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Tuesday, March 2, 2022

| March 1, 2022

Radio One Swaps Frequencies in Charlotte; Sports Talk WFNZ Gets Full Market FM Signal. Charlotte sports talk WFNZ-AM is getting a full-market FM signal as Radio One swaps FM frequencies between WFNZ and hip hop/R&B “92.7 The Block.” WFNZ is now heard on WFNZ-FM at 92.7 (in addition to WFNZ-AM at 610) and “The Block” airs on FM translator W273DA at 102.5. Radio One Charlotte/Richmond regional VP Marsha Landess says, “Charlotte has continued to grow as a great sports city and Sports Radio WFNZ will continue to grow with it! Now on a more powerful FM signal, with continued live and local talent, we will be able to superserve more of our listeners and clients with broader market coverage on the FM dial.”

 

Audacy Unveils New Audacy Digital Audience Network. In an effort to present advertisers with a “high-performing audience solution,” Audacy launches the Audacy Digital Audience Network, “an addressable aggregate of over 60 million listeners that other audio platforms and streaming platforms do not reach.” Audacy says that each month, it connects with 200 million fans across its broadcast and digital assets. Over 60 million of these listeners can be found on ADAN across its streaming content, on the Audacy app and on its podcasts. Through this, ADAN can target precise audiences at scale and deliver high-performing digital audio media strategies for Audacy’s advertising partners.” The company says it “continues to provide exclusive content across news, sports, talk, music and podcasts that its listeners seek and trust as a daily habit. ADAN audiences skew more affluent, are more likely to be college educated and are more diverse – collectively bringing the highest value consumers to advertisers. ADAN provides an unduplicated reach to listeners that other audio platforms do not deliver.” Components of the Audience Network include over 230 of Audacy’s broadcast brands and thousands of podcasts. Exclusive stations, curated music stations from Audacy brands, talent and influencers and digital streams of MLB play-by-play broadcasts via flagship partnerships are also included in ADAN.

 

WWO Blog: AM/FM Radio, Print, and Podcast Ads Lead in Attentiveness. The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group releases a new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report that incorporates several new studies that examine consumer attentiveness and concentration levels when using various media platforms, ad-skipping tendencies, and the reasons why listeners choose to use various audio platforms. Cumulus EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report demonstrates that AM/FM radio leads all media in advertising attentiveness with the lowest levels of ad skipping. Consumers also devote very high levels of concentration to podcasts since listeners actively seek them out to learn something new, which justifies premium CPMs for podcasts.” Some of the highlights of the report include: 1) Attention grows in importance among marketers and agencies: Nearly half of advertisers have discussed consumer attentiveness as a metric. Two out of three say it is important for measuring media investments; 2) Traditional media ads have greater engagement compared to digital ads: AM/FM radio, print, and podcast ads lead in attentiveness. Consumers skip social and digital ads the most; 3) Social media disconnect: Agencies/marketers overestimate consumer concentration of social media. Two consumer studies reveal social media has the lowest attentiveness of media platforms; 4) AM/FM radio CPMs should be a premium to Pandora and Spotify: Pandora/Spotify audio impressions are not the same as AM/FM radio impressions. The greater proportion of spoken word content on AM/FM radio generates much higher levels of concentration and attentiveness. The information and personalities of AM/FM radio satisfy consumer needs for information and connection. See the full blog post here.

 

KLIF-AM, Dallas Adds ‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ Show. The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated news/talk program “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” is added to the program lineup at Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM, Dallas in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. KLIF-AM program director Bruce Collins says, “These guys were just what we were looking for to add to KLIF’s lineup, news and information and a whole lot of laughs and fun. They understand entertaining radio.” The program stars Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins. Van Camp says, I’m excited and honored to be on the legendary KLIF. Having spent several years in the Metroplex, being on that station means a lot to me. Many thanks to Bruce Collins, who’s been a great partner and supporter of the show from the beginning.”

 

Todd Starnes Speaks at CPAC 2022. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes was a featured speaker at last weekend’s CPAC 2022 in Orlando. In addition to appearing on the conference’s agenda, Starnes broadcast his national radio show from the CPAC radio row during which he interviewed former President Donald Trump and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (pictured here with Starnes).

 

 

KYW, Philadelphia Honors 2022 GameChangers. Pictured above are the recipients of the 2022 GameChangers honors from Audacy’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia. The annual GameChangers recognize people making a difference in communities of color around the Philadelphia region. This year’s honorees were recognized at a ceremony at Audacy’s Philadelphia headquarters on February 27. KYW Newsradio community impact reporter Racquel Williams, who has been highlighting the GameChangers honorees throughout February, hosted the ceremony. The 2022 recipients were nominated by members of the audience and selected by a panel of previous honorees. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio shines light on the stories of people from all backgrounds doing amazing things in our communities who might not otherwise get the recognition they deserve. That’s part of our mission 365 days a year, and we’re proud to award these meaningful honors to these outstanding community leaders during Black History Month.”

 

Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit Helps Raise $1.74 million for Salvation Army. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM helped raise more than $1.74 million for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit during a 27-hour radio fundraiser that took place on February 24 and 25. The Cumulus Media station presented the 35th Annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon as station personalities including Paul W. Smith (pictured here), Sean Baligian, Kevin Dietz, Lloyd Jackson, Chris Renwick, Mitch Albom, Ken Brown, Steve Courtney, Kevin O’Neill and Guy Gordon broadcast from The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Norm Lewis to Perform at BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that this year’s entertainment for the Golden Mike Award Gala will be Broadway, film, and TV star Norm Lewis. Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the BFOA Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony returns this year on Monday, March 14 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation, whose sole mission is to provide financial aid to broadcasters in acute need from critical illness, accident, or serious misfortune. This year’s BFOA Golden Mike Award honoree will be Hilton Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a broadcaster who has made invaluable contributions to the television and radio industries. This year, it will be presented to renowned sportscaster Lesley Visser.

 

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast starring Dennis Prager and Julie Hartman is joining the Salem Podcast Network. After reading Prager’s book, Still the Best Hope, Hartman – a senior at Harvard University – realized she actually held many conservative beliefs. She reached out to Prager, who was so impressed with her that he invited her on to his national talk show. Not long after, she sat in for him for all three hours of the show. Now, the two are launching a weekly podcast titled, “Dennis and Julie.” She says, “Finding Dennis’ work changed my life. I discovered the historic significance of the American value system and just how much our society today has come to be guided by the wrong principles. I hope that Dennis and I can make the world more understandable to our audience and impart to our listeners — especially those my age — how important it is to resist the far-left push that comes at them every day. I’m honored to work with Dennis and I’m grateful to Salem for trusting me with this opportunity.”…..CNN debuts three new podcasts. “Breaking News Alerts” – previously only available to smart speaker listeners – this audio version of CNN’s breaking news alerts offer podcast listeners a more contextualized understanding of breaking news. “Tug of War” takes listeners to the most volatile corners of the world to document some of the greatest power struggles of our time – a mission that now feels more relevant than ever – and offers historical, political, and social context for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Diversifying” – hosted by Delyanne Barros – presents insightful discussions about how the financial system can work for us, instead of against us. It creates a space for people who have traditionally been left out of conversations around personal finance, and who are often faced with the challenge of balancing cultural expectations against their own financial needs…..ESPN Audio says that the 2021 Share of Ear from Edison Research finds that ESPN Audio accounts for over half of all sports listening, at 53%, marking a nine percentage point increase in the same category from 2020. ESPN Audio was also shown to account for 63% of the digital sports listening space and 47% of the terrestrial sports audio space, both up a significant 8% points from 2020, respectively…..SiriusXM announces that Hope Solo, the World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist goalkeeper, will launch a new and original SiriusXM podcast, “Hope Solo Speaks,” that debuts across all podcast platforms March 2. Solo will discuss a variety of topics on her mind, including her relentless fight for women’s rights and gender equality, motherhood and family, changing trends in sports and much more. Solo will be joined on episodes of the podcast by guests from various walks of life including world-class athletes, artists, and influencers for candid conversations on their experiences, passions and topics of the day.

 

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine, COVID-19, State of the Union, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, UN Climate Report, and Sacramento Murder-Suicide Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). Russia’s continued attacks on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and relaxing mask mandates; tonight’s State of the Union address by President Joe Biden; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the dire warning on the effects of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and the murder of three children and their chaperone by the children’s father in a Sacramento church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 17, 2021

| December 17, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Whether the Weather, Whatever,” looks back at this past week of 12/13 – 12/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV-RadioDr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPodcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WJR, Detroit Finalizes New Lineup as Next Year’s 100th Anniversary Approaches. Detroit news/talk 760 WJR announces it has finalized its new on-air programming lineup, “just in time for its 100-year anniversary celebration in 2022.” This week, the Cumulus Media talk station launched the new “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz” program in the late morning daypart, capping “a year of evolutionary moves that position WJR for its next 100 years serving the Detroit area with the best news, information, opinion and analysis.” The company says the retooling of WJR was accelerated by the retirement last December of longtime news director, Dick Haefner, the February death of Rush Limbaugh, and the retirement of 50-year station veteran Frank Beckmann in March. Changes made this year include Ann Thomas being promoted from senior executive producer to assistant program director of WJR. Paul W. Smith, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as WJR morning host, is joined by co-host Sean Baligian, who has spent most of his career in Detroit sports, including as pre- and post-game host of WJR’s Detroit Lions coverage. Laura Hessen moves from the “Guy Gordon Show” to serve as executive producer of “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz.” Nick Roddy, former Detroit Lions broadcast producer, takes the reins as executive producer of the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Guy Gordon Show.” Blake Majchrzak joins WJR as studio & audio engineer for the “Mitch Albom Show.” Also, FOX News Radio has been added as the WJR network news provider and WJR news reporter/anchor Marie Osborne, WJR producer Chris Renwick and former WJR news reporter Lloyd Jackson sign on as the first WJR senior news analysts, covering, writing and producing stories and presenting them across the day within the local WJR talk shows. The senior news analysts present the story, add analysis and participate in discussions with the WJR talent and listeners. WJR is also announcing major upgrades on weekends by adding legendary Detroit morning show host Jim Harper with his “Great Michigan Weekend Show.” Weekday specialty programming additions also include four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty, WJR sports fan favorite Steve Courtney and popular local television personality Jamie Edmonds. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “We are extremely proud of this team, their credentials, their integrity and their ability to represent WJR and Cumulus in the tradition expected by all Michiganders! The new talent we’ve added around our longtime superstars Paul W. Smith, Guy Gordon and Mitch Albom makes WJR one of the most powerful and trusted media outlets among all peers. Individually they each are ‘A’ players with big brands, and as a collective group of broadcasters, we feel we have the absolute strongest lineup in Michigan radio, maybe anywhere in the country.”

Keith Abrams Joins Alpha Media Portland as Content Director. Programming pro Keith Abrams joins Alpha Media Portland’s leadership team as content director, effective January 3, 2022. Abrams will oversee programming for KXL “FM News 101,” KUFO “Freedom 970,” and sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game.” Abrams was most recently SVP of programming and brand coordinator for iHeartMedia Cleveland. Alpha Media Portland operations manager Gene Sandbloom comments, “Celebrating its 95th year, KXL is one of the best performing local news radio stations in the country, with one of the smartest and highly motivated news teams anywhere. After an exhaustive search, we are very happy to welcome Keith Abrams to lead our Alpha Media news/talk stations in Portland. His knowledge and lifelong commitment to great news is most welcome, as is his extensive format experience and love for sports which will be a great addition to our team at ‘750 The Game.’”

SuperTalk Mississippi Names J.T. Mitchell News Director. News pro and freelance journalist J.T. Mitchell returns to SuperTalk Mississippi Media as news director for SuperTalk Mississippi News. Mitchell served as a journalist and digital specialist at SuperTalk Mississippi Media from 2019-2021. Most recently, Mitchell was the managing editor of Our Mississippi Home while pursuing various freelance journalism stories around the world. Mitchell says, “When [president and CEO] Kim [Dillon] and [founder and chairman] Steve [Davenport] reached out to me about this position, I was blown away—honored actually. SuperTalk already has a great news team, and I look forward to working together to bring Mississippians timely, hard-hitting, and exclusive news from across the state.” Dillon says, “We are excited to have J.T. return to the team here at SuperTalk. His energy, hard work ethic, and attention to detail will move our company and news department forward as we welcome in a new year.” In this role, Mitchell will oversee news programming on 48 SuperTalk and affiliate radio stations and on SuperTalk Mississippi News’ digital media platforms.

WVON, Chicago’s Todd Ronczkowski Retires from Broadcasting. After a 35-year radio career, Todd Ronczkowski is leaving the business, and his role as program manager at Midway Broadcasting’s talk WVON, Chicago, to take a position with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department assisting with community outreach efforts. Ronczkowski has been serving with WVON for the past 13 years. Prior to that, he served with Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM as a producer. Midway Broadcasting’s Melody Spann Cooper comments, “I will miss Todd tremendously because he became a jack-of-all-trades for the company. He gave a lot and learned a lot which will be a tremendous asset to him in his new role at the Sheriff’s Department. Most importantly, it will allow him to spend more time with his family.” WVON has named Delvin Randall interim program manager.

FOX Sports’ LaVar Arrington Launches ‘Up On Game Presents’ Podcast. Former NFL great and current sports talk personality LaVar Arrington – co-host of FOX Sports Radio’s “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox” and co-host of the nationally syndicated weekend program/podcast “Up On Game with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress” – announces today the launch of the “Up On Game Presents” podcast. Produced in partnership with FOX Sports Radio, the podcast is an extension of the network’s “Up On Game” program. Arrington says, “I’m super excited to kick off ‘Up On Game Presents’ with this entertaining and engaging lineup of wide-ranging personalities and shows. I’m so proud of what we’re accomplishing with the FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio team, and I’m confident listeners will love what they hear!” Featured within the “Up On Game Presents” podcast feed will be: “Conversations with a Legend,” hosted by Arrington; “Pritty Left Hook,” hosted by Rhett Butler; “Straight Facts,” hosted by James Jackson, Jake Galli, “Stat” Matt Robinson and Kyle Syrek;  and “What Are Those?” with producer, writer and filmmaker Adam Butler.

Triton Digital Releases U.S. Podcast Report for November 2021. Global technology and services provider Triton Digital announces the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the November 2021 reporting period (November 1 – November 28, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. The Top 20 Podcast Networks for the period are: Stitcher at #1, NPR at #2, Audacy Podcast Network at #3, and Cumulus Podcast Network at #4. Among The Top 100 Podcasts are: “NPR News Now” at #1, “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #2, and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. You can see all 20 of the top networks and all 100 of the top podcasts here.

TALKERS News Notes. With the end of 2021 around the corner, ABC Audio is offering end-of-year special programming in both long-form and short-form versions. Long-form programming includes: “Playback 2021,” a one-hour special anchored by ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky that delves into the biggest news reports of 2021; “2021: The Year in Review,” a three-hour look back at the year’s top stories, told utilizing sound from ABC News Radio’s special programming and breaking news reports; and “World News This Year,” a special edition of the regular show, “World News This Week”…..SiriusXM is presenting post-season college football, including the Division I FBS bowl games and highlighted by the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship. On New Year’s Eve, subscribers hear both College Football Playoff Semifinal games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic featuring #4 Cincinnati vs. #1 Alabama (3:30 pm ET), followed by #3 Georgia vs. #2 Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl (7:30 pm ET). Two weeks later, on January 10, listeners will get live play-by-play as the winners of those two games face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Inflation, Build Back Better, the Supply Chain and Labor Force Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 13-17. The high consumer prices, negotiations over President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the effects of the damaged supply chain, and the U.S. labor force came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccines, the winter resurgence, and stats, followed by the January 6 investigation, Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP and predictions about the 2022 mid-term and 2024 presidential elections at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Position Open. This Washington, DC-based position is for an experienced full-time reporter. FOX News Media says, “You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast pace, deadline driven environment.  Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories.” Learn more and apply here.

Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.