Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.
Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.
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 April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.
KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area. We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”
TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”
Cumulus Makes $50 Million Debt Prepayment. This latest debt payment by Cumulus Media is in the amount of $50 million and was funded by the net proceeds from the previously announced sale of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media that closed last week (7/17), plus cash on hand. Cumulus says, “With this prepayment, the Company has reduced its debt by approximately $250 million since emerging from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018, bringing the Company’s total debt to approximately $1.05 billion.”
Monday Memo: Say What? Part Deux. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about things you and your on-air talent should never say on the radio. From expressions that are dated to common English-language snafus, HC lists some of the most-often-heard mistakes that broadcasters should never make. See his column here.
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Another Hour to ‘Hammer and Nigel’ Show. The Indianapolis Business Journal published a big piece on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis’s afternoon drive program, “Hammer and Nigel,” hosted by Jason Hammer and Nigel Laskowski revealing the Emmis Communications news/talk station is adding the 3:00 pm hour to the show’s current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm air time. The reason for adding the hour is the show’s outstanding success has created such a demand for local advertising that the station wants more inventory. Quoted in the piece is Kristine Warski, a media director for the local ad agency MKR, who says, “‘The Hammer and Nigel Show’ is a bit different from your traditional news/talk show. They’ve fused news and entertainment and, by doing so, are attracting a younger audience than news-talk has traditionally.” See the IBJ piece here.
The New Yorker Piece Looks at Allegations by KABC’s Leeann Tweeden The Brought Down Al Franken. A lengthy story by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker takes an in-depth look at the case of former U.S. Senator — and one-time Air America talk radio host — Al Franken, who resigned his senate seat after a photo showing him pretending to grab the breasts of KABC-AM, Los Angeles talk host Leeann Tweeden appeared in the media. Now, more than 18 months after Franken left the senate, he’s interviewed for the story that addresses due process, the #MeToo movement, and whether Franken should have resigned at all. (Spoiler alert: Franken regrets resigning his position.) See the story here.
Is Talk Radio Responsible for the Tone of Today’s National Conversation? Former longtime talk radio host Tom Becka (KMBZ and KCMO, Kansas City; KFAB and KOIL, Omaha) expresses his feelings about his responsibility as part of the talk radio industry for the polarized state of public discourse in America. Becka, in an op-ed on KPTM-TV, Omaha “FOX 42,” says, “ I don’t think I personally contributed to what is going on, but I worked for stations with syndicated shows that did – shows that stoked fears about Muslims, stoked fears about minorities, shows that stoked fears about liberals and others that were different than them.” See his entire commentary here.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Presentation of the Freedom of Speech Award to Brian Kilmeade. 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 (7/22) post features the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel. Posted Friday (7/19): 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. Already posted: 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. Also 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; 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. Also already posted: 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.
Siegel: Talk Radio Can Impact Regime Change in Iran. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Siegel writes in a piece today about the efforts to foment regime change in Iran and what role talk radio hosts in America can play in helping achieve that goal. Siegel says, “Now there is a real and tangible option being offered as a new government in Iran by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Led by Madame Maryam Rajavi, this organization has grown in stature and respect over the years and has offered an option of peaceful government living as a civilized neighbor to other countries in the Middle East.” Read Siegel’s piece here.
WABC’s John Batchelor Broadcasts from Tokyo This Week. WABC, New York’s late-night John Batchelor show is broadcasting live from the center of Tokyo all this week (7/22-26). The broadcast is being sponsored by global digital technology company Scala Inc. in conjunction with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All week long, Batchelor will travel widely to meet with and interview leaders from across Japanese culture, including: the Nippon Professional Baseball Association; the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 asteroid probe program; the celebrated Cherry Association maintaining the pantheon of Japanese cherry trees; Toyota’s Autonomous Vehicle development; and the Central Japan Railway’s MAGLEV project. Also scheduled to appear on the show is Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano.
TALKERS News Notes. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Saga Communications’ news/talk WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts has named its studio the Barbara J. Kuschka WHMP studio in honor of station traffic manager Barbara Kuschka, who recently celebrated 50 years of service to the radio station. The article says, “Since she began work in 1969, Kuschka has been a behind-the-scenes figure, who one person described as the glue that holds the station together in her work as traffic manager.”…..Entercom Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Athletics announce they’ve signed a new, multi-year extension of their broadcasting partnership. As part of the deal, sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” will serve as flagship station for Panthers football and men’s basketball. Sister stations news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020,” hot AC WBZZ “100.7 Star,” and country WDSY “Y108” will provide coverage and promotional support.
Mueller Testimony, New Trump Impeachment Talk, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Alleges CIA Arrests, Immigration Reform/Border Wall, and Summer Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. This week’s testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller; House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” charge against Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claims it has arrested 17 CIA spies; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and the border wall status; and the weekend’s hot weather in much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Josh Wolff is named program director for iHeartMedia’s CHR WAEB “B104” and rock WZZO in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This is an internal move for Wolff, who was most recently marketing director and APD at the company’s Phoenix station group for adult contemporary KKEZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain.” Wolff takes over for Derrick Cole, who accepted a role with the company’s National Programming Group as contemporary hit radio program director…..At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” morning personality Dori Zori is named assistant program director. WYMS PD Jordan Lee comments, “Dori’s 20-plus years in non-commercial radio make her the perfect fit for the role. Dori will also lead some new and exciting programming plans that are in the works at ‘Radio Milwaukee.’”
Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties. He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff. He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.” Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha. NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about. Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.” Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.
Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.” Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas. He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6). About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success. Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share. It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017. The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million. The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment. It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017. Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019. I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history. Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions. We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.” Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold. “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company. The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”
Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned. A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April. The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history. Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s. DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world. And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites. Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.” Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year. Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets. She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more. Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois. Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.” According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.
Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11. Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade. The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O. ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders. It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface. Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app. ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters. ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.
Broadcasting from CPAC. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right). The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.
TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results. The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca. Check out a demo of the WCCO package here. Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage. Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.” It debuts March 4. Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.
Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action 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. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide. The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY. He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”
iHeartCommunications Declines to Make $106 Million Cash Interest Payment. This move, like Cumulus Media’s similar tactic last fall, is designed to spur action in the company’s efforts to restructure its debt. Today, iHeartCommunications, Inc. (iHeartMedia is the parent company of iHeartCommunications) announced that its board of directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million (due today, 2/1) to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring. “The board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to proactively and comprehensively address the company’s capital structure. The decision will not trigger an event of default under the indenture as the company will utilize a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the notes. The board is considering options as part of its strategy to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt.”
SiriusXM Q4 Revenue Up 8%. The satellite radio company did take a loss of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that was due to a $185 million charge associated with the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the year of 2017, SiriusXM’s net revenue was positive to the tune of $648 million. In the fourth quarter, SiriusXM recorded a decrease of approximately $72 million in the fair value of its investment in Pandora, reversing the prior quarter’s unrealized gains. The satcaster reports that it gained 1.56 million self-pay subscribers during 2017 to put its total self-pay subscribers at approximately 27.5 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “The fourth quarter capped a strong year for SiriusXM and was our best quarter for self-pay subscriber growth in five years. We exceeded all of our 2017 subscriber and financial guidance, even after increasing these targets during the year. I am particularly pleased that we achieved this growth in an environment of slowing auto sales.”
‘Radio War’ Gets KBME, Houston Booted from Super Bowl Radio Row. A good old-fashioned radio war tactic escalated tensions between iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston “SportsTalk 790” and Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sportsradio 610,” resulting in KBME losing its credentials to broadcast from the Super Bowl LII radio row. It all started when KBME morning host Josh Innes sent his producer, Jim Mudd, to video KILT-AM’s Seth Payne and Mike Meltser as they did their show. It had the intended consequence of riling up Payne, who soon was in a verbal argument with Innes. Audio from the confrontation ended up on both stations’ airwaves. WEEI, Boston’s Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane (mornings on the Entercom sports talk station) were broadcasting their show nearby and captured the donnybrook on video. After it was all over, the NFL removed KBME from the radio row. See the Houston Chronicle’s story and the WEEI-shot video here.
KXL, Portland Announces New Afternoon Team. The new afternoon drive team for Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” is Lucinda Kay and Cooper Banks. Kay is promoted from her part-time position with the station. She has an extensive background in radio and television news. She launched her career in journalism in 1994, working as a TV news anchor and reporter – in both English and Spanish – for several years. She hosted her own talk show in Spokane. She started freelancing for KXL in 2016. Cooper Banks worked as an afternoon DJ at KWKJ, Warrensburg, Misourri in 2004. He was hired as news director for KMXL/KDMO, Joplin, Missouri two years later. He later jumped to KMBZ, Kansas City as a producer, reporter, and news anchor. Alpha Media Portland content director Bruce Collins says, “I am extremely excited to work each day with Cooper and Lucinda. They have the talent that will take KXL to a new level in pm drive.”
Westwood One at Super Bowl LII. The official network radio partner of the NFL and Super Bowl LII reports that it is on the scene in Minneapolis preparing for its coverage of the game. Westwood One says it’s been busy taping interviews and special features for the coverage. In addition, its personalities (and some from partner NBC Sports Radio) have been visiting radio row. Above is Super Bowl XXXI-winning coach Mike Holmgren (center), one of Westwood One’s Super Bowl LII analysts, doing an interview with KKFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” personalities Dan Barriero (right) and Justin Gaard (left).
26th Wing Bowl Takes Place Tomorrow Morning. With SportsRadio 94WIP’s Wing Bowl 26 taking place tomorrow morning at the Wells Fargo Center, the official weigh-in takes place tonight, live on WIP, Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Chickie’s and Pete’s. The Entercom sports talk station has scheduled 29 eaters to record their official “eating” weight and record their age, height, and hometown. Members from each eater’s entourage and Wingettes will be on hand to cheer on their favorite eaters to victory. This year, WIP personalities Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes will also compete in Wing Bowl 26. The Overall Winner of Wing Bowl 26 gets a 2018 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown, plus Steven Singer Jewelers is presenting $5,000 cash and a custom Championship Medal and Ring. The First Responders Champion Prize is a Harley Davidson XL 883N Iron Sportster Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson. The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5,000 Courtesy of Dr. Steven Davis & Davis Cosmetic Surgery, and Best Wing Bowl 26 Entourage wins $5,000 cash, courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers.
NRG Media Names New General Managers in Omaha and Wausau. There are new general managers at NRG Media’s Omaha and Wausau station groups. Kurt Luchs leaves the Wausau, Wisconsin station group where he’s been GM for almost five years to lead the Omaha cluster that includes news/talk KOIL and sports talkers KOZN and KOZT. In Wausau, Aleese Fielder is promoted from director of sales to general manager. NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass says, “The goal of NRG Media is to be a destination company for our team to build a career, so I am very excited to be able to promote from within. These promotions are well deserved, together Kurt and Aleese turned Wausau around and helped make it one of the most successful markets in the company. We like to reward a job well done and these moves are a definite win-win for two very talented teams.
Major National Programming Executives Set to Speak at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The roster continues to grow as the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention continues to name what will be a stellar list of some 50 or more leaders from the programming, talent, sales, management, ownership and technical sectors of the field. Convention organizers have named (in alphabetical order): Canadian radio giant Bell Media national news/talk format head (and PD of NEWSTALK 1010, Toronto), Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia SVP of news/talk/sports programming, Chris Berry; Salem Media Group SVP/director, spoken word format, Phil Boyce; and Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming, Mike McVay. These outstanding individuals join (in alphabetical order) Beasley Broadcasting CEO, Caroline Beasley; Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; PodcastOne founder/executive chairman Norm Pattiz; and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as conference speakers. More speakers will be announced here in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the event. For more information about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! see story below.
TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end tomorrow (Friday, February 2 at 5:00 pm ET). Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and at the 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. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. 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. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
TALKERS News Notes. In the Winchester, Virginia market, Centennial Broadcasting changes the simulcast of classic country on WZFC-FM, Strasburg, Virginia and will instead simulcast its news/talk WINC, Winchester “Newstalk 1400” on WZFC’s 104.9 FM signal. Company market manager Larry Weiss says, “Centennial Winchester is excited about the prospects of extending the reach of our highly regarded ‘Newstalk 1400’ station programming further south in the Shenandoah Valley, utilizing the powerful WZFC signal. This move will allow us to extend the news/talk brand, including our roster of well-established national hosts, south of Winchester into the Warren and Shenandoah County areas.”…..WVLZ, Knoxville “Sports Radio 1180” owner Doug Mathews is selling the station to fellow Knoxville station owner Aaron Ishmael. He owns crosstown oldies WKCE. Ishmael begins operating WVLZ under an LMA today (2/1). The Knoxville News reports that two WVLZ personalities Tony Basilio and Jayson Swain – have ended their brokered arrangements with WVLZ. It’s not known if Ishmael intends to change the sports talk format…..JVC Media signs an extension to carry Frank MacKay’s two programs – “Breaking it Down” and “52 Players” – on WRCN, Riverhead (Long Island) and WSWN, Belle Glade, Florida (West Palm Beach).
State of the Union Address, FBI Memo Controversy, Trump-Russia Investigation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Gowdy to Leave Congress, Flu Epidemic, Social Media Fraud, Black Panther Film, and Super Bowl LII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the battle over whether to release the FBI memo that alleges law enforcement abuses and Congressman Adam Schiff’s allegation that Congressman Devin Nunes made changes to the memo; Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; Congressman Trey Gowdy announces he will not seek re-election; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the social media scandal involving allegations numerous high-profile people bought artificial followers from a firm called Devumi; the new superhero film Black Panther; and the build-up to Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Powerful Candid Conversation with WABC, New York Personality Curtis Sliwa on Harrison Podcast. New York City radio icon Curtis Sliwa is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sliwa, whom Harrison describes as a “performance artist,” is the founder and leader of the grassroots crime fighting organization the Guardian Angels, as well as serving as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party. Sliwa is a longtime Big Apple talk show host heard mostly on WABC during the past few decades. He is currently recovering from serious surgery in the aftermath of an ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease and other gastroenterological issues – resulting in him having to dry out from opioid addiction. Harrison and Sliwa talk about a range of subjects including prescription drugs, the state of radio, street crime, politics, Donald Trump and the peculiar nature of ego. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Some of the performers taking part at the March 11 iHeartRadio Music Awards are being announced by iHeartMedia. The fifth “fan-fueled” iHeartRadio Music Awards takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature: Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Charlie Puth and Backstreet Boys will be among the performers. The event is being hosted by Hailey Baldwin and DJ Khaled and is being simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET…..Alpha Media Dayton names programming pro Bo Matthews operations manager for the cluster and content director for adult hits WGTZ “92.9 Jack FM” and country WCLI “101.5 Hank FM.” Matthews was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Cincinnati. He began his career in Youngstown, Ohio with then-Jacor and worked his way up the programming ladder at Clear Channel and iHeartMedia. Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick comments, “Bo is a world-class, ‘A’-level programmer who is energized, pursues excellence as a habit, and understands the mission and how to achieve it. We look forward to his leadership on the Alpha content team.”…..Envision Networks announces that its ‘90s rock weekend show “The Core” adds new affiliates, bringing the Envision Rock Network affiliate count to more than 350. Adding the program are: KUBQ, La Grande, Oregon; WTCX, Ripon, Wisconsin; and WKBH, La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Beck Under Investigation for Trump Threat? According to a story published by KTVT-TV, Dallas, the Secret Service is following up on what it has construed as a possible threat by Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Glenn Beck against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. During Beck’s Friday program, Beck was speaking about what he would do if here were in Trump’s competitors’ shoes. Beck show cast member Stu Burguiere jokingly asked, “Was it gigantic shoes?” To which Beck replied, “If I was close enough and I had a knife. Really. I mean the stabbing just wouldn’t stop.” Beck and Burguiere said afterward that Beck was clearly making a humorous threat against his co-host but the Secret Service is looking in to whether it was a threat against Trump. See the KTVT-TV story here.
Super Saturday Primaries/Clinton-Sanders Debate, Nancy Reagan Dies, North Korea Nuclear Threats, and Peyton Manning Retires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The presidential race, Saturday’s primary elections and caucuses, and the Hillary Clinton–Bernie Sanders debate; the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan at 94; North Korea’s renewed threats of nuclear force; and the announced retirement of NFL great Peyton Manning were some of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KOIL, Omaha Unveils Programming Changes; New Brand. Recent programming changes at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha include the addition of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity to the afternoon daypart leading into Westwood One’s Mark Levin, plus the arrival of Matt Tompkins hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show. Tompkins – who replaces the recently departed Bob Bruce – hosted at KOIL in the past and is also the co-host/co-creator of “Omaha Live,” a sketch comedy TV show that airs immediately after “Saturday Night Live” on WOWT-TV, Omaha. Additionally, the station changes its brand from “The Mighty 1290 KOIL” to “News Talk 1290.” Station operations manager Dave Tepper states, “Matt provides his listeners with a young, entertaining and fast-paced view of local and national politics and is Omaha’s only local weekday news talk show from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The addition of Sean Hannity provides Omaha with the best election and national news coverage we can and the move to ‘News Talk 1290’ is a clear description of what we are.”
Delmarva Re-Aligns Programming on Delaware Talk Stations. Wilmington news/talker WDEL-AM/FM and Milford, Delaware talk outlet WXDE-FM have gone through a programming realignment. Here’s what’s changed: Susan Monday is now 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host simulcast on both stations, replacing Al Mascitti on WDEL; the Rick Jenson show is also being simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on both stations; Jared Morris is hosting the afternoon show on WXDE-FM and Allan Loudell anchors the afternoon news program on WDEL.
Pagliarulo Syndication Building at Healthy Clip. Heavy Hundred member Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo continues his momentum since going into independent national syndication last August. He’s up to 41 affiliates now and TALKERS has learned that a number of stations are looking to add the show this spring and summer. He broadcasts live between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. Stations interested in the program can learn more by contacting Susan O’Connell at Compass Media Networks at SOConnell@compassmedianetworks.com. To read Mike Kinosian’s recent TALKERS feature about Joe Pags, please click here.
The 2016 Hersky Awards. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz presents the winners of the 9th annual Hersky Awards for excellence in talk radio advertising. In this annual feature, Herskovitz gives his nod to what he considers the best in several categories: national commercial of the year, best ad campaign of the year, best national live read, best local spot by a national host, best website ad, and, of course, the Nosey Award for the ad or ad campaign that “needs improvement.” See the winners here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Big Daddy Graham Diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation After Marathon Hiccup Attack. Overnight sports talk personality Big Daddy Graham was smitten with a bout of hiccups that wouldn’t go away while doing his show on WIP-FM, Philadelphia. At first he thought it was kind of funny but when it didn’t stop, he became concerned. According to a story from CBS Philadelphia, he went to the hospital and was subsequently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm. The doctor that treated Graham says the hiccups are not a normal sign of atrial fibrillation but sources of stress can set the hiccups in motion and can do the same for atrial fibrillation. Graham’s hiccups have subsided but not gone away entirely after a three-day stay in the hospital. But he’s back on the radio and back to his standup comedy gigs as well. Read the CBS story here.
Odds & Sods. WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon talk host Brian Joyce recently emceed a live auction at the “HulaBowloo” – an annual event hosted by the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Joyce reports that the event was a smashing success; more than 700 people attended and it’s expected that $105,000 will be raised for the food bank that helps provide more than 420,000 meals for low-income kids…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and the New York Yankees announce John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will continue serving as the radio broadcast team for New York Yankees games this season. Sterling and Waldman have called Yankees games on the radio for the past 11 years…..Pictured here is KHTE, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick (right) speaking with Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe (left) at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington…..WGN, Chicago announces it has signed a contract extension with personality Lou Manfredini through December 31, 2020. Manfredini began his career at WGN in 1995 as a guest on the Bob Collins show when he was given the nickname “Mr. Fix It.” He hosts the Saturday morning program, “The Mr. Fix-It Show.”