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Friday, October 16, 2020

| October 16, 2020

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, “Hugging and Slugging!” looks back at this past week of October 12 – October 16, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Alan Stock, talk show host/commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Jack Heath Exits WGIR-AM, Manchester, NH. A brief story in the New Hampshire Union Leader indicates that radio talk show host Jack Heath has exited iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire and his daily “NH Today” morning program. Heath said goodbye to his listeners at the end of his show and posted the following message to his Facebook page: “I have been honored and humbled to host the show for nearly 7 plus years there. I am especially grateful to the listeners for being there and proud of the work I was able to do to help NH’s great nonprofits and advocate for our veterans — a mission I will continue. This is not a goodbye but a thank you for now. Until we talk again, thanks…Stay tuned. JH.”

KFGO, Fargo’s Joel Heitkamp Positive for COVID-19. A report from the Associated Press indicates that KFGO-AM, Fargo “The Mighty 790” talk show host Joel Heitkamp has tested positive for COVID-19. The story notes that Heitkamp says he began experiencing symptoms last weekend and says he’s “lost his sense of taste and smell and is experiencing body aches.” He’s self-quarantining and still doing his radio program remotely. He told listeners, “I am in a part of the process where it’s certainly after talking with people in the medical field, it certainly looks as though I’m going to be one of the lucky ones in terms of how this has infected me, in terms of how I’m going to feel throughout this process, not going to feel good, not going to feel great.”

SRN’s Sebastian Gorka Has Twitter Account Locked After Biden Post. According to a story published at Breitbart, Salem Radio Network talk show host Sebastian Gorka has been locked out of his Twitter account after posting a photo of Hunter Biden in the bathtub smoking a cigarette and the text, “Why did @FBI take the Biden laptop and do nothing?” Gorka received a message from Twitter saying he’d been locked out for violating the rules and said he must delete the tweets that violate the rules. It’s not clear what rules were broken in the tweet. While appearing on SiriusXM with Breitbart’s Alex Marlow, Gorka said to listeners, “This is America in 2020. The FBI did nothing when they had evidence of crimes, and when I want to talk about it as an American citizen to you and the Breitbart listeners, my account was locked. We are here. We have arrived. 1984 wasn’t fiction, and they want to steal an election again, and I just don’t mean social media, I mean authorities that can burst through your front door at 4:00 am with a warrant like they did to Roger Stone.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Promises to ‘Clarify Ambiguity’ in Section 230. Saying that he’s moving in response to concerns from members of all three branches of the federal government, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says he’ll proceed with a rulemaking to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Act that explains the immunity from legal responsibility that digital platforms enjoy with regard to their content. Pai says, “The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’  And earlier this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision. As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean? Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230.  The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning. Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression.  Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 12-16. The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a four-way tie between the presidential race, Thursday night’s dueling town halls, balloting issues, and scandals & accusations. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections plus high-profile COVID patients, followed by health care, meds, and protective measures 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.

ASU Student Rae’Lee Klein Sues School on Free Speech Grounds. In September, Rae’Lee Klein was removed from her position as manager of Arizona State University’s student radio station Blaze Radio. This came in the aftermath of Klein’s tweet related to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the tweet, Klein said, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Her attorney, Jack Wilenchik, tells Downtown Devil, “We’re suing because she’s not the station manager. She’s been constructively terminated (and) they’re not letting her do her job. They are discriminating against her based on her exercise of free speech by taking that away.” Klein has been effectively removed from her position but she’s still being paid by the school. According to media and constitutional law specialist David J. Bodney, whom Downtown Devil communicated with for the story, “There was no First Amendment violation here, and Ms. Klein’s claims are meritless. ASU and the Cronkite School have deep and abiding commitments to free speech and excellence in journalism, and this lawsuit disregards an array of facts that show just how baseless these claims really are.” Bodney added that Klein’s conduct post-Tweet is evidence she’s is no longer able to lead Blaze Radio and that the university did not terminate her employment. Bodney also says that Klein was offered other opportunities, such as starting her own radio station with support from the university, all of which she rejected.

TALKERS News Notes. The most recent Westwood One Blog post reveals data from Nielsen Audio’s national consumer study of 1,000 respondents (conducted October 1-5) that tracks the pandemic’s impact on consumer movement, spending, attitudes, and media usage. Some of the conclusions drawn include: 1) There is a 56% increase in the number of Americans working outside the home. Nielsen reports 61% of U.S. workers are now commuting to their workplace, up from 39% in early May; 2) Half of American schoolchildren are driven to school with AM/FM radio playing in the car. 50% say their children are driven to school (3% carpool, 47% parent/family member). 44% of American schoolchildren are taking the bus. 62% indicate that AM/FM radio is always on, and 35% say AM/FM radio is sometimes on in the car; and 3) The economy will affect holiday shopping, but AM/FM radio listeners will spend more than the average. A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will spend more this holiday (14%) versus heavy TV viewers (10%) and the overall market (10%). Read the full post  here…..Podcast producer Lipstick & Vinyl announces the third season of “The Double Shift,” that explores the challenges working moms face every day. The new season focuses on the disruptive impact of the coronavirus on families, how that disproportionally disrupts moms’ careers, and how to navigate that. Creator and host Katherine Goldstein says, “We’re in an acute crisis at this moment. 865,000 women have left or been forced to leave the workforce between August and September. Many of those women are moms. The lack of structured family and childcare programs that we’ve talked about on ‘The Double Shift’ are more glaringly missing than ever before.”…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that its national travel radio show “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” has successfully surpassed another affiliation milestone and is now heard on more than 440 radio stations across the USA and Canada.  The Careys say, “Since the pandemic has disrupted our nation and the world back in March, ‘RMWorldTravel’ has added about 30 new affiliates and additional new sponsors, underscoring the importance of all aspects of the travel world in our daily lives.”

Outstanding Sales Opportunities. New York’s next media star is wanted at two power-packed stations. Salem Media New York, part of a nationwide media conglomerate, wants to hire two fabulous sellers who can rise to the top! Opportunity is limitless. We are looking for quality, regardless of current time in selling. Respond by dropping a note to Jerry.Crowley@Salem.cc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’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 for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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 weekly 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 an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Thursday, October 10, 2019

| October 10, 2019

KXNT, Las Vegas Revamps Mornings; Glenn Beck and Alan Stock Join Daily Program Schedule. The morning drive programming at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas is now officially comprised of two hours of the Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck program – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am – followed by the local, one-hour “Vegas @ 8” show, hosted by longtime Sin City talk radio host Alan Stock.  Talk host Michael Castner exited the KXNT morning show back in June.  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring Glenn to KXNT and add his entertaining and engaging voice to our all-star lineup of programs.  Our ongoing commitment to bringing Las Vegas and the Valley the best in talk programming will be strengthened by this partnership.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  Fifty percent of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the August survey to the September survey while just 31% were up (19% were flat).  Year-over-year, 56% of all-news stations were down, while just 38% improved from 2018 to 2019.  There were two all-news stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in the September survey – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WGY, Albany Unveils Season Two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ True Crime Podcast. Albany news/talk WGY-AM/FM “News Radio 810 AM & 103.1 FM” announces the season two debut of its iHeartRadio Original true crime podcast, “Upstate Unsolved,” hosted by WGY reporter Phoebe LaFave.  The iHeartMedia station says season two launches in partnership with the Cold Case Analysis Center at the College of St. Rose and investigates the unsolved murders of Catherine ‘Kate’ Blackburn in 1964 and Ruth Whitman in 1959.  With the support of the Albany Police Department and the Colonie Police Department, WGY’s “Upstate Unsolved” brings these cold cases into the spotlight in hopes of finding justice for these women.  LaFave adds, “It’s our goal to bring these cold cases out from the shadows because, although time is running out, it’s still possible that someone knows something that can solve one or both of these murders.  Everyone deserves to have their truths come to light and I hope season two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ can help shine some light on the untimely deaths of these women.”  In March of 2019, the first season of “Upstate Unsolved” premiered focusing on Suzanne Lyall, a Ballston Spa native and University of Albany student who went missing on March 2, 1998.

Rush Limbaugh Show to Hold Sixth Annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh program is presenting the sixth annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway in which all active and veteran military service members are eligible to enter for a chance to win a Mahindra 1000 Gas Standard utility vehicle with roof and windshield.  Entries are being accepted for the utility vehicle giveaway through November 10.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on November 11, 2019. Mahindra Ag North America president and CEO Viren Popli says, “We appreciate the contribution of our military to their communities, the nation and this world.  Mahindra’s core values include making a difference in the communities where we work and live.  Our military men and women exemplify this value and we are pleased to partner with Rush Limbaugh and his listeners to show our support and gratitude for their service.”

Goldberg Named Director of News Programming for ABC Audio. There are management changes at ABC Audio as ABC News Radio midday anchor Scott Goldberg is promoted to director of news programming for ABC Audio, effective October 14.  In a memo to staff, ABC Audio VP/GM Stacia Deshishku says, “Scott is a brilliant journalist with a trusted editorial voice who’s been recognized across the industry for his innovative storytelling.  Just this year he won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting, his third individual Murrow since joining the Audio department.  He is intimately familiar with how we find and tell stories here at ABC News Radio and I’m excited for the new ideas that he will bring to our division – which he hasn’t been shy about sharing.”  ABC is seeking a new midday news anchor.  At the same time, Jon Newman is now ABC News Radio’s managing editor in which he’ll continue to lead the newsroom.  Tara Gimbel is named deputy managing editor.  These changes come more than three months after Andrew Kalb exited the executive director of programming and news coverage position.  He was also executive producer of ABC’s “Start Here” podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talker Chris Carlin won’t be filling in on WEPN, New York on the Michael Kay show after all – at least until the New Year.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that the former WFAN, New York host – who exited the early afternoon show last month – would be sitting in for Peter Rosenberg on WEPN with Kay while Rosenberg was out for the Jewish holidays.  But, according to Neil Best at Newsday, as Carlin went on the air with Kay on Wednesday (10/9), ESPN got a call from Entercom notifying them that if Carlin stayed on for two hours, he risked violating his contract and not getting paid through the end of the year.  He left after 30 minutes as a “guest.”…..ESPN senior writer and TV/radio commentator Mina Kimes is hosting the new “ESPN Daily” podcast set to debut on October 21.  ESPN says “ESPN Daily” will “take a deep dive into a specific story in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched journalistic resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.”  With ESPN since 2014, Kimes regularly appears on multiple television programs, including the TV simulcast of radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Highly Questionable,” “Around the Horn,” “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.”…..At SB Nation Radio, Basketball Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes returns to host the weekly “In the Post” show.  Hayes and co-host Alex Gold will present news and interviews from the college and pro basketball worlds.  The program debuts on Saturday, October 19 at 7:00 am ET…..Actor Tommy Lenk debuts a new podcast called, “Trashcast,” on the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne.  The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Rock of Ages” star says, “Celebs bring me their prized possessions and items that no longer ‘spark joy,’ and I try to figure out what’s trash and what’s treasure!  I’m like a totally unqualified Marie Kondo, with none of the discipline and a very shoddy work ethic.”…..Also from PodcastOne, Brian Deegan – the most decorated professional freestyle motocross rider in X Games history – hosts “The Deegans.”  PodcastOne says, “Each week, the Deegans give listeners an all-access pass to the world of racing, parenting, business, sponsorships and health.  In addition, they conduct interviews with the top talent from the world of moto-sports and share their personal goals and insights into how the family stays ahead of the pack.”…..Blumhouse and iHeartMedia announce a strategic partnership to produce a series of fictional podcasts for potential, future film and television development.  The two companies will collaborate to develop and produce scripted podcasts in the horror genre, ranging from suspenseful thrillers and murder mysteries to science fiction audio-plays.  The first podcast in the series is set to launch early next year and will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We think fiction is one of the next big genres in podcasting, tapping into the incredible imaginative power we all have – the theater of the mind – and so we couldn’t be more excited to bring this slate of shows into the world, starting with ‘The Mantawauk Caves.’”…..iHeartMedia San Francisco launches a new iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “CEO Unplugged,” hosted by Carolyn McArdle from KISQ-FM “98.1 The Breeze” and Sandy Stec and Marcus from KIOI-FM “STAR 101.3.”  “CEO Unplugged” highlights Bay Area trailblazers, disruptors, forward-thinking leaders, and philanthropists who set the stage for success and growth and who exemplify the connection between community and business.  Featured podcast guests include Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Inc.; Bentley Hall, CEO of Good Eggs; Amy Errett, CEO of Madison Reed; Randy Hetrick, CEO of TRX; Paul A. King, CEO of Stanford Children’s Center; Ajay Prakash, CEO of Rinse.com; Nancy McKenney, CEO of Marin Humane; and James Reinhart, CEO of ThredUp.com…..C13Originals is presenting a bonus episode of “Gangster Capitalism” to look at the college admissions scandal.  The episode offers a look at where we are today in “Operation Varsity Blues” with legal analysis of Felicity Huffman’s sentence, re-enactments of wiretapped calls and emails between William “Rick” Singer and parents (including Lori Loughlin), and a look at the con man traits of the scandal mastermind Singer.

Impeachment Inquiry-FOX News Poll, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill Book, Ellen DeGeneres-George Bush Flap, U.S.-China Trade Talks, and NBA-China Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump, his refusal to cooperate, and the latest FOX News poll showing 51% of voters a for impeachment; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the fate of Kurdish U.S. allies; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and rumors Republican Senator Mitt Romney is considering challenging Trump in the primary; the controversy surrounding the new Ronan Farrow book Catch and Kill that reveals new rape allegations against Matt Lauer; the social media response to Ellen DeGeneres watching Dallas Cowboys game with President George Bush; the status of U.S.-China trade talks, and the NBA’s relationship with China after the Houston Rockets’ GM’s pro-Hong Kong protestors comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Kansas City alternative KCJK-FM tweaks its format to debut a new, “rockternative” format as “105.1 The X.”  The Cumulus Media station is billed as “the natural rock blend of alternative and active rock formats” featuring artists such as: Tool, Shinedown, The Black Keys, Disturbed, The White Stripes, Motley Crue, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and “many other artists across generations.”  The weekday programming lineup features “The Woody Show” in mornings, Joel Weiss in middays, followed by new arrival Cassiday Proctor in afternoon drive.  Proctor was most recently afternoon personality at Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch.”…..Country WRTB-FM, Rockford, Illinois “95.3 The Bull” APD Gordon Mays is promoted to brand manager for the station.  He takes over for Steve Summers, who is still the station’s morning show host but becomes the brand manager for sister adult hits WXRX-HD2…..iHeartMedia country WDRM-FM, Huntsville adds Brent “Dingo” Crank to the “Dan and Josie Morning Show,” with Dan McClain and Josie Lane.  Cranks was most recently morning host at SummitMedia’s WQNU-FM, Louisville.  iHeartMedia Huntsville SVP of programming Erich West says, “Dan and Josie have been dominating this market for years, but to add a new element like Dingo to the show puts us in a position to grow the WDRM morning show.  I know listeners will enjoy Dingo’s upbeat energy and chemistry that he has with Dan and Josie.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the third annual iHeartRadio “ALTer EGO Presented by Capital One” show at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 18.  The alternative rock show will feature: Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, blink-182, The Lumineers, Rex Orange County, and SHAED.  The show will livestream exclusively on LiveXLive.com and be broadcast on 70 alternative and rock iHeartRadio stations.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

| June 11, 2019

Cumulus Media Announces Offer of $300 Million in Senior Secured First-Lien Notes. This Issue of notes is a private offering made only to “persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.”  The new offering is $300 million in Cumulus Media New Holdings, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first-lien notes due 2026.  Cumulus reports that it expects to use the net proceeds of the offering to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

Keith Memloy Appointed PD for WDBO-FM and ‘ESPN 580.’ Rising from assistant program director at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando to PD for that and sister sports talker WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” is Keith Memoly.  CMG Orlando director of programming operations Steve Stewart says, “Keith brings a diverse amount of experience and passion to his role.  I look forward to seeing him and the WDBO team help shape the future of Orlando’s iconic radio brand.”  Memoly started his career with CMG in 2010 as the marketing director for WPYO, WCFB, and WMMO in Orlando.  In 2017, he was promoted to assistant program director at WDBO.  He says, “I’m beyond thrilled for the opportunity to lead an amazing, award-winning team of talent that is the fabric of the ‘News 96.5’ and ‘ESPN 580’ brands.  WDBO is a legendary brand in the industry and I would like to thank Jason Meder, Steve Stewart and Tim Clarke for believing and entrusting in me and my leadership.”

Round One of May PPMs Released.  The first round of Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey results is being released, starting with 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from this round of ratings beginning tomorrow (6/12).

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Talk Host David Bellavia to Receive Medal of Honor. Buffalo talk radio host and decorated Iraq War veteran David Bellavia is being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony to take place on June 25 at the White House.  Bellavia co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Bauerle on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo.  He’s being presented with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.”  You can read the account of what happened in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 and Bellavia’s actions at the White House site here. In a story on the WBEN website, Bellavia is quoted saying, “There’s so much love on the battlefield, and you really do care.  You care for your hometown, you care for your country, you care for your friends, but that’s something that separates us from all the other enemies we fight…we love what we do and we love who we are protecting.”

Michael Castner Out at Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Talk and news radio pro Michael Castner has exited his role as morning drive host at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas.  Castner’s previous experience includes service at iHeartMedia’s WRNO-FM, New Orleans and KEX-AM, Portland, as well as a stint with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  Castner says he’s happy to re-locate and is also available for fill-in work.  He can be reached at michael@michaelcastner.com.

TEGNA Doubles Radio Holdings with Dispatch Broadcast Group Acquisition. The television-centric company TEGNA Inc. owns adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-AM in San Diego in addition to its 49 television stations.  TEGNA has just entered into a definitive agreement with the Dispatch Broadcast Group to acquire two television stations – WTHR-TV, Indianapolis and WBNS-TV, Columbus for $535 million in cash.  That deal also includes Dispatch’s two sports talk radio stations in Columbus – WBNS-FM and WBNS-AM – and that would give TEGNA four radio properties.  In a press release announcing the agreement, TEGNA says of the sports talk duo, “WBNS Radio is Ohio’s sports destination.  97.1 is the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, and teams across the state and features popular shows and podcasts including ‘Bishop and Laurinaitis,’ ‘Carpenter & Rothman,’ ‘Common Man & T-Bone,’ and ‘The Buckeye Show.’  1460 AM is the flagship station of Ohio State (OSBI) athletics and the home of ESPN Radio in Columbus.”

ABC Radio Ups Stacia Philips Deshishku to VP/GM. The “interim” is removed from Stacia Philips Deshishku’s title as she becomes vice president and general manager of ABC Radio in which she’ll oversee the company’s audio businesses – from traditional terrestrial radio serving more than 1,650 stations nationwide to podcasts and digital audio.  She had been serving as deputy bureau chief for Washington prior to being asked to be interim leader two months ago.  ABC News president James Goldston says, “Stacia is a terrific mentor, providing wise and candid counsel to all, including me.  She helped successfully transform the Washington bureau and was instrumental in ensuring it maintained its competitive edge and high standards in this non-stop news cycle.”

Chris Moreau Named Market Manager for Cumulus Green Bay. Radio sales and management pro Chris Moreau is promoted from his director of sales post with Cumulus Media Appleton/Oshkosh to vice president and market manager for the company’s Green Bay station group that includes: sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, country WPCK-FM, hot AC WQLH-FM, classic rock WKRU-FM, and classic hits WOGB-FM.  He’s previously served as business development/account manager for Journal Broadcast Group/E.W. Scripps, vice president/general manager for Bliss Communications in Racine, Wisconsin, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” adds new affiliate stations KSEV-AM, Houston and WLOB, Portland to its roster.  “The Joe Pags Show” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and PodcastOne have partnered to produce a new, true-crime podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” that details the horrific events that led to a D.C. power couple, their 10-year-old son and housekeeper being held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May of 2015.  Daron Wint was found guilty of the crimes – known as the DC Mansion Murders – in 2018…..FOX Sports is presenting multiplatform coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship.  FOX Sports Radio has on-site coverage from Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday and Friday (6/13-14) via “The Doug Gottlieb Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm while FOX Sports Radio news anchor Dan Beyer reports live from the course…..CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan is serving as the keynote speaker of KYW Newsradio’s “Women’s Achievement Awards 2019,” being held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 27.  This is the 10th annual edition of the awards from the Entercom all-news station that serve to celebrate women making a positive impact on the Philadelphia region.  This year’s event will honor the accomplishments of five exceptional women, all under the age of 40, who were nominated by KYW Newsradio listeners. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are thrilled to have a journalist as insightful and respected as Margaret on KYW Newsradio every week and honored to have her share her experience and perspective at our event. She embodies what the ‘Women’s Achievement Awards’ stand for and I look forward to her sharing a special evening with our deserving honorees.”

Sterling Swoons Over Swag Bag.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One personality Walter M. Sterling was so impressed with the quality of items in the Talkers 2019 convention “goodie bag” that he devoted a segment of this past weekend’s “Sterling on Sunday” show to talking about it.  Check it out here.

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Impeachment Talk, Southern Border Issues/Mexico Tariffs Threat, U.S.-China Trade War, and Big Papi Shot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Democrats’ talk of beginning impeachment proceedings against the president; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the threat of tariffs on Mexican exports; the U.S.-China trade war and the looming G20 summit in Japan; retired Red Sox star David Ortiz is shot in a bar in the Dominican Republic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Motor City urban contemporary WDMK-FM is being sold by Urban One to Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. for $13.5 million in a deal that Beasley expects “to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley currently operates three stations in the Detroit market: rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and rhythmic oldies WMGC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit.  Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.  We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders.  The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”…..Entercom names Kevin Callahan program director for country simulcast KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He says, “I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Entercom in the Riverside market.  I’ve been fortunate to oversee programming efforts for KSON and I look forward to taking ‘K-FROG’ to new heights in the next chapter of my career.”  Callahan now oversees programming efforts for all Entercom Southern California country stations.  He continues in his role as program operations manager for sister stations KSON, sports talk KWFN “97.3 The Fan,” alternative KBZT-FM “ALT 949,” adult contemporary KYXY-FM, and classic hits KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” in San Diego…..Westwood One announces that Nashville-based personality Elaina Smith is re-branding her original podcast, “Breaking Thru With Elaina.”  It was previously titled, “Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith.”  The program returned with new stories from female artists breaking through the music industry on June 9 on The Empow(h)er Podcast Network on Westwood One. Smith won a 2019 Gracie Award for the first season of the show.  She says, “I’ve been itching to get season two going all year long.  I’m so thankful to everyone for being so patient as I worked on launching my new radio show, ‘With Elaina.’  Now that it is off the ground, it’s time to keep this conversation going, and with a new name!”