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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

| May 4, 2021

Beasley 2021 Q1 Net Revenue $48.2 Million; Operating Loss Shrinks. First quarter financial data from Beasley Broadcast Group – parent of Beasley Media Group – reveals a decline in net revenue of 17.8%, from $57.7 million in Q1 2020 to $48.2 million in Q1 2021. While station operating income was down, $5.2 million compared to $6.7 million in Q1 2020, Beasley greatly reduced its operating loss from $7.1 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2021. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Beasley reported 2021 first quarter financial results consistent with the expectations we outlined when we reported the 2020 fourth quarter, as our strong revenue growth in the first two months of the comparable 2020 period, prior to the onset of the pandemic, created a difficult year-over-year comparison. Though we continued to experience challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic during the first quarter, I am pleased to report that we began to see a strong recovery. As a result, we expect Beasley to return to top-line revenue growth beginning in the second quarter of 2021. During the first quarter, we continued to advance our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives across the company. In this regard, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 10% on a year-over-year basis, with digital accounting for approximately 12% of total first quarter revenue, compared to 9.3% of total revenue in the prior year period. Consumer demand for digital audio content remains strong and with our ongoing emphasis on digital innovation, Beasley continues attracting new business by successfully targeting the sale of non-radio products to non-radio advertisers. With the continued strong growth of our digital business, Beasley will report digital revenue as a separate segment going forward. We believe this milestone represents an important inflection point in the ongoing evolution of our operating model and clearly highlights the value of our revenue diversification strategies.”

Bill O’Reilly’s New Book, Killing the Mob, Published. The latest book from broadcast journalist and talk host Bill O’Reilly (with co-author Martin Dugard) is out as KILLING THE MOB: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America (2021, St. Martin’s) hits booksellers today (5/4). The promo for the book says: “O’Reilly traces the brutal history of 20th century organized crime in the United States, and expertly plumbs the history of this nation’s most notorious serial robbers, conmen, and especially, mob family bosses. Covering the period from the 1930s to the 1980s, O’Reilly traces the prohibition-busting bank robbers of the Depression Era, such as Bonnie & Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby-Face Nelson. In addition, the authors highlight the creation of the Mafia Commission, the power struggles within the ‘Five Families,’ and the battles to control Cuba, Las Vegas and Hollywood, as well as the personal war between the U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and legendary Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.” Bill O’Reilly currently hosts the Key Networks nationally syndicated radio programs “The O’Reilly Update” and “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”

Townsquare Media Ups Jeff Luckoff to Market President for Michigan. Rising from his Grand Rapids market president role to regional market president and chief revenue officer for Michigan is Jeff Luckoff. In this role, he’ll oversee Townsquare Media’s Michigan local media clusters and will report to SVP Todd Lawley. Lawley says, “In a very short amount of time Jeff has reset the culture, made key hires, and built a foundation that is unlocking the full potential of our market leading online and on-air brands in Grand Rapids. We are now challenging Jeff to unlock the full potential of our statewide footprint which includes Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint.” Luckoff comments, “We have incredible talent and local brands throughout the state of Michigan. I am fortunate for the opportunity to utilize Townsquare’s footprint to deepen our impact on the community and further deliver better results for our advertisers. I am honored to be leading such an extraordinary team.”

NAB Opens Nominations for 2021 Marconi Awards. The National Association of Broadcasters is now accepting nominations for the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and will be accepting submissions until May 31. Established in 1989 and named for inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the prestigious awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Station and on-air personality nominations may be submitted for the 23 awards presented in the following categories: Legendary Station of the Year, Legendary Manager of the Year, Radio Station of the Year by Market Size, Radio Station of the Year by Format, Personality of the Year by Market Size, Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year, and Best Radio Podcast of the Year. Nominations may only be made by NAB members. You can see the rules here. Winners will be recognized during a special event at the Radio Show, held October 13-14, 2021 in Las Vegas, and co-located with NAB Show.

TALKERS News Notes. The American Urban Radio Networks names Ebony McMorris White House news correspondent. She comes to AURN from Reach Media/Urban One where she most recently served as national news correspondent. She comments, “For such a time as this, it is an honor to join the AURN family as their White House correspondent during such a pivotal and monumental point in history. In taking this role I am reminded of Alice Dunnigan, the first African American woman to receive White House credentials, who said, ‘While the role of the Black press is that of objectively reporting the news as it happens, it has another function equally as important – that of fighting oppression.’”…..Audacy’s sports talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” announces that former MLB player Neil Walker will join “The Fan Morning Show” with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack Monday mornings at 9:00 am, beginning May 10…..iHeartMedia and Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg’s Pushkin Industries audio production company unveil a new co-produced iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi.” The weekly interview program builds on Kendi’s extensive body of antiracist work, challenging listeners to consider what an antiracist society might look like and how individuals and communities can play an active role in building it. Kendi says, “After a year that laid bare the pervasive racial inequity that continues to plague our nation, we must continue the difficult but necessary conversations that will allow us to imagine and erect a truly antiracist society. I look forward to exploring these topics with guests whose work I deeply admire and digging deep with them and with listeners.”…..CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is launching a new podcast called, “Chasing Life,” in which Gupta guides listeners on how to mindfully approach our new normal, while finding a balance between self-care and productivity. He says, “As we’re entering a new – and more hopeful – phase of this pandemic, now seemed like a worthy point in time to start a new podcast with recovery and reflection in mind. While we may never be able to replicate a pre-2020 world, I hope we can all start moving forward and start chasing life again.” The first episode premiers May 11 via CNN’s apps.

Audacy and Genomind Partner for Mental Health Care Content. Mental health awareness has been a focus of Audacy’s public service efforts for several years and now the company announces a partnership with Genomind to help “bring mental health conversations into the mainstream.” As part of the partnership, Audacy will leverage the deep local connection of 15 stations across eight markets – Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C. – to promote Genomind’s new Mental Health Map, the first and only consumer DNA test to offer a concise, easy-to-navigate blueprint of your genetic profile and its influence on stress and anxiety, mood, focus and memory, habits and substance use, sleep, social behavior, and eating behavior. Audacy vice president, social impact Sarah Harris says, “Mental health awareness is a major area of focus for us and a crucial pillar of our companywide social impact platform, and we’re excited to further activate our commitment through this partnership with Genomind. We recognize our significant influence and welcome the opportunity to use our voice, coupled with Genomind’s mental health expertise, innovations and technology, to help improve and save lives and continue our shared mission of ending the stigma of talking about mental health.” Genomind will also serve as the sponsor for Audacy’s “I’m Listening Daily Capsules,” 60-second daily public service announcements as part of the company’s yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health initiative. Genomind will also serve as the presenting sponsor of Audacy’s annual “I’m Listening” broadast, a live national program that brings together artists, athletes and medical specialists every September to remind listeners it’s okay to not be okay, raise awareness and end the stigma of talking about mental health.

COVID-19, Giuliani Investigation, Trump’s Facebook Fate, Bill and Melinda Gates to Divorce, Border Crisis, and Severe Southeast Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). Vaccination rates in the U.S. and the politicization of the “jab,” rising infections among young Americans, and the high death toll in India; Facebook to decide the fate of Donald Trump’s currently suspended account; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates to divorce; the crush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the 6,000-plus illegals captured by ICE in April; and the severe weather hitting the Southeast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Industry Memorial Tribute to the Late Barry Farber Set for May 5. The family of Barry Farber, in association with TALKERS magazine, is presenting an industry memorial tribute to the legendary radio talk show host on May 5 via Zoom. The virtual event will mark the first anniversary of his passing and the 91st anniversary of his birth. Farber, considered by industry observers to be one of the greatest talk radio hosts of all time, as well as one of the genre’s most influential pioneers, passed away on May 6, 2020 – one day after his 90th birthday. The event will consist of a series of personal remembrances delivered by a select panel of family, friends and radio industry colleagues. It will be recorded and available for on-demand viewing as part of a larger display of memories and Farber history being developed for a special commemorative website devoted to the broadcaster. Barry Farber’s on-air career was launched in 1960 and continued all the way to his death in 2020. It included his hosting major shows on such legendary New York outlets as WINS, WOR, and WMCA. He also was syndicated by ABC Radio Networks and Daynet. His final shows were carried by CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. According to The New York Times, at the time of his death he was the longest continually running radio host. Farber was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2014 and is a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award among many other honors. He was the author of three books and a student of 26 languages. The memorial event will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 between 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm and will be hosted by Michael Harrison. Although all Zoom positions are filled, the event will be available to view via live streaming on YouTube. To view the Memorial event in real time on Wednesday at 7:30 pm ET, please click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

| April 15, 2021

Audacy Extends Contract with CFO Richard Schmaeling. The company and chief financial officer Richard Schmaeling sign a new contract set to begin on May 1 that keeps Schmaeling in his CFO role and adds the position of executive vice president, strategic initiatives to his duties. The new contract runs through April 30 of 2025 and pays Schmaeling an annual base salary of $800,000 that will be increased by not less than three percent annually beginning in May of 2022. Other aspects of the contract include: a target annual cash performance bonus at 90% of his annual base salary, to be earned based on Audacy’s performance; a grant of 60,000 restricted stock units as soon as practicable following May 1, 2021 which will vest 50% on May 1, 2023; 25% on May 1, 2024; and 25% on May 1, 2025; and restricted stock unit grants of 50,000 in 2021; 40,000 in 2022; 30,000 in 2023; and 20,000 in 2024, with vesting 50% on the second anniversary of the grant date and 25% on each of the third and fourth anniversaries of the grant date.

Galaxy Media Promotes Maine to Chief Revenue Officer; Greenlar to Chief Content Officer. Two Galaxy Media managers are rising to new positions within the company. Nick Maine is promoted to chief revenue officer from his current director of sports marketing position. In this new role, Maine will oversee the sales operations for both the Syracuse and Utica markets. Galaxy Media president and CEO Ed Levine says, “Nick Maine is a force of nature. It’s rare to have somebody that has been so engaged, so excited, and so competent all in one package. I can’t wait to see where he takes our sales effort over the next many years.” At the same time, Marissa Greenlar – brand manager for rock WKRL “KROCK” – is promoted to chief content officer for the company. She’ll continue in her role as brand manager for “KROCK” and will oversee all of the Galaxy brands and digital content. Levine comments, “Marissa’s contribution to Galaxy has been extraordinary. From starting as a sales assistant to working with the events team, to overseeing much of our social media and then assuming day-to-day programming responsibilities for ‘KROCK,’ she has impacted every aspect of Galaxy over the past 12 years. This newly created position is a reflection of the respect she has from her peers and an acknowledgement of her massive contributions to Galaxy.”

Cumulus Launches ‘104.5 The Zone TV’ in Nashville. The new “104.6 The Zone TV” will be more than just cameras in the WGFX-FM, Nashville studios for its daily radio programs. The Cumulus Media sports talk station says original sports programming on “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network,” original shows, and instant reaction specials every evening – including “The Ultimate Tennessee Podcast” – will be available on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch. The station also says that after a big game or a huge event in Nashville, hosts will be live on “104.5 The Zone TV” to instantly react with fans from their home studios. WGFX-FM program director Paul Mason says, “‘104.5 The Zone TV’ is going to offer our fans a whole new experience when consuming ‘104.5 The Zone.’ Our listeners will now have the option to watch and interact with their favorite ‘104.5 The Zone’ personalities as they video stream their shows live on a variety of different social media platforms. With our recent partnership with A to Z Sports, the launch of ‘104.5 The Zone TV,’ and with more to come, ‘104.5 The Zone’ is continuing our reputation as the gold standard for sports content.” Will Boling is digital content producer for the station, and he says, “‘104.5 The Zone TV’ gives the listener a behind-the-scenes and in-depth look at the faces and voices behind the microphone from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. It also provides sports fans with a chance to skip the call-in line and instantly react to the biggest headlines with our hosts in the chat. Whether it’s watching the shows on our daily lineup during the week, reacting to digital exclusives in the evenings, or pregame/postgame shows centered around the biggest events in Nashville sports, ‘104.5 The Zone TV’ will expand Zone coverage – and that’s a huge win for sports fans. There is more excitement to come, so stay tuned!”

Audacy: Audio Is Driving Force Behind Vaccination Willingness. Citing results from a recent study it commissioned, Audacy says the S. Radoff Associates research that tested audio’s trust and influence during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic indicates audio is the leading media source in the fight against COVID-19 and a driving force behind Americans’ willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The study concludes that for the vaccine hesitant population, audio is the most trusted source of information about COVID vaccination (46%), ahead of TV news shows (42%), friends and family (40%), articles in a local (37%) or national (36%) newspaper, and social media (27%). The study also found that the vast majority of vaccine hesitant U.S adults (81%) say they will take some form of action if they hear a local radio or podcast host provide information about the benefits of COVID vaccines and recommend that listeners receive a COVID vaccine. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “Since the onset of the pandemic, audio has served as a trusted companion for listeners seeking vital information, local news and sports and entertainment. As America slowly but surely returns to normal life, the vaccine is a major step towards doing what we all love again – going to sports events, dining at our favorite restaurants, or creating memories with loved ones – and our study shows how big of a role audio is playing in inspiring Americans to make a plan to get their shot.”

Noel Paul Stookey is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. A true, elder statesmen of American folk music, as well as an iconic popularizer of the civil rights movement going back to the protest songs of the early 60s, Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Stookey discuss the evolution of the civil rights movement from the freedom marches of the early 60s to the current reckoning of the early 20s among a number of other fascinating topics. Stookey also discusses his latest charitable project. Don’t miss this extraordinary conversation between two extremely articulate individuals that spans the decades and connects the dots. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

The Todd Starnes Show Adds Affiliate in Salem, Oregon. The Memphis-based programs featuring conservative talk media personality and best-selling author Todd Starnes are being added to the program schedule at Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN-AM, Salem, Oregon. The station is putting “The Todd Starnes Show” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot long held by Rush Limbaugh. It is also airing the “Todd Starnes Weekend Edition” as well as the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” feature.

COVID-19, U.S. to Exit Afghanistan, Minneapolis Protests/Chauvin Trial, Democrats’ Court-Packing Bill, Russia Sanctions/China Threats, Reparations Bill, Matt Gaetz Case, and Bernie Madoff Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The “pause” on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the high COVID numbers in Michigan, and the variant running wild in Brazil; President Joe Biden’s move to end U.S. operations in Afghanistan; the protests in Minneapolis over the police shooting death of Daunte Wright, the manslaughter charges against former cop Kim Potter, and the ongoing Derek Chauvin trial; Democrats’ plans to introduce a “court-packing” bill to expand the Supreme Court to 13 justices; the expected sanctions against Russia for hacking and election interference and FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before Congress about China’s threats to the U.S.; U.S. House Democrats file a bill to study slavery reparations; the allegations of paying for sex with minors against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz; and Ponzi scheme orchestrator Bernie Madoff dies in prison were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

October 2020 PPM Ratings

| October 27, 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”

Monday, August 31, 2020

| August 31, 2020

Monday Memo: Announcers, You Have Been Replaced…for $47.  Seldom at a loss for words, consultant Holland Cooke admits he “won’t even TRY to describe” what he regards as a breakthrough, “after what we, as an industry, have suffered from failed consolidation, and as pandemic remote-broadcast mode has obsoleted the station workspace as we knew it.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The New-Talk of Sports Talk. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the dramatic changes in what sports talk hosts are discussing today compared to just a year ago. “Today, players and on-air personalities are tackling complex issues with newer topics up for discussion everywhere from social media to your station’s dial position. Let’s be clear, this is not about play-by-play, this is about selling your local sports talker hitting on topics that last year at this time weren’t up for consideration on a sports talk show sheet.” Read more here.

Madison Advertiser Pulls Ads from News/Talk WIBA-AM. A piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Daniel Bice indicates that Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin has pulled its ads from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison after talk host Vicki McKenna voiced support for Kyle Rittenhouse – the 17-year-old Illinois resident charged with homicide in the deaths of two protestors. Group Health Cooperative chief business development officer Allan Wearing tells Bice that McKenna has a right to her opinions and his  company has the right to pull its advertising. McKenna – whose show is also heard on sister station WISN-AM, Milwaukee – says she’s being “smeared” by the newspaper and that Bice wrote that she’s encouraging people to “murder protesters.” Bice says he wrote no such thing.

Cleveland, Tennessee Sportscaster Suspended After Insensitive Comment. Play-by-play broadcaster Gary Ownbey has been suspended by Hartline LLC for a comment made during a high school football game broadcast last week on “101.3 The Buzz” in Cleveland, Tennessee. After Ownbey stumbled over some of the players’ names during the broadcast, he said, “I don’t know where they’re getting these foreigners from.” Hartline and Bradley County Schools issued a joint statement that read, in part, “Now more than ever, it is critical for our organizations to reinforce our public commitment to equity for all. ‘101.3 The Buzz,’ Bradley County Schools, and Bradley Central High School will not condone this type of action or behavior. We believe this is contrary to our overall goals of empathy, affirmation, and creating a culturally responsive environment for all.” Hartline LLC owner Steve Hartline added, “The comments made during Thursday night’s game do not in any way reflect the culture nor views of the station. We respect our student-athletes, and their families and are proud to showcase their accomplishments on and off the field.”

Civil Unrest/Deadly Portland Shooting, Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Hurricane Laura Destruction, Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The civil unrest in cities where protests are ongoing and the shooting death in Portland; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools to students and the outbreaks on numerous college campuses; the destruction in Louisiana after the landfall of Hurricane Laura; and the death of actor Chadwick Boseman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Expands Black Information Network Across On-Air Signals. The new BIN: Black Information Network launched last month by iHeartMedia is adding four on-air signals to the group of radio stations carrying the 24/7 national audio news service “dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” The company has entered into Local Marketing Agreements with M-10 Broadcasting for WQLL-AM, Baltimore; Alexander Broadcasting Company for W257DC, Montgomery, Alabama; Beasley Media Group for WTEL-AM, Philadelphia; and an LMA with an Asset Purchase Agreement with Potomac Radio Group for WUST-AM, Washington, DC. BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is of course to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Baltimore, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and provide millions of listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Springfield, Illinois, Mid-West Family Communications announces that effective tomorrow (9/1) news/talk WMAY-AM begins airing on the 92.7 frequency in the market. Currently the home of country WUSY-FM, the move will put the company’s heritage news/talk station on three signals: 970 AM, 94.7 FM via W234CC, and the full-market class B1 FM WUSY. Station general manager Mike Paterson says in a press release, “Now more than ever, people across Central Illinois are relying on WMAY for breaking news and insightful coverage and commentary of important local, state, and national issues. Moving WMAY to 92.7 FM expands its reach into downtown office buildings and to inform consumers in surrounding counties. The pandemic, the rebuilding of the local economy, the election, statehouse scandals, and more – these are all reasons why people need a reliable way to stay informed and stay connected. Expanding our on-air reach, in addition to our streaming audio and our extensive online and social media presence, brings that vital information to every place that our audience needs it.”…..“The Armstrong & Getty Show” adds a new affiliate station to its roster as Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” begins airing the KSTE, Sacramento-based program. Starnes Media Group president Todd Starnes comments, “I’ve known Armstrong & Getty since my days at KFBK in Sacramento. I have no doubt that our KWAM listeners across the Mid-South will be thoroughly entertained by their show. Armstrong & Getty are making talk radio fun again.”…..In conjunction with the Seattle Police Foundation’s “Got Your Six” fundraising campaign, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s talk KVI, Seattle helped raise more than $50,000 earmarked for protective eyewear for Seattle police officers. The effort began on August 18 as KVI morning host John Carlson encouraged his listeners to donate funds in the aftermath of reports that police were being targeted with potentially eye-damaging laser pointers…..Former Georgetown University basketball coach and former WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” sports talk host John Thompson is dead at age 78. Thompson led the Georgetown Hoyas to the 1984 NCAA Championship. After leaving coaching in 1999, he began a 12-year career as a radio sports talk host on WTEM’s midday show alongside Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore hot AC WWMX-FM “Mix 106.5” announces its new morning drive team of Steve Kramer and Jessica Dutra, who will host the “Kramer & Jess” show beginning September 14. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Kramer and Jess are both optimistic, energetic and downright entertaining, which is exactly what Baltimore listeners are craving to start their day. Their undeniable passion will be a welcomed addition to our morning drive, and we look forward to introducing them to our audience, both locally and nationally.” The pair were most recently with iHeartMedia’s KHTS-FM, San Diego where Kramer was a morning co-host while Dutra served the station as co-host, producer, and social media coordinator for the morning show…..A new program is being offered in syndication from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in partnership with Oceanic Tradewinds and T & T Creative. The show, “Winning with Jekalyn Carr,” features hit music popular in both the inspirational and urban formats as well as interviews, creative features, and a plethora of video lifestyle content. The show premieres on Labor Day (9/7) in both video and audio formats and then launches with a regular hour-long, daily radio program and a two-hour-long weekend offering. All programs are barter free through September 27.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

| April 8, 2020

Cumulus Announces Furlough and Pay Cut Plans. It was the last of the large radio companies to take drastic measures, but Tuesday (4/7) Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner made her employees aware of the company’s plans via a video message.  Berner told her workforce that the Covid-19 plan was temporary and will be implemented in the coming days.  As part of the plan, Cumulus’ salaried staffers will take three non-consecutive weeks of furlough over the course of 15 weeks that begins on April 20.  For the group of employees who don’t have supervisors or don’t have anyone else who can cover for them, they will work for 90-days without pay, beginning April 16.  For those employees whose duties have been reduced or eliminated, they are on a 90-day furlough, starting April 16.  Berner said the company intends to bring all furloughed employees back when full-scale business operations resume.  She is taking a 50% pay cut during this period and says the executive leadership team is taking a 25% cut and is giving up incentive compensation for the year.  She said, “Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard – really hard – and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers’ furlough weeks.  I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement.  None of you deserves this.”  It’s unclear how the company is dealing with its union-represented air staffers.

‘The Mighty 990’ in Memphis Offering Week of Free Advertising. Memphis news/talk KWAM-AM/W300DE “The Mighty 990” is offering small businesses in the Memphis market a free week of advertising.  Starnes Media Group says, “It’s just one significant way the news/talk radio station is lending a helping hand to the community during the global pandemic.”  Company CEO Dalton Glasscock adds, “We’ve covered the stories of neighbors and small businesses in this community sacrificing to help in this fight against our invisible enemy.  These people, their businesses, and their stories have inspired us to do what we can to help them and other businesses that need an extra hand during this time.”  The company adds that Glasscock and president Todd Starnes are not taking their salaries during the pandemic and are committed to their staffers.

‘Cats Roundtable’ to Air on WABC, New York. The nationally syndicated “Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” begins airing on “TALK RADIO 77 WABC” in New York at 9:00 am this Sunday (4/12).  Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media recently closed on its purchase of the radio station and assumed operations.  Catsimatidis’ show features “A-list guests from politics, business, science, and more.”  Guests on the program have included: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Rand Paul, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and more.  Catsimatidis says, “It’s exciting for me to have my show on the legendary 77 WABC.  WABC is a staple in talk radio and a vital part of New York City.  I love New York, and I’m looking forward to welcoming all the new listeners from 77 WABC.”  Red Apple Media and WABC Radio president Chad Lopez says, “John’s personal relationships give him unprecedented access to world leaders and newsmakers.  We’re delighted to welcome ‘The Cats Roundtable’ to our lineup of great talk shows and to give our advertisers the opportunity to connect with John’s engaged listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. The content creation deal between iHeartMedia and Aaron Mahnke is extended and includes two more years of new content for the popular “Cabinet of Curiosities” podcast, two new seasons of “Unobscured,” as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit “Strange Arrivals,” additional seasons of “Noble Blood” and a new scripted series set to launch this fall.  Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry – attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Adnan’s Story…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM evening host Justin Kaufmann is returning to his public radio roots at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM to host a two-hour, Saturday afternoon call-in show on the coronavirus pandemic.  Before joining WGN five years ago, Kaufmann worked for WBEZ for 21 years…..Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York announces the second season of the Travelers Insurance-sponsored Sunday morning program, “Talkin’ Golf with Ann Liguori,” is airing on the station through June 28.  Entercom programming SVP Mark Chenoff comments, “Ann is a WFAN original and continues to serve as our premier golf reporter, also covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and other special events for the station.  No one is more dialed into the sport than Ann and we’re looking forward to the return of her show, giving listeners an inside look at movers and shakers in the game, including players, celebrities, authors, broadcasters and other newsmakers in the world of golf.”…..iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM and rock WMMS-FM and three local TV outlets joined together last Saturday for a broadcast fundraising effort to help raise more than $150,000 for United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist families in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Wisconsin Primary, Acting Navy Secretary Resigns, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the debate over prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization and his threat to withhold U.S. funds from the organization; the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin; acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigns from his post after his controversial badmouthing of the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain; and the state of the presidential race 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. International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization are presenting “One World: Together At Home” a program that will be globally televised and streamed in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  It’s taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia, and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.  “The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.  At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.”…..A casualty of the coronavirus-related programming changes at Entercom includes the end of “The TJ Show” on CHR WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio.”  The program, hosted by TJ Taormina with co-hosts Loren and Producer Matt, has aired on the station since 2013.  Taormina served with iHeartMedia’s WHTZ, New York on the Elvis Duran program prior to joining WODS…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” program adds new affiliate stations: WLGZ, Rochester “105.5 The Beat,” KFXZ-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KJMP-AM,  Ft. Collins; KJMZ-FM, Woodward, Oklahoma; and KKST-FM, Alexandria, Louisiana.  DeDe McGuire states, “Our show is a family.  We share our laughs and reveal our personal stories about how we are coping with this pandemic and the new normal it’s creating in our lives.  We are all in this together.  Connecting to family, friends, and community is more important than ever.”…..Programming pro John Shomby exits his NASH director of programming position and WKDF, Nashville PD role with Cumulus Media.  He joined Cumulus in 2016 after serving as director of programming for Max Media’s Norfolk station group for 13 years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom.  During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment.  First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.  This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.  Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.  And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10.  He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR.  I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence.  I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.”  Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst.  Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format.  This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different.  About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey.  However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share.  Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively.  Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey.  See all the data here.

RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue.  The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast.  This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”  The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million.  The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.”  It is being released today to RAB members.  It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media.  The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing.  Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018.  2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018.  Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019.  The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019.  On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods.  Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year.  Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance.  Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.”  iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.”  It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry.  The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM.  Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.  The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space.  Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.

Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986.  In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters.  Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years.  Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me.  I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown.  I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence.  We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah.  AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics.  We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show.  Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.  MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

Friday, January 10, 2020

| January 10, 2020

Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000.  Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show.  “Memphis is my hometown.  And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South.  Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station.  Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians.  And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.”  Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results.  Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build.  After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home.  We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years.  I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”

WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time.  WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John CatsimatidisRed Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio.  He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks.  He’ll officially exit the company next month.  Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan.  Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title.  At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”

Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years.  In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands.  Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team.  The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”

SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan.  As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group.  Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years.  Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award.  She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team.  We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”

Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump.  Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey.  Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change.  “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane.  The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4).  Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.”  See the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13).  WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media.  The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksDeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence.  We are going to have some fun together.”  As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.”  Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig.  In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties.  Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family.  There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

| October 15, 2019

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Roughly the same number of news/talk stations were up (36%) – weekly, 6+ AQH share – as were down (38%), comparing August numbers to September numbers (the rest were flat).  Gainers were led by Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.4) and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.4).  Comparing September 2018 to September 2019, 48% of the stations on our panel were down, while 39% were up and the remainder were unchanged.  Year-over-year gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach (+1.9), CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.8), and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis (+1.8).  Four news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the September PPM survey: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Our American Stories’ Offers Veterans Day Special. For this year’s Veterans Day on November 11, American Private Radio – the company that produces the nationally syndicated “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb” – is making available a special two-hour Veterans Day Radio Tribute for that Monday.  APR says, “The program will feature stirring letters and biographical accounts from all the major battles in U.S. history and the lessons they offer as we honor our veterans, past and present.”  Stations wishing to air this commercial-free, two-hour FTP downloadable program (or satellite delivered via XDS feed) should call “Our American Stories” at 855-276-8020 or visit them on online at OurAmericanNetwork.org.

Entercom Unveils ‘Rewind’ Technology for Sports, News, and Talk Shows. The ability to pause and rewind live radio shows is becoming available for users of Entercom’s RADIO.COM, according to the company.  The RADIO.COM REWIND feature automatically records the last 24 hours of broadcast content on enabled stations and makes it easy for the user to navigate to their favorite show and begin listening from any point in the broadcast.  Entercom says this feature is debuting on its most popular sports, news, and talk stations with more shows added over time and adds that this new functionality marks the first-ever, all-in-one, on-demand audio experience for broadcast radio content.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As a leader in audio, we are thrilled to introduce innovative technology that will transform the way audiences consume and engage with broadcast radio by reimaging it for a digital environment.  RADIO.COM REWIND provides a best-in-class listening experience by delivering the premier news, talk, and sports audio content our audience wants, whenever and however they want it.”  The feature allows audiences to start their listening experience from any point in any show and select a playback speed up to two times the original speed. Listeners can also quickly and easily return to the live broadcast at any time. In the coming months, audiences will also be able to share moments of live broadcast radio content for distribution on social media and via email.

Premiere Networks to Rep FNTSY Sports Radio Network. The FNTSY Sports Radio Network – a collaboration between owner SportsGrid and the Elvis Duran Group – is announcing a partnership with Premiere Networks for the latter to serve as national ad sales rep.  EDG partner/CEO David Katz comments, “This partnership propels us further into the multi-billion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, priming us to take full advantage of the medium’s meteoric growth, particularly since the recent legalization of sports wagering.  With industry leader Premiere Networks by our side, there’s no stopping us.”  The Elvis Duran Group says that since partnering with FNTSY Sports Network, it has assembled broadcast teams to report live from such events as the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC) and has launched new programming, including the daily show, “Fantasy Sports Today,” hosted by fantasy sports talker Craig Mish and Joe Pisapia, sports analyst and author of the number-one-selling Fantasy Black Book series.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast venture is coming from iHeartMedia and actor, comedian, and producer Will Ferrell.  The new “Big Money Players Network” – focusing on comedy shows – will roll out in 2020.  The network is preparing to launch 10 podcasts – scripted and unscripted – over the next 24 months produced by Ferrell and iHeartMedia that will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere else podcasts are heard.  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Will Ferrell is one of the greatest comedians of our lifetime and the unique synergy between Will and iHeartMedia will continue to lead us in accomplishing even more great audio content together.  We’ve worked extremely close with Will over the past year and our listeners love what we’ve offered them so far.  The creative opportunities that an iHeart and Will Ferrell collaboration offer are limitless and we can’t wait to introduce fresh, hilarious, new content to listeners.”…..Greg Likens leaves his weekend sports talk host position at Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” for work outside the radio business.  During his career in sports media, he served as producer for WQAM, Miami’s Joe Rose morning show…..Envision Networks’ home improvement show host Eric Goranson of “Around The House With Eric G.” is named among the Top 50 Innovators of 2019 in Kitchen and Bath Design.  The list was created and voted on by kitchen and bath design industry peers to highlight innovators whose work, creativity, and professionalism are leading the industry.  Goranson says, “I am honored that my industry peers and colleagues placed me in the top 50 innovators for 2019.”

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race/Ohio Debate, Catch and Kill Book, and Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Rudy Giuliani’s and the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine; the fate of the Kurds and the Trump Administration’s Syria policy; the 12 Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Ohio; the sexual predation allegations against NBC execs and the rape allegation against Matt Lauer outlined in Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill book; and a now-fired Forth Worth police officer kills a black woman in her home 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. A change in the programming department at SummitMedia’s Springfield, Missouri station group as Bo Jaxon exits after seven months as operations manager and PD/morning drive host for country KTTS.  Handling mornings for now is KTTS personality Nancy Simpson…..Pictured below at KKFR, Phoenix’s “POWERHOUSE 2019” concert featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign are (from l-r): KKFR afternoon drive host Crisco Kidd along with DJ Automatic, Dana Cortez, and Anthony A of the “Dana Cortez Show.”

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