navigate the complexities of this global health pandemic…..Three new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts launch today. “Fierce,” co-produced by Tribeca Studios, is hosted by Jo Piazza and explores the stories of extraordinary women who never made it into history books; “Flashback: History’s Unintended Consequences” in conjunction with OZY Media, is hosted by OZY’s Sean Braswell who explores disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas, crazy coincidences, unsung heroes, and forgotten villains in history; and “The Trend Reporter,” hosted by four-time Emmy award-winning TV personality and journalist Mara Schiavocampo, is a weekly show that will help listeners figure out which wellness, beauty, style, and fitness trends are actually worth trying…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network welcomes two shows to its platform: “The Stacking Benjamins Show,” with host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman teaching listeners about personal finance through headlines, guest experts, and plenty of humor. The hour-long, magazine-style show drops each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and the spin-off program “Money with Friends” with Joe Saul-Sehy and Bobbi Rebell who are joined each season with a rotating cast of thought leaders providing fresh perspectives and unique insights to the personal finance news and issues discussed on the podcast.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Jacksonville, iHeartMedia launches a regional Mexican format branded “El Patrón 97.3” on translator W247CF (fed by WKSL-HD2). The translator had been fed by sports talk WFXJ-AM. Jacksonville iHeartLatino GSM Jorge Lopez says, “I am grateful to be part of a company that sees Hispanic growth in Jacksonville, by adding another radio station and Hispanic brand to our market. With this launch, we confirm our commitment to the community and our solid growth in the communications industry in North Florida, covering 100% of the Hispanic market with our ‘Rumba’ brand and now with ‘El Patrón.’”…..SiriusXM launches the “Mandatory Metallica” channel through the month of May featuring the band’s biggest songs, rarities, and concert recordings from throughout its history. The channel is embarking on a 30-date “virtual Metallica tour,” which will air a daily concert from the band on tour around the globe, including the band’s exclusive SiriusXM concert from 2013 at the Apollo Theater in New York City and their 2016 concert at New York City’s Webster Hall.
KFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” Carroll began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”
Obama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’ The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery. The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning. The Netflix series has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance. WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.” This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game. WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage. WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information. We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can. WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”
Radio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’ In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K. Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.” Read his entire piece here.
Kibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
Emmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts. After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives. During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes. This is always very, very hard for us.” The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.
Rich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls. The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market. The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market. KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho. Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage. With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello. Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”
CES 2016 Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami; and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines, The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.
Pittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to the Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Broadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.