Monday Memo: CES2020. In his annual TALKERS report on the massive tech event formerly-known-as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” consultant Holland Cooke sees opportunities for radio broadcasters. Read it here.
U.S.-Iran Tensions, UIA Flight PS752 Downing/Tehran Protests, 2020 Presidential Race, Harry and Meghan Saga, Australia Bushfires/Climate Change, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Qassem Soleimani; Iran’s shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 and protests in Tehran against the Iranian regime; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; the royal saga in Great Britain as Harry and Meghan look to leave their royal roles; the devastating Australian bushfires and the question of whether climate change is a factor; and the NFL’s playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Bob Mackay to Lead Entercom Austin. Sales and management pro Bob Mackay is promoted to senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Austin station group that includes news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370” and music brands KKMJ “Majic 95.5,” KAMX “Mix 94.7,” and KKMJ-HD3 “The New Hot 95.9.” He was most recently general sales manager for Entercom’s Houston operations. Entercom regional president Brian Purdy states, “Bob has earned the trust and respect of his teams and clients alike and we are thrilled he is remaining at Entercom. As general sales manager he delivered outstanding results and we are excited for him to bring his energy and drive to Austin.”
Alana Lujan Joins Entercom for DOS Role in Houston. As referenced in the story above, Bob Mackay’s promotion to lead Entercom’s Austin cluster left his director of sales post open at the company’s Houston station group. The company announces that Alana Lujan will assume the DOS post, effective January 27. She’ll oversee sales for sports talk outlets KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK-AM “CBS Sports Radio 650” and four music-formatted stations. She was most recently director of sales for Cox Media Group. Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments. “Alana is well respected in the market due to her extraordinary ability to lead sales efforts and I’m happy to bring her back home to Houston. Her recent experience in digital sales will be an especially valuable asset as we continue to develop new and innovative ways to serve our clients through RADIO.COM.”
KMG Utopia Studios to Launch Podcast for Bourbon Aficionados. Louisville-based bourbon expert and editor-in-chief of Bourbon+ Magazine Fred Minnick will host “The Fred Minnick Show” being produced by Krantz Media Group’s KMG Utopia Studios. Minnick also produces the Bourbon & Beyond music festival and just inked a deal with Shelter Music Group management firm. A story by Sarah Shadburne in Louisville Business First says the podcasts consist of interviews with musicians for whom he paired a bourbon. “Minnick got the bulk of his interviews at [music festivals] Bourbon & Beyond, Hometown Rising, and Louder Than Life, with the help of Gary Krantz, founder of Krantz Media Group. It set up a small studio in the artist area each weekend of festivals for Minnick’s interviews.” Shadburne quotes Krantz saying, “We feel [it’s] a unique offering. Those three festivals are so unique in combining the bourbon lifestyle and music …that’s why artists love to talk with Fred, because it’s a different kind of interview.”
Former AE Sues Entercom for Sex-Based Discrimination, Breach of Contract and More. As an account executive, Maria McBride worked for sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia from April 2011 through September 2018. The station was owned by CBS RADIO for most of that period. In her suit against Entercom, she alleges she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events. When she asked for help and complained, she says her complaints were met with hostility. She states she developed health issues as a result of her working conditions and alleges the company did nothing to help. She also claims she was denied a bonus in violation of her contract and eventually fired. She’s seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Galaxy Communications Makes Upstate NY Programming Moves. Syracuse radio personality and programmer Rainman is leaving his afternoon drive show on Galaxy’s simulcast WKRL, Syracuse/WKLL, Utica “KROCK” and will focus on “The Sportszilla Show” heard on WTLB-AM/WRNY-AM/W243DY, Utica “ESPN” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and on WTLA-AM, Syracuse from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Meanwhile, Big Smoothie moves from evenings on “KROCK” to PM drive and Rainman shifts to the evening show. Galaxy CEO and president Ed Levine comments, “With these two promotions, we get to improve both ‘ESPN’ and ‘KROCK.’ Rainman is getting to fulfill his longtime dream of doing sports talk fulltime and Big Smoothie is getting to fulfill his goal to be back on the radio in afternoons fulltime.”
TALKERS News Notes. Via a press release, Premiere Sports Network’s says FOX Sports Radio personality Colin Cowherd had a successful 2019. Premiere reports that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” podcast amassed more than 70 million total listens in 2019. “The Herd” radio show experienced “double-digit growth in December 2019,” with average quarter hour audience increasing +43% with Adults 25-54 and +51% with Men 25-54. (Source: Nielsen Audio, PPM, Exact Times, AQH, Dec. ‘19 vs. Dec. ’18). The radio show airs simultaneously on FOX Sports Radio, iHeartRadio, and FS1 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm ET…..The nationally syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” show adds new affiliates KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas and KMAD-AM, Madill, Oklahoma to its roster of stations…..Podcast producer Cadence13 is launching a new program called, Unlocking Us, hosted by internationally renowned researcher and five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Brené Brown. The series is scheduled to debut at SXSW in March with two stage appearances featuring Brown in conversations with activist and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, on the topic of empathy, and with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, on the topic of vulnerability…..Broadcasting industry executive Joel Chaseman died on Saturday (1/11) in North Bethesda, Maryland at age 93. Chaseman was the manager of WINS-AM, New York when the station dropped the CHR format and flipped to all-news in 1965. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to vice president for radio for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Station Group.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Omaha, NRG Media flips KOOO from classic rock to adult hits as “101.9 The Keg.” NRG says the station has been playing in the classic rock arena for several years, but with the addition of long-time programmer Jay Michaels, NRG Media is taking the station adult hits. Former sister KQKQ personality Matt Tompkins will host the morning show. Crash Davis will handle middays and Mike Neville hosts afternoon drive. NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “I am beyond excited to have Jay leading the charge from the programming and music side, while veteran on-air talent Matt Tompkins will kick-off the day with a fun, new, and entertaining morning show on ‘The NEW 101.9 The KEG.’”…..Two programming staffers have exited Cumulus Media’s New Orleans station group. Program director Paul “Gonzo” Cannell – who was in charge of alternative WZRH “ALT 92.3,” country WRKN, and classic hits KKND – is out as is WZRH music director and afternoon drive personality Ashley Hollier…..In the Virginia Beach market, Jay West joins Max Media as afternoon drive host for adult contemporary WVBW “92.9 The Wave.” Max Media Hampton Roads VP/GM Keith Barton says, “We at Max Media are more than thrilled to have Jay join our team. He’s a talented and passionate radio guy through and through.”…..WWRZ, Fort Meade, Florida morning personality Eric Michaels adds program director duties for the Hall Communications-owned adult hits station. Michael, who has been with the station for more than 19 years, says, “I’m thankful to Hall Communications for their faith and trust in me to help this family owned company continue to grow.”
Monday Memo: Do You Copy? If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about being #5 in a 6-spot stopset? It’s a problem that now seems baked-into radio’s business model. But good commercials get results. And REAL good ones are actually welcome. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares tips from the experts, and actual phrases that got results for his client stations’ advertisers. Read it here.
Impeachment Process, 2020 Presidential Race, California Wildfires, McDonald’s CEO Fired, Hong Kong Violence, and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and speculation about who will be called to testify; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the status of the California wildfires; McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is fired for having a relationship with an employee; the violent clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong; and rapper Kanye West’s Louisiana “Sunday Service” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Todd Starnes Launches New, Three-Hour Talk Show Today. Author, award-winning journalist, and former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes begins hosting his new, daily talk show today (11/4). “The Todd Starnes Show” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and is premiering on more than 25 radio stations via syndication through Hamilton Strategies. Starnes says the program is a caller-driven format and weaves his unique, down-home humor with interviews featuring major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders. He also covers breaking news and stories from across America. “I don’t spend three hours yelling at folks,” he adds. “Sure, I get riled up, but we also share plenty of laughs with our listeners. Callers are an important part of our program. Conservative or liberal, we give folks a fair shake.” In addition to the new show, Starnes also produces the daily, short-form feature, “Todd Starnes News & Commentary,” that includes unique, one-minute stories covering politics, culture, and heartland headlines. Starnes says, “I believe in taking care of our affiliates, taking care of our sponsors, and taking care of our listeners. I am first and foremost a radio guy. I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.” Interested stations can contact Hamilton Strategies via: Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or (610) 584-1096, ext. 101.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Fires Seth Dunlap. WVUE-TV, New Orleans reports that Entercom news/talk WWL-AM/FM has fired evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap, almost two months after he took a leave from the station in the aftermath of the posting of a homophobic slur directed at him on the station’s Twitter account. The case is still in the hands of the New Orleans Police Department after Entercom requested it get involved following its own investigation. The station says it appears Dunlap posted the tweet himself, but his attorney says that, not only did Dunlap not have access to the station’s password for the Twitter account, he passed a polygraph test pointing to his innocence. Early last month the NOPD obtained a warrant for information from Dunlap’s cell phone. At the same time, according to a previous New Orleans Times Picayune story, Entercom alleged Dunlap is engaging in extortion after seeking a $1.85 million settlement. Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Keifer, alleges Entercom is not complying with requests for documents to “substantiate their defamatory claims” and also has not produced documentation for the NOPD.
TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Joe Madison is the focus of a piece in the Los Angeles Sentinel the centers around his belief that ordinary citizens can make a difference in their government. The story also reveals that the SiriusXM Urban View host’s program was targeted by Russian trolls during the 2016 election. Madison tells the paper’s Nadine Matthews that after getting calls to the program from Blacks encouraging other Blacks not to vote, he discovered his show was being targeted. “We found out that the Russians had actually hired African Americans to target social media and Black news/talk programs.” Read the story here…..Sports talk host Josh Innes – formerly of WIP, Philadelphia and KILT-AM and KBME-AM in Houston – is filling in on the afternoon drive show on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5” today (11/4). Innes has been off the AM/FM airwaves and has been focusing on his eponymous podcast since exiting KBME eight months ago…..Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia re-brands the station as “Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer.” Salem Philly general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “The change to ‘Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer’ more accurately reflects what we have always desired to be as a radio station – one that always went deeper into issues that matter to all of us, one that provides answers to the many questions we all have. With the addition of Chris Stigall in the mornings, we now have the added dimension to focus on local issues just as closely as we can on national issues. We’re proud of this city, and it’s time to serve it better than ever before.”…..Toledo’s “Talk Radio 100.7” is gone as Cumulus Media replaces the format with rock “100.7 The Zone” on WQQO-HD2/W264AK. The signals became the home of the news/talk format three years ago after the company moved the programming from WTOD-AM and turned in the station’s license…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is doing double duty, filling in all this week on iHeartMedia’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio WFLA” in morning drive for “Good Morning Orlando” host Bud Hedinger in addition to his own program…..Envision Networks is offering stations 24 segments of its new “60 Seconds of Service” feature to air once per hour on Veterans Day (11/11). Stations are invited to broadcast “60 Seconds of Service” throughout the entire day, with each segment spotlighting men, women and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities. Program host Randy Miller says, “Veterans Day should be every day in the United States. We should never forget the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform and give their all to protect our way of life. We do 60 Seconds of Service to remind everyone about the continuous commitment of the less than 1 percent who serve our country each and every day.”…..Pictured below is WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and WMCA “The Mission” talk show host Kevin McCullough with some of the guests that appeared on his Salem Media Group program that broadcast live from Bobby Vans “The Original” in the historic Helmsley Building in New York City. McCullough says more than 300 listeners packed the place for his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm broadcast. Guests on the program included: Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and congressional candidates Mike Ghassali, Chele Farley, Nicole Malliotakis, and Fernando Cabrera.
Marianne Williamson Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. 2020 presidential candidate and prolific best-selling author Marianne Williamson guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” 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. In a candid conversation conducted shortly after the most recent televised Democratic Party debate, Williamson tells Harrison that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency. When asked what she has learned thus far from the experience of running for president, she states, “I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I feared and that the people of the United States are even more wonderful than I hoped.” 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.
BFoA to Honor George Beasley with Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on March 4, 2020, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley will be honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual fundraising gala takes place at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “George is one of the forward-thinking pioneers of radio and a longtime supporter of our charitable mission. Starting off with radio stations in small market America and expanding to major cities, George built the company that bears his name with ingenuity, integrity, and innovation. We are delighted to recognize his leadership in our industry.” George Beasley comments, “I fell in love with radio early in my career, and I have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful business as it has grown and expanded. Giving back is an important tradition in our family, and it is an honor to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help those in our industry who need it most.”
News Gigs at FOX News. There are three positions that FOX News Radio and FOX News are seeking to fill. The first is an Overnight Freelance Anchor for Fox News Radio that includes on-air duties for FOX News Radio and the FOX News Headlines 24/7 channel on SiriusXM. See that job description here. The second is a Freelance Writer for Fox News Headlines 24/7 that involves writing news for the national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here. The third position is a Freelance Producer/News Editor in which the successful candidate will supervise the staff for the FOX network radio news operation, FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Killabrew returns to Indianapolis to serve as SVP of programming and PD of classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “Alt 1033” for iHeartMedia, effective January 1. Killabrew had been SVP of programming in Indy until leaving for the company’s Washington, DC cluster to serve as program director for classic rock WBIG “Big 101” and alternative WWDC “DC101” earlier this year…..In March of this year, “Kevin & Bean” show co-host Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he would leave the program at KROQ, Los Angeles to re-locate to Great Britain. Now, we know that his last show will be this Thursday (11/07). The duo has been hosting the successful program on Entercom’s KROQ for the past 30 years. Kevin Ryder will continue to host the morning show on the alternative rock station…..At country KMNB, Minneapolis “102.9 The Wolf,” Lucas Phelan exits the station and the program director position he’s held for the past 18 months. Phelan was also the afternoon drive personality…..Program director and PM drive jock Mike Miller exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WZFT-FM, Baltimore “Z104.3” and embarks on a new career on the sales side of the business with the company’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania cluster as an account executive…..Premiere Networks’ “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” – co-hosted by Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh – are this year’s recipients of the Radio Hall of Fame’s “One to Watch” award. The honor was created last year in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe. Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities. RHOF chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Brooke and Jubal exemplify the inspiration behind this award. While they’ve made ‘Movin’ 92.5,’ KQMV-FM their home in Seattle, the magic they create on the air continues to win audiences far beyond.”
Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words. Competing with less-cluttered digital audio options, AM/FM radio needs to obsess on commercial Quality Control. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke details a technique that’s landing accounts and producing results. Read it here.
Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S.-Syria Policy/Turkish Assault, 2020 Presidential Election, Shepard Smith Leaves FOX News, Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky and the Bidens’ activities in the region’s oil industry, as well as the arrests of associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; the Trump Administration’s policy in Northeastern Syria and Turkey’s assault on the Kurdish region; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the surprise exit of FOX News Channel news anchor Shepard Smith from the news organization; the slaying of a black woman shot through the window of her home by a Fort Worth police officer, and U.S.-China relations and the ongoing Hong Kong protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Kamla Exits KILT-AM, Houston for Expanded Role at SiriusXM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that KILT-AM, Houston sports talk personality Rick Kamla is leaving the station to take on added duties at SiriusXM, where he’s been hosting a fantasy sports program. SiriusXM is broadening Kamla’s duties to include work on its NBA Radio channel. Kamla had only been with KILT-AM for a little more than two months after having served with Entercom’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 FM The Game.” He was partnered on KILT with Clint Stoerner in afternoon drive. Kamla was part of KILT’s July host re-alignment that included the non-renewal of Rich Lord’s contract and his former PM drive partner Sean Pendergast’s move to AM drive alongside Seth Payne.
Salem Radio Network Announces 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debate Broadcasts. In cooperation with the Commission on Presidential Debates, Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 news services SRN News and TOWNHALL News will provide live broadcast coverage of the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates scheduled for next fall. SRN White House correspondent Greg Clugston will provide analysis and SRN talk hosts, including Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder, will offer opinions and analysis. So far, four debates have been scheduled: Presidential Debates on September 9 at the University of Notre Dame; October 15 at the University of Michigan; and October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville; plus, one Vice Presidential debate will on October 7 at the University of Utah.
Goldstein Promoted at Hubbard Radio. Digital sales pro Steve Goldstein is promoted from senior director, digital sales strategy, to his new position, SVP digital sales strategy and general manager 2060 Digital for the company. Hubbard Radio EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler says that Goldstein was most recently splitting duties between Hubbard Radio Washington DC and a corporate role developing digital sales strategies in all of the Hubbard Radio markets. Now, Goldstein will focus exclusively on the corporate role of growing digital sales with station-owned digital assets and 2060 Digital in all Hubbard Radio markets. The company says, “During the past five years 2060 Digital has become an important revenue growth strategy for Hubbard Radio, both in Hubbard radio markets, and recently in non-radio markets with the introduction of 2060 Digital’s Shift division in Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville and Birmingham. Goldstein says, “I am honored and excited to take the helm of a business that I am so passionate about. Hubbard’s overall digital platforms and 2060 Digital have already seen tremendous success. To lead and grow a team that has provided proven results for our clients and our company is thrilling and humbling. I am looking forward to partnering with 2060 Digital ops head Andy Shepherd, his talented team, and our Hubbard Radio market leaders and sellers, all of whom are making a difference for our clients.” As a result of this move, 2060 Digital president James Bryant will focus on growing 2060 Digital’s Shift division in expanding markets.
Hugh Hewitt Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legal scholar, journalist, and Salem Radio Network syndicated TALKERS Heavy Hundred talk radio star Hugh Hewitt guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In addition to being one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America and a prolific best-selling author, Hewitt is a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University Law School in California. Harrison and Hewitt engage in an in-depth conversation about the 2020 presidential election, the Ukraine/impeachment issue, US-China relations, the US Constitution, and the complex legacy and personality of Richard Nixon. 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.
TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Video Available on TALKERS TV. The video of the recent panel discussion, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” that took place in New York City on October 1, is now available for viewing on TALKERS TV. The information-packed co-presentation of TALKERS and The Epoch Times included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network, John Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States that included Nan Su of NTDTV, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as moderator. The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. See the video of the event here.
EPOCH TIMES to Meet Heightened Talk Media Interest in US-China Relations by Granting Free Access to TALKERS Readers. The Epoch Times – founded in 2000 by Chinese Americans seeking freedom from the Communist regime and one of the most reliable sources in the world for information about China – has responded to heightened interest in US-China relations by making its website free to TALKERS readers. To sign up for this free courtesy service to talk show hosts and their producers, please click here.
PPM Analysis: Hot AC. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on hot AC. Just 40% of hot AC stations on our panel were up – weekly, 6+ AQH share – from the August to September surveys, led by Capital Broadcasting’s KBZN, Salt Lake City (+1.0). Comparing year-over-year, just as many hot AC stations were up as were down. Gainers from September 2018 to September 2019 include: Alpha Media’s KEZR, San Jose (+2.4), Cox Media Group’s KSMG, San Antonio (+1.8), and Entercom’s WOMX, Orlando (+1.5). Two hot AC stations ranked #1 in their markets in September – Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-FM, Minneapolis and WRMF, West Palm Beach. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
WAY-FM Reports ‘Explosive’ Digital Growth. Christian broadcaster WAY-FM reports it has experienced explosive digital growth in 2019 with the launch of the new WAYNATION.COM website and Podcast Network, and an aggressive shift towards digital content ministry. WAY-FM operates more than 20 Christian music radio stations around the nation in markets like Nashville, Dallas, Portland, and Denver. Parent company WAY Media announces that, in the first six months of 2019, its total digital audience surpassed 750,000 persons and the WAY Nation Podcast Network has earned nearly 3 million downloads in the past 12 months. It adds that these numbers nearly equal the size of WAY-FM’s total radio listenership.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Allentown market, Cumulus Media’s country WCTO “CAT Country 96” the new “CAT Morning Crew with Sam and Hannah” – hosted by Sam Malone and Hannah Byrom. Byrom joins Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem from Entercom New York’s WNSH-FM “Country 94.7” where she was weekend personality. Prior to that, she was morning show co-host for Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5.” At the same time, the station is adding WWYY-FM, Belvidere, New Jersery as a simulcast of WCTO. The station had been alternative as “Spin Radio” in a simulcast with translator W234AX, Allentown at 94.7 FM. Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem OM Jerry Padden says, “This is a very exciting day for all of us! Though Hannah has worked on some great stations across the country, she is a Jersey girl. Sam was born and bred here in the Lehigh Valley, so doing mornings in their hometowns is a dream come true for both Sam and Hannah.”…..Cumulus Media debuts adult contemporary KQFC, Boise “Magic 97.9.” The signal flips from country and Cumulus brings Lisa Adams aboard as program director. It’s a return to Boise for Adams, who previously served as OM/PD for Townsquare Media’s Boise stations. Most recently, she’s been program director for Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle. The “Magic 97.9” air personality lineup so far features Adams in Mornings, Bret Connors in afternoons and Mike Kasper as morning news anchor. News in the morning, with more announcements to follow. Adams says, “I’m incredibly excited and blessed to start my new radio chapter back in a town I love and missed so much!”…..Cox Media Group adds Caitlin “CJ” Johnson as afternoon drive personality at country KKBQ, Houston, effective November 11. She takes over for Cactus Jack, who retired in August. Johnson was most recently afternoon drive host at CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville…..Entercom announces the continued expansion of the RADIO.COM original station CHANNEL Q. The company says, “To celebrate its one-year anniversary and National Coming Out Day, the premiere LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network will be available in a total of 32 markets nationwide, including four new markets in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland and St. Louis.”
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” Panel. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/19) post presents the discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session is moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. Posted yesterday (7/18): discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Aftershocks of Le Batard’s POTUS Bashing. Those “send her back” chants aimed at Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar at Wednesday’s Donald Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina were just too much for ESPN host Dan Le Batard to take. On yesterday’s show (Thursday, 7/18), Le Batard – whose parents are from Cuba – said what happened in North Carolina “felt un-American. It was deeply offensive to me as somebody whose parents have made all the sacrifices to get to this country.” Without specifically invoking the president’s name, Le Batard said, “You’ve had every privilege afforded to you, every privilege. And now, what you do with that power? You go after brown people and black people and minorities?” Opining that a racial division exists in this country, he commented, “It’s not the America my parents aimed to get for us, for exiles, for brown people.” Taking his own network as well as the president to task, Le Batard stated, the polarization is “being instigated by the president; we here at ESPN haven’t had the stomach for that fight. Around here, we won’t talk about it, unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram. Nobody talks politics on anything unless they use one of these sports figures as a meat shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects. We don’t talk about what is happening unless there’s some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through when sports has always been the place where this stuff changes.” Earlier today, the president denounced the “crazed media coverage” of his rally, wishing “the disgusting statements” progressive lawmakers make got as much attention. Meanwhile, an ESPN memo circulated today reminded employees about policies concerning talking “pure politics” on-air, basically saying “don’t do it.” Jemile Hill was suspended in 2017 for violating ESPN’s social media policy multiple times, including one instance where she called the president a “white supremacist.” Hill no longer works for ESPN but applauded Batard via Twitter today. Disciplinary action toward Le Batard is unclear. Today’s show began without him for the first hour – but – he later joined.
Houston’s KILT-AM Resets Lineup. As longtime afternoon host Rich Lord departs KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610,” the Entercom Houston outlet and radio flagship of the Houston Texans adjusts its on-air roster. Next Monday (7/22), co-host Sean Pendergrast segues to morning drive with Seth Payne. Taking over the 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm slot vacated by Lord and Pendergrast are KILT-AM weekly contributor/swing talent Clint Stoerner and Rick Kamla, who joins from similarly-formatted Atlanta sibling WZGC “92.9 The Game,” where he did middays. According to Entercom Houston senior vice president/market manager Sarah Frazier, “Rich did an incredible job for nearly two-and-a-half decades on [KILT-AM]. As one of the first announcers on Houston’s first sports talk station, he has played an instrumental role in building this heritage station and will always be an integral part of its legacy. We are thankful for his work ethic and contributions over the years and wish him the best. He will always be a treasured player of ‘Sports Radio 610.’” Regarding “Clint and Kamla” – the station’s new afternoon drive team – she states, “They are the perfect pair to bring informative and clear-cut opinions to the Houston listener. As a native Houstonian, Clint has a natural connection with the audience and a distinct delivery and southern charm. Rick brings to the station a national platform with instant recognition from his years at NBA TV. His passion for sports will be evident instantly. We are equally as excited to provide the Houston sports community with a revamped weekday lineup that they can connect with to and from work on a daily basis.” Lord comments, “My time at [KILT-AM] has been the most rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying experience of my professional life. I’ll forever be grateful to Dickie Rosenfeld for bringing me aboard in 1995. My time here has meant so much to me and my family that the biggest emotion that I feel right now is gratitude.” Born and raised in Houston, Stoerner maintains that, “Football is in my DNA. ‘Sports Radio 610′ is the king of Houston sports radio, so talking sports daily to my people in south Texas is a dream come true.” Kamla adds, “I am grateful for the opportunity to co-host afternoon drive with Clint and to be part of the new lineup on ‘Sports Radio 610.’ My family and I are very excited for this adventure in an amazing city.” KILT-AM’s adjusted on-air lineup is “Payne and Pendergast” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “In The Loop” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); “Clint and Kamla” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “Texans All Access” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “The Six-Pack with Matthew Jarecki” (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Matthew Jarecki (9:00 pm – 11:00 pm).
TALKERS News Notes. Heard guest-hosting on Westwood One’s 10:00 pm – 1:00 am “Jim Bohannon Show” last night (Thursday, 7/18) was Walter Sterling ….. At month’s end, Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting Casper (Wyoming) general manager/program director Kevin Barrett will leave the five-station cluster. Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting owner Jan Charles Gray remarks, “Kevin has done an outstanding job. He will continue to work with us as a consultant for our ten stations in Wyoming and South Dakota.” Barrett notes, “It has been a great experience and we’ve made a lot of progress. I’m most interested in returning to news/talk or sports talk as a program director or operations manager.” The company’s five Casper outlets are news/talk KVOC “AM 1230 – The Voice of Casper”; classic hits-oldies KMLD “Melody 94.5”; adult contemporary KHOC “Heart 102.5”; KQLT “103.7 Casper’s Original Country Station”; and KASS “Kick 107 The Rock Station.” Barrett joined Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting roughly ten months ago. His previous programming credits include KTRB, San Francisco; KTRS, St. Louis; KSEQ, Fresno; KABZ, Little Rock; KEEL, Shreveport (Louisiana); and KWXY, Palm Springs (California). Other Mt. Rushmore properties are located in Rawlins, Wyoming; Hot Springs, South Dakota; and Custer, South Dakota ….. Rob Carson filled in yesterday (Thursday, 7/18) on the 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm “Conservative Circus” on iHeartMedia Phoenix news/talk KFYI “News Talk 550” and is scheduled to do so again today (Friday, 7/19) ….. Owing to a just-announced partnership, Cadence13 has exclusive representative for motivational speaker, author, and “lifestyle influencer” Rachel Hollis’ Rise podcasts – “Rise” and “Rise Together.” In addition it will develop a Rise podcast network that will focus on personal growth, lifestyle, and wellness. Hollis – who wrote the best-selling “Girl, Wash Your Face” – comments, “I love being able to share my life experiences and what I’ve learned on my ever-evolving journey with listeners around the world. Joining a leading podcast company like Caence13 to help build and develop our network is incredibly exciting.” Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran contends, “Rachel Hollis is nothing less than a phenomenon. Rachel’s authenticity has inspired millions. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with her and support her vision.” The 36-year-old Hollis hosts the “Rise” interview series, and co-hosts “Rise Together” with her husband, Dave Hollis, who is chief executive officer of The Hollis Company.
KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute Set To Get Underway. Beginning next Monday (7/22), Kentucky Broadcasters Association president Chris Winkle will welcome students from five universities as the seventh annual “KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute” begins on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. “Winkle stresses, “We cannot stand on the sidelines wondering where the next generation of broadcasters will come from. We have to be proactive and intentional in our efforts to assist students on their journey into broadcasting, culminating with job placement.” Instant Sales Training’s Chris Lytle, who authored “The Accidental Salesperson” and “The Accidental Sales Manager,” takes on the opening session. Among those slated to lead sales and management panels are NAB executive vice president Steve Newberry; CapCity Communications Kentucky/Seven Mountains Media Pennsylvania chief executive officer Kristin Cantrell; Forever Communications Bowling Green president Christine Hillard; Forcht Broadcasting Somerset (Kentucky) president/chief executive officer Mike Tarter; Heritage Media Leitchfield (Kentucky) president/chief executive officer Mark Buckles; Commonwealth Communications Bowling Green chief operating officer Dale Thornhill; and Commonwealth Communications chief revenue officer/Swagger Institute president Derron Steenbergen. Next Friday (7/26), Alpha Media Louisville CHR WDJX “99.7 DJX – All the Hits” morning drive talents Ben Davis & Kelly K will broadcast from the institute with the students as the studio audience. Cromwell Radio Group Nashville president Bud Walters will do the closing session and the students will get certification as RAB radio marketing professionals.
New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Now Posted. The recently launched one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by TALKERS that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media, has been posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeart Media’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “Is the President a Racist?” looks back at the week of July 15-19, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center. The show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week in review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available to terrestrial news/talk stations on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and its complete archives), please click here.
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets.
West Palm Beach
Spoken-Word Formats – Continuing its positive run, iHeartMedia-owned WJNO is a collective +1.1 in four successive sweeps without a loss (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.1, 6+) and repeats at #9. This is the first time “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” reaches the three-share level (3.1, 6+) since December 2017’s 3.3. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for co-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk For The Palm Beaches” is: 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.0 (#12 to #13, 6+). It is part of a three-way #13 tie with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFTL, which regains 75% of May’s -.4 (1.7 – 2.0, +.3, #15 to #13, 6+); “News Talk 850” improved by eight-tenths in April. While flat at #22, iHeartMedia Miami news/talker WIOD “610 News Radio” picks up two-tenths (.6 to .8, 6+).
Co-owned sports talk WBZT “1230 The Zone” posted a .1 (6+) in August 2018 but has been a “no-show” in the subsequent 11 sweeps.
Returning the one-tenth it picked up in May (2.9 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+), Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN slips from eighth to tenth.
West Palm Beach Music Formats – In six straight upticks, iHeartMedia CHR WLDI “WiLD 95.5 The Palm Beaches’ #1 Hit Music Station” is +1.6 (2.5 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.9 – 4.1, fifth to fourth, 6+) and reaches the four-share level (4.1) for the first time since August 2018 (4.0). Not only does Spanish contemporary cluster-mate WRLX explode with a +1.2 (2.0 – 3.2, 6+), “Mia 92.1” vaults into the top ten (#13 to #8). This (3.2) more than doubles (+1.7) where WRLX was this time last year (1.5, 6+, June 2018). Albeit a combined -3.0 in its third successive decrease (11.2 – 9.0 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting hot AC WRMF is #1 the sixth month in a row. “Variety from the 90s and Now” logged a +2.0 in March to 11.2, its highest 6+-share since November 2017 (11.2, as well). This (8.2), however, is its lowest since “Holiday” 2017 (8.2, as well). Having faltered by -1.0 in January, WRMF was frozen on 9.2 (6+) in January and February. Urban AC sibling WMBX “X-102.3” sputters by nine-tenths in back-to-back sweeps (5.9 – 5.0 – 4.1, 6+) but remains in fourth-place. An April gain of six-tenths took WMBX to 5.9, its highest 6+-share since May 2018’s 6.2. Following three successive West Palm Beach increases for a collective +1.0 (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 2.4, 6+), iHeartMedia Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100” is down one-tenth to 2.3 (6+) and carries on at #11. Off a combined eight-tenths in May/June (2.7 – 2.5 – 1.9, 6+), WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF “WAY-FM Uplifting – Upbeat – Real” drifts from the top ten (#10 to #16). At the same time iHeartMedia-owned adult contemporary WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” substitutes May’s loss of one-tenth with a June increase of two-tenths (7.0 – 7.2, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEAT-FM “Sunny 107.9” is an overall -1.7 via three straight decreases (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.8 – 6.5, 6+). Whereas 7.2 is the best 6+-showing for “Kool” since July 2016’s 7.5, “Sunny” has its softest 6+-stat (6.5) since 5.0 in November 2018. The two AC rivals – WOLL and WEAT-FM – continue at second and third, respectively.
Spoken-Word Formats – Four successive down or flat trends by iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” account for a collective -1.2 (4.4 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2, #12 to #11, 6+). This immediately follows January/February’s +1.4 (3.0 – 4.3 – 4.4, 6+).
The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” is: .9 – .8 – .9 – .9 (#15 to #16, 6+),
Anchored at #13 for the 14th consecutive time, Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” answers April’s loss of seven-tenths (2.3 – 1.6, 6+) with back-to-back (May and June) increases of two-tenths (1.6 – 1.8 – 2.0, 6+). Repeating at #17, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC logs a .8 (6+) for the third time in the last four reports (.8 – .5 – .8 – .8, 6+).
Greensboro Music Formats – In addition to cracking the top ten (#11 to #9), iHeartMedia-owned rocker WVBZ nets +1.6 in three upticks in a row (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1, 6+) and “105.7 – Man Up” reaches the four-share level (6+) for the first time since November 2018 (4.0). Over and above recording a June improvement of one-half share (9.3 – 9.8, 6+), Entercom adult hits WSMW “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” marches from second to first. Its six most recent fluctuations are: +.9 (January); -.6 (February); +.9 (March); -1.6 (April); +1.1 (May); and +.5 (June). Prior to its March-only stay at #1, WSMW last reached #1 in August 2016 when it logged a 10.5 (6+). In tandem with “Simon” picking up one-half share and shifting from second to first, co-owned urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” falters by one-half share (9.8 – 9.3, 6+) and segues from first to second. An April increase of six-tenths pulled the plug on five straight declines that resulted in a -2.3 (11.4 – 10.8 – 10.3 – 9.9 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+). On top in January and February, WQMG’s consecutive streak of reaching double-digits (6+) was snapped at 26 in January. Replicating May’s loss of seven-tenths (4.6 – 3.9 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM” departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Heading into the May sweep, “Kiss” was a collective +1.8 via four consecutive upticks (2.8 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 4.6, 6+). In April (2019), it reached the four-share level (4.6, 6+) for the first time since April 2018’s 4.1. Within 5.1 – 5.7 range the fifth straight report (5.7 – 5.4 – 5.2 – 5.3 – 5.1, 6+), Dick Broadcasting’s WKZL “107.5 The #1 Hit Music Station” slips from seventh to eighth. Deadlocked in sixth place are Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” (flat at 5.3, seventh to sixth, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” (5.7 – 5.3, -.4, unchanged at #6, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase, WTQR was a cumulative -1.0 (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, 6+), but erased 70% of that deficit in May with a +.7 to 5.7 (6+). Flat in March, “Q-104.1” cancelled out January’s +.7 with a February -.7 (5.3 – 6.0 – 5.3, 6+). Before dropping two-tenths in March, “The Wolf” had three consecutive shifts of one-half share: -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.5 (February). Over the course of the last 14 sweeps (June 2018 through June 2019), WTQR has prevailed over WPAW nine times (June 2018, July, August, September, October, November, “Holiday” 2018, January 2019, and May); WPAW has come out on top four times (December 2018, February 2019, March, and April; and the two are tied in June 2019 (5.3, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Even though iHeartMedia news/talk WREC picks up one-tenth to 4.2 (6+), “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” backslides from eighth to ninth.
In five straight reports without an increase, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has lost six-tenths (4.0 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+), yet climbs from #12 to #11. Its internet stream appeared with a .1 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2018; disappeared from print in January and February; but logs a .1 (6+) for the fourth straight time (flat at #18, 6+). It is again tied (at #18) with co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790,” which is without an increase the 12th straight time (including ten consecutive .1 showings) for a collective loss of three-tenths (.4 – .4 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 -.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+).
Memphis Music Formats – Five straight upticks by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WHRK, including June’s +1.0, result in a +2.7 (6.8 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.7 – 8.5 – 9.5, 6+) as “K-97.1” advances from third to second. In addition, WHRK reaches the nine-share level (9.5, 6+) for the first time since May 2018’s 9.4. Logging its fourth consecutive increase, gospel cluster-mate WHAL “Hallelujah 95.7 – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” nets +1.6 (5.8 – 6.4 – 7.0 – 7.1 – 7.4, steady at #4, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.4) since August 2015’s 7.5. Three streaks are in-play at co-owned urban AC KJMS. On the plus side, it is #1 the eighth time in a row. A loss of six-tenths though means “V-101” is down or flat the fourth straight time for a collective -1.8 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+). Prior to June’s 9.8 (6+), KJMS reached double-digits (6+) in each of the last 14 ratings periods. “Holiday” 2018’s 12.8 is the highest 6+-share since December 2012’s 13.5 for “V-101,” which was +2.3 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (10.5 – 11.5 – 12.8, 6+). Suffering a May 2019 – June 2019 (6+) erosion twice that of “V-101” is Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO “103.5 The Best Mix of R&B” (8.7 – 7.5, -1.2, second to third, 6+). The last time WRBO (7.5) fell below an eight-share (6+) was February 2018’s 7.7. While unchanged at #6, iHeartMedia classic rock WEGR “Rock 102.7,” whose consecutive trio of improvements yielded nine-tenths (4.3 – 4.4 – 4.6 – 5.2, 6+), forfeits three-tenths to 4.9 (6+). Also in that iHeartMedia cluster, WDIA “AM 1070 – The Heart & Soul of Memphis” is -2.1 in five successive setbacks (5.3 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.2, #12 to #13, 6+). The market’s (6+) adult contemporary share improves by two-tenths, equally divided between Entercom’s WRVR “104.5 The River” (6.5 – 6.6, +.1, steady at #5, 6+) and Cumulus Media’s WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (.9 – 1.0, +.1, unchanged at #16, 6+). “The River” had been an overall -2.4 in three straight declines (8.9 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+) and while “Holiday” 2018’s 11.3 is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 (#6), May’s 6.5 is its lowest since June 2017’s 6.0. Seven recent WRVR fluctuations include: +2.4 (October 2018); -1.6 (December); +2.0 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.1 (January 2019); +.7 (February); -1.1 (March); and -1.2 (May). Meanwhile, “The Bridge” squandered nearly half (-.7) its 6+ AQH-share in April/May (1.6 – 1.1 – .9, 6+) and had its lowest 6+-stat (.9, May 2019) since transitioning from urban-rhythmic oldies to AC in late-2017. “The Bridge” reached the five-share level (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, but was a combined -4.0 in January/February (5.1 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Trending 7.3 – 7.6 – 7.3 – 7.4 (March 2019 through June 2019, 6+), Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” inches up from third to second. By gaining two-tenths to 1.0 (6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM pulls the plug on four consecutive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a one-half share loss (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .8, 6+). “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” finished at #14 in January, February, and March, and then #15 in April, May, and June. In a true mark of consistency, iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410” logs a .1 (#19 to #17, 6+) the 13th report in a row; it was a “no-show” in June 2018.
Stuck on 1.8 (6+) in March and April, iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” follows with a combined May/June loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5, flat at #12, 6+).
A collective -1.1 in three straight drops (5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” remains at #9. Returning 80% of April/May’s +.5 (1.6 – 1.2, -.4, 6+), University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” slips from #12 to #13.
Hartford Music Formats – Vaulting from eighth to third, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WHCN “105.9 The River” is a combined +1.9 in May/June (5.3 – 5.7 – 7.2, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.2) since May 2018’s 7.7. Three straight negative trends by CHR sibling WKSS produced a loss of eight-tenths (6.9 – 6.8 – 6.2 – 6.1, 6+), but “Kiss 95.7” erases that deficit completely with a combined May/June gain of eight-tenths (6.1 – 6.3 – 6.9, sixth to fourth, 6+). Having surrendered -1.9 via three drops in a row (7.9 – 6.6 – 6.5 – 6.0, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX “Hot 93.7” ends the slide by gaining one-tenth to 6.1 (seventh to eighth, 6+). The just-concluded streak directly followed January/February’s +1.1 (6.8 – 7.7 – 7.9, 6+). On top the 36th consecutive time, adult contemporary sibling WRCH falters by four-tenths (10.8 – 10.4, 6+). Recent “Lite 100.5” fluctuations include: -.8 (November 2018); +1.8 (December); +5.6 (“Holiday” 2018 to 18.0, the strongest 6+-showing for any Hartford station since WRCH recorded an 18.3 in “Holiday” 2017); -6.9 (January); +1.0 (February; -1.0 (March); -1.3 (April); and +1.0 (May). Prior to slipping to 9.8 in April, WRCH was in double-digits (6+) in 30 of the previous 32 sweeps. Hot AC cluster-mate WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC-FM,” which was up nine-tenths in April, erodes by a combined -2.0 in May/June (8.5 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+), dipping from second to sixth. This is the fifth straight time that Red Wolf Broadcasting alternative WMRQ “Radio 104.1” is without an increase for a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.4, ninth to tenth, 6+). Segueing from fourth to fifth, iHeartMedia-owned WWYZ “Country 92.5” is a cumulative -1.0 in five consecutive negative or neutral reports (7.7 – 7.0 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 6.8 – 6.7, 6+). After three straight increases yielded a +1.1 (5.3 – 5.4 – 6.0 – 6.4, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale – Connecticut’s Classic Rock” slips by one-tenth to 6.3 (fifth to seventh, 6+).
Meruelo Media Los Angeles’ KXOS Becomes “Cali 93.9.” Exactly as Meruelo Media president Otto Padron foreshadowed in this space yesterday (Thursday, 7/18), changes would be forthcoming at newly-acquired Los Angeles property, regional Mexican KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9.” With a bi-lingual presentation, speculation became reality yesterday at frequency-related 9:39 am when KXOS transitioned to Latin urban “Cali 93.9 – #1 for Reggaeton and More.” Padron promises that “Cali 93.9” will be “the most Caliente station in Cali – not just because the music transcends language as it has exploded into mainstream popularity, but because we will place this format on one of the most powerful radio signals in Los Angeles.” Interim program director DJ E-Man notes that “Cali 93.9” will feature “the best up-tempo hit music by today’s Latin superstars [such as] Cardi B, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Maluma. These artists are mass appeal; ‘Cali 93.9’ is the sound of Southern Cali.” General manager of Meruelo Media Los Angeles’ KWHY-TV, Irma Barrios, adds similar “Cali 93.9” duties, while the company’s vice president of marketing, Dianna Jason, takes over “Cali 93.9” marketing responsibilities. Air talent and other department heads will be named shortly and the station will switch call letters from KXOS to KLLI. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 report for Los Angeles, KXOS picks up three-tenths (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The program director/brand manager for KVGS “Star 107.9” and KOAS “Jammin’ 105.7 – Kris Fisher – exits the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas hot AC and urban AC stations ….. The next installment of Country Radio Broadcasters’ CRS360 webinar series will be next Thursday (7/25) at 12:00 noon. The episode is “Country Radio 2019: Mid-Year Ratings and State of The Format Report,” and will feature KILT-FM, Houston program director Chris Huff and KNCI, Sacramento program director Joey Tack. Senior vice president of promotion for MCA Nashville, Katie Dean, will be the moderator. CRS executive director RJ Curtis notes that this episode will examine “national shares in key demos, comparing PPM and diary-measured markets, and highlight success stories in certain markets, and, at specific stations. The July session will include a broader ‘state of the format’ discussion, with a goal of identifying potentially strong music trends, emerging artists, and how country radio can better compete with other platforms exposing country music. The purpose of our monthly CRS360 webinar is to provide valuable, timely information and actionable takeaways which help our constituents better serve their respective communities, and broaden the appeal of country music.” Viewing CRS360 is free, but those interested should pre-register ….Former one-year morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5,” Ali Mac, arrives for morning drive duty on Cox Media Group Jacksonville adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 102.9.” WEZI operations manager/program director Todd Shannon notes that Mac is “an amazing talent with so much energy, passion and enthusiasm.” She had been part of the “Kicks” wakeup show with Cadillac Jack before exiting this past January ….. Recent University of Illinois graduate Gavin Granstrom joins contemporary Christian WAY Media as producer/digital media specialist on “The Wally Show.” He replaces Zach Boehm, who was promoted to director/digital content. According to network program director Todd Stach, “Gavin has lived up to everything we saw and loved about him in the interview process. He’s a great culture fit and I can’t wait to see him grow in his role.” Host of WAY-FM’s “The Wally Show,” “Wally,” notes, “It isn’t easy to replace Zach’s 12 years of history, experience, and chemistry; however, Gavin has a great attitude and a servant’s heart. He understands professional excellence and strives for that. He also understands the importance of kindness and treating people well, which are skills you cannot teach.” Granstrom comments, “It’s such an honor to join and serve alongside this incredibly talented team. I’m so thankful to have an opportunity to share life with WAY-FM listeners, and I can’t wait to be part of how God continues to work through the ministry.”
Cumulus Makes $115 Million Term Loan Prepayment. In a statement, Cumulus Media announces that it has made a $115 million on its first lien senior secured term loan. It adds that in the year since emerging from bankruptcy, it has reduced its total outstanding debt by $200 million and bringing net leverage down from approximately 5.8x at emergence to approximately 4.8x with this payment. Cumulus made the debt prepayment with proceeds from sale of six radio stations to Educational Media Foundation that brought in $103.5 million in cash. Cumulus is also agreeing to sell KLOS-FM, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media for $43 million and plans to use those net proceeds to pay down more debt. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In our ongoing efforts to strengthen the business, Cumulus has been relentlessly focused on executing our key strategic priorities and meeting our financial objectives. The milestone we achieved today — $200 million of debt reduction in the first year since we emerged from Chapter 11 — resulted from those efforts and is another example of the progress we continue to make in implementing our business plan. I would like to thank the entire Cumulus team for the hard work and dedication which have produced such a tremendous record of achievement over the past year, and I have every confidence that, together, we will be able to further improve our financial position and continue to deliver on the goals we have laid out for the business.”
PPM Analysis: Internet Streams. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the internet stream ratings from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey. In this report, Kinosian ranks stations based on streaming listening – iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles ties with Entercom’s rock KISW, Seattle at the top with a 0.7 (weekly, 6+ AQH share). He also breaks down streaming listening by format (sports talk comes out on top in the PPM markets) and by market. See him entire report here.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former WLS-AM, Chicago personality Garry Meierwill be doing some sub work on the Cumulus Media news/talk station. Meier was on WLS-AM with then-partner Steve Dahl during the early 1980s and again with former partner Roe Conn from 1995 to 2004. He’ll sit in with current WLS-AM morning host Mancow Muller on June 21 and them fill in for him during the week of June 24…..In Houston, sports talk media personality Paul Gallant announces via social media that he’s exited Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” where he was most recently co-host of the “Mad Radio” morning show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne. Gallant had been working without a contract since the beginning of the year. He continues to co-host the weekly, Friday night “Just Sayin” television program with Patti Smith and John Granato on KUBE-TV…..New York sports talk radio host Tony Paige – overnight personality on Entercom’s WFAN – announced to his listeners that he’ll retire from the station on September 14. He’s been with WFAN for the past 16 years. He told his listeners that his health is fine, he just thinks it’s time…..KGO, San Francisco afternoon drive host Chip Franklin riled up FOX News Channel host Leland Vittert during a recent appearance on the cable news channel. Franklin held up a photo (pictured at right) of John McCain, causing Vittert to ask him why he was doing it. Franklin told him, “In the off-chance the president’s watching. Real heroes out there, Pete Buttigieg, others that have served this country, just a thought.”
TALKERS Convention Set for This Friday in New York City. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running and most important convention in the talk media industry (radio, television, satellite, internet) – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – is set for this Friday, June 7 in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater. More than 67 speakers will address the hottest issues, challenges and opportunities facing talk radio and its related media and business communities before a sold-out crowd of media professionals. TALKERS will provide on demand video coverage of the key sessions of this colorful event shortly after it takes place for those who have been locked out due to on-site space limitations. For the latest agenda and information about this historic convention, please click here.
Trump in England, Trade Wars with China and Mexico, 2020 Presidential Race, Impeachment Talk, Big Tech Anti-Trust Investigation, Parkland Deputy Charged, Red Meat/White Meat Controversy, and Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Run Ends Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The official state visit to the U.K. by President Trump; the tariffs the U.S. is placing on Chinese exports and threatening to put on Mexican exports; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Democrats increasing talk of impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into possible Big Tech anti-trust activity; former Parkland, Florida deputy Scot Peterson is charged with failing to protect the students at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School; the new report equating white meat and red meat in high cholesterol potential; and James Holzhauer’s improbable “Jeopardy!” run ends were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Iconic LA Jock Humble Harve Dies at 84. Legendary radio personality and Boss Radio jock Humble Harve, a.k.a. Harvey Miller, died at his home in Camarillo, California yesterday (6/4) at the age of 84. The Philadelphia native arrived in Southern California in the mid-1960s as PD and air personality at KBLA. He worked at KHJ-FM, Los Angele from 1967 to 1971. Read more at Don Barrett’s LARadio.com here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Raleigh-Durham market, Curtis Media Group drops the classic country on WQDR-HD3/W225DF and launches a new hot AC format branded as “STAR 92.9.” The station will feature the Charlotte-based “Bob & Sheri” show in morning drive. Curtis general manager Terry Ratliff says, “Our success with our top 40 station, ‘Pulse FM 96.9/102.5,’ led us to launch the new ‘STAR 92.9.’ It gives us the opportunity to go beyond today’s hits to play a deeper library of superstars. We are also very excited to welcome Bob and Sheri to the Triangle. They have a proven track record in other North Carolina markets, and we look forward to introducing them to the Triangle on ‘STAR 92.9.’”…..Jason “Budman” Paige is the new co-host and executive morning show producer for the “Big Mama and the Wild Bunch Show” Beasley Media Group’s CHR WXKB-FM, Cape Coral, Florida (Ft. Myers/Naples market). Beasley SWFL operations manager Adam Star says, “‘Budman’ is a game changer. He has so many different unique skillsets to bring to the table. We are ecstatic to have him on the ‘Big Mama and the Wild Bunch’ team.”…..Adams Radio names Lisa Layne vice president and market manager for its Salisbury/Ocean City, Maryland group that includes rock WZBH “The Beach,” CHR WOCQ “OC 104,” classic rock WGBG “Big 107.7,” country WUSX, and classic hits WOCQ-HD2/W282AW “KOOL FM.” She says, “I am so excited for this next chapter of my radio career. I’m confident that as the new leader for Adams Radio Delmarva we will grow our brands and get even better results for our clients. I look forward to serving the community and building a legacy we all at Adams Radio can be proud of.”