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Friday, December 4, 2020

| December 4, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hazy Shade of Winter, looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media ManagementAmy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”

New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.

Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.

WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.

WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”

Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.

COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”

Monday, November 30, 2020

| November 30, 2020

Pending Business: Minimizing Risk. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that for local business owners, the biggest obstacle to overcome (beyond the pandemic) is the high risk of advertising. In today’s column, he offers seven points to help radio sellers combat this risk anxiety. Read it here.

COVID-19 and Holiday Travel, Biden Transition, Trump Post-Election, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Scientist Assassinated, Record Dow/Joblessness, and Utah Monolith Disappears Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The current pace of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about Thanksgiving holiday travel spreading the coronavirus; the Joe Biden administration goes forward with transition activities as officials are named; Donald Trump continues to argue that the election was fraudulent; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the aftermath of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; the Dow holds its record level as economists express concerns about potential mass joblessness as a result of the pandemic; and the bizarre metal monolith found in remote Utah disappears were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Last Chance for Christmas Cash. Unsurprisingly, consumer research forecasts a very different holiday shopping season. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says “steal this line” for a local advertiser’s copy. Read it here.

Cox Media Group’s Bill Hendrich to Retire. Although today’s announcement says Bill Hendrich will remain with Cox Media Group in an advisory capacity, the company announces that he’ll retire from his executive vice president of radio position. During his three-decade career with Cox Media Group, Hendrich has served as EVP, radio, overseeing programming, operations and sales for the company’s radio stations. He also has oversight of CMG’s Radio Revenue team and Radio Digital team. CMG president and CEO Dan York says, “Bill’s retirement comes with a wealth of gratitude and mixed emotions. In the time I have known him, he has shared his exceptional passion, focus, and leadership from which our company, and our industry, has immeasurably benefited. Bill’s legacy of decisive leadership, his personal style and his deep experiences in radio and beyond will inform our work well into the future.” Hendrich comments, “Although I’m retiring from CMG, I will remain an active and passionate supporter of this great company. For the past 31 years, I have been able to work with the best and most talented team in the radio industry. With NewCity Communications, Cox Enterprises and Apollo, I have been a part of three outstanding companies – each bringing valuable and innovative ideas to keep radio viable in today’s media landscape. I look forward to continuing our work together in an advisory capacity to help the team at CMG serve their audiences, customers, and communities with best-in-class services. I joined a great company in 1989 and I get to leave that same great company with pride 31 years later. I am a lucky man.”

Round Three of November PPM Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the third round of Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey that covered October 8 to November 4. This group of markets included Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Some moves of note include Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte rising to the #2 spot after climbing a half share to finish with a 7.4 share. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio rises to the #1 rank on the strength of a 1.4 share increase for a 7.7 share. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento keeps its #1 rank for the third straight month after posting a 9.1 share (+0.6) and the company’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City adds 1.9 shares during the survey to achieve a 9.5 share and its second straight #1 rank. Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City climbs into the #6 spot after posting a 5.7 share (+0.7). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

FOX Sports Radio Launches New Weekend Show. The new “Up On Game” show that debuts this Saturday (12/5) from FOX Sports Radio is co-hosted by former NFL stars LaVar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Plaxico Burress. Arrington says, “I’m super excited to team up with my brothers to host this new show. TJ and Plaxico are sports cultural icons and legends. Not only do they have incredible knowledge and experience as former pro athletes, but they also understand how to mentor players. This show will break the mold and create a new way of thinking about athletes and sports topics.” FSR VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro adds, “LaVar, TJ, and Plaxico have such unique perspectives, which will make for a truly refreshing and entertaining listen. This is not going to sound like any other sports talk show.  When these three star football players take the mic, all with strong points of view, watch out!”

Can Trump Be the ‘Next Limbaugh?’ There’s buzz aplenty about Donald Trump’s post-presidency role in the media. Talk radio consultant and RT America TV host Holland Cooke thinks the time is opportune: “FOX News has a problem. When they reported election results, viewers damned them on social media and the ratings tanked. Talk radio has a problem. Its biggest star has advanced cancer. Will Trump supporters flee mass media entirely? And could Citizen Trump herd them past his own media paywall?” In the segment you can see here, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison weighs in.

Ajit Pai Announces He’ll Leave FCC in January. After three years as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announces that he intends to leave the Commission on January 20, 2021. Pai issued the following statement: “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as chairman of the FCC over the past four years. I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.” He added, “I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff. They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda.  Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before. I am proud of how productive this Commission has been, from commencing five spectrum auctions and two rural broadband reverse auctions in four years, to opening 1,245 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, to adopting more than 25 orders through our Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, to aggressively protecting our communications networks from national security threats at home and abroad, to designating 988 as the three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and much, much more. I’m also proud of the reforms we have instituted to make the agency more accountable to the American people.  In particular, for the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings, making this the most transparent FCC in history.”

Jim Bohannon Helps Kick Off the Holiday Season. Pictured here in fill Santa Claus regalia – complete with golf cart sleigh – is Westwood One nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon. He’s in Chickasaw Point, South Carolina helping the community kick off the holiday season.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new radio station from Nashville Public Radio launches today at 3:00 pm local time. WNXP-FM, Nashville “91.ONE, WNXP, Nashville’s Music Experience” is a “new music discovery station” that “will serve as a platform for new and emerging artists from Nashville and beyond plus incorporate a unique fusion of indie rock, urban alternative, electro pop and pop alternative.” Station program director Jason Moon Wilkins says, “WNXP is focused on being an ally to the Nashville music scene by providing opportunities that stretch beyond our city. The Nashville Artist of the Month feature is a great example of how we’ll use every tool and relationship from radio to social media to NPR Music to bring music like [rapper] Namir [Blade]’s to new audiences.” WNXP’s full-time staff consists of music director and midday host Jewly Hight, APD and evening host Mickey Parks, production coordinator and morning host Marquis Munson, and engagement coordinator Paige A. Jack…..In order to sate the appetite of live music fans, SiriusXM is launching the “Next Wave Virtual Concert Series” in which it will present six new virtual concerts over three consecutive weeks. The Octane Accelerator Virtual Concert will feature new, live performances from three explosive new hard rock bands, Saul, Any Given Sin, and AVOID, hosted by Jose Mangin. Coffee House Live: At Home Edition will include exclusive sets from singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Fischer, and Ruth B. Alt Nation’s Virtual Advanced Placement Concert will feature breaking alternative artists Royal & The Serpent, beabadoobee, and Holly Humberstone. Hip Hop Nation: Nation’s Next Virtual Concert will hand the mic to Mulatto, Tyla Yaweh, and Yella Beezy. Highway Finds Tour: Quarantine Edition will showcase new performances from Drew Parker, Parker McCollum, Priscilla Block, Angie K, and Shy Carter.  Liquid Metal Hard Attack Virtual Concert will feature performances with Slaughter To Prevail, Spiritbox, and Tetrarch.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

| November 5, 2020

Cumulus Media’s Q3 Financial Report Reveals Net Revenue Down 30.1%. Reporting its earnings for the third quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 30.1% from the same period in 2019. The company also reports a net loss of $15.8 million compared to the $16.3 net income reported for the third quarter of 2019. Same station net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 29.4% from Q3 of 2019. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the company continued to focus on maximizing revenue performance, executing meaningful expense reductions, protecting cash through efficient working capital management and strengthening our balance sheet. Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating through a pandemic, we have reduced debt by $269 million and increased cash by $316 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018 (a net debt reduction of more than $585 million or 46%.) We believe that these actions, along with record-setting political revenues, will allow us to navigate through and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with considerable ability to support our growth initiatives and capitalize on strategic and operating opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”

Bakersfield Talk Radio Personality Inga Barks Dies. According to a report by KERO-TV, Bakersfield, former market talk radio personality Inga Barks has died unexpectedly at age 53. At this point details are few, but it appears Barks passed away on November 4. KERO-TV quotes Barks’ friend Cindy Andrews – who worked with Barks at American General Media news/talk outlet KERN-AM – saying, “I am deeply saddened over the death of my former coworker and friend, Inga Barks. Not only was she a talented talk show host, but she was also very devoted to her family. We shared many laughs and unique experiences as female broadcasters for American General Media. She will be missed by many.” You can see KERO-TV’s report that includes tributes from former co-workers – including KMJ, Fresno’s Blake Taylorhere.

WTIC-AM, Hartford Morning Co-Host Joe D’Ambrosio to Leave Station in June. According to an account in the Hartford Courant, WTIC-AM, Hartford morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio says he’s frustrated with his “inability to speak his mind on the air and will leave his position when his contract expires in June.” The paper reports that D’Ambrosio told co-host Ray Dunaway, “At this radio station at this time, I’m not allowed to let my opinions be known. I’ve told management, when my contract is up in June, my time with WTIC will be over.”  It’s not clear if D’Ambrosio is upset with a directive from management or just with the general tenor of host and caller opinions. Reporter Susan Dunne says that when reached later, D’Ambrosio declined to elaborate on his comments.

PPM Analysis: News/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 the news/talk format. Over the last eight PPM surveys going back to March, the global pandemic, racial tensions/protests, and the election year have provided the news/talk format with ample hot-button issues to discuss and the format’s performance has improved over the same period in 2019, based on Nielsen’s 6+ weekly AQH share data. In the October 2020 survey, 61% of news/talk stations were up over the September 2020 survey with gainers being led buy iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix (+1.4) and Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.3). Comparing year-over-year data, 68% of news/talk stations were up in October 2020 compared to October 2019 with gainers being led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+6.2), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+4.4), and WCBM Inc’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.7). In the October 2020 survey, seven news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets. Find out which stations were ranked #1 by reading Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Mid-West Family Madison Donates $900k in Advertising. The Madison, Wisconsin station group of Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave $900,000 in free advertising (more than 31,000 commercials) to hundreds of local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic between March 21 and July 21 through its “NOW OPEN” program. Mid-West Family Madison president Tom Walker says, “Our company was formed in Madison, we’ve been here for 91 years, and our commitment to the community and local businesses is our top priority. ‘NOW OPEN’ gave us the chance to connect businesses with consumers when they needed it most.”

Report: ESPN to Lay Off 300. According to a report by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, sports giant ESPN is laying off 300 staffers and will not fill some 200 positions that had been open. This comes as parent company ABC/Disney deals with the effects of the pandemic and the changes in media consumption behavior. Marchand’s report indicates that the cuts will be “spread across the network” but will largely spare on-air personalities. Marchand adds, “As is the case across Disney, ESPN is trying to shift more of its business to direct-to-consumer. It has created ESPN+. It had reported 8.5 million subscribers as of this summer. The pandemic has also created new ways to deliver programming with less people.”

The Road to 270 Electoral Votes/Promised Legal Challenges, Portland Violence, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, European Lockdowns, New Islamic Terror Threats, U.S. Exits Paris Climate Accord, Prop 22 Passes in California, Watch on Hurricane Eta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The counting continues as Donald Trump and Joe Biden each hope to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to claim victory and the gearing up of legal challenges to some states’ vote totals; the National Guard is called in to Portland, Oregon after a riot is declared; the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for the fall/winter seasons; the lockdowns being ordered in numerous European nations to combat the rising number of COVID cases; concerns about new terror attacks by actors sympathetic to the Islamic State; the United States officially exits the Paris Climate Accord; California passes Proposition 22 which allows Uber and Lyft to treat drives as contractors and not employees; and the possibility that Hurricane Eta will gain steam and head for Florida 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. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive podcast partnership for the series “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” that will debut Friday (11/6), the day before the 35th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony airing on November 7 on HBO. The series covers iconic induction speeches and will debut with The Beatles inducted by Mick Jagger, N.W.A inducted by Kendrick Lamar, The Eagles inducted by Jimmy Buffet, and Stevie Nicks inducted by Harry Styles. New episodes will premiere every Friday through the end of the year and a second season will premiere in early 2021. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Over the past 35 years, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies have become renowned for their impassioned and sometimes outrageous acceptance speeches. We’re thrilled to bring the most iconic moments of past and present music infamy to fans around the world and continue to share what’s made the event special in the past and for years to come.”

Thursday, October 29, 2020

| October 29, 2020

Carton and Roberts Show to Launch on WFAN on November 9. One day after WFAN, New York personality Joe Benigno announced he’s retiring from the afternoon drive show after his November 6 program (see story below), Entercom unveils the new Craig Carton and Evan Roberts program to launch on November 9, confirming months of speculation about the return of Carton after his conviction and one-year prison sentence on fraud charges. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says in a statement, “Craig Carton was part of the fabric of WFAN for a decade, both on and off the air, engaging and entertaining audiences with his one-of-a-kind personality and talent. We all hope that this next step on his road back will not only be beneficial to Craig, but also for his audience as he shares his story and looks to make an impact through the power of his voice. WFAN welcomes him back and is excited to have him join Evan Roberts in afternoon drive.” Carton says, “I am grateful to Entercom for the chance to return home to WFAN. I have dreamt about this moment every minute of every day for the last three years. I know I have work to do to regain the trust of my colleagues, listeners, and advertisers and am committed to doing just that. I can’t wait to get started with Evan Roberts on November 9th.”

WFAN, New York Officially Announces Joe Benigno’s Retirement. A week from tomorrow will be the final regular broadcast for New York sports talk host Joe Benigno. As has been speculated in the New York media and media trade publications, Benigno is leaving the station after a 26-year career. Entercom says that Benigno will continue to be heard on the station “in select roles beginning in 2021.” Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Joe Benigno is the quintessential New York sports fan, broadcasting his trademark straight-from-the-heart perspective on the city’s sports scene every day for nearly three decades. Though Joe first came to prominence as ‘Joe from Saddle River,’ he departs as one of the most successful and enduring hosts in the long and iconic history of WFAN. It is comforting to know that he remains a part of the ‘FAN’ family and will still be keeping a close eye on his beloved Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers.” Benigno joined WFAN in 1995 after winning the station’s Fan Appreciation Day contest, where the prize was to host on WFAN. After a stint at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and a small New Jersey radio station, Benigno was hired as the overnight host at WFAN in 2004. He served as the station’s midday show co-host from 2003 to 2019 before moving to afternoons in 2020.

Round Three of October PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+, weekly AQH share data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland adds a full share and finishes the survey with a 7.0 share to remain ranked #3. In Charlotte, Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM tacks on nine-tenths for a 6.9 share and rises from #4 to #3. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City adds three-tenths – completing a four-survey spike of 2.3 shares – to finish with a 7.6 share and jumps to the #1 spot for the first time in the PPM era. Across town at Bonneville’s KSL-FM, it rockets up 1.3 shares for a 7.4 share and finishes the October survey at #2. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Entercom and FanDuel Announce Strategic Partnership. The six-year partnership designating FanDuel as the official sportsbook partner of Entercom across its sports broadcast stations and RADIO.COM will give listeners unique access to FanDuel odds, insight, and promotion via Entercom on-air stations and personalities. Entercom and FanDuel will also “collaborate on in-depth integrations and co-produce content that will pioneer the industry with all-new formats.” Under the agreement, FanDuel will be the official sportsbook of Entercom, and receive preferred and increased category access to all Entercom talent in every market where Entercom and FanDuel both operate. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We believe this is the largest advertising commitment ever made within the radio industry. We are focused on delivering the best sports betting experience for our audiences in markets where legalized sports betting will be pervasive. The marketplace is growing exponentially and FanDuel is an ideal partner to take full advantage of the influence and reach of Entercom’s robust sports platforms to deliver an even better, audio sports experience to our listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. A reminder that this evening (10/29) is the 2020 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET on both the iHeartRadio app and via SiriusXM’s Triumph Channel. Being inducted are: Mark & Brian, Donnie Simpson, Angie Martinez, Cokie Roberts, Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, & DJ Envy, Sway Calloway, and Glenn Beck. You can listen here…..ABC News Radio is presenting live anchored coverage on election night beginning at 7:00 pm ET, running through at least 2:00 am ET. Correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor coverage. It will also feature reporting from correspondents on-location with the candidates and in crucial swing states. ABC News Radio will offer four one-minute Status Reports each hour throughout the evening. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will have special coverage throughout the week, including special editions on Election Day, November 4, and as news warrants…..Sun Broadcast Group announces two new hires in marketing. Lindsay Carr joins as director of marketing and Megan Hermensky is named assistant marketing manager. SBG vice president of business operations Laura Orkin says, “As we expand our ad sales team to meet the growing needs of our advertisers and partners, we are building our marketing support to develop new promotions, social media extensions, and more. Lindsay and Megan have the marketing expertise to bring new concepts and fresh designs to Sun. I’m delighted to welcome them both to our team.”

The Presidential Election, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Financial Markets Activity, Philadelphia Racial Tensions, Hunter Biden Emails, Big Tech Before Congress, France Terror Attack, and Tropical Storm Zeta Hits Gulf Coast Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). Next Tuesday’s presidential election and the last-minute campaigning by Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for the fall and winter seasons; the world’s financial markets sink on fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic; racial tensions in Philadelphia in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr; the allegations that Hunter Biden’s emails indicate he improperly benefitted from Joe Biden’s vice presidency; CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appear before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee to answer questions about censorship; a terrorist kills three in a church in Nice, France; and Tropical Storm Zeta dumps more rain on Louisiana were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Presents 2020 Election Preview Featuring Bill O’Reilly. Pictured above are WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk show host Bo Thompson (top left), North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (top right) with special guest, Key Networks nationally syndicated talk show host Bill O’Reilly (bottom). The production was dubbed “WBT’s TALKTOBERFEST 2020” and you can see it here. Station brand manager Mike Schaefer tells TALKERS magazine that O’Reilly appeared during the first talk hour of the program. Also on the program were WBT-AM/FM personalities Vince Coakley, Brett Winterble, Mark Garrison, Brett Jensen, and Joe Gillespie. It was broadcast Tuesday evening (10/27) live on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Former Westwood One News Radio White House Correspondent Bob Costantini Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Journalism in America is going through a challenging transition. The technology, sociology, and economics of the times have conspired to shrink newsrooms, shut down news organizations, and put a critically large number of journalists out of work. This pinch is certainly being experienced in radio as most recently evidenced in the discontinuation of a news department by syndication giant Westwood One. Former Westwood One White House correspondent and veteran radio/TV journalist Bob Costantini is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Costantini was a high-profile casualty of the Westwood One news shutdown, but he wasn’t a victim, having wasted no time before launching his own boutique news agency, Ear on the White House, specializing in providing radio stations across America with customized reports and coverage of the White House and ongoing presidential developments. The fact that Costantini has already signed up several client stations out of the gate is a strong indication he’s off and running in the right direction with this new venture. With the presidential election dominating the national conversation, the White House has become the central focus of the nation and its concerns and promises to remain so in the months and years ahead. Costantini, a 30-plus year veteran of the field, has covered the White House for such news organizations as FOX News Channel, CNN and CNN Radio, NBC News Radio and most recently Westwood One. He’s a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Harrison and Costantini talk about what it’s like inside the White House press corps, how the White House Correspondents’ Association operates, differences between the administrations he’s covered from George H.W. Bush to Donald Trump, and the current election, as well as the state and future of journalism. Don’t miss this illuminating deep-dive conversation about the nuts and bolts of covering the executive branch on radio. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock radio pro Wade Linder is promoted to vice president, classic rock for Cumulus Media. The company says that in this new role, Linder will serve on Cumulus’ content leadership team as a key resource for the company’s 34 classic rock radio stations and will report to Troy Hanson, VP/corporate programming, rock formats. Linder will continue in his current role as PD for WLS-FM, Chicago. Linder says, “I’m grateful to be entrusted with this new appointment from Brian Philips and Troy Hanson. It’s a privilege to work with the programming brains and pure personalities in classic rock at Cumulus, with so much brand knowledge already present. Add to that the daily grounding and inspiration I receive from my closest radio family here at 94.7 WLS-FM in Chicago, where Marv Nyren shows us how to win and be kind at the same time. I want to also thank Dave Milner, John Dimick, and Doug Hamand.”…..Premiere Networks and Bobby Bones, VP/creative director of iHeartCountry, announce the launch of a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast, “Talk to Chuck” with Chuck Wicks, distributed by Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. “Talk to Chuck” features the singer and songwriter as he shares his unique perspective on what’s happening in the world of country music. With behind-the-scenes access to the biggest stars, he’ll welcome music artists, celebrities, athletes, and others who share a love for country music. Listeners and country fans will also join the conversation as Wicks and his guests discuss the hottest topics of the week…..Beasley Media Group announces classic rock outlet WCSX-FM, Detroit, in conjunction with the Mayor of Royal Oak, Michigan, will proclaim Friday, November 6, 2020 as ‘Glenn Frey Day’ in honor of the late Eagles co-founder and Michigan native. Station morning show personality Jim O’Brien from “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” will broadcast live on Glenn Frey Drive in commemoration of the late singer/songwriter’s birthday. In addition, O’Brien will join Mayor Mike Fournier in officially proclaiming “Glenn Frey Day” as well as share stories about the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from Detroit legends Bob Seger, Alice Cooper and others.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

| October 15, 2020

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. There was a lot of news and controversy during Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey (August 13-September 9) during a period that is usually sleepy in non-election years and that could account for the fact that 62% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes in his analysis that gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.6), Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” (+1.4), and Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.3). Looking at year-over-year ratings improvements, WISN was the most-improved news/talk station putting up a 5.5 share gain from September 2019 to September 2020. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City was close behind (+4.5), followed by WCBM Maryland’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.5). iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles was again the news/talk station with the highest cume (742,800). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

New Midday Sports Talk Program Debuts on Radio and Online. The new sports talk program “The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes, and Eytan” will launch on Monday (10/19) starring former NFL lineman Barrett Brooks (bottom), Harry Mayes (top right), and Eytan Shander (top left). The program, produced by JAKIB Media Partners, will air live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on PhillyVoice.com and WBSS-AM, Pleasantville “AM 1490 Sports Betting Radio” in South Jersey. It is also available via the SportsMap Radio Network. PhillyVoice CEO Hal Donnelly says, “This exciting partnership brings together two of the city’s top sources for Philly sports news, making it easier than ever for fans to consume the content they crave on the platform of their choice. We look forward to welcoming JAKIB Media’s audience to PhillyVoice.com.”

October Is the Time to Reexamine ‘The Scare On the Air.’ With Halloween just weeks away, what better time to take a look at the genre that produced some of radio’s most revered programs – the horror drama. University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon writes for TALKERS about the great horror dramas of radio’s Golden Age (the 1930s through the 1950s). Proof of radio listeners’ love of stories that thrill and chill exists today in the numerous scripted podcasts being produced in the horror genre. In his piece, Weldon chronicles some of the great radio horror dramas, explains the importance of sound effects (and how they were made!), and gives credit to some of the writers that made those great programs as successful as they were. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Dueling Town Halls, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Emails Probe, COVID Stimulus Negotiations, California Wildfires, and NFL’s COVID Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The November presidential election and controversy over two networks’ competing presidential town hall broadcasts; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus concerns about a full-blown fall/winter second wave; the Hunter Biden emails that could implicate him in benefiting from access to then-Vice President Joe Biden; the negotiations in Washington over a new COVID stimulus package; the status of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID tests among players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (10/16), Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” present the daylong “Back the Blue” special – a tribute to “honor the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep the New York Metro Area safe.” Listeners are being encouraged to tie a blue ribbon on trees, bushes, park benches – everywhere around the tri-state area – to show their support for the men and women in blue. The program will feature current and former law enforcement officers as well as family members of officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty. WABC and Red Apple SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi says, “As New Yorkers, we want to let the police know that we appreciate all that they do for us. The 77 WABC ‘Back the Blue’ special is one way we can honor police officers across the New York Metro Area.”…..The program “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Community Health Center, Inc, is celebrating the 11th anniversary of its first broadcast featuring an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is leading the COVID-19 response at the National Institutes of Health. The nationally syndicated show is co-hosted by Mark Masselli, founder and CEO, and Margaret Flinter, SVP and clinical director of CHC, Inc. The program initially launched to explore the transformation of American health care in the 21st century, spurred by technological advances and passage of the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the show’s first guest in the fall of 2009…..The New Haven Register reports that radio’s Clark Smidt has purchased WATX-AM, Hamden, Connecticut, (the former WQUN) from Quinnipiac University. Luther Turmelle writes that Smidt purchased the station via his Clark Media LLC and the amount – not revealed by Smidt – is estimated to be a portion of the school’s legal bills for the transaction. The station is currently dark and it’s unknown what if anything Smidt intends to do with the signal…..It may mean nothing at all but Kevin Kinkead writes in Crossing Broad that WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive host Mike Missanelli has changed his Twitter handle from @MikeMiss975 to @MikeMiss25. Kinkead says, “One would assume that removing the 975 reference would allow him to continue to post partisan political tweets and call other people idiots and dolts without any of that coming back to Beasley Media Group. It’s like saying ‘views don’t represent those of my employer’ without actually saying it. Maybe Beasley suggested he do this, or maybe not. Just speculating on that.”

Charlie Kirk Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The founder and president of Turning Point USA and host of a newly launched daily Salem Radio Network show, Charlie Kirk is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, The Michael Harrison Interview. At 26, Charlie Kirk was the youngest speaker at the recent Republican National Convention and is already a force to be reckoned with in American politics. Regardless of one’s personal partisan leanings, this young communicator commands respect for his ability to articulate a compelling case for traditional conservative ideology. He is the founder and president of Turning Point USA – a national student movement with the mission of “identifying, organizing, and empowering” young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government which are – or at least are supposed to be – the foundation of American conservative thinking. With a presence on over 2,000 high school and college campuses nationwide, 250,000 student members, and over 150 full-time staff, Turning Point USA is the largest and fastest growing conservative youth activist organization in the country. Kirk is also a New York Times best-selling author whose presence on social media reaches over 100 million people per month and according to Axios he is one of the “top 10 most engaged” Twitter handles in the world behind only President Trump among conservatives. His new midday talk show on the Salem Radio Network debuted two weeks ago. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good – A Profile of Talk Radio Host Michael Berry. Houston-based talk radio host Michael Berry – heard on KTRH, Houston locally and on stations across the nation in syndication – is the subject of a profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Michael Berry is an attorney, former real estate broker, former six-term Houston city council member, and former Houston mayor pro tem who got his start in talk radio doing a weekend real estate program. From there he transitioned into hosting a news/talk radio program. Berry’s current programs are heard on some 20 affiliate stations in addition to home base KTRH. He says, “We have not aggressively sought markets. Folks find our shows on podcasts, streaming, or when they’re driving in another town. They reach out to me through my website and literally ask what it would take to get me on their station. We don’t actually in the technical, literal sense ‘syndicate.’ I don’t sell an ad to a nationwide company that we place into the show. It’s not syndication in the purest sense. We give stations the show and all the resources they need. If a station makes money from the show, they are going to keep it. I’m still in the building phase and doing it on my own. You lose money for a long time to get a big footprint.” Read the entire piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Fort Smith, Arkansas radio personality Darren Miner, a.k.a. Maverick, has been fired by iHeartMedia for a tweet about a University of Arkansas female basketball player. Miner worked on air at country KMAG-FM. Responding to player Erynn Barnum’s tweet of four pictures of herself in uniform sitting on top of the announcers table at the school’s arena, Miner tweeted, “Now they just need to install a pole.” iHeartMedia area president Clyde Bass tells KFSM-TV that as soon as they became aware of the tweet, Miner was let go…..Beasley Media Group names Tradia McCoy the new midday personality at hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville “Foxy 99. ” She was most recently with Radio One’s hip hop WCDX-FM, Richmond, Virginia. “Foxy 99” program director and brand manager Kenny J says, “We’re extremely excited to welcome Tradia McCoy to the ‘Foxy’ family. Tradia’s energy, passion, and social media knowledge made her the fit for middays on WZFX/Foxy 99.”…..Skyview Networks announces that Raul “Rico” Colindres joins the company as vice president, content development and syndication. In this role, he’ll lead the company’s syndication initiative, working to develop current shows such as “The Dana Cortez Show” and “Nick Cannon Radio,” and discover and develop additional programs. As part of the new relationship, Colindres’ “Carmen’s Calls” prank phone call bit service joins the Skyview syndication lineup, effective January 1, 2021…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s urban contemporary WDAS-FM, hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and adult contemporary WISX “106.1 The Breeze” announce the fourth annual “Sista Strut” breast cancer walk taking place virtually Saturday (10/17). A portion of the proceeds for the event will benefit the American Association for Cancer Research.