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 “Postpone, Opt Out, and Cancel!” looks back at this past week of July 27-31, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network / executive producer, “Uncle Tom”; Herman Cain (deceased) / talk show host, Newsmax TV; Shadoe Stevens, host / producer, “Mental Radio”; Steve Trevelise, talk show host, “New Jersey 101.5” / WIP, Philadelphia; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Remembering Herman Cain. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a piece on Herman Cain – the radio talk host and business executive who died yesterday (7/30) at the age of 74 — that was originally run in Inside Radio in 2008 when Kinosian served there as special features editor. It ran three years before Cain would begin his campaign for president for the 2012 election and in addition to revealing facts about his personal history, it provides insight into his political philosophy at the time. Read it here.
Legal Battle Between Jackson, Tennessee News/Talk Stations Resolved. According to a story in the Jackson Sun, a legal dispute between Grace Broadcasting and Wireless Group over a non-compete issue has been settled, with one company buying the other’s news/talk station. Wireless Group – owner of news/talk WNWS-FM – was suing Grace Broadcasting – owner of news/talk WTJS-FM – after former WNWS host Dan Reaves left and began working for WTJS. Wireless Group claimed Reaves was in violation of his contract while Reaves argued the deal was never a legal contract. The Sun reports that as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the Jackson, Tennessee advertising market, the two sides became more amenable to a settlement that culminated with Grace acquiring WNWS for an undisclosed sum. The future of WNWS’ programming is reportedly uncertain at this time.
SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Down; Business Has Been ‘Resilient.’ Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, SiriusXM says revenue was $1.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same period a year ago. Net income was reported to be $243 million in Q2 of 2020, down 7.9% from Q2 2019 net income of $263 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter remained roughly unchanged at $615 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “Sirius XM’s business during this challenging period has been resilient, and with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year, I’m pleased to resume offering subscriber and financial guidance. Despite the incredible economic stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-pay net subscriber additions grew by nearly 200,000 over the first quarter of the year, and we reported improved churn of just 1.6% per month with rising ARPU. Although advertising revenue fell 34% in the quarter, substantial expense savings in SAC and other areas provided a complete offset, and we generated over half a billion dollars of free cash flow. We are investing in our business, our people, and external opportunities to position ourselves for future growth.”
Jim Meyer on Howard Stern’s Future. During yesterday’s earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the negotiations underway with Howard Stern and he said, in part, “Howard is performing at the top of his game right now. And he has been for pretty consistently some time. I couldn’t be happier with the status of Howard’s show. In particular, given the transition he’s made from doing everything at our studio at 1221 in New York to now doing it remotely and doing it flawlessly. I’ve been clear. I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM for as long as Howard Stern wants to work. And I’ve engaged with Howard’s team… I know what Howard wants and we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can read the whole earnings call transcript here.
TALKERS News Notes. WDBJ-TV, Lynchburg, Virginia reports that news/talk WLNI-AM, Lynchburg morning drive talk host Larry Dowdy is retiring from his role with the station after a 47-year career in radio. Dowdy is not retiring completely; he plans to do some commercial voiceover work and some podcasting. WLNI PD Kenny Shelton says of Dowdy, “When I started working with him, I just realized what a great talent he is, what a great person he is. The way he goes about doing this job is a great lesson to anybody in the business as far as show prep that he does and just his knowledge of things.”…..Beginning with tonight’s Oakland A’s game against the Mariners in Seattle, Oakland fans will be able to hear their team play on iHeartMedia’s business news KNEW-AM, Oakland. Back in February, the team announced that it had no local radio deal and the way to hear games would be via streaming. Yesterday (7/30), the team announced the deal to air the remainder of this season on KNEW…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde is moving to the afternoon drive daypart, working from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on air. Traffic reports in the mornings and late mornings are being provided by Nexstar’s WGN-TV…..The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s releases the latest episode of the AWM Gracie Interview Series titled, “Medicine and The Media – Leadership in Historic Times,” with American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D.. The session is moderated by Entercom media personality Kelly Ford. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Dr. Bailey shared meaningful insight into the important partnership between media and the medical community. This is a critical time for media to understand its role and for all of us to know our roles as individuals. We look forward to hosting more virtual gatherings to share the wisdom of experienced leaders.” Listen here.
The Presidential Race, Politics, and the Federal Agents Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 27-31. The November presidential election, politics, and the debate over the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal troops to cities where Black Lives Matter protests are taking place tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising cases of COVID-19 in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was health care, medications for treating COVID-19 and the race to create a vaccine, followed by the debate over opening schools this fall at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Salem Seeks Chief Engineer for NYC. This chief engineer position is in Salem Media Group’s New York City operations for news/talk WNYM “AM 570 The Answer” and Christian teaching WMCA (plus translator W272DX). See the list of position duties and qualifications necessary to be considered – and how to apply – here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” is “The Morning Mess,” featuring Joey Boy, Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard, and Karla Hernandez. The company says, “The show, currently on sister station “Live 101.5” (KALV-FM) in Phoenix, will feature curated local content for Los Angeles listeners, including lifestyle, news, daily traffic and weather updates, as well as city-specific COVID updates. Listeners in L.A. will also hear popular segments like “Nachoo’s Revenge,” featuring Joey Boy’s alter ego prank calling unsuspecting listeners. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Joey Boy and ‘The Morning Mess’ are a true reflection of Southern California. They are diverse, dynamic, socially responsible and completely transparent.”…..Radio pro Frank Ski returns to Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM, Washington, DC for afternoon drive hosting “The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown,” beginning Monday (8/3). This comes after Ski’s exit from Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103” late last month. WHUR program director Al Payne says, “Frank Ski has dominated ratings and has an incredible legacy of community enrichment wherever he is on the air. He is a media icon and adding his name to WHUR once again completes our DMV Dream Team.”.….Salem Media Group announces that radio pro Amanda Carroll joins the Nashville-based Salem Music Network to produce a five-hour show for daily syndication, effective Monday (8/3). The company says, “Throughout her career, she has worked at major market Christian radio stations, including 89.3 KSBJ-FM in Houston, 91.9 WGTS in Washington, D.C. and K-LOVE national network. Most recently, Carroll worked at Sacramento’s adult contemporary station, KYMX-FM Mix 96.1.”
WLS-AM, Chicago Moves Big John Howell to PM Drive. Friday’s announcement by Cumulus Media solidifies the afternoon program schedule, but the question still remains who will end up hosting mornings on news/talk WLS-AM in the New Year. Current morning drive personality Big John Howell is moving to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot – he’s following Westwood One syndicated talk host Ben Shapiro who’s on from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Howell’s co-host Ramblin’ Ray Stevens appears headed out the door. Rumors in the Windy City are that Erich Mancow Muller is negotiating to be the station’s next morning show host. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “As part of the new lineup at WLS-AM 890, keeping an experienced Chicago talent like John Howell solidifies the lineup and will give our audience a reason to stay tuned throughout the entire day. John has been entertaining Chicagoland for over 30 years and his program will be the perfect way to wrap up the day on your way home.” Before joining WLS-AM four years ago, Howell served with Salem Media Group on news/talk WIND-AM. Prior to that he spent 17 years as a jock on country WUSN-FM. He says, “I’m very excited about hosting the new afternoon show at WLS-AM 890. I intend to present Chicago with a quick-paced, informative, honest, and intelligent summary of the day’s biggest stories – an afternoon wrap of the day’s biggest events featuring prominent newsmakers, reporters, experts, and stars. Of course, our town’s most colorful characters will also be welcome. In addition, I’m looking forward to (finally) golfing when the sun’s in the east.”
Media Action Center Targets Alex Jones Saying Radio Show Violates FCC’s Hoax Rules. The Media Action Center was founded by journalist and activist Sue Wilson. She was instrumental in forcing Entercom to give up the license for KDND-FM, Sacramento in the wake of the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest. Now, Wilson’s MAC is encouraging people who live in markets that carry the Alex Jones radio show to file a complaint with the local station and the FCC that accuses Jones of violating the FCC’s hoax rules by insisting that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. You can see the form letter here that outlines the FCC’s language: “Section 73.1217 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217, prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.” Wilson cites the parents of some of the victims whose pain has been worsened by harassment they’ve suffered from Jones’ listeners, thus the public harm. MAC notes the FCC rules would permit Jones’ comments if the stations airing the program aired a disclaimer before the program clearly characterizing it as fiction. See the MAC site here.
WQAM, Miami Names New Midday Show. Replacing Orlando “The Big O” Alzugaray (who exited early last month) in the midday slot at Entercom’s WQAM, Miami is the duo of Alex Donno (left) and Josh Friedman (right). The “Donno & Friedo” show airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Friedman moves over to WQAM from sister sports talker WAXY-AM where he was evening host. Alex Donno has been hosting the evening program on WQAM. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley states, “Alex and Josh both bring unique experiences that will lead to great content for this new show, which will touch on sports and beyond. Their vast knowledge of Miami sports and high energy will undoubtedly resonate with South Florida listeners.”
Spector Upped to Program Director at Sports Talk KCSP, Kansas City. Rising from assistant program director and afternoon show producer to program director at Entercom’s KCSP-AM “610 Sports Radio” is Steven Spector. Entercom Kansas City regional president and market manager Dave Alpert says, “I am very pleased to announce Steven Spector as the next program director of ‘610 Sports Radio.’ This is a well-deserved and well-earned promotion and I’m confident that Steven will continue to elevate ‘610 Sports Radio’ in the Kansas City market.” Spector joined Entercom Kansas City in 2013 as a producer for 610 Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning.” He began his radio career with WTEM, Washington in 2008.
Chuck Peterson Rises to Area President for iHeartMedia. Executive Chuck Peterson is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia’s Winchester, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia markets, effective immediately. The markets contain 16 news/talk, sports and music-formatted stations. Peterson is promoted to area president after serving as market president for the Winchester and Harrisonburg markets. He began his career at WFTR, Front Royal, Virginia and is a graduate of American University and William & Mary Law School. He says, “iHeartMedia is the leader in the audio and mulit-platform space and I am thrilled to step into my new role in the Virginia/Carolina region. I am proud of our company’s commitment to growing our advertiser’s businesses and serving our communities.”
PPM Analysis: November’s Top-Ranked Stations. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a tip of the hat to the stations that finished first and second (6+) in their respective markets in Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey. In this report, you’ll find charts detailing the performances of the top two stations in each market, as well as a look at the top performers arranged by format. Spoiler alert – adult contemporary stations comprised 22% of the #1 stations in the PPM markets while classic hits accounted for 22.9% of the #2-ranked stations. See the full report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally-syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KLIF-AM, Dallas, beginning in the New Year. KLIF-AM and WBAP program director Kevin Graham says, “We’re thrilled to bring Dana to 570 KLIF. Dallas-Fort Worth listeners are really going to connect with her honest opinions and authenticity. And the fact she lives here in the Metroplex will also allow our listeners to easily relate to her.” “The Dana Show” is syndicated nationally via Radio America…..Premiere Networks’ syndicated Buck Sexton show begins airing on WCBM, Baltimore in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart, effective January 1. The show will be followed by the Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin program in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot. The station currently airs Michael Savage in evenings and he departs the station after 16 years as his three-hour show is re-configured into a one-hour live show and a one-hour podcast. WCBM program director Sean Casey adds, “This is the next chapter in our endless pursuit to bring the most powerful names in talk to Baltimore. We’re really pumped to add Buck, an up-and-coming star and to have Levin, a Hall of Famer anchor our evenings! I’d like to thank Michael Savage for a great run and continued success in his new venture.”…..The unique town of Tangier Island, Virginia – population 460 and shrinking – is the subject of a five-part podcast series from Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington titled, “Going Under: The Story of Tangier Island.” The series, hosted by WTOP’s Michelle Basch, takes an in-depth look at the “quirky, isolated place located smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay” that is gradually vanishing and could be uninhabitable in 25 years…..First Media Services closes on its purchase of two AMs and four FMs in the Bluefield, West Virginia market from Alpha Media for $1.8 million. The stations are: news/talk WHIS-AM, hip hop WKEZ-AM, hot AC WHAJ-FM, country WHQX-FM, country WHKX-FM, and classic rock WKOY-FM. First Media managing partner Bob Spencer says, “We feel extremely blessed and honored to have the torch passed to us from well-respected former owners, including Mike Shott and the Shott Family, and David Benjamin of Triad Broadcasting Company. In my opinion, these stations have one of the best and most talented staffs in the region. Many, of whom, have worked there for over two and even three decades. It’s an amazing opportunity to continue great radio and first-class customer service throughout our corner of the Virginias.” Kalil & Co., Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..WNIC, Detroit morning personality Jay Towers and Capedwonder.com founder Jim Bowers are co-hosting a podcast series dedicated to all things Superman in “The Caped Wonder Superman Podcast.” In the third podcast of the series, the hosts released never-before-heard audio of iconic Superman actor Christopher Reeve.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall-Government Shutdown, the Trumps vs the Media, ObamaCare Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Concerns, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s threat to allow the federal government to shut down if congress doesn’t fund the Mexico border wall; President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s complaints about the media’s treatment of them; a federal judge rules the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional; Friday’s Dow drops 400 points and talk about a recession in 2019; the new Aquaman film; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jay Cruze joins the morning show at Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver alongside current morning host Jenny D. Program director Jim Lawson says, “Jay’s experience, energy, and authentic personality is exactly what we were looking for to create compelling content in the morning. Jay has been on our part-time staff and has been a tremendous asset. He’s a natural fit.”…..An apparent abundance of programmers in the Entercom Philadelphia cluster has forced the company’s hand and longtime hot AC WBEB “B101” PD Chuck Knight exits the station. Entercom acquired the station from Jerry Lee Radio back in September…..KDGS-FM, Wichita APD, music director, and afternoon host “Rolls” Royce Stevenson re-ups with Entercom to continue his work at the rhythmic CHR outlet.