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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

| November 4, 2020

POST-ELECTION DAY UNCERTAINTY: News/Talk Media Braces for Even Further Polarization.  As indicated yesterday in TALKERS, news/talk media programmers and on-air hosts are contemplating what life will be like after the election (see story below), weighing the impact various potential scenarios will have upon their positioning and preparing themselves for inevitable changes in the political landscape. In this era of targeting audiences based on their political predisposition, or what TALKERS founder Michael Harrison yesterday (11/3) described as “the daily dance of affirmation,” the results of this election could have a profound impact on the ideological stances of talk show hosts going forward. Now, a day later, at the time of the posting of this item, the final result of the election is still undetermined as the nation awaits accurate counts in several battleground states. Harrison, notes, “We now know one extremely important thing that wasn’t certain yesterday – there will be no blow out.  There will be no so-called blue or red wave.  There will be no clear-cut confirmation of a basic direction agreed upon by an obvious majority of Americans. That means more, not less, polarization and the further intensification of fear, anger, and political tribalism. One of the greatest obstacles to creating viable objective journalism and social healing in such an environment is the prevailing attitude, ‘if you are not with us, you are against us.’”

Saga Communications Q3 Revenue Rises Dramatically from Q2; Still Down 26% from Q3 in 2019. Reporting on its revenue for the third quarter of 2020, Saga Communications says, “Third quarter revenue and related net income continue to be materially impacted by disruptions to businesses and service providers activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the net revenue low point in April the company’s revenue has significantly increased in each of the following months. The company continues to concentrate on new revenue strategies and enhanced engagement with its existing and new advertisers.” Saga’s net revenue for Q3 2020 was $24.1 million, a 43.1% increase over Q2 of 2020 but 26% lower than the $31.3 million reported in Q3 of 2019. Station operating income was $6.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 42% from the same period in 2019. Station operating expense decreased $4 million to $19.6 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Operating income was $247,000 and Saga took a net loss of $950,000 for the quarter, compared to the gain of $3,3 million it reported in the third quarter of 2019. Among the publicly traded U.S. radio companies, Saga Communications is positioned well going forward as it has $49.8 million in cash on hand as of November 2, 2020. Its total bank debt is just $10 million as of the end of the quarter.

Country WCOL-FM, Columbus PM Jock Brandon Boxer Doubles Up to Host Mornings on News/Talk WTVN-AM. Columbus Business First reports that iHeartMedia has filled the morning show host role at news/talk WTVN-AM, Columbus with Brandon Boxer, currently the afternoon host and assistant program director at sister country station WCOL-FM. Boxer replaces Joel Riley, who along with producer Tom Schmid were laid off in this latest round of staff culling at the company. Boxer will continue in his roles with WCOL. He tweeted on Monday: “Today was a tough one for some of my colleagues & very sad. I feel very weird announcing this, but tomorrow I begin a new journey hosting mornings on [610 WTVN]. It’s extremely bittersweet & I’m scared to death, but here we go.”

Jason Lewis Comes Up Short in U.S. Senate Race. Former Minneapolis talk radio host Jason Lewis (also a former GOP congressman from Minnesota) was unsuccessful in his bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Tina Smith. She won the special election to fill the seat vacated by Al Franken in 2017 and was running against Lewis for her first full, six-year term. Lewis began his talk radio career as a weekend host on KOA-AM, Denver. He worked in the Twin Cities market as a talk host at KSTP and KTLK. His talk show was eventually syndicated by Premiere Networks and Genesis Communications Network. He’d also served as a talk host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. The transition from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey was good for sports talk radio as 65% of sports talk stations were up (6+ weekly AQH share) compared to the 18% that were down and the 17% that were flat. Gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN-FM, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+2.9); Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” (+2.4); and Cumulus’ KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” (+2.1). However, a look at year-over-year numbers gives us a look at just how far many sports talk stations fell due to the COVID-related shutdown of live sports as 72% of sports talk stations in PPM markets were down compared to the October 2019 survey and just 22% improved. Those stations showing growth were led by KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas (+2.3); KFXN-FM, Minneapolis (+1.4); and Cumulus’ KNBR, San Francisco (+0.9). KFXN-FM was the only sports talk outlet to rank #1 in its market during the October 2020 PPM survey. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Election Day, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Economy & Financial Markets Activity, State Marijuana Votes/Oregon Decriminalizes Hard Drugs, IS-Inspired Terror Attacks, and China Halts Ant Group IPO Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as the races for U.S. Senate and U.S. Rep seats; the U.S. economy and the election day activity in the world’s financial markets; several states vote to legalize marijuana and Oregon decriminalizes small amounts of hard drugs; the Islamic State-inspired terror attacks France, Vienna, and Kabul; and the Chinese government stops the IPO of Jack Ma’s Ant Group were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit radio personality Mark “Meltdown” Milligan is celebrating his 25thanniversary at Beasley Media Group’s rock WRIF-FM. “Meltdown” began his career with the station on November 1, 1995 as the overnight jock. He later moved to the evening show host role and in February of 2009, he replaced Detroit legend Arthur Penhallow as the afternoon drive personality. Beasley Media Group Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson says, “One of the reasons legendary brands become ‘legendary’ are personalities that over time, develop a true connection and deep bond with the audience. In the nearly 50-year history of WRIF there have been two afternoon drive jocks. ‘Meltdown’ continues the rich legacy of outstanding air talent on WRIF. Congratulations on your 25th!”…..Service Broadcasting Group is looking for a high-profile entertainer to join the cast of the KKDA, Dallas “K104”-based “DeDe in the Morning” show that is nationally syndicated via Compass Media Networks. Service Broadcasting Group head of content George “Geo” Cook and #TeamDeDe are launching a national talent search for an entertainer, influencer, and storyteller who can collaborate with host DeDe McGuire and lead co-host Lady Jade to add their own authentic personality and powerful point of view to “DeDe in the Morning.” Email your video expressing why you are our next big star, along with your resume package, including an audio demo (aircheck), social media links, and podcast audio clips to SBG HR manager Debbie Henry at debbie.henry@K104fm.com. EOE.

Monday, August 17, 2020

| August 17, 2020

Monday Memo: Emulate Success. Talkers of all sorts – music DJs, talk hosts, podcasters – are fighting for attention, now more than ever, in what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison calls “today’s sped-up world.”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists success prescriptions from industry icons. Read it here.

USPS Controversy/Mail-In Voting, Presidential Election/Kamala Harris Choice, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, Portland Protests/Urban Violence, WAP Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The funding issues facing the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud; the November presidential election and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools this fall; the ongoing protests in Portland and rise in violent crime in a number of U.S. cities; and the controversy over the Cardi B song “WAP” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: In the Market for a Test Drive. A personality endorsement campaign is a commitment on both sides – the client’s and the talent’s and AE’s. What happens when a prospect responds with the desire to “try it for a month?” Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about tying the length of time it takes to get a consumer through the purchase process to the minimum term required for an endorsement campaign featuring one of your talk personalities. Read it here.

WQAM, Miami Re-Vamps Daily Program Schedule. South Florida sports talker WQAM “560 The Joe” announces it’s tweaking its daily lineup, adding ESPN Radio’s “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart and is expanding the afternoon drive “Hochman and Crowder” show – hosted by Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder – to 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “With the return of live sports, we aim to give sports fans of South Florida a home for both national headlines and premier coverage of their favorite teams. As he returns to radio, Mike Greenberg is a nationally recognized and trusted voice and we’re delighted to add his show to our already impressive lineup of weekday programming.”

John Fredericks Radio Network Announces New Virginia Digital News Operation. In conjunction with Star News Digital Media, the Virginia based John Fredericks Radio Network is launching The Virginia Star – a new, digital news operation that begins publishing today. John Fredericks is host of the network’s morning drive program and he’s also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of the news operation. He says, “We are very excited about this new venture: real news in real time. The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section. Like on my radio show, we encourage all voices.” Star executives say they have hired three local, full-time reporters and have contracted with several more on a part-time basis. Fredericks adds, “We are going to cover the stories important to our readers that the fake news refuses to do simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative. At The Virginia Star, we have our own narrative, it’s called the truth.” Star News Digital Media CEO Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Virginia Star now becomes the fifth state-based news site in the Star News Network, joining The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and The Michigan Star.” Star News Digital Media chief technology officer Christina Botteri adds, “The Virginia Star is the first affiliate of the Star News Network. We own and operate our four other news sites. We searched the country to find the right organization with the reputation and experience to work with in a fifth state, and the John Fredericks Radio Network in Virginia was hands down the right choice for us. Together with John, our crackerjack team of on-the-ground reporters, and the great people of Virginia, we will change the face of news in the Commonwealth.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As sports leagues begin returning to live play-by-play, America’s sports talk stations are hoping it will translate into improved ratings. During the July 2020 survey, Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” was the big gainer, adding seven-tenths to post a 3.6 share. Right behind was Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco tacking on six-tenths for a 2.5 share finish. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, the top gainer is iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN,” which posts a seven-tenths gain for a 5.0 share. No sports talk station ranked #1 in its market in July – not even close. However, three stations – Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; WBNS-FM, Columbus; and KXFN-FM, Minneapolis – tied for ranking #8 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. This month, Premiere Networks is celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere says that it and FOX Sports “have enjoyed a long partnership that kicked off in 2000 with the goal of producing a home for industry-leading talent focused on delivering entertaining, informed and thought-provoking programming for sports fans. FOX Sports Radio launched in August of that year, and the network’s storied 20-year run has developed a loyal following of more than 14 million listeners across more than 500 affiliates nationwide with an unmatched weekday lineup featuring some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller.” Premiere SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “What an amazing accomplishment – 20 years! I’ve been fortunate to be part of the FSR family for the entire run, both as an affiliate and on the management team.”…..San Diego is getting its first taste of “The Mightier 1090” today (8/17) as the Bill Hagen-led station begins operating. XEPRS-AM had been a sports talker as “The Mighty 1090” operated by Broadcast Corporation of the Americas but that organization lost its lease on the Mexican blowtorch last year. Now, ad exec Hagen is re-imagining the station. Times of San Diego reports that former XEPRS sports talk host Scott Kaplan is hosting afternoon drive. The rest of the schedule is: SportsGrid’s “The Morning After” with Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith in morning drive, Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, two programs hosted by Scott Ferrall, and Tony Bruno in evenings…..ESPN Radio announces that effective today (8/17), personalities Dan LeBatard and Stugotz are presenting new daily podcast-exclusive content. A new digital-only episode will be recorded and posted before their 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET national radio show.  Following the radio program, LeBatard and Stugotz will record more thoughts and ramblings as a digital-only “post-game show.” In addition, each hour of the radio show – as well as their local hour heard in Miami – will continue to be available as podcasts. ESPN Audio VP, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks says, “Dan and Stugotz already have a large digital-only audience, and we wanted to better serve that audience with exclusive podcast content. They are a unique show on sports radio and now their podcast listeners will get more unique podcast content each day.”

Michael Harrison Joins Gunhill Road with New Song About Life During Pandemic.  Here they come again! Gunhill Road, the legendary album rock band that was a cult favorite of FM radio in the early 70s and then scored a Top 40 AM radio one-off smash in 1973 with “Back When My Hair Was Short” has returned in 2020 with a reworked version of the classic hit. This time the catchy tune has new lyrics that address the coronavirus with a lovingly humorous take on the sacrifices society is making to contain it. Rock enthusiasts might recall that Gunhill Road reunited in 2014 to a packed house at New York’s Bitter End and a brand new double album titled, “Every 40 Years,” which became the subject of a feature film documentary. The long-running ensemble which consists of original members Glenn LeopoldSteve Goldrich, and Paul Reich and new members musician/arranger Brian Koonin and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has a new set of songs ready to drop in early 2021. Among the new songs is one co-written and performed by Harrison that addresses the issue of animal welfare. To check out the new “Back When We Used to Hug” video, please click here.

Newsmax TV Adds ‘Stinchfield’ to Nightly Lineup. Four-time Emmy-winning journalist Grant Stinchfield is joining the evening lineup at Newsmax TV, beginning tomorrow (8/18) at 8:00 pm ET. Newsmax says “Stinchfield” is “a full hour of the day’s top news and provocative conversation.” Stinchfield says, “I’m thrilled to be at Newsmax TV. Each night, our viewers can look forward to a compelling mix of up-to-the-second news and compelling discussions with newsmakers and Newsmax TV’s great roster of contributors.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Grant has an impeccable track record in broadcast journalism with the awards to prove it. He will bring our viewers solid news reports with the insight they can’t find elsewhere.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Albany, New York station group, country WGNA brand manager Matty Jeff is promoted to director of content for the cluster that also includes alternative WQSH, rock WQBK, adult contemporary WPBZ, hip hop WQBK-HD2/W256BU, and sports talk WTMM-FM. Townsquare Albany market president Kevin Rich says, “Matty has programmed WGNA to be a consistent local ratings and online leader and by far the #1 country station in the Capital Region. Having him as my partner in the director of content role will make our locally programmed stations even stronger.”…..Country radio air personality Jessica Cash announces she’s leaving Alpha Media’s WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia at the end of this week. She says, “Fourteen years is a long time for someone in our profession to be in one place. I’ve had the good fortune to do that, to hopefully get your day started with a smile. But, now it’s time for me to make a change in my life.” Cash co-hosts the morning drive show with Steve Waters. The duo has won honors over the years, including CMA’s Small Market Morning Show in 2018 and the ACM Small Market Personality in 2019. The station is searching for her replacement…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime South Florida radio personality Sonny Fox, who passed away on Friday (8/14) in Dunnellon, Florida after an illness at age 73. An obit in the Miami Herald notes that Fox worked at former rock outlet WSHE (now hip hop WMIB), CHR WHYI, oldies WMXJ, and country WKIS.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

| August 4, 2020

Beasley Reports Q2 Net Revenue Down 53.7%. The second major radio group to report its second quarter 2020 financial numbers (Urban One reported last week) is Beasley Broadcast Group and the company says that net revenue was $30.4 million – a decrease of 53.7% from the same period in 2019. It reports an operating loss of $17.6 million, compared to Q2 2019’s operating income of $10.7 million, and a net loss of $18.2 million, compared to Q2 2019’s net income of $4.3 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “While Beasley had a strong start to the year, a sharp decline in commercial advertising occurred in the second quarter with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley’s financial results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2020 reflect the economic pressures we experienced across our business as local and national advertisers adapted their media plans to meet the unique challenges of the pandemic. While we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our commercial advertising revenue performance from April to May, and from May to June, our total net revenues for the second quarter decreased nearly 54%, which is in line with reported overall industry levels. To address the reduction in traditional advertising revenue that has occurred as a result of the pandemic, during the second quarter, we quickly implemented several changes across the company, including reducing operating expenses and corporate overhead and realigning our company-wide cost structure to preserve cash. As a result, Beasley’s second quarter total operating expenses declined by 12.7%, and year-to-date, we have taken approximately $26 million out of our cost structure. In addition to these actions, as part of our response, we have taken proactive steps to accelerate our digital transformation initiatives and revenue diversification strategies, and to become a leaner and more efficient organization, with the goal of growing our market leadership position across our stations, our digital operations, and our esports interests.  We believe these steps will allow us to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger company. In addition, during the second quarter, Beasley entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under our credit agreement to support our liquidity and capital structure as we manage the business through the pandemic.”

Round One of July PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Both of Entercom’s New York all-news outlets lose ground. WINS dips four-tenths to a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market and WCBS-AM is off six-tenths and finishes ranked #14. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI gains three-tenths to finish the July 2020 survey with a 4.7 share and the #2 rank. Entercom’s Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds one-tenth for a 7.0 share and finishes at #1 for the sixth straight survey. Across town, Nexstar’s WGN-AM drops eight-tenths to a 3.3 share and ranks #9 in the market. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds two-tenths for a 10.6 share and takes the #1 rank for the 13th straight survey. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Former KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Dies at 74. Bay Area sports talk radio legend Ralph Barbieri died on Monday (8/3) at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The San Jose Mercury News reports his passing at his home in Novato, California. Barbieri – dubbed “The Razor” for his raspy voice – worked with Tom Tolbert in afternoons as “The Razor and Mr. T” for 15 of the 28 years he served with KNBR, San Francisco. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 and kept it to himself until 2011. He was let go by Cumulus Media in 2012 and sued the company complaining that he was fired because of his age and his health condition. The suit was later settled confidentially.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Debate, Stimulus Package, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM/Portland Protests, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, Manhattan DA’s Trump Investigation, Isaias/Apple Fire, and Pro Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, projections for future cases, and the ongoing debate over wearing masks in public; the status of the GOP-crafted stimulus bill; the November presidential election and today’s primary races in five states; the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing clashes in Portland; the battle over the app TikTok and the potential sale to Microsoft; the Manhattan DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization; Tropical Storm Isaias makes landfall and Southern California’s Apple Fire; and U.S. pro sports leagues navigate positive COVID-19 tests from players and coaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that ESPN’s NYC O&O WEPN-FM’s new program schedule will include the first three hours of the ESPN Radio morning drive show “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” starring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. The local show hosted by Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty, and Dave Rothenberg moves to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, followed by the local Bart Scott and Alan Hahn show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. WEPN will air the second hour of Mike Greenberg’s network show, “Greeny,” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and the first hour of the network’s Max Kellerman show from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The Michael Kay show remains from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Chris Carlin continues hosting the evening show…..FOX Sports Radio is launching a new iHeartRadio original daily podcast called, “Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre” on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast features FSR weekend host and FS1 contributor Jason McIntyre “providing bold opinions on the biggest stories in sports, including the day’s major sports betting topics.” McIntyre says, “I’m beyond thrilled to have this podcast opportunity. I can’t wait to bring my unique enthusiasm and passion to the platform at a time when America’s appetite for sports is at an all-time high.”…..Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville “ESPN 690” – via rightsholder Learfield IMG College – solidifies its place as the official Jacksonville station for Florida State University sports play-by-play. The new deal means “ESPN 690” will broadcast live all football and men’s basketball games for the upcoming 2020-21 athletics season…..Entercom’s Cadence13 unveils an exclusive podcast partnership with veteran NBA star JJ Redick and his new podcast company ThreeFourTwo Productions that will launch his new show, “The Old Man & the Three,” from the NBA bubble in Orlando. The weekly show is being co-hosted by writer and producer Tommy Alter…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces that his program is now a weekly show and is being aired on new affiliate WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania…..iHeartMedia is working with FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures, and UpperRoom Productions to produce the original, 10-part sci-fi podcast “There Be Monsters” that will be available on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast stars John Boyega and Darren Criss. Boyega plays Jack Locke, the mysterious hero with a vendetta who infiltrates a Silicon Valley body-hacking startup run by an enigmatic CEO Max Fuller, played by Criss, whose highly secretive creations promise to enhance human biology in incredible ways – but every drug has a side effect…..SiriusXM announces it is airing comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the 2020 PGA Championship, taking place August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. It will be golf’s first major championship played in 2020 due to schedule adjustments made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and SiriusXM will bring listeners inside the ropes with a team of broadcasters calling the action both from remote studio locations and on site at TPC Harding Park.

Entercom Partners with Vewd to Expand Smart TV Footprint. The digital platform RADIO.COM is expanding in the smart TV sphere as Entercom enters into a relationship with smart TV OTT software provider Vewd. Entercom says that as part of the partnership, “tens of millions of smart televisions, including Sony, Philips and Hisense, will have access to RADIO.COM, the exclusive digital home for all Entercom content across its leading portfolio of over 230 stations, along with hundreds of affiliate stations, thousands of top podcasts, live and on-demand video, and premium content across local and national news, entertainment, music and sports in markets all across the U.S.” Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “Connected televisions and smart home devices are the fastest growing segment of RADIO.COM’s rapidly growing audience, with significant demand from both consumers and advertisers. By partnering with Vewd, who powers tens of millions of leading-brand smart televisions, users now have our robust library right at their fingertips.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, Entercom’s six-station cluster has begun the fundraising campaign called “RADIO.COM’s Feed Our Families,” in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The month-long, text-to-donate fundraiser benefits local students and families in need. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Schools are a primary source of meals not only for many students but for their family members as well. We’re delighted to partner with Los Angeles Unified School District to amplify our stations’ collective voice so no child or family member in Southern California goes hungry during these unstable times. We look forward to actively promoting the organization’s selfless efforts over the next month and using our platforms to serve our communities.”…..Atlantic Gateway Communications’ Christian contemporary WGTS-FM, Washington, DC held its popular Summer Concert Series at Tysons Corner Center virtually this year since rule wouldn’t allow listeners to congregate in the outdoor plaza venue. The WGTS team shot part of the concert in advance at the plaza at the mall. Part of the concert came from Matthew West’s “Story House” and the rest of the concert was hosted from the WGTS video studio. WGTS music director and webmaster Rob Conway says, “This was something we’ve never done before, so it made us a little nervous.  Thankfully all of the technical details came together and it turned into a great listener experience.”…..Premiere Networks announces today that “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” is joining American Forces Network (AFN) and will air from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

| December 5, 2019

San Francisco 49ers Suspend Ryan For “Dark Skin” Comments. The radio analyst for the San Francisco 49ers Tim Ryan – has been suspended by the NFL team for statements he made earlier this week on Cumulus Media San Francisco flagship KNBR “The Sports Leader.” During his weekly appearance on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” morning show, Ryan remarked of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, “When you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that [fake]. I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point. If you’re a half-step slow on him, in terms of your vision, forget about it – he’s out of the gate.” A 49ers-issued statement reads, “We are disappointed in Tim Ryan’s comments. We hold Tim to a high standard as a representative of our organization and he must be more thoughtful with his words. Tim has expressed remorse in a public statement and has also done so with us privately. We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience. We have reached out to the Baltimore Ravens organization to extend our apologies and assure them the matter is not being taken lightly.” Ryan’s statement notes, “I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game. Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended.” Ryan, a former University of Southern California and Chicago Bears lineman, will be kept out of the San Francisco radio booth for this Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

SB Nation Radio’s “Above It All” Set To Debut Next Month. The weekday three-hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) sports talk “Above it All with Candace Cooper and Tiffany Marshall” program will launch in January and succeeds Brian Barrett’s “The Break.” According to SB Nation Radio chief operating officer/program director Craig Larson, “After listening to the demo shows, I was absolutely blown away. I’m proud to be a part of a company that is always at the forefront of diversity and inclusion. This show will be groundbreaking on several levels and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” Raleigh sportscaster/former University of North Carolina swimmer Cooper remarks, “I am elated to be joining SB Nation Radio and [having] the opportunity to be working with Tiffany. The time is now for strong, female- driven shows; I’m eager to begin this new adventure.” Marshall, who has worked in sports management and marketing, most recently with the NBA’s Houston Rockets, comments, “ Candace and I are thrilled to be able to represent women in the sports radio industry. We are ready to break down barriers.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the all-news format. Two all-news outlets ranked on top (6+) in their respective markets in the November sweep – Entercom Chicago’s WBBM-AM and its San Francisco sibling, KCBS-AM. While 72% of all-news stations improved from October to November (6+), precisely half as many (36%) showed year-to-year (November 2018 – November 2019) gains. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Frontado Joins KUT as Executive Editor. It is a newly-created position at University of Texas at Austin news/talk KUT and it will be filled next month by Teresa Frontado, who most recently was digital director for Miami news/talk WLRN-FM. KUT general manager and public media executive director Debbie Hiott states, “Teresa is going to be a dynamic leader for the newsroom as we increase our coverage. She is a proven innovator in digital strategy, a tough journalist, and someone who is well-attuned to what it takes to cover a community and state undergoing major growth and demographic change.” Frontado notes, “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the KUT newsroom to find new ways to inform and engage with communities in central Texas. Through distinctive coverage of the city of Austin, or serving the whole state with Texas Standard, the journalists in this newsroom are committed to inspire dialogue and understanding indispensable for a strong, civil society.” Frontado previously worked for Univision and the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald.

Fox News Radio Content To Become Available on RADIO.COM. The digital partnership between Fox News Radio and RADIO.COM is an extension of the existing broadcast agreement which includes FNR affiliates on Entercom news/talk stations in St. Louis (KFTK “News Talk 97.1”); Charlotte (WBT); Greenville-Spartanburg (WYRD “Word 106.3”); Wichita (KNSS), and Gainesville (WSKY “News Talk 97.3 – The Sky”). Entercom vice president of business development Corey Podolsky remarks, “Fox News Radio is an essential source of information and entertainment for audiences nationwide and we are pleased to extend our broadcast partnership to our digital platform. RADIO.COM continues to build its library of premium live and on-demand audio news, entertainment, music, and sports content and we are proud to have Fox News Radio included among our roster of industry-leading streaming and on-demand content providers.” The network features five-minute, hourly newscasts, along with one-minute newscasts, business updates, breaking-news coverage, and on-demand original podcasts. Fox News Talk provides weekday programs hosted by Brian Kilmeade and Guy Benson.

TALKERS News Notes. Former associate dean of External Relations at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, Carla Wohl, is appointed senior vice president of development for Southern California Public Radio, which includes Los Angeles news/talk outlet KPCC. Prior to her decade in development at USC, Wohl was assistant dean of External Affairs at the UCLA School of Public Health; a west coast correspondent for ABC News; and was a news reporter for Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV …. General sales manager of iHeartMedia Tampa, Jason Fulmino, transfers to iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana as regional vice president of automotive sales. Regional senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Kristy Beebe remarks, “We are so excited to welcome Jason to iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana. We trust that a marketing veteran like Jason will eagerly share his years of automotive sales knowledge with those in the Louisville, Indianapolis, Lexington, and Somerset markets.” Fulmino notes that, “iHeartMedia continues to create exciting new assets and tools in automotive radio advertising. I look forward to using these assets with a talented team of professionals to present opportunities for the automotive industry in Kentucky and Indiana.” Twenty-seven (27) news/talk and music-intensive stations comprise iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana ….. Effective January 21, Jess Clark will join Louisville Public Media news/talk WFPL as education reporter. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jess is an experienced education reporter and also has first-hand experience with Jefferson County public schools. She has a track record of telling deeply-reported stories about students, teachers, and educational systems. I’m really excited for her to do that work at WFPL.” Clark previously had similar responsibilities at University of New Orleans news/talk WWNO ….. As part of Salem Radio Network’s “Stand with Israel Tour,” SRN host Mike Gallagher (right) is doing his show from Jerusalem. Joining Gallagher all this week are 615 SRN listeners.

Viacom-CBS Merger Is Now Complete. Fourteen years ago, Viacom and CBS Corp. went their separate ways, but they are officially back together. After three years of on-again/off-again talks, the all-stock merger between the companies has been completed, with the result being ViacomCBS Inc. The new company will have more than $28 billion in revenue and 4.3 billion cumulative TV subscribers. The combined company’s stock starts trading today (Thursday, 12/5) on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbols, “VIAC” and VIACA.” Viacom chief executive officer Bob Bakish leads the merged company as president/chief executive officer, while CBS Corp. acting CEO Joe Ianniello is now chairman/CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS-branded assets. According to Bakish, “This is an historic moment that brings together two iconic companies to form one of the world’s most important content producers and providers. Through the combination of complementary assets, capabilities, and talented teams, ViacomCBS will create and deliver premium content for its own platforms and for others, while providing innovative solutions for advertisers and distributors globally. I am excited about the opportunity we have to serve our audiences, creative and commercial partners, and employees, while generating significant long-term value for our shareholders.” The deal brings Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET together with the CBS broadcast network, Showtime, 28 owned and operated television stations, CBS All Access, and Simon & Schuster.

WABC, New York Morning Show Co-host Sid Rosenberg Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.   One of the most colorful radio talk show hosts in America, “Heavy Hundred” member Sid Rosenberg, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Rosenberg is co-host with Bernard McGuirk of “The Bernie & Sid Show” – soon to mark its fourth anniversary in mornings on WABC, New York.  In addition to the daily news/talk show, Rosenberg hosts a weekend sports/talk show on WABC, tapping into his years of experience in that genre.  Harrison and Rosenberg discuss politics, sports, pop culture, and the state of radio as well as the inspirational progress the talk show host continues to make in his winning struggle with addiction issues.  According to Harrison, “Sid is one of the most authentic voices in American media today and living proof that a human being can overcome their demons.  We’re both a couple of Brooklyn boys who speak the Kings English (Kings County, that is).  The section of this podcast that depicts Rosenberg’s New York City street-level view of ‘local’ billionaires Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg is worth the price of admission alone – must-listening for talk show broadcasters around the country.”  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.

Cool Job Opening. There is an immediate opening for an afternoon drive host at Entercom Charlotte news/talk WBT AM & FM. The station is looking for someone with a media brand with national reach and a passion to have a local impact; an experienced, authentic storyteller on-air and in the digital space. The candidate should be able to deliver news and lifestyle topics with a strong point-of-view, while always entertaining the listener. All candidates should have three years of hosting experience; possess producer and content creation skills; strong organizational, audio editing, writing, and social media proficiency; and, preferably, a college degree. A candidate must be an “all-in” team player with a positive attitude and an excellent work ethic. To apply, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Recently voted one of the world’s eleven best soccer players, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion U.S. women’s national soccer team midfielder Julie Ertz will be honored as “Remarkable Woman of the Year” at Entercom Philadelphia classic hits-oldies WOGL’s annual luncheon. The station’s morning host, Marilyn Russell, will emcee next Tuesday’s (12/10) 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm event. Ertz, who plays midfield for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), will be honored for her soccer accomplishments, as well as her charitable efforts with the Ertz Family Foundation. She comments, “I am extremely honored and humbled to accept this award on behalf of the 100-plus women in the Philadelphia community who have been featured this year on Marilyn Russell’s ‘Remarkable Woman’ program on WOGL. There are so many amazing women doing remarkable things in our community. [My husband, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, and I]  are proud to call Philadelphia our community. I have to thank all the volunteers and donors of the Ertz Family Foundation. It is their commitment that makes it possible to make an impact in Philadelphia – we are just getting started here.” Russell notes, “What an honor and privilege it is to showcase truly remarkable women each and every week. From physicians to cancer survivors, to artists, authors, teachers, moms and everyone in-between, each woman has a fascinating story whose contributions to the world invariably moves us. Julie Ertz is the embodiment of a remarkable woman [and] we’re thrilled to celebrate her accomplishments.” ….. Los Angeles city officials honored LBI Media’s Don Cheto yesterday (Wednesday, 12/4) by proclaiming “Don Cheto Day” for his work in supporting the Latino immigrant community. The syndicated “Don Cheto Al Aire” morning show originates from Liberman Broadcasting Los Angeles regional Mexican KBUE “La Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” LBI Media chief executive officer Peter Markham comments, “We are extremely proud to have Don Cheto as an essential member of our LBI Media family. His unique sense of humor and cultural connection to the U.S. Latino population is second to none. His standing as a leading voice in immigration advocacy and his prowess in addressing and bringing attention to pressing issues that affect the Latino community using his multimedia platforms is the essence of LBI Media’s ‘community first’ approach.” Ceto states, “I am honored to receive this recognition from the City of Los Angeles, a city that my family and I call home and where I have been fortunate enough to do what I love. For me, it’s an honor to be the voice of our hard working Latino community and also represent our cultural heritage and pride.” Fourteenth district city councilman Jose Huizar presented Cheto with a proclamation at the Los Angeles city council’s chamber. Huizar celebrated Cheto’s contributions to the city’s Latino immigrant population and his work in providing education and resources through his morning radio show, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. In addition to his daily radio show, Michoacan, Mexico native Cheto is a celebrity judge on EstrellaTV’s “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.” ….. Performances by Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Blanco Brown, Runaway June, Gone West and Matt Stell highlighted last night’s (Wednesday, 12/4) annual country music concert “Stars and Strings,” which benefitted the American Cancer Society. Entercom New York’s WNSH “Country 94.7” hosted the show at Barclays Center. Entercom senior vice president of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin remarks, “It was amazing to have this level of star power on stage. We are thankful to the artists for an unforgettable evening. There is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than with great music and by supporting American Cancer Society’s mission of helping those affected by cancer.” ….. With the immediate goal of raising money to support families in town to receive care for a sick child, Bonneville Denver adult contemporary KOSI will hold its annual Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver radiothon today (Thursday, 10/5). The station will broadcast from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm from the Ronald McDonald House. Vice president/market manager Bob Call states, “The Ronald McDonald House relieves the worry and stress of where to stay so moms and dads can focus on the best medicine of all – the love and care of their child. I know KOSI listeners will once again step up to support this year’s ‘Light The House’ radiothon.” KOSI program director Jim Lawson notes, “We are very proud to partner again this year and join our incredibly generous listeners to help assist families with housing while they focus on the health of their child.” …..  Six-year iHeartMedia McAllen on-air talent Lauren Campbell exits to start a Rio Grande Valley-based social media consultancy, Top-of-Mind RGV … Earlier this week (Tuesday, 12/3), Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) country outlet WYZB “105.5 Nash FM” afternoon personality Skip Davis lost his fight against cancer. During his time at the station, Davis was program director, midday host, and the cluster’s production director. Per a posting on the station’s Facebook page, “With hearts full of sadness, we have lost a son. Skip Davis passed away in his sleep. He moved on in peace and without any distress. Skip has been a radio presence on the Gulf Coast for decades. We ask that you keep Skip’s wife, his family, and friends in your hearts.”

Monday, September 16, 2019

| September 16, 2019

Monday Memo: When YOU Win, Congratulate THEM.  With all the cutbacks local radio has been through, relevant local news is all the more conspicuous.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke urges stations to enter news awards competitions and offers a way to tout wins on-air.  Read it here.

Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, New Kavanaugh Claim, Purdue Parma Files for Bankruptcy, UAW Strikes at GM, Ric Ocasek Dies, and Antonio Brown Plays in NE Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The drone attack on a Saudi oil processing facility and accusations Iran is responsible; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed sexual harassment while a freshman at Yale; oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy; the UAW votes to strike against General Motors; The Cars co-founder Ric Ocasek dies at 75; and embattled football player Antonio Brown plays for New England in week 2 among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Comparing weekly 6+ AQH share data from the July survey to the August survey, 46% of the stations on our panel went up while 40% went down (14% were flat).  Looking at the year-over-year comparison, 50% of stations saw their ratings go down, while 46% were gainers.  Four public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the August survey: KQED, San Francisco (7.1); WAMU, Washington (8.2); KPBS, San Diego (6.0); and WUNC, Raleigh (8.5).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Tom Tolbert Renews Deal with KNBR, San Francisco.  Bay Area sports talk radio personality Tom Tolbert signs a contract extension with Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM/FM.  The 23-year station personality currently co-hosts the afternoon drive program with Larry Krueger and Rod Brooks.  Tolbert played for two seasons with the Golden State Warriors during his seven-year NBA career.  He currently serves as host of KNBR’s “Dubs Countdown to Tipoff” pre-game shows.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “Tom is the heart and soul of the KNBR brand and we’re excited to have him stay in the family here at ‘The Sports Leader.’  He has a special bond with Bay Area sports fans and his unrivaled passion for the game can be heard every weekday during ‘Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks.’  We are extremely proud to extend our relationship with Tom for years to come.”

Barnett Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Sales pro Dave Barnett moves to Denver from his most recent position with iHeartMedia’s WDAE, Tampa.  As senior vice president of sales in Denver, Barnett will be responsible for overseeing the spoken word and sports stations – KOA, KDFD-AM/K299BS “Freedom 93.7,” and KHOW – as well as the company’s sports partnerships with the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and University of Colorado.   In Tampa, Barnett was vice president of sales for “NewsRadio WFLA” and sports talk WDAE.  He also served as the director of sports where he worked closely with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning.  He says, “I am thrilled to be back in Denver and working with the variety of legendary brands including KOA, ‘Freedom 93.7’ and 630 KHOW.  Denver is a very special place and an incredible radio market – I look forward to working with our incredible partners as well as the legendary voices that you hear on each of our stations and sports properties.”

‘America’s 1st News’ Announces KTTH, Seattle New Flagship. The nationally syndicated “America’s 1st News” with Matt Ray is now emanating from new flagship station KTTH-AM, Seattle.  The program – airing live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is heard on 85 affiliate stations.  Ray says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with [KTTH program director] Jason Rantz and the engineering staff [at KTTH] in the past and they’re the best in the business.  We’re thrilled to join the team on a permanent basis.”

Becki West Rises to VP Sales/Director of Agency Partnerships. Philly sales pro Becki West is promoted from general sales manager with iHeartMedia to vice president of sales and director of agency partnerships.  In this role, West will be responsible for overseeing the sales team as well as continuing to offer marketing solutions to the company’s agency partners.  She will continue to oversee sales for adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze.”  Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore says, “Becki has been crucial to the growth of our sales team and sales management team.  Her relationships with our clients in the market are second to none and are an essential element to helping us cultivate our major initiatives.”

Cumulus Names John Toohey VP of Finance. In this new role of vice president, finance with Cumulus Media, John Toohey will handle financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and special projects.  He will report to EVP and chief financial officer John Abbot.  Toohey was with Charter Communications (and predecessor Time Warner Cable) for 12 years, most recently as group vice president, media sales finance, Spectrum Reach.

Beasley Supports Greater Boston Food Bank. Pictured above are staffers from Beasley Media Group’s Boston operations at the Greater Boston Food Bank on September 11 helping sort and pack 12,206 lbs. of food that will provide 10,172 meals or feed a family of four for 2.3 years.  The effort was part of the company’s ongoing Community of Caring Initiative.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “This is the second year that the Beasley Boston Team sorted thousands of pounds of food at the Greater Boston Food Bank.  It feels good to work together to help others in need.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” former artist manager and radio personality Ayisha Jaffer is named afternoon drive host and promotions coordinator, effective today (9/16). Her duties will include booking the station’s weekly “414 Live” on-air performance show featuring Milwaukee artists.  Station PD Jordan Lee says, “When I think of Milwaukee success stories, I think of Ayisha.  Born and bred here in Milwaukee, she’s traveled the world and worked with some of the coolest artists in contemporary music.  She brings knowledge, industry experience, and passion to the ‘Radio Milwaukee’ team.”…..Podcaster Cadence13, via its C13Originals division, is presenting a documentary series titled, “Long May They Run,” dedicated to chronicling iconic touring bands who’ve had a lasting impact on music culture, the industry, music streaming, touring, their fans and beyond.  Season one focuses on the jam band Phish. The series is created, directed, and produced by C13Originals, and hosted and written by Dean Budnick, a veteran music journalist, editor-in-chief of Relix Magazine, author, and filmmaker…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the appointment of Erin Voden as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions for its Washington, D.C. market, effective immediately.  She’ll oversee and manage sales at the company’s television and digital media properties serving the Washington market…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing in two new markets. WSVM-AM, Charlotte, North Carolina and KBST-AM, Odessa, Texas add the program to their weekly program schedules.