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Friday, January 17, 2020

| January 17, 2020

KXNO, Des Moines Cutbacks Reversed; PD and Hosts Rehired. According to a report by WHO-TV, Des Moines, after some serious blowback from listeners about the firing of six programming staffers from sports talk KXNO as part of a company-wide downsizing, iHeartMedia Des Moines market manager Joel McCrea sought from corporate and was granted permission to bring them back to their positions. Program director Andrew Downs; “The Morning Rush” personalities Travis Justice, Heather Burnside, and Sean Roberts; and “Sports Fanatics” hosts Chris Williams and Ross Peterson will return to their jobs. The story says in addition to the re-hiring, KXNO will be simulcast on (currently alternative) KDXA-FM at 106.3 FM beginning next week.

Newsmax TV Reports Increasing Viewership. According to recently released Comscore data, Newsmax TV shot past Bloomberg Television in total household reach, household coverage area rating, and average audience for the week of December 9, 2019.  It also topped C-SPAN in household coverage area rating for the same week.  Comscore’s data indicates that for the week of December 9, 2019, Newsmax TV had a total reach of 2.64 million households compared to 1.63 million for Bloomberg Television.  Comscore reports Newsmax had 1.03 million weekly viewers as of August 26, 2019.  By the broadcast week of December 9, 2019 Newsmax TV’s household reach had increased to 2.65 million households, reflecting both an increase in distribution of 21% and a disproportionate increase in reach.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “This is a major milestone for us.  Our content is resonating with Americans across the nation who are hungry for a fresh alternative to FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels.”  Ruddy adds that the network will make major lineup changes, announcing new programs in the coming weeks and months.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Weight of History in an A.D.D. World!” looks back at this past week of January 13-17, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; Trevor Smith, radio presenter, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Kilcoyne Exits KFNS, St. Louis. Sports media pro Martin Kilcoyne has left his on-air role with Randy Markel’s sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Frank Cusumano.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that Kilcoyne, who also works as sports director at KTVI-TV, says his television duties have expanded.  He adds that the time spent producing podcasts with St. Louis Cardinals television announcer Dan McLaughlin played a role in his decision.  Prior to rejoining KFNS, Kilcoyne did a five-year stint with CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS, St. Louis as a general issues host.

Allegretto to Lead Cumulus in Fort Walton Beach. Sales and management pro Ashley Allegretto rises from her regional sales manager, digital position with Cumulus Media’s Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola markets to vice president and market manager for the Fort Walton Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTW-AM “NewsTalk 1260” and four music-formatted stations.  Cumulus regional VP Pete De Simone says, “We are thrilled to promote Ashley Allegretto to lead this cluster.  Her passion for this community and her understanding of how to use our brands and our digital assets to help clients grow their businesses make her an effective leader.”  Allegretto adds, “Over the past 13 years I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our radio stations can have for local businesses and organizations in our community. I am eager to build on our past accomplishments and lead this group into our next round of success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Ocala, Florida morning show hosts Larry “The Giant” Whitler and Robin MacBlane are leaving their posts at Generations Broadcasting Corporation’s news/talk WOCA-AM/W242CA after today’s program.  They have been doing mornings at WOCA since 2002.  They’d previously worked together hosting a children’s show on WTMC – a signal that went dark in 2004.  The Ocala Star Banner reports that the two will continue to work together collaborating on children’s books and music…..Entercom all-news KYW, Philadelphia is inviting listeners to its “Executive Briefing” event, presented by Independence Blue Cross, Thursday, January 23 at 7:45 am.  KYW says this invite-only event “offers listeners the opportunity to listen to and take part in an in-depth discussion about the biggest issues facing the Philadelphia area and the nation in 2020.”  KYW Newsradio afternoon drive host Ian Bush will moderate the discussion that includes station anchors and reporters: Pat Loeb, city hall bureau chief; Mike DeNardo, education reporter; Cherri Gregg, community affairs reporter; Jim Melwert, KYW suburban bureau chief; and Kristen Johanson, crime and justice reporter.  Guests will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions during the final 20 minutes of the event.  Breakfast will be served courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar prior to the start of the event.  Listeners interested in attending the event can register online…..Beasley Media Group announces Chris Ornelas is named general counsel for the company, effective February 1.  Ornelas was most recently with the National Association of Broadcasters as chief operating and strategy officer in which he was responsible for overseeing the operations of and providing strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today…..Lemonada Media announces a new podcast called “Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett,” hosted and executive produced Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett and his wife Pele.  Lemonada, whose programs are distributed and repped by Westwood One, says “the series explores personal and provocative topics ranging from love, sex, parenting, the NFL, and politics.”  The first episode drops on January 31…..Entercom is being honored at the Project Voice Awards with the “Samsung Bixby Capsule of the Year” for its RADIO.COM integration.  The awards honor global best-in-class achievement across the emerging voice and AI realm and took place at the organization’s annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15.  Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re honored to be recognized among industry leaders by Project Voice.  This award is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovating in voice and to enhancing the consumer experience.  With Bixby, we were able to expand the reach of RADIO.COM to millions of listeners and engage with them whenever and wherever they are with an optimized presence.”

Cox Media Group Gets Deadline Extension to Sell Ohio Newspapers. Due to a ruling by a three-judge panel at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Cox Media Group must divest of its Ohio newspapers to avoid said newspapers having to reduce publication to three days per week.  Even though the company had been operating a radio station and newspaper in the southwestern Ohio region since 1935, the Court revived the rule prohibiting operating both.  The FCC appealed the three-judge ruling to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal was denied.  Now, CMG has until March 16 to complete a sale to a party that can publish the Dayton Daily News seven days per week.  Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie says, “We applaud the decision by the FCC and are grateful for the extension.  News does not conveniently schedule itself three days a week and we felt a reduced print schedule would negatively and severely impact the newspapers, our employees and the communities we serve.  CMG and Apollo have been pushing for this outcome because we feel that maintaining a daily publication schedule is the absolute best way to continue to produce the solid and timely journalism that our readers deserve.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 13-17. Not surprisingly, the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump were the most talked about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and the Democratic debate from Des Moines.  Coming in at #3 was the Iran crisis and U.S. foreign policy, followed by the U.S.-China trade war and the economy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Omaha hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5,” NRG Media launches an all-female morning show with current morning host Nikki Oswald and afternoon drive time personality Laura Blenkush.  The company says it will be the only all-female duo morning show in Omaha.  KQKQ program director Jay Michaels says, “Taking two of our highly talented personalities, and pairing them together for an all-female morning show is the obvious move when targeting women.”  Oswald was most recently partnered with Matt Tompkins, who recently moved over to NRG’s classic hits KOOO “THE NEW 101.9 The KEG” to host the morning show…..Two nationally syndicated programs land on Cumulus Media stations in South Carolina.  First, the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy is the new morning show at hip hop WDAI-FM, Myrtle Beach.  Programmer and air personality Mike “BigMMike” Bell says, “We are excited to bring ‘The Breakfast Club’ to The Grand Strand.  As Myrtle Beach’s source for hip hop and R&B, what better way to enter a new era than with the “World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show?”  Second, the Compass Media Networks-distributed “DeDe in the Morning” show with DeDe McGuire, Lady Jade, Rudy Rush, and comedian Michael Shawn assumes the morning drive daypart at Cumulus’ hip hop WYNN, Florence.  Bell, who also programs WYNN and handles afternoon drive, says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning show to Florence.  As the market leader, it was important that we went with a brand that can be trusted to deliver great entertainment our listeners will love.  DeDe is a seasoned vet and I’ve been a fan of her work for years.”

Thursday, December 12, 2019

| December 12, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Present the Second in a Series of Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  In response to the positive feedback received about the recent “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times in New York City this past October 1 (see video here), a second installment of the event was successfully presented Tuesday morning (12/10) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The conversation again focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event featured a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts – John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkDr. Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who again moderated the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that its practitioners stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world.  A video of the entire forum will be posted on Talkers.com within the next few days. Pictured below are (from l-r): moderator, Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Salem Radio Network; Dr. Dana Cheng, The Epoch Times; John Fredericks, The John Fredericks Radio Network; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; Larry O’ Connor, WMAL, Washington, DC; Josh Philipp, The Epoch Times; and Nan Su, The Epoch Times/NTDTVPhoto: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times

KYW-AM, Philadelphia Reporter Barred from Press Conference. Maybe it was a snafu, but the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s explanation for KYW-AM, Philadelphia crime and justice reporter Kristen Johanson being barred from the press conference for a criminal case is inconsistent.  DA Larry Krasner was asked by fellow FOX 29 journalist Jeff Cole if Johanson had been barred from the conference and he replied, “What I can tell you is I did not bar anybody from coming to a conference.  We always enjoy having Kristen Johanson here and if there’s been some kind of miscommunication, then I’m sorry to hear that that has occurred.”  The DA offices’ spokesperson later said only reporters who requested comment on the case were notified of the press conference.  However, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer who did request a comment was not invited to the press conference either.  The spokesperson then said “security protocols” were the reason Johanson was denied access to the conference.  KYW program director Alex Silverman says, “A press conference open to some members of the media should be open to all.  To deny access to a reporter who covers the crime and justice beat in our city raises serious questions about how the District Attorney’s Office views a free and fair press.”

Opinion: Gen Z Is Excited About Radio. Georgia College lecturer Chad Whittle writes in an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the intertest in radio he’s hearing from his students.  He says, “This semester, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to teach a course on radio broadcasting to students ranging from freshmen to sophomores.  In this course, multiple students are excited about learning more about the radio industry.  I know because they told me last semester they were interested and eager to take the class.”  Read his story here.

Slater Joins Entercom for Digital Sales Role. Sales pro Andy Slater joins Entercom as SVP of digital sales, East Coast.  He was most recently regional VP of sales for Stitcher’s Midroll Media ad sales division.  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Andy has a tremendous track record leading sales strategy across numerous digital platforms, most recently in podcasting.  His unique combination of experience in broadcast radio and digital will prove to be a major asset as we continue developing and expanding our position as leaders in the digital audio marketplace.”

Articles of Impeachment, Inspector General’s FBI Report, 2020 Presidential Race, Jersey City Shooting, USMCA Trade Deal, and UK Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The articles of impeachment against President Trump; the inspector general’s report on the failures within the FBI; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Jersey City; the Trump administration’s United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal; and Britain’s prime minister election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In Kansas City, Entercom appoints Josh Vernier to the Royals insider position.  Vernier had been co-host of the “Show and Vern” midday program on sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” prior to the exit of co-host Ron “Show” Hughley last month.  This is a return to the Royals insider position for Vernier, who will also host the pre- and post-game shows for Royals play-by-play on KCSP.  He’ll also host the “Royals Hot Stove Show” this winter…..ESPN reports that last month, ESPN Podcasts set a new record for the month with a verified unique audience of 7.3 million, according to Podtrac.  ESPN says the total represents an increase of 28% over November 2018 and is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.  In addition, ESPN podcasts had 45.6 million downloads, up 24% from November 2018 and just shy of last month’s all-time record of 46.1 million…..iHeartMedia sports talk WYGM-AM/W245CL, Orlando “FM 96.9 The Game” is hosting a live holiday show special during the “Open Mike” morning show to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.  Former Orlando Magic head coach and current NBA TV analyst Stan Van Gundy will join the show dressed up as Santa Claus and will encourage listeners to stop by, take pictures, and donate new unwrapped toys or cash for children in the local community.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dustin Matthews is named director of rock programming for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC stations classic rock WBIG “BIG 100” and alternative WWDC “DC 101,” effective January 13. He comes to Washington from iHeartMedia’s Charlotte operations where he was program director and afternoon drive personality at WEND “106.5 The End.”  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi says, “Dustin is one of the most dynamic rock programmers in the country.  His programming expertise combined with his creativity and passion for our rock brands is unparalleled and we look forward to welcoming him to Washington, D.C.”…..Entercom announces that it has signed a new, multiyear deal with WPOW, Miami “Power 96” program director and midday host Miguel “Mijo” Irizarry for him to continue in those roles.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “‘Mijo’ has been a strong force in the ‘Power 96’ studio over the last year.  We are thrilled that he will continue to lead one of our most iconic brands in our cluster.”  ‘Mijo’ joined ‘Power 96’ in August 2017.  He assumed the role of program director in October 2018…..Tegna’s adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego names Soleil Spigelman the new producer of “The Cantore Show.”  She says, “Becoming a part of ‘The Cantore Show’ is a big step in joining the San Diego community.  I’m from a small surfing town in the San Francisco Bay Area and I immediately feel at home here in SD.  I’m looking forward to showcasing my passion for entertaining people and sharing my kooky-yet relatable-personality with this on-air family and our listeners.”