Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” Panel. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/19) post presents the discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session is moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. Posted yesterday (7/18): discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Aftershocks of Le Batard’s POTUS Bashing. Those “send her back” chants aimed at Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar at Wednesday’s Donald Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina were just too much for ESPN host Dan Le Batard to take. On yesterday’s show (Thursday, 7/18), Le Batard – whose parents are from Cuba – said what happened in North Carolina “felt un-American. It was deeply offensive to me as somebody whose parents have made all the sacrifices to get to this country.” Without specifically invoking the president’s name, Le Batard said, “You’ve had every privilege afforded to you, every privilege. And now, what you do with that power? You go after brown people and black people and minorities?” Opining that a racial division exists in this country, he commented, “It’s not the America my parents aimed to get for us, for exiles, for brown people.” Taking his own network as well as the president to task, Le Batard stated, the polarization is “being instigated by the president; we here at ESPN haven’t had the stomach for that fight. Around here, we won’t talk about it, unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram. Nobody talks politics on anything unless they use one of these sports figures as a meat shield in the most cowardly possible way to discuss these subjects. We don’t talk about what is happening unless there’s some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through when sports has always been the place where this stuff changes.” Earlier today, the president denounced the “crazed media coverage” of his rally, wishing “the disgusting statements” progressive lawmakers make got as much attention. Meanwhile, an ESPN memo circulated today reminded employees about policies concerning talking “pure politics” on-air, basically saying “don’t do it.” Jemile Hill was suspended in 2017 for violating ESPN’s social media policy multiple times, including one instance where she called the president a “white supremacist.” Hill no longer works for ESPN but applauded Batard via Twitter today. Disciplinary action toward Le Batard is unclear. Today’s show began without him for the first hour – but – he later joined.
Houston’s KILT-AM Resets Lineup. As longtime afternoon host Rich Lord departs KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610,” the Entercom Houston outlet and radio flagship of the Houston Texans adjusts its on-air roster. Next Monday (7/22), co-host Sean Pendergrast segues to morning drive with Seth Payne. Taking over the 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm slot vacated by Lord and Pendergrast are KILT-AM weekly contributor/swing talent Clint Stoerner and Rick Kamla, who joins from similarly-formatted Atlanta sibling WZGC “92.9 The Game,” where he did middays. According to Entercom Houston senior vice president/market manager Sarah Frazier, “Rich did an incredible job for nearly two-and-a-half decades on [KILT-AM]. As one of the first announcers on Houston’s first sports talk station, he has played an instrumental role in building this heritage station and will always be an integral part of its legacy. We are thankful for his work ethic and contributions over the years and wish him the best. He will always be a treasured player of ‘Sports Radio 610.’” Regarding “Clint and Kamla” – the station’s new afternoon drive team – she states, “They are the perfect pair to bring informative and clear-cut opinions to the Houston listener. As a native Houstonian, Clint has a natural connection with the audience and a distinct delivery and southern charm. Rick brings to the station a national platform with instant recognition from his years at NBA TV. His passion for sports will be evident instantly. We are equally as excited to provide the Houston sports community with a revamped weekday lineup that they can connect with to and from work on a daily basis.” Lord comments, “My time at [KILT-AM] has been the most rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying experience of my professional life. I’ll forever be grateful to Dickie Rosenfeld for bringing me aboard in 1995. My time here has meant so much to me and my family that the biggest emotion that I feel right now is gratitude.” Born and raised in Houston, Stoerner maintains that, “Football is in my DNA. ‘Sports Radio 610′ is the king of Houston sports radio, so talking sports daily to my people in south Texas is a dream come true.” Kamla adds, “I am grateful for the opportunity to co-host afternoon drive with Clint and to be part of the new lineup on ‘Sports Radio 610.’ My family and I are very excited for this adventure in an amazing city.” KILT-AM’s adjusted on-air lineup is “Payne and Pendergast” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “In The Loop” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); “Clint and Kamla” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “Texans All Access” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “The Six-Pack with Matthew Jarecki” (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Matthew Jarecki (9:00 pm – 11:00 pm).
TALKERS News Notes. Heard guest-hosting on Westwood One’s 10:00 pm – 1:00 am “Jim Bohannon Show” last night (Thursday, 7/18) was Walter Sterling ….. At month’s end, Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting Casper (Wyoming) general manager/program director Kevin Barrett will leave the five-station cluster. Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting owner Jan Charles Gray remarks, “Kevin has done an outstanding job. He will continue to work with us as a consultant for our ten stations in Wyoming and South Dakota.” Barrett notes, “It has been a great experience and we’ve made a lot of progress. I’m most interested in returning to news/talk or sports talk as a program director or operations manager.” The company’s five Casper outlets are news/talk KVOC “AM 1230 – The Voice of Casper”; classic hits-oldies KMLD “Melody 94.5”; adult contemporary KHOC “Heart 102.5”; KQLT “103.7 Casper’s Original Country Station”; and KASS “Kick 107 The Rock Station.” Barrett joined Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting roughly ten months ago. His previous programming credits include KTRB, San Francisco; KTRS, St. Louis; KSEQ, Fresno; KABZ, Little Rock; KEEL, Shreveport (Louisiana); and KWXY, Palm Springs (California). Other Mt. Rushmore properties are located in Rawlins, Wyoming; Hot Springs, South Dakota; and Custer, South Dakota ….. Rob Carson filled in yesterday (Thursday, 7/18) on the 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm “Conservative Circus” on iHeartMedia Phoenix news/talk KFYI “News Talk 550” and is scheduled to do so again today (Friday, 7/19) ….. Owing to a just-announced partnership, Cadence13 has exclusive representative for motivational speaker, author, and “lifestyle influencer” Rachel Hollis’ Rise podcasts – “Rise” and “Rise Together.” In addition it will develop a Rise podcast network that will focus on personal growth, lifestyle, and wellness. Hollis – who wrote the best-selling “Girl, Wash Your Face” – comments, “I love being able to share my life experiences and what I’ve learned on my ever-evolving journey with listeners around the world. Joining a leading podcast company like Caence13 to help build and develop our network is incredibly exciting.” Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran contends, “Rachel Hollis is nothing less than a phenomenon. Rachel’s authenticity has inspired millions. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with her and support her vision.” The 36-year-old Hollis hosts the “Rise” interview series, and co-hosts “Rise Together” with her husband, Dave Hollis, who is chief executive officer of The Hollis Company.
KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute Set To Get Underway. Beginning next Monday (7/22), Kentucky Broadcasters Association president Chris Winkle will welcome students from five universities as the seventh annual “KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute” begins on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. “Winkle stresses, “We cannot stand on the sidelines wondering where the next generation of broadcasters will come from. We have to be proactive and intentional in our efforts to assist students on their journey into broadcasting, culminating with job placement.” Instant Sales Training’s Chris Lytle, who authored “The Accidental Salesperson” and “The Accidental Sales Manager,” takes on the opening session. Among those slated to lead sales and management panels are NAB executive vice president Steve Newberry; CapCity Communications Kentucky/Seven Mountains Media Pennsylvania chief executive officer Kristin Cantrell; Forever Communications Bowling Green president Christine Hillard; Forcht Broadcasting Somerset (Kentucky) president/chief executive officer Mike Tarter; Heritage Media Leitchfield (Kentucky) president/chief executive officer Mark Buckles; Commonwealth Communications Bowling Green chief operating officer Dale Thornhill; and Commonwealth Communications chief revenue officer/Swagger Institute president Derron Steenbergen. Next Friday (7/26), Alpha Media Louisville CHR WDJX “99.7 DJX – All the Hits” morning drive talents Ben Davis & Kelly K will broadcast from the institute with the students as the studio audience. Cromwell Radio Group Nashville president Bud Walters will do the closing session and the students will get certification as RAB radio marketing professionals.
New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Now Posted. The recently launched one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by TALKERS that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media, has been posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeart Media’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “Is the President a Racist?” looks back at the week of July 15-19, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center. The show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week in review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available to terrestrial news/talk stations on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and its complete archives), please click here.
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets.
West Palm Beach
Spoken-Word Formats – Continuing its positive run, iHeartMedia-owned WJNO is a collective +1.1 in four successive sweeps without a loss (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.1, 6+) and repeats at #9. This is the first time “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” reaches the three-share level (3.1, 6+) since December 2017’s 3.3. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for co-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk For The Palm Beaches” is: 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.0 (#12 to #13, 6+). It is part of a three-way #13 tie with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFTL, which regains 75% of May’s -.4 (1.7 – 2.0, +.3, #15 to #13, 6+); “News Talk 850” improved by eight-tenths in April. While flat at #22, iHeartMedia Miami news/talker WIOD “610 News Radio” picks up two-tenths (.6 to .8, 6+).
Co-owned sports talk WBZT “1230 The Zone” posted a .1 (6+) in August 2018 but has been a “no-show” in the subsequent 11 sweeps.
Returning the one-tenth it picked up in May (2.9 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+), Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN slips from eighth to tenth.
West Palm Beach Music Formats – In six straight upticks, iHeartMedia CHR WLDI “WiLD 95.5 The Palm Beaches’ #1 Hit Music Station” is +1.6 (2.5 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.9 – 4.1, fifth to fourth, 6+) and reaches the four-share level (4.1) for the first time since August 2018 (4.0). Not only does Spanish contemporary cluster-mate WRLX explode with a +1.2 (2.0 – 3.2, 6+), “Mia 92.1” vaults into the top ten (#13 to #8). This (3.2) more than doubles (+1.7) where WRLX was this time last year (1.5, 6+, June 2018). Albeit a combined -3.0 in its third successive decrease (11.2 – 9.0 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting hot AC WRMF is #1 the sixth month in a row. “Variety from the 90s and Now” logged a +2.0 in March to 11.2, its highest 6+-share since November 2017 (11.2, as well). This (8.2), however, is its lowest since “Holiday” 2017 (8.2, as well). Having faltered by -1.0 in January, WRMF was frozen on 9.2 (6+) in January and February. Urban AC sibling WMBX “X-102.3” sputters by nine-tenths in back-to-back sweeps (5.9 – 5.0 – 4.1, 6+) but remains in fourth-place. An April gain of six-tenths took WMBX to 5.9, its highest 6+-share since May 2018’s 6.2. Following three successive West Palm Beach increases for a collective +1.0 (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 2.4, 6+), iHeartMedia Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100” is down one-tenth to 2.3 (6+) and carries on at #11. Off a combined eight-tenths in May/June (2.7 – 2.5 – 1.9, 6+), WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF “WAY-FM Uplifting – Upbeat – Real” drifts from the top ten (#10 to #16). At the same time iHeartMedia-owned adult contemporary WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” substitutes May’s loss of one-tenth with a June increase of two-tenths (7.0 – 7.2, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEAT-FM “Sunny 107.9” is an overall -1.7 via three straight decreases (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.8 – 6.5, 6+). Whereas 7.2 is the best 6+-showing for “Kool” since July 2016’s 7.5, “Sunny” has its softest 6+-stat (6.5) since 5.0 in November 2018. The two AC rivals – WOLL and WEAT-FM – continue at second and third, respectively.
Spoken-Word Formats – Four successive down or flat trends by iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” account for a collective -1.2 (4.4 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2, #12 to #11, 6+). This immediately follows January/February’s +1.4 (3.0 – 4.3 – 4.4, 6+).
The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” is: .9 – .8 – .9 – .9 (#15 to #16, 6+),
Anchored at #13 for the 14th consecutive time, Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” answers April’s loss of seven-tenths (2.3 – 1.6, 6+) with back-to-back (May and June) increases of two-tenths (1.6 – 1.8 – 2.0, 6+). Repeating at #17, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC logs a .8 (6+) for the third time in the last four reports (.8 – .5 – .8 – .8, 6+).
Greensboro Music Formats – In addition to cracking the top ten (#11 to #9), iHeartMedia-owned rocker WVBZ nets +1.6 in three upticks in a row (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1, 6+) and “105.7 – Man Up” reaches the four-share level (6+) for the first time since November 2018 (4.0). Over and above recording a June improvement of one-half share (9.3 – 9.8, 6+), Entercom adult hits WSMW “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” marches from second to first. Its six most recent fluctuations are: +.9 (January); -.6 (February); +.9 (March); -1.6 (April); +1.1 (May); and +.5 (June). Prior to its March-only stay at #1, WSMW last reached #1 in August 2016 when it logged a 10.5 (6+). In tandem with “Simon” picking up one-half share and shifting from second to first, co-owned urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” falters by one-half share (9.8 – 9.3, 6+) and segues from first to second. An April increase of six-tenths pulled the plug on five straight declines that resulted in a -2.3 (11.4 – 10.8 – 10.3 – 9.9 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+). On top in January and February, WQMG’s consecutive streak of reaching double-digits (6+) was snapped at 26 in January. Replicating May’s loss of seven-tenths (4.6 – 3.9 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM” departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Heading into the May sweep, “Kiss” was a collective +1.8 via four consecutive upticks (2.8 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 4.6, 6+). In April (2019), it reached the four-share level (4.6, 6+) for the first time since April 2018’s 4.1. Within 5.1 – 5.7 range the fifth straight report (5.7 – 5.4 – 5.2 – 5.3 – 5.1, 6+), Dick Broadcasting’s WKZL “107.5 The #1 Hit Music Station” slips from seventh to eighth. Deadlocked in sixth place are Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” (flat at 5.3, seventh to sixth, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” (5.7 – 5.3, -.4, unchanged at #6, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase, WTQR was a cumulative -1.0 (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, 6+), but erased 70% of that deficit in May with a +.7 to 5.7 (6+). Flat in March, “Q-104.1” cancelled out January’s +.7 with a February -.7 (5.3 – 6.0 – 5.3, 6+). Before dropping two-tenths in March, “The Wolf” had three consecutive shifts of one-half share: -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.5 (February). Over the course of the last 14 sweeps (June 2018 through June 2019), WTQR has prevailed over WPAW nine times (June 2018, July, August, September, October, November, “Holiday” 2018, January 2019, and May); WPAW has come out on top four times (December 2018, February 2019, March, and April; and the two are tied in June 2019 (5.3, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Even though iHeartMedia news/talk WREC picks up one-tenth to 4.2 (6+), “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” backslides from eighth to ninth.
In five straight reports without an increase, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has lost six-tenths (4.0 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+), yet climbs from #12 to #11. Its internet stream appeared with a .1 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2018; disappeared from print in January and February; but logs a .1 (6+) for the fourth straight time (flat at #18, 6+). It is again tied (at #18) with co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790,” which is without an increase the 12th straight time (including ten consecutive .1 showings) for a collective loss of three-tenths (.4 – .4 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 -.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+).
Memphis Music Formats – Five straight upticks by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WHRK, including June’s +1.0, result in a +2.7 (6.8 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.7 – 8.5 – 9.5, 6+) as “K-97.1” advances from third to second. In addition, WHRK reaches the nine-share level (9.5, 6+) for the first time since May 2018’s 9.4. Logging its fourth consecutive increase, gospel cluster-mate WHAL “Hallelujah 95.7 – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” nets +1.6 (5.8 – 6.4 – 7.0 – 7.1 – 7.4, steady at #4, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.4) since August 2015’s 7.5. Three streaks are in-play at co-owned urban AC KJMS. On the plus side, it is #1 the eighth time in a row. A loss of six-tenths though means “V-101” is down or flat the fourth straight time for a collective -1.8 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+). Prior to June’s 9.8 (6+), KJMS reached double-digits (6+) in each of the last 14 ratings periods. “Holiday” 2018’s 12.8 is the highest 6+-share since December 2012’s 13.5 for “V-101,” which was +2.3 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (10.5 – 11.5 – 12.8, 6+). Suffering a May 2019 – June 2019 (6+) erosion twice that of “V-101” is Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO “103.5 The Best Mix of R&B” (8.7 – 7.5, -1.2, second to third, 6+). The last time WRBO (7.5) fell below an eight-share (6+) was February 2018’s 7.7. While unchanged at #6, iHeartMedia classic rock WEGR “Rock 102.7,” whose consecutive trio of improvements yielded nine-tenths (4.3 – 4.4 – 4.6 – 5.2, 6+), forfeits three-tenths to 4.9 (6+). Also in that iHeartMedia cluster, WDIA “AM 1070 – The Heart & Soul of Memphis” is -2.1 in five successive setbacks (5.3 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.2, #12 to #13, 6+). The market’s (6+) adult contemporary share improves by two-tenths, equally divided between Entercom’s WRVR “104.5 The River” (6.5 – 6.6, +.1, steady at #5, 6+) and Cumulus Media’s WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (.9 – 1.0, +.1, unchanged at #16, 6+). “The River” had been an overall -2.4 in three straight declines (8.9 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+) and while “Holiday” 2018’s 11.3 is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 (#6), May’s 6.5 is its lowest since June 2017’s 6.0. Seven recent WRVR fluctuations include: +2.4 (October 2018); -1.6 (December); +2.0 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.1 (January 2019); +.7 (February); -1.1 (March); and -1.2 (May). Meanwhile, “The Bridge” squandered nearly half (-.7) its 6+ AQH-share in April/May (1.6 – 1.1 – .9, 6+) and had its lowest 6+-stat (.9, May 2019) since transitioning from urban-rhythmic oldies to AC in late-2017. “The Bridge” reached the five-share level (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, but was a combined -4.0 in January/February (5.1 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Trending 7.3 – 7.6 – 7.3 – 7.4 (March 2019 through June 2019, 6+), Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” inches up from third to second. By gaining two-tenths to 1.0 (6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM pulls the plug on four consecutive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a one-half share loss (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .8, 6+). “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” finished at #14 in January, February, and March, and then #15 in April, May, and June. In a true mark of consistency, iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410” logs a .1 (#19 to #17, 6+) the 13th report in a row; it was a “no-show” in June 2018.
Stuck on 1.8 (6+) in March and April, iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” follows with a combined May/June loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5, flat at #12, 6+).
A collective -1.1 in three straight drops (5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” remains at #9. Returning 80% of April/May’s +.5 (1.6 – 1.2, -.4, 6+), University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” slips from #12 to #13.
Hartford Music Formats – Vaulting from eighth to third, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WHCN “105.9 The River” is a combined +1.9 in May/June (5.3 – 5.7 – 7.2, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.2) since May 2018’s 7.7. Three straight negative trends by CHR sibling WKSS produced a loss of eight-tenths (6.9 – 6.8 – 6.2 – 6.1, 6+), but “Kiss 95.7” erases that deficit completely with a combined May/June gain of eight-tenths (6.1 – 6.3 – 6.9, sixth to fourth, 6+). Having surrendered -1.9 via three drops in a row (7.9 – 6.6 – 6.5 – 6.0, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX “Hot 93.7” ends the slide by gaining one-tenth to 6.1 (seventh to eighth, 6+). The just-concluded streak directly followed January/February’s +1.1 (6.8 – 7.7 – 7.9, 6+). On top the 36th consecutive time, adult contemporary sibling WRCH falters by four-tenths (10.8 – 10.4, 6+). Recent “Lite 100.5” fluctuations include: -.8 (November 2018); +1.8 (December); +5.6 (“Holiday” 2018 to 18.0, the strongest 6+-showing for any Hartford station since WRCH recorded an 18.3 in “Holiday” 2017); -6.9 (January); +1.0 (February; -1.0 (March); -1.3 (April); and +1.0 (May). Prior to slipping to 9.8 in April, WRCH was in double-digits (6+) in 30 of the previous 32 sweeps. Hot AC cluster-mate WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC-FM,” which was up nine-tenths in April, erodes by a combined -2.0 in May/June (8.5 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+), dipping from second to sixth. This is the fifth straight time that Red Wolf Broadcasting alternative WMRQ “Radio 104.1” is without an increase for a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.4, ninth to tenth, 6+). Segueing from fourth to fifth, iHeartMedia-owned WWYZ “Country 92.5” is a cumulative -1.0 in five consecutive negative or neutral reports (7.7 – 7.0 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 6.8 – 6.7, 6+). After three straight increases yielded a +1.1 (5.3 – 5.4 – 6.0 – 6.4, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale – Connecticut’s Classic Rock” slips by one-tenth to 6.3 (fifth to seventh, 6+).
Meruelo Media Los Angeles’ KXOS Becomes “Cali 93.9.” Exactly as Meruelo Media president Otto Padron foreshadowed in this space yesterday (Thursday, 7/18), changes would be forthcoming at newly-acquired Los Angeles property, regional Mexican KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9.” With a bi-lingual presentation, speculation became reality yesterday at frequency-related 9:39 am when KXOS transitioned to Latin urban “Cali 93.9 – #1 for Reggaeton and More.” Padron promises that “Cali 93.9” will be “the most Caliente station in Cali – not just because the music transcends language as it has exploded into mainstream popularity, but because we will place this format on one of the most powerful radio signals in Los Angeles.” Interim program director DJ E-Man notes that “Cali 93.9” will feature “the best up-tempo hit music by today’s Latin superstars [such as] Cardi B, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Maluma. These artists are mass appeal; ‘Cali 93.9’ is the sound of Southern Cali.” General manager of Meruelo Media Los Angeles’ KWHY-TV, Irma Barrios, adds similar “Cali 93.9” duties, while the company’s vice president of marketing, Dianna Jason, takes over “Cali 93.9” marketing responsibilities. Air talent and other department heads will be named shortly and the station will switch call letters from KXOS to KLLI. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 report for Los Angeles, KXOS picks up three-tenths (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The program director/brand manager for KVGS “Star 107.9” and KOAS “Jammin’ 105.7 – Kris Fisher – exits the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas hot AC and urban AC stations ….. The next installment of Country Radio Broadcasters’ CRS360 webinar series will be next Thursday (7/25) at 12:00 noon. The episode is “Country Radio 2019: Mid-Year Ratings and State of The Format Report,” and will feature KILT-FM, Houston program director Chris Huff and KNCI, Sacramento program director Joey Tack. Senior vice president of promotion for MCA Nashville, Katie Dean, will be the moderator. CRS executive director RJ Curtis notes that this episode will examine “national shares in key demos, comparing PPM and diary-measured markets, and highlight success stories in certain markets, and, at specific stations. The July session will include a broader ‘state of the format’ discussion, with a goal of identifying potentially strong music trends, emerging artists, and how country radio can better compete with other platforms exposing country music. The purpose of our monthly CRS360 webinar is to provide valuable, timely information and actionable takeaways which help our constituents better serve their respective communities, and broaden the appeal of country music.” Viewing CRS360 is free, but those interested should pre-register ….Former one-year morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5,” Ali Mac, arrives for morning drive duty on Cox Media Group Jacksonville adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 102.9.” WEZI operations manager/program director Todd Shannon notes that Mac is “an amazing talent with so much energy, passion and enthusiasm.” She had been part of the “Kicks” wakeup show with Cadillac Jack before exiting this past January ….. Recent University of Illinois graduate Gavin Granstrom joins contemporary Christian WAY Media as producer/digital media specialist on “The Wally Show.” He replaces Zach Boehm, who was promoted to director/digital content. According to network program director Todd Stach, “Gavin has lived up to everything we saw and loved about him in the interview process. He’s a great culture fit and I can’t wait to see him grow in his role.” Host of WAY-FM’s “The Wally Show,” “Wally,” notes, “It isn’t easy to replace Zach’s 12 years of history, experience, and chemistry; however, Gavin has a great attitude and a servant’s heart. He understands professional excellence and strives for that. He also understands the importance of kindness and treating people well, which are skills you cannot teach.” Granstrom comments, “It’s such an honor to join and serve alongside this incredibly talented team. I’m so thankful to have an opportunity to share life with WAY-FM listeners, and I can’t wait to be part of how God continues to work through the ministry.”
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
Hubbard Radio Phoenix Names Karis VP/Sales. It marks a return to the day-to-day radio business for Susan Karis, who is appointed vice president of sales for Hubbard Radio Phoenix. She has spent the last nearly four years as group publisher of Cities West Publications and will begin her new duties in several weeks. Hubbard Radio Phoenix market manager Trip Reeb comments, “Having someone of Susan’s stature and background join our cluster and company is an incredible opportunity.” Karis remarks, “Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you just know is right – joining Hubbard Radio Phoenix is one of them. I am excited to come back to radio with Trip and his team, and to become part of Hubbard Radio.” For seven years, Karis was Phoenix-based executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia (Clear Channel); one year as senior vice president of operations; and six years as market manager/director of sales. Prior to that, the Arizona State University grad logged 13 years (1985 – 1998) as general sales manager for Nationwide Communications. Karis replaces Jeff England, who became market manager of Hubbard’s stations in Chicago. The Hubbard Radio Phoenix cluster consists of classic rock KLSX (6.0, #2, 6+, Nielsen Audio PPM, November 2016); KUPD “Arizona’s Real Rock” (5.1, #3, 6+); KDKB “93.3 Arizona’s Alternative” (2.4, #19, 6+); KAZG “Oldies 1440 & 92.7” (1.2, #26, 6+); and KDUS “AM 1060 NBC Sports Radio” (.1, #32, 6+). The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ (6.3, 6+).
Johnston Joins Beasley Las Vegas As GSM. After five months as senior account executive at crosstown Cox Business, Karolyn Johnston is appointed general sales manager of Beasley Media Group’s five-station Las Vegas cluster. Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Mark Sturcken states that years ago, he “had the pleasure working alongside Karolyn. Her energy, enthusiasm, relationships in the Las Vegas market, knowledge and passion for our business are second to none. With more than two decades of media experience, Karolyn brings tremendous value to our leadership team.” According to Johnston, she is “so happy to be on board. There are great things on deck for us [owing to] Beasley Media Group’s reputation in Las Vegas, along with the smart, seasoned roster of media professionals that make up this group. I simply could not be more delighted to be a part of this team as we move into the new year.” Johnston previously was integrated marketing specialist at iHeartMedia Las Vegas; account executive for Cumulus Media Atlanta; senior account manager for Atlanta’s WQXI-AM “The Zone”; and an account executive for Seattle’s KIRO-TV. From November 2002 to March 2009, she was an account executive at Cox Media Group Las Vegas. With their November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM (6+) average quarter hour share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Las Vegas consists of classic hits-oldies KKLZ (7.2, #1); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.8, #4); country KCYE “The Coyote” (2.5, #15); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.3, #19); and talk KDWN (1.1, #24).
Figueredo Named WOKV Director/B&P. Most recently assistant director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group Orlando talker WDBO-FM, Nick Figueredo transfers to similarly-programmed Jacksonville sibling WOKV as director of branding and programming. Cox Media Group Jacksonville director of radio operations Todd Shannon remarks, “After working closely with Nick over the past three months as we interviewed for the position, it became very apparent that he has the passion, vision, and leadership to take WOKV to even greater ratings success.” Figueredo – who has worked for the company’s Orlando cluster the past seven years – notes, “I am very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity. From the day I was hired at WDBO-FM, I knew my future was with Cox Media Group. I am now taking the next step in my career.” Powered by a hefty October 2016 – November 2016 gain of +1.7 (7.2 – 8.9, 6+), WOKV finishes first in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 Jacksonville PPM report.
Mason to Mark KEX Homecoming. After leaving KEX, Portland three years ago, Mark Mason will return to the iHeartMedia talk facility for a daily three-hour air-shift beginning next month (1/23). Along with the late Dave Anderson, Mason co-hosted “The Mark & Dave Show” on KEX. He notes that Anderson’s passing and his own health issues involving a blood clot in his leg changed his perspective on life. “It has been such a tumultuous ride that when I found myself able to breathe again, I felt an overwhelming need to take control of my life again,” he writes. “My decision to come back home to KEX was part of it.” Most recently, the public-address announcer for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers was an on-air talent at crosstown Pamplin’s KPAM-AM. Just over three weeks ago (11/23), Michael Castner departed KEX to begin a podcast. Among persons 6+ in the November 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM, KEX finishes in a four-way tie at #17 (2.1), while Alpha Media talker KXL-FM is at #6 (4.9, 6+). KEX adult contemporary sibling KKCW “K-103” and public KOPB are tied for the lead (7.7, 6+).
Crowley Chosen As NSC Senior Director/Strategic Communications. Immediately rumored to be in line for a position in the Trump administration, former syndicated radio host Monica Crowley will be senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. “I am deeply honored, humbled, and grateful to be asked by the president-elect to join the extraordinary national security team he is assembling,” the Fox News Channel commentator and Washington Times columnist comments. “With vision, courage, and moral clarity, he is committed fully to re-establishing America’s singular place in the world. He is also committed to selecting the best people for the jobs of keeping the American people safe and the country secure. It will be a great privilege to serve with them.” Prior to her combined 10 years of doing syndicated talk radio for Westwood One and Talk Radio Network, Crowley spent four years as an on-air host in New York City on Cumulus Media talker WABC.
Pinto Promoted to BMG VP/Information Technology. Two-year Charlotte-based information technology director for Beasley Media Group – Nick Pinto – is bumped up to vice president of information technology. The company’s chief technology officer Mike Cooney comments, “Nick has proven himself over the past several years and he was invaluable during our recent Greater Media acquisition. Nick will be overseeing the capital budget for IT and supervising the IT managers in the local markets. His strong customer service skills made him the obvious choice for this new corporate position.” Pinto remarks, “I am honored to join our dedicated Beasley corporate team. I have always believed that working hard will you give you many rewards – this promotion is one of them. My thanks to Mike Cooney for his faith in my abilities and to market manager Bill Schoening for his constant support for more than a decade.” Pinto has been overseeing the IT infrastructure in Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster since 2004.
Public WUSF Adds Colombini as Producer. Former WCBS-AM, New York City reporter Stephanie Colombini is named producer of “Florida Matters,” the public affairs show of University of South Florida-owned WUSF, Tampa. In addition, Colombini will contribute to state and local news coverage as part of the “Health News Florida” team. WUSF Public Media general manager JoAnn Urofsky states, “Stephanie will be a wonderful addition to our news team. She has a wide variety of skills, and I know she will play a major role in enhancing ‘Florida Matters’ and many other WUSF programs; we are fortunate to have her here.” New York native/Fordham University graduate Colombini comments, “It is a real honor to join such an esteemed group of journalists. I am excited to start covering news in the Sunshine State.” WUSF ranks tenth (4.1) among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s November 2016 PPM report, while Cox Media Group adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” is the pacesetter with a 9.4 (6+).
Odds & Sods. Budget cutbacks at KNX result in the departure of three familiar voices. Exiting the CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news operation are mid-day anchor Linda Nunez, who had been with the station the past 26 years; sports director Steve Grad (23 years with KNX); and reporter Ed Mertz who transitioned to KNX in 2009 from former news cluster-mate KFWB where he had been since 2000 ….. Word out of the Windy City via reliable source RobertFeder.com is that after three years on Chicago’s WLS-AM, Westwood One’s Michael Savage will disappear from the Cumulus Media talker at the end of the year. WLS-AM had been delay-broadcasting Savage from 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight ….. Ordinarily, an item about a forthcoming movie wouldn’t warrant much of our attention. In this case, however, it is he identity of the executive producer of “Let There Be Light,” a film about an atheist finding religion, that is noteworthy as it is none other than … Premiere Networks’ host and Fox News Channel talent Sean Hannity ….. In its sixth annual, 17-hour, December 1 “Pasta-thon,” iHeartMedia Los Angeles talker KFI raised over $320,000 and collected 90,000 pounds of food for “Caterina’s Club.” Throughout the KFI “Pasta-thon,” station personalities Bill Handel, Aron Bender, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffman, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou and Tim Conway Jr. were on-site, encouraging listeners to donate packaged pasta, jars of pasta sauce, and money to help feed underprivileged children. Everything gathered helps provide a balanced meal every night to more than 1,800 low-income children in over 15 cities in Los Angeles and Orange County ….. Earlier this month (12/3), Alpha Media talker WFTL, West Palm Beach helped to raise more than $40,000 as part of the city’s “Walk to Cure Arthritis.” Station on-air talent Rich Stevens comments, “My mom has been affected by this awful disease and I see the pain it causes her. Now that I have been involved, I know it has nothing to do with age. It can affect anyone at any age, which is why I wanted to be part of this great cause to help find a cure.” Arthritis Foundation development manager Lisa Roeberg remarks, “It was truly inspiring to see so many of our arthritis champions taking another step toward victory.” ….. When Townsquare Media-owned WPGG “Talk Radio 104.1,” Atlantic City (New Jersey) morning man Harry Hurley learned that 100 children who attend Pleasantville’s Christian Ministry Impact of God Church were not going to have Christmas this year, he thought “that was unacceptable” so, the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” is writing a cash grant for the church today (Friday, 12/16). Hurley tells TALKERS, “I have partnered with Atlantic County Toys for Kids program and, we have obtained 100 new children’s toys for the church. I am also going to help raise $500 more in cash donations on-air this morning.”
‘Tis The Season. Celebrating last night (Thursday, 12/15) at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas Christmas party are Las Vegas-based GNC Network syndicated personality Dr. Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP; market general manager Tom Humm; and KDWN program director-news director-morning anchor John Shaffer.
Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominees Top News Talk Stories for Week of December 12-16. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for this week. At #2 was the allegation the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC computers, tied with the CIA’s refusal to testify before congress on the matter. Coming in at #3 was Donald Trump’s meeting with Silicon Valley executives, followed by the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates and the record high Dow Jones industrial average at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com View this week’s entire chart here.