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Friday, August 28, 2020

| August 28, 2020

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, “Another Week in the Year of Fear!” looks back at this past week of August 24-28, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDale Jackson, talk show host / program director, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Walter Sterling, nationally syndicated talk show host / WABC, New York; and Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle/CRN Digital Talk Radio Network This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Buck Sexton Show Expands on WOR, New York. The Premiere Networks-syndicated Buck Sexton show is growing from two to three hours on iHeartMedia’s “710 WOR, The Voice of New York.” The program begins airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Monday (8/31). Sexton says, “I’m thrilled to be extending my presence on the far-reaching airwaves of WOR. I look forward to expanding my nightly conversation with fellow New Yorkers and Tri-Staters about the issues that matter most to us.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy adds. “Since COVID-19 hit us, Buck has been broadcasting from his apartment in mid-town Manhattan and has never missed a day. He has done an outstanding job giving New Yorkers everything they need to know to survive this pandemic, along with his thoughts on the political stories of the day.”

Beasley Promotes Tee Gentry to Regional OM for Augusta and Fayetteville. Longtime company programmer Tee Gentry is promoted to regional operations manager for Beasley Media Group’s radio stations in Augusta, Georgia – including news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands – and Fayetteville, North Carolina’s six music brands. Gentry has been serving as operations manager for the Augusta cluster. Gentry has spent the majority of his 25-year radio career with Beasley Media Group, serving more than 20 years as operations manager and PD at country WKXC-FM, Augusta and three years in Tampa as operations manager and PD at country WQYK-FM. Beasley VP and general manager Kent Dunn says, “Tee has done a tremendous job over the past 20 years at Beasley Media Group. He has done a great job leading our Augusta team and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Fayetteville team.”

The RNC, Presidential Race, the USPS and Defunding Police Controversies Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. This week’s Republican National Convention, the presidential race and the controversies over the U.S. Postal Service and the move to defund police departments tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was race relations, urban violence, the suburban housing controversy, and the NBA demonstration. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, meds, masks, and the CDC testing flap tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talk host Norm Hitzges revealed to listeners on Thursday that he is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer. The 76-year-old Hitzges – who co-hosts the “Norm and D Invasion” program on Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” with Donovan Lewis – says he’ll continue to work while going through the treatment, according to a story in the Dallas News…..In Asheville, North Carolina, WISE-AM sports talk host Pat Ryan is battling a recurrence of colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. WLOS-TV reports that Ryan was first diagnosed and treated in 2018. He learned last month that more chemotherapy is needed. But Ryan tells WLOS that doing his daily, afternoon drive show on the Saga Communications station rejuvenates him and helps with the cancer treatment…..Salem Radio Network says it will have a front row seat to President Trump’s first campaign stop after last night’s acceptance speech as SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston travels aboard Air Force One to Manchester, New Hampshire today (8/28). Clugston is also credentialed for all four debates (three presidential, one vice presidential) sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates this fall…..iHeartMedia, Inc chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler are participating in a question-and-answer session during the BofA Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference taking place on September 10 at 11:40 am ET. iHeartMedia says a live webcast of the session will be available to the general public through a link on the Investors homepage of its website (https://investors.iheartmedia.com/). A replay of the video webcast will be available in the Events & Presentation section of iHeartMedia’s Investors homepage.

45th Annual Gracie Awards to Stream Virtually on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 45th annual Gracie Awards program will air live on AWMF’s Facebook page on September 10 at 7:00 pm ET. The virtual event will recognize esteemed honoree Katy Perry, who will receive the Gracies Impact Award, presented to an artist who has made a positive impact on society through their music. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will deliver a special tribute to frontline journalists who covered breaking news regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, and women in television, radio, and digital media being honored for their contributions this year include: Naomi Watts, Michelle Williams, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee. AWMF adds that Danai Gurira, Norah O’Donnell, Fiona Shaw, Andrea Mitchell and Gayle King will appear in the virtual show along with country artist Mickey Guyton who will perform twice throughout the night, and Grey’s Anatomy’s “Silent All These Years” episode will receive the Grand Award for the incredibly powerful episode which brought attention to sexual assault survivors. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “There’s no doubt that this year has been indescribable – but one thing that has stayed consistent is the level of content that continues to be generated by and for women. We understand that people are going through unprecedented times and it’s our commitment to bring the world in for the first time and see the magic of the Gracie Awards as we celebrate some of the brave and poignant, storytellers of our time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Flipping from Gospel to adult contemporary is Beasley Media Group’s WGUS-FM, Augusta, Georgia “Sunny 102.7.” Core artists include: Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Journey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, and more…..Entercom is kicking off “DTS Sound Space Sundays” with a special broadcast of Foster the People’s performance at “KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017.” The broadcast will air at 9:00 pm ET August 30 via RADIO.COM. An exclusive new interview with band frontman Mark Foster will follow the performance. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We’re looking forward to opening our archives and sharing this classic Foster the People performance with a national audience via RADIO.COM. HD Radio has served as a great partner over the years and we’re excited to spotlight their sister brand, DTS, through our Sound Space and Sound Space Sundays content.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

| August 25, 2020

KKFN-FM, Denver’s Darren McKee Status Uncertain After Racist Twitter Typo. Denver alternative publication Westword reports that KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon personality Darren “D-Mac” McKee was off the air yesterday (8/24) after Sunday’s tweet in which he posted the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” McKee quickly deleted the tweet and apologized. How the “N-word” got there instead of “Nuggets” is unclear but it comes a week after Charlotte Hornets announcer John Focke was suspended for the same instance – tweeting the “N-word” in place of “Nuggets.” It’s unknown when McKee will return to the air. Here’s what he said in the aftermath. “Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game. I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry.” Station PD Raj Sharan tells Westword that Bonneville policy is not to discuss personnel issues publicly.

Bill Smee Named Vice President of News for Entercom. Back in early July, Entercom CEO David Field announced to staff that news pro Bill Smee is joining the company in the newly created position of vice president of news. Now, Entercom makes the announcement public. It says that in this position Smee will have strategic oversight of the company’s “best-in-class multiplatform local news brands, including eight all-news and 18 news/talk radio stations in 23 markets across the country, and nationwide via the RADIO.COM platform. Smee will spearhead linear audio, podcast and on-demand audio, written editorial, and video news content produced both centrally and at market level, while collaborating with digital product teams on the design of new features to serve news listeners.” Smee has led video strategy for multiple leading news outlets, including CNN, where he supervised editorial content and managed rapid deployment teams on breaking news specials as senior supervising producer for the outlet’s documentary unit “CNN Presents.” Smee also previously served as director of digital video for NBC News, where he launched, built and led a news team to produce original video for all digital platforms. He also served as an executive producer for Slate Magazine. Smee previously served as a strategic consultant for Entercom’s news radio, podcasting and digital platforms. Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Bill is a highly respected, award-winning news professional with over 30 years of experience leading and growing high-profile news brands. As the #1 local news platform, we remain committed to providing our audiences with quality local content via our collection of iconic news brands. Bill’s expertise will help us enhance and expand our position as an unparalleled leading news platform to better serve our communities.”

NRRC Recommends National Buys Be Based on Fall 2019 Ratings. On the heels of Nielsen’s statement that future media buying and planning decisions should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates (including the upcoming Spring 2020 Nationwide survey) the Network Radio Research Council is recommending that all network/national buying and selling be based on the Fall 2019 Nationwide survey – the latest data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRRC says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented divergence of traditional patterns of media consumption, including AM/FM listening and the streaming of audio. Listening behaviors were significantly altered starting in mid-March 2020, as the public adjusted to remote work environments and shelter-at-home mandates across the United States. The broadcast month of April represents the first month of Nielsen’s Spring 2020 (April-May-June) Nationwide survey. Each month subsequent to April has demonstrated consistent increases in listening, and there is confidence listenership will continue to stabilize and approach pre-COVID-19 levels. It is, therefore, the NRRC’s position that the Fall 2019 Nationwide book represents the best solution for the upcoming 2021 network radio upfront and Q4 scatter buys.” The Network Radio Research Council was created in 2001 “to promote valid, reliable, and effective national radio audience measurement research.” Its current member roster includes: AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, Sun Broadcast Group, United Stations Radio Networks, and Westwood One.

PPM Analysis: Ongoing Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a deep dive into Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings in this report. Although some people in portions of the country have returned to commuting, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting radio listening patterns. In today’s report, you can see which markets put up the strongest PPM numbers for spoken-word stations; which markets gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share for spoken-word stations (and which markets lost the most); as well as which stations gained the most shares and which lost the most. See it all here.

Presidential Election/Republican National Convention, Kellyanne Conway to Exit White House, BLM Movement/Wisconsin Riot, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Openings/College Flareups, Navalny Poisoning, California Wildfires, and Tropical Storms Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The November presidential election and the first night of the Republican National Convention; Donald Trump’s White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announces she’ll leave her post at the end of the month; the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of a Black man by police; the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the outbreaks at several college campuses; officials in Germany say Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned; the California wildfires; and Tropical Storms Laura and Marco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel looks at ESPN’s taking over of day-to-day operations of KESN-FM, Dallas on October 8. Cumulus Media has been operating the station since October of 2013. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal and ESPN will resume operation of the station. It is expected that ESPN will air its entire lineup of national programs beginning in October…..Effective January 1, 2021,  The Weather Channel and Skyview Networks, will begin a multi-year partnership in which Skyview will handle radio network sales and distribution for The Weather Channel. TWC president Tom O’Brien says, “As one of the top five most trusted brands in America, The Weather Channel radio network’s goal for this new partnership is to further expand our reach to provide more listeners with the world’s most accurate weather information to manage their daily lives. We’re thrilled to partner with Skyview Networks as we continue to grow our radio network’s reach and increase our brand awareness among listeners, radio stations and advertisers alike.”…..VSiN announces an expanded lineup, new shows and additional talent heading into “the most anticipated sports betting season in years.” Beginning this fall, the 24/7 sports betting network will begin broadcasting nearly 100 live linear hours each week, adding several new shows and new talent. VSiN is adding Tim Murray, former host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line,” former professional football player and sports broadcaster Mike Pritchard, journalist and $1 Million Super Contest winner James Salinas, and the NFL Network’s Danielle Alvari. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “VSiN has experienced incredible growth over the past 18 months, significantly expanding distribution, advertising sales, and industry partnerships, while enhancing our product across channels. We’re excited to build on that momentum by launching new shows and introducing new talent. This new programming will allow us to cover sportsbooks around the country and provide unique and valuable insights to our growing audience of sports bettors.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The WQHT, New York show “Ebro In the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” is going into syndication via Superadio on September 8. The program features Ebro Darden and co-hostsLaura Stylez and Pete Rosenberg. Superadio Networks president Eric Faison says, “Ebro is the king of real talk and a reluctant influencer, but what you hear is what you get. We’re happy to be able to bring this show to the world via radio stations across the country.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Sal Palazzolo program director for classic rock WODE-FM, Allentown “99.9 The Hawk” Palazzolo previously programmed sister alternative WWYY-FM prior to it becoming a simulcast of country WCTO-FM. Cumulus Lehigh Valley VP and market manager Elizabeth Pembleton says, “It is exciting to welcome Sal to this new role with ‘99.9 The Hawk.’ The support from the entire Cumulus staff, especially WODE air talent and corporate programming, has been outstanding. This promotion is well deserved and earned through commitment and dedication. It is an honor to have an individual of Sal’s caliber guiding one of our flagships.” At the same time, the station promotes Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell from weekends to the afternoon drive position.

Friday, August 21, 2020

| August 21, 2020

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 Straw that Almost broke the Snail’s Back!” looks back at this past week of August 17-21, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Ken Lanphear, talk show host, WKZO, Kalamazoo; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkKenneth S. Stern, director, Bard Center for the Study of Hate; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Newsmax TV Names Carl Higbie Host of ‘Saturday Report.’ Retired Navy SEAL Carl Higbie is the new host of Newsmax TV’s “Saturday Report,” airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on the cable TV network. Newsmax says, “Higbie will tackle current events and the biggest headlines of the week, with smart, provocative analysis and commentary from newsmakers and the nation’s top political thinkers.” Higbie adds, “I am extremely excited to join the Newsmax family. With the team we have in place, I believe we can soon become America’s go-to weekend news program.” Higbie was a member of the Navy SEALS for nine years, with two combat tours in Iraq in which he saw dozens of combat missions and was decorated with valor in leadership positions. During one mission, he and his team were responsible for the capture of Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. Higbie was an early surrogate spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. He was appointed chief of external affairs for the National Corporation for Community, overseeing grants with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity. He also served as director of advocacy for America First Policies, a nonprofit social-welfare organization supporting President Trump’s policy platforms. Higbie has published three books, most recently Crisis of Culture: The Political Battlefield of the New Civil War (2018, Tactical 16).

PodcastOne Inks Deal with Chris Myers. Sports media pro Chris Myers and PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc. sign an exclusive podcast deal for the platform to publish the FOX Sports personality’s “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” The first episode will drop on August 26 and offer revealing conversations between Myers and some of the greatest names in sports, including college football’s Urban Meyer, MLB legend “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson, Super Bowl MVP and fellow broadcaster Troy Aikman and more. PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “I’m sitting on the beach in Santa Barbara and next to me is Chris Myers and a very famous athlete. I said to Chris, ‘Do you think this guy would guest on your podcast?’ Chris replied, ‘I don’t have a podcast.’ Well he does now and it’s right here on PodcastOne. We couldn’t be happier.” Myers comments, “Anytime you have a chance to share a conversation with the most accomplished and interesting personalities in and around sports it’s a good thing and I am excited to do that with ‘CMI: The Chris Myers Interview’ on PodcastOne where you can eavesdrop on people you know or would like to.”

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a nice piece in the Times-Free Press in Chattanooga that spotlights the changes in programming at Brewer Broadcasting’s talk station “NoogaRadio” WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ. It focuses on Jeff Styles’ 7:00 am to 10:00 am “Fred the Show” program, Bryan Stone’s daily, one-hour “StoneOnAir Podcast” and Styles’ weekly, one-hour music program called, “Rockaeology.” Styles’ “Rockaeology” airs on University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s non-commercial WUTC-FM. It is also now airing on “NoogaRadio” Fridays at 6:00 pm…..Radio ratings firm Eastlan Ratings announces that its move to continuous measurement has yielded two more new markets: Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol in Tennessee and Virginia and Billings Montana. Bristol Broadcasting has been using Eastlan for its Charleston, West Virginia stations for four years and for its Paducah, Kentucky cluster for about 20 years. Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould says, “We are certain the increased consistency and stability of our new continuous measurement will provide radio advertisers a new level of accountability and at the same time, instill more confidence in our subscribers. We are excited to be able to offer this enhancement to small and medium market broadcasters without increasing our annual rates.”…..iHeartMedia Birmingham is partnering with United Way of Central Alabama to launch the “Chromebooks For Kids” fundraising campaign to purchase Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. Through September 3, iHeartMedia Birmingham’s 10 stations are encouraging listeners to make a donation and support students in the community. iHM Birmingham program director Dino Conrad says, “The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for laptops as Alabama schools and students shifted to at-home learning. As some children return to class this fall or continue at-home education, we hope our community can help students access the tools and resources necessary for learning.”

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states, “With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

The Presidential Race and the Democratic National Convention Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election and this week’s Democratic National Convention tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio from August 17-21 and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the funding issues at the United States Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, medications, and vaccines at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Wilmington, Delaware hot AC WJBR-FM “Mix 95.5” is awarding $50,000 in advertising grants to assist small businesses in need in Wilmington. Beasley Media Group says that “to assist in the reopening efforts, the station will offer a total of five $10,000 advertising grants (all to air on “Mix 99.5”) over a six-week period from 9/7/20- 10/18/20. General sales manager Marta DeLisi says, “We are thrilled to be able to help local businesses during the reopening process during these unprecedented times.”…..Cumulus Media’s KBUL, Carson City, Nevada recently partnered with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada after the charity had to cancel its primary annual fundraiser due to the pandemic. The gala event would have brought in an estimated $150,000 and supported their efforts as a safety net for the community in times of crisis. “K-Bull 98.1” presented the public with “Boxers For Bucks” in which afternoon personality J.J. Christy (at right) donned nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (and Garfield house slippers) and literally “weathered” the morning show on top of the local Toyota dealership. During that time, he was greeted with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, a brief monsoon that nearly blew his pop-up tent away, no food, and a swarm of bats! In the end, $152,000 was raised (and still counting) for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 2020

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, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  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.  “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.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties 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 and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”

Monday, May 13, 2019

| May 13, 2019

Erica Farber Named TALKERS 2019 ‘Woman of the Year.’   The TALKERS editorial board has selected Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president/CEO Erica Farber as the broadcasting industry trade journal’s 2019 recipient of its 20th annual Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman, also known as the “Woman of the Year” award. Farber joined the RAB as executive VP in January of 2012 and quickly ascended to its leadership in April of that year.  Prior to that, Farber served more than a dozen years as publisher and CEO of the historic radio trade publication Radio & Records.  Her extraordinary career in the radio business also includes a 12-year stint in various top management capacities at INTEREP, one of radio’s leading rep firms, including serving as its executive vice president/radio development director.  Erica Farber was also a significant pioneer in the history of women breaking the glass ceiling in the management arena of the major market radio station business.  During the early years of her career, she held positions at KRTH-FM, KABC-TV, and KIIS-AM in Los Angeles. In 1975, she was appointed general sales manager of WROR-FM, Boston and was promoted to general manager in June of that year. Her success then led to an appointment as VP/general manager of WXLO-FM, New York in 1976.  In making the announcement of Farber’s selection, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We have just scratched the surface of this great radio woman’s work history in today’s TALKERS story.  Erica could have justifiably claimed this honor many times during her stellar career and she has been awarded literally dozens of industry awards and accolades since her days in local radio management and sales.”  Harrison adds, “We look forward to day when a specific women’s award in radio becomes an obsolete concept.  We are getting closer to that day but still have a way to go.  But we are certainly a lot closer to it thanks to women such as Erica and the other outstanding female broadcasters who have received this award since it was established in 2000.  It was originally conceived as a tribute to the career of the independently syndicated talk show host Judy Jarvis who was taken from us by cancer that year at the age of 54.”   Past recipients of the award include: Caroline Beasley,  Mary BernerGinny MorrisJulie TalbottRobin QuiversRobin BertolucciHeather CohenGrace BlazerLaurie CantilloStephanie MillerRandi RhodesLaura IngrahamKim KomandoEllen RatnerAdriane GainesLynn DistlerLisa Evers, Gloria Allred and (posthumously) Judy Jarvis.  The award will be presented to Erica Farber at Talkers 2019:  Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7.   The event is mere days away from a sellout.  For registration and agenda information, please click here.

Salem Media Group First Quarter Revenue Drops 5.2%. First quarter total net revenue reported by Salem Media Group was $60.5 million, down 5.2% from Q1 of 2018.  Breaking it down by segment, Salem’s broadcast revenue was $46.1 million, down 4.1% compared to the same period in 2018.  Looking even closer, Salem operates 33 news/talk stations and the revenue from those stations was down 10.8% for the quarter.  This quarter they contributed 18% of total broadcast revenue.  Salem CEO Ed Atsinger said during Friday’s earnings call that “the biggest decline came from local revenue, which includes local spot, local program. and miscellaneous broadcast revenue.  Local revenue is down 8.9%.  On a same-station basis, the revenue is down 7.4% or $1.8 million.  About 20% of that decline was due to the absence of political revenue.”  Atsinger said they face two adversaries in the broadcast revenue sector.  “First, we continue to lose local revenue to digital, principally Facebook and Google.  Additionally, in several of our markets, where we play for ratings, we we’re seeing competitors pricing per share by packaging in other related stations into a buy for free. And basically, the other competitors have a larger cluster, they’ve got an advantage there.”  Atsinger also noted that the company’s focus on digital agency initiative Salem Surround has affected performance.  “To a certain extent, this has caused some distraction to sales staff, as we’re seeing some cannibalization of other local revenue streams and also a distraction in terms of time.  But the results that we’ve been seeing from Salem Surround have been quite favorable. Our local digital revenue grew by almost $1 million or 53%.  And Salem Surround showed a modest profit for the first time.”  Revenue for Salem Radio Network was off 6.6% during the quarter and that was attributed primarily to the changeover from the Michael Medved show to the Dr. Sebastian Gorka program.  Atsinger said SRN lost some affiliates initially, but the affiliate count is growing and the show is “progressing well ahead of schedule.”

Monday Memo: Twitter Tips. In the social media jungle, Facebook is still T-Rex.  But people on Twitter seem to live there, Donald Trump included.  With all the new-tech competition AM/FM broadcasters now have – and with so much of it robotic (i.e., Pandora) – social media can help differentiate and personalize us. And listeners are flattered when a celebrity (that’s you) interacts; and, most flattering of all, re-Tweets something they posted.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines tips for exploiting this powerful platform.  Read it here.

Free Talk Live Passes 200-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated talk program “Free Talk Live” announces it has surpassed the 200-affiliate mark.  The program is co-hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge.  Freeman says, “It took 15 years, but we made it.  This week we crossed the 200-affiliate milestone! Thanks to all the stations that are currently airing and also have aired Free Talk Live at some point in the past. You have made this possible and I appreciate it.”  Freeman notes that, unlike some other syndicated talk shows, he works to keep his GCN-distributed program’s affiliate roster accurate and up-to-date, otherwise he could claim as many as 400 stations!  He adds that he figures he’s lost about 200 affiliates over 15 years as well so he’s proud to say the show has 203 active AM and FM affiliates.

Joe ‘Pags’ Show to Air in Evenings on WPHT, Philadelphia.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show,” with host Joe Pagliarulo, is taking over the evening daypart on Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia.  That slot opened up when Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show moved from evenings down into the live 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart following Rich Zeoli’s promotion to morning drive.  The “Joe Pags Show” is currently heard on more than 70 affiliate stations across the U.S.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Tom Donahue reports that his program is returning in  on-demand form for streaming stations and podcast platforms.  The weekly program can be provided to radio stations and online streaming stations for weekend play.  Donahue says, “I will be joined by a contributing host and producer Angeline Marie who has hosted the ‘Truth Seekers Radio Show’ and created her own online station ‘K-Star Talk Radio.’  This is the first time ever for me to have a regular on-air contributor.  I have always flown solo…I felt taking this new approach for my talk show would infuse a dynamic and real radio feel.”…..Baseball legend Darryl Strawberry recently spent the morning on air with personalities of NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone.” Strawberry appeared on the station’s morning show with Damon Benning and Gary Sharp.  Strawberry was in town to speak at the “Fresh Hope Ministries” banquet and to meet fans and sign autographs at Friday night’s Omaha Storm Chasers game.  Pictured below are (from l-r): Omaha Storm Chasers owner Gary Greene; Benning, Sharp, Strawberry, and KOZN morning show producer Shane Schillerberg.

GAB Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The Georgia Association of Broadcasters and the National Radio Talent System are announcing the opening of today’s GAB Radio Talent Institute on the campus of University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Today’s opening day is hosted by Mercedes Benz Stadium and the Atlanta Falcons.  Cumulus Media EVP of content & programming Mike McVay and Cox Media Group VP of audience content Tim Clarke are speaking at today’s opening session.  Over the next 10 days more than 40 broadcasters from companies such as Cumulus, Cox Media, Beasley Media Group, Entercom, Urban One, iHeartMedia, and others will lead sessions.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will lead the closing session titled, “Now is the Time to Start Thinking Like a Pro.”  GAB president Bob Houghton says, “The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is proud of our partnership with the National Radio Talent System.  Over the past five years we have graduated over 100 students who are ready to make a contribution to the future of our industry.  I appreciate the nearly 40 broadcasters each year who give their time and talent to speak in the Institute.  Broadcasting, and specifically radio, has a proud past and, with this program, a bright future.”

2020 Presidential Politics, U.S.-China Trade War, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Tlaib Holocaust Commentary Blowback, Mueller Testimony, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China; the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s threats; the reaction by Republicans over U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s comments about the Holocaust; House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s assurance Robert Mueller will testify before congress; and NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Connecticut classic rocker WFOX, Southport (Stamford-Norwalk market) tweaks its format, moving away from 60s and 70s rock and re-focusing on rock from the 80s, 90s, and 00s.  It has also re-branded as “Fairfield County Rocks.”   Station program director Kevin Begley states, “The Stamford-Norwalk market, even with the bleed in of New York City radio, is completely underserved with the next generation of classic rock.  The new version of ‘95.9 the FOX’ will supply that demand for those huge rock hits of the last 30 years.”…..Last week’s exit of talent from hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “STAR 94.1” – morning personality Jeff Dauler and afternoon jock Mike Marino – also included the departure of midday host Heather Branch. However, Branch was not let go and had given notice to Entercom in February that she would exit on May 10, the 10th anniversary of her joining WSTR…..iHeartMedia appoints Jared Fallon program director for CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM.” iHM Seattle SVP of programming Rich Moore says, “We are very excited to add Jared to our programming team here in Seattle.  His passion combined with his enthusiasm and creativity make him a great fit to lead our amazing KISS team and will take the station to new levels.” Fallon moves west from his role with the company at CHR WIOQ, Philadelphia “Q102.”…..In New York City, Bob Bronson announces via social media that he’s left iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 LITE FM” after 10 years as morning drive host.  Bronson hosted the “Bob and Christine” show with Christine Nagy.  No word yet on iHeartMedia’s plans for the morning daypart…..Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX, Lincoln, Nebraska posts the message that it has severed its employment relationship with Matthew Rydberg, a.k.a. Matt McKay.  This comes after Rydberg’s arrest for domestic assault on April 20.