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, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; 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; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click
iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”
iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJar, Unified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer. Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”
Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.
Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.
COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ Presents ‘RESET Live’ Tonight. This evening (1/12) at 8:00 pm ET, Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ is presenting an “all-in-one financial guide called ‘RESET Live.'” Ramsey+ says, “Nearly half (46%) of Americans say their debt level creates stress. New Years’ resolutions are a first step to changing financial habits, but it takes a proven plan and small wins to get real peace of mind.” To take part in this free virtual event, viewers can RSVP to RESET Live by texting “RESET” to 33789 and tuning in at www.daveramsey.com/reset. Nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, bestselling authors Chris Hogan and Rachel Cruze, and Life.Church pastor Craig Groeschel will host the program in which viewers will discover how to: Develop discipline, get small wins with money right away, get out of debt for good, and build better money habits that last. Dave Ramsey says, “We’re looking in the rearview mirror at 2020, a year when so many families were completely devastated financially. Looking ahead, we need a reset – a time for families to leave behind what was lost and dream about what the future will look like. People need a plan for working their way out of debt, saving for the future and building wealth. More than that, they need hope, and that’s what this event is going to provide.” Ramsey Solutions says that Ramsey+ “has guided millions with an easy-to-follow, personalized plan for their money. Members learn Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, which start with saving for an emergency fund. Within the first 90 days, the average Ramsey+ member saves $2,700 and pays off $5,300 in debt.” A Ramsey+ membership comes with access to online financial courses like Financial Peace University, the EveryDollar budgeting tool, the goal-tracking BabySteps app, virtual and in-person classes and communities, and more. People can start a free trial of Ramsey+ by visiting www.daveramsey.com/ramsey-plus.
‘Our American Stories’ Hits 300-Affiliate Milestone. The nationally syndicated program “Our American Stories” announces it has hit the milestone 300-affiliate mark as it welcomes iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot”; Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KJCE, Austin; WILK-AM/FM, Wilks-Barre/Scranton; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland; and Townsquare Media’s KLXX-AM, Bismarck, North Dakota, and more. The program is produced and syndicated by American Private Media and is hosted by CEO Lee Habeeb. He says, “At a time when talk radio is top heavy with what divides us as Americans, listeners are responding to our nightly program that celebrates what brings us together. America is a good and beautiful country – not a perfect country, but a good and beautiful one – and we celebrate the stories that made us who we are each and every day. ‘Our American Stories’ really is about who we are, revealing what President Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The news mostly focuses on what isn’t working in life and the bad things that happen each day. Our show is an antidote to that, a place to be inspired and moved and to learn.”
‘The Dana Show’ to Air on KVI, Seattle. The Radio America-syndicated talk radio program “The Dana Show” – hosted by Dana Loesch – is joining the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle, effective tonight (1/12). “The Dana Show” takes over the slot previously held by “The Savage Nation.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “We are excited to welcome Dana to KVI, America’s first conservative talk station! Her unique perspective shines a bright light on the issues that matter most to conservatives and their families.” Dana Loesch appears regularly on FOX News Channel and has provided election analysis for ABC, CNN, and FOX. She’s appeared on HBO and has co-hosted “The View.”
CES2021: Finally, You Can Attend! It’s massive, it’s mind-boggling. You’ve heard so much about the Consumer Electronics Show, but you just couldn’t get to Las Vegas for a week in January. Each year, consultant Holland Cooke has, and he’s reported here. “Lately,” he reckons, “everyone but rioters are avoiding crowds,” and CES has gone-virtual. HC explains how you can attend, and why broadcasters should. Read it here.
Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia Enter into Deal for Podcast and Weekend Show. Talk radio host Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia are entering into a relationship that will make Ferguson’s “Ben Ferguson Podcast” available on the iHeartPodcast platform and his three-hour weekend talk radio program joins Premiere Networks. Ferguson’s radio program – airing live Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm – currently is heard in markets including Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver, and Baltimore. He says, “This is a significant milestone in my career. Partnering with iHeartRadio and Premiere Networks is like being called up to play in the majors. Working with the best in the business has always been my dream and now I get to do what I love in radio and podcasting with a brilliant team behind me!”
TALKERS News Notes. News/talk KFOR and sports talk KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska sports director Jeff Motz is named 2020 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Motz joined Alpha Media’s KFOR in 2006 as a news anchor/reporter and backup sportscaster and earned the title of sports director for KFOR and KLMS in 2013. Motz has also earned numerous gold level and first place awards in sports, news, and severe weather coverage from the Associated Press and Nebraska Broadcasters Association. He has also been the television play-by-play voice of Nebraska Wesleyan University football and basketball since 2006 and is a member of the Nebraska School Activities Association’s media advisory committee…..FOX Sports Radio reports that it has achieved record, year-end audience gains across multiple digital platforms. The FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network garnered more than 221 million podcast listens in 2020, more than doubling the total from 2019. On the streaming front, FSR experienced its best month of all time in the most recent survey, with total listening hours increasing +62% year-to-year…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff,” a six-episode series of special NFL playoff programming in partnership with recently acquired sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group. Led by Nick Kostos of RADIO.COM Sports and host of the platform’s “You Better You Bet” podcast, as well as sports broadcaster Sara Perlman, “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff” serves as previews of the weekend’s upcoming games featuring a mix of sports gambling insight…..Cadence13, a premium podcast company that is part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions announces a new weekly podcast called “The Long Shot,” hosted by Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson and former teammate and longtime friend Davis Reid…..“Hard Factor” and Podcast Ad Reps announce an exclusive sales representation agreement for the daily news podcast. “Hard Factor” is hosted by Mark Borghi, Pat Cassidy, Will Smith, and Wes Shephard, and “focuses on giving the day’s news in a funny and engaging manner without political bias.” “Hard Factor” was launched as a part of the ‘Barstool News Network’ in December of 2018, but exited Barstool to proceed as an independent podcast for 2021…..Frankie Boyer, founder and host of the Frankie Boyer Radio Shows, announces expansion of her “Frankie Boyer Lifestyle Show” on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island. It replaces the Clark Howard Show and is heard weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..New York Public Radio names Rebecca Kaplan Haase senior vice president of sponsorship. She was most recently overseeing sales and content distribution at Hearst Communications’ King Features. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at The Washington Post, where “she helped build a robust, multi-platform advertising sales operation that successfully shepherded the organization through one of the most challenging periods in its history.”
Urban One Prices $825 Million in Senior Secured Notes. Media firm Urban One announces that it has priced an offering of $825 million in aggregate principal amount of its 7.375% senior secured notes due 2028. These notes will bear interest semi-annually at a rate equal to 7.375% per annum and were offered at par value. Urban One says that net proceeds from the offering, to be used together with cash on hand, will be used to repay or redeem the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of April 18, 2017, the Company’s 8.750% Senior Secured Notes due December 2022, the Company’s 7.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2022, and the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of December 4, 2018. The offer is expected to close on or about January 25, 2021.
Democrats Pursue Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep/State Capitols on Guard, Capitol Riot Investigation/Arrests, Social Media and the Capitol Attack, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines/WHO Herd Immunity Declaration, and Belichick Turns Down Medal of Freedom Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). Democrats in Congress announce intent to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump; the strategic preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration and concerns at state capitols about attacks on them; the investigation into the Capitol riot and the ongoing arrests of participants; social media platforms boot Trump, others and Parler is removed from several app stores; the fast-rising number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the WHO’s declaration that herd immunity won’t be achieved this year; and Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Media of Freedom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Jennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk; Jamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.
Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”
Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey Solutions’ Ken Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”
Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.
Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.
TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.
IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.
Beasley Media Group Extends Furloughs and Pay Reductions. In a memo to company employees, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley announced that the furlough and pay reduction program begun in April and set to expire at the end of June is being continued through the end of the calendar year. In early April Beasley eliminated 67 positions, furloughed some staffers, and cut hours for full-time employees. Beasley told her employees, “No one could have ever anticipated that several of our markets would not begin the first phase of the reopening process until June. As a result, we must continue to adapt to the new financial environment we are facing within each of our individual markets.” Beasley herself continues taking her 20% pay cut while the 10% salary reduction and pared-back hours for full-timers continues through December. Beasley did say if circumstances change, some furloughed employees could return to work sooner.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Tackles the COVID-19 Education Crisis in Two-Hour Special. WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210” presented its midday host Dom Giordano’s timely education special titled, “The Looming Learning Crisis.” The two-hour special talk program, written and hosted by Giordano – a former Pennsylvania public school teacher – aired on June 4 and 6 and featured U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, Philadelphia superintendent of schools William Hite and other top officials debating whether students will return to schools in September and how parents can make up for the lost academic ground experienced this year. A variety of opposing views were presented but all agreed that this is a critical issue that is not being debated and discussed enough in the media. The program received rave reviews from listeners and sponsors alike for its even-handed and highly informational approach to the subject.
Alpha Media to Present Companywide Broadcast on Racial Tensions. Tomorrow (6/12) at 10:00 am, Alpha Media will present “United For Justice – A Day of Discussion” that will air on its 65-plus radio stations as well as on the website UnitedForJustice.com. The company says that “The Day of Discussion” will “address the pain that communities are going through due to racial tensions in America. It will feature prominent national and local voices and figures on the front lines in the fight for equality and justice.” Along with radio personalities in Alpha markets, hosts will include Skyview Networks’ Nick Cannon and Dana Cortez, Ebro Darden, Laura Stylez, Tino Cochino, Big Boy, Jubal Fresh, and Radio Hall of Fame host Tom Joyner. Joining anchor host Nick Cannon will be Snoop Dogg, T.I., Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada (D-29th Dist.), and Black Lives Matter co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah. Apple Music host Ebro Darden will speak with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) about how the nation is being impacted and the steps we can take towards progress. Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt says, “The events of the last few weeks are reminding us that this is not a new problem but one that needs to be addressed right now. We have what many other companies do not have, a real medium for change. We should not and cannot allow it to go unused. We are united in that we love the communities we live in. We are united in our love for broadcasting. We are united in the comfort that we have each other’s support. And today, I’m asking that we are united for justice.”
Round Three of May PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets noting the slight erosion of weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers that so many all-news and news/talk stations built up over the March and April sweeps. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM lost a full share, finishing the month with a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte loses seven-tenths but remains in the #3 spot with a 6.3 share. In San Antonio, iHeartMedia’s WOAI-AM sheds eight-tenths to wrap the month with a 7.1 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento falls 2.2 shares to a 9.4 share but remains ranked #1. Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City drops 2.8 shares and falls from #1 to #4 on the strength of a 6.0 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.
Police Reform Protests/De-Funding Movement, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race/Elections, Recession/Financial Markets, and NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The ongoing police reform protests, the destruction of Confederate and colonial-era statues, Seattle’s “autonomous” zone, and the related de-fund the police movement; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the spike in case numbers in some states; the November presidential election and procedural problems at some primary and local elections; the U.S. officially enters a recession and activity in the world’s financial markets; and NASCAR bans Confederate flag images in all its sanctioned events were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Public media organization WNYC announces that San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper is named the newest editor-in-chief for WNYC. Corporation chief content officer Andrew Golis tells staffers that in this role, Cooper “will oversee our local news operations: the WNYC newsroom (radio and Gothamist) and our local talk shows, ‘The Brian Lehrer Show’ and ‘All of It.’ News director Sean Bowditch, Gothamist executive editor Jen Chung, and head of live radio Megan Ryan will report to her.” He adds that at the Chronicle, Cooper “guided a 200-person newsroom through dramatic growth in its ambition and audience, all while sharply increasing the diversity of its staff. As CJR wrote a few years ago, under Audrey’s leadership there’s been ‘a near consensus, inside and outside the Chronicle, that the paper is doing its best work in years, perhaps ever.’”…..Hartford, Connecticut outlet WFSB-TV and Connoisseur Media’s radio stations are joining forces to deliver a live broadcast about race and justice featuring community leaders in Connecticut this evening at 7:00 pm. The program is being co-hosted by WFSB-TV’s Dennis House and urban AC WYBC OM and afternoon host Juan Castillo. Featured on the program will be Chaz from the “Chaz & AJ in the Morning” show that airs on rock WPLR and WFOX “95.9 The Fox.” The conversation will include Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut NAACP president Scot Esdaile, Milford police chief and Connecticut Police Chiefs Association president Keith L. Mello, and assistant United States Attorney Ndidi N. Moses. Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “This is a vital topic for our communities, and profoundly important to Connoisseur Media. We continue to commit resources to helping our society move forward to a brighter future together.”…..ESPN announces it is using Megaphone publishing and ad insertion for its network of podcasts, beginning in July. The Megaphone suite will offer ESPN enterprise-level podcast hosting, publishing, dynamic ad insertion, campaign management, forecasting, and analytics tools in supporting podcasts such as: “Fantasy Focus Football” with Matthew Berry, Field Yates, and Stephania Bell; “The Lowe Post” with Zach Lowe; “The Woj Pod” with Adrian Wojnarowski, “The Hoop Collective” with Brian Windhorst, The “SVPod” with Scott Van Pelt, and “ESPN Daily” with Mina Kimes.
Salem Radio Network Star Larry Elder Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. African American conservative talk show host Larry Elder of Salem Radio Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Elder is an LA-based attorney, author, and documentary filmmaker who represents the conservative African American view that, in many ways, runs counter to the popular political narrative that there is systemic and institutional anti-black racism in America in 2020 as so vividly depicted in the disturbing George Floyd video. Elder believes that message is overblown and sensationalized by liberal politicians, the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and professional lifelong race baiters – and actually keeps African Americans down, casting them in the role of perennial victims. Harrison states, “Last week on the podcast we presented an in-depth conversation with SiriusXM Satellite Radio ‘Urban View’ channel personality Joe Madison who presented a passionate and compelling case for the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. But anyone who listens to news/talk radio knows that is not the only perspective on the topic and not all African Americans are of the same mind when it comes to the issue. Having Larry Elder on the podcast this week rounds out the conversation that exists among African Americans about the issue.” To listen to the podcast with Larry Elder in its entity as well as last week’s conversation with Joe Madison, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Singer-songwriter H.E.R. debuted a brand-new song titled, “I Can’t Breathe,” – written in response to racial injustice – on Wednesday evening’s iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm. The performance streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and across iHeartMedia urban and urban AC stations across the country and benefitted Meals on Wheels and Urban League…..Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Dede McGuire is hosting a Facebook Live Community Conversation about race in America this evening (6/11) at 8:00 pm ET. She’ll be talking with some of her “DeDe in the Morning” affiliate stations about what is happening in their cities. Representative cities are Dallas; Pittsburgh; Milwaukee; Tyler, Texas; and New Haven, Connecticut…..Next week (June 15-19) the ladies are once again taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” show after a successful first round last month. Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, Karen Fairchild from Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina, and Runaway June will each take the mic one evening and take the fans into their living rooms for a night of country music fun. Elaina Smith says, “I am so excited and thankful to be doing this again. The ladies of country continue to prove that they are not only insanely talented with their music, they are also hilarious, brilliant, genuine women that do such an amazing job of connecting on every level with our listeners.”