Tag: "Mary Berner"
Monday Memo: Got Local News? Guard it. Now more than ever – with the pandemic upending the life we were accustomed to – consultant Holland Cooke says “you will continue to distinguish your product from your robotic audio competition, and what’s-left-of the newspaper, by telling listeners something useful that nobody else is telling them.” In this week’s column, some simple tips. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, Fatal Denver Rally Shooting, VP Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Trump’s COVID Case, New Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, Hurricane Delta-California Wildfires, and NFL COVID Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the matter of mail-in voting; the fatal shooting at a Denver political protest gathering and tensions in the city; Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and President Trump‘s bout with the disease; negotiations for a new federal stimulus package; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Hurricane Delta drenches Louisiana and the ongoing California wildfires; and the positive COVID-19 cases popping up in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Take It or Leave It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about selling news/talk radio in a time when your sales planning priorities can shift as quickly as the news cycle changes. He says that “organizing chaos is part of our new sales world” and offers some strategies to keep sellers on track during these unpredictable times. Read it here.
Carmean Joins Entercom Sacto As GSM. The market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Boise (Idaho) cluster – Rick Carmean – is named general sales manager of Entercom Sacramento. According to Entercom Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Stacey Kauffman, “Because of the rich history and success of Entercom Sacramento’s portfolio of brands and assets, expectations are high for this team. Rick’s vast experience in audio, sports, and digital – coupled with his track record of producing winning results – make him an excellent and valuable addition to our strong leadership team. We are excited to welcome Rick to Entercom and Sacramento.” Carmean adds, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to represent the top-rated radio stations in the market and work with a talented team of sales professionals and on-air talent.” Carmean previously was Red Zebra Broadcasting’s president and chief executive officer and held digital advertising leadership roles at AOL and Source Media. In addition to sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” Entercom Sacramento consists of rhythmic CHR KSFM; CHR KUDL “106.5 The End”; classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; and alternative KKDO “Alt 94-7.”
More Than 2,100 “Attend” NAB’s Online Radio Show. The week-long digital experience began one week ago (Monday, 10/5) and continued through this past Friday afternoon (10/9) at RadioShowWeb.com. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Radio Show in-person attendance has recently been averaging 2,000, while this year’s online event attracted 2,143 registrants. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith comments, “Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this [past] week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry.” RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber remarks, “The Radio Show is an industry favorite. Having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders, and partners has been tremendously valuable. The good news is all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing should anyone want to re-watch a specific session or may have missed any of the sessions or presentations.” Among the highlights were a keynote by Dave Ramsey, and a “CEO Town Hall” with Mary Berner (Cumulus Media); David Field (Entercom); and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia). The Town Hall was moderated by NBC News senior business correspondent/MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. Next year’s Radio Show will co-locate with the NAB Show, which has been rescheduled for October 9-13 (2021) in Las Vegas.
KBA Honors Talbott. Bluegrass native Julie Talbott will be presented with the Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association at today’s (Monday, 10/12) 2:00 pm virtual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards event. Fifteen years after joining Premiere Networks, Talbott was named president of the company in January 2014 ; she oversees operation of Premiere Networks’ more than 100 radio programs and services. In addition, she manages business partnerships with talent, as well as leading/maintaining affiliate relationships to sell/service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and the 24/7 News Network. Talbott previously was chief operating officer of MJI Broadcasting, which was acquired by Premiere’s parent company Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Talbott began her career at BBDO Advertising. The Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” is presented in recognition of achievements and accomplishments of former Kentuckians who have earned fame or acclaim in their respected field.
AWMF and ESPN Launch Scholarship For Black Females. The mission of the partnership between the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) and ESPN is to provide black women a path into careers in sports media. ESPN’s donation of $10,000 will provide two educational scholarships to assist black females pursuing such career paths. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks remarks, “It has been wonderful to collaborate with ESPN to conceptualize this scholarship. Through this strong partnership, we’re proud to continue our work in pursuing greater diversity in the sports journalism work force.” ESPN vice president of corporate communications/AWMF board member Katina Arnold notes, “Diversity and inclusion is ESPN’s #1 focus. We want to support and create concrete ways to grow the pipeline of black talent in the sports industry. The ESPN and AWMF scholarship is the perfect way to fulfill ESPN’s mission of supporting black and African-American women pursuing careers in media.” Selection of student winners will be based on applicants developing an essay of 750 – 1,000 words, highlighting the importance of black women in sports media. Applications are due in less than six weeks (11/20). AWMF and ESPN will select one black female undergraduate student winner and one black female graduate student to receive the scholarships payable to each winning student’s educational institution.
TALKERS News Notes. Former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert Buck Sexton debuts his Premiere Networks’ three-hour show in Tampa Bay tonight (Monday, 10/12, 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) on iHeartMedia’s WFLA “News Radio 970.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tampa/Sarasota Tommy Chuck comments, “We are excited to have Buck Sexton join our on-air lineup of strong local and national personalities. His life experience gives him unique perspective that our audience will be very interested to hear.” Sexton adds, “I’m honored to have my show join WFLA, [one of] the greatest heritage stations in the country. I can’t wait to begin speaking every night to listeners in the Tampa Bay area, one of the best talk radio audiences there is.” WFLA’s revised weekday lineup is: “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am); “AM Tampa Bay” (5:00 am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman” (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Buck Sexton (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Also in the iHeartMedia Tampa Bay cluster, personal finance host Dave Ramsey moves his daily talk show to news/talk WHNZ “1250 Impact Radio” from cross-town Beasley Media Group’s WHFS “Money Talk 1010.” According to iHeartMedia market president Chris Soechtig, “We’re excited to add ‘The Dave Ramsey Show to our [2:00 pm – 5:00 pm] line-up. [Dave] brings a new group of listeners to 1250 WHNZ who pay attention to what’s coming out of their speakers and applying what they hear.” ….. Designed to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots in next month’s election, Beasley Media Group’s “Your Vote – Your Voice” initiative will include recorded fifteen- and thirty-second PSAs, as well as custom content that will be featured on the chain’s 64 radio station websites. Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase notes, “This initiative is a great reminder that no matter who you choose, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the polls.” Customized messaging encouraging listeners to vote will be displayed using Quu RDS technology across the company’s in-car dash platforms ….. Technology entrepreneur Matt Moog is named interim chief operating officer of Chicago Public Media, which includes public radio news/talk WBEZ. Moog succeeds Steve Edwards, who performed those duties on an interim basis as well, but segues back to his vice president and chief content officer responsibilities. Chicago Public Media’s CEO role opened up a year ago when Goli Sheikholeslami exited to join New York Public Radio. Earlier this year, American University Washington, DC public radio news/talk WAMU “The Medium Is The Message” chief content officer Andi McDaniel was appointed CPM’s chief executive officer, but departed. The search for a permanent Chicago Public Media CEO is expected to resume next year ….. During a Washington State gubernatorial debate last week, governor Jay Inslee remarked that, “We follow science in Washington.” Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM host Dori Monson tweeted, “The state where I could go to Olympia and change my ‘birth cert’ to say I was a girl on 10/2/61 HAHAHAHAHA.” That tweet has led to Monson’s indefinite suspension from his KIRO-FM duties, as well as his pre-game and post-game hosting chores for Seattle Seahawks football games ….. An integral cog of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan, has died at his Danville, California home. After his playing career, Morgan became a baseball analyst on television and radio. The former second baseman did color for games of the Reds (1985); San Francisco Giants (1986 – 1994); and Oakland A’s (1995). Morgan attained national exposure on ABC-TV’s baseball telecasts and had a 20-year run (1990 – 2010) as Jon Miller’s analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” During that stretch, he was in the ESPN Radio booth for post-season and World Series contests. In 2011, he hosted a daily syndicated radio show for Sports USA Radio Network. In addition to the Reds, Morgan played for San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hall of Famer was 77 years old.
Midwest Communications Taps Villarreal As Wausau VP/MM. Eight-year Laredo, Texas-based International Business & Marketing consultant Milko Villarreal, Jr. is appointed vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ five-station Wausau, Wisconsin cluster. Midwest Communications president and chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We welcome Milko to the family and look forward to many successful and prosperous years to come. His passion and desire to win are a great fit for our already positive Wausau operation.” Villarreal, who begins his new assignment in three weeks (11/2), remarks, “I am thrilled to join Midwest. The Wright family has a long-standing tradition of excellence in broadcasting. Ideologically, and operationally, I believe we are a very good fit; I look forward to making a positive contribution.” The former NAB radio board member succeeds Brett Lucht, who passed away three months ago. In addition to news/talk WSAU and sports talk WRIG, Midwest Communications’ Wausau cluster consists of country WDEZ, CHR WIFC, and rock WOZZ.
NEP & Edison Research To Implement COVID-19-Related Protocols. The exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/13). Edison Research co-founder and executive vice president Joe Lenski states that, “More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history. The member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll. In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020. It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.” In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in the in-person exit polls remain safe. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls. As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.
“WTMJ 2021” Airs Tomorrow. The nine-hour broadcast (9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, 10/13) on Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk WMTJ “News Radio 620” looks at events and issues that will shape the year ahead. It will feature interviews with Wisconsin’s most influential names such as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers; senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson; Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Medical College of Wisconsin chief executive officer Dr. John Raymond; and community activist Frank Sensabaugh. Good Karma Brands Milwaukee vice president and market manager Steve Wexler explains, “Every year, WTMJ brings our listeners an all-day look at the issues shaping our future. Little did we know how tumultuous a year 2020 would turn out to be when we gathered last year.” Presidential politics is the leadoff topic at 9:00 am. It will be followed by public safety (10:00 am); sports in the age of COVID-19 (11:00 am); business and the economy (12:00 noon); healthcare (1:00 pm); entertainment (2:00 pm); education (3:00 pm); local and state government (4:00 pm); and the racial divide (5:00 pm).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (Monday, 10/12), Mz Shyneka takes over in afternoon drive on Core Radio Group Atlanta urban contemporary WWSZ “Streetz 94.5.” Core Radio Group president and chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “It is my pleasure to sign Mz Shyneka to afternoons. Her addition to our great team keeps us at the forefront of this competitive Atlanta market.” According to Mz Shyneka, “I am overwhelmed with joy to be back on the radio in my hometown. I can’t wait to continue making history at the only black-owned station in Atlanta.” She most recently did afternoons for Radio One’s cross-town similarly-formatted WHTA “Hot 107.9” ….. Elsewhere in Atlanta, after an approximately 20-year tenure at Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104,” Saturday morning “Spotlight Gold” host “Youngblood” exits ….. Under a new one-year deal, all Villanova football and basketball games for the 2020 – 2021 season will be carried on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM.” Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Our motto at ‘Ben’ is ‘Playing Anything We Feel Like,’ and we feel like playing some Villanova games. It will be a great season for Villanova sports.” Program director Chuck Damico notes, “We’re thrilled to add Villanova football and basketball to ‘95.7 Ben FM’ this year. It’s an honor to deliver these games to their passionate fans and alumni.” Meanwhile, Villanova Sports Properties vice president and general manager Drew Young adds, “The affiliation with ‘Ben FM’ expands our reach in the Delaware Valley and gives the ‘Nova Nation’ a prominent new home on the FM dial.” ….. The former 15-year afternoon personality/music director at Bahakel Communications Colorado Springs rocker KILO, Jack Wilson, has died from coronavirus. Wilson left KILO in 2015 and did weekends in Phoenix for Hubbard Radio’s similarly-programmed KUPD. KILO’s Facebook page notes, “It is with deep regret that we share this news with the KILO Nation. He was and will always be a big part of the KILO family. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.” The 38-year-old Wilson is survived by his mother (Pattie Ray); a 17-year-old daughter (Bella); and a six-year-old son (Jack Jr.) ….. “The Quick Silva Show with Dominique Da Diva” moves to Reach Media for distribution and syndication. Reach Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “I’ve had the opportunity to see this show grow tremendously. Quick Silva and Dominque Da Diva are two very strong radio talents who have an authentic connection to their audience. I am confident that the show will continue to be a huge draw for the listening audience. The beauty of this is that this is one of few syndicated afternoon shows.” The program will be carried from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm by Radio One stations in Washington, DC (WKYS); Philadelphia (WPHI “Hip-Hop 103.9”); Baltimore (WERQ “92-Q Jams”); Cincinnati (WIZF “101.1 The Wiz”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”).
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Long-time-no-convention, pick an industry, any industry. Ours hopes to rally again for an October 2021 NAB Show in Las Vegas, a town that would kill for a crowd. Meantime, as Zoom stock has nearly quintupled in six months, we convene the way we work, online.
Radio Show – Audio/Streaming/Podcasting – Produced by RAB and NAB
The weeklong cyber-conference kicked-off yesterday with NBC senior business correspondent and MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle moderating “CEO Town Hall,” a panel discussion with Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner, Entercom Communications’ David Field and iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman; dress code Coronavirus Casual.
The 2020 Radio (Virtual) Show. Consultant Holland Cooke is covering the NAB and RAB-produced 2020 Radio Show for TALKERS magazine that’s being done virtually this year and he reports today about the “CEO Town Hall” panel that was moderated by (clockwise from top left) NBC News’ Stephanie Ruhle and included iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman, Entercom’s David Field, and Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner. The mantra from the CEOs was uniformly one of the audio industry’s resilience. But the execs also were plainly touting the digital opportunities that are allowing audio companies to expand and experiment during this time of disruption. Read Holland Cooke’s coverage here.
‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Broadcast During Veterans Day Week. For Veterans Day week this year, the Fisher House Foundation announces a fresh edition of the Jeff Wyatt Group-produced “The Fisher House Story – A Family’s Love” is available in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations in the U.S. and around the world. You can check out the show demo here. As most TALKERS readers are aware, Fisher Houses are “homes away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary, free lodging so families can be close to their loved one during a medical crisis. This year’s special – in three-hour, one-hour, or 30-minute versions – is once again hosted by WMAL-FM, Washington morning personality Mary Walter and features stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Your listeners will hear from Army combat scout Ben Breckheimer, whose vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while deployed with his team to Afghanistan; a Lt. Col. who was shot in the 2014 Ft. Hood shooting; and a Navy veteran who needed a double lung transplant. These are just a few of the many stories that will be told “in their own words” for your listeners. The show will be ready for download by November 2. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at The Jeff Wyatt Group at 301-518-3640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Women to Watch’ Expands to Two Hours on WPHT, Philadelphia. The weekend talk program “Women to Watch,” hosted by Women To Watch Media LLC founder Susan Rocco, is expanding to two hours on flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia. WTW says, “In partnership with JAKIB Media, the show in New York has since grown from a 30-minute to a 60-minute show. Now, the show is growing and expanding on its flagship ‘Talk Radio 1210’ WPHT in Philadelphia to two hours.” The program is available in national syndication. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are very excited to have ‘Women to Watch’ expand to two hours on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT. Susan does a fantastic job telling the meaningful and compelling stories of women leaders around our region and the world.” Rocco adds, “I always wanted Women to Watch Media to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are bringing a new type of leadership to all industries.”
Rich O’Brien Named Chief Development Officer at Sun Broadcast Group. Rising to chief development officer for Sun Broadcast Group is Rich O’Brien. He’s been serving with the company for the past two years and was most recently VP of programming and affiliate relations. Sun Broadcast Group president Warren Friedland says, “Rich has been instrumental in building Sun to where it is today. With this appointment, Rich will oversee all our programming and affiliations, working closely with our producers. Rich is highly respected and has tremendous experience in developing and growing quality, compelling, and impactful programs and services to be used by radio stations in all size markets. Sun Broadcast Group is one of the fastest growing companies in the radio network space, and Rich’s appointment demonstrates Sun’s continued commitment to serve the radio industry and its advertisers.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” afternoon personality Marc Silverman is in remission after treatment for Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In a tweet, Silvy said it’s been “the weirdest, craziest, hardest and most humbling spring/summer of my life.” He co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Waddle…..WTOP, Washington launches season three of the “Not for Lazy Moms” podcast with host Monique Samuels, one of the stars of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” Also on the show with her is her husband, former Washington Football Team offensive tackle Chris Samuels. WTOP director of news and programming Julie Ziegler says, “What I love about Monique is she is not afraid to speak about what’s on her mind. The show covers topics that real people can relate to and that is so refreshing. We are excited to have ‘Not for Lazy Moms’ as part of the WTOP podcast community.”…..The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program schedule at Information Communications Corp’s WABN, Abingdon, Virginia.
Trump COVID-19 Battle/Leaves Walter Reed, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, California Wildfires, and Hurricane Delta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 battle and his decision to discharge himself from Walter Reed Hospital; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for fall/winter outbreaks; the November presidential election and Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the ongoing California wildfires; and Hurricane Delta approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Kristen Herrmann is promoted to program director for Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia. Herrmann has been with the station since 2012 and has served as morning and afternoon host. WBEN brand consultant Chuck Damico says, “Kristen is the perfect person to move into the role of program director for 95.7 BEN FM. Nobody knows the brand and audience better. We’re very lucky to have her here and excited for the future of the radio station!”…..Entercom adds Josh Holleman to the air staff at country WYCD, Detroit, joining incumbent morning personalities Rachael Hunter and Steve Grunwald for the “Josh, Rachael and Grunwald in the Morning” program. Holleman, who’s most recently been hosting afternoons at Hubbard Radio’s WIL-FM, St. Louis, served with Entercom Detroit at WDZH-FM from 2015-16. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As the home of Detroit’s best country, we look forward to integrating Josh’s fun and energetic style into our award-winning morning show alongside Rachael and Steve. His impressive knowledge of the country music landscape and familiarity with our city as a native Detroiter will add a unique layer to our morning programming and help deliver a fresh, dynamic listening experience for our listeners to kick off their days.”…..iHeartMedia Chicago unveils the programming lineup for WIIL-FM “Rock 95 FIVE.” The morning drive program is being hosted by Angi Taylor with Abe Kanan serving as executive producer and contributor, Walt Flakus hosts middays, Klinger is the afternoon drive jock, and Maria Palmer hosts evenings. Regional SVP of programming for Chicago James Howard says, “We have assembled a dream team of talent whose passion for rock and Chicago will bring the ideal companionship for our audience.”…..Entercom drops the FM translator from sports WSSP-AM, Milwaukee and will launch hip hop “HOT 105.7” on W289CB, fed by WXSS-HD2. Entercom Milwaukee market manager Andrea Hansen says, “As part of our commitment to amplifying diverse voices in our content and talent lineup, the new ‘HOT 105.7’ will engage fans with today’s hottest music, relevant entertainment and a focus on issues important to African Americans and the multi-cultural community in Milwaukee. This strategic launch will also enhance our portfolio that already includes a prominent sports station and a pair of market leading brands focused on super-serving the female audience, ensuring we are delivering robust opportunities for advertisers to connect with diverse communities throughout Milwaukee.”
Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.
The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.
Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era. He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.
Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.
Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.
COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.”
Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.
Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.
KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.” KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.
Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.
TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis … Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” … Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” … A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.