iHeartMedia and Lenders Buy a Little More Time. The deadline for the Forbearance Agreement signed on Sunday was last night at midnight. Prior to that deadline however, iHeartMedia and the Consenting Lenders agreed to extend the term of that Forbearance Agreement to next Monday (3/12) at midnight CT. iHeartMedia – seeking to find a long-term solution to its $20 billion debt problem – is past the grace period and, without the Forbearance Agreement, would be in default on a missed $106 million payment on 14% Senior Notes. That default would likely trigger bankruptcy for iHM, but clearly the group of senior creditors are trying to find a way to avoid putting the fate of the company in the hands of a bankruptcy judge. This extension leads some analysts to conclude that some progress is being made toward that end.
Entercom Releases Q4 2017 Financial News. This is the first quarterly report for Entercom Communications Corp. that includes results of the CBS RADIO stations. The merger closed on November 17, 2017. Remember that Entercom issued 101,407,494 Class A shares to former shareholders of CBS Corporation who participated in the exchange. Net revenue for Q4 2017 was $246.6 million, compared to $124.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. “Operating income for the quarter was a loss of $2.3 million, which was negatively impacted by $36 million of merger, restructuring, impairment and financing costs. This compared to operating income of $30 million in the fourth quarter of 2016…adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $45 million, compared to $35.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.” The company reports that as of December 31, 2017, it had outstanding $1.4 billion of senior debt under its credit facilities and $400 million in senior notes and $34.2 million in cash on hand. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are making excellent progress toward our goals of capitalizing on our transformational merger and building a truly outstanding media and entertainment company. As the country’s #1 creator of live, original, local audio content and with a premier collection of outstanding local radio stations, digital platforms and live events, we have the scale and capabilities to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of ad dollars. We are off to a great start executing our game plan with important achievements in a number of areas including building a best-in-class leadership team and culture, growing our brands and ratings, executing our synergies, launching new sales tools and advocacy, and much more. We are very pleased with our progress and more excited than ever about the needle-moving opportunities ahead.”
Unsecured Creditors Challenge Cumulus Media’s Executive Bonus Structure. A group of Unsecured Creditors – the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media – is formally objecting to Cumulus Media’s executive bonus program in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In the filing, the Committee says, “the Debtors seek authorization to pay millions of dollars in supplemental ‘incentive’ compensation to highly compensated senior executives during an expedited chapter 11 process that, if the Debtors prevail at confirmation, will result in the unsecured creditors of these estates receiving pennies on the dollar. These executives have already received millions in prepetition ‘incentive’ compensation payments (indeed, the Debtors’ CEO has already received over two million dollars in supplemental 2017 incentive payments and is scheduled to receive at least an additional [amount redacted] if the Motion is approved) and stand to benefit from a very robust Management Incentive Plan (the “MIP”) to be implemented upon the Debtors’ emergence from bankruptcy. Moreover, the Debtors seek authorization to implement not one, but two allegedly incentivizing and wholly overlapping programs that both contemplate quarterly cash payments payable upon achievement of the exact same targets and metrics in order to “properly incentivize” those members of management who already stand to gain a substantial economic benefit from obtaining confirmation of the plan and thus implementation of the MIP.” The Committee says the incentive program cannot be allowed and cites three aspects of the U.S. Bankruptcy code that it believes backs its case.
Morning Drive Talk Host Angie Austin Announces Distributor and Rep for New Show. Talk show host Angie Austin – who previously hosted the “Daybreak USA” program on USA Radio Network – has re-branded her program “The Angie Austin Show” and it’s set to be delivered to affiliate stations via Genesis Communications Network with The Show Must Go On! repping the program. Mike Opelka co-hosts the show that is delivered live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. A presser says the show will debut in seven markets.
Judge Cites Lack of Evidence in Complaint Against WGAC, Augusta Talk Host Austin Rhodes. After a complaint from local businessman Joe Mullins suggesting that WGAC, Augusta, Georgia talk host Austin Rhodes’ words on his radio show caused him to become concerned for the safety of himself and his family, a judge has ruled that there is not enough evidence to suggest a crime may have been committed. According to a report by WJBF-TV, Mullins complained to authorities that Rhodes compared him to a snake on his February 27 broadcast and said, “Snakes have to be dispatched or killed.” The story notes that local police listened to a recording of the entire segment provided by Mullins but concluded that there was no direct threat to Mullins.
TALKERS News Notes. Rapid City, South Dakota has a new news/talk station as HomeSlice Media Group flips KKLS-AM/K248BT – both licensed to Rapid City – from classic hits to using syndicated programming. Shows on the station’s program schedule include: Dave Ramsey, Joe Pags, Westwood One’s Mark Levin, Jim Bohannon and Chris Plante, plus others. The schedule does not indicate a morning drive show, leaving open the possibility of a local program…..Entercom and PNC Bank partner to spotlight star high school lacrosse students in the Maryland community. Entercom sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and its sister stations are taking part in the PNC Achievers program that identifies and recognizes outstanding female and male student lacrosse athletes from public and private schools across the state of Maryland for their success and leadership on and off the field. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “At Entercom, giving back to our local communities is an important part of what we do and PNC Bank shares these values. We’re excited about this partnership that allows us to shine a light on high school athletes who display exemplary study habits, achieve excellent grades, are active volunteers in the community and mentor other students to help meet their respective goals.”…..University of Alabama Athletics and multi-media rights holder Learfield announce a five-year agreement with SummitMedia for the broadcaster to serve as the official radio home of the Crimson Tide Sports Network in Birmingham…..iHeartMedia’s alternative rock K248CU, Austin “ALT 97.5” signs a deal with MLB’s Houston Astros to serve as the ballclub’s official Austin affiliate. The station will carry all regular and post-season games.
Trump Tariffs Plan, Stormy Daniels Suit, Feds vs California, Trump Russia Investigation, Gun Control, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Russian Double Agent Poisoning, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The Trump Administration’s plan for tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum and the related exit of economic adviser Gary Cohn; porn star Stormy Daniels’ suit for relief from confidentiality agreement with President Trump; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ suit against California in the sanctuary matter; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the debate over gun control and Florida’s bill to limit gun ownership to those 21 and over; the talks between North Korea and South Korea over the former’s nuclear program; the apparent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the U.K.; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Job Opportunity. Radio management pro Harvey Wells is looking for a multi-talented operations manager for the Mid-West Family Broadcasting cluster in Springfield, Illinois. He says, “If you know a great talk/mainstream rock/talent coach/radio person, I’m looking for an operations manager to partner with me in the fine state capital of Springfield, Illinois. This is not a ‘rookie’ position. Must be able to do an airshift as well.” Contact Harvey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago’s famed classic rocker “The Loop” isn’t going away completely. With Educational Media Foundation’s LMA of WLUP-FM (soon to have new calls WCKL-FM) to begin Saturday in advance of its purchase of the signal from Merlin Media, Cumulus Media is taking the “Loop” format (sans jocks) and moving it to the HD2 channel of alternative rock WKQX-FM. Of course, that station is also up for sale and it’s likely a buyer will swoop in on this Windy City signal sooner rather than later…..Beasley Media Group announces it is naming Jeff Kurkjian the new morning drive co-host for its country outlet KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote.” Kurkjian, who was most recently morning host at Entercom’s hot AC WQAL, Cleveland “Q104,” is partnering with Aimee Montgomery, who slides over to “The Coyote” from Beasley’s adult contemporary “Lite 101.5 FM.” Kurkjian says, “I am so excited to be part of the team at ‘102.7 The Coyote’ in Las Vegas. I can’t imagine doing anything but local radio. I’m looking forward to connecting every morning with the casino workers getting off third shift, the moms taking their kids to school and everyone in between. I am eager to get out and about in Las Vegas, especially coming from the frozen tundra of the Northeast!”…..iHeartMedia announces the addition of Eminem featuring Kehlani, plus N.E.R.D and G-Eazy to the program of previously announced performers for this Sunday evening’s 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards…..Entercom’s classic rock KGON, Portland enters into a multi-year agreement with The Waterfront Blues Festival. Some of the highlights of the new partnership include the return of the festival to its original radio broadcast partner and the switch of KGON-HD2 to Waterfront Blues Radio – playing blues music all day. The festival takes place July 4 through 7 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and this summer’s event marks the 31st anniversary of the festival…..Pictured below are staffers of Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WMAS-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and volunteers celebrating the final tally of the WMAS Radiothon benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network and Baystate Children’s Hospital. Vice president and market manager Craig Swimm says, “Extremely proud of the team as we wrap up this year’s 94.7 WMAS Radiothon — $245,367 raised over 2 days. We beat last year’s number and have raised more than $4.5 million for the Children’s Miracle Network since 2002.”
Entercom Shareholder Vote Approves CBS RADIO Merger. This was a simple matter of “housekeeping” since Entercom company founder Joseph Field is a majority shareholder and was, of course, going to approve the deal. The vote took place at the Hotel Sofitel in Philadelphia yesterday (11/15) and Entercom president and CEO David Field still expects the deal to close tomorrow (11/17). When it does close, the new Entercom will be the second largest operator in the radio business with 235 stations in 48 of the top 50 radio markets.
David Field Touts Company Benefit Plan. In a filing with the SEC and as a memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field delivers an upbeat message to all staff that expresses his satisfaction with the new management team ready to lead the new company. He also extolls Entercom’s benefits plan. “I am pleased to share some additional good news with you regarding our benefits program. As a company that aims to attract the best and most talented people and provide a great place to work, we made it a priority to build out a highly competitive and generous benefits plan. We worked hard to take much of the best of both the Entercom and the CBS Radio programs. In addition to continuing many of our current, unique benefits, we are adding several new benefits to our program and enhancing some others. In particular, I am pleased to announce that we will be doubling the company match to 50% of your eligible contributions up to 5% of your salary. And we will continue to offer our employee stock purchase program with a 15% discount on our stock, plus our student loan payment assistance program and our personal volunteer time benefit.”
‘Our American Stories’ Offers Thanksgiving Special for Talk Stations. This one-hour special program is being offered contract free to stations to air around the Thanksgiving holiday. Lee Habeeb, host and executive producer of the syndicated “Our American Stories” program, is presenting “The Real Story of Thanksgiving: Yesterday and Today.” He calls it “an entertaining look at the origins of Thanksgiving and how the holiday has changed in America over the last century.” Interested stations can inquire by emailing email@example.com or visiting OurAmericanNetwork.org. “Our American Stories” is heard on more than 80 affiliate stations across the country.
Cool Morning Host Opportunity. Quad Cities news/talk WOC-AM, Davenport is searching for their next morning show star. A background in full-service radio is a plus, the gift of topicality an absolute must. Politically, the station leans right but they need someone who can be local — and interesting beyond politics. Successful candidate will be comfortable with endorsement ads, as well as communicating with their audience via digital media. Does this sound like you? Please send your resume, audio samples and any other relevant materials to: program director Dan Kennedy at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barstool Sports Gets SiriusXM Channel. The Barstool Sports relationship with ESPN may not have worked out, but the controversial sports and comedy digital media platform is getting its own channel on SiriusXM, beginning in January. SiriusXM says the new 24/7 channel “will showcase the site’s funny, irreverent and unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, popular culture and more.” A year ago, Barstool teamed with SiriusXM to create a show hosted by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, Kevin “KFC” Clancy, and additional Barstool personalities. The new daily lineup on the Barstool Radio on SiriusXM channel will feature Barstool Radio, a rotation of existing Barstool podcasts and new, original shows. Additional details on that programming will be announced at a later date. Portnoy states, “We’re excited to build on our relationship with SiriusXM. They’ve been big believers in our brand and our voice. The results already speak for themselves this past year and the sky is the limit with this channel.”
Roy Moore Allegations, Trumps Asia Tour, GOP Tax Reform/ObamaCare Mandate, North Korea Nuclear Program, Uranium One Deal, NFL-Jerry Jones Tension, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The allegations of sexual impropriety against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; President Trump’s recent tour of Asia and meetings with Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping, and Rodrigo Duterte; the Republican tax reform plan and the inclusion of rescinding the ObamaCare individual mandate; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and rhetoric between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the Uranium One deal and suggestions then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton influenced the deal; tensions between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the NFL; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hillsdale College and TALKERS Teaming Up to Present Sizzling Talk Radio Debate in DC. TALKERS magazine and Hillsdale College are joining forces for the second year in a row to present a dynamic talk radio debate titled, “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the diverse panel of participants will include (in alphabetical order): Scot Bertram, general manager Hillsdale College Radio, WRFH, Hillsdale, MI; John Fredericks, host, John Fredericks Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Hugh Hewitt, host, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, morning host, SiriusXM “Urban View” channel; Janet Parshall, host Moody Radio Network; and Bill Press, host, TYT Radio Network. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 5 at Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. It will start at 12:00 noon and run for about 90 minutes followed by a “meet and greet,” one-hour lunch reception. The event will be open to members of the media and press at no charge but seating will be limited and pre-registration is required. To register, please click here. For more information, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. Announcing the event, Michael Harrison states, “What a wonderful lineup! This debate will include many of the key perspectives represented on American news/talk radio about the enormously controversial issues generated since the election of 2016. TALKERS is delighted to be back in Washington, DC creating political talk happenings of this nature. This is the second of what will hopefully be a long series of forums that we are planning to present in conjunction with the enlightened educators at Hillsdale College.” Hillsdale College, based in Hillsdale, Michigan and established in 1844, is widely recognized as one of the finest, private liberal arts colleges in America.
Science Guru and Rising YouTube Star, Isaac Arthur, Guests this Week on Harrison Podcast. He is a high school drop-out from Ohio with a trademark speech impediment and a true geek’s love of science fact and fiction who, after earning his GED diploma, went on to graduate with a B.S. in Physics from Kent State University at the age of 20. He attended graduate school but preferred self-teaching and dropped out to serve in the army in Germany and Iraq. Upon returning home, he became involved in local politics and was appointed a member of the Ashtabula County, Ohio Board of Elections. (He tells Michael Harrison, “We take our elections very seriously here in Ohio.”) But there is a whole other talk media side to Isaac Arthur that caught the attention of Harrison and makes him an ideal guest for the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison,” as well as being a person of significant interest to the commercial media industry. It began as a hobby and has now grown into something remarkable. He is the producer and host of a rapidly growing YouTube channel titled, “Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur.” He writes, produces and narrates stunning video podcasts that run between ½ hour and an hour that curate, explore and explain the provocative leading edge of popular science. In three years, his channel has attracted more than 161,000 devoted subscribers and more than 12 million visits. Harrison, a passionate layman enthusiast of science and astrophysics says, “Isaac Arthur is a quintessential example of the pioneers who are out there laboring on the outskirts of the mainstream commercial radio/TV industries on the exciting frontier of talk media – where audio intersects with video, graphics, education and entertainment. Everyone in the radio business with an eye on podcasting and cross-platform brand expansion can learn from him. Having a personal love for the subject matter he covers, I am his fan!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas hip hop outlet KBFB “97.9 The Beat” drops the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley show and goes local with Veda Loca, a.k.a. Veda Emery. Also, part of the new “Veda Loca in the Morning” program is co-host J-Kruz, a.k.a. John Koutsakis; and producer, mixer and on-air personality DJ Kayotic. Loca has been serving as the Radio One station’s afternoon drive personality and J-Kruz has been the evening personality…..At the Hearst radio operations in Baltimore, Chris Chmielewski is named assistant program director for rock WIYY “98 Rock.” Chmielewski joined Hearst in 2015 as a promotions assistant. He has taken on more responsibilities with WIYY and sister news/talk WBAL since then. WIYY program director Rick Strauss comments, “Chris has become a key contributor at Hearst Radio in his various promotions, production and programming roles for ‘98 Rock,’ WBAL and our Ravens broadcasts and network. He has our full confidence as he assumes even greater responsibilities and an expanded leadership role at ‘98 Rock.’”…..Rich Broadcasting appoints programming pro Josh Tielor to program director for its Idaho Falls stations hot AC KGTM “Star 98” and classic rock simulcast KPKY/KZKY “The Rock 94.9 and 104.5.” Tielor also is hosting the afternoon drive show at “Star 98.”…..Alpha Media’s urban contemporary WMBX, West Palm Beach “X102.3” names MoShay LaRen midday personality and music director. LaRen was most recently midday host and APD at Radio One’s urban contemporary WRNB, Philadelphia…..Envision Networks enters into a representation deal with Skid Trax to distribute “The Ashley & Brad Show” for cash or barter. The Los Angeles-base show targets the 25 to 54 audience with current topics and humor. Radio stations’ music playlists remain intact while programmers insert the Ashley & Brad voice tracks. Co-host Brad Arbell states, “I am so excited to work with Envision Networks who can bring their storied pedigree with our fun-for-all-ages show to new markets.”…..Syracuse radio personality “Big Mike” Fiss is retiring from Galaxy Communications’ classic hits WZUN “Sunny 102” after 16 years with the station and 40 years in the radio business.
Cumulus/Westwood One Partner with American Music Awards. Festivities surrounding this Sunday’s “2017 American Music Awards” are being provided for radio stations by Westwood One and Cumulus Media who are official promotional partners of this year’s awards. Westwood One Backstage at the AMAs will feature three days of branded programming, artist interviews, and exclusive backstage live performances at radio row. Westwood One’s Zach Sang show and the Adam Bomb show will broadcast remotely and curate audio, video, and social media content to share with listeners nationwide. In addition to the backstage festivities, Westwood One, through its partnership with the American Music Awards and dick clark productions, is offering its stations a special, five-hour red carpet broadcast companion show airing Sunday, November 19. The evening also includes a one-hour “Red Carpet Special” hosted by Jayde Donovan, a three-hour broadcast companion, and a one-hour “Awards Wrap-Up.”
Entercom Announces November 17 Likely Day for Merger Closing. After yesterday’s ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO, Entercom issues a statement that it “continues to expect the merger to close as early as November 17.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are energized and excited by today’s announcement from the FCC. The Commission’s approval marks a significant milestone on our path toward completing the transformational combination of Entercom and CBS RADIO. This brings Entercom an important step closer to our goal of delivering greater value for our listeners, customers and shareholders as a leading media and entertainment company with national scale and the No. 1 creator of live, original and local audio content.” As previously announced, CBS Corporation launched an exchange offer for the separation of its radio business as part of the agreement to combine CBS RADIO and Entercom, which is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on November 16, 2017, unless the exchange offer is extended or terminated. On February 2, 2017, Entercom announced an agreement to combine with CBS RADIO in an all-stock transaction which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its shareholders. The new Entercom will operate 235 radio stations.
iHeartMedia Recognizes WBZ-AM Union Representation; Will Employ Current Staffers. According to a report in the Boston Herald, iHeartMedia has altered its course with respect to the acquisition of all-news WBZ-AM, Boston in a swap with Entercom. Initially stating that the company would not take on the SAG-AFTRA-negotiated contracts of the station’s union staffers and that all employees would have to re-apply for their jobs, the company is changing its strategy. As part of an iHM and SAG-AFTRA interim agreement reached Wednesday night, the former “agrees to recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all full-time and regular part-time announcers, producers, editors, writers and production assistants employed by WBZ-AM.” iHeartMedia will also “offer employment to all current union represented employees of WBZ-AM…at their current salary or hourly rate of pay.” iHeartMedia could begin its LMA of WBZ-AM as early as next Friday (11/17).
FCC’s Pai Makes Case for Eliminating Cross Ownership Ban in NYTimes Op-Ed. Not that regular readers of TALKERS magazine need any convincing, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s op-ed in The New York Times makes an elegant case for eliminating the 42-year-old rule preventing cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast operations. Democrat FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has publicly stated that she fears for the diversity of news sources and a reduction in news content overall if the ban is lifted. But Pai points out that in the few markets where newspaper-broadcast operations exemptions have been grandfathered for years, there’s no evidence of that diversity being affected. He writes, “Multiple studies have found that, on average, a cross-owned TV station produces more local news than comparable non-cross-owned stations. And a cross-owned radio station is four to five times more likely to have a news format. This makes sense, because a company that owns both a newspaper and broadcast outlet is able to gather the news and distribute it more cost-effectively across its multiple platforms.” Read his piece here.
Cox Names Four Execs for Atlanta Operations. These changes at Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations are designed to allow these “highly talented and proven leaders” to “work together to fully integrate CMG’s portfolio of traditional and digital media platforms in the Atlanta area beginning in 2018.” First, Moya Neville is named the new VP of sales. She moves over from sister company Cox Communications. Donna Hall is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of marketing. She’s been VP and market manager for CMG Atlanta and Athens radio stations since 2014. Mark Medici is the new VP of audience and newspaper operations. And the new VP of content and broadcast operations (TV and radio) is Paul Briggs.
TALKERS News Notes. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting on the recent rumors that job cuts are coming to ESPN. In the piece published yesterday, Deitsch reports that sources say some 100 staffers will be let go after Thanksgiving. The cuts will “hit positions across ESPN including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers. The ‘SportsCenter’ franchise is expected to be hit hard—including on-air people—given the frequency of the show has lessened considerably on main network ESPN.” It was in April of this year that ESPN eliminated the positions of about 100 air personalities and journalists…..Former NFL and college football coach Charlie Weis is joining SiriusXM’s roster of NFL analysts for its SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. Weis will be heard every Friday on “Airing it Out” with co-host Bruce Murray…..Radio traffic pro Jim Battagliese joins iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network to serve as regional director of operations for the New York market. He moves up the East Coast from Washington where he’s been director of traffic and weather operations at Hubbard’s all-news WTOP since 2010…..ABC Radio says the ‘No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis’ podcast – a show that focuses on the most-impressive women in the world letting down their guard and sharing honest stories about what it really takes to build an empire – is launching a new monthly bonus segment titled, “RJ Answers.” Host Rebecca Jarvis – who serves as chief business, technology & economics correspondent for ABC News – will answer questions directly from callers during the segment.
President Trump’s China Visit Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 6-10. The presidential trip to China and Donald Trump’s meeting with Xi Jinping was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear program. Coming in at #3 was former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign detailed in her new book, followed by the GOP tax reform plan 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Las Vegas CHR KLUC, the morning drive program re-brands from the previous “Chet Buchanan & the Morning Zoo” to “The Chet Buchanan Show,” effective immediately. The program features Chet Buchanan, Spence, and Kayla, with producer Davey the “Showkiller.” CBS RADIO Las Vegas operations manager JB King comments, “Chet’s work on air and in the Las Vegas community is second to none; coupled with Spence’s creativity and passion for radio, I am thrilled that they will continue to be an integral part of the KLUC lineup.”…..In Detroit, the Detroit News is reporting that classic rock WCSX afternoon personality Doug Podell has exited the Beasley Media Group cluster. He’d worked in the market for the past 23 years with WCSX and rock WRIF…..Hubbard Radio country outlet WIL, St. Louis “New Country 92.3” names “Stacey and Jonah” the new afternoon drive program, taking over for Bo Matthews. Stacey K. Boyer and Jonah Griss-Bush had been with Amaturo Media Group’s CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7” hosting the morning program for the past six years. Boyer also served as program director of the station. WIL program director Scott Roddy says, “Hubbard is the platinum standard for live and local talent. While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding diversity and experience to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah’s charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Hwy 40 during the drive home!”…..The “Greg & The Morning Buzz” show at iHeartMedia’s rock WGIR-FM, Manchester, New Hampshire “Rock 101” is holding a “Lend A Helping Can” radiothon on November 16 and 17 to benefit 11 New Hampshire charities working to combat local hunger and homelessness. “Greg & The Morning Buzz” is syndicated across the state on: WHEB-FM, Portsmouth; WLKZ-FM, Wolfeboro; WHDQ-FM, Claremont; and WRFK-FM, Barre, Vermont…..Beasley Media Group adult contemporary WPBB, Tampa-St. Petersburg “b98.7” announces that new morning personalities Chadd and Kristi Thomas will host their 17th Annual Toys for Tots Marathon Toy Drive on Friday, December 1 to benefit needy families. They’ll broadcast live and collect new, unwrapped toys at a Walmart Super Center…..During the month of October, Alpha Media markets across the U.S. raised funds for the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” campaign. The company held an internal competition to see which market could donate the most to the cause. The total donated was $13,546 with Portland in the lead with $9,391. Mitch Elliot from 101.9 KINK FM joined the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. “I was so frustrated that so many loved ones had been diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted badly to do something, I just didn’t know what. When I heard about Real Men Wear Pink, I knew I could use my giant ‘megaphone’ at KINK to raise awareness and money. My initial goal was $2500, but our listeners came through in droves and we were able to raise over $9K! I am so thankful that folks responded in such a big way.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is presenting “Winter Jawn ‘18” at XFINITY Live on January 18 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. It’s a free, outdoor show featuring live performances by: Dashboard Confessional, The Struts, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and AJR. The event includes a New Music Discovery Stage featuring: SYML, The Glorious Sons, and Welshly Arms.
PPM Analysis: Alternative Rock. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of alternative stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. Looking at 6+ ratings from last month’s survey and October’s, “nearly as many stations on our alternative sample are up from September 2017 (41%) as are down (44%); the remaining 15% are flat.” A year-over-year comparison shows “slightly more than half the stations on this alternative panel are down year-to-year (52%), while 45% improve; the remaining 3% are unchanged.” Not being known as a high-cume format, it’s not surprising that no alt rocker ranks in the top 5 (6+) in its market. However, iHeartMedia’s KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” and KTCL, Denver “Channel 93.3” ranked #6 in their respective markets in October. See the whole report here.
FCC Grants Approval of Entercom-CBS Merger. The Federal Communications Commission has issued its decision approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO. “We have reviewed the proposed merger, the applications for its approval, and related comments. We conclude that the applicants are fully qualified and that grant of the Merger Applications and the Trust Applications, subject to the conditions set forth herein, will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” In the 20-page decision, the FCC explains its denial of the Petition to Deny filed by longtime Entercom adversary Edward R. Stolz II (and Deborah J. Niaman). It also reminds Entercom that CBS officers Leslie Moonves and Joseph Ianniello may serve as Temporary Directors for the new corporation for only six months.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Net Revenue for Third Quarter; WW1 Up 5.5%. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 was up just a little over $1 million, resulting in a 0.4% increase from the same period a year ago. For the first nine months of 2017, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was flat at $841 million. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “As we noted when we announced our preliminary results in October, our strong third quarter performance plainly demonstrates that our operational turnaround plan is working. The entire Cumulus team has shown great commitment to maintaining our momentum. By executing our foundational operating initiatives and continuing to develop growth opportunities, we are confident that we can build on our success despite the challenging industry environment. We are also focused on addressing our excessive debt load on a parallel track to our operational turnaround plan. As previously disclosed, we are working with our advisors to proactively explore a range of alternatives to restructure our balance sheet and we are continuing productive discussions with our creditors. Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business. Our goal remains to reduce our debt so we can focus our time and resources on investments in our people, key technologies, and initiatives that will ultimately drive sustainable, long-term growth.” Cumulus breaks its operations in to two segments, Radio Station Group and Westwood One. The Radio Station Group’s net revenue was down 1.6% while Westwood One was up 5.5% from the same period in 2016. For the first nine months of this year, the Radio Station Group was down 1.3% and Westwood One was up 3% compared to the first nine months of 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Live Event in Phoenix. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” live event to Phoenix on Tuesday (11/7) where he presented at the sold-out Christ’s Church of the Valley. The program was also streamed live online to attendees across the country. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KTAR “News 92.3 FM” to promote the event. Ryan Hatch, vice president of content and operations Bonneville Phoenix, says, “It is no surprise to us that both Dave’s radio show and his events continue to be in high demand. His passion and commitment in helping others is unmatched.” Pictured above (from l-r) are: Ilene Thompson, director of partner and community services; Dave Zadrozny, KTAR sales manager; Paul Ihander, KTAR news director; Ramsey; Becky Kaiser, “Arizona Sports” sales manager; and Connie Drushel, HR director.
PPM Analysis: NFL Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station ratings (6+) based on the latest PPM data from Nielsen Audio for stations that serve as flagships for play-by-play for NFL clubs. Among the comparisons presented in this report are how stations fared from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey. Kinosian says, “Slightly more than three of every four of these particular NFL flagships (76%) improve between September 2017 – October 2017, with one in 10 holding steady (10%) and the remaining 14% of the sample is down from September.” Looking at year-over-year comparisons, the sample of flagship stations was split about 50-50, with half seeing 6+ ratings increases and the other half seeing declines. Check out Kinosian’s entire report here.
Craig Carton Officially Pleads Not Guilty. Former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton was in federal court in Manhattan yesterday (11/8) at which time he pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. The feds allege that Carton and a partner committed securities and wire fraud when they solicited investors to contribute millions to their concert ticket re-sale business. The feds allege that those investments were made based on the belief that Carton had deals in place to acquire blocks of tickets but that no such deals existed. During a statement to reporters yesterday, Carton said, “The real fact is that my business was licensed by the State of New York to sell tickets. The real fact is that I bought and sold thousands of tickets at arenas no more than a few miles from where I stand right now and had pending deals in place to buy and sell many more. The real fact, that you guys couldn’t possibly know, is that about a week and a half ago the government conceded to my lawyers that I had a legitimate ticket-selling business, and that I’ve been selling tickets for a long time.” Carton resigned from his position with WFAN shortly after being indicted. Read the Bergen Record’s story here.
Scott Fitzgerald MIA from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. The 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host at Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is missing from his show and his bio has been scrubbed from the station website. Today (11/9), former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory sat in with WBT morning host Bo Thompson for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour, then weekend host Vince Coakley hosted the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. There’s no official word from Entercom on permanent plans for the daypart.
TALKERS News Notes. Affiliates of FOX News Radio have Thanksgiving programming in the form of a special show hosted by Brian Kilmeade. The “FOX & Friends” and “Brian Kilmeade Show” host recently published “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017) and the program addresses that story. FOX says, “Brian, along with the top experts in history and politics, will give you the play-by-play into how, against all odds, General Andrew Jackson defeated the British from capturing New Orleans in a pivotal battle that helped make America into what she is today.” The special will be available for download on the FOX News Radio affiliate website the week of November 19th…..Entercom Buffalo promotes account executive Adam Haker to the local sales manager position for the cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talker WGR and WWKB, as well as hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5,” CHR WKSE “Kiss 98.5,” alternative WLKK “Alt Buffalo,” and rhythmic oldies WWWS…..Salem Radio Network talk star Hugh Hewitt is pictured at left addressing the Indiana Hospital Association – a gathering of doctors and administrators – at their annual conference on the future of healthcare and the role of hospitals in infrastructure spending. Hewitt originated his SRN show from Indianapolis, then returned to Washington to tape his weekly, Saturday morning program that airs on MSNBC…..This Saturday, CBS RADIO launches the “Eye on Veterans” radio program that aims to provide military veterans and their families with “relevant and useful information about finance, healthcare, and transitioning back into civilian life.” The weekly, two-hour program is produced by CBS RADIO’s ConnectingVets.com, a national, multi-media resource linking military veterans and their families to relevant information, resources, solutions and, most importantly, each other. It will air on CBS News Radio affiliates, including CBS RADIO all-news and news/talk stations WCBS-AM, New York; KNX-AM, Los Angeles; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford.
Trump in China, North Korea Nuclear Threats, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Virginia and New Jersey Democrat Governor Victories, Mueller Trump-Russia Investigation, Donna Brazile Clinton Campaign Critique, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Twitter’s 280 Character Limit, CMA Awards, Sexual Assault Cases Fallout, Roy Halladay Death, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). The presidential trip to China; the rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; the GOP tax reform plan; Democrat victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor races; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the blowback from Democrats against Donna Brazile for her criticism of the Clinton campaign; the aftermath of the Texas church massacre; Twitter ups its character limit to 280; last night’s Country Music Association awards; the expanding number of sexual assault accusations and the effects on careers; former star pitcher Roy Halladay dies in a plane crash; and NBA action 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. At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster, Lady La moves from her evening show on hot AC KMXP “MIX 96.9” to the company’s CHR KZZP “104.7 KISS FM” to host the afternoon drive program. Taking over the evening show at KMXP is Reid Spivey, who continues to host weekends on KZZP and serve as music director for both stations…..Premiere Networks announces that Suzette Rodriguez joins “The Johnjay & Rich Show” as a co-host, effective immediately. The syndicated program – hosted by Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra – is based at KZZP, Phoenix. Rodriguez says, “When I was asked to be a fourth member on ‘The Johnjay and Rich Show,’ I freaked out! I’ve always listened to the show, and everyone I know listens to the show. I’m beyond grateful and excited to join an amazing team. I’m ready to learn from the best and start a new journey.”…..Tomorrow (11/10) at 7:00 pm ET on SiriusXM’s Hits 1 channel, Taylor Swift will perform an exclusive acoustic performance in front of a select group of SiriusXM subscribers in celebration of the release of her sixth studio album, reputation. SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are delighted to welcome Taylor Swift back to SiriusXM on the day of reputation’s release. A true, one-of-a-kind artist, Taylor will be performing to a special group of SiriusXM listeners in a wonderfully intimate setting. We can’t wait to hear songs from her new album reputation and share this experience with our lucky subscribers.”…..Next Thursday (11/16), iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God – will present an all-day radiothon called #Change4Change to benefit The Gathering for Justice, a charity that sponsors movements such as The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.