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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

| November 20, 2019

WIBC, Indianapolis Talk Host Tony Katz Speaks with VP Pence at White House Radio Row. In the photo above taken at yesterday’s White House Radio Row on the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning host and syndicated late morning personality Tony Katz (right) interviews Vice President Mike Pence (left).  Katz says he was one of just three talk hosts to interview Pence at the daylong event that featured a number of GOP members of Congress and Trump administration officials speaking with the invited group of radio hosts.  Pence’s comments to Katz on the China-Hong Kong tensions made national news, with the VP saying, “The president has made it very clear; it would be very hard to do a deal with China if there is any violence or if that matter is not treated properly and humanely.”

Lori Lewis Launches Social Media Consultancy. Social media and radio pro Lori Lewis announces the launch of her social media consultancy firm, Lori Lewis Media.  She says her firm offers “brands the most affordable way to finally put a social media strategy in play with proven, winning tactics to drive audience and revenue growth.”  Lewis served for three years as vice president of social media for Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  Prior to that, she was director of digital and social strategy at Jacobs Media.  She’s also worked in the radio industry as a programmer and talent.

FOX Sports Radio Reports October Audience Growth. The sports audio network cites October 2019 data for its radio and streaming ratings as well as podcast listens, reporting record audience totals.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – says that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd achieved its “single greatest month in average quarter hour audience, growing +31.4% with Adults 25-54 and +36.2% with Men 25-54.”  “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis” “had its best AQH month ever in October, increasing +38.3% with Adults 25-54 and +53.5% with Men 25-54.”  Also, FOX Sports says it posted its largest streaming audience in the history of the network with total listening hours increasing +21% year-to-year in October 2019.  The network also set another record for total monthly podcast listens in October, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.

Entercom Adds Local News Content on Google Assistant. Leveraging the power of its all-news radio stations, Entercom is adding local news audio content to the new “Your News Update,” on the Google Assistant.  Entercom says that through this partnership, local content from stations including 1010 WINS and WCBS 880 in New York, KNX 1010 News Radio in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, Newsradio 1080 KRLD in Dallas, WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit, KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia, KCBS All News in San Francisco and News Radio 1120 KMOX in St. Louis will be featured as part of the “Your News Update” platform.  This follows the stations’ exclusive participation as part of the platform’s beta-testing phase.  “Your News Update” will showcase a mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on users’ interests, location, history, and preferences, as well as the top news stories from publishers from around the world including Associated Press, FOX News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and more.

Vanessa Wojtusiak Named VP of Marketing for iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven. Marketing pro Vanessa Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven as vice president of marketing.  The markets include news/talk WPOP-AM, Hartford and WELI, New Haven plus sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford and WAVZ-AM, New Haven.  Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia from Nexstar’s WTNH-TV, New Haven where she most recently served as the director of audience development and executive digital producer.  She’s also served as national director of social marketing for iHeartRadio, an online marketing manager for WHTZ, New York “Z100” and the marketing assistant for WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  She says, “I am thrilled to be back home where I started my media career 18 years ago.  Radio has been my longstanding passion and a medium that still has a meaningful and powerful presence in local communities.  I can’t wait to keep elevating the iconic local brands alongside a very talented team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is continuing his watch over the sports talk radio scene in New York and reports that current WFAN 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm personality Bart Scott is expected to jump across town to ESPN-owned rival WEPN as co-host of the show in the same time slot.  ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith – currently hosting the ESPN Radio network show in that daypart – is leaving his radio duties with the company for more TV work, leaving that time slot open.  He also says sources indicate current WFAN midday team Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are odds-on favorites to assume the afternoon drive show on WFAN when Mike Francesa moves to the RADIO.COM platform.  Read his column here…..iHeartRadio launches a new branded podcast in collaboration with T-Mobile for Business, titled “This Time Tomorrow.”  In it, podcast hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss look closely at how innovations in 5G connectivity will revolutionize the way people work, socialize, and interact with the world…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa  launches its 14th annual Stories of Light fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma.  The goal is to raise $300,000 during the three-day radiothon.  The KRMG team moves its entire broadcast to LaFortune Park in Tulsa for the radiothon and encourages listeners to stop by with donations.  This event has raised more than $3 million since its inception…..SiriusXM and Amazon announce that SiriusXM’s On Demand library is now available to subscribers with Amazon Alexa and Echo devices, as well as several third-party devices with Alexa built-in.  The move allows subscribers with streaming access to simply ask Alexa to play their favorite SiriusXM shows and compelling content whenever they want it.

Edison Research Unveils ‘Podcast Consumer Tracker’ Report. This new report from Edison Research is what the company calls “the first successful endeavor to present a unified look at audience information at the publisher/network level.”  It says the Podcast Consumer Tracker also contains “competitive intelligence, audience demographics, and sales targeting information for podcast publishers and networks.  It currently has 10 charter subscribers, including NPRPodcastOne, Wondery, ESPN, WarnerMedia, and “other significant publishing and agency partners.”  While the comparative rankings of publisher networks are available only to subscribers, Edison offers some of the findings of its first report: “The Joe Rogan Experience” is the leading podcast in terms of reach amongst weekly podcast consumers; there are significant content consumption differences between iPhone and Android users, rendering ‘Top Podcast’ charts derived exclusively from users of either to be unrepresentative of total listening behavior; and while the study tracks the relative reach of the top podcast networks, 54% of weekly podcast consumers have listened to an unaffiliated, independent podcast in the last week.  Edison Reasearch SVP Tom Webster says, “This is the first study in the podcast space to tackle a universal measure of reach.  There are, of course, various charts of downloads that cover parts of the overall universe, but those either reflect only a portion of the podcast audience, or they only measure publishers that opt-in.  The Podcast Consumer Tracker’s goal is a truly inclusive measure of the comparative penetration of the leading publishers and networks.  In that, we have been highly successful.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Guards Charged, Israel-Syria Skirmish, and Hong Kong University Siege Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). This week’s impeachment testimony about the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Atlanta; the charges being filed against the Manhattan prison guards on duty when Jeffrey Epstein died are charged as the investigation continues; Israel fires at Iranian military targets in Syria; and the Hong Kong University siege were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

The Story of The Fisher House Foundation. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about the birth and growth of the Fisher House Foundation and its harnessing the “power in radio” to raise awareness of the organization’s mission.  As regular TALKERS readers are probably aware, the Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where family members of military personnel and veterans can stay while their loved one is in the hospital.  Since its inception, the Fisher House estimates it has saved families $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for housing and transportation.  How the Fisher House Foundation began and how its relationship with radio – especially news/talk radio – is an interesting story.  Read Mike Kinosian’s piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Los Angeles, entertainment, news & traffic reporter Lisa May announces she’s leaving the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank” morning show at Meruelo Media’s classic rock KLOS, effective December 13.  The longtime Los Angeles radio personality is moving to Palm Springs to work in the personal fitness business…..A surprise on Long Island as longtime adult contemporary WALK-FM morning drive personality Mark Daniels exits the station.  Newsday reports the 63-year-old Daniels has been with Connoisseur Media’s WALK since 1985.  Daniels’s on-air partner Jamie Morris is staying on and will be part of the new morning show set to debut in January…..YEA Networks announces that the “Tino Cochino Radio” show is being added to the programming lineup on hip hop KQKS, Denver “KS 1075,” its first Entercom-owned affiliate station.….On Friday (11/22), the iHeartRadio album release party with Coldplay, celebrating the release of Everyday Life takes place.  The hour-long on air special will feature a performance and an exclusive interview hosted by iHeartRadio on-air personality, Harms.  It airs at 8:00 pm local time on iHeartMedia alternative and triple A stations…..BMI announces the appointment of Nexstar Media Group president and CEO Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors, effective January 1, 2020.   Board chair Michael J. Fiorile says, “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors.  Perry has achieved incredible success at Nexstar and we know he will be a valuable addition to the board as we continue our mission of protecting the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and advocating for the value of music.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

| September 16, 2016

John R. Gambling Retires from WNYM, New York ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  The Gambling name is legendary in New York radio history – John B. Gambling started hosting mornings on WOR in 1925, his son John A. Gambling took over the show in 1959, and John R. Gambling joined his father as co-host in 1985.gamblingjohnr  Now, the third Gambling is announcing his retirement from his radio show on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Gambling told his listeners at the start of today’s program (11:00 am ET) that he’s been dealing with problems recuperating from a broken knee cap that is hastening his decision to step down.  Gambling retired from WOR in December of 2013 but later joined WNYM.  WNYM general manager Jerry Crowley tells TALKERS, “His grandfather is often credited with inventing talk radio, his dad was # 1 in all radio ratings surveys and John somehow transitioned that genre to contemporary talk radio with a right-of-center view but absolutely never ticked a guest off.  No one else ever pulled that off.  Radio listeners knew this and appreciated his insightful, courtly way of conducting major league interviews and his amazing insights.  When John left WOR the first time around, we were inundated with sacks of mail not for a day or week but months – amazing.  When I brought him back to Salem NY You could almost hear the thunderous applause reverberate across the region.  John was great in every way and we will all miss his calming, dulcet tones.”

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Dave Ramsey Kicks Off the Fall Tour in Dallas.  It’s the fall “Smart Money” tour, to be more precise.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey brought his fall edition of his ongoing live event tour to a sold-out crowd in Dallas yesterday (9/15) at First Baptist Church Dallas.  The “Smart Money” program focuses on winning with money, getting out of debt and investing for the future.  Best-selling author and financial expert Rachel Cruze joined Ramsey on stage.  Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KRLD, Dallas “News Radio 1080” to promote the event.  CBS RADIO Dallas local sales manager Paul Davis states, “Dave’s appearances in Dallas are always a huge deal for our listeners, clients and staff.  He spent quality, one-on-one time with our partners and then entertained us and about 3,000 others at the sold-out Smart Money event!  We wish Dave could come to North Texas more often!” Pictured here are (from l-r): Ramsey; Paul Mann, KRLD news director; Davis and Cruze.

gaffneydangoldenmicA Rare Golden Mic for Dan Gaffney.  In honor of 30 years of serving southern Delaware, WXDE, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” morning personality Dan Gaffney is honored with a golden microphone gifted to him by Kevin Short, owner of local business Mid South Audio.  Short acquired the golden mic from the same artisan who crafted the golden microphones for Premiere Networks talk superstar Rush Limbaugh and Premiere/KIIS, Los Angeles personality Ryan Seacrest.

Arnie States Hosts Afternoon Show at KUUB, Reno.  The former member of the triostatesarnie Rob, Arnie, and DawnArnie States – is back on the air hosting a sports talk show on Lotus Communications’ KUUB, Reno “ESPN 94.5.”  (Rob and Dawn still host mornings on rock KRXQ, Sacramento as “Rob, Anybody, and Dawn.”) States exited the trio in March of 2015.  For a while he was part of KRXQ’s afternoon show before leaving that gig to return to Reno to care for his father.  Now, he’s back on the radio doing sports talk.

galaxycommunicationsGalaxy to Enter Events Consulting Biz.  The New York State-based broadcasting firm Galaxy Communications announces it is starting up a division focusing on creating event partnerships with fellow radio and television broadcasters.  The division is called Galaxy Events Consulting and reports it has commitments to enter 10 new markets in 2017.  They include: Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Watertown and Long Island in New York, plus Philadelphia, Charlotte, Raleigh and Sarasota, Florida.  Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine states, “This idea has been percolating for some time.  As acknowledged industry leaders in this space, we’ve had many conversations with other radio and TV broadcasters.  We think we’ve come up with a model that can generate guaranteed revenue for the partner broadcaster with no risk.  Experiential/event marketing is a key element for both radio and television’s future revenue growth.  We’ve been in this space for a decade and are now prepared to help other broadcasters navigate these waters.”  Galaxy owns 14 radio stations in the Syracuse and Utica-Rome markets.  Its Galaxy Events division is responsible for many of the biggest community events in Central New York, highlighted by ‘Taste of Syracuse,’ which draws 200,000 people annually.

talkersten-logoThe Presidential Race Again Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of September 12-16.  For obvious reasons, the presidential race is likely to be the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio through the elections in November and this week was no different with the activities of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at #1.  At #2 this week was the issue of each candidate’s health.  Coming in at #3 was the United States’ refugee policy that calls for an additional 110,000 to be allowed into the country, followed by the National Anthem protests 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.

Monday, June 27, 2016

| June 27, 2016

WGN, Chicago Renews Steve Cochran Through 2020.  This is the latest in a series of contract renewals at Tribune’s news/talker WGN Radio.  Morning drive host Steve Cochran’s pact with the station is extended through 2020.  Station VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Steve makes it look easy with hiscochransteve affable brand of intelligence, but nobody works harder to gather and share the stories Chicagoans care about.  He’s got the raw talent and work ethic we need for many years to come.”  The Cochran morning show team includes co-anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas, news by Steve Grzanich, sports by Dave Eanet and traffic by Mary Van De Velde.  Last week, the station made public new deals for afternoon drive star Roe Conn and, on Friday, an extension for programmer Manley.  Cochran worked at WGN from 2000 through 2010 when he was let go.  He rejoined WGN in 2013.  In a story this morning by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cochran speaks glowingly about the new regime at WGN – and rather frankly about the one that fired him.  You can read Feder’s piece here.

Melissa Harrison Named AM Co-Anchor at KRLD, Dallas.  News pro Melissa Harrison becomes part ofkrld logo the KRLD Morning News alongside Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, beginning Friday, July 1.  harrisonmelissaHarrison has most recently been working as a freelance reporter for KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth.  She formerly worked as a television news reporter in New York, Birmingham, Jackson, Waco, and Abilene.  KRLD director of news and programming Paul Mann says, “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team.  As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas and she is passionate about our community.”

‘Brexit’ Vote/Financial Markets Activity, The Presidential Race, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, Coming SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, Sacramento Rally Violence, and MLB Action and Copa America Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plus the hiring of former Trump aid Corey Lewandowski by CNN; the effects of the recent Supreme Court ruling halting President Obama’s immigration executive orders; this week’s expected ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ abortion laws; the violent clash of protestors at a ‘white power’ rally in Sacramento; and MLB action and the Copa America soccer final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  Radio personality Anthony Cumia has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor  charges – third-degreecumiaanthony assault and a charge of blocking someone’s breathing – related to an incident with his then-girlfriend in December of 2015.  Cumia – former partner of Gregg “Opie” Hughes on both SiriusXM and AM/FM radio – currently hosts an internet talk program.  Newsday is reporting that Cumia must complete six tradupfeder16months of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment and a six-month batterer’s intervention program.  Upon completion of those programs, he can get the charges reduced to non-criminal harassment counts…..Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tips TALKERS magazine that Chicago media writer Robert Feder is celebrating his 36th year in the business of covering radio and television in the Windy City.  Tradup and Feder recently shared a lunch in Chicago where Tradup was once president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2016 beginning today through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10.  The broadcasts are airing courtesy of rightsholder ESPN Audio…..Audio content aggregator TuneIn is now offering Scripps-owned Newsy’s daily news reporting.  TuneIn premium subscribers can access two weekly podcasts focused on politics — “Newsy Politics” — and culture — “Givin’ Takes” – plus three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news; tech, science and health; and current events…..Alpha Media’s Salina, Kansas news/talker KSAL-AM “NewsRadio 1150” collects two honors in the 2016ksal Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards.  KSAL was named “Favorite Radio Station.”  KSAL personality Clarke Sanders was chosen “Favorite Radio Host.”  Fellow staffers Rich Alexander and Mike Hammett were finalists in the host category.  Alpha Salina market manager Bob Protzman says, “We’re very proud of Alpha Media’s representation in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards.  Once again, ‘News Radio 1150’ KSAL takes ‘Favorite Radio Station’ showing that AM radio is alive and well – all it takes is quality local programming.”

biakelseyBIA Kelsey Releases State of Radio Industry Report.  As part of its state of the radio industry report, BIA Kelsey releases “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.”  Using data from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research, Miller Kaplan, and more, the study looks at AM/FM radio’s reach and revenue over the past five years and projects where radio is likely to be five years down the road.  It notes recent industry-wide dips in local station revenue.  “We believe local radio stations will be able to turn around this negative over-the-air revenue growth slightly.  As long as the economy maintains moderate growth in the next few years, we expect total radio advertising to grow in the 1.0 % to 1.25 % CAGR range.”  The BIA Kelsey study also points to digital and live events as pieces of the radio revenue pie that have helped AM/FM survive spot sales declines that will continue to be crucial to radio’s bottom line in the years ahead.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

| December 8, 2015

williamsarmenWilliams to Program Denver’s KKFN & KEPN. Currently the program director of Townsquare Media Albany (New York) sports outlet WTMM-FM “104.5 ESPN The Team,” Armen Williams will join Bonneville Denver’s KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN “1600 The Zone” in a similar capacity the middle of next month. According to Bonneville Denver vice president and market manager Bob Call, “Armen brings a perfect balance of winning sports radio programming, plus an exceptional knowledge of digital media. Armen has worked with a number of high-profile sports personalities through his career, plus he developed some solid NFL play-by-play network experience.” Williams – who co-hosts WTMM’s afternoon drive show in addition to his PD duties – states, “I am excited to be part of one of the best sports radio brands in the country. ‘The Fan’ is a first-class organization and Bonneville is a great company. I am looking forward to working with the extremely talented staff to continue giving Denver sports fans the highest quality of sports talk radio.” Before his tenure at Albany’s “Team,” Williams was a producer for CBS Radio-owned KRLD “The Fan,” Dallas, where he worked with the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; he previously worked in the promotions department at KESN “ESPN Radio,” Dallas. According to 6+ stats from Denver’s most recent (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM results, KKFN ranks #16 (3.6, up one full-share from September‘s 2.6) and KEPN is #33 (.1); Entercom classic rocker KQMT “The Mountain” is #1 with a 6.3 (6+). The only stations listed in Nielsen Audio’s summer 2015 report for Albany are five iHeartMedia outlets.

gallagherCruz15Gallagher Meets Cruz on Campaign Trail; Salem Preparing for December 15 GOP Debate Coverage.  While in South Carolina on the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stopped to speak with Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher in Greenville.  Gallagher (right) is pictured here conducting the one-on-one with Cruz (left).  (A Monmouth University study has Cruz polling ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa right now with 24%.)  Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network has exclusive radio distribution of the CNN/Facebook Presidential Debate at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  SRN says Bill Bennett, Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt will all originate their programs from the hotel on December 14 and 15.  SRN’s Hewitt will serve on the CNN debate panel as well.  SRN SVP Phil Boyce will serve as live announcer for the network’s radio coverage, and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup will be executive producer of all on-site SRN shows and the CNN/Facebook Debate coverage.

wmal logoWMAL-AM/FM, Washington Raises $316,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  Last Friday and Saturday (12/4-5), Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington held its second annual “Operation Fisher House 2015 Radiothon” and raised $316,000 for the charity that builds and provides group homes for families of America’s wounded servicemen and women as they undergo treatment.   The station reports that over the past 12 years WMAL listeners have donated almost $5 million dollars to the Fisher House Foundation.  Station program director Bill Hess comments, “Our listeners step up year after year.  Their response to our talent and the stories of these heroes and their families is incredibly rewarding.”

woaiElfLouise15More Than $277,000 Raised at Annual WOAI Elf Louise Broadcast.  The Elf Louise Christmas Project charity was founded in 1969 and this year iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio held its 20th annual two-day radiothon on December 4 and 5 to raise funds for the charity that helps buy Christmas presents for more than 19,000 children in the area.  In addition to listeners donating money, several benefactors helped, including local attorney Thomas J. Henry whose family pledged to match 25% of every donation up to $200,000 and ended up donating $50,000.  Pictured here at the broadcast are (from l-r): WOAI personalities Cari Laque, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and charity founder Louise Locker.

Odds & Sods.  Programmer Jeff Beck is promoted to operations manager for the Alpha Media Fredericksburg,beckjeff Virginia cluster that includes news/talk/sports simulcast WNTX-AM/W243BS at 96.5 FM…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle is hosting the 27th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 10 to benefit the Treehouse, a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond.  The past three rondonyears, KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds.  “Ron & Don Show” co-host Don O’Neill says, “Each year at KIRO Radio we strive to give every foster child in Washington State a gift during the holiday season.  A holiday gift is a symbol, a reminder to a young person that they are important, they are part of our village, and they have not been forgotten!  We can’t wait to spread a little Holiday Magic again this year, with the help of all our great listeners throughout the Pacific Northwest!”

Obama’s San Bernardino Address, Trump Anti-Muslim Rhetoric/2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Turkey-Russian Tensions, Iran Missile Test, NFL Action, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). Reaction to President Obama’s Sunday evening national address on the San Bernardino shootings; GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s post-San Bernardino statements about preventing any Muslims from entering the United States and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and beyond; the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Russia; allegations Iran has fired a test rocket in violation of the recently signed nuclear deal; the weekend’s NFL action; and anticipation over the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Pioneering DC Sports Talker Ken Beatrice Dies at 72.  A trailblazing radio sports talk host in Washington passed away at age 72 after a bout with pneumonia.  Ken Beatrice hosted an evening sports talk show on WMAL-AM from 1977 through 1995.  He worked another five years at crosstown WTEM, retiring in 2000.  Beatrice is credited with providing WMAL with thorough and insightful coverage of the NFL’s Washington Redskins during the team’s successful years in the 1980s through early 1990s.  Steve Repsher writes a homage to Beatrice in the Washington Post here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

| November 6, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5.  Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point.  “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves.  Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.”  And so it is with women on talk radio.  The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium.  One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman.  Read the entire piece here.

wtop logo NEW 1-15Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington.  TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED.  Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis RoseTALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.

entercomEntercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis.  This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.  As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report anfielddavid outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver.  While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising.  We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”

cumulus logoNew Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%.  Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures.  Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause.  The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago.  For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-bernermaryover-year.  Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million.  For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%.  Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people.  I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company.  While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3.  The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment).  In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat.  “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period.  Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter.  The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year.  “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period.  Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage.  The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130foxbusiness iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations.  FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.  The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.  iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.

beckerKMBZObama15Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event.  The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.  The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself.  Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.”  Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office.  Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day.  With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”

bobandtomBob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business.  Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end.  Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame.  Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.”  Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob.  He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”

ramseyCruzeHoF15Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5).  Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.

2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.  Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings 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.