New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications 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, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “A Variety of Unpleasant Conundrums!” looks back at this past week of August 12-16, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Renee Kohanski, M.D.; Kevin Miller, talk show host, KIDO, Boise; Joe Thomas, talk show host WCHV, Charlottesville; and Elaina Newport, co-founder and head songwriter, The Capitol Steps. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Podcast Network. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. 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.
First-Half Ad Drivers. It isn’t your imagination – automotive dealers and insurance providers are the top advertising categories in radio, TV, and cable. That’s the analysis of Media Monitors’ latest rankings that cover the period from January 1 through July 31. Local auto dealers finish far ahead of any other category during the same period last year. As far as the number of vehicle insurance commercials are concerned, Media Monitors opines, “New auto buyers are likely to shop around. To get their brand in front of interested consumers, insurance providers are right behind auto dealers in the number of spots they’ve aired this year.” Local car and truck dealers focus their advertising on radio, where they broadcast the highest number of spots (7,659,729), and on TV, where they ranked #10 (2,537,737). As far as specific advertisers are concerned, Home Depot, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, and McDonald’s aired the most spots thus far through July 31 of this year. The top 10 radio advertisers for the first seven months of 2019 are: Home Depot, GEICO, Lowe’s, Indeed, McDonald’s, Progressive, Seriously, Sprint, Macy’s and JC Penney. By way of perspective, #1 Home Depot had more than three times the number of “radio instances” (1,777,560) than #10 JC Penney (579,288).
TALKERS News Notes. The new Phoenix affiliate for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One Radio Network primetime NFL coverage is CRC Broadcasting Company sports talk KQFN “The Fanatic.” CRC president and chief executive officer Ron Cohen remarks, “There are no more popular yearly sporting events in this country than NFL football. We’re proud to be the exclusive Phoenix radio affiliate and excited for the incredible opportunity to air these high-profile NFL games, including the Super Bowl in February.” ….. After 24 seasons covering University of Central Florida football – most recently as sideline reporter and pre-game host – Jerry O’Neill is retiring from the radio team. He made the announcement on Marc Daniels’ show on UCF football flagship, iHeartMedia Orlando sports talk WYGM “The Game.” Taking O’Neill’s place as pre-game host and sideline reporter is Scott Adams; former UCF defensive lineman and NFL player Leger Douzable joins as analyst. Meanwhile, producer Chris Vasquez is boosted to executive producer, and assistant producer Tom Morgan will produce all men’s basketball and baseball radio broadcasts ….. The corporate director of programming of Forever Media stations in Wilmington (Delaware) and Salisbury-Ocean City (Maryland), Brad Austin, exits. In addition to his corporate duties, Austin programmed and did afternoons on WXCY “New Country 103.7.” He had been with WXCY the past six years and added corporate responsibilities three years ago. The Wilmington and Salisbury-Ocean City stations for which Austin was responsible included news/talk WDEL-AM & WDEL-FM; WXDE “News Talk 105.9”; sports talk WYUS “ESPN Delaware”; WSTW “Today’s Best Variety”; WAFL “Eagle 97.7”; classic hits-oldies WAVD “97.1 The Wave”; classic rock WNCL “Cool 101.3 Delaware’s Greatest Hits”; and gospel WFAI “Faith 1510.” ….. More than 300 members of Congress (or their spouses or family members) participated in this year’s NAB Congressional PSA Campaign. The program invites members of Congress and their families to be featured in free spots that address issues of importance to their constituents. The PSAs have been sent to radio and TV stations across the country. NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton notes, “The NAB Congressional PSA Campaign provides legislators and their families an opportunity to share pro-social messages that can have a positive impact on communities across America. Local radio and TV broadcasters will be generously donating airtime for this initiative as part of our commitment to serving local communities.” NAB has hosted the biannual campaign in off-election years since 1985.
Top Choice For News Among Teens? YouTube. A June 14 – June 25 poll of more than 1,000 U.S. teenagers (13 – 17) conducted by nonprofit Common Sense, in tandem with SurveyMonkey, found that 54% of respondents get news at least a few times per week from social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, while one-half do so from YouTube. As David Cohen writes in AdWeek, “Six of ten citing YouTube indicated they were more likely to get their news from celebrities, influencers, and personalities than from news organizations.” The preference for YouTube may best be explained that more than six of ten respondents stated, “seeing pictures and video showing what happened” helped them understand major news events, while roughly one of three would rather “read or hear the facts.” In a release detailing its findings, Common Sense notes that the news habits of teens, “reflect the diversity of the modern media landscape. While most news organizations maintain accounts on social media and other platforms, they are competing for attention with corporate brands, celebrities, influencers, and personal connections.” Two of three teens who do turn to news organizations say it helps them better understand what is going on; 53% of those who get news from social media expressed the same sentiment. Meanwhile, one of five believe getting news via social networks makes them more confused about current events. Common Sense chief executive officer James Steyer observes, “These findings raise concerns about what kind of news the next generation is using to shape their decisions. There are few standards for what constitutes news and how accurately it’s portrayed on the platforms teens use.” SurveyMonkey chief research officer Jon Cohen adds, “While it’s notable that teens rely heavily on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to stay informed, their reliance on news from celebrities and influencers rather than journalists may have pernicious implications. It’s a bit of a paradox: Overwhelmingly, teens say that they are interested in keeping up with the news, but they’re not seeking out either traditional or new media to do so.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Yesterday at 5:00pm (Thursday, 8/15), iHeartMedia Indianapolis transitioned WOLT-HD2 (W248AW-FM) to CHR “97.5 “Kiss-FM.” Debuting commercial-free and featuring an air staff (KD, Rucker, Jake B, and Catalina) heard on a number of other iHeartMedia stations, “Kiss” will rely on a playlist from artists such as Drake, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Jonas Brothers, Bruno Mars, and Shawn Mendes. Market president Brett Beshore states, “We are thrilled to bring the ‘Kiss FM’ brand to Indy. The music, events, and personalities featured on ‘97.5 Kiss FM’ is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.” Senior vice president of programming for iHM Indianapolis Dave Hill comments, “Our listeners can now listen to their favorite songs and hit music they love without commercial interruption. ‘Kiss FM’ is going to energize our listeners and shakeup the [CHR] landscape.” WOLT-HD2 did not appear in Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 report for Indianapolis. Existing CHRs in the market include WZPL “99.5 ZPL” (6.0, #5, July 2019, 6+) and WNOW “Radio Now 100.9” (2.9, #14, July 2019, 6+). A third CHR, WYRG “Energy 93.9,” flipped to rock WNDX “93-X” two months ago (May 2019) …. Heard weekday mornings (5:00 am – 10:00 am) on Hearst Television Baltimore’s WIYY “98 Rock,” Justin, Scott & Spiegel are expanding to television this weekend. The first episode of their half-hour “Justin, Scott and Spiegel Shouldn’t Be On TV” will air immediately following “Saturday Night Live” on Hearst Baltimore’s WBAL-TV (channel 11). WIYY president and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Pairing Baltimore’s most colorful and imaginative radio show in this great time slot after ‘SNL’ is a terrific opportunity to reach our listeners on one of the country’s strongest NBC affiliates. Justin, Scott and Spiegel are ready to take full advantage of this great lead-in.” WBAL-TV president and general manager Dan Joerres remarks, “Creating this television program for broadcast on WBAL-TV 11 is a natural extension of our partnership with sister station ‘98 Rock.’ Like our shared partnerships with the Baltimore Ravens and Maryland Lottery, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to serve our Baltimore viewers and listeners. Given the popularity of the live stream of Justin, Scott and Spiegel’s morning show, we saw an opportunity to develop this program for local fans.” Justin, Scott and Spiegel have been a morning show team since 2013 ….. Also in that Maryland market, WWMX “Mix 106.5,” Baltimore nighttime talent Neci Williams takes on music director duties there. Entercom Baltimore director of programming, music stations/WWMX PD Tom Cook remarks, “I’m happy to recognize Neci’s ability and talent with this promotion. She has a great ear for new music and really hears the art and flow when editing a log; being a music director has been a goal of hers for years.” Formerly with Washington, DC’s WHFS, Williams has worked for Baltimore’s “Mix” the past three years ….. Initiating this weekend is Premiere Networks’ two-hour “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee,” the founder and chief executive officer of “Hollywood Unlocked.” He and co-hosts Melyssa Ford and DJ Damage will “keep listeners on the pulse of hip-hop and pop culture.” Miami rapper Trina guests on the first show and discusses “stripper rappers.” Among the 50 stations clearing “Hollywood Unlocked” are iHeartMedia urban contemporary outlets KRRL “Real 92.3,” Los Angeles; WGCI-FM, Chicago; KQBT “93.7 The Beat,” Houston; WRDG “96.7 The Beat,” Atlanta; WUSL “Power 99,” Philadelphia; WMIB “103.5 The Beat,” Miami; and WJLB, Detroit ….. Nine stations are added to the roster for Entercom’s “Channel Q” on the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The network brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music. Entercom Southern California regional president and market manager Jeff Federman comments, “Channel Q’s already expansive reach nationwide is another step in the right direction as we aim to promote and support inclusion throughout our country. We remain as persistent about providing the LGBTQ+ community and its allies with a voice as we did when we first launched. We are proud to continue to expand our efforts into new markets.” Listeners can find Channel Q on the following stations via an HD Radio capable device: WSTR-HD3 “Star 94.1,” Atlanta (next month); WTDY-HD3 “96.5 TDY,” Philadelphia; WDZH-HD3 “98.7 The Breeze,” Detroit”; WDSY-HD3 “Y-108,” Pittsburgh”; WQMP-HD2 “FM 101.9, Orlando”; WXSS-HD3 “103.7 Kiss FM,” Milwaukee; WNVZ-HD2 “Z-104,” Norfolk”; WEZB-HD2 “B-97, New Orleans”; and WMQX-HD2 “Max 102,” Wilkes Barre-Scranton ….. In the summer of 1969, 400,000 people converged on a local farm in upstate New York to hear 32 top musical acts. The 600-acre farm was overwhelmed with intense heat, rain and mud. “Woodstock” became a legendary scene and spawned an Academy Award winning film, soundtrack album, and major hit song. On the 50th anniversary weekend, CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One will have correspondent Steve Kastenbaum reporting from Bethel Woods, New York; 50-year old sound will be replayed from the Westwood One News archives. The golden anniversary will be celebrated with a half-hour Mike Moss-hosted special, “Woodstock: A Festival for the Ages.” The news retrospective will run Labor Day weekend and explore Woodstock’s legacy with archived audio clips, news reports, and interviews. In other Westwood One news, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley will host the network’s annual four-hour “Workin’ Hard Country” music special over Labor Day weekend. Bentley will showcase work songs, summertime anthems, and current hits from his own catalog, as well as songs from (among others) Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Maren Morris, and Keith Urban. Many of the artists will share stories about their pre-fame jobs ….. Starting one week from Monday (8/26), iHeartMedia San Diego hot AC KMYI “Star 94.1” premieres Jesse Lozano and Tati Santiago (“Jesse and Tati in the Morning”) as its 6:00 am – 10:00 am wakeup team. KMYI program director Joe Haze states the show will be “entertaining and San Diego-centric, focusing on relatability. It will give listeners a great variety of music to get their day started.” San Diego native Lozano began his radio career inside the iHM San Diego cluster as “Boy Toy Jesse” on CHR KHTS “Channel 93.3 FM” and moved to Los Angeles CHR sibling KIIS “102.7 Kiss FM” in 2007 for afternoon drive duties. He has been hosting “Jesse Lozano in the Morning” on “Star” and remarks, “I’ve been a fan of Tati’s for a very long time – I feel so lucky to be teaming up with her. Adding her brand to ‘Star’ mornings is an incredible opportunity; our listeners are in for a good time.” Honolulu’s KIKI-FM was the site of Santiago’s first radio job. Her on-air credits since KIKI include morning co-hosting responsibilities at WPGC-FM, Washington and iHeartMedia San Diego urban contemporary KSSX “Jam’N 95.7.” She comments, “Being able to work mornings with Jesse Lozano on ‘Star’ is something I could never have dreamed. I’m excited to interact, laugh, and dig the ‘sleepies’ out of my eyes with the San Diego community every morning.” Santiago will succeed Delana Bennett, who – as noted here yesterday (8/15) – is boosted to KMYI’s assistant program director/afternoon drive host (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) ….. Assistant program director/music director DJ Q is elevated to content director at Alpha Media Louisville urban contemporary and urban AC siblings WGZB “B-96.5” and WMJM “Magic 101.3.” DJ Q is a 15-year veteran at that Kentucky operation.
July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for Cincinnati, Austin, and Cleveland. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – An increase of one-tenth to 9.2 (6+) by iHeartMedia news/talk WLW “The Big One” halts three straight sweeps without an increase that resulted in the loss of one-half share (9.9 – 9.5 – 9.4 – 9.4, 6+). The Reds flagship – which had a January-only stay on top – continues in the runner-up slot. Co-owned WKRC is off nine-tenths via three straight down or flat trends (3.6 – 3.5 – 2.7 – 2.7, 6+) and repeats at #13. Prior to June 2019 (2.7), the last time “55 KRC The Talk Station in Cincinnati” fell below a three-share was June 2018 (2.8).
As a result of six straight sweeps without an increase, sports talk cluster-mate WCKY “Cincinnati’s ESPN 1530” has lost more than 50% (-.7) of its 6+ AQH-share (1.2 – 1.0 – .9 – .9 – .8 – .6 – .5, flat at #22, 6+). The April 2019 through July 2019 topline for co-owned WSAI “Fox Sports 1360” is .4 – .3 – .3 – .4 (steady at #23, 6+).
In addition to ending at three a consecutive string of decreases that resulted in a -1.2 (3.7 – 3.1 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+), Cincinnati Public Radio news/talk WVXU (2.8, +.3, 6+) progresses from #14 to #12.
Cincinnati Music Formats – On the heels of June’s mammoth -2.1 (11.7 – 9.6, 6+), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WGRR “103.5 Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” answers with a +1.0 to 10.6 (6+) and is #1 the sixth sweep in succession. Furthermore, WGRR has registered double-digits (6+) five times in the last six ratings periods. Entering the June report, WGRR was +3.6 in five successive increases (8.1 – 9.6 – 10.2 – 11.1 – 11.3 – 11.7, 6+). After a December-only stay at #1, “Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” spiraled by -1.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (9.9 – 8.1, 6+) and shifted to third. The three latest moves for Radio One urban AC WOSL are +.7 (3.2 – 3.9, 6+, May); -.8 (3.9 – 3.1, 6+, June); and +.9 (3.1 – 4.0, July, 6+). Not only does “100.3 Cincy’s R&B Station” return to the top ten (#11 to #9), it has its highest 6+-share (4.0) in more than five years (4.3, March 2014). Owing to five straight positive or neutral moves, Cincinnati Public Radio’s WGUC “Classical 90.9” triples (+1.2) its 6+-stat (.6 – .9 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.8, #18 to #17, 6+). Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WUBE has been on a wild ride lately. After logging three straight negative trends that accounted for a -2.1 (9.4 – 8.7 – 7.9 – 7.3, 6+), “B-105.1 Cincinnati’s Country” responded with a combined +1.5 in May/June (7.3 – 7.5 – 8.8, 6+), but erodes in July by -1.6 (7.2, flat at #3, 6+). June’s 8.8 was its best 6+-stat since January’s 9.4. It’s a somewhat similar scenario for Radio One urban contemporary WIZF. Four consecutive positive or neutral reports yielded a +.7 (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+); “101.1 The Wiz” was down -.4 in May; bounced back with a June +.7; but regresses by -.7 in July (3.7 – 3.0, 6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #11). Seven successive negative or neutral trends by Cumulus Media’s WFTK “96 Rock” have resulted in a cumulative -1.4 (4.0 -3.7 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.6, #12 to #14, 6+).
By dropping three-tenths to 2.2 (#14 to #15, 6+), country sibling WNNF “94.1 Nash FM” has its consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a +1.1 stall at six (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.2, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WKFS “Kiss 107.1” has lost six-tenths and falls from ninth to tenth.
Spoken-Word Formats – A June/July +1.4 by news/talk KLBJ-AM vaporizes three straight drops that accounted for a -1.0 (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.8, 6+) as “News Radio 590 AM” reenters the top ten (#11 to #9).
Advancing from #20 to #18, Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” has a February 2019 through July 2019 topline of 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.3 – 1.6 (6+). After notching a .4 (6+) in May, iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” is stuck on .5 (#24, 6+) in June and July.
A gain of nine-tenths (5.8 – 6.7, 6+) enables University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk KUT to advance from fourth to second. Six of KUT’s seven shifts this calendar year include: +1.6 (January); -.6 (February); +.7 (March); -2.0 (April); -1.6 (May) and +.9 (July). June’s 5.8 was its lowest 6+-showing since April 2017 (5.8, as well).
Austin Music Formats – Up six-tenths (3.8 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KPEZ “102.3 The Beat” progresses from tenth to eighth with its highest 6+-share (4.4) in more than two years (4.7, June 2017). Four successive reports without a loss by alternative KROX net a +1.2 (2.6 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.8, 6+) as “101-X” climbs from #12 to #11. This (3.8) is its best 6+showing since September 2018’s 4.0. Off one-half share in May and then roaring back with a robust +1.1 in June, adult hits KBPA “103.5 Bob-FM” loses one-tenth in July (9.3 – 9.2, 6+) but is the market pacesetter the fourth month in a row. June’s 9.3 was its highest 6+ share since “Holiday” 2018 (also 9.3). Prior to April 2019, the last time “Bob” occupied the top spot was December 2018 (8.3, 6+). There’s as intriguing situation in the market’s three-way country tussle. For openers, Genuine Austin Radio’s KOKE-FM strings together its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a net gain of six-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.6, 6+). “Austin’s Country Alternative” jumps from #14 to #16 with its best 6+-stat (2.6) since February’s 2.7. At the same time, slipping by six-tenths and seven-tenths, respectively, are iHeartMedia country siblings KASE “Austin’s #1 For New Country,” (4.8, sixth to fifth, 6+) and KVET-FM “98.1 The Austin Texas Original” (4.5, flat at #7, 6+). KASE is a combined -1.0 in June/July (5.8 – 5.4 – 4.8, 6+), directly after +1.5 in three straight bumps (4.3 – 4.5 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+). It plummeted by -1.9 in “Holiday” 2018; improved by +1.2 in January; and was -.6 in February. Likewise, KVET-FM is -1.3 in June/July (5.8 – 5.2 – 4.5, 6+), following May’s +.9; “The Austin Texas Original” was +1.2 in January (5.0 – 6.2, 6+). After posting six successive positive or neutral monthlies that yielded an impressive +2.1 (3.6 – 4.3 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 5.5 – 5.7, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss-FM” surrenders roughly half that increase (-1.1) to 4.6 (fifth to sixth, 6+). KLBJ-FM “93.7 The Rock of Austin” loses six-tenths to 3.6, its lowest 6+-showing since “Holiday” 2018’s 3.2, and exits the top ten (#9 to #12). Following May/June’s combined +1.1(5.3 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7” forfeits roughly half that increase (5.9, -.5, third to fourth, 6+). Having scored a March +1.2, regional Mexican KLZT “107.1 La Z” is now a collective -2.7 in four subsequent decreases (6.7 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.0, 6+) and falls from eighth to tenth. With an April – May – June (6+) topline of 1.2 – 1.1 – .9 (6+), Genuine Austin Radio classic hits-oldies KTXX-HD4 vanishes from print.
Spoken-Word Formats – The five most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia news/talk – and Indians flagship – WTAM “1100 Cleveland’s News Radio” are: -.6 (March); +.9 (April); -.7 (May); and +.5 (June); and another +.5 in July (5.6 – 6.1, eighth to sixth, 6+).
Upon resurfacing in print this past April, Salem Media Group news/talk WHK logged a .5 (6+) in April, May, and June, finishing at #19. “AM 1420 The Answer – News-Opinion-Insight,” however, is unlisted in July.
In an alternating down/up pattern that began in January (which includes June’s -1.0), Entercom’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” is a collective -2.3 (5.4 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 3.9 – 4.0 – 3.0 – 3.1, #14 to #13, 6+).
Notwithstanding that it repeats June’s 3.6 (6+), Ideastream-owned news/talk outlet WCPN departs the top ten (#10 to #12).
Cleveland Music Formats – Similar to its sports talk cluster-mate WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” (see above), Entercom hot AC WQAL “Q-104” is in an alternating down/up pattern. WQAL’s sequence started in January and includes July’s +.8 (3.6 – 3.9 – 3.2 – 3.8 – 3.4 – 4.2, #11 to #10, 6+). A boost of seven-tenths by iHeartMedia adult hits WHLK (5.4 – 6.1, 6+) propels “106.5 The Lake” from ninth to sixth with its strongest 6+-stat since January (6.1, as well). Improving by six-tenths each are Entercom adult contemporary WDOK “Cleveland’s Star 102” (6.0 – 6.6, sixth to fifth, 6+) and iHeartMedia CHR WAKS “96.5 Kiss FM” (#12 to #11). WDOK bounces back from June’s -1.5 which sent “Star” to 6.0, its weakest 6+-stat since January (6.0, as well). Meanwhile, “Kiss” is within 3.1 – 3.9 range for the sixth successive time (3.6 – 3.9 – 3.1 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.9, 6+). Its classic hits-oldies sibling WMJI “Majic 105.7 – Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” finishes on top the eighth straight sweep (9.8 – 9.2, 6+). Six of its recent shifts are: +2.8 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.7 (January 2019); +.8 (February); +1.0 (March); -1.0 (April); and -.6 (July). On the heels of June’s gain of six-tenths, Radio One urban contemporary WENZ suffers a setback more than four times that magnitude (7.0 – 4.5, -2.5, 6+) as “Z-107.9” tumbles from fifth to ninth. June’s 7.0 was its best 6+-showing since November 2017’s 7.2. When urban AC sibling WZAK gained three-tenths in June, it suspended five successive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a -1.2 (8.7 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.5, 6+). The July report indicates that WZAK is off by -1.1 (7.8 – 6.7) and continues in fourth-place. Three positive spikes in a row by iHeartMedia-owned WMMS netted a full-share (4.7 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 5.7, 6+) but “100.7 Cleveland’s Rock Station” coughs up two-tenths to 5.5 (6+) and dips from seventh to eighth. In May, WMMS reached the five-share level for the first time since October 2017’s 5.0.
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
CBS Radio Signs Jim Rome to Multi-Year Extension. Sports talk personality Jim Rome and CBS Radio have come to terms on a new, multi-year deal. Rome jumped from Premiere Networks back in January of 2013 to be one of the lead talents on the then-new CBS Sports Radio network. CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero says Rome was a key ingredient, “The Jim Rome show was the critical building block in the successful launch of CBS Sports Radio four years ago and brought immediate star power and credibility to the network. We now look forward to writing the next chapter together in the storied history of Jim’s show, which has been and continues to be the standard by which all nationally syndicated sports shows are judged.” As part of the deal, a one-hour highlight podcast of Rome’s show will continue to be available via CBS’ Play.it network. He’ll also continue to anchor three editions of the early afternoon broadcast of the network’s flagship feature, the “CBS Sports Minute.”
Philly Sports Talker Signs with WIP-FM. When Philadelphia sports talk radio personality Jon Marks exited Beasley’s crosstown WPEN-AM/FM after 10 years with the station last fall, there was speculation he would land at CBS Radio’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.” Now, that’s a reality as Marks assumes the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm air shift beginning this evening (2/7). Additionally, Marks will anchor weekday Phillies pre-game and post-game coverage, provide content for CBSPhilly.com and contribute to WIP’s daytime lineup. WIP-FM program director Spike Eskin comments, “Jon’s talent, relationship to Philadelphia sports fans, and history in the marketplace will be a huge addition to WIP. We’re thrilled to have him aboard.” Brian Haddad, who was hosting the evening show, remains with WIP-FM as creative services director.
SRN’s Hugh Hewitt Joins Washington Post as Columnist. Conservative media figure Hugh Hewitt adds another gig – and media outlet – to his resume. The Salem Radio Network talk host is signing on with The Washington Post as a regular opinion columnist. In addition to his daily morning drive show on Salem Radio Network, Hewitt is a regular panelist on “Meet the Press,” is a contributor to NBC News, and teaches constitutional law at Chapman University Law School. WaPo editorial page editor Fred Hiatt comments, “Hugh is one of the most influential and intelligent conservatives in political media, simultaneously thoughtful and provocative. It’s essential to us that we offer readers a range of views, and we’re thrilled that Hugh has agreed to join our diverse team.”
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Tweeden to ‘McIntyre in the Morning’ Show. Radio and television personality Leeann Tweeden was previously heard in the Los Angeles market at iHeartMedia’s sports talk KLAC “AM570 LA Sports” as one half of the “Roggin & Tweeden” show. Now, she joins Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC as news anchor for the “McIntyre in the Morning” show. KABC operations director Drew Hayes states, “We are delighted to have Leeann sign on as the newest addition to the KABC on-air team. She is not only a bright, high energy, and plugged-in broadcaster, she brings a broad reservoir of life experiences. Leeann is a perfect fit for ‘McIntyre in the Morning’ and the big-personality lineup of News. Talk. Evolved. 790 KABC.” Tweeden’s resume includes time spent as co-host of “UFC Tonight on FOX Sports” and FSN’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.” Currently, she makes appearances presenting social and political commentary on FOX News’ “Hannity,” HLN’s “Dr. Drew,” and FOX News’ “Red Eye.”
Comrex to Unveil New Portable Audio IP Codec at NAB 2017. This new portable audio IP codec is called the ACCESS NX, and it’s the latest version available from audio IP transmission leader Comrex. This new unit (pictured at right), builds on the 10-year legacy of the ACCESS Portable. However, this unit adds an audio channel, a larger touch screen, and a digital mixing stage. The five-inch, capacitive touch screen doesn’t require a stylus, which simplifies set up and operation. The ACCESS NX includes a dedicated stereo line input, in addition to a pair of XLR switchable audio inputs. ACCESS NX is compatible with an ACCESS clip-on channel mixer (also pictured at right), a new accessory which adds four mic/line inputs and headphone outputs. Comrex says that the new unit includes CrossLock, the company’s custom reliability layer that enables both powerful error correction and network bonding. CrossLock intelligently monitors network connections and adjusts data allotment in real-time. The features on the ACCESS NX include: Two USB jacks for 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity, Ethernet port, and compatibility with POTS modem (sold separately); two stereo headphone outputs (¼” jacks) with individual controls; digital mixing and headphone busses; digital peak limiting; field-changeable internal lithium battery with built-in charger (5 hours of power); and serial data and four contact closures. Comrex notes that the ACCESS has enabled broadcasters to transmit live programming from war zones, airplanes, bicycles, protests, and natural disasters – “its uniquely portable design has allowed for truly creative programming.”
TALKERS News Notes. WRKO, Boston morning drive personality Doug “VB” Goudie has published a new historical book titled, ACK in Ashes: Nantucket’s Great Fire of 1846. Goudie co-hosts the “Boston.com Morning Show” on the Entercom news/talk outlet with Kim Carrigan. The book tells the story of the July 13, 1846 fire on the island of Nantucket and the challenges the whaling town faced rebuilding after the devastation…..iHeartMedia and partner Advertising Age launch their “Tagline” podcast with season one presenting sponsor Bulleit Frontier Whiskey on board. iHM says, “As the presenting sponsor of “Tagline” season one, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey will work with AdAge and iHeartMedia to craft stories and experiences centered around the cultural frontier. Bulleit and its family of high-rye, award-winning variants will provide inspired cocktails to ‘Tagline’ guests throughout the season and will work with award-winning mixologists to curate cocktails based on each episode’s discussion topic. The premier episode features Jeff Bell, 2013 World Class American Bartender of the Year…..ABC News Radio is presenting a special series titled, “America’s Fentanyl Crisis,” in which senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas reports on the crisis from New England, ground zero of the Fentanyl epidemic. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic pain killer that has become a popular street drug. During this five-part investigation, Thomas goes inside a Drug Enforcement Administration drug lab, participates in law enforcement ride-alongs, and meets with survivors struggling to stay clean.
Travel Ban Court Battle, DeVos Education Secretary Nomination, O’Reilly vs Putin, Iran Missile Test, Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer Spoof, and Patriots Win Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The looming court battle over President Donald Trump’s order stopping travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; the slim margin of support for Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary; the Kremlin’s request for an apology from FOX News for Bill O’Reilly’s calling Vladimir Putin a killer; Iran’s bluster over its recent missile tests and the Trump Administration’s putting it “on notice”; the flap over Melissa McCarthy’s “SNL” performance as Press Secretary Sean Spicer; and the New England Patriots’ comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI 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. At country WUBL, Atlanta “94.9 The Bull,” iHeartMedia names Jeremy “Otis” Maher afternoon drive personality and music director. Otis is psyched about his new gig. He says, “I am so excited to join Brian Michel and the iHeartMedia team on one of the biggest country stations in the nation! I can’t wait to bring a high-energy, ultra-interactive show to The Bull’s listeners.” Most recently, Otis worked as the program director and afternoon host at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville “99.7 DJX.”…..In Colorado Springs, Aaron Zytle exits the program director and afternoon drive personality roles at Bahakel Communications’ KRXP “The Alternative RXP @ 103.9.”…..The weekly, San Diego market Bob Marley program “Brunch With Bob and Friends” is now being heard on alternative XETRA “91X.” The show has been produced in San Diego for the past 13 years and launched on “91X’ on Sunday – what would have been Markey’s 72nd birthday. The show (airing Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon) is hosted by “91X” morning personality Tommy Hough, who created the program in 2004…..CBS Radio CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” is presenting the “Lectric Leprechaun” EDM show on March 15 at the Aragon Ballroom. The concert will feature Steve Aoki, Krewella, Cash Cash, and Grandtheft…..Beginning Thursday (2/9), Cumulus Media and Westwood One begin presenting an array of special programming, exclusive brand activations, and backstage performances in celebration of the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards. The Westwood One Backstage Live at the GRAMMYS weekend will include live performances from Columbia recording artist and multiple GRAMMY Award-winners Train, Republic recording artist Marian Hill, and Hollywood Records recording artist Ocean Park Standoff. The events take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET and Friday from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm PT. More than 25 radio stations and Westwood One’s nationally syndicated Zach Sang and Adam Bomb shows will be backstage to capture the action as it happens…..The annual Super Bowl-related battle between Dick Broadcasting air personalities got even crazier this year. Each year WKZL, Greensboro personality (and operations manager) Jason Goodman, a.k.a. “The Littlest Patriot” and WKRR, Greensboro personality Chris Kelly (half of the syndicated “2 Guys Named Chris” program) compete to see whose home will host the biggest and greatest Big Game party. Both jocks spent a small fortune trying to outdo each other. (Check out the billboard Goodman rented to park outside the WKRR studios!) Goodman’s party featured door prizes and Oscar-worthy gift bags, while Kelly invested heavily in a state-of-the-art, surround-sound system. The goal: Win the contest by having more friends and co-workers over than your opponent, thus proving Party Superiority! Goodman was declared winner by acclamation…..The WNNX, Atlanta morning show “Bailey and Southside” is running the “Sucks for Bucks” promotion all this month. The contest is simple: When listeners hear a cast member – Jason Bailey, Southside Steve, Brandi Britain or Digi-Dude Nate – on the show sucking (as in performing poorly), they phone in and call them out on it. If a majority of the cast agrees with the caller, the caller wins $100. WNNX says it has allocated “thousands of dollars” for this month-long promotion.
‘REAL 92.3’ Los Angeles Promotes DJ Carisma to Music Director. Los Angeles DJ and mixer DJ Carisma has been with iHeartMedia’s hip hop KRRL “REAL 92.3” since 2015, serving as live DJ/mixer in afternoon drive and as part of the Saturday night “Young California Radio” collaboration with DJ Amen and Dre Sinatra. Now, she’s been upped to music director and mix show coordinator. She says, “I feel like I was born to be a part of the radio world, and the ‘REAL 92.3’ brand is the perfect fit for me. I’m proud of my radio industry track record, and my promotion to music director is mind blowing. I can’t wait to continue to better serve this station and community by doing what I love.”
PPM Analysis: Hot AC. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of hot AC-formatted stations based on the Holiday 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. In this report, you can see the (6+) ratings battles between in-market competitors, how stations compared to their performances in the December PPM survey, as well as how they performed compared to the Holiday 2015 PPM survey. See it all here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Legendary KGO, San Francisco Talkmeister Ronn Owens. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” is posted today (7/14). It features a compelling conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio talk show host Ronn Owens. Owens is about to mark his 40th anniversary with the heritage San Francisco outlet KGO – having survived numerous regimes and ownership changes during that four-decade period, including the controversial 2011 reorganization of the station from a news/talk format to an all-news direction that left Owens the station’s only full-time talk show host. In addition, Owens recently disclosed publicly that he has been privately dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 13 years that has progressed to the point that he will be undergoing a leading-edge form of surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. This aggressive procedure, when successful, has been shown to alleviate the incurable neurological disorder’s movement-prohibiting symptoms. Owens – ranked by TALKERS as one of the 25 most important radio talk show hosts of all time — discusses his career and views on talk radio, including the power of local programming, options beyond the left/right paradigm, the disastrous simulcast of his show on KGO and KABC, Los Angeles in 1997-98 and the impact of cell phones on the format, plus more. He also candidly talks about his quiet battle with advancing Parkinson’s Disease, his decision to open up about it and details of the exotic form of brain surgery that he will be facing in August. Harrison says of Owens, “This man is truly one of the giants of the industry. Just like all the truly great performers of the talk radio arts, he rises above technique and has made it big simply based upon his unique brand of ‘personhood’ – an elusive quality that the Dickey Brothers obviously recognize – and speaks volumes about their nuanced awareness factor. Add to that, his backbone is of figurative steel as he faces an experimental form of invasive surgery. Ronn Owens is an inspiration to us all, professionally and personally. I am so darned pleased to be able to present this podcast to the industry and the world.” This is a must-listen for members of the professional radio community. To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
LeGrett Lands iHeartMedia LA Market President Slot. Currently senior vice president of operations for approximately 225 iHeartMedia stations in roughly 50 northeast and midwest markets, Kevin LeGrett is shifting to market president for the company’s eight-station Los Angeles cluster. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia – and the company’s Southern California president – Greg Ashlock (to whom LeGrett will report) comments, “Kevin has a successful track record leading operations and accelerating growth across multiple regions. He has earned the right to lead our largest market. His vast experience managing talent and revenue across so many diverse markets and stations will allow him to bring a unique perspective to our Los Angeles portfolio – a portfolio that I have been blessed to directly manage for the last decade that hosts the most compelling on-air talent and most innovative leaders in the business.” LeGrett states that he is “thrilled” at the “opportunity to lead” the “extremely talented” Los Angeles team. He further states, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles has some of the most iconic brands and beloved personalities in the country. With the instantaneous success of [urban contemporary KRRL] ‘Real 92.3’ and the continued stellar ratings and thriving pop culture events such as ‘Wango Tango’ and ‘Jingle Ball,’ it is an exciting time for the market. I look forward to the opportunity to further build on the team’s already enormous success.” LeGrett, who begins his new duties in three weeks (8/3), joined iHeartMedia five years ago as vice president and market manager for the company’s Rochester stations. He will be leading a Los Angeles group of properties that includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM” and adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5,” tied for second in Nielsen Audio‘s June 2015 PPM, each with 5.1 (6+). Also in the top ten this June are iHM CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (#4, 4.9) and talk KFI (#8, 3.5). The rest of the company’s Los Angeles cluster consists of aforementioned urban contemporary KRRL “Real 9.2.3” (formerly urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3,” #11, 3.1); alternative KYSR “Alt 98.7” (#20, 2.3); and sports/Los Angeles Dodgers’ flagship KLAC and talk KEIB (both with .9, tied at #30).
Cumulus Media Expands Brand Partnerships Team. This move includes promotions for two current Cumulus Media staffers. The company says that in expanding the Brand Partnerships team, it has named Leslie Slender vice president, Brand Partnerships and Events, and Leslie Caraccilo, vice president, Brand Partnerships. The Brand Partnerships division is responsible for developing “unique experiential opportunities for Cumulus and Westwood One, connecting advertisers to its listening audiences and leveraging its integrated radio, digital, social and live events platform.” Slender has been serving as Cumulus New York’s corporate director, events and marketing. She’ll continue to oversee marketing and events for Cumulus New York stations. Caraccilo has been with the company for five years as was most recently senior director of digital monetization. She’ll continue to oversee digital sales strategy for Cumulus. Cumulus SVP of Brand Partnership Tommy Page states, “We are excited to welcome these two talented professionals to the Brand Partnerships team. Leslie Slender is a rare example of a marketer that is not only outstanding at producing and executing live events, but also knows how to package these opportunities for advertisers. Leslie Caraccilo has done an incredible job of creating custom digital and content solutions for our advertisers across the Cumulus platform. Her understanding of artist programming and deep knowledge of the digital space make her a natural fit for our Brand Partnerships team. With these strong additions to our already stellar Westwood One events group, all Cumulus and Westwood One partners and advertisers will benefit from this powerhouse team’s expertise.”
USA Radio Network Helps Sponsor Broadcast of Family Leadership Summit. A live, five-hour broadcast from the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 is being made available for free to broadcasters from USA Radio Networks in cooperation with Truth Radio Network. The Ames, Iowa event will originate from Iowa State University and be anchored by nationally syndicated host and political commentator Steve Deace and American values expert Steve Noble. The live broadcast will give voters the opportunity to hear from top conservative leaders and Republican presidential candidates, including: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bob Vander Plaats. USA Radio Networks SVP of news operations Russ Jones says, “Iowa is a key battleground state for any presidential candidate. The Family Leadership Summit is the first major platform the electorate will get to hear how candidates would lead the nation.”
Art Bell Returns to Airwaves in Portland on Monday. We’ve known for some time now that Art Bell has been preparing to return to hosting a nightly program via his Dark Matter Digital Network, but now Alpha Media announces the originator of “Coast to Coast AM” will bring his new show – “Midnight in the Desert” – to KXL-FM, Portland beginning Monday, July 20. The show will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am local time and will follow Clyde Lewis’ “Ground Zero.” Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “Art is an American original in terms of putting the paranormal on the radio landscape. We are so proud to extend his coverage to the Northwest where there is a rabid appetite for his unique brand of communication.”
2015 Marconi Finalists Announced. The 2015 Marconi Award finalists have been announced by the NAB. The annual awards, to be given out during the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta on October 1, are divvied up into 20 categories. Legendary Station of the Year finalists include: news/talk outlets KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM, Dayton; and all-news KYW, Philadelphia. Major Market Personality of the Year finalists include: Felger & Massarotti from sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston and Hal Jay from news/talk WBAP, Dallas. View all the finalists here.
WYM Media to Distribute Malcolm Out Loud Features. Through WYM Media Management, radio news commentator Malcolm Out Loud is expanding his daily radio presence with three new features. “Out Loud News and Comment” is the news of the day with Malcolm’s unique twist; “Out Loud America” is a “relevant and timely commentary from Malcolm”; and “Brink Thinking Out Loud” is “motivational content and inspiring stories and positive events shaping our world.” Malcolm Out Loud is a motivational speaker, innovator and creator of the popular websites OutLoudAmerica.com and BrinkThinking.com.
KCMO, Kansas City Holds Drive to Assist Mother of Six Caught Shoplifting. The case of homeless widow and mother-of-six Sarah Robinson was the focus of attention for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City radio stations, led by news/talk KCMO on Saturday as it held a donation drive Saturday for the family. Robinson was cited for shoplifting at a local Walmart but the officer who responded, Mark Engravalle, decided to pay for the diapers and wipes for her twin two-year-olds and bought shoes for her other girls. After hearing the woman’s story of desperation, the stations planned a two-hour donation drive that netted cash, diapers, baby wipes, clothing, blankets, food, toiletries and other items. KCMO morning host Rob Carson hosted both Robinson and Officer Engravalle on his show on Monday. Officer Engravalle remains touched that he’s changed someone’s life for the better and he is in constant touch with Sarah, who is off the street with her girls in temporary lodging, while something more permanent is being arranged. The generosity continues with a local law firm offering her a job.
Odds & Sods. Texas-based talk show host Lynn Woolley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his talk show. Woolley says his days as a talk show host go back to 1995 when he and two partners operated KTEM, Kileen-Temple…..The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Capitol Broadcasting Company have reached a multi-year agreement for WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” to continue serving as the team’s flagship station through the 2019-20 season.
Cool Job Opportunity. NBC Sports Radio in Culver City, California is looking for the next great sports talk producer! Are you totally immersed in all things sports? Can you oversee and manage a top-notch, daily sports talk show and book compelling guests and newsmakers? Can you handle show/talent/guest prep, organize formats and rundowns, develop content, fact-check and research, and distribute social media and digital content across platforms? Do you have excellent live and studio production skills using multiple software programs, including Adobe Audition and Pro Tools? If you can do all this and have 3-4 year’s major market or network experience, we want to talk to you! Send a link to work materials, including resume and audio samples, to Jack Silver, Program Director, at email@example.com. No calls, please.
WBAP, Dallas’ Bushman Recognized with Regional Murrow Award. WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth news staffer Eric Bushman was recently honored with Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his reporting on the U.S. Ebola outbreak last year. Dallas was “Ground Zero” for Bushman’s story, and he was lead reporter from start to finish. This is the second consecutive year Bushman has been honored with a Murrow Award. Last year, he received one for his comprehensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WBAP, Dallas operations and program manager Tyler Cox comments, “Eric’s work represents the type of reporting that is the signature of the WBAP news staff: comprehensive, in-depth, and sticking with the story from start-to-finish.”
Nicole Sandler Auctioning Cool Radio Memorabilia for Radio Or Not. Progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler is opening up her archives of radio memorabilia for an auction to help support her Radio Or Not digital platform. Sandler says she’s always vowed to not put her content behind a paywall and this auction – which starts tomorrow (7/15) – will help her costs of operation. Sandler is not the only radio pro who’s been collecting cool radio and music artifacts over the years. In fact, TALKERS editors believe one of the interesting, untold stories in the radio biz is just what these personal treasure troves contain. Sandler’s has some pretty fun items that come from her days producing for Jim Kerr at WPLJ, New York and for Mark & Brian at KLOS, Los Angeles. Note the autographed guitar pictured above that’s been signed by Johnny Cash, BB King, Les Paul, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, Todd Rundgren and others. Then, for political wonks, the Bill and Hillary corkscrew-nutcracker pair pictured here at right make the perfect election year gift! Sandler’s auction site is: radioornot.com/auction.
2016 Presidential Candidates/Scott Walker Joins Race, Mexican Drug Lord Prison Escape, Iran Nuclear Talks, NYC Eric Garner Settlement, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Greek Debt Deal, and MLB All-Star Break Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s entering the primary race; the escape from prison of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord; the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the West over its nuclear program; New York City’s settlement with the family of Eric Garner over his death at the hands of an NYC cop; the ongoing controversy over the nation’s illegal immigration policy and the country’s sanctuary cities; the Greek debt solution and the effects on the EU; and the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.