TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing. A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1). The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network, John Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTV, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times. The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. See the video of today’s event here.
Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”
NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCullough, Richard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”
Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”
Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations ….. Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.
Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.
Entercom Acquires Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media. This morning’s (Wednesday, 8/7) press release doesn’t indicate a transaction amount for the two podcasting entities; however, The Wall Street Journal (first to report the story) pegs Cadence13 at roughly $50 million and estimates Pineapple Street Media at $18 million. Two years ago, Entercom shelled out nearly $10 million for a 45% stake in Cadence13 but now owns it entirely. According to Entercom chair/president/chief executive officer David Field, “Today marks another transformational event at Entercom – we are thrilled to welcome the outstanding teams and content partners at both Pineapple Street and Cadence13. Entercom will stand as a unique leader in the audio universe with both the greatest collection of premium, original local audio content along with arguably the best national podcast content. We are well-positioned to participate in the exciting audio renaissance and the powerful opportunities to work with our thousands of customers across the country on their increasingly important audio strategies.” Entercom’s chief digital officer J.D. Crowley remarks, “It is an exciting day for all lovers of audio – creators, listeners and advertisers. The leadership teams at both Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media are the best in the business; their tenacity, creativity and reputations are unmatched.” Pineapple Street Media will be renamed Pineapple Street Studios, a division of RADIO.COM, with Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky continuing as co-heads. It is a production house that creates original podcasts, working with partners such as ESPN, WNYC Studios, Netflix, and The New York Times. Headquartered in New York City and with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cadence13 launched in 2015 and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Entercom. CEO Spencer Brown will join the new organization as head of the division. Chief content officer Chris Corcoran will continue to lead content and Cadence13 president John Murphy will also be part of the leadership team. Pineapple Street Media co-founder Max Linsky says, “This is an incredibly exciting day for us and our team of podcast producers. We started Pineapple three years ago with the simple goal of making great shows that found huge audiences. Joining forces with the amazing teams at Entercom and Cadence13 means we can do that at a scale we never imagined. Co-founder Jenna Weiss-Berman adds, “This is an amazing time for podcasting. This moment is unprecedented – the energy, the growth, the talent coming to the medium. I am thrilled to be working with the incredible leadership teams at Entercom and Cadence13.” In a joint statement, Cadence13 founding partners Spencer Brown, Chris Corcoran, and John Murphy write, “Consolidation with Entercom will greatly accelerate the next phase of our growth. Through its robust portfolio, Entercom offers Cadence access to a national audio platform that will accelerate revenue and development of our audience engagement efforts. This acquisition helps us extend the reach of our partners and build their audiences across the audio landscape.”
Entravision Elevates Melendez to President/Local Media Sales. West region executive vice president Eddie Melendez is boosted to Entravision’s president of local media sales. Markets reporting directly to him include Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Orlando, McAllen, and El Paso. Entravision chief revenue officer Karl A. Meyer explains that, “Entravision has a comprehensive offering of traditional and digital media assets, which provide a powerful omni-channel platform for advertisers to reach the growing U.S. Hispanic market. We now have a single holistic sales structure that fully aligns with our integrated sales strategy approach. This provides consistency for our team and our marketing partners which will improve productivity and enhance the service we provide to our advertising clients. Eddie is a proven and inspirational leader with almost 30 years of experience and we are excited to have him driving our local sales efforts.” A part of the “Entravision family” since 2002, Melendez notes, “It’s an honor to be leading our local sales efforts. We have an exceptional platform and talented associate team that allow us to offer advertisers a comprehensive marketing solution that truly reaches and engages consumers at different stages of the value chain. I believe we are well-positioned to meet the needs of local advertisers today and in the future and build long-term relationships.” Positions Melendez has held since joining Entravision include vice president of business development and vice president/director of national sales. In other Entravision personnel news, Juan Navarro is appointed to the newly-created role of regional vice president/local media sales; Chris Jordan is named Las Vegas’ senior vice president/sales; and Laura Hernandez becomes senior vice president/sales in Midland-Odessa (Texas).
Wilson To Keynote RAIN Summit. The keynote speaker of next month’s (9/24) RAIN Summit in Dallas will be Bill Wilson, the two-year chief executive officer of Townsquare Media and a digital frontrunner in internet media and radio for over 25 years. As president of AOL Media, he managed consumer-facing brands across news, finance, sports, entertainment, and technology destinations. In Dallas, Wilson will describe the priorities and initiatives that have helped define Townsquare Media as “a local media and digital marketing solutions company.” RAIN president Brad Hill notes, “We are delighted and privileged to spotlight Bill Wilson at our Dallas event. In the 12 years that I’ve known Bill, he has been resolutely forward-looking, adroitly meeting the challenges of digital transformation and creating success across media categories. His executive experience and viewpoint illuminate new possibilities for radio and local media.” Wilson won an Emmy in 2006 for the “Live 8” program. He joined Townsquare Media in 2010 as chief content & digital officer and became CEO seven years later. Townsquare has innovated on the digital side through content and marketing initiatives such as Townsquare Ignite, the company’s fastest growing business in 2018, and Townsquare Interactive.
Entercom’s Q2 Results. Year-to-year net revenue rose 2.3% to $380.7 million, with Entercom’s operating income more than doubling from $27.6 million to $64.8 million. As TALKERS is reporting, Entercom this morning (Wednesday, 8/7) announced the purchase of Pineapple Street Media and an agreement in principle to acquire Cadence13. Chair/president/chief operating officer David J. Field explains, “This will make Entercom one of the country’s three largest podcast enterprises.” In another item on our site this morning, we cover the company’s launch of the RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network. Field points out, “It will debut later this month with a compelling lineup of daily radio shows and weekly podcasts. [The Cadence13, Pineapple Street Media, and Sports Digital Network] moves highlight a series of strategic investments that are positioning Entercom to capitalize on the exciting growth opportunities in the audio space fueled by rapidly emerging catalysts, including podcasting, smart speakers, audio search, enhanced analytics and attribution.” Regarding the Q2 results, he notes that, “Second quarter revenue and EBITDA were up 2.3% and 7%, respectively, driven by strong growth in national, network and digital, partially offset by declines in political and events.”
TALKERS News Notes. With over 65 hours of daily live programming, Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network debuts in 12 days (Monday, 8/19). Shows will be available in podcast form with four additional weekly podcasts. Entercom sports president Mike Dee comments, “We are thrilled with the extraordinary lineup of talent we have assembled to launch this new venture. The commitment to create and distribute 25 hours of dedicated sports betting audio and video weekly to super serve that growing audience is an example of how the network will adapt quickly to the new trends that are shaping both consumer and advertiser interest. We look forward to the onboarding of more great content to the network in the coming months.” The weekday lineup will include: “Home and Home” with Ross Tucker and Dave Briggs (8:00 am – 11:00 am); “Scal & Pals” with Brian Scalabrine (11:00 am – 1:00 pm, starting 9/23); “Swing & Mrs.” With Cody Decker and his wife Jennifer Sterger Decker (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); and “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm) ….. There are personnel additions and subtractions taking place at NPR. Some newsroom positions are being cut, while other departments are adding jobs. As of September 6, for example, national security correspondent David Welna will depart. Senior vice president of news/editorial director Nancy Barnes addresses the issue in a staff memo by writing that less than ten jobs are being eliminated, however, the reason isn’t “about saving money.” Instead, she indicates it is a realignment of resources. Staff is being added to report on such topics as climate change and opioid addiction. An spokesperson says those facing layoffs will have the chance to apply for new openings within NPR ….. There will be two huge changes for E! News next year. Instead of airing at 7:00 pm, it will become a morning show and relocate from Los Angeles to NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Center studios in New York. Approximately 25 E! News Los Angeles staffers will be laid off, although the company hopes to place them in new positions. The cable channel’s 2020 slate of entertainment news programming includes multiple additional hours of original weekday content, including two new series based in NYC. Its weekday schedule will include eight original entertainment news and commentary series.
Aftermath of El Paso and Dayton Shootings, US-China Trade War, and Stock Market Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday and this Morning (8/6-7). The aftermath of the tragic shooting violence in El Paso and Dayton this weekend dominated all conversation on news/talk radio Monday (8/5), yesterday (8/6), and continuing into early today (8/7) with President Trump’s visit to both cities distantly followed by discussion about China’s devalued currency in a hard ball move per the US-China trade war and its impact on Wall Street according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour 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, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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 and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. 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.
JackFM Wants Skyview, LRN for Sales/Syndication Services. The agreement doesn’t go into effect until the first of next year (1/1/2020), but Sparknet Communications, owner of adult hits “JackFM” and the trademarked “Playing What We Want” slogan heard in 62 markets, will have an exclusive partnership with Skyview Networks and Local Radio Networks (LRN) for their “full package of syndication services.” Scottsdale-based Skyview will be the exclusive network sales partner/satellite distribution provider for JackFM, while LRN will lead affiliate relations and provide automation technology. Skyview Networks and LRN entered into a collaborative partnership earlier this year. Sparknet president Garry Wall comments, “This move will upgrade the product quality for our affiliates in every aspect of the JackFM ‘listener experience.’ This also puts us into a partnership aligned around innovation, growth, and customer service.” Skyview Networks chief executive officer Ken Thiele states, “We are proud to offer Sparknet, in partnership with LRN, our full-service solution for syndicating and monetizing its successful and popular JackFM music format. This partnership brings together the synergies of three compelling audio companies experiencing unprecedented growth. I am impressed with the leadership strategy of LRN and believe in the opportunities we bring to the industry as partners for top content creators like Sparknet.” Skyview executive vice president/general manager Jeanne-Marie Condo explains, “In an ever-evolving audio industry, Skyview is constantly seeking opportunities to create value for our clients; JackFM offers programming solutions that are unmatched in the industry. We are proud to call them a partner and look forward to building on their success.” Local Radio Networks chief executive officer Steve Swick remarks, “The combined expertise and services of LRN and Skyview creates the most powerful 24/7 music format syndication solution for radio station owners, personalities, and content creators. JackFM is a proven audience-winner and a perfect addition to LRN’s lineup of quality 24/7 music formats.” LRN executive vice president Pat Crocker notes, “I worked for a decade with Garry and the JackFM format. I know firsthand the quality of the product and incredible creative energy he and his team dedicate to its production. We look forward to working with the Sparknet team to increase the already extensive footprint of the JackFM brand across the US.”
MIW Accepting Applications For Annual Mentoring Program. The program is a collaborative effort of The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) and Nielsen Music that creates greater opportunities for women interested in management positions in music broadcast programming. This year’s application window opens today (Wednesday, 8/7) and closes two weeks from today (Wednesday, 8/21). MIW Group executive committee member/Presslaff Interactive Revenue founder and president Ruth Presslaff states, “The continued support by Nielsen Music of women in programming through this mentorship program is appreciated by all MIWs and is truly appreciated across the industry. Together, we are helping women succeed, while creating stronger talent for radio – everybody benefits.” Nielsen director of radio Haley Jones comments, “Nielsen places great emphasis on driving diversity in the workplace. In our third year as the co-sponsor of the Annual MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program, we remain inspired by the number of young professionals looking to advance their careers. We are confident that this mentor program will continue to have a lifelong impact on the winners.” The one year mentorship program matches a female programming candidate with key mentors from throughout the broadcast industry, including the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music. It is designed to sharpen the mentee’s programming and professional skills and further her music programming career. The mentorship is available to one female program director, assistant program director, and/or music director from any music format.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After a 16-year tenure at Entercom Portland, vice president of programming/director of country programming Mike Moore exits as his position has been eliminated. Moore joined the Oregon stations from Nashville’s WSIX to program similarly-formatted KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.” In addition to WSIX (2000 – 2003), Moore previously programmed country stations in Orlando (WWKA) and Hartford (WWYZ). The Entercom Portland cluster consists of sports talk KFXX “1080 The Fan”; classic rock KGON and blues KGON-HD2; sports talk KMTT “910 ESPN”; alternative KNRK and KNRK-HD2; hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz”; aforementioned country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf”; and adult hits KYCH “97.1 Charlie.” ….. Among inductees who will be added to the Philadelphia Music…..Walk of Fame’s Class of 2019 is Beasley Broadcast Group Philadelphia (rock) WMMR mid-day personality Pierre Robert. The Radio Row award recipient came to Philadelphia from San Francisco in 1981 and embraces the best of the new music releases as well as heritage rock. Other honorees include The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Hooters, The O’Jays, Evelyn “Champagne” King, music industry executive Jody Gerson, and philanthropist Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. Honorees will be formally inducted October 22 during afternoon ceremonies along the Avenue of the Arts and celebrated that evening with a gala event at The Bellevue Philadelphia.
July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for San Francisco, Dallas, and Houston. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
Spoken-Word Formats. Four successive sweeps without an increase by KSFO have accounted for a loss of six-tenths (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.7, #21 to #24, 6+), driving the Cumulus Media news/talk station below a two-share (1.7, 6+) for the first time in exactly two years (1.8, July 2017). When cluster-mate KGO gained three-tenths in May, it ended seven successive down or flat sweeps that resulted in a loss of eight-tenths (2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.4, 6+), but KGO has now dropped one-tenth in back-to-back sweeps (1.7 – 1.6 -1.5, #26 to #25, 6+). By gaining one-tenth (.1 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KKSF-AM “Real Talk 910 – Think Forward” jumps from #41 to #35.
At the same time that Cumulus Media sports talk KNBR “The Sports Leader” improves by eight-tenths (3.3 – 4.1, 6+) vaulting from ninth to third, Entercom’s similarly-formatted KGMZ “95.7 The Game” flounders by -1.1 (3.0 – 1.9, 6+) and plummets from the top twenty (#11 to #21). Up one full-share in April, KNBR is the flagship of the Giants. Powered by May’s +1.4, Golden State Warriors flagship KGMZ nearly doubled (+1.5) its 6+-stat in three straight sweeps without a loss, (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 3.3, 6+).
Off a combined half-share in June/July (6.6 – 6.2 – 6.1, 6+), Entercom all-news KCBS-AM, which had a May-only stay at #1, repeats at #2. It spent four straight months in the runner-up slot before picking up three-tenths in May to progress to the top.
Replicating June’s gain of three-tenths (6.3 – 6.6 – 6.9, 6+), Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED repeats at #1. KQED had been on top four sweeps in a row, but faltered by one-half share in back-to-back sweeps (7.3 – 6.8 – 6.3, 6+), segueing to #2 in May. Down a collective half-share via four straight drops (1.3 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .9 – .8, 6+), San Francisco Unified School District’s KALW “91.7 Local Public Radio” ends the slide with a gain of two-tenths to 1.0 (#30 to #28, 6+).
San Francisco Music Formats – An overall -1.4 in three straight dips (5.0 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” pulls the plug by picking up one-tenth to 3.7 (steady at #6, 6+). Prior to April’s loss of six-tenths, “The Breeze” was +1.2 through three straight gains (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.9 – 5.0, 6+). Not only does co-owned hot AC KIOI pick up three-tenths to curtail five successive down or flat trends that resulted in a one-half share loss (3.4 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), “Star 101.3” returns to the top ten (3.2, #12 to #10). In four straight negative or neutral sweeps, Bonneville urban AC KBLX surrendered a collective -1.1 (3.3 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.4 – 2.2, 6+), but “Today’s R&B and Old School” adds one-tenth to 2.3 (6+) and climbs from #18 to #15. After a May increase of one-half share (3.5 – 4.0, 6+), Cumulus Media classic rocker KSAN “107.7 The Bone” is a combined -1.3 in June/July (4.0 – 3.3 – 2.7, 6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #12). Before dropping two-tenths in April, “The Bone” was +1.1 in three successive improvements (2.6 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.7, 6+). Although slipping from sixth to seventh, iHeartMedia urban contemporary KMEL “#1 For Hip-Hop and R&B” is within 3.0 – 3.9 range for the 13th time in a row (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.9 – 3.5 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+). April 2019’s 3.7 represents its best 6+-stat since October 2018’s 3.9. Following five straight up or flat trends that netted seven-tenths (1.3 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 2.0, 6+), Bonneville’s KUFX “98.5 K-Fox The South Bay’s Classic Rock” dips one-tenth in June and July (2.0 – 1.9 – 1.8, flat at #22, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Without a loss the past survey periods for a +1.8 (2.3 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.1, “Holiday” 2018 through June 2019, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WBAP “News Talk 820” forfeits one-third of that increase in July (3.5, -.6, sixth to tenth, 6+). An increase of one-tenth to .6 (6+) pushes Salem Media Group-owned KSKY “660 AM The Answer” from #36 to #34. Three straight down or flat trends by Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM resulted in a loss of two-tenths (.5 – .4 – .3 – .3, 6+), but “570 News & Information” is up one-tenth to .4 (6+) and moves from #38 to #36.
Tacking on one-half share to June’s increase of three-tenths (1.5 – 1.8 – 2.3, 6+), Entercom’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” is back in the top twenty (#22 to #20). Entering the June sweep, the flagship of the Texas Rangers lost roughly 52% (-1.6) of its 6+-share in four straight declines (3.1 – 2.5 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.5, 6+). Notwithstanding that it levels off at 1.7 (6+) after June’s -1.0, Cumulus Media’s KTCK “The Ticket – All Sports All The Time” slips from #23 to #24. “The Ticket” notched a 2.7 (6+) in March, April, and May. Down one-tenth in both June and July (.9 – .8 – .7, 6+), Disney/ESPN’s KESN “103.3 ESPN Dallas” repeats at #32.
A streak that lasted approximately 2.5 years comes to an end as KRLD-AM “News Radio 1080” logs a 1.8 (#21 to #23, 6+). The Entercom news-talk hybrid had been within a (6+) high of 2.8 and a low of 2.0 since “Holiday” 2016. Moreover, KRLD-AM is off a collective seven-tenths in three straight declines (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+).
Off a collective -1.0 in four straight negative or neutral moves (3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 2.9, 6+), North Texas Public Broadcasting news/talk outlet KERA dips from #11 to #14.
Dallas Music Formats – Locked on 4.2 (6+) in April and May before slipping to 4.0 (6+) in June, Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KLTY erupts with a +1.1 to 5.1 (6+) as “94.9 Your Life … Inspired” zooms from seventh to second. This (5.1) is the loftiest 6+-showing for KLTY since February 2015’s 5.1. One of its format rivals, Educational Media Foundation’s KYDA “Air 1 – Worship Now,” notches its third consecutive gain for an overall +1.2 (1.9 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.1, 6+) and jumps from #16 to #13. In addition to logging a July improvement of eight-tenths to 3.8 (6+), Radio One rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat” cracks the top ten (#13 to #8). In addition to chalking up a +.6, iHeartMedia classic rock KZPS “Lone Star 92.5” records a 5.1 the third time in the last six sweeps (5.1 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 5.1, fifth to second, 6+). After being a cumulative -1.1 in six straight down or flat moves (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 2.7, 6+), iHeartMedia’s KEGL “97.1 The Eagle Rocks” ends the slide with a gain of one-tenth to 2.8 (#16 to #15, 6+). Even though it has lost nine-tenths as a result of three straight negative or neutral moves (6.7 – 6.3 – 5.8 – 5.8, 6+), its CHR sibling, KHKS “106.1 Kiss – Dallas/Fort Worth’s Hit Music,” is #1 the seventh month in a row. Its May dip of four-tenths brought to a close four successive up or flat sweeps that netted eight-tenths (5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 6.7, 6+). April’s 6.7 was its best 6+-stat since May 2018’s 6.9. On top 12 straight times, “Kiss” shifted to #3 in “Holiday” 2018. Meanwhile, July’s full-share setback by Cumulus Media-owned country outlet KPLX wipes away its combined May/June +.7. (4.2 – 4.3 – 4.9 – 3.9, 6+); “99.5 The Wolf” tumbles from second to seventh. Regressing by one-half share each are Entercom classic hits-oldies KLUV “98.7 Nobody Plays More ‘80s” (4.8 – 4.3, third to fifth, 6+) and Univision Radio regional Mexican KLNO “Que Buena 94.1” (3.3 – 2.8, #11 to #15, 6+). After having its 6+ AQH share cut exactly in half in June (1.4 – .7, -.7, 6+), KLNO’s similarly-formatted cluster-mate KFZO “Zona MX 99.1” drops another three-tenths to .4 (#34 to #36, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Without an increase the third time in a row for a net loss of four tenths (3.8 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KTRH falls from #14 to #15. “News Radio 740” was -.7 in December 2018 (4.3 – 3.6, 6+); -.7 in “Holiday” 2018 (3.6 – 2.9, 6+); and +.7 in January 2019 (2.9 – 3.6, 6+). Frozen on .4 (6+) in March and April, co-owned KPRC “AM 950 – Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” has now been stymied at .3 in May, June, and July (#31 to #28, 6+).
While steady at #22, iHeartMedia-owned KBME “Sports Talk 790” is off one-tenth to 1.1 (6+), thus halting four straight positive or neutral trends in which the flagship of the Houston Astros more than doubled (+.7) its 6+-stat (.5 – .6 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+). KBME has a one-tenth advantage over Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610,” which repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (1.0) and market rank (#23). It is the same scenario for Gow Communications’ sports talk KFNC “ESPN 97.5,” which is unchanged from June in those same two (share and market rank) categories (.7, #25, 6+).
After gaining four-tenths in June (2.1 – 2.5, 6+), University of Houston news/talk KUHF returns one-tenth (2.4, 6+) but carries on at #19.
Houston Music Formats – Within 3.1- 3.7 range (6+) in each of the last nine survey periods (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.0 – 3.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC KHMX not only logs an impressive +1.3 to 4.7 (6+), “Mix 96.5” rockets into the top ten (#15 to #8). “Mix” reaches the four-share level (4.7, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 4.0. Univision Radio regional Mexican KLTN “Que Buena 102.9” picks up one tenth to 5.0 (sixth to fifth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three straight decreases of six-tenths each. It was 6.7 – 6.1 (6+) in April; 6.1 – 5.5 (6+) in May; and 5.5 – 4.9 (6+) in June. Before eroding by -1.5 in “Holiday” 2018, “Que Buena 102.9” was a collective +3.3 through five successive increases (4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 6.0 – 6.8 – 8.0, 6+). Two streaks continue for iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA. On the positive side, “Sunny 99.1” is #1 the 16th sweep in a row. Conversely, KODA is an overall -5.5 in seven straight declines (12.1 – 8.6 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.5 – 7.3 – 7.1 – 6.6, 6+). Immediately in advance of this spiral, “Sunny” was a cumulative +4.9 via three consecutive gains (7.2 – 7.5 – 9.7 – 12.1, 6+). Airing a variety of musical genres including jazz and blues, Texas Southern University’s KTSU posted a .8 (6+) in May followed by a .5 (6+) in June; however, “90.9 Your Community Station” disappears in July. The four-tenths lead that Cox Media Group’s KKBQ “The New Country 93-Q” had in June over Entercom’s similarly-formatted KILT-FM “100.3 The Bull” is reduced to one-tenth as “93-Q” drops one-tenth (4.8 – 4.6, 6+) while “The Bull” adds two-tenths (4.4 – 4.6, 6+). KKBQ and KILT-FM remain at eighth and tenth, respectively. Before losing two-tenths in March, “The Bull” had been +1.7 via three bumps in a row (3.5 – 3.8 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+). In five successive negative or neutral reports, Liberman Broadcasting’s KQQK “El Norte 107.9” has lost eight-tenths (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.6, #17 to #18, 6+).
Party Man and Diva Honored. At a music and radio award ceremony held this past Sunday at Backstage Atlanta to salute excellence in the industry, Westwood One’s urban AC “Rick and Sasha” (pictured at right) were cited as having the “Best Syndicated Morning Show.” Rick Party formerly worked at Cox Media Group Miami urban AC WHQT “Hot 105,” while “Sasha The Diva” most recently was heard on CMG’s similarly-formatted WALR Kiss 104.1 – Atlanta’s R&B.” Rick and Sasha debuted nationally in January of this year.