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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

| September 21, 2021

Cumulus Media Names Two Execs to Multi-Platform Content Development Positions. The new title SVP, sports, content and audience is a promotion for Bruce Gilbert, who has been serving with Cumulus Media for the past seven years. This new title formalizes Gilbert’s role following “consistent accomplishments leveraging the company’s massive sports portfolio to build compelling new franchises and successful partnerships.” Gilbert continues to direct all sports programming for Cumulus radio stations and Westwood One Sports, which also entails overseeing key partnerships with iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, and the PGA Championship/Ryder Cup. Cumulus also brings Doug Cohn aboard as SVP, music & entertainment, content and audience in which he’ll “lead new content development across the company’s platforms, including broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, social media, digital, and live events.” He was previously with ViacomCBS as SVP, music & talent for Nickelodeon. Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips says, “Today’s audio ecosystem provides us with infinite opportunities to break talent out of their traditional lanes and our consumers with the ability to access our products whenever they wish, on an ever-widening array of platforms. Cumulus is bursting at the seams with creative chops and the ambition to thrive in this exciting environment. Doug has shown a Midas touch in understanding what the next generation will want, and Bruce has forged groundbreaking partnerships for years and will now have more runway to innovate – these two leaders possess the vision to produce a surge of remarkable new Cumulus content.”

Broadcast for Broadway. Pictured above at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District are (from l-r): The Broadway Association’s Cristyne Nicholas, Broadway historian, NYPost columnist, and WOR morning host Michael Riedel, and WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon host Kevin McCullough. Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer” and McCullough presented the “Broadcast For Broadway” show from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm last Friday night as Broadway shows were staged for the first time since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The program was presented in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund.

WARC and iHeartMedia Study Underscores Gap in Audio Investment from Marketers. According to data from a study by WARC and iHeartMedia, although consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, brands only allocate 8.8% of their media budget to audio, while 25% of brands eschew audio entirely. The study concludes that consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening. WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9 billion this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, yet the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market. The study identified four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio: 1) Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all; 2) Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio; 3) Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio; and 4) Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman says, “The Audio Investment Gap is the single-biggest growth opportunity for brands. With the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers paired with in-car listening, audio is everywhere, and consumers are listening in more places, more times throughout the day. But too many brands are on mute. Brands that right-size their audio investments and begin spending and innovating across radio, streaming and podcasts outpace competitors in finding new audiences, building brand affinity and driving sales.” See the full report here.

NuVoodoo: Delta Variant Keeping the Vaccinated at Home. A recent study from NuVoodoo Media Services on public attitudes toward attending large indoor gatherings indicates the unvaccinated are “nearly twice as likely to attend large indoor gatherings with no COVID restrictions, when Compared to their vaccinated counterparts.” Among the people 18-64 surveyed, 47% were fully vaccinated, with another 10% having had the first of the two-shot vaccines – meaning 57% of the subjects are at least partially vaccinated. There’s another 5% who say they’re trying to find time to get vaccinated. There are 20% who are not interested in getting vaccinated at all and another 18% who say they’re still researching facts about the vaccines or aren’t sure about getting vaccinated. The study found “only 4 in 10 people would attend a large public indoor gathering that didn’t require prior COVID-19 vaccination or other safety measures.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “As always, the devil is in the details – and the results change with age. In our sample, which includes only pre-retirement demographics and excludes the vaccination status of seniors, 55-64s are the only age cell in our study where a solid majority are fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates hover around 40% among young women and fall well below that level among young men.” NuVoodoo EVP of research Leigh Jacobs adds, “Our study results indicate that Delta’s impact on event attendance is significant. For example, better than 2 in 5 either will not (or might not) attend business conferences or trade shows. Requiring proof of vaccination lifts attendance among the vaccinated while disenfranchising the unvaccinated. Potential attendance is limited either way. Last week’s cancellation of the October NAB event underscored the value of virtual attendance options wherever possible. Virtual won’t work to replace every event experience, but it can be an attendance-widening addition in many cases – and an insurance policy in others.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new podcast from retired NBA All-Star Metta World Peace debuts on PodcastOne today (9/21). “Mettaphorically Speaking” features Metta World Peace as he interviews a variety of people from the worlds of athletics, music, film and television, and business covering topics including sports, business, mental health and community, with a goal of inspiring and empowering listeners to pursue their own passions and dreams.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “Metta World Peace was a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood courts of the NBA and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of podcasting. His drive to search for the deeper purpose and meaning in life matches the drive that shone in his career as a professional athlete, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting his podcast.”…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartPodcast slate of true-crime shows in collaboration with KT-Studios after their first successful venture together produced, “The Piketon Massacre.” The new slate of podcasts begins with, “The Dougherty Gang.” iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson says, “iHeartMedia is excited to join forces with KT-Studios to co-produce this brilliant new slate of true-crime podcasts. We’ve seen incredible success with KT-Studios and are excited to offer listeners a full slate of new podcasts that delve into everything from unsolved murders to some of the most bizarre crimes in the name of love.”…..This Thursday, WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” personality David Kaplan steps off on the second annual Walk As One Chicago charity walk to benefit Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing book ownership. During the 24-mile walk, Kaplan and Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek will distribute free books to K-6th grade students at James Ward Elementary. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 19 million books to Chicagoland children ages birth through sixth grade.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Biden UN Address, Immigration Woes/Border Agents Violence, U.S.-Australia Sub Deal, Canadian Election, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). U.S. COVID-19 deaths match the number of those who died from 1918-21 Spanish Flu pandemic, boosters, masks & mandates; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling; President Joe Biden to make first address to UN; the immigrant situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the video of border agents on horses rounding up Haitian migrants; the controversy over the U.S.-Australia nuclear sub deal; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins re-election but fails to gain a majority in parliament in Canada; and the case of Gabby Petito and missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, 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.  Don’t miss this!

WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”

KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”

Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.

RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.

iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.

Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

| July 17, 2019

Connoisseur Media Management Buys Out Perot Holdings’ Interest. Led by chief executive officer Jeff Warshaw, management of Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has bought out investor Perot Holdings and will now own substantially all of the company. This is the culmination of a series of strategic moves in which the company has recently closed on transactions that added to its Connecticut holdings and entered the Frederick, Maryland market. Warshaw points out that he and Mike Driscoll “started the company 15 years ago with the purchase of FCC construction permits in an auction. It is gratifying to now be able to work with our major investor, Perot Holdings, to buy their stake in the company. They have been terrific partners to us. We are looking forward to growing our company, and we are excited that members of our senior management team are now owners. Ultimately, many of our employees will become stakeholders.” Perot senior advisor Steve Blasnik comments, “We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the best leadership team in the industry and two of the best leaders we have ever partnered with.” Perot Holdings was founded by the late H. Ross Perot and his son Ross Perot, Jr. Connoisseur Media owns 23 radio stations in seven markets: Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island); Bridgeport-Stamford; New Haven; and Norwalk (Connecticut); Stroudsburg-Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Frederick, Maryland; and Billings, Montana.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Presentations – Harry Hurley Saluting the Broadcasters Foundation and Vince Benedetto Honored as Humanitarian of the Year.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/17) posts present WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”).  Posted yesterday (7/16): a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network.  Already posted: the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Name Hurley Broadcaster/Person of the Year. Now in his 28th year at Townsquare Media Atlantic City (New Jersey) news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM,” Harry Hurley (“Hurley in the Morning”) will officially be named The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Broadcaster/Person of the Year. While the announcement will be made today (Wednesday, 7/17) at 9:30 am at an event taking place at Philadelphia’s WPHL-TV, Hurley will receive the actual recognition November 22 at Philadelphia’s Hilton City Avenue Hotel. Hurley tells TALKERS, “My sincerest thanks go to my long-time employer, Townsquare Media, and our faithful listeners and advertisers, who have made all this possible. What an honor it is to be recognized by The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. It is especially gratifying, insofar as we are located in Southern New Jersey. It’s such an honor and privilege to be a broadcaster.” Last month, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association named Hurley the inaugural recipient of its “Broadcaster of the Year” award. Elected to the Philadelphia Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2013 and the New Jersey Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015, he appears at #51 on “The Talkers Magazine 2019 Heavy Hundred” and was the 2016 recipient of Talkers’ “Humanitarian of the Year Award” for outstanding community service by a radio broadcaster.

Workplace Listening Opportunity Is Bigger Than Ever. At least that’s the conclusion of a NuVooDoo Media Services study, which reveals three of every five (60%) likely ratings respondents identified say they listen to radio at work. Furthermore, at-work listeners are more likely to listen to broadcast radio for more hours and more days. The study was fielded last month and represents opinions of over 3,000 respondents (14 – 54) from all PPM markets. NuVoodoo Media Services executive vice president/research insights Leigh Jacobs states, “We’ve chosen to start with a dive into at-work listening because the market for audio entertainment at work has never been bigger or younger. Fully 60% of the ratings-susceptible respondents we’ve identified say they listen at work. Savvy operators have been playing to this opportunity for decades, but the competition has never been more fierce.” Executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor, notes that 24% say they spend at least an hour a day with terrestrial, “but that number jumps to 41% among those who listen at work. [Forty-one percent] say they listen at least five days a week – that jumps to 61% among those who listen at work. That’s the potential for significant lift for programmers and marketers who play to this opportunity.” President/chief executive officer Carolyn Gilbert explains, “Our Ratings Prospects Study 14 revealed a significant opportunity for stations. Winning the workplace war for listeners should be at the forefront of all programmers’ minds, and the devil is always in the details.” The first installment of the NuVoodoo fall webinar series, “How To Win The Workplace War in 2019,” based on its “Ratings Prospects Study 14,” kicks off next Wednesday (7/24); there will be additional sessions on July 31 and August 5.

Presenting The 29 “Rising Through The Ranks” Scholarship Recipients. The “Rising Through the Ranks” program is presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio. Participants will attend this year’s seminar next month (8/13 – 15) at BMI’s Nashville office. The course will focus on management and sales techniques, including “problem solving, recruiting, difficult conversations, hiring and firing, personal brand building, and the role of today’s radio manager.” This year’s 29 scholarship recipients are: Luisa Banks (Cox Media Group Atlanta); Rebecca Bennett (Westwood One); Jill Bernhardt (Cumulus Media Atlanta); Taylor Brown (Neuhoff Media Springfield, Illinois); Alexandra Byrnes (Entercom Sacramento); Yvonne Cheng (iHeartMedia Washington, D.C.); Tiffany Davison (Katz Media Group); Katy Dempsey (Bryan Broadcasting College Station, Texas); Adella Fremstad-Nolden (Radio One Dallas); Jaime Guglielmi (Beasley Media Group Philadelphia); Pamela Hall (Kindred Communications – Huntington, West Virginia); Andrea Hansen (Entercom Madison); Nichole Hansen (Spencer Radio Group/Saga Communications – Spencer, Iowa); Traci Harris-Mason (Forcht Broadcasting – Hopkinsville, Kentucky); Dara Kalvort (Entercom Miami); Tori Kahl (iHeartMedia New Orleans); Shannon Kenefick (Townsquare Media Danbury, Connecticut); Adria Lawrence (Emmis Austin); Kate Maguire (Summit Media Omaha); Elizabeth Nifong (Beasley Media Group Charlotte); Debbie Payne (Cumulus Media Los Angeles); Katherine Pfahl (Radio One Washington, D.C.); Kristina Schoenbeck (Entercom New York); Crista St. John (Bonneville International/Mariners Radio Seattle); Ava Suppelsa (BMI Nashville); Brianne Thompson (Leighton Broadcasting Thompson, North Dakota); Denise Tolzman (Queen B Radio Platteville, Wisconsin); Dianna Towns (Neuhoff Media Ludlow, Massachusetts); and Ashley Williams (Cox Media Group Orlando).

ESPN Prepping “The ESPN Daily.” Set to debut in early-October, “The ESPN Daily” podcast will be published five times per week and will feature ESPN’s journalists and storytellers. ESPN senior coordinating producer Andy Tennant states “The ESPN Daily” will be “appointment listening for anyone interested in the world of sports. The show will be unlike anything now available in sports, anywhere, with stories, interviews, and analysis that only ESPN can provide. Every day, ‘The ESPN Daily’ will take a deep-dive into a specific event or issue in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.” In June, ESPN Podcasts drew 5.8 million listeners, up 10% from June, 2018. This is the sixth consecutive month of year-to-year growth. Content created specifically for podcasts grew 15%; June increases were led by listenership of “FiveThirtyEight: Politics,” “The Lowe Post,” and “SVP & Russillo.”

TALKERS News Notes. Per a Los Angeles Times report, Los Angeles Clippers play-by-play announcer Brian Sieman is “close to finalizing a deal” to transition from the NBA team’s radio flagship, iHeartMedia sports talk KLAC “AM Sports 570,” to the Clippers’ TV broadcasts (on Fox Sports Prime Ticket). He would be filling the vacancy created by the retirement of iconic 40-year Clippers’ game caller Ralph Lawler, who will receive the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award this September. Further speculation is that, in a domino effect, Sieman will be succeeded on radio by NBA TV’s Noah Eagle. After doing games of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sieman joined the Clippers radio network in 2007 ….. Altamonte Springs-Orlando news/talk WORL “FM 105.5 & AM 660 The Answer” and W288CJ, Oviedo (Florida) are being sold by Salem Media of Illinois, LLC to JVC Media of Florida, LLC. The $900,000 deal does not include intellectual property or the call letters – which will be changed to WDYZ … Rumors of a Senate run by regionally-syndicated “Kentucky Sports Radio” host Matt Jones has led to him being placed on a leave of absence from “Hey Kentucky!,” which airs on Lexington’s NBC affiliate WLEX-TV “LEX 18.” Jones has written on social media that he will return to WLEX-TV if he decides not to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell. At least for now, his daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon radio show on iHeartMedia Lexington news/talk flagship WLAP “News Radio 630” (and a statewide network of 35 stations) is unaffected ….. As of tomorrow (Thursday, July 18), it will be a half-century since a tragic car accident occurred on the eastern end of Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Noting the occasion, The Howie Carr Radio Network talk host/New York Times best-selling author Howie Carr has written a podcast, “Chappaquiddick: The 50th Anniversary.” Carr maintains, “We have the content, it is time we educate a new generation about these crimes and cover ups.” The Grace Curley-produced podcast can be heard on Apple iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or the website of Carr’s regionally-syndicated program ….. Through a just-announced partnership with BizTV/BizTalkRadio, subscribers of travel technology platform Flyght Club will get a free, one-year membership to Bizvod, a BizTV/BizTalkRadio-offered streaming platform that has the largest library of online business videos on-demand. BizTV/BizTalkRadio chief operating officer Scott Miller notes, “So many of our viewers and listeners are business travelers. Flyght Club is a great app that gives its members the opportunity to network while travelling. We have hundreds of hours of business content that the traveler can watch on-demand while waiting for their next flight. We are always looking to offer our viewers and listeners products and services that make their lives easier.” Flyght Club founder Ajay Vonkarey remarks, “Flyght Club and Bizvod will be key for any business professionals that are road warriors” ….. At the forefront of digital loyalty systems for terrestrial radio in the United States, Canada, and the UK, Loyal Ears Digital brings fantasy sports to radio with a free weekly game, “Fantasy Free.” Given that it is doesn’t cost to play, it is, according to the company’s website, “completely legal and has all the excitement that comes with fantasy games.” Teaming alongside Loyal Ears Digital on this project as syndicator is MannGroup Radio, with its president Ed Mann indicating “Fantasy Free” is “approaching” the 100 affiliate threshold. He notes, “We are always looking for growth areas for our medium, and digital is it. The guys at Loyal Ears have got this locked down and key for us, huge TSV growth, with no element of gambling. The average ‘Fantasy Free’ player spends 9.7 hours per week constructing fantasy lineups and they’re spending that time on radio station websites. We could not be more thrilled to partner with the LE team.” Loyal Ears Digital chief executive officer Jimmy Risk opines, “Radio has finally figured out that listeners aren’t always ‘listening’, so you have to engage them for longer periods of time beyond the dial.” Mann points out the only political fantasy game designed for radio during the next presidential election, “Showdown 2020,” is coming early next year and will “attract broad and deep demographics.”

June 2019 PPM Data. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these four PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Austin

Spoken-Word Formats – Virtually obliterating the -1.0 it lost via three straight drops (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.8, 6+), Emmis news/talk KLBJ-AM “News Radio 590 AM” bounces back with a nine-tenths’ gain to 3.7 (#13 to #11,  6+); May’s 2.8 was its lowest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2018’s 2.7.

Following four successive fluctuations of one-tenth (1.7 – 1.6; 1.6 – 1.7; 1.7 – 1.8; 1.8 – 1.7, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” falters by four-tenths to 1.3 (#18 to #20). Flat at #25, iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” has a February 2019 through June 2019 topline of: 4 – .6 – .6 -.4 – .5 ( 6+).

Five of the six shifts this calendar year for KUT include: +1.6 (January); -.6 (February); +.7 (March); -2.0 (April); and now the University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk facility craters by -1.6 (7.4 – 5.8, second to fourth, 6+). This is its lowest 6+-showing since April 2017 (5.8, as well).

Austin Music Formats – Rebounding from May’s one-half share decrease (8.7 – 8.2, 6+), Emmis adult hits KBPA “103.5 Bob-FM” posts a +1.1 to 9.3 – its highest 6+ share since “Holiday” 2018 (also 9.3) – and is #1 for the third month in a row. Prior to April 2019, the last time “Bob” occupied the top spot was December 2018 when KBPA scored an 8.3 (6+). Piling on six-tenths to May’s increase of one-half share (5.3 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7” climbs from fourth to third. Adult contemporary sibling, KKMJ “Majic 95.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” wipes away May’s three-tenths’ loss with a one-half share uptick (6.2 – 6.7, 6+) and advances from third to second. “Majic” recently has been -1.2 (September 2018); +1.2 (October); -.5 (November); +1.2 (December); +2.1 (“Holiday” 2018); -4.9 (January 2019); +.9 (February); -.5 (March); +1.5 (April); and +.5 (June). While it is unchanged at #8, Emmis regional Mexican KLZT “107.1 La Z” is a collective -2.3 in three straight drops (6.7 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4, 6+). “La Z” was +1.2 in March. Owing to three consecutive January 2019 through April 2019 decreases, iHeartMedia country KVET-FM faltered by -1.3 (6.2 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.9, 6+), but rallied in May with a +.9. Now, “98.1 The Austin Texas Original” regresses by six-tenths (5.8 – 5.2, 6+) and slides from fourth to seventh; KVET-FM was +1.2 in January (5.0 – 6.2, 6+). Co-owned/similarly-formatted KASE “Austin’s #1 For New Country,” which had been +1.5 in three straight bumps (4.3 – 4.5 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+), surrenders four-tenths to 5.4 (fourth to sixth, 6+). April’s +1.2 halted its November 2018 through March 2019 alternating up/down pattern (5.4 – 5.6 – 3.7 – 4.9 – 4.3 – 4.5, 6+). Particularly noteworthy in that stretch, KASE plummeted by -1.9 in “Holiday” 2018; improved by +1.2 in January; and was -.6 in February. In addition to KVET-FM, Crista Ministries’ contemporary Christian KFMK is off six-tenths as well (3.4 – 2.8, 6+). “Spirit 105.9” drops from #11 to #13 and is below a three-share (2.8) for the first time since November 2018’s 2.9.

Raleigh

Spoken-Word Formats – In three successive positive or neutral trends, iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK was an overall +1.9 (4.6 – 6.1 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+), but “106.1 Stay Connected” is now a combined -1.2 in three straight declines (6.5 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 5.3, seventh to ninth, 6+). This is the 19th time in a row Curtis Media Group news/talk WPTF “News Radio 680” (1.6 – 1.9, +.3, unchanged at #16, 6+) has recorded a 6+ AQH share between 1.0 – 1.9 and first time it has reached 1.9 in that timeframe.

This is third month in a row Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” has both logged a 2.2 (6+) and finished at #15. Co-owned/similarly-formatted model of consistency WDNC “620 The Ticket” has an August 2018 through June 2019 topline of: .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 (#27 to #26, 6+).

Off four-tenths in May (7.4 – 7.0, 6+), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” has a June increase twice that magnitude (7.8, +.8, 6+) and inches up from third to second. WUNC followed January’s +1.0 with a -.6 in February.

Raleigh Music Formats – This market’s #2 to #9 finishers fluctuate by at least one-half share (May 2019 – June 2019, 6+). As a result of being +1.1 in May/June (5.1 – 5.5 – 6.2, eighth to sixth, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned CHR WDCG “G-105 – Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” eliminates its combined March/April -.9 (6.0 – 5.4 – 5.1, 6+). “G-105” was +1.5 in January/February (4.5 – 5.6 – 6.0, 6+). The three most recent shifts for Curtis Media Group-owned WQDR-FM “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” are +.7 (April); -.5 (May); and +.6 in June (6.7 – 7.3, fifth to third, 6+). Displaying June 2019 gains of six-tenths as well are co-owned adult hits WBBB “96.1 BBB – Your Life/Your Music,” which logs its fifth straight sweep without a loss for an overall +1.2 (4.8 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 6.0, ninth to eighth, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s WRDU “Classic Rock 100.7,” +1.5 in three consecutive positive or neutral moves (5.4 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 6.9, sixth to fourth, 6+). Notwithstanding that it is an overall -2.2 in five straight ratings periods without an increase (11.0 – 9.9 – 9.5 – 9.5 – 9.1 – 8.8, 6+), Radio One urban AC WFXC “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is #1 for the 11th straight time. Entering the March sweep, its five previous fluctuations were +.9 (November 2018); -1.5 (December); +1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.1 (January 2019) to 11.0, WFXC’s highest 6+-stat in the PPM-era; and -1.1 in February. Owing to four successive sweeps without a gain (8.6 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 7.5 – 6.5, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5 – The Variety That Makes You Feel Good” is a collective -2.1 and drops from second to fifth. This (6.5) is the lowest 6+- showing for “Mix” since October 2018’s 5.3. Returning in full the seven-tenths it scored in May (6.2 – 6.9 – 6.2, 6+), Radio One urban contemporary WQOK “K-97.5,” which was -1.6 in March/April (7.8 – 7.3 – 6.2, 6+), slips from fourth to sixth. Curtis Media Group classic country WQDR-AM debuted in print in “Holiday” 2018. In six up or flat reports, “Just Right Country – AM 570” progressed from a .1 to 1.0 (.1 – .1 – .4 – .8 – .8 – 1.0, 6+). Roughly halfway through the June sweep (6/4), however, the station changed switched to hot AC; changed call letters to WPLW-AM; and adopted a new handle  “Star 92.9.” With a loss of six-tenths to .4 (6+), Raleigh’s new “Star” departs the top twenty (#20 to #23). A loss of one-half share (1.5 – 1.0, 6+) takes Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WRTP “HIS Radio” from #18 to #20. In six consecutive down or flat Raleigh reports (3.2 – 2.9 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+), Curtis Media Group-owned regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1” has had its 6+ AQH share sliced precisely in half (-1.6) and slips from #16 to #17.

Indianapolis

Spoken-Word Formats – Following a modest May move of three-tenths, Emmis news/talk WIBC “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” reverts to its more customary large fluctuation habit, and in this case, it’s a +.9 (5.5 – 6.4, seventh to fifth, 6+). Ten recent WIBC fluctuations are: -.7 (September 2018); +1.0 (October); +.7 (November); -.9 (December); -.9 (“Holiday” 2018); +.9 (January 2019); +.9 (February); -.8 (March); -1.2 (April); and +.9 (June).

Returning the one-tenth it picked up in May (2.4 – 2.3, #16 to #17, 6+), Emmis’ WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center” halts at three a consecutive string of up or flat trends that produced four-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). It has a three-tenths advantage over iHeartMedia’s WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station,” which has lost a total of eight-tenths in five successive sweeps without an increase (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), yet rises from #20 to #19. Following 16 consecutive sweeps of logging either a .1 or .2 (6+), Cumulus Media’s WXNT “CBS Sports AM 1430” (#24 in May) vanishes (.2 – .1 – .0, 6+).

Even though it falters by seven-tenths (4.6 – 3.9, 6+), Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk WFYI progresses from #11 to a tie at #10.

Indianapolis Music Formats – As far as Cumulus Media was concerned, three Indianapolis CHRs was a case of at least one too many. Consequently, the day after the June sweep commenced (5/24), the company flipped WYRG “Energy 93.9” from CHR to rock WNDX: “93.9-X” responds by more than doubling its 6+-stat (1.3 – 2.8, +1.5, #18 to #16, 6+). As a CHR, WYRG last reached the two-share level in September 2018 (2.1, 6+). After being off six-tenths in four consecutive down or flat reports (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.2, 6+), “Energy” gained one-tenth in May. Four consecutive decreases by Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKLU  resulted in a roughly 37% loss (-1.5) of its 6+-stat (4.1- 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 2.6, 6+), but “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” chalks up a June gain of eight-tenths to 3.4 (#15 to #13, 6+). Without an increase the past seven sweeps for a net loss of one-half share (.7 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .4 – .4 – .2 – .2, 6+), co-owned/similarly-formatted WQRA Air 1 – Worship Now,” tallies three-tenths to .5 (#23 to #22, 6+). When Radio One urban AC WTLC-FM sputtered by four-tenths in May to (5.0, 6+) it ended at four a successive string of up or flat trends that yielded eight-tenths (4.6 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). Now in June, “106.7 Indy’s R&B Leader” rebounds with a one-half share increase to 5.5 (ninth to eighth, 6+). On the other hand, an eight-tenths’ May gain to 5.4 (6+) by rhythmic CHR cluster-mate WHHH curtailed four successive negative moves that led to a cumulative -1.5 (6.1 – 5.6 – 5.2 – 5.1 – 4.6, 6+); however, “Hot 96.3” now forfeits -1.0 to 4.4 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Ranking first the sixth consecutive month, Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WJJK nonetheless loses a combined half-share in May/June (10.2 – 9.9 – 9.7, 6+). In April, “Classic Hits 104.5” recorded a massive +1.7 to 10.2, the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history, eclipsing October 2018’s 10.0. In 2019, WJJK has been +2.9 (January); -.7 (February); -.6 (March); and +1.7 (April). After spending six straight sweeps on top, “Classic Hits 104.5” slipped to third in “Holiday” 2018 but returned to #1 in January 2019. In an alternating up/down pattern that surfaced in September 2018, Entercom hot AC WNTR (ninth to tenth) has a 6+ topline of 3.7 – 4.0 – 3.5 – 4.3 – 3.5 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 5.1 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 3.9 and is down an overall two-tenths. Spiraling by eight-tenths each are Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” (second to third, 6+) and Sarkes Tarzian triple A WTTS “World Class Rock 92.3 – Experience The Music” (3.3, #12 to #14, 6+). After an April +1.9 suspended three negative moves in succession that accounted for a -9.5 (16.4 – 7.6 – 7.0 – 6.9, 6+), “B-105.7” is a combined -1.4 in May/June (8.8 – 8.2 – 7.4, 6+). In February 2012, “World Class Rock” recorded a 2.8 (6+) but then vanished from print until April 2019 (3.1, #14, 6+). WTTS follows May’s +1.0 to 4.1 (6+) with June’s -.8. Flat in fourth-place, iHeartMedia-owned WFBQ “Q-95 Indy’s Classic Rock” loses one-half share (7.2 – 6.7 (6+), with 6.7 its lowest 6+-stat since March 2018 (6.7, as well).

Milwaukee

Spoken-Word Formats – In back-to-back (April/May) sweeps, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ accrued a whopping +3.5 (5.9 – 8.8 – 9.4, 6+). In June, however, the Brewers flagship forfeits 20% of that increase (8.7, -.7, 6+) and segues from first to second. Recent WTMJ shifts include +1.9 (April 2018); +2.5 (October); -1.0 (November); -2.6 (December); +2.9 (April 2019); and -.7 (June). Up a combined six-tenths in April/May (5.1 – 5.5 – 5.7, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WISN “News/Talk 1130” returns four-tenths to 5.3 (sixth to seventh, 6+).

Five Milwaukee sports talk outlets combine for a 2.4 (6+). Leading the field with one-third of that total is iHeartMedia’s WRNW “The Game,” nearly tripling its 6+-stat since April (.3 – .6 – .8, #20 to #17, 6+). CHR WRNW “Now” became sports talk “The Game” in late-November (2018). Tied at #19 are Good Karma Brands’ WKTI “94.5 ESPN,” which has lost roughly half (-.7) its 6+ audience via three straight winless sweeps (1.3 – 1.0 – 1.0 – .6, #16 to #19, 6+). With a very similar topline is Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan,” which loses eight-tenths in four straight dips (1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .6, #16 to #19, 6+). WRNW cluster-mate WOKY “The Big 920” posts a .2 (6+) for the sixth time in the last eight sweeps and remains at #24 (.2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2, 6+). After popping on in November 2018 with a .5 (6+), Good Karma Brands’ WAUK disappeared from print in the next seven ratings periods but is back in June, tying “The Big 920” with a .2 (#24, 6+).

While it is a combined -1.5 via four straight negative or neutral moves (4.8 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 3.9 – 3.3, 6+), directly after three reports in a row without a loss netted a +1.2 (3.6 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+), University of Wisconsin news/talk outlet WUWM remains at #13. Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD loses four-tenths as a result of three straight down or flat moves (1.3 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .9, 6+) and repeats at #16.

Milwaukee Music Formats – On the heels of May’s -1.5 (10.1 – 8.6, 6+), WRIT “95.7 Big FM Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” answers with a positive spike of eight-tenths to 9.4 (6+) and is back at #1. The iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies outlet occupied the lead position five straight sweeps before segueing to #2 in May with its lowest 6+-figure (8.6) since December 2018’s 7.7. Having spent 43 consecutive ratings periods at #1, WRIT shifted to #2 in October 2018. “Holiday” 2018’s 11.5 is the strongest 6+-stat for any Milwaukee station since WRIT’s 11.6 in “Holiday” 2017. Its eight most recent moves are -1.0 (December); +3.8 (“Holiday” 2018); – 1.9 (January 2019); +.6 (February); -.8 (March); +.7 (April); -1.5 (May); and +.8 (June). By logging an improvement of seven-tenths (4.8 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM” advances from eighth to sixth with its best 6+-showing since December 2016 (5.5, as well). Swapping places with each other are iHeartMedia-owned WMIL “FM 106.1 Milwaukee’s Best Country” (5.3 – 5.9, +.6, seventh to fifth, 6+) and Milwaukee Radio Alliance adult contemporary WLDB “B-93.3” (5.8 – 5.3, seventh to fifth, 6+). Whereas this (5.9) is the highest 6+-stat for “Milwaukee’s Best Country” since 6.6 in February, 5.3 for “B-93.3” is its lowest since November 2018’s 5.1. Down an overall -1.1 via four straight negative or neutral trends (8.1 – 7.9 – 7.9 – 7.3 – 7.0, 6+) Saga Communications’ WKLH “96.5 Milwaukee’s Hometown Rock” remains in third-place.

Trump’s Tweets Ignite Controversial Firestorm; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; Puerto Rico Protests; Amazon Prime Day; and  Jeff Epstein Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color and the backlash it has triggered dominated conversation in talk media yesterday (7/16) along with conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; political upheaval in Puerto Rico; the huge impact of Amazon Prime Day and ongoing developments in the Jeff Epstein case, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WDMK “105.9 Kiss-FM” midday talent Nikki Vaughn exits the Radio One Detroit urban AC to join cross-town Beasley Media Group rhythmic hot AC WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” for similar duties. Beasley Detroit vice president/market manager Mac Edwards comments, “We are most excited to bring Nikki’s talents to ‘The Bounce.’ Her respect for all things Detroit and appreciation for the great music that drives ‘The Bounce’ were exactly what we needed to complete our winning mid-day recipe.” WMGC program director John Candelaria notes, “After an extensive search, we are fortunate to add Nikki to ‘The Bounce’ family. Having grown up here, she is the ideal fit and brings a solid understanding of the market. Her dynamic personality, combined with 11 years of Detroit radio experience, makes her the perfect person for ‘The Bounce.’” With the addition of Fawn Conley (“Nikki Vaughn”), the weekday roster for Detroit’s “Bounce” is: “The Gello Show with Joanna (6:00 am -10:00 am); Nikki Vaughn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Meanwhile, the revised on-air lineup for Entercom-owned WLKK “107.7 & 104.7 – Buffalo’s True Alternative” is: “Brandi” (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Axe” (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Kennedy” (7:00 pm -10:00 pm). “Brandi” moves from mid-days; “Axe” previously handled nights; and “Kennedy” had hosted “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” the past four years ….. Entering into a partnership are Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks and music television channel Ditty TV, which features daily music-focused entertainment, including live performances, music news, artist profiles, and album reviews. According to KMG chief executive officer Gary Krantz, “Ditty TV is the most robust video channel in the world dedicated to diverse and growing music categories. Americana continues to grow exponentially and is the passionate choice for 18 – 34 and 25 – 54-year-old adults underserved by mainstream media, yet highly desired by brands and advertisers. KMG is very excited to build success with several projects in the works for all forms of radio and podcasts.” Ditty chief executive officer Ronnie Wright comments, “Our goal since the beginning was to provide a platform for these amazing [Americana and Roots] artists; the addition of audio programming allows us to reach a much broader audience.” There are plans for daily and weekly podcasts, as well as a 24/7 Ditty TV audio channel ….. Two-year KFMB-FM San Diego afternoon drive talent Mikey Esparza exits the Tegna adult hits station ….. Most recent affiliates of Texas-based entrepreneur John Clay Wolfe’s three-hour (8:00 am – 11:00 am) Saturday morning “John Clay Wolfe Show” are iHeartMedia Colorado rock siblings KBPI, Ft. Collins and KBPL, Pueblo. Wolfe declares, “These stations are a perfect fit for what we bring to rock audiences. Everywhere we’ve gone with them, iHeartMedia has been a great partner for us; now, they’re turning us loose in Colorado.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

| August 21, 2017

Chris Christie Out of Running for WFAN PM Drive Gig.  Outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has taken himself out of the running for the afternoon drive gig at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York.  On Sunday, the governor’s spokesperson released a statement issuing what’s being called a correction to a New York Daily News piece that indicated Christie was told he is no longer in the running for the job.  Christie called the Daily News story “totally incorrect” and said the following: “After considering the other options that I have been presented with for post-gubernatorial employment, I declined their request to do additional shows.  I made station executives aware that while I would be happy to continue to fill in for Boomer when asked and when available, that they should no longer consider me as a candidate interested in any job at WFAN when I leave the governorship.  I made that clear to them prior to leaving for my family vacation two weeks ago.”  Meanwhile, NorthJersey.com reports that CBS RADIO states no decision about filling Mike Francesa’s daypart has been made.

Bubba’s Attorneys Challenge Judge’s Ruling Limiting Nielsen MRC Documents. Lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge have filed a formal objection to a Magistrate Judge’s recent ruling limiting the documents Nielsen must provide regarding the Media Rating Council’s issues with the accreditation of the PPM to the Tampa market.  Nielsen is suing Bubba the Love Sponge claiming his tampering with the PPM survey in the Tampa market causing it damages to the tune of $25 million.  Bubba’s lawyers were recently granted documents related to the MRC’s concerns about PPM methodology, but only in the Tampa market.  They seek MRC documents related to all PPM markets and they say that’s relevant because Nielsen’s allegation of damages suffered relates to “contract price concessions allegedly demanded by a Nielsen subscriber, Cox Media Group, Inc. (‘Cox’), for its entire nationwide contracts with Nielsen, including both radio and television broadcast contracts.”  Further, Bubba’s lawyers argue, “Defendants counter that Nielsen’s ratings system has fundamental flaws that are known throughout the radio industry, and therefore, Nielsen cannot claim reputational damages in this action.  In support of this claim, Defendants sought discovery from MRC, the media and television industry’s watchdog for media measurements research and methodology, regarding MRC’s issues with the accuracy of Nielsen’s ratings system, including MRC’s decision not to accredit Nielsen’s PPM surveys.”

KTTH, Seattle Names New AM Show. Changes to the morning drive daypart take place at Bonneville’s Seattle news/talker KTTH as the KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show is cancelled and local personality Jason Rantz becomes the new morning host.  Rantz moves over to KTTH from the company’s sister talk station KIRO-FM where he’s been co-hosting the “Jason & Burns” evening program with Zak Burns, who remains at KIRO-FM hosting the show solo.  The changes take effect on September 5.  About his new show, Rantz says on MyNorthwest.com, “What can you expect on the show?  Well, a lot of what you heard previously.  I’ll be taking on progressive activists who are trying to silence and bully us.  I will have rational conversations about President Trump.  I will have fun, interviewing interesting people, while exploring all the issues that actually impact our lives.  I’ll also give you live traffic reports so you can get to work on time and have some special surprises up my sleeve!”

Jimmy Barrett Co-Hosting KTRH’s ‘Houston’s Morning News.’  The new co-host of KTRH, Houston’s morning drive program moves into the role from iHeartMedia’s Richmond, Virginia news/talk WRVA.  Jimmy Barrett is named to work with news anchor Shara Fryer hosting “Houston’s Morning News,” replacing Matt Patrick, who passed away in June after a battle with cancer.  iHeartMedia Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson states, “Jimmy has a big voice, a big heart and big shoes to fill.  It’s impossible for anyone to replace Matt Patrick and we all know that.  I think Matt’s audience will embrace Jimmy as we move forward from what has been a very difficult time.”  Barrett has been host of WRVA’s morning show for the past 16 years.

Chris Rude Leaves Atlanta’s ‘Fan.’  As reported by Rodney Ho at the AJC, morning personality Christopher Rude has exited the Dickey-owned sports talk outlet WCNN “680 and 93.7 the Fan” after 15 years.  Rude was joined on his “Rude Awakening” program by former sports talk WQXI personalities Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini in recent years and WCNN is going to continue with that duo hosting a renamed morning program.  Before signing on with WCNN, Rude had hosted mornings at then-rock WKLS “96 Rock.”  Read Ho’s AJC piece here.

Barcelona Terror Attack, Bannon Exits Trump Administration, Confederate Memorial Removals, Trump on Afghanistan, U.S.-North Korea Tensions, Monday’s Solar Eclipse, Jerry Lewis Dies at 91, Sunday’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Games Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Friday’s deadly terror attack in Barcelona and the search for the van driver; the firing of White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon; the wave of Confederate monuments being removed from public buildings and parks; President Trump’s plan to address the military and the nation on his policy for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan; the ongoing military tensions between the U.S. and North Korea; today’s solar eclipse; the death of Jerry Lewis at age 91; Sunday night’s new season seven episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; the weekend’s Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will originate his Salem Radio Network program from KKNT, Phoenix “AM 960 The Patriot” during the day tomorrow (8/22) and will deliver on-site coverage of President Trump’s rally at the Phoenix Convention Center at 7:00 pm…..Named senior vice president & chief HR officer at Cox Media Group is Mary Ellen Marcilliat-Falkner.  She succeeds Karen Bennett, who was named Cox Communications’ new EVP & chief HR officer last month.   CMG president Kim Guthrie comments, “Mary Ellen is a proven Cox leader, with over 20 years in the automotive business, and she brings with her a strong understanding of our Cox values, most importantly that our employees are truly our most valuable resource.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services joins forces with Amplifi Media to present the results of a recent study of 9,000 Millennial podcast listeners nationwide at Podcast Movement on Thursday, August 24 in Anaheim.  Amplifi Media founder and CEO Steve Goldstein and NuVoodoo EVP research analysis Leigh Jacobs will present the new research findings, along with insights and video highlights of dozens of one-on-one interviews of Millennial podcast listeners at the 11:00 am session…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association is marking its 70th anniversary at a special awards dinner and gala on November 2 at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City.  The theme of the event is “Broadcast’s Heritage and Enduring Impact on Society.” NJBA will honor of Mr. Ben Ferencz, (the only surviving Nuremberg Prosecutor) with its Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year Award and induct the 2017 NJBA Hall of Fame class…..Jacobs Media recently presented the findings of the Millennial Research Project before the Public Radio Program Directors Association at this year’s PRPD Content Conference in Washington, DC.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “We immersed ourselves into the lives of a dozen Millennial public radio listeners.  We spent a full day with each of them, from the time they woke up through their workday and back at home, observing their media and lifestyle activities.  This project speaks volumes about media, journalism, politics, and the perceptions of Millennials.  Public radio plays an important role but it’s essential to understand how these listeners are similar and how they are different from the traditional audience.”

Smidt: July 2017 PPM Review.  Broadcast advisor Clark Smidt reports some of his thoughts from the July 2017 PPM survey ratings results from Nielsen Audio.  Smidt adds more to his hypothesis that markets see more AQH share change when PPM meters change households.  He also notes some interesting results for HD stations that are showing up in the PPM surveys and which markets show higher than average HD listening.  See it all here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Jerry Lee-owned hot AC WBEB, Philadelphia “101.1 MORE-FM,” Mark Shepperd takes over the afternoon drive show.  WBEB program director Chuck Knight comments, “Mark is one of the most versatile people in radio.  He has filled many different roles for us in various full and part-time positions over many years, most recently swing.  We feel Mark’s upbeat energy and style is a perfect match to drive home Philly’s largest afternoon radio audience.”  Shepperd fills the role vacated by Logan who exited to do mornings at WINK-FM, Fort Myers…..From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, program director and midday personality Dave Michaels exits Federated Media’s country WQHK, Fort Wayne.  Additionally, Michaels had been voice-tracking an afternoon shift on Talking Stick Communications’ country WAWC, Syracuse, Indiana and will now host that shift live.  Meanwhile, Federated Media programmer Jimmy Knight will assume the PD role at WQHK, adding to his programming duties for CHR WMEE…..Cox Media Group’s alternative WSUN, Tampa “97X” announces the lineup for its “97X Next Big Thing” concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on December 2-3.  The Lumineers and Paramore are headlining and other acts include: Walk the Moon, X Ambassadors, Vance Joy, Portugal. The Man, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Saint Motel, Joywave, Magic Giant, Misterwives, The Aces, Barns Courtney, Mondo Cozmo, Arkells, and Vinyl Theatre.

Friday, August 29, 2014

| August 29, 2014

whptlogoCox Revamps ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa – without Bubba the Love Sponge.  Saying that it is “taking the station in a different direction,” Cox Media Group Tampa announces the redesign of talk outlet WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” and moves afternoon personality Mikecaltamike Calta to AM drive.  The rest of the day looks like this: Billy Madison from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Shannon Burke from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “In Your Face with Drew Garabo” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by “The Bone Daily Rewind Show” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  CMG Tampa VP and market bubbamanager Keith Lawless states, “CMG periodically changes direction, talent and format of its various media programs in order to provide our audiences with fresh perspectives and compelling content.  ‘The Bone’ has proven to be one of America’s most outspoken radio stations.  Tampa Bay can expect ‘The Bone’ to continue to deliver ‘Real, Raw, Radio’ every day.”  The station says that although it is discontinuing the Bubba the Love Sponge show, it will continue to be the technical head end to the Bubba Radio Network through the end of 2014.  The Bubba the Love Sponge Show is heard on KRZQ, Reno; WTRS, Ocala; WRXK, Ft. Myers; WZLB, Ft. Walton Beach; WYBB, Charleston, South Carolina; and WRSO, Orlando.

facebooklogoSocial Media Dominator? Facebook. According to NuVoodoo‘s latest “Ratings Prospects Study,” Facebook remains the prevailing social media outlet of choice among those who are 14 – 54 years old.  Moreover, as NuVoodoo vice president of research Leigh Jacobs states, “Despite all the hype surrounding them, both Snapchat and Vine are comparatively small players overall. While other players get more coverage, Instagram has the deepest penetration among teens [14 – 17] after YouTube and Facebook; it is getting traction among [those] 18 – 34.  We found continuing positive momentum for Facebook, even among 14-17-year-olds.  Other platforms have stronger momentum, but given its tremendous reach, Facebook remains a powerful tool for connecting with listeners.”  NuVoodoo executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor comments that, “Radio marketing is about influencing the most likely ratings respondents at the lowest cost possible.  It is clear from our findings that heavy users of both broadcast and Pandora can be reached in numbers on Facebook and YouTube that rival the home phone of a decade ago.  Imagine knowing the exact music taste of everyone and then only calling the most likely listeners.  It is that precise targeting and cost-efficiency that makes social media the great equalizer.”  NuVoodoo interviewed nearly 1100 respondents, ages 14-54, in all PPM markets for this study.

krantzwhitmireBrad and Britt Join WJZY-TV, Charlotte for Commentary Duties.  Radio talk show hosts-turned-podcasters Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire – formerly of WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – are now part of the weekend staff at Fox TV O&O WJZY-TV, Charlotte as they begin handling commentary duties on the new show, “Good Morning Carolinas.”  They report they will be offering takes on politics and happenings of local and national importance.  They’ll also be on the station’s “Ten O’Clock News” on Wednesday (9/3) to offer analysis of the first debate between Senator Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Thom Tillis (R).  Of course, they will continue their daily podcast, which is available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and BradandBritt.com.

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wfan logoWFAN, New York Names Argaman GSM.  Promotions in the sales department at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York include WFAN/Yankees Radio Network sales chief Sean Argaman being named general sales manager for WFAN effective immediately.  At the same time, CBS RADIO EVP of operations Scott Herman announces Brian Rooney has been promoted to sales manager and will assume additional responsibility working alongside Argaman.  Steve Kalman takes over the role of head of Yankees sales.

berryPTSDcheckMichael Berry Helps Raise More than $200k for PTSD Foundation of America.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – helped raise a total of $207,598 for the PTSD Foundation of America, an organization for which he is the national spokesman.  Partnering with Gringo’s and Jimmy Changas, popular Tex-Mex restaurants in the Houston area, and calling upon his listeners to join him at four concerts the restaurants underwrote, Berry and his cohorts donated all ticket revenue to the cause.  Berry says, “Live radio has the ability to bring together listeners, show sponsors, and people in need, in real time, and make magic.  When the roll is taken up yonder of the effect of radio in communities in America, we should tally all the work being done by local hosts across the country who are doing this in their cities every single day.  Every year, I listen to Rush speak from his heart about leukemia and lymphoma during his Cure-a-Thon.  And it makes me think that we all need to do more, and use our powerful microphone for good.  THIS is what makes radio fun.”  Pictured here at the presentation ceremony are (from l-r): Berry, Camp Hope executive director David Maulsby (Camp Hope is run by the PTSD Foundation of America); two unidentified veterans who received peer counseling at Camp Hope; and local restaurateur Russell Ybarra who donated $125,000 and hired the bands to help raise the rest of the money.

beasleyawards14Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Corporate Award Winners.  At its annual management meeting held at the corporate offices in Naples, Florida this week, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. gathered corporate management and station leadership from the eleven markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding twelve months. The 2014 honorees include: WXKB-FM, Fort Myers-Naples – Radio Station of the Year; Brad Beasley – General Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Donna Williams – Business Manager of the Year/Augusta, Georgia; AJ Lurie – Sales Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Tee Gentry – Program Director of the Year/Augusta; Lamar Smith – Engineer of the Year/Las Vegas; Natalie Conner – CEO Award of Excellence/Executive Vice President.  Founder, chairman and CEO George Beasley states, “It is a sincere privilege each year to honor our company’s highest achievers.  The level of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast is tremendous.  The ladies and gentlemen we recognize for 2014 worked very hard to earn this recognition, and for that they have also earned my respect.  I am very proud of each of them.”  Pictured here at the corporate meetings are (from left to right): VP of programming Justin Chase; EVP of operations Brian Beasley; VP market manager Kent Dunn (Augusta); chairman and CEO George G. Beasley; president and COO Bruce Beasley; EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley; VP of engineering and CTO Mike Cooney; VP market manager Brad Beasley (SW Florida); retiring VP market manager Natalie Conner (Philadelphia); VP of sales Heather Monahan; director of sales AJ Lurie (SW Florida).

WXKS-AM, Boston Augments UMass Sports Coverage. In Beantown, Clear Channel-owned WXKS-AM “Bloomberg Radio 1200″ signs a three-year deal with the University of Massachusetts department of athletics and multimedia rights holder UMass Sports Properties and Learfield Sports.  The pact begins with the 2014 – 2015 athletic season and allows 50,000-watt WXKS-AM to air all UMass football games and men’s basketball contests that do not conflict with Bloomberg programming.  Learfield Sports regional general manager Pam Batalis comments that WXKS-AM is “the perfect complement to an already thriving UMass sports network.  When you combine the positive momentum building around UMass football with the national attention achieved by our men’s basketball program, the timing was right to deliver these two teams to our significant fan base in the metro-Boston area.”  UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon states, “We are very excited to bring [WXKS-AM] on-board as one of our radio partners for football and basketball.  The partnership gives us a great home in the Boston media market and really gives those programs fantastic exposure in eastern Massachusetts.  When looking at the package and a multi-year agreement, we feel very strongly that this relationship will help us reach our fans and alumni in the eastern-half of the Commonwealth.” Josh Maurer returns for his seventh season handling play-by-play duties for both “Minuteman” football and men’s basketball.  Three UMass graduates will join him on football broadcasts: analyst Matt Goldstein, sideline reporter Cody Chrusciel, and program host Adam Frenier.  In addition to WXKS-AM, the UMass sports network includes Entercom Boston flagship (sports) WEEI-FM, Entercom sports WVEI, Worcester, and Marshfield Broadcasting adult contemporary WATD-FM, Marshfield.  The affiliation begins with tomorrow’s (Saturday, 8/29) football opener against Boston College.

cosbyritaOdds & Sods.  With election season kicking into high gear, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is presenting the second in a series of exclusive “Election Central” roundtables on Saturday (8/30) at 3:00 pm ET.  The program is being hosted by Rita Cosby and features a preview of the November mid-term elections with a discussion featuring some of New York’s most influential political reporters: WNBC’s Andrew Siff, NY1’s Errol Louis, and WPIX 11’s Marvin Scott.  The roundtables can also be heard on the “Election Central” page at wabcradio.com…..As in seasons past, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will produce the “Howie Roseman Show” each Monday during the NFL season.  WIP afternoon host Anthony Gargano and Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese will co-host the program with the Eagles GM live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the debut of its weekend football programming that begins with “Rivals Saturday” and wraps up Sunday night with “Postgame” with Peter Brown.

ISIS Campaign/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 25-29.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the Obama Administration’s military policy there.  At #2 this week is the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race.  Coming in at #3 is the plans by President Obama to bypass the Congress to sign a global climate change treaty and to use executive orders to pass immigration legislation followed by the Michael Brown death aftermath at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.