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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

| July 7, 2020

Nielsen to Cut 3,500 Jobs in ‘Broad-Based Optimization Plan.’ Media ratings and consumer data giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the implementation of a “broad-based optimization plan to drive permanent cost savings and operational efficiencies, as well as to position the company for greater profitability and growth.” The company says it is “prioritizing resources to focus on key strategic initiatives, higher margin products and services, and greater efficiency” and as a result will include a global reduction in force of approximately 3,500 employees. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “Across Nielsen Global Media [ratings segment] and Nielsen Global Connect [consumer data segment], we are making progress on increasing our operational and financial discipline, including zero-basing our cost structure as we move toward the planned separation of Nielsen Global Connect. As discussed on our earnings call in April, we have increased our focus on platform consolidations, further automation, optimizing our global footprint, and ensuring that our resource allocation aligns with high-margin essential services. Today’s plan encompasses, accelerates, and expands on those initiatives. These restructuring actions will further expedite our transformation to a more efficient, agile, and scalable organization and are designed to drive sustained margin expansion and increased cash generation. As part of the optimization plan, we have made the difficult decision to exit selected businesses and markets and permanently reduce our workforce. While these are important actions to take, I recognize the impact they have on our people, and I am grateful for the important contributions made by these talented associates during their time at Nielsen.” The company says cash payments for the severance costs will continue into late 2021.

WVON, Chicago Morning Show Exits Over ‘Censorship’ Issue. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story about the sudden departure of urban news/talk outlet WVON, Chicago’s morning program. Maze Jackson, co-host Todd Stroger, and producer Sonia Escobar resigned from the station last week after station management ordered the program to cease criticism of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Jackson tells Feder he was instructed not to talk about the mayor or allow callers to do so and he consequently resigned because he “could not accept the censorship.” The trio are now brokering the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot on Gospel WBGX-AM. WVON is searching for a new morning show as Ernest B. Fenton handles the morning show on an interim basis.

Report: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, SiriusXM Satellite Radio is very close to a deal with E.W. Scripps to buy podcasting platform Stitcher for $300 million. Scripps paid $4.5 million for Stitcher in 2016. The piece notes that Stitcher owns podcast networks Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts that comprise some 50 shows, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “Freakonomics Radio.” Stitcher also has deals with other podcast networks for distribution and sales via Scripps’ Midroll Media division that totals more than 250 programs.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM is producing a special version of its ongoing series “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast,” this one targeting children. The “COVID-19 Seattle: Kids Edition” was released on July 2. For this episode, Bonneville’s KIRO Radio asked young listeners to call in with questions about the coronavirus, in their own words. KIRO Radio hosts Dave Ross, Mike Lewis, Tom Tangney, John Curley, Rachel Belle, Dori Monson, Ursula Reutin, Gee Scott, Feliks Banel, and Colleen O’Brien answered these questions “with heart, humor, and the best information available.” Dr. Mollie Greves Grow from Seattle Children’s Hospital also contributed to this podcast as a local healthcare expert…..The BetR Network is partnering with Skyview Networks for network audio and affiliate sales and distribution and announces it has an affiliate agreement with Denver’s Mile High Sports. As a result, KDCO-AM/K284CI will bring sports betting programming to Denver, including select content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network…..Public media’s KQED announces its long-running public affairs call-in radio program “Forum” is making the 10:00 am hour of the program available for public media stations across California starting July 13. The second hour of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily program will be hosted by Mina Kim, who shifts from her role as the Friday host of “Forum” and afternoon anchor for KQED news. Longtime host Michael Krasny continues to host the 9:00 am hour of the program. Kim says, “This is a moment of unprecedented change and people are hungry for meaningful dialogue about these issues. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help bring ‘Forum’ to other communities across the state — and to bring in a wider range of voices to these conversations.”

Michael Kindhart Promoted at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Michael Kindhart is promoted from senior director of operations, affiliate sales at Premiere Networks to vice president of operations, affiliate sales. Nashville-based Kindhart will help develop strategic and operational initiatives to improve sales effectiveness and efficiency for nearly 200 of Premiere’s radio programs, services, and podcasts in this new position. Premiere EVP of affiliate sales Peter Tripi says, “Michael’s contributions to our affiliate sales division have been significant. He is constantly searching for ways to enhance our business through collaboration and by providing the best possible tools and resources to serve our affiliates and partners. This is a well-deserved promotion and I’m proud to have him on the team!”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Heightened Gun Violence, Presidential Race, John Bolton/Mary Trump Books, PPP Scrutiny, TikTok Ban, SCOTUS Electoral College Ruling, and Charlie Daniels Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states and projections for future cases; the spate of gun violence in some urban areas and the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta; the November presidential election; the book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and the soon-to-be released book by Mary Trump; the Trump administration releases the names of companies that benefitted from the Payroll Protection Plan; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration is considering banning the China-based TikTok app; the Supreme Court rules that states can bind presidential electors’ votes; and musician Charlie Daniels dies at 83 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. The daughter of Reach Media nationally syndicated morning radio personality Rickey Smiley is recovering in a Houston hospital after being shot in that city late Sunday night. AL.com reports that Aaryn Smiley was driving to a Whataburger restaurant in Houston close to midnight and was stopped at a red light when shooting between several men erupted and she was hit at least twice. She is recovering from her wounds. Meanwhile, authorities are searching for the shooter.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

| December 12, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Present the Second in a Series of Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  In response to the positive feedback received about the recent “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times in New York City this past October 1 (see video here), a second installment of the event was successfully presented Tuesday morning (12/10) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The conversation again focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event featured a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts – John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkDr. Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who again moderated the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that its practitioners stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world.  A video of the entire forum will be posted on Talkers.com within the next few days. Pictured below are (from l-r): moderator, Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Salem Radio Network; Dr. Dana Cheng, The Epoch Times; John Fredericks, The John Fredericks Radio Network; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; Larry O’ Connor, WMAL, Washington, DC; Josh Philipp, The Epoch Times; and Nan Su, The Epoch Times/NTDTVPhoto: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times

KYW-AM, Philadelphia Reporter Barred from Press Conference. Maybe it was a snafu, but the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s explanation for KYW-AM, Philadelphia crime and justice reporter Kristen Johanson being barred from the press conference for a criminal case is inconsistent.  DA Larry Krasner was asked by fellow FOX 29 journalist Jeff Cole if Johanson had been barred from the conference and he replied, “What I can tell you is I did not bar anybody from coming to a conference.  We always enjoy having Kristen Johanson here and if there’s been some kind of miscommunication, then I’m sorry to hear that that has occurred.”  The DA offices’ spokesperson later said only reporters who requested comment on the case were notified of the press conference.  However, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer who did request a comment was not invited to the press conference either.  The spokesperson then said “security protocols” were the reason Johanson was denied access to the conference.  KYW program director Alex Silverman says, “A press conference open to some members of the media should be open to all.  To deny access to a reporter who covers the crime and justice beat in our city raises serious questions about how the District Attorney’s Office views a free and fair press.”

Opinion: Gen Z Is Excited About Radio. Georgia College lecturer Chad Whittle writes in an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the intertest in radio he’s hearing from his students.  He says, “This semester, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to teach a course on radio broadcasting to students ranging from freshmen to sophomores.  In this course, multiple students are excited about learning more about the radio industry.  I know because they told me last semester they were interested and eager to take the class.”  Read his story here.

Slater Joins Entercom for Digital Sales Role. Sales pro Andy Slater joins Entercom as SVP of digital sales, East Coast.  He was most recently regional VP of sales for Stitcher’s Midroll Media ad sales division.  Entercom EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “Andy has a tremendous track record leading sales strategy across numerous digital platforms, most recently in podcasting.  His unique combination of experience in broadcast radio and digital will prove to be a major asset as we continue developing and expanding our position as leaders in the digital audio marketplace.”

Articles of Impeachment, Inspector General’s FBI Report, 2020 Presidential Race, Jersey City Shooting, USMCA Trade Deal, and UK Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The articles of impeachment against President Trump; the inspector general’s report on the failures within the FBI; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Jersey City; the Trump administration’s United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal; and Britain’s prime minister election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In Kansas City, Entercom appoints Josh Vernier to the Royals insider position.  Vernier had been co-host of the “Show and Vern” midday program on sports talk KCSP “610 Sports Radio” prior to the exit of co-host Ron “Show” Hughley last month.  This is a return to the Royals insider position for Vernier, who will also host the pre- and post-game shows for Royals play-by-play on KCSP.  He’ll also host the “Royals Hot Stove Show” this winter…..ESPN reports that last month, ESPN Podcasts set a new record for the month with a verified unique audience of 7.3 million, according to Podtrac.  ESPN says the total represents an increase of 28% over November 2018 and is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.  In addition, ESPN podcasts had 45.6 million downloads, up 24% from November 2018 and just shy of last month’s all-time record of 46.1 million…..iHeartMedia sports talk WYGM-AM/W245CL, Orlando “FM 96.9 The Game” is hosting a live holiday show special during the “Open Mike” morning show to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.  Former Orlando Magic head coach and current NBA TV analyst Stan Van Gundy will join the show dressed up as Santa Claus and will encourage listeners to stop by, take pictures, and donate new unwrapped toys or cash for children in the local community.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dustin Matthews is named director of rock programming for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC stations classic rock WBIG “BIG 100” and alternative WWDC “DC 101,” effective January 13. He comes to Washington from iHeartMedia’s Charlotte operations where he was program director and afternoon drive personality at WEND “106.5 The End.”  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi says, “Dustin is one of the most dynamic rock programmers in the country.  His programming expertise combined with his creativity and passion for our rock brands is unparalleled and we look forward to welcoming him to Washington, D.C.”…..Entercom announces that it has signed a new, multiyear deal with WPOW, Miami “Power 96” program director and midday host Miguel “Mijo” Irizarry for him to continue in those roles.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “‘Mijo’ has been a strong force in the ‘Power 96’ studio over the last year.  We are thrilled that he will continue to lead one of our most iconic brands in our cluster.”  ‘Mijo’ joined ‘Power 96’ in August 2017.  He assumed the role of program director in October 2018…..Tegna’s adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego names Soleil Spigelman the new producer of “The Cantore Show.”  She says, “Becoming a part of ‘The Cantore Show’ is a big step in joining the San Diego community.  I’m from a small surfing town in the San Francisco Bay Area and I immediately feel at home here in SD.  I’m looking forward to showcasing my passion for entertaining people and sharing my kooky-yet relatable-personality with this on-air family and our listeners.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

| June 23, 2017

WCBS-AM to Celebrate ‘A Night of New York Stories.’ All-news WCBS-AM, New York “Newsradio 880AM” is presenting an event at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square titled, “Celebrating 50 Years of News: A Night of New York Stories,” on August 8.  It will be hosted by the station’s Wayne Cabot and Alex Silverman and will celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary by bringing together some of New York’s most notable names in news, politics, sports and entertainment.  The evening will close with a special interview and song performance by legendary singer Tony BennettCBS RADIO New York SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “‘Newsradio 880’ is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news.  We are proud to be a part of the fabric of New York and will continue to tell the stories of the people, places and happenings from all around this great city.  This special night is a chance to gather with listeners, station personalities and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean well into the future.”  Additional station personalities taking part include: Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott and Michael Wallace.  Among the special guests sharing their New York stories on stage will be Jeff Fager and Lesley Stahl (60 Minutes), former New York Giants co-captain George Martin, “Late Show with David Letterman” bandleader Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

Capitol Broadcasting Renews ‘The Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac.’ WDNC, Raleigh-Durham “The Buzz” extends its deal with morning drive personalities Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon for the duo to continue to host “The Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac” for another year.  Reese and Kmac call their show “urban sports radio” and the station says it is one of the few sports radio morning shows in the country co-hosted by two African-Americans.  Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager/program director Dennis Glasgow comments, “We’re very pleased to give a local voice to all our morning sports radio listeners in Raleigh-Durham, but it’s clear that this diverse show we’ve assembled is giving the listener something different, entertaining and just plain fun every day with Reese and Kmac on Buzz Sports Radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. The host of the radio legal feature “Looking at the Law” is signing off after 42 years of hosting duties.  Neil Chayet announces he’s retiring from producing the feature that he and WBZ, Boston have been creating and syndicating across the country.  He comments, “While there is an endless supply of court cases and material to continue ‘Looking at the Law’ for years to come, I feel that 42 years is the right number for me and it leaves more time to continue the other passions I’ve worked on tirelessly over the years.”  WBZ director of news & programming Peter Casey adds, “You can hear an audible chuckle coming from cars all over New England as they listen to Neil on WBZ.”…..Midroll Media announces three new staffing additions.  Amy Fitzgibbons joins Midroll as vice president of marketing.  Laura Mayer is the new executive producer, and David Murray becomes vice president of finance and strategy. Fitzgibbons was most recently VP of marketing at PhotoShelter.  Mayer was in the podcast production department at Panoply, and Murray moves to Midroll from parent company E.W. Scripps where he was finance business partner…..Program host Kevin McCullough announces that the “Saturday SuperCast Radio Night LIVE!” is now airing on Salem Media Group’s KPXQ, Phoenix starting this weekend…..The NHL’s Boston Bruins and CBS RADIO Boston ink a multi-year extension for sports WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to continue serving as the flagship radio station for play-by-play.  The Bruins have been with CBS Boston since they started airing on all-news WBZ-AM for the 1995-96 season…..Radio Vermont Group owner Ken Squier confirms to Vermont alternative weekly Seven Days that his stations are for sale.  Squier says he is looking to sell to an operator who will continue his family’s tradition of local programming.  Radio Vermont was launched by Squier’s father Lloyd with WDEV-AM, Waterbury (currently news/talk/sports) in 1931.  The company also operates classic hits WCVT, Stowe “101 The One” and country WLVB, Morrisville…..Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin publishes his fifth book – this one titled, Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism (Threshold Editions 2017).  He tells the Washington Examiner, “My new book covers a lot of territory — philosophy, history, economics, law, culture, etc.  And I look deeply into what is meant by Americanism, republicanism, individualism, capitalism.  What do we mean by natural law, unalienable rights, liberty, and property rights?  From where do these principles come?  Why are they important?”

Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 19-23. The special counsel investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was testimony by former Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson and others about Russia’s attempts to hack the U.S. presidential election.  Coming in at #3 was the unveiling of the GOP health care plan, followed by the Georgia congressional race won by Karen Handel 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.

Mike Carruthers to Present Another in Series of Free Online Podcasting Workshops on Wednesday, June 28 at 1:00 pm ET.  Following the success of his recent podcasting webinar presented in conjunction with TALKERS magazine, noted broadcaster Mike Carruthers of Perfect Your Podcast will be presenting another free online podcasting workshop titled, “The 3 Essential Ingredients for a Successful Podcast.”  The workshop is designed to give instruction and guidance to broadcasters interested in expanding their programming and brand into the podcasting realm focusing on the steps necessary to gain traction in terms of increased listenership and revenue generating potential.  Carruthers is well known in radio for the many years of success he enjoyed as producer and host of the syndicated, short-form series, “Something You Should Know,” – now a long-form, lucrative hit on the iTunes chart as a podcast.  Carruthers tells TALKERS, “It is amazing how many people WANT to start a podcast – but never quite pull the trigger.  There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it boils down to a lack of confidence, fear of having too much to learn, not knowing where to begin, and concern about the amount of time it can consume.  This workshop will greatly help to alleviate these issues.”  The free online workshop will take place this coming Wednesday, June 28 at 1:00 pm ET.  Space is limited, so those interested in participating should register now.  For more information and to register, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Punk legend and KLOS, Los Angeles disc jockey Steve Jones is receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Cumulus Media notes that the host of KLOS’ “Jonesy’s Jukebox” program and guitarist for the Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop is recognized on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”  He’s also the only radio personality to be honored with a star for the Walk of Fame Class of 2018…..Cumulus Media’s Detroit hot AC WDVD signs morning personality Blaine Fowler to a long-term contract extension.  “The Blaine Fowler Morning Show” has been heard on the station since 2003.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Robby Bridges says, “Blaine and Lauren [Crocker] both are special talents and I’m thrilled they’ll make their magic on Detroit’s 96-3 WDVD for a long time to come.”…..Adams Radio Group announces some personnel changes in the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland market.  Active rock WZBH “93.5 The Beach” program director Johnny Maze assumes the afternoon drive slot on the station, exiting his PM gig at sister classic rocker WGBG “BIG 98.5.”  Joining WZBH from the company’s Las Cruces, New Mexico operations is Carolina, who is named music director and midday personality.  She takes over for Leah Rantz, who recently joined Saga’s alternative WLZX, Springfield, Massachusetts.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. Managing editor Mike Kinosian turns to music formats for the third of his four-part series looking at the performances of radio stations based on data from the May 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, today looking at adult hits.  In analyzing 6+ performances comparing May 2016 to May 2017, he writes, “One of every two adult hits stations on this sample improve (50%) year-to-year; 40% decline; and 10% are flat.”  WQSR, Baltimore; WARH, St. Louis; and KJAQ, Seattle all rise more than a full share, year-over-year.  KBPA, Austin is the only adult hits station in a PPM market to rank #1 in the May survey.  See the rest of the data here.