FCC Releases 2021 Year-End Station Totals: AM Declines by 42 Stations. At the end of December, the FCC issued its annual station totals report and the number of commercial AM radio stations in the U.S. declined by 42. Interestingly, the country also lost 23 commercial FM signals but gained nine educational FMs. However, the number of FM translators and boosters rose by 446 while Low Power FMs declined by 67. The FCC notes that the number of AM signals in the United States was at its peak in the 1990s at around 5,000. As for FM translators and boosters, there were about 6,100 such signals 10 years ago and that number is now 8,866. The category of FM educational will continue to grow soon and the FCC recently opened a window for new non-commercial educational FM construction permits and received almost 1,300 applications.
KWAM, Memphis Names Kevin Davis General Manager. Radio programming and management pro Kevin Davis returns to the Memphis market as the new general manager of Starnes Media Group’s news/talk KWAM-AM “The Mighty 990.” Davis was most recently serving as afternoon host and production director at Radio Training Network’s Christian contemporary WAFJ-FM, Augusta, Georgia. Starnes Media Group says, “Kevin brings more than 36 years of broadcast experience to KWAM. His experience includes a wide variety of radio formats – AC, CHR, Christian, classic rock, classic hits, country and news/talk radio. This isn’t the first time for Kevin in Memphis. For four-and-a-half years, Kevin was at crosstown classic hits WOWW, Memphis “Guess FM” and country WEBL “95.3 The Rebel” as operations manager/program director until departing for WAFJ, Augusta in April 2020. Kevin is eager to serve the community, grow the brand and expand KWAM’s footprint in the Mid-South region.”
CES 2022: Gadgets, Still! “They REALLY don’t want us calling this ‘The Consumer Electronics Show.’” Holland Cooke explains that “harkens back to VCRs and other things-in-boxes, as so much of the now technology on display here is software that enables experiences.” But HC reports that “acres and acres of inventions do transform Las Vegas into nerd heaven this week.” Read more here.
Former KABC, Los Angeles Host Bill Pearl Dies at 71. Former KABC, Los Angeles broadcaster, attorney, and Long Beach investigative website host Bill Pearl died on January 4 at age 71 due to complications from cancer. Consultant Valerie Geller tipped TALKERS magazine to Pearl’s passing. She says most Southern California listeners remember hearing him on KABC with co-host Bill Press on their popular point/counterpoint-style show. Pearl leaves behind his wife – former KOA, Denver and KFWB, Los Angeles radio reporter Sharon Katchen Pearl and children David, Max, and Chaya Pearl. Pictured here during the mid-1990s are (from l-r): Geller, Sharon Katchen Pearl, and Bill Pearl.
iHeartMedia Station Groups Announce Community Partners for 2022. The station groups in Indianapolis, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky announce they have arranged community partnerships with eight local non-profit organizations in each of those regions that address needs there. iHeartMedia says each non-profit community partner will be promoted during a three-month marketing campaign based on their specific needs, including seeking volunteers, raising awareness and promoting events. The Local Advisory Boards in each market, comprised of numerous community leaders, selected the recipients through an extensive application process. The community partners vary in each market. In Indianapolis, the partners include: AccessAbility, Cancer Support, and Kids’ Voice of Indiana. In Louisville, the partners include: CASA of The River Region, Center for Women & Families, and Family & Children’s Place. In Lexington, the partners include: Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter of Lexington, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington, and Central Music Academy.
TALKERS News Notes. Production pro MJ Bloch is named East Coast director of commercial production for Benztown and its client Yamanair Creative. Bloch joins Benztown from iHeartMedia, where she was creative services director for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge clusters for the past nine years. She also previously served in iHeartMedia’s national production department…..Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s media company, and Spotify announce the new podcast, “The Big Hit Show,” a series of audio documentaries hosted by Alex Pappademas that focus on the pieces of popular culture that have defined and changed our culture. Pappademas says, “The shows and films and albums we explore have all been chosen not just because they’re massive pieces of popular culture. We’ve picked them because each has had a profound butterfly effect on our culture. Whether we’re tracing how an author’s vivid dream about a sparkly vampire led to an entirely new fan culture or how a megastar reckoning with success, expectation and survivor’s guilt crafted a masterpiece that became the soundtrack to the biggest protest movement in a generation, listeners will know from chapter to chapter they’re getting a high stakes narrative that explains how our culture has been influenced and shaped by these creations.”
January 6 Capitol Attack Anniversary, COVID-19, Midterm Elections, Border Crisis-Human Trafficking, and NYC DA’s Jail Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol building and the House Select Committee’s investigation; the soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and the battles over school attendance and mandates; the November midterm elections and speculation about the Democrats’ ability to keep control of Congress; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of President Joe Biden’s border policy as the administration marks National Human Trafficking Prevention Month; and New York City DA Alvin Bragg announces plan to reduce incarceration for certain violent crimes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.
NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”
Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.
Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.
The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis 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. See this week’s complete chart here.
Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”