And the (Topical) Hits Just Keep on Coming – Stay focused on China! Although the news itself can hardly be called “good,” news/talk radio continues to be the beneficiary of a non-stop tsunami of intensely compelling topics playing out on multiple tracks that has kept the format a major appointment destination for news junkies as well as people with a casual interest in current events. According to TALKERS research, yesterday’s (8/13) most-discussed topic remained the mysterious and controversial death of Jeffrey Epstein (which it has been all week) followed closely by the economic implications of the US-China trade war. The Hong Kong protests have generated enormous interest and people are still extremely engrossed in the Dayton/El Paso shootings which have spawned opinions and analysis of gun control legislation, violence in American entertainment and the nation’s handling of mental illness. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “It appears that talk show hosts would be wise to stay focused on China and educate themselves to every aspect of its Communist government’s relentless strategy to compete with US interests on all fronts going forward from a position of unfair trade practices to outright hostility for what will likely be years to come.”
Arizona Coyotes Now Skating With KGME. As part of a multi-platform broadcast and streaming agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and the Arizona Coyotes, iHM sports talk KGME “Fox Sports 910” takes over as the NHL team’s principal radio outlet. Additionally, the Arizona Coyotes Audio Network will provide exclusive content via the iHeartRadio app (when the NHL season starts on October 3). Coyotes’ games were previously carried by Bonneville Phoenix-owned KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7.” According to iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little, “The entire team at iHeartMedia is excited to be the new home for the Arizona Coyotes, especially at such an exciting time for the team. Working together, we will build our all-in agreement between the Arizona Coyotes and ‘Fox Sports 910’ across our entire iHeartMedia platform of well-known audio brands in Phoenix and on our iHeartRadio app.” The Coyotes were recently acquired by California-based Meruelo Group, whose holdings include Meruelo Media. Coyotes president and chief executive officer Ahron Cohen comments, “We are thrilled to partner with ‘Fox Sports 910.’ As we strive to build and cultivate new Coyotes fans, this multi-dimensional partnership – including iHeartMedia’s multitude of media platforms – provides us with unparalleled touchpoints to a broad cross-section of the Valley’s population. Equally important is iHeart’s ability to deliver an exceptional fan entertainment experience for all of our robust Coyotes content that will enhance our fans’ connectivity to the team.” Play-by-play announcer Bob Heethuis will return for his 15th season with the team and Paul Bissonnette will be back as analyst. All 82 regular-season games will air on “Fox Sports 910” and simulcast on Tucson sibling KTZR “Fox Sports 1450 AM.”
KOZN Prepares Severe Homecoming. Host of “The Bottom Line” on SummitMedia-owned sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN Omaha,” Mike’l Severe, returns to cross-town NRG Media’s similarly-formatted KOZN “1620 “The Zone” tomorrow (Thursday, 8/15) after a five-year absence. Severe and Damon Benning will form “Severe and Benning in the Morning” (6:00 am – 10:00 am). NRG Omaha market manager Mark Shecterle comments that University of Nebraska football national champion Benning and local radio/television sports personality Severe “will offer listeners a new blend of morning sports radio. They will be able to give listeners an intense focus on all local sports. We are excited to bring back Mike’l Severe to the NRG family.” Former morning show co-host Gary Sharp transitions to mid-days (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) replacing Nick Bahe. Shecterle notes that Sharp will have “the platform to fully exhibit his expertise in sports analysis and his legendary interviewing skills. Gary has deserved his own show for a while and we are thrilled that he will be anchoring our mid-day slot. By moving [Sharp] to mid-days, we truly believe we have a sports-talk line-up second to none.” John Bishop and Josh Peterson-hosted “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” continues in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), while Nebraska football post game show, “Big Red Over Reaction,” will be simulcast on KOZN’s classic rock cluster-mate KOOO “101.9 The Keg.”
iHM Wheeling/Parkersburg Boosts Bommer to MP. The onetime vice president of business operations for the Wheeling Nailers, Craig Bommer, is named market president for iHeartMedia’s West Virginia stations in Wheeling and Parkersburg. Region president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and West Virginia Tim McAleer states, “I am excited for Craig to lead and demonstrate his leadership capabilities as market president by helping to grow each market’s revenue.” Bommer remarks, “This opportunity is a new and exciting challenge in my career path. I look forward to working with everyone to help build upon the success each market has achieved.” The West Liberty University alum began his career at iHeartMedia in 2016 as senior vice president of sales for the company’s Wheeling and Parkersburg stations. Those outlets include: news/talk WWVA “News Radio 1170”; news/talk WLTP “News Radio 910”; sports talk WBBD “Fox Sports AM 1400 Wheeling”; WEGW “Eagle 107.5 The Rock Station”; adult contemporary WKWK “Mix 97.3”; WOVK “Country 98.7”; CHR WVKF “Kiss 95.7”; classic hits-oldies WDMX “Mix 100”; WNUS “Country 107”; and CHR WRVB “102 The River.”
TALKERS News Notes. After working at Premiere Networks the past 21 years, senior director of affiliate sales Tom Garrett departs. Garrett previously programmed in Rockford (Illinois) at WROK & WZOK. In addition he was responsible for non-traditional revenue event marketing for Connoisseur’s Rockford and Quad Cities (Illinois-Iowa) stations ….. The relationship between afternoon drive talent George Plaster and Ryman Hospitality Properties’ WSM-AM, Nashville has come to an end after one month. In a tweet sent out yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13), Plaster writes, “Sorry to pass this [a]long, but I have parted ways with WSM-AM. My intention is to begin a podcast with a target around Labor Day. Thanks to all of you who supported us.” Plaster hosted “Sports Night” shows in Nashville on sports talk stations WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WPRT “102.5 The Game,” as well as WWTN “Super Talk 99.7.” He took a break from radio three years ago but joined WSM-AM in 2017 for a weekend program; Plaster’s weekday effort commenced July 15 ….. Brand manager/morning host of Townsquare Media Bangor (Maine) sports talk WEZQ “92.9 The Ticket,” Dale Duff, will segue to 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, effective next Monday (8/19). Duff makes room for Wayne Harvey’s 6:00 am – 8:00 am “Morning Line.” Harvey has worked at Bangor stations WABI-TV and WZON-AM “The Zone.”
The Return of the Pitch Pod. For the second straight year, attendees of “Podcast Movement 2019” can venture inside CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One “Pitch Pod” and tell their story for a chance to win consultative services from the Westwood One Podcast Network. This mini-studio is located in the main hallway of the conference. The Podcast Movement kicked off yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13) and runs through this Friday (8/16) in Orlando at Rosen Shingle Creek.
Urban One, Smith Slapped with Sexual Harassment Suit. On the same day “Hurricane” Dave Smith exited as Radio One Atlanta’s vice president of programming/operations, former urban contemporary WHTA “Hot 107.9” on-air personality Feleg Abraham (using the air name Shorty Mack) filed a lawsuit in the (Georgia) state court of Fulton County alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment by her then-boss (Smith). After working at “Hot 107.9” for 14 months, Abraham left in February 2018 and now does mid-days for Davis Broadcasting Columbus, Georgia urban contemporary WFXE “Foxie 105.” Radio One parent, Urban One regional vice president Timothy Davies last week declined to comment about Smith’s dismissal; however, in a published report last Monday (8/5), Smith claims he was terminated owing to “a misunderstanding.” Urban One executive vice president/chief administrative officer Karen Wishart states, “The allegations made by Feleg Abraham against Dave Smith, both former employees of Urban One, are unsettling. As a company founded by an African-American woman [Cathy Hughes] with a long history of empowering women in the workplace, Urban One takes these allegations very seriously. After Ms. Abraham left Urban One to take a new job, we were notified of her complaint and conducted a thorough, independent investigation. In light of the ongoing litigation, we cannot provide further comment on this matter.” Charges in Abraham’s lawsuit include intentional infliction of emotional distress by Smith; negligent infliction of emotional distress by Urban One; negligent hiring, retention, and supervision; assault and battery; and false imprisonment. The suit claims Smith made “unwanted sexual comments about Ms. Abraham’s body and would often ask her when he would be allowed to see her naked.” It references an incident that allegedly took place on May 22, 2017 in which Smith is said to have trapped Abraham in his office. As Rodney Ho reports in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, a statement regarding the lawsuit released yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 8/13) by Smith reads, “This is an organized attempt by some former employees looking to capitalize on the #MeToo climate. I categorically deny these disgusting statements. I have no further comment.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Music director and afternoon drive host of Entercom Miami classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach,” DJ Holiday, adds even more responsibilities as assistant program director. Entercom South Florida senior vice president/market manager Keriann Worley explains, “This is a natural move for DJ Holiday and our station. DJ Holiday has grown up with this music and has an intimate knowledge of the market, having spent many nights spinning at Miami clubs. We’re thrilled to have him step up into the APD role and look forward to his increased contributions to the station’s success.” Holiday, who has been with “The Beach” since it debuted in 2016, opines, “There’s always something new to learn and room to grow professionally. I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my Entercom family for the opportunity to do so.” … KNDD “107.7 The End” mid-day talent “Alyssa” is promoted to music director at the Entercom Seattle alternative outlet. Program director Leslie Scott remarks that, “In her three years here, Alyssa has proven to be a huge music lover, a supporter of all things ‘107.7 The End,’ and a champion of the power of radio. I can think of no better team in alternative than ours and Alyssa’s new position reinforces that.” Alyssa notes, “It is an honor to be part of this incredible team. I’m looking forward to jumping into this role under the guidance of Leslie and [assistant program director/afternoon drive talent] Walt [Flakus].” … Effective this Friday (8/16), seven-month KXOJ “94.1 Tulsa’s Christian Music Station” evening show host Jeremiah St. James adds assistant program director duties at the Stephens Media Group contemporary Christian station. According to Stephens Media Group owner David Stephens, “Jeremiah is one of those rare talents whose potential seems limitless. He is forward-thinking and is more about where radio is going than where it has been.” SMG senior vice president of programming & technology/KXOJ program director Bob Thornton notes, “Jeremiah is a gifted imaging and branding specialist who is going to bring a tremendous amount of energy and new ideas to our building.” ….. Program director Caleb James exits NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9” and hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5.”
July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for San Antonio, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.
Spoken-Word Formats – The rollercoaster ride continues for iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather,” which was +1.1 in April (4.2 – 5.3, 6+); an equally divided -1.0 in May and June (5.3 – 4.8 – 4.3, 6+); and now +.7 in July (5.0, sixth to fifth, 6+). Up until April when it logged a 5.3, WOAI hadn’t reached the five-share level (6+) since August 2016’s 5.2. For the third month in a row, Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” loses one-tenth (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1, #22 to #24, 6+).
In June, KTSA’s sports talk sibling KZDC “ESPN San Antonio” and iHeartMedia’s KTKR “Ticket 760 – San Antonio’s Sports Station” were tied at #32. Both are flat at .3 (6+) and are again deadlocked – this time at #30.
This is the seventh report in a row Texas Public Radio news/talk KSTX (+.3, #16 to #12) logs a 6+-share between 3.3 – 3.7 (3.5 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.3, 6+).
San Antonio Music Formats – Roaring back from June’s one-half share loss with a July uptick of eight-tenths (3.8 – 4.6, 6+), Alpha Media adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack-FM – Playing What We Want” returns to the top ten (#11 to #7). Prior to June – when it slipped to 3.8 – San Antonio’s version of “Jack” last fell below a four-share (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Enjoying a July 2019 jump of eight-tenths as well and zooming from #17 to #11 is iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits,” which records its third bump in succession for a collective +1.4 (2.1 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.5, 6+). This (3.5) is the first time in exactly one year that “Latino Hits” hits a three-share (3.1, July 2018). Five successive negative or neutral trends resulted in a nearly 50% decline (-.6) of its 6+-stat (1.4 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+), but iHeartMedia regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 answers with a gain of seven-tenths to 1.5 (#22, 6+). When Univision Radio rhythmic hot AC KVBH gained one-tenth in June (to 2.1, 6+), it suspended at four a consecutive string of negative or neutral moves that accounted for an overall -1.4 (3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.0, 6+). “The Vibe” now adds another six-tenths to 2.7 (#20 to #16, 6+). In mid-April, Tejano KXTN transitioned to KVBH “The Vibe.” While Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies KONO-FM is the market pacesetter the fifth month in a row, “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” erodes by -1.1 (8.2 – 7.1, 6+). Whereas May’s +1.1 took KONO-FM to 8.5, its highest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 8.8, July’s 7.1 is its lowest 6+-showing since 6.0 in “Holiday” 2018. “San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” had been in the runner-up slot five successive times before progressing to #1 in March. Significant alternating ups/down continue for Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZLV. In the last four reports, San Antonio’s version of “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” has been +.5 (April); -1.0 (May); +1.5 (June); and now -1.2 in July (3.9 – 2.7, 6+). KZLV spirals from #10 to #16. Entering the July 2019 sweep, Alpha Media regional Mexican KSAH notched three straight positive or neutral trends netting nine-tenths (2.3 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.2, 6+). That entire increase drifts away with a -.9 to 2.3 (#13 to #19, 6+). June’s 3.2 was its best 6+-showing since November 2018 (3.3). Four consecutive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia CHR KXXM accounted for an overall gain of four-tenths (3.4 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 3.8, 6+) but “96.1 Now” (#11 to #14) falters by seven-tenths to 3.1, its lowest 6+-stat since December 2018 (3.1, as well). Within two-share range (6+) 19 sweeps in a row before dialing up a June gain of eight-tenths to 3.2 (6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KMYO regresses by one-half share to 2.7 (#13 to #16, 6+). June’s 3.2 marked the first time since December 2017’s 3.0 that “Latino Mix 95.1” hit a three-share (6+). There’s just no separating Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader” and iHeartMedia’s KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station.” They both showed June decreases of two-tenths and now July losses of one-half share: KCYY is 7.2 – 6.9 – 6.4 (6+) and KAJA is 6.2 – 6.0 – 5.5 (6+). The country rivals are anchored at second and third, respectively. Recent shifts for “Y-100” include: -.8 (December); -1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.8 (January 2019); +.6 (February); -.6 (March); +.6 (May); and -.5 (July). “KJ-97” has been +.5 (September 2018); -1.1 (October); +1.0 (December); -1.0 (“Holiday” 2018); +3.0 (January 2019); –1.9 (March); and -.5 (July).
Spoken-Word Formats – Immediately following an erosion of nine-tenths this time last month, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk KFBK “Sacramento’s News, Weather and Traffic Station” repeats its June 6+ AQH-share (5.2) and market rank (fifth). Co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” continues an alternating down/up pattern that commenced in December 2018 and includes July’s positive spike of seven-tenths (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.3 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 3.2 (#14 to #12, 6+).
In five consecutive sweeps without an increase, Bonneville’s KHTK lost exactly half (-.6) its 6+ AQH share (1.2 – 1.2 – .9 – .8 – .6 – .6, 6+), but “Sports 1140” ends the slide with a one-tenth gain to .7 (#26 to #23, 6+). It is now tied with Entercom’s KIFM-AM “ESPN Radio 1320,” which repeats June’s .7 (#24 to #23, 6+).
Albeit flat in seventh-place, Capital Public Radio news/talk KXJZ notches its third straight increase for an overall +1.5 (3.5 – 4.5 – 4.7 – 5.0, 6+); December 2018’s 6.9 is the highest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQEI has an October 2018 through July 2019 topline of .6 – .6 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .5 – .7 – .6 (#24 to #25, 6+).
Sacramento Music Formats – There is interesting June 2019 – July 2019 movement for Lotus Communications regional Mexican stations with the KVMX call letters. On the plus side, KVMX-FM – which notched a .3 (6+) in April, May, and June – hangs out a multiple of seven in July to 2.1 (+1.8, 6+) and pops in the top twenty at #15. On the other hand, KVMX-AM, which was trending .9 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.7 (6+) for a collective March 2019 through June 2019 gain of +.8, vanishes from print in July. After checking in with a 1.3 (#20, 6+) in June, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KLVB disappears as well. Frozen on 4.2 (6+) in March, April, and May before slipping to 4.1 (6+) in June, iHeartMedia urban-rhythmic oldies KHYL adds six-tenths to 4.7 (6+) as “V-101” progresses from tenth to eighth. Notwithstanding it is #1 the sixth month in a row (including January’s first-place tie with iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK), Entercom-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” falters -1.1 in June/July (8.9 – 8.3 – 7.8, 6+). “The Eagle” held the lead position ten consecutive survey periods before shifting to #2 in December. Seven of its recent fluctuations include -1.1 (November 2018); -.8 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.0 (February 2019); -.5 (April); +.9 (May); -.6 (June); and -.5 (July). In each of the last 16 survey periods, Entravision Communications’ KNTY notched a 6+-share between 2.0 – 2.5. That streak comes to an end as KNTY drops eight-tenths to 1.3 (#16 to #19, 6+). That’s not the only thing though that KNTY dropped during the July 2019 sweep: Country “101.9 The Wolf” became regional Mexican La Tricolor and is simulcasting KRCX (1.7 – 1.6, -.1, flat at #18). Returning all of June’s half-share increase and one-tenth more (2.3 – 1.7, -.6, 6+), Spanish adult hits sibling KXSE “104.3 La Suavecita” slips from #15 to #17; June’s 2.3 was its best 6+-stat since 2.4 in November 2018. Three straight downturns (5.6 – 5.0 – 4.2 – 3.7, 6+) by Entercom alternative KKDO produce a combined -1.9 and “Alt 94.7” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). This immediately follows April’s gain of nine-tenths. While it repeats at #2, iHeartMedia classic rocker KYRV “93.7 The River” surrenders three-tenths to 6.3 (6+), thus halting four consecutive upticks that netted a +1.4 (5.2 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 5.7 – 6.6, 6+). Adult contemporary stations hold this California market’s eighth and tenth slots in July 2019. Specifically, Entercom’s KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites,” without a gain the past three sweeps for a collective -1.6 (6.2 – 5.7 – 4.6 – 4.6, 6+), picks up one-tenth to 4.7 (#8, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s KBEB “92.5 The Breeze” is off two-tenths in June/July (4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9, 6+). “Mix” and “The Breeze” continue at eighth and tenth, respectively. June’s 4.6 was the weakest 6+-stat for “Mix” since September 2015’s 4.5. Formerly “92.5 The Bull – #1 for New Country,” KBEB transitioned to adult contemporary as “The Breeze” in early-November (2018). It netted a +2.1 in three straight positive spikes (2.4 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.5, 6+), in advance of March/April’s -.8 (4.5 – 4.3 – 3.7, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – As a result of six straight February 2019 through July 2019 decreases (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.3 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+), Entercom’s KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” is -1.9 and slips from #11 to #12.
Co-owned sports talk/Pirates flagship KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” which dropped seven-tenths in May (6.8 – 6.1, 6+), forfeits the two-tenths it picked up in June (6.1 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+) but carries on in fourth-place. The ultra-consistent September 2018 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG 970 AM – ESPN Pittsburgh” is 2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 (#23 to #17, 6+).
Bouncing back from June’s loss of six-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths, Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” progresses from tenth to ninth and is trending 4.2 – 3.6 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.9 (6+).
Pittsburgh Music Formats – In four straight decreases, iHeartMedia alternative WXDX was an overall -1.8 (4.8 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+); however, “105.9 The X” erases one-third of that deficit with a July uptick of six-tenths (3.6, #12 to #11, 6+). July 2019’s top three “Steel City” finishers are separated by one-half share. The combination of iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “94.5 3WS” gaining four-tenths and co-owned rock WDVE sputtering by twice that margin (9.5 – 8.7, -.8, 6+) results in “3WS” progressing from third to first and WDVE segueing from first to second. WWSW is a combined +1.2 in June/July (7.7 – 8.5 – 8.9, 6+) with July’s 8.9 its best 6+-stat since 13.6 in “Holiday” 2018 when “94.5 3WS” was #1. The six most recent shifts for WDVE, which was #1 the past five reports, are: +.8 (February); +.8 again (March); -.9 (April); +.6 (May); +.6 again (June); and -.8 (July). In four straight upticks, Steel City Media adult hits WRRK was +2.3 (6.9 – 7.4 – 8.0 – 8.2 – 9.2, 6+), but “96.9 Bob FM” relinquishes eight-tenths in July to 8.4, sliding from second to third. In June, “Bob” reached the nine-share level (9.2, 6+) for the first time since December 2017’s 9.0. The just-concluded positive streak directly follows a -1.8 in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (8.7 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 6.9, 6+). As Steel City Media-owned hot AC WLTJ “Q-92.9” records its third straight boost for a net gain of nine-tenths (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.9, unchanged at #9, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted WBZZ “Star 100.7” has its third consecutive down or flat report for an overall loss of nine-tenths (5.0 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 4.1, flat at #8, 6+). The +2.0 advantage WBZZ held over WLTJ in April is down to two-tenths. Apparently, it is that time again for Forever Media to pull its Nielsen Audio subscription as five Forever Media stations that have been listed in April, May, and June disappear from print, as they’ve done before. The five are: classic hits-oldies WKPL (1.7, June 2019, 6+); classic country WLYI (1.4, June 2019); country WOGI (.9, June 2019, 6+); country WOGG (.8, June 2019, 6+); and classic hits-oldies WPKL (.7, June 2019, 6+).
Entercom Q2: “Great Progress.” Owing to the addition of CBS Radio, Entercom Communications’ second-quarter net revenue jumped, but fell on a same-station basis. Revenue nearly tripled from $125 million to $372.1 million; however, on a same-station basis, it decreased from $405.7 million to $372.1 million. Meanwhile, net income dropped from $6.4 million to $1.6 million. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field notes, “We have made great progress across multiple fronts as we continue our work to capitalize on our transformational merger. We have signed a definitive agreement with Bonneville to complete our last required station divestitures; successfully launched the Entercom Audio Network with strong early revenues; terminated our painful relationship with United States Traffic Network; achieved rapid growth on our burgeoning Radio.com platform; and delivered a 5% reduction in Q2 expenses as we realize our merger-related synergies. Second-quarter revenues were down 8%, exacerbated by the loss of $12 million in revenues from USTN, but revenue performance is improving. We are currently pacing down 2% in the third-quarter, excluding the impact of USTN. For the fourth quarter, we are pacing up 3% on an unadjusted basis. I am proud of the outstanding team we have built and the terrific work they are doing to capitalize on our abundant scale-driven opportunities.”
Local Nielsen Media Impact Debuts. The planning system allows users to understand cross-media reach, frequency, and duplication on a local scale using advanced audience segments from Nielsen Scarborough. In addition, it enables advertisers, agencies, and media owners to reach their desired audience in the country’s 25 “Local People Meter” (LPM) Designated Market Areas (DMAs). Local Nielsen Media Impact is built with respondent level data to allow in-depth cross-platform analyses for both local television and radio separately, as well as TV and radio together. Beasley Media Group vice president of sales Bob McCurdy comments, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers empirical data supporting radio’s ability to amplify and complement TV campaigns. This is the first time radio is included in this type of multi-channel media mix that enables users to derive cross media insights with currency grade accuracy. Nielsen Scarborough data within the NMI solution allows us to assess campaign scenarios against consumer insights.” According to Nielsen vice president of product leadership Jay Nielsen, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers a unique lens to the industry, enabling effective decision-making about where and when to engage audiences with content and advertising on local levels. Similar to the solution clients have widely adopted on the national level, this local solution unlocks access to new insights on media allocation and schedule optimization to better reach a cross platform-based audience.”
Q2: Townsquare Media “Exceeds Previously Issued Guidance.” Second-quarter net revenue for Townsquare Media rose 1.9% to $11.96 million. Owing to the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, however, net income decreased by 70.6% to $1.6 million; net income from continuing operations improved 29.2% to $10.1 million. Co-chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks, “Our second-quarter financial results exceeded our previously issued guidance, continuing the momentum we experienced in the first-quarter of the year. In the first six months of 2018, net revenue increased 2.6%, and 2.2% excluding political revenue; Adjusted EBITDA increased 6.6%. Our second-quarter and year-to-date revenue growth was primarily the result of continued stability in our broadcast products and strong revenue growth of our digital solutions.” Co-CEO Dhruv Prasad notes, “Through internal reorganization and the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, we have concluded the strategic reset that we initiated in late-2017 and have largely reoriented the company towards the stability, profitable growth, and cash generation of the advertising, marketing solutions, and live events businesses in our local market footprint. Our strong performance in the first half of this year reinforces that this was the right strategy, and we remain committed to this plan moving forward.”
Rush Limbaugh’s Impact on Radio and America Examined by News Site, Who. What. Why. (whowhatwhy.org) Veteran talk radio programmer and executive Jeff Schechtman of Napa Broadcasting interviews TALKERS founder Michael Harrison about Rush Limbaugh and the state of talk radio for this week’s WhoWhatWhy.org podcast. It is part of an article titled “The Mouth that Roared – How Rush Limbaugh Changed America” posted yesterday (8/7) marking the milestone of the talk radio superstar’s syndicated radio show reaching its 30th anniversary last week. Schechtman and Harrison discuss the impact of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Limbaugh’s major contributions to the rise of news/talk radio, how talk radio has changed over the decades, the driving factors behind those changes, the influence of the video screen on communications devices, and the general future of talk media. To read the article and listen to the podcast, please click here .
Making Music Great Again. It seems the talented Mike Gallagher isn’t the only member of the Salem roster of talk show hosts blessed with extraordinary gifts as a musical entertainer. These two super-suave lounge lizards pictured above are none other than Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder (left) and WNYM (“AM 970 The Answer”), New York morning man Joe Piscopo (right). The two are off-air buds and like hanging out together when they find themselves on the same coast. This bit of show biz magic was captured last night (8/7) as the two serenaded thrilled diners at Vitello’s, a swingin’ hot spot in Studio City, California. The song they were performing – Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World.”
Sinclair Q2 Revenue Up 11.9%. While stats for its Seattle radio properties (KOMO “News Radio 1000 & 97.7, KVI “Talk Radio 570,” and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5) are not broken out in its earnings release, Sinclair Broadcast Group saw second-quarter revenue increase 11.9% year-to-year to $730.1 million; net income attributable to the company fell from $44.6 million to $28 million. Regarding the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company, Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley states, “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” In terms of Q2 results, Ripley notes, “[They] came in well ahead of guidance in all key financial metrics, and we expect the second half of the year to continue to be robust, underlined by increasing distribution revenues and strong political advertising spend. This year’s mid-term elections are expected by many to have the most spending in U.S. history with broadcast television a primary beneficiary.”
Urban One Second-Quarter Net Revenue Down 2.1%. The year-to-year total slips to $115.2 million although broadcast and digital operating income is up 6.1% to $44.3 million. Overall operating income doubles to $24.8 million and net income improves from $802,000 to $23.6 million. Attributed to results in Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Raleigh, radio advertising fell 6% to $52 million. There was radio growth, however, in Dallas, Washington (D.C.), and Cleveland. Digital advertising, cable TV advertising, and event revenues are all off, as well; cable TV affiliate fees saw increases. Keeping pace with 2017, Tom Joyner’s 19th “Fantastic Voyage” took place in the second-quarter and generated $9.4 million. Company president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins, III remarks, “Our Q2 radio performance was in line with expectation. After a tough April, the quarter improved sequentially, and we are currently pacing approximately flat for third-quarter. We are launching a new network in January 2019 that will target African-American females and feature lifestyle and entertainment programming. The addition of a second network will help us continue to grow our TV business in the longer term, and has great potential synergy with our existing platform. Our digital segment came in below expectation for Q2, but has had a very strong start to third quarter and we remain optimistic for the back half of the year.”
Lotus Acquires Scripps Stations in Tucson and Boise. Eight stations are involved in the $8 million transaction between (buyer) Lotus Communications and (seller) The E.W. Scripps Company. Lotus president Jim Kalmenson remarks, “We are looking forward to getting to know the many talented professionals at these Scripps radio stations. Both companies share a genuine passion for producing excellent local radio and serving the public.” Scripps president and chief executive officer Adam Symson adds, “Lotus Communications’ commitment to serving local communities – with a focus on western region markets in particular – makes it a natural fit to run the Tucson and Boise stations. This deal sets up the stations for continued success.” In Tucson, Lotus picks up and will keep adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 “Mix FM” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson,” but will spin urban-rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove” and news/talk KQTH. Its Boise acquisitions include classic rock KJOT “J-105”; rock KQXR “100.3 – The X”; triple A KRVB “94.9 The River”; and classic hits KTHI “107.1 K-Hits.”
TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City (WMCA, WINS, WCBS-AM) newscaster and talk host Ralph Howard has died. According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, “Ralph personified New York City – vibrant, charming, a little edgy, and nonstop energy; I will miss him greatly.” Tradup produced “Ralph & Ryan” on WMCA in the early-1980s; “Ryan” was longtime NBC-TV newsman Bill Ryan. In addition to New York City credentials, Howard worked in Chicago at WIND, WBBM-AM, and WCFL, as well as for The Associated Press and ABC Radio. Until he retired in May 2013, he was a news anchor for Howard Stern, hosting “Howard’s World,” covering Stern’s SiriusXM exploits. This Sunday (8/12) at 3:00 pm, a celebration of Ralph Howard’s life will be observed at New York City’s Riverside Chapel; Howard was 76 years old ….. Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” adds Envision Networks’ two-hour Nik Miles-hosted “Our Auto Expert” to its Sunday afternoon lineup (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm). Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick remarks, “When it comes to personality and compelling automotive talk, nobody does it better than Nik Miles. We are excited to share ‘Our Auto Expert’ with the world as part of our commitment to bring the best live & local programming to our listener community.” KXL operations manager Bruce Collins notes, “Nobody knows more about the auto industry than Nik. He is both informative and entertaining – we welcome Nik and his show to KXL.” Miles adds, “I am so excited be working with the country’s most forward-thinkers in radio. Being live and local every week gives listeners an opportunity to be the first to hear about groundbreaking automotive stories and stay informed.” ….. The former general manager of Ohana Media Group’s six Anchorage (Alaska) stations – Tom Oakes – is named operations manager for Scripps Radio’s five-station Springfield, Missouri cluster, which consists of KTTS “94.7 Country’s Best”; CHR KSPW “Power 96.5”; adult hits KRVI “106.7 The River”; and KSGF AM & FM “News/Talk 1260 & 104.1.” In addition, he will be the program director of KTTS. Springfield Operations vice president and general manager Rex Hansen notes, “Tom Oakes brings years of experience in all formats we operate here in Springfield. Our listeners, team, and advertisers will benefit greatly from his expertise. His coaching skills will make a difference for our air staff immediately.” Oakes remarks, “A busy fall lies ahead as we prepare for not only the next ratings sweep, but continue to work with our on-going projects, promotions and programming needs across the entire cluster.” Oakes previously was vice president of programming for Ohana’s 11 stations in Alaska and Oregon; worked for New Northwest Broadcasters in a variety of upper-management roles with their stations in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington; and has experience in Omaha, Madison, and South Bend (Indiana) ….. The annual Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) content conference will be held later this month (8/20 – 8/23) at Austin’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. “Pixels and Place” author Kate O’Neill will be a keynote speaker. PRPD is the only national gathering devoted solely to public radio content and programming and this year’s conference, “will be the most format-inclusive in the organization’s history. As every public radio station grapples with consumption, relevance and sustainability, the PRPD is committed to creating a setting where content leaders can learn, network and advance their careers.” ….. Owing to a strategy change regarding original podcasts, Amazon’s Audible Originals senior vice president of original content development Eric Nuzum is departing. The former NPR executive made the announcement in an email earlier this week. Several other Audible Originals staffers – including the entire unit responsible for original spoken-word podcast content – are also exiting, according to published reports. After releasing high-profile shows in its short existence, Audible Originals has more recently shifted to signing major authors to audiobook-first deals.
Round Two of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Washington (D.C), Boston, Miami, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Tampa, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
TEGNA Releases Q2 Financials. The former television division of Gannett, Virginia-based TEGNA, reports that its second-quarter net income from continuing operations was up 87.8% to $92.5 million. “Subscription,” which is the company’s term for television retransmission consent revenue, was up 16%. President/CEO Dave Lougee notes, “Our progress in the quarter gives us confidence that our growth strategy is on track. Our business mix continues to evolve toward predictable and profitable subscription-based revenue streams. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our paid subscriber base is very stable, and in fact, our total number of paid subscribers was up year-over-year for the first time in recent years.” TEGNA owns or operates 47 TV stations in 39 markets. Results for its San Diego radio properties, news/talk KFMB-AM “AM 760 Talk & Breaking News” and rock KFMB-FM “100.7 KFM-BFM,” are not broken out in its earnings releases. The company completed its acquisition of KFMB-AM, KFMB-FM, and KFMB-TV from Midwest Television six months ago for a reported $325 million.
Ohio Special Election/Primaries, Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, Alex Jones/InfoWars Banned by YouTube and Facebook, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/6). The cliffhanger special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfire and its connection to the environment; Alex Jones and InfoWars being dropped by several major social media platforms and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/7), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Co-host of “The Bob & Tom Show” – Tom Griswold – will host two evenings of live comedy featuring Greg Hahn, Pat Godwin, and Josh Arnold one week from Friday (8/17) at Indianapolis’ Irving Theater and the following night (8/18) at Lafayette, Indiana’s Lafayette Theater. All proceeds from both shows will go to The Nora Dane Fund, which helps defray the costs of medical treatment and related expenses for two-year-old Nora Dane, who is being treated for a rare, aggressive malignant brain tumor. Griswold states, “Three of my favorite comedians are stepping up to help little Nora. I promise a great night of comedy to support the amazing efforts being made to help this wonderful little girl.” Preferred seating tickets for each show are $75 and include early access to the venue; a meet-and-greet with the featured talent; a photo; VIP laminate; and choice of seating. Griswold and co-host Bob Kevoian originate their Westwood One syndicated show from Cumulus Media Indianapolis flagship WFBQ “Q-95 Indy’s Classic Rock.” ….. In honor of mid-day talent Pat Martin’s 30th anniversary with Entercom Sacramento’s KRXQ “98 Rock,” The Pat Martin All-Star Band will perform tonight (Wednesday, 8/8, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) as part of a free concert at Folsom, California’s Powerhouse Pub. Guest band members Jeff Keith from Tesla, composer Robert Sabino, and UFO’s “Atomik” Tommy McClendon are among others scheduled to appear. Martin currently fronts the longest consecutive running radio show in Sacramento history ….. As part of an exclusive long-term partnership with Saga Communications, Mediabase and BuzzAngle Music will provide Saga with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for more than 130 radio stations nationwide. Saga Communications vice president of programming Bob Lawrence comments, “Mediabase and BuzzAngle have proven to be essential tools for our many markets and programmers over the years. When presented with the opportunity to put them in our arsenal on a group-wide level, we simply could not resist.” Mediabase president and RCS Worldwide president/CEO Philippe Generali remarks, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be chosen by the very talented programming team at Saga Communications. This partnership will expand the list of markets covered by Mediabase and complement it with the BuzzAngle sales and streaming data for all Saga stations.” Meanwhile, Jim Lidestri, chief executive officer of Border City Media, the makers of BuzzAngle Music, adds, “Mediabase’s airplay monitoring and BuzzAngle’s extensive consumer analytics is a powerful combination for programmers. We are delighted to partner with Saga to give them the most comprehensive tools to connect with – and engage – their listeners through music.” ….. Tickets go on sale this Friday (8/10) for Stephens Media Group Tulsa alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge,”-sponsored “The Edge Halloween Haunt.” The October 31 event will feature The Struts, Meg Myers, and Albert Hammond, Jr. ….. After a four-year hiatus, Corey Garrison will return to Binnie Media Portland, Maine country outlet WTHT “99.9 The Wolf” later this month (8/20) as music director and afternoon driver. Operations manager Stan Bennett notes, “Corey has a great passion for country music. I could not be happier to see him return home and help an already veteran team keep ‘The Wolf’ Maine’s most-listened to country station.” Prior to working for three Blueberry Broadcasting stations in Lewistown-Augusta-Bangor, Maine (WABK, WBAK, and WBKA), Garrison was assistant program director/music director/afternoon talent at “The Wolf” (2007-2014). He takes over for J.C. Coffey, who left WTHT late last month ….. This past Saturday (8/4), 24-year-old Eric Manias was a victim of a home invasion at his New Albany (Ohio) apartment. Manias is a family member of Digi-Dude Nate, who is part of “Bailey and Southside,” the morning team on Cumulus Media Atlanta’s WNNX “Rock 100.5.” Manias was shot twice, beaten, and robbed. Transported to Grant Hospital, he is in critical condition with a fractured jaw and arm; broken hip; and numerous cuts and bruises; he’s had four surgeries thus far. Manias was born with pulmonary atresia, a heart disease in which the pulmonary valve is not properly formed. Shortly after his birth, he had three open-heart procedures. As of noon yesterday (8/7), a fund to help with his medical bills raised more than $5,700 toward a $10,000 goal ….. WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies,” Salisbury-Ocean City (Maryland); WQTL “Kool Oldies 106.1,” Tallahassee (Florida); and KWML “Kool Oldies,” Las Cruces (New Mexico) are the latest affiliates of Envision Networks’ “Wolfman Jack Radio Show.” All three are Adams Radio Group properties. Its president & chief executive officer Ron Stone states, “We are thrilled to bring ‘The Wolfman’ back in our markets where we have great oldies stations playing the best music of all time. We believe the audience our oldies stations target are going to fall in love with ‘The Wolfman’ all over again.”
Honolulu Morning Mainstay Rick Hamada Guests on this Week’s Harrison Podcast. Longtime, KHVH 830 AM, Honolulu morning host Rick Hamada is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Hamada and Harrison discuss the view of life – nationally and locally – seen from the perspective of an iHeartMedia-owned conservative news/talker in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They discuss the North Korea crisis, immigration reform, race relations and a number indigenous topics impacting the lives of those who call the 50th state home. Harrison says, “I met Rick Hamada at the recent FAIR ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ immigration reform radio row in Washington, DC and was a guest on his show. I was taken by his gentlemanly manner and articulate insights into the worldview from the United States of America’s most westerly outpost and knew right there I’d have to invite him on this podcast. I’m glad I did. This is a real cool conversation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Digital Creates a New Ballgame For Boston’s WEEI. While some radio stations and companies are working harder and in some cases struggling to make digital dollars and traffic work for them, Boston’s WEEI (850AM/93.7FM) has proven digital can work extremely well for their station and brand. The Boston and New England region Entercom sports/talk powerhouse weaves its podcasts, along with an unusually strong presence on social media, into a mechanism that drives listeners to and from the radio and social media, and advertisers to multiple platforms. Success for WEEI’s digital arm didn’t happen overnight. The digital and social media launch came nine years ago as the stock market was tanking and businesses crumbling during the “great recession,” and now employs eight full and part-time staffers who also bring strong content to the radio while on-air sports radio hosts enhance their digital domain. To read all about TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s story covering this phenomenal success, please click here.
Davis Deal Keeps Him at iHM for Four More Years. On the heels of celebrating his 25th anniversary with the company, Darren Davis agrees to a four-year contract extension as president of iHeartMedia Networks Group. “We are pleased that Darren will continue to lead the integration of our Networks group that enables iHeartMedia to harness the unparalleled power, reach, and scale of our digital and broadcast platforms,” notes iHeartMedia chairman and chief executive officer Bob Pittman. “His 25 years of experience working in every facet of iHeartMedia means he has a unique understanding of every aspect of our company, from our broadcast radio stations and iHeartRadio to our sales teams and partnerships, and how they can all work together to best serve our consumers, partners, affiliates, and advertisers.” Davis, who was appointed to his current position three years ago, comments that he is always “amazed by iHeartMedia’s evolution, which is built on broadcast radio and now provides one-of-a-kind programming and opportunities to connect our advertising partners across our unparalleled range of multiple platforms in ways that no other company can.” Davis continues as president of iHeartRadio’s live-streaming and podcasting and oversees integration of the company’s multi-platform assets. He started at iHeartMedia Washington, DC in 1992 as an intern at WASH-FM (then owned by Evergreen), where he graduated to program director of the heritage adult contemporary outlet. The George Washington University alum later advanced to regional vice president of programming for the company’s Chicago and Detroit operations and to senior vice president of programming and executive vice president/general manager of national programming.
CBS Radio Second-Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. While Q2 revenue for parent CBS Corp. rose 9% year-to-year to a record $3.26 billion from $2.98 billion in 2016, radio division revenue was reported at $306 million, down from $313 million (-2.2%) in 2016. Conversely, that figure is up from $250 million in 2017’s first-quarter. A noncash charge of $365 million for discontinued operations resulted from reducing the carrying value of CBS Radio to the level of the stock valuation of Entercom as it prepares to merge with Entercom in the second half of this year. In terms of CBS Corp. earnings, CBS Radio is classified as “held for sale,” adjusted each quarter based on Entercom’s stock price until that deal is finalized. CBS Radio recorded a $7 million restructuring charge tied with reorganizing some of its business operations, including severance costs and fees from ending some contractual obligations. According to CBS chairman and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “We continue to have more and more success as the landscape continues to change. Revenue was up 9% with top line growth in every one of our four business segments and EPS was up 12% to $1.04, representing our 30th consecutive quarter of EPS growth. Both of these totals were second quarter records for us. Our base advertising business is strong and growing, and at the same time, we’re laying new groundwork to ensure even more growth ahead. We are not only capitalizing on the changes in our industry, we are shaping the direction of these changes.” Local media revenue, which includes the company’s owned and operated television stations and CBS Local Digital Media, was $412 million, up 4% from $396 million last year.
PPM Data – Round One. Information for the July 2017 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. See the data from these 12-PPM markets here.
Frandsen, Hoffar to Host “KNBR Tonight.” Bay Area natives Kevin Frandsen and Drew Hoffar are the two on-air talents selected for “KNBR Tonight” on Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR “The Sports Leader.” The 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm program debuts next Monday (8/14). KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe opines, “Drew and Kevin are primed to make a huge impact in their new roles. Their work ethic is unmatched and both are committed to the smallest of details that will generate a great listener experience. They are relatable to the common fan, yet they each possess a vast knowledge of the overall sports landscape. I applaud Cumulus San Francisco for putting them in a position to shine.” A San Jose State University grad, Frandsen was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2004 and played for the team from 2006 – 2009, before joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2010), Philadelphia Phillies (2012 – 2013) and Washington Nationals (2014) before ending his 10-year MLB career with the Giants in 2015. He has filled in regularly on KNBR the past two years and remarks, “In my time as a major leaguer, I prided myself on performing in several roles as a utility player. Since arriving at KNBR. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the format’s most established personalities across a variety of timeslots. This evening post is a chance to advance my relationship with one of the best young talents in radio, connect with the best sports fans in the country, and move the KNBR brand forward into the digital age.” Hoffar grew up in San Leandro and has over 12 years of hosting experience and most recently served as lead host on KNBR morning show “The Audible,” alongside Frandsen. Hoffar previously held anchor and host positions at KGMZ, San Francisco and KHTK, Sacramento. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to reach so many diehard Bay Area sports fans on a nightly basis,” he states. “Hosting evenings on KNBR carries a responsibility to serve fans the quality content they deserve as the daily news cycle hits a close. Kevin and I will provide a unique perspective on the games and will look to entertain/inform listeners every time we open the mics.” The station’s revised weekday on-air lineup is comprised of “The Show Hour with Patrick Connor” (5:00 am – 6:00 am); “Murph & Mac” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Gary Radnich & Larry Krueger (10:00 am – 1:00 pm); “Fitz & Brooks” (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “Tolbert & Lund” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “KNBR Tonight with Drew Hoffar & Kevin Frandsen” (7:00 pm -10:00 pm); and CBS Sports Radio (10:00 pm – 5:00 am).
NPR Adds Bennett As Fourth White House Reporter. After serving as an NPR congressional reporter the past five months, Geoff Bennett is named White House reporter. In addition to Bennett, NPR’s team covering the White House now includes national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and White House correspondents Scott Horsley and Tamara Keith. NPR senior Washington editor Beth Donovan comments, “Just a few months into his return to NPR, Geoff has demonstrated the substantive reach, solid sourcing, and fluidity in stories. Those of us lucky enough to work alongside Geoff know he has done it with the grace and good humor we so need.” Before becoming a Washington reporter with NY1 News, Bennett spent almost six years at NPR as “Weekend Edition” editor.
McDonald Podcast Added to iHeartRadio. Two-time Emmy winner Rushion McDonald is making his “Money Making Conversations” podcast available on iHeartRadio. “I have known Rushion McDonald for over a decade and we have worked together on many projects,” states Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “I can honestly say he is one of the great creative business minds of our time. He has the uncanny ability to understand and solve the marketing needs of clients with innovative solutions involving talent, media, and events.” McDonald comments that he is “excited to share” his “Money Making Conversations” podcast “across iHeartRadio’s vast number of device platforms. Being available on iHeartRadio will allow me to help even more people reach their dreams through my meaningful discussions with celebrity friends and small business leaders.” Among others, guests thus far on McDonald’s podcast have included Cedric The Entertainer, Patti LaBelle, Carl Lewis, Roland Martin, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Sherri Shepherd, Rickey Smiley, Stephen A. Smith, Michelle Williams, and Charlie Wilson.
Salem Q2 Revenue Declines. Consolidated second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group decreased 2.5% year-to-year to $66.1 million. Net income was down from $3.4 million to $1.3 million and net broadcast revenue fell 1.4% to $49.3 million. Meanwhile, digital media revenue was off 1.6% to $10.9 million. Publishing revenue dipped 11.3% to $6 million. Salem Media Group is projecting third quarter total revenue to be off by 6% to 8% year-to-year, owing to lack of political revenue; reduced book release schedule; elimination of four loss-making magazines; and a continued soft Dallas market.
Texas Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees. There are 16 new members of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. In alphabetical order, they include: Nick Alexander (Dallas/Fort Worth); Mark Carrillo (San Antonio); Ed Chandler (Marble Falls); R.W. “Catfish” Crouch (Houston); Bill Davis (Tyler); Roger W. Garrett (College Station); Bill Harrison & Dana Adams; Bill Ingram (Houston); Tempie Lindsey (Dallas/Fort Worth); Bobby Lopez (San Antonio); Sam Malone (Houston); John McCarty (Dallas/Fort Worth); Chrissie Murnin (San Antonio); Denise Partridge (Houston); and Mark Watkins (Dallas/Fort Worth). The class of 2017 will be honored in three months (11/4) at the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore.
Comcast Advertising Execs to Headline Radio Breakfast. Members of Comcast Cable’s marketing team, including senior vice president of media strategy & sciences Kavita Vazirani, will participate in a discussion moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber regarding the company’s relationship with radio. According to Farber, “Radio drives behavior, and Comcast Cable is a prime example of a top advertiser using radio as a method of communication to new and existing customers about new products and services. We look forward to welcoming Kavita Vazirani and her marketing team in Austin at the Radio Show to discuss radio’s role in their advertising mix.” The event will be held (Thursday) September 7 (7:30 am – 9:00 am) at Austin’s JW Marriott. The Radio Show is produced by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the RAB.
WNYC Studios Adds Bharara Podcast. “Stay Tuned with Preet,” a podcast hosted by former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara, has been picked up for distribution by WNYC Studios. The podcast – described by WNYC as being a series about justice and fairness – is produced by his brother Vinit Bharara’s media firm Some Spider Studios and Pineapple Street Media. According to New York Public Radio president and chief executive officer Laura Walker, “WNYC Studios is honored to add Preet Bharara’s compelling and timely podcast to our lineup. We have built our portfolio around distinct personalities; ‘Stay Tuned with Preet’ promises to bring podcast audiences and people interested in our political and legal culture something new, relevant, and utterly engaging.” Vinit Bharara adds, “I am really looking forward to Preet launching his podcast and sharing with the world his unique insights about justice and fairness – especially at a time when those two issues are at stake.” Initially asked to stay on board by the administration, Preet Bharara was fired by President Trump in March.
TALKERS News Notes. Hosted by NPR international correspondent Gregory Warner, “Rough Translation” is a new podcast about how topics that are discussed in America are handled in other countries. Debuting next Monday (8/14), “Rough Translation” will release new episodes weekly. Correspondents from NPR bureaus worldwide will contribute stories to the podcast, a product of NPR StoryLab ….. As first reported by the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Rich Peterson last Friday (8/4) closed out his 43-year radio career and 18 years as host of Townsquare Media Rochester, Minnesota news/talk KROC’s “Good Morning” show. In addition to two separate KROC “AM 1340” stints, Peterson worked at Omaha news/talk KFAB. Taking over the KROC morning slot are “This Morning with Gordon Deal” and Salem’s Mike Gallagher.
KDAY Back as Raiders’ Los Angeles FM Affiliate. Syndicated via Compass Media Networks and originating from Entercom San Francisco’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game,” Oakland Raiders football broadcasts will be carried in Los Angeles on Meruelo Media’s KDAY “Back in the Day Hits.” KDAY program director Adrian Scott declares that, “KDAY is the perfect [radio] home for the Raiders in Los Angeles. Hip-hop fans are the most passionate Raiders’ fans in Southern California and we are thrilled to continue to be the exclusive FM radio station delivering the Oakland Raiders.” The Raiders’ radio team consists of Greg Papa and former Raiders quarterback (1960 – 1966) and head coach (1979 – 1987) Tom Flores. The NFL franchise played in Los Angeles for 12 years (1982 – 1994) and have committed to move to Las Vegas upon completion of a stadium projected for the 2020 season.
O’Brien, Smith Added to WJXA Morning Mix. In two weeks (8/21), Midwest Communications Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” will debut a morning show featuring Brandon O’Brien and Ricki Smith. O’Brien most recently was the afternoon talent at Sinclair Telecable Norfolk country outlet WUSH “US-106.1,” while Smith arrives from Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch,” where he was morning co-host. They will join producer/co-host Clint Redwine and succeed Kim Leslie, who exited after 10 years to develop a non-profit organization. Meanwhile, former “Mix” morning co-host Anna Marie is segueing to nights. Vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon states, “When you find the talent you feel will help add exciting new chapters to the storied history of ‘Mix,” you only have one choice – hire them. I can’t wait to hear this [morning] show come together. Anna has been the heart and soul of ‘Mix’ for a long, long time. I am delighted we can apply her special talents to the evening show where she can fully expand on her unique ability to connect with listeners.” Operations manager Barbara Bridges comments, “I am so excited to add Brandon and Ricki to the morning show. These two individuals have a ton of talent. This combination with Clint will elevate an already successful morning show to the next level – we are thrilled this all came together. Anna has a 20-year track record of success with our female audience; our fans absolutely love her. The warmth and connection she will bring to a special nighttime show will be amazing. I can’t wait to hear what we can do when Anna gets rolling.” O’Brien remarks, “Not only do I live in the greatest city in the world, I will also have an opportunity to be a huge part of the Nashville community and work alongside some amazing and talented folks.” Smith notes, “A personality looks for nothing more than what happens every day with this incredible team of talented people in Nashville. I am totally pumped about being able to contribute to the station’s continued success.” Anna Marie adds, “I love my listeners and this move gives me the opportunity to get closer to them. We have had a wonderful 20-year relationship so far – now we get a new time and space to get together.” July 2017 results will be released on Thursday (8/10), but among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM report, “Mix” finishes in fifth-place (6.8, 6+), one full-share behind the pacesetter, iHeartMedia classic rocker WNRQ (7.8, 6+).
TKRN Taps Thomas for Affiliate Relations. Former program director and brand manager of Entercom Charlotte hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link” Darla Thomas joins the affiliate relations department of the Tom Kent Radio Network (TKRN), representing adult contemporary and hot AC products. TKRN senior vice president of affiliations Ed Douglas comments, “Having a pro of the stature of Darla Thomas join our affiliate team is a dream come true. She understands the adult contemporary world and she values the commitment Tom Kent has made to making great radio.” Thomas notes, “I have known Tom for years and I am so impressed by the network he has built across the country. When Ed asked me to join the team, I just couldn’t resist the chance to help build the TKRN brand and make it even bigger. I am excited to get started.” Thomas’ previous programming credits include iHeartMedia Charlotte adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake,” and five years as operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group Tucson, after programming that company’s Omaha hot AC KSRZ “Star 104.5.”
Charlotte’s “Block” Inks Dutchess. One of the stars of the VH1 series “Black Ink Crew” – Dutchess – is added to the on-air lineup of Radio One Charlotte urban contemporary WQNC “92.7 The Block.” The Charlotte native and cum laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University will handle Sunday 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm duty. Radio One Charlotte vice president and general manager Doug James states, “Dutchess is an exceptional artist and media personality. We are very excited that she is bringing her talents to our fantastic lineup.” Radio One Charlotte program director Mary K. notes, “I am thrilled to have Dutchess join [our] team. She has great energy, a contagious spirit, generous heart, and immeasurable talents.” Splitting time between North Carolina and New York, Dutchess opened a tattoo shop, Pretty in Ink, in Charlotte.
Sanderson, Ramsey Headed to WNFN for Middays, Nights. Arriving from iHeartMedia Nashville CHR WRVW “107.5 The River,” where she was assistant digital PD and part-time on-air talent, Kage Sanderson crosses the street to Midwest Communications’ similarly-programmed WNFN “i106.7 Nashville’s New Hit Music” for midday duty, as well as being the station’s social media coordinator. In addition, JR Ramsey from Townsquare Media Portland, Maine CHR WJBQ “Q-97.7” joins “i106.7” to handle nights. Sanderson comments that she is “stoked for this new role at WNFN. Doing radio in Nashville – an electric city that I truly love – is unbelievable. I can’t wait to connect with our listeners and be part of this fantastic growing station.” Ramsey notes, “I can’t express how excited I am to be making this big move to Nashville. I am really looking forward to cracking the mic and entertaining the city.” He and Sanderson begin their new assignments in roughly two weeks (8/21). Meanwhile, WNFN assistant program director/music director/9:00 am – 2:00 pm personality “Butter” adds on-air duties at co-owned adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” and will be videographer for WNFN; “Mix”; and co-owned adult hits WCJK “Jack-FM.”
Now Appearing – Harry Connick Jr. Currently promoting his television show “Harry,” Harry Connick Jr. stopped by iHeartMedia Milwaukee CHR WRNW “97.3 Now” prior to his guest appearance at the Wisconsin State Fair. Pictured left to right are “Now” morning show personalities Rahny Taylor and Binky Lee, Connick, and morning show producer “Dave.”
Cumulus Media Des Moines Tickets Taylor as Operations Manager. Six-year Townsquare Media St. Cloud, Minnesota operations manager Chad Taylor transitions to Cumulus Media Des Moines for similar duties at its five-station cluster. In addition to his OM duties, Taylor will host afternoon drive on country KJJY “92.5 Nash Icon.” Cumulus Media Des Moines vice president and market manager Craig Hodgson comments, “Chad is a highly-regarded operations manager, program director, and on-air talent. He is as active and community involved as they come. We will enjoy having him on our team and look forward to achieving great things together.” Taylor notes, “My wife was born and raised in Altoona. She is set to enjoy all things Iowa again and has already purchased a family pass to Adventureland. I’m beyond excited to work alongside the talented team at Cumulus Des Moines.” Prior to working in St. Cloud, Taylor was operations manager/program director for Community First Broadcasting’s three Iowa Great Lakes-area stations. The Cumulus Media Des Moines cluster consists of KBGG “1700 AM News-Talk-Sports”; KGGO “Classic Rock That Rocks”; KHKI “97.3 Nash FM”; KJJY “92.5 Nash Icon”; and KWQW “98.3 The Vibe Classic Hip-Hop.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Scheduled to perform at CBS Radio Los Angeles adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack’s 12th Show” October 7 at Irvine’s Fivepoint Amphitheater are 311, Cypress Hill, Gin Blossoms, Eve 6, Lit, and The Offspring. Proceeds will benefit Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) ….. Approximately 17% ($50,000) of the $294,091 Entercom Greenville, South Carolina helped raise during the Children’s Miracle Network radiothon was given by a father whose son was killed by a drunk driver ….. After hiring Tom Ferguson (“Ferg”) for afternoon drive duties, Entercom Wilkes Barre-Scranton classic rock WMQX “Max 102.3” operations manager Michael O’Donnell comments, “He is a born and raised Northeast Pennsylvania guy who knows his audience. He has a natural ability to relate to them and will raise the roof on PM drive.” Ferguson formerly worked at crosstown Times-Shamrock alternative WFUZ “Alt 92.1” ….. The former music director of Townsquare Media Flint, Michigan rhythmic CHR WRCL “Club 93.7” Art “Artemis” Smith remains in the Great Lake State as he joins Midwest Communications mainstream CHR WLMI “i-92.9,” Lansing today (Tuesday, 8/8) as brand manager. Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy remarks, “We are excited to have Art lead our team. He has demonstrated a solid work ethic and strong working knowledge of the contemporary hit format.” Prior to working at WRCL, Smith was promotions director and night talent at WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan ….. While a replacement hasn’t been named yet to succeed her, afternoon drive personality Nikki Reid (also known as Erika Kay) departs iHeartMedia Tulsa CHR KTBT “92.1 The Beat.” Reid/Kay joined “The Beat” in March 2016 from WNDV “U-93,” South Bend (Indiana) ….. Following an extended medical leave, former WSLC “Star Country 94.9” midday talent Robynn Jaymes returns to the Mel Wheeler-owned Roanoke, Virginia station for weekend/swing duty. Taking to Facebook, she writes, “When illness took me off the radio, I wondered if I would ever [again] have the privilege to be on the air, sharing music and connecting with [the audience. Returning] this past Sunday [8/6] was a dream come true.” Jaymes has undergone surgery and multiple treatments since 2011, when she began battling pancreatitis ….. Meanwhile, 2013 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee Don Carpenter returns to Springfield, Missouri, signing on with Midwest Family country outlet KOMG “100.5 The Bull” to host a classic country show. In the 1980s, Carpenter did morning drive in the Missouri market at CHR KWTO-FM before grabbing similar duties as “Dr. Don” at CBS Radio Detroit’s country-formatted WYCD. In two separate tenures, “Dr. Don” spent 18 years at WYCD; he has been off the air the past two years ….. WUSW “US-92.7,” Springfield, Illinois program director and morning co-host Kellie Michaels will leave the Mid-West Family Broadcasting country station in two weeks (8/21). She has been co-hosting “Brian & Kellie” with her husband Brian Pierce for 25 years. After 15 years at co-owned adult contemporary WNNS, they went to country KFDI, Wichita (2007 – 2015), before returning to Springfield at “US-92.7.” Pierce will continue as morning co-host with Troy Armstrong assuming the co-host role. Michaels remarks, “I wanted to step back and spend more time on other interests. I’ve had a great time with Brian doing mornings. I will certainly miss the fun he and I have had, but certainly won’t miss the early morning hours.”