PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. More than half of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the July survey to the August survey, led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+1.0). Comparing August 2018 to August 2019, about half the stations were up and the other half were down. Gainers included KFXN (+1.5) and Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” (+1.4). Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the only sports talker to rank #1 in its market with a 5.6 share. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia ranked #2 with a 6.7 share.” See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
New iHeartRadio Sports Digital Platform Launches. The new iHeartRadio Sports website allows listeners to find broadcast sports radio stations, sports podcasts, and latest sports news in one place. iHeartMedia says that listeners can access more than 195 live broadcast and digital stations and episodes from more than 25,000 sports podcasts, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “3 and Out with John MiddleKauff,” “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” “Sports Wars,” and more. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says, “iHeartRadio has long been a destination for the biggest sports fans and now provides the premier destination where they can find all their favorite teams, podcasts, personalities and stations all in one place. Sports listeners are incredibly passionate and this new destination utilizes the power and reach of iHeartMedia and its programming to create an encompassing all-things-sports experience like no other, for those enthusiastic fanatics everywhere whether it’s getting outstanding play-by-play of the latest Dodgers game to sports betting podcasts for expert picks and analysis.”
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/13). The new episode titled, “And the Buzz Just keeps on Coming!” looks back at this past week of September 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Charles Freedman, host, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; Nan Su, San Francisco editor, The Epoch Times; Alexi Cohan, reporter, Boston Herald; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Lisa Wexler, host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT. This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
‘America in the Morning’ Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Next Tuesday (9/17), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the award-winning, weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” which launched September 17, 1984. The program – currently heard on more than 330 affiliate stations – grew out of what was originally the last half hour of the five-and-a-half hour overnight “Larry King Show.” When King was cut back to five hours, Westwood One used the last half hour to launch a morning news magazine. It later expanded to one hour. After Larry King left the radio show, his replacement – Jim Bohannon – hosted the program. Current host John Trout took over hosting duties from Bohannon in 2016 (although Bohannon continues to contribute reports to the program). Westwood One EVP news and talk Bart Tessler says, “Our 332 affiliates know that ‘America in the Morning’ is the show to turn to for the best and most comprehensive coverage of breaking news overnight. Jim Bohannon created a legacy and John Trout continues the tradition of ensuring Americans are informed and entertained at daybreak.” The program has won many industry awards, including the top prize for “Best News Magazine” the last two years at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.
SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Broadcast from Mobile. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will host his Salem Radio Network program from the offices of Mobile, Alabama’s FairHope Direct on Wednesday (9/18). FairHope Direct is run by president & CEO Doug Meduna and his company recently made a $15,000 contribution to the Christian non-profit relief agency Food For The Poor. Last month, SRN raised funds for the charity that delivered emergency food to displaced children and families along Colombia’s border with Venezuela. Gallagher will interview Doug Meduna on his show. Gallagher says, “Thanks to awesome people like Doug Meduna and his team at FairHope Direct, our generous listeners network-wide donated a total of $730,000 in August.
Coleman Exits WACV-FM, Montgomery. Attorney, political operative and talk show host Baron Coleman leaves his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s WACV, Montgomery, Alabama “News Talk 93.1FM” and hints that he’ll be back on the radio in the market on Monday, on a different station. Coleman tells Yellowhammer News, “I’m thankful for my time at Bluewater. The last five years have been an incredible learning experience. But, ultimately, the time was right to move on. I’ll be announcing a fantastic opportunity in the next day or two, and I look forward to getting back on the air on Monday.” WACV says Jack Campbell and Joey Clark will co-host the late morning show. It’s rumored that Little Engine Broadcasting’s crosstown WRBZ-AM/W238CE is flipping from classic hits to talk on Monday and that Coleman will surface there.
Dan Sileo to Join Twitch for Sports Talk Show. Thwarted in his effort to get back on terrestrial sports talk radio, Dan Sileo is joining Twitch.tv with the assistance of consultant Don Kollins. Sports media personality Tony Bruno also hosts a show on Twitch and Sileo says he’ll be on with Bruno next week to make the announcement. His program will follow Bruno’s. Sileo was just hired to host afternoons on iHeartMedia’s KGME-AM, Phoenix, but four days into his new gig, pressure from the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes got him yanked. The Coyotes just inked a deal to broadcast their games on the station and the club was nervous about Sileo’s past missteps on social media.
Ken Newman Named DOS for Cox Media Group San Antonio. At the San Antonio operations of Cox Media Group, Ken Newman is the new director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO, rock KISS, and country KCYY. CMG San Antonio VP and general manager David Abel says, “Ken brings a wealth of industry knowledge and sales expertise to his new role, making him the ideal sales leader for our market. Our clients expect the very best from CMG and I am confident our teams will continue to deliver exceptional service under Ken’s leadership.”
Rob Sussman Exits ‘Delaware 105.9 FM.’Talk radio host Rob Sussman exits Forever Media’s news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station adds Radio America’s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch. Sussman arrived at WXDE almost two years ago from his previous position as news director at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa. He’s ready for his next opportunity and can be reached at Sussman.email@example.com. In July, the station parted ways with local host Susan Monday and fellow local host Ed Tyll resigned his position. Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher was added to the late morning daypart and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” program began airing in the early afternoon slot. Forever Media acquired the station and nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting earlier this year.
WGTK-FM, Greenville Demonstrates PEP Station Responsibilities. Pictured above is WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94-5 The Answer” air personality Joey Hudson (left) on air with South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (right) broadcasting from the Salem Media Group station’s transmitter tower. WGTK-FM is a FEMA designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after a national or local emergency. Hudson broadcast from the WGTK PEP module using only backup generators and the equipment installed in the FEMA facility the agency maintains at the station’s broadcast tower. As the PEP station serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, it is equipped with back-up communications equipment and emergency power generators designed to enable continuous broadcasting independent of public utilities and without refueling for approximately 30-45 days. Hudson says that although this exercise had been planned for weeks, with Hurricane Dorian passing through the Carolinas last week, the “practice scenario” provided by FEMA was timely as he simulated how he would provide essential information to the public immediately following devastating damage by a hurricane in the Carolinas.
John Bolton’s Exit and Cancelled Taliban Talks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 9-13. The exit of John Bolton from his national security advisor position in the Trump Administration and the related cancellation of secret talks with the Taliban in Washington tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was “sharpie-gate” and the NOAA controversy. Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China relations and North Korea’s missile test, followed by stock market activity and the economy 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 entire chart here.
McGorry Elected to BFoA Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that William McGorry, chairman of Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, has been elected to the board of directors of the BFoA. McGorry oversees Broadcasting &Cable’s Hall of Fame nominating process and manages the annual awards event. Proceeds from the black-tie gala benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America and The Paley Center for Media. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Bill has been a long-time supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, and we are delighted that he is joining the Board. Every year, Bill ensures that the Broadcasters Foundation is a recipient of some of the proceeds from Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame Awards dinner. Those much-needed funds go to helping broadcasters in need across our industry, either in monthly or one-time emergency grants. We are grateful for his contributions.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Nikki Imbrascio is officially introduced by Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach as the new midday host on hot AC WRMF. She was previously with CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” as midday host. WRMF brand/content director Leo Baldwin says, “After an extensive search we are so happy to bring Nikki and her major market experience to Hubbard West Palm Beach. WRMF has been looking for its mid-day voice for quite some time and I am excited for Nikki to get started!”…..In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Robbie Bridges resigns his position as operations and brand manager for Townsquare Media’s operations there, including programming country WOKQ. Taking his place is Sammy Cruise, who leaves his gig at Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK, West Palm Beach to return to the station he served with in the past…..Buffalo radio icon Roger Christian is ousted from Entercom’s hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5.” Christian was on air on the 102.5 frequency for 43 years, going back to its time as a rock outlet. Christian says he was told the position is being eliminated and the daypart will be voice-tracked. However, Christian was scooped up quickly by Radio One Buffalo LLC’s Buddy Shula who’s bringing him aboard his oldies WECK-AM to handle weekends and fill-ins.
Cumulus Media Q2 Assessment: “Making Great Progress.” According to second-quarter results, Cumulus Media’s net revenue fell 2% year-to-year to $279.6 million from $285.2 million in 2018. Net income was down to $42.9 million, owing mostly to a net corporate loss, offsetting gains on the radio group side. Adjusted EBITDA was down 6.8% to $61.8 million. President and chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “We continued to make great progress against the goals we set when we emerged from bankruptcy a little over a year ago. We delivered a solid financial performance, with same-station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA up 1.8% and 3.7%, respectively, on an ex-political basis, driven by continued growth in national and network revenue, as well as industry-leading digital growth. We have now closed several strategic portfolio optimization transactions and announced one more. The $146.5 million of gross proceeds from the closed transactions, along with cash from operations, allowed us to prepay $165 million of debt since our last earnings announcement. [That reduces] our total post-bankruptcy debt by approximately $250 million. Given the results of the past year, I am more confident than ever that the company will continue to deliver significant value to our investors, employees, listeners, and advertisers.”
Media-Savvy McAfee Adds Daily Syndicated Radio Show. Definitively proving there is life in the media after being an eight-year Indianapolis Colts punter, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) analyst Pat McAfee will host a daily sports talk show syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and streamed on the DAZN video network. The program will air weekdays from 10:00 am -12:00 noon (ET), starting in just over four weeks (9/9). Among the 40 stations already clearing “The Pat McAfee Show” are Cumulus Media’s San Mateo-licensed KTCT, which simulcasts KNBR, San Francisco; and Cumulus Media Indianapolis’ WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM.” In addition, 2017 – 2018 Barstool podcaster McAfee recently signed a deal to serve as a college football analyst for ESPN. Last year, he did similar NFL duties at Fox Sports. As part of his DAZN arrangement, the 32-year old McAfee will appear on its nightly MLB “Changeup” show and will create football segments for the video network’s outlets in Canada and Germany.
Stayin’ Classy: “The Ron Burgundy Podcast” Returns. California Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the guest on the season two opener of iHeartRadio’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” co-produced with Funny Or Die. Channeling his Ron Burgundy persona and remaining completely in character, Will Ferrell emphatically states, “My podcast, quite simply, can only be described as a raging success. I’ll admit that when I first started in this rodeo, it was my first rodeo, and I had no idea what a podcast even was. But through diligent research and persistence, I quickly climbed my way up to the top. Now, it is not my first rodeo – it is literally, my second rodeo. Word on the street is that I am already the best rodeo rider that has ever lived … and podcaster, too. This is a fact, folks.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “When Ron first started trying to force us to make this podcast with him, we resisted, as it’s clear he’s an unhinged man; however, people are actually listening. I have no idea why. Doubly baffling, and for reasons beyond my grasp, they actually want more. Seriously? We have to go through this whole thing again? Fine. Season two. Whatever.” The podcast’s initial season debuted with 12 episodes in December 2018. In addition to Senator Harris, Ron Burgundy’s guests this season will include actress Brooke Shields, historian/political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Approximately 270 iHeartMedia broadcast stations in virtually every format are scheduling Sunday Night Podcasts, which begins this Sunday (8/11) with “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” Sunday Night Podcasts is part of iHeartMedia’s “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative that utilizes the company’s consumer reach to introduce the rapidly growing podcast sector to iHeartMedia’s quarter of a billion monthly broadcast listeners. A much more serious Byrne states, “We’re thrilled to bring some of the world’s best and most popular podcasts to our broadcast listeners every Sunday. We are uniquely able to provide the scale critical to introducing podcasts to the millions of Americans who aren’t yet familiar with them. Research shows that more than two-thirds of the population still are not dedicated podcast listeners – many have never even heard a podcast. Sunday Night Podcasts will help introduce different audio series from a variety of genres to a whole new audience.” In October 2017, Mark Ramsey’s “Inside Psycho” aired as a one-hour special on more than 70 iHeartMedia news/talk outlets. Episodes of “Family Secrets” and “Monster: The Zodiac Killer” aired on iHeartMedia stations before they were available anywhere else.
WFAN Splits Simulcast For Certain Yankees, Giants Games. When your station is the flagship of two major sports franchises, it helps to have two signals to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Entercom New York’s sports talk simulcast of WFAN-AM & WFAN-FM will take advantage of that situation three times this month and four times next month: WFAN is the flagship of both the (MLB) Yankees and (NFL) Giants. When both teams are playing on the same date, the Giants will shift to WFAN-AM (660), while the Yankees will continue on WFAN-FM (101.9). Senior vice president of Entercom New York Mark Chernoff explains, “August marks the beginning of another exciting start to football season and WFAN remains at the forefront of New York Giants coverage while remaining the home for New York Yankees baseball. Splitting the WFAN signal will allow the station to super serve fans of both iconic teams.” August dates involved for the simulcast split are tonight, Thursday, 8/8 (Giants-Jets/Yankees-Blue Jays); the 16th (Giants-Bears/Yankees-Indians); and the 22nd (Giants-Bengals/Yankees-A’s). In September, the simulcast will be suspended on the 8th (Giants-Cowboys/Yankees-Red Sox); 15th (Giants-Bills/Yankees-Blue Jays); 22nd (Giants-Buccaneers/Yankees-Blue Jays); and 29th (Giants-Redskins/Yankees-Rangers).
United Stations Names Janoff Chief Revenue Officer. In that role, Greg Janoff will oversee all of United Stations Radio Networks’ advertising sales efforts. USRN chair/chief executive officer Nick Verbitsky comments, “We are beyond thrilled that we now have Greg Janoff overseeing our revenue streams. Greg is passionate about our medium, knows radio inside and out, and will absolutely be a tremendous asset for our company. The next decade is around the corner and we have landed the right executive to lead our current successes forward into the future.” For the past 24 years, Janoff has held several upper management posts in New York City for Entercom and the former CBS Radio. His titles there have included vice president and general manager for all-news WINS; vice president and director of sales for WINS, co-owned all-news WCBS-AM and sports talk sibling WFAN “The Fan”; and station manager for WINS. As Townsquare Media’s regional vice president, Janoff was in charge of the company’s Michigan and New Jersey markets for three years, following two years as executive vice president of revenue for Merlin Media’s five stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Janoff succeeds Jim Higgins, who exited USRN last week.
iHeart Set To Debut Podcasts in Native Languages. By the first quarter of next year, iHeartMedia will translate/distribute a number of its podcasts around the world, marking what it says is “a significant step in internationally available, regionally targeted content for the podcast industry.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Our goal is to deliver exceptional content to listeners anywhere and everywhere in the way they’d like to hear it. By expanding some of our most popular podcast content into new languages, we see a major opportunity to introduce podcast listening at scale to whole new audiences abroad. What has always set podcasting apart is the engagement of the audiences – the ‘superfans.’ It makes sense to engage international audiences further and to super-serve them with content in their own languages to build their relationship with the content.” In the first round, the iHeartPodcast Network will translate six podcasts series into the most- spoken languages in the world. To be made available in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German and other languages will be “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Stuff Mom Never Taught You,” “Stuff To Blow Your Mind,” “BrainStuff,” and “TeachStuff.” Through these new translations, iHeartPodcasts will be available in the native language of more than a billion people worldwide.
TALKERS News Notes. In a South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WGTK “94.5 The Answer,” Salem Media Group Greenville-Spartanburg appoints Pat Kelley general manager. Salem Media Group regional vice president Val Carolin comments, “I have known Pat for many, many years and am excited to have a person of such high character and ability leading the terrific team in ‘The Upstate.’ Pat is a strong leader, and a person of great integrity, creativity, and skill. He will drive our operation to greater success and will be a true asset to Salem as a whole.” Kelly, who began his new duties earlier this week, adds, “I am thrilled to be leading the charge in upstate South Carolina as part of Salem Media’s local market leadership team. Great things are ahead.” Kelley spent over 25 years in Chicago and has held management positions for iHeartMedia, Townsquare Media, and Viacom Media …..Affiliates of Fox News Radio’s five-minute news service will be able to download two, one-hour Labor Day weekend specials in three weeks (8/28). Jessica Rosenthal-hosted “Securing America: Cyber Threats,” looks at data theft and manipulation from personal information to elections, while “The Wise Guys: A Fox Nation Special” features Bill Bennett, Gordon Chang, Charles Hurt, Mark Penn, and Solomon Wisenberg in a multi-topic roundtable discussion.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran programmer Rob Roberts is named director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group San Antonio classic hits-oldies KONO “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” and hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3 Today’s Best Music.” Cox Media Group San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison comments, “Rob is an experienced broadcast professional with a proven track record for achieving great success for high-performing brands. His vision and leadership will be key to the future of KONO and KSMG. We are excited to add his talents to the CMG San Antonio team and welcome him back to the great state of Texas.” Vice president of audience and content Tim Clarke notes, “Rob is one of the industry’s great programmers; I am so thrilled he is now on our San Antonio team. We will benefit greatly from his experience and leadership.” Roberts adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to become part of the Cox Media Group team in a city I love. It’s the job I’ve always wanted – programming two highly-rated legacy stations is a dream come true.” Most recently, Roberts was vice president of programming for Cumulus Media Washington, DC hot AC WRQX, which – on May 31 – flipped to contemporary Christian under new owners Educational Media Foundation. Elsewhere in his 27-year radio career, he has programmed Dallas hot AC KDMX; Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q-99.7”; Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100”; and Denver classic hits-oldies KXKL “Kool 105.” ….. The nine-year tenure of Entercom Washington, DC vice president of programming Steve Davis will come to an end on October 4. That’s when he will leave the cluster where he programs rhythmic CHR WPGC and classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” ….. One week from today (Thursday, 8/15), Carrie Neuman will take over afternoon drive duties at Towson University triple A WTMD, Baltimore. WTMD general manager/program director Scott Mullins comments, “Carrie has a lifelong passion for music, and she brings the excitement and enthusiasm of a fan who can’t wait to share new music discoveries with her friends. She is energetic, knowledgeable, fun to listen to and will be a great asset to WTMD.” Neuman notes, “I am more than just thrilled to be coming to Baltimore. I humbly join a legendary, music-centric staff that prides itself on discovering and sharing an unprecedented array of music. I am honored for the opportunity to work at WTMD. It’s the musical heartbeat of the city I so love.” Neuman formerly did mid-days at Annapolis, Maryland’s similarly-formatted WRNR ….. Speaking of Empire Broadcasting System triple A WRNR, Jeff Boden is appointed president/general manager there. Empire president Steve Kingston states, “Jeff has an extensive background in station management and sales. He spent many years working for ABC, Citadel, and then Cumulus Media in positions ranging from sales manager, director of sales, and president/general manager of [Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk] WMAL and [its then hot AC cluster-mate] WRQX. He most recently was president of Delmarva Broadcasting, which owned stations in Wilmington [Delaware] and other markets in the region. Much to our benefit, Delmarva was recently sold to Forever Broadcasting, allowing Jeff to bring his vast knowledge and experience of the business, his winning track record, and winning strategies to WRNR.” ….. Elsewhere in Maryland, college student Hunter Landon joins Adams Radio Group of Delmarva (Salisbury-Ocean City) as news director. Adams Radio vice president and general manager Lisa Layne comments, “Once again, we have struck gold with the addition of Hunter Landon. The news format will be timely, local, and live across all our brands. I am thrilled to add Hunter to the ‘dream team.’” Landon adds, “As a lifelong Delmarva resident, it is a career highlight to be running the newsroom for a first-class radio operation like Adams Radio of Delmarva. I am ecstatic to be delivering the news to the people of Delmarva on radio and digital for the market’s best stations and launching a fresh and revamped news department focused on the local community.” Working on a degree in broadcast journalism, Landon formerly was a reporter for WGMD “News Radio,” Lewes (Delaware). Adams Radio Group of Delmarva is comprised of WGBG “Big 107.7 Delmarva’s Classic Rock”; CHR WOCQ “OC-104 Today’s Hits”; WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies”; WUSX “US-98.5 Everything Country”; and WZBH “93.5 The Beach – Delmarva’s Rock Station.
July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Washington (DC), Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – The wild ride continues for WMAL which chalks up a July +.9 to 5.3 (seventh to sixth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three successive March through June decreases that accounted for an overall –2.4 (6.8 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.4, 6+). Immediately before that streak, the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet amassed three straight “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 improvements for a collective +2.5 (4.3 – 5.7 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+). March’s 6.8 was WMAL’s best 6+-stat in the PPM-era. After posting a .2 (6+) in August 2018, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted for the 12th sweep in succession.
Entercom sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (3.4) and market rank (#13). In June, the Nationals flagship recaptured nearly half (three-tenths) of the eight-tenths dissipated in May. After nearly doubling (+.4) its 6+ AQH share via four straight sweeps without a loss (.5 – .7 – .8 – .8 – .9, 6+), Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” surrenders two-tenths to .7 and departs the top twenty (#20 to #21, 6+). Roughly halfway through the July 2019 sweep (7/1), Cumulus Media ended its news/talk simulcast of WMAL-AM & WMAL-FM. WMAL-AM became sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol,” which checks in with a .1 (#29, 6+).
Following six straight months at #1, Hubbard Broadcasting all-news WTOP segues to the runner-up slot. Moreover, it falters the sixth month in a row and is an overall -2.5 in that January 2019 through July 2019 stretch (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.2 – 7.9, 6+). January 2019’s 10.4 was its best 6+-performance since March 2018 (10.4, as well). The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Entercom business news WDCH is: .4 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .6 (flat at #24, 6+).
Not only does American University-owned news/talk WAMU post a gain of four-tenths to 8.4 (6+) thus curtailing three successive slips that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (8.9 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 8.0, 6+), “The Mind Is Our Medium” shifts from the runner-up slot to #1. It supplants WTOP (see above). Immediately prior to gaining three-tenths in March, WAMU was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).
Washington, DC Music Formats – A positive spike of six-tenths to 2.7 (#18 to #17, 6+) by Radio One gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1” all but erases its May/June loss of seven-tenths (2.8 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+). Steady in fifth-place, iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH “97.1 – Washington’s Variety” logs its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a collective full-share gain (4.4 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). WASH has its best 6+-performance (5.4) since “Holiday” 2018 (10.4). On the final day of May (2019), Cumulus Media’s WRQX pulled the plug on its hot AC format. Under new owner Educational Media Foundation, “Mix 107.3 More Music – More Variety” became contemporary Christian WLVW “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” May 2019 marked the final sweep before the format transition and “Mix” added six-tenths (3.5 – 4.1, 6+) to exit as a top ten station (#11 to #8). Its January 2019 through May 2019 topline was 3.5 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.1 (6+). In its new format, however, WLVW erodes by roughly 78% (-3.2) in June/July (4.1 – 2.2 – .9, 6+), plummeting from #8 (May) to #17 (June) to #19 (July). An overall +1.4 through three gains in succession (3.2 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5” forfeits nine-tenths to 3.7 (sixth to tenth, 6+). June’s 4.6 was its best 6+-showing in nearly two years (4.6, as well in August 2017). There is a similar scenario for cluster-mate WMZQ, which was +1.3 through four consecutive improvements (2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.1, 6+). In July, however, “98.7 Today’s Best Country” falters by one-half share to 3.6 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Up a cumulative seven-tenths via four straight gains (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WPGC regresses by three-tenths to 3.4 (6+) and leaves the top ten (#10 to #13). There isn’t much movement in the market’s urban AC contest, although a gain of two-tenths to 7.7 (6+) by WMMJ “Majic” is enough to halt three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of seven-tenths (8.2 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.5, 6+). Immediately prior to the just-concluded skid, “Majic” put together six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Having dropped four-tenths in June (6.5 – 6.1, 6+), Howard University’s similarly-programmed WHUR levels off at 6.1 (6+). Down one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+), WHUR regained that deficit with a May pickup of two-tenths. Its March loss of one-tenth suspended three successive increases that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). WMMJ is anchored in third-place for the eighth time in a row while WHUR is has been in fourth-place in May, June, and July.
Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, WSB-AM was down an overall eight-tenths (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), but the Cox Media Group news/talker bounces back with a +.3 to 6.6 (steady at #2, 6+). Following three straight months at #1, WSB-AM slipped to the runner-up slot in April. Entercom’s WAOK “1380 The Voice of the Community” is down or flat the third time in a row (.4 – .3 – .2 – .2, 6+) but climbs from #29 to #28. Tied at #32 are Salem Media Group-owned WGKA “AM 920 The Answer” (.3 – .2 – .1, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WGST “Talk Radio 640,” which has lost three-tenths via eleven straight down or flat trends (.4 – .3 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, #34 to #32, 6+).
Even though it is an overall -1.2 in five straight negative or neutral sweeps (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Entercom sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” moves from #15 to #14. At the same time, Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN “Sports Radio The Fan” is up a cumulative six-tenths in five consecutive monthlies without a loss (1.6 – 1.7 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+), as the AM flagship of the Atlanta Braves carries on at #17.
Steady at #12, City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk WABE is up one-tenth (3.4 – 3.5, 6+). Gaining one-tenth as well is Georgia State University news/talk WRAS (.6, flat at #25, 6+), which suspends three down or flat moves in succession that resulted in a collective loss of three-tenths (.8 – .6 – .5 – .5, #25, 6+).
Atlanta Music Formats – After improving by two-tenths in May and then spiraling -1.1 in June (6.3 – 5.2, 6+), Radio One’s WAMJ “Majic” answers with a July boost of six-tenths to 5.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+). “Majic” was +2.5 via three successive increases (4.4 – 5.4 – 6.3 – 6.9, 6+) but faltered by eight-tenths in April. Even though urban contemporary sibling WHTA is an overall -1.6 through five consecutive negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+) “Hot 107.9” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). One streak continues for Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH but another ends. On the plus side, “104.7 The Fish” is #1 the fourth month in a row; however, it loses three-tenths to (8.5, 6+), snapping at five its consecutive string of upticks that netted an overall +3.9 (4.9 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 7.0 – 7.9 – 8.8, 6+). Even though it falters by two-tenths (3.9 – 3.7, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” advances from tenth and ninth and overtakes Cumulus Media-owned format rival, WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits.” The latter returns the four-tenths it gained in June (3.6 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+) and shifts from eighth to tenth. Ironically, June’s +.4 enabled “Q-100” to leapfrog “Power,” which dropped three-tenths in June (4.2 – 3.9, 6+). “Q-100” logged a +.7 in January; relinquished six-tenths in February; and had a February 2019 through May 2019 topline of 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.6. Frozen on 3.4 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 and January 2019 before dropping to 3.0 (6+) in February, “Power” gained seven-tenths in March; was down one-tenth in April; and dialed up a +.6 in May. The same two owners are involved in the market’s country tussle. As iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull” picks up one-tenth (4.0 – 4.1, 6+) Cumulus Media’s WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” stumbles by that same margin in consecutive sweeps and is actually off six-tenths through three straight dips (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+). “The Bull” and “Kicks” continue at #8 and #16, respectively. When “The Bull” dropped one-tenth in June, it interrupted three straight increases that produced a +.8 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+). “Kicks” faltered by four-tenths in May, after being off three-tenths in March.
Spoken-Word Formats – It is a bit of a mixed bag for Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” which is down a combined half-share in June/July (2.2 – 1.8 – 1.7, 6+) and has its weakest 6+-showing since June 2018 (1.7, as well) but climbs from #22 to #21. In five consecutive decreases, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” has lost roughly half (-.8) its 6+ AQH-share (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .7, #24 to #25, 6+).
Down seven-tenths in May, Entercom sports talk/Phillies flagship WIP “Sports Radio 94.1” repeats June’s 6+ share (5.9) and market rank (fourth). Rebounding from June’s loss of six-tenths with an increase one-third that magnitude (2.1 – 2.3, +.2, 6+) Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” advances from #20 to #17; June’s 2.1 was its lowest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 1.8.
This marks the sixth sweep in succession that Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” hasn’t shown an increase for an overall -1.3 (5.0 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7, flat at #10, 6+).
For the third time in the last five reports, public news/talk WHYY logs a 2.6 (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6, #16 to #14, 6+).
Philadelphia Music Formats – Four straight down or flat sweeps by Entercom classic hits-oldies WOGL produced a -1.2 (7.1 – 6.8 – 6.0 – 6.0 – 5.9, 6+), but “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” erases two-thirds of that deficit with a +.8 to 6.7 (fourth to second, 6+). WOGL was a combined +2.1 in January/February (5.0 – 6.3 – 7.1, 6+). Somewhat similarly, iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks,” which lost eight-tenths since March via three consecutive negative or neutral moves (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+), posts a half-share uptick to 5.8 (seventh to fifth, 6+). Stuck on 6.6 (6+) in May and June, Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK records an increase of four-tenths to 7.0 (6+), enabling it to march from second to first. This (7.0) is its highest 6+-stat since February 2018’s 7.1. Owing to its July -1.5 (7.0 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM” is displaced from the top spot and drifts all the way to seventh. The last time “Today’s 101.1” fell below a six-share (6+) was more than four years ago (5.8, May 2015). WBEB was +10.1 (6.5 – 10.4 – 16.6, 6+) just prior to January 2019’s -10.3 (16.3 – 6.3, 6+); it gained one-half share in March. Co-owned sports talk WIP was on top in January; classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL in February; WBEB in March; WMGK set the pace in April; WBEB did so in May and June; and now WMGK is back at #1 in July. Four successive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL yielded eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+), but “Power 99” surrenders one-half share to 4.0 (6+) and continues in ninth-place. After nearly quadrupling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in nine straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 3.0, 6+), Radio One-owned WPPZ “107.9 – Philly’s Classic R&B” falters by one-tenth to 2.9 (flat at #12, 6+). WPPZ transitioned from gospel in mid-December 2018. Entercom-owned WTDY “Today’s Hits 96.5 TDY” is off the fourth time in a row for a collective full-share loss (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.4 – 2.3, unchanged at #17, 6+).
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. 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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
iHeartMedia Flips ‘Orange and Blue 760’ to ‘Freedom 93.7.’ Denver’s KDSP-AM changes calls to KDFD-AM and – with the addition of FM translator K229BS, Lakewood – flips to news/talk as “Freedom 93.7 Real News, Real Talk.” The station had been a Denver Broncos-centric sports talk station for the past two years. It began stunting Monday (7/8) with a rotation of pop and rock songs with the word “freedom” in the title. iHeartMedia has not issued a press release on the changes and it’s unclear exactly what the lineup will be but there’s been speculation that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh program will move from sister news/talk KOA to anchor the lineup.
BIA Advisory Services Revises 2019 U.S. Local Ad Forecast; Radio Projected to Get $14.5 Billion. Media consulting firm BIA Advisory Services updates its 2019 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, predicting that the total local media marketplace in 2019 will be “slightly stronger than expected earlier in the year, with ad revenue reaching approximately $148.8 billion.” The firm cites “a strong economy, an early start to the 2020 election, and most notably, increases in mobile and mobile-social advertising” as causes for the improved projections. As usual, direct mail leads the pack with an estimated 25% share of that ($37.2 billion). Local radio is expected to get 9.8% of the total, or about $14.5 billion, thanks to online efforts by radio stations. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “It can be surprising to see that direct mail continues as such an important medium. However, it directly targets more households than any other channel and mobilizes local consumers to make purchases, especially when combined with campaigns that make use of digital platforms. The key for revenue growth (and protection) today is not just to look at the media in your sector, but across all local media because you compete across all ad channels today.”
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” One-On-One Discussion. 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 (7/9) post presents the one-on-one discussion titled, “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. Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serves as facilitator. Posted yesterday: “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence. The discussion is moderated by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS. Already posted: The convention’s keynote chat in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation. The two discuss a variety of topics including Hannity’s special relationship with President Donald J. Trump; what it takes to be successful on both radio and television talk media; the challenges facing talk radio in terms of ratings and marketing; Hannity’s feelings about his life and career; plus more. The session is introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones. Also already posted on the page: The convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories” as well as 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. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Adds FOX Sports Radio Shows for Overnights. The Beasley Media Group sports talker announces it is adding FOX Sports Radio’s “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” for the 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am slot and “The Ben Maller Show to air from 2:00 am to 6:00 am, effective July 18. WBZ-FM, Boston will also air overnight programming from FOX Sports Radio on weekends. Beasley national spoken-word brand manager Mike Thomas says, “For the second time in our 10-year history, ‘The Sports Hub’ will partner with FOX Sports Radio for late-night programming. We’re happy to have FSR’s compelling brand of sports talk back on ‘The Sports Hub’ to keep our listeners informed and entertained.”
Sutterfield Appointed GSM for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa Cluster. Sales pro Phillip Sutterfield is promoted to general sales manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa station group that includes news/talk KRMG-AM/FM three music brands and Cox’s three television stations in the market. CMG Tulsa director of sales Joe Muller states, “Phillip has been an integral part of the CMG sales team for many years and has always been one of the most consistent leaders on the team. He has built outstanding relationships in the community and is a creative force for our clients. I know Phillip will thrive in this new role and help guide us through the next phase of our sales growth.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former White House aide to President Obama (and current executive producer of Funny or Die D.C.) Brad Jenkins teams up with PodcastOne to create a new podcast titled, “Fired Up!” PodcastOne says, “Jenkins and his guests will dig deep to explore political issues and other things that get them fired up to love, laugh, and inspire.” PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris says, “Brad is a dynamic, outspoken, intelligent ball of fire! His passion for igniting high energy and intelligent conversation is perfect for the podcast format, and is sure to get both his guests and listeners as fired up as he is when it comes to politics and other topics we all care about.”…..Skyview Networks and The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Triple-A baseball club the Las Vegas Aviators, announce today a multi-year contract for the team to use Skyview’s inventory management and live read capture software, AdView. The Aviators – an affiliate of the Oakland A’s – play in the Pacific Coast League…..Voice and audio content provider SpokenLayer announces that Andy Lipset joins the company as CEO. He takes over for SpokenLayer founder Will Mayo, who continues with the company as chief strategy officer. Lipset served for the past six years with Pandora.
CORRECTION: Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported on the programming changes at Forever Media’s WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9.” In doing so we wrote that Ed Tyll’s early afternoon show was cancelled by the station. Program director Dan Gaffney tells TALKERS that Tyll was not let go but resigned from his program.
2020 Presidential Race, Epstein Arrest, Trump Tax Returns, UK Ambassador Leak, Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; Iran Nuclear Ambitions, California Earthquakes, Women’s Soccer Pay Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The 2020 presidential race and the Democrats running for their party’s nomination; the arrest of billionaire hedge fund managerJeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a law allowing Congress access to President Trump’s New York tax returns; the leak of a cable from UK Ambassador Kim Darroch calling President Trump “inept” and “clumsy”; the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and the controversy over conditions at border detention centers; Iran’s continuing progress in enriching uranium; the Southern California earthquakes; and the issue of pay disparity between the men’s and women’s U.S. Soccer team 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. Tallahassee has a new music station as iHeartMedia turns WTLY-AM/W243EG into classic hip hop and R&B as “Throwback 96.5.” The station will feature hip hop and R&B from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Station program director D – Strong says, “Throwback hip hop and R&B is what’s hot right now and I’m glad that we’re the ones that get to bring that to Tallahassee!”.…..Some new acts are being added to the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival taking place Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. Hootie & The Blowfish, Marshmello, and Steve Aoki with special guests Darren Criss and Monsta X have been added to the lineup…..Westwood One’s syndicated “Country Gold with Terri Clark” hits the 165-station affiliation mark with the addition of WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill, Illinois (Chicago market); WDRQ-FM, Detroit; WNKN-FM, Cincinnati; WSM-FM, Nashville; WPUR-FM, Atlantic City; KTJJ-FM, Farmington-St. Louis; and KXKC-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana.
WHB-AM, Kansas City Suspends Host Kevin Kietzman Over Controversial Comments. Sports talk WHB-AM, Kansas City owner Union Broadcasting is suspending longtime station talk host Kevin Kietzman indefinitely after comments he made on his show were deemed by some to be inappropriate. During a discussion about the Kansas City Chiefs’ suspension of Tyreek Hill due to an incident involving his fiancé and three-year-old son that led to a child abuse investigation, Kietzman criticized head coach Andy Reid’s abilities “fixing [troubled] players.” In doing so, Kietzman said Reid had the same troubles dealing with his sons Britt and Garrett. Garrett died of a heroin overdose in 2012. Awful Announcing first called Kietzman out on his comments and Kietzman replied to clarify his statements saying, “I never once mentioned anything about Andy Reid’s son’s death and never once had it on my mind. A caller called in later and said something about the death and I quickly corrected him and pointed out that I was referencing two sons that were convicted drug dealers and drug addicts that he chose to try to fix by hiring them to work for his football teams.” You can see that here. But, Kietzman has issued a lengthy apology to the Reid family that you can read here. He maintains his intent was not to tie Reid’s son’s death to the team’s issues but says in his apology, “This is on me. I’m paid as a broadcaster to be concise in what I say. My words on Monday’s show left open way too many interpretations and I’m the only person responsible for that, and the only person to blame. I’ll learn from this mistake and I’ll work hard to do better, and I hope to one day regain the trust of Coach Reid and the Chiefs organization.”
NPR and Edison Research Smart Speaker Study Reveals Security Concerns Hamper Potential Future Adopters. The data from the new research in “The Smart Audio Report” series from NPR and Edison Research gives insights into “how smart speaker user behavior and perceptions are evolving as owners ‘settle in’ with their devices and the market matures out of its introductory phase.” This Spring 2019 survey indicates seven-in-10 smart speaker owners use their device daily despite common concerns around security and privacy, while those same factors are leading reasons non-owners have not acquired a device. Edison SVP Tom Webster says, “We are starting to see more pragmatic usage of these devices. The longer people have these devices, the less experimentation they do with them — but the more ingrained into everyday life these devices become.” The study found that smart speaker owners who have owned the device for 2-plus years use an average seven skills per week, compared to an average 12 skills per week among those who have owned the device for less than three months. But the report also finds there is a slowing of interest among non-owners in getting one and the two most-cited reasons are: 1) 63% are concerned that hackers could use a smart speaker to gain access to their home or personal information; and 2) 55% are bothered that smart speakers are always listening. See more from the study here
Duff Lindsey Retiring from Beasley Boca Raton. Programmer Duff Lindsey is retiring from his operations manager position with Beasley Media Group’s Boca Raton, Florida cluster that includes talk WWNN, financial talk WSBR, and foreign language WHSR. Taking over as operations manager for the cluster is station staffer A.J. Gunn. Lindsey – who turns 70 on July 1 – says he’s spent more than 30 years of his 50-year career with Beasley. His last day is June 30.
TALKERS News Notes. At public media firm KQED, San Francisco, Lesley Grossblatt joins to serve in the newly created role of chief product officer. She’ll be in charge of KQED’s digital activities – including product management, user experience and design, software engineering, and the KQED Lab, the station’s in-house innovation incubator. During her career she’s led product and technology initiatives at companies including: Netflix, Intuit, CreativeLive and theBoardlist, among others…..Krantz Media Group Networks announces its new partnership with “Politicon” – the annual bipartisan “UnconventionalPolitical Convention” that’s taking place in Nashville October 26 and 27. The partnership will bring a wide array of audio programming to listeners around the world in the lead-up to event, as well as live-programming on site at the event. KMG says “The fifth annual ‘Politicon’ brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together to banter and spar over the most topical issues in smart and entertaining ways that often poke fun at both sides of the aisle. Last year, more than 10,000 fans flocked to the 4th annual Politicon at the Los Angeles Convention Center, enjoying participants such as Kathy Griffin, Michael Avenatti, the Baby Trump Balloon, Adam Carolla, Carter Page, Ann Coulter, Dennis Rodman, Alyssa Milano, Tucker Carlson, Ana Kasparian, Ben Shapiro, Eddie Izzard, James Carville, Tomi Lahren, Henry Winkler, and more.”…..WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware talk show host Dan Gaffney had the opportunity to assist a listener whom he helped do a good deed more than 20 years ago. He says, “Twenty-three years ago, Ann Cox called ‘The Dan Gaffney Show’ for help giving away a mobile home. I put her on the air and helped her give the home away to a needy local family. On June 4 of this year, that same woman – now disabled and caring for her five-year-old grandson – lost her home and all belongings in a fire.” Last Friday, Gaffney appealed to his listeners for aid and – with the assistance of WXDE advertiser Jim Weller who agreed to match donations up to $5,000 – raised more than $11,000 to assist Cox and her grandson. Gaffney adds, “The power of radio, the power of talk radio, the power of a connected community.”…..Pictured below is FOX News Radio talk host and FOX News Channel star Brian Kilmeade posing for a photo at affiliate KDWN, Las Vegas from where he recently broadcast his nationally syndicated program. From left to right are: KDWN program director John Shaffer, Kilmeade and Beasley VP and market manager Peter Burton.
Former WLIB, New York Talk Host Kae Thompson Dies at 83. Former urban talk radio personality Kae Thompson died last Friday at age 83 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. The New York Daily News reports that Thompson hosted the “Urban Notebook” and “Kae Thompson Payne Live” programs on WLIB-AM, New York during her 25-year career with the station. WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM assistant program director Cynthia Smith tells the Daily News, “Kae Thompson was a true journalist [who] asked the hard questions but always with a smile. Her guests couldn’t help but answer her. Such a classy lady, teacher and true professional who I enjoyed working with on ‘The Kae Thompson Show’ on WLIB. Her smile is permanently etched in my memory! She will be missed tremendously.”
2020 Presidential Race/Democrat Debates, Iran Tensions, Southern Border Migrant Issues, Mueller to Testify, G20 Summit, and Trump-Kim Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).The Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 taking part in this week’s televised debates; the war of words between Tehran and Washington over the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal and recent attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. drone; the conditions for detained migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump administration policy; former special counsel Robert Mueller agrees to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee in July; this weekend’s G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan; and the progress toward more talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Training the Next Generation of Talk Media Broadcasters: Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS Convention. TALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7). The team consisted of student broadcasters Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli. TALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications. It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.” Hofstra Radio operations director John T. Mullen adds, ““WRHU has one mission – professional development of students so they can become productive members of the radio / media industry. The foundation for most of the on-air personality content on radio is talk. Whether it’s a music air personality talking about artists and culture, a political talk show host breaking down the news of the day, a newscaster delivering timely info, a sportscaster discussing games, or a love show host talking about romance and relationship advice. Therefore it makes sense that the leading college radio station (WRHU) would team up with the world’s most informative and innovative talk media conference in New York City for Talkers 2019. WRHU and Talkers 2019 are telling the story of students learning from icons in the talk media industry.” To view the video interviews recorded by the Hofstra team please click here. Pictured below (l-r): Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Four-year KRRL-FM, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” air personality DJ Amen is promoted to music director at the iHeartMedia hip hop station. DJ Amen began working for iHeartMedia in 2006 on the turntables for the legendary 106 KMEL in San Francisco. In 2015, he joined ‘REAL 92.3’ as a DJ, mixing daily for the newly launched station and in 2016, contributed to the launch of REAL 92.3’s top-rated show, “Young California Radio.”…..In Detroit, assistant program director Cheron Sanders is being promoted to PD for iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3.” Sanders joined iHeartMedia in 2001 and has held various positions at sister hip hop station WJLB AND WMXD over the years, including traffic reporter and midday host…..At Cumulus Media’s alternative KFOG, San Francisco, Alicia Tyler exits the midday host/music director position she’s held since 2016. Station program director Jacent Jackson takes on the music director duties and evening personality Dayna Keyes is promoted to the midday show. Also promoted is Danica Lopez who moves from part-timer to evening personality and social media director…..In the Springfield, Illinois market, Neuhoff Media teams Taylor Brown up with John Spalding for the “John and Taylor in the Morning” program on country WFMB. Brown has been handling the midday duties on sister hot AC WXAJ-FM in addition to her director of promotions position with the stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that classic hits WLS-FM morning personality Dave Fogel was off the air for a couple of days for treatment for an aneurysm. Fogel was treated for the same issue while working the afternoon show at crosstown hot AC WTMX in 2003…..Adams Radio appoints Nathan James director of marketing partnerships and promotions for the company’s five-station operation in the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland market. He was most recently director of marketing at iHeartMedia Philadelphia…..Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York announce the second annual Stonewall Day – a global campaign to elevate awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ+ equality. In observance of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Pride Live and iHeartMedia New York are bringing “multi-generational LGBTQ+ communities and allies together through the power of music at Pride Live’s Stonewall Day concert, presented by United Airlines.” Taking place on Friday (6/28), it will be hosted by Elvis Duran.
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 April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. The performance of the all-news format is very important to Entercom as it owns nine of the 12 all-news stations in our panel. Almost 60% of these stations went down (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the March PPM survey to April. Comparing April 2018 to this year, 6+ ratings movement was even, with half the stations going up and the other half going down. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington again ranks #1 in its market (the only all-newser to do so this month), while Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 in their markets. See Mike Kinosian’s full report here.
Cumulus Asks FCC to Allow Up to 100% Foreign Investment. The FCC has a rule that no more than 25% of an American broadcast entity can be owned by foreign investors. As Cumulus Media emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 2018, foreign ownership of its voting stock was no more than 22.5%. The company made sure of that in order to facilitate the proceedings. Now, Cumulus is asking the FCC to allow foreign investment of up to 100%. The FCC public notice states, “Cumulus now requests approval to permit up to a 100 percent aggregate foreign investment to enable holders of warrants and non-voting stock to convert or exercise these instruments in exchange for voting stock and allow non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to 100 percent of its voting stock and capital stock generally in the future. Specifically, Cumulus explains that upon grant of the Petition, the special warrants would be automatically exchanged, and foreign ownership of Cumulus immediately following such exchanges would then be approximately 34 percent on a voting basis and 31 percent on an equity basis. Notwithstanding that the foreign ownership which would result from exercise of the special warrants is expected to be much less than 100 percent, Cumulus states that it is requesting a ruling that would permit non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to and including 100 percent of its voting stock and 100 percent of its capital stock generally. Cumulus believes that elimination of the overall limitation on foreign ownership of its shares will, inter alia, enhance the market liquidity of its stock and ‘provide the Company with the greatest degree of flexibility in accessing foreign investment capital.’ Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is entirely consistent with the public interest. In support of the Petition, Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is consistent with the reorganization plan, which has enabled Cumulus to emerge from bankruptcy in a stronger financial condition, and which, in turn, will enable Cumulus to raise capital, enhance its programming, better serve the public, and compete with non-FCC regulated entities on a more level playing field. Cumulus also maintains that grant of the Petition aligns with U.S. foreign trade policy and the U.S. government’s desire to ‘promote inbound foreign investment’ and encourage reciprocity with U.S. trading partners.” The public comment period is open through July 8.
Alpha Media Stations Moving into Chicagoland Mall. After almost two years of negotiations, the local village board in Gurnee, Illinois (near the Illinois-Wisconsin border) has voted to pay Alpha Media $200,000 to assist in the cost of moving its four north suburban stations – news/talk WLIP-AM, Spanish sports talk WKRS-AM, rock WIIL-FM, and hot AC WXLC-FM – into space at the Gurnee Mills mall complex. According to a report in the DailyHerald, mall owner Simon Property Group is paying Alpha $600,000 to help with the cost of the estimated $847,000 renovation project. In return, Alpha will produce at least 32 public events at the mall to drive foot traffic and will air ads for the mall.
TALKERS News Notes. The Kirk Minihane–Entercom relationship appears to be turning sour again with the sports media personality now threatening to take legal action to get the platform he desires. Brandon Contes at Barrett Sports Media writes an account of Minihane’s displeasure over his situation at Entercom that he expressed while broadcasting recently on Periscope. Minihane wants his own “network” on Entercom’s Radio.com platform within a month or he says he’ll sue. Minihane officially left the WEEI, Boston morning show last fall. At the time, Entercom said it wanted Minihane to do a show on Radio.com…..Media personality Michele Tafoya – whose work includes serving as co-host of “The Tom Barnard Show” on Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis – was honored Monday at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York with the Outstanding Sports Personality award for her work as an NBC Sports sideline reporter for NFL games. Tafoya also won the award in 2012 and 2014. Cumulus VP, classic rock and Twin Cities operations manager Scott Jameson says, “All of us at Cumulus Minneapolis are very proud of Michele winning this prestigious Emmy award. We’re quite fortunate having her on our legendary morning show hosted by National Hall of Fame inductee Tom Barnard and the rest of the morning team.”…..Westwood One News picks up another honor for exceptional reporting as the organization and correspondent Jim Roope receive a Deadline Club Award for best “Radio or Audio Feature Reporting.” The award recognizes Roope’s 2018 report, “Las Vegas: Remembering and Healing,” in which he returned to Las Vegas one year after the deadly mass shooting and spoke with the community and the victims about how they were remembering, coping, and healing. The Deadline Club Award is bestowed by the NY Society of Professional Journalists for reporting across all media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, radio, digital, and TV…..Radio personality Walter Sterling is guest starring on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento this holiday weekend. He’s sitting in for Pat Walsh on both Friday and Monday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Sterling’s syndicated program is heard Sunday evenings on the iHeartMedia station…..Forever Media closes on its acquisition of the 10-station group in Delaware and Maryland it purchased from Steinman Communications for $18.5 million. The signals include news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, Wilmington and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware. Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the exclusive broker for the deal.
ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER: Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout! The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out. The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity. We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency. That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.” To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.
Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, 2020 Election Politics, New Anti-Abortion Laws, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The request from congressional Democrats for President Trump’s tax returns and financial records; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; Iran’s increased production of enriched uranium and the possibility of U.S. military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and NBA/NHL playoffs action 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia names programming pro Brandon “Buster” Satterfield program director for CHR WIOQ-FM “Q102,” effective June 17. Satterfield moves north from his most recent position with the company as APD for CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa. iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP for programming Brian Check says, “Brandon brings a unique combination of top 40 radio experience on and off the air, as well as knowledge of the market and passion for everything Philly. His dedication to the brand and keen eye for programming and the latest music make him the perfect fit.”…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” brings two-time Grammy nominee and radio personality Monie Love aboard to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, effective today (5/22). Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “We are so excited to have Monie Love join the ‘KISS 104.1’ team. Her love of hip-hop, entertaining personality and star power make her a great addition to our afternoons here in Atlanta.”…..Westwood One’s internationally syndicated “The Ty Bentli Show” announces Adrian Kulp joins the show as senior executive producer. WWO says Kulp brings a wealth of creative experience across multiple entertainment mediums to the show. He served for almost 10 years as a television executive with positions including vice president of TV development at Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, vice president of TV development at Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing, and a stint at CBS’s “The Late Late Show.” NASH Network director of programming John Shomby says, “Ty Bentli continues to build a team that is focused on maximizing creativity! Adrian brings a different perspective to the table that will help the show build a unique vision and bring that to our listeners each morning!”