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Monday, March 22, 2021

| March 22, 2021

Pending Business: One Year Later. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa recognizes the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and notes that, while the radio sales climate is nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic, “the uphill process of slowly rebuilding an economy is emerging and it depends heavily on a foundation of sellers… you can feel the confidence of target business categories coming back as vaccines and mandated safety standards become more and more mainstream.” Read his column here.

Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg. “Non-music stations – particularly AMs –are at a fork in the road,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, he explains why “ambiguity is your enemy.” Read it here.

Salem Media Group Names Shaun Thompson WIND-AM, Chicago PM Drive Host. Weekend talk host Shaun Thompson is being promoted to the afternoon drive slot at Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Thompson takes over the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show today (3/22) from Steve Cortes, who is leaving the station to pursue a new national television project. Thompson has been serving as a weekend and fill-in host on the station since 2016. He most recently filled in for Cortes from July through November of 2020 when Cortes took a hiatus to work on the re-election campaign of Donald Trump. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “It’s rare in radio to have transition as smooth as this one. Shaun Thompson has developed such a deep bond with our listeners because he was one of them before becoming a talk show host. He knows this city and this audience and what they care about. His passion and personality make him a unique talent. We’re excited to have him join the lineup as a full-time host.” Thompson says, “Twelve years ago, I made my first phone call to a talk radio station as a listener. Five years ago, I had the opportunity to host my first show on AM 560. During that time, I’ve come to appreciate this format and the listeners who spend time with us every day. I look forward to providing my perspective each afternoon and engaging with the audience. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I’m also thankful for Steve Cortes and his friendship. He’s made it so easy for me to slide into this role as he’s prepared to leave. I look forward to having him on the show as a regular guest.”

WPHT Supports Liberty USO Via Radiothon. WPHT, Philadelphia held its fourth annual USO Radiothon on Friday (3/19) between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm to raise awareness and funds for the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. From the time a service member enlists, the USO is by their side until the day they transition back to the community. Through the USO Radiothon, WPHT brought many of the untold stories about the good work done by the Liberty USO to its listeners and raised awareness of the amazing effect that this charity has on active duty National Guard and reserve military personnel and their families. Co-hosted by WPHT morning host Rich Zeoli and mid-morning host Dom Giordano, the event raised thousands of dollars for the worthy cause. This year to aid the fundraising, Dom Giordano reached into his charity bag of tricks and called upon some national celebrities to each jot off a quick autographed doodle and send it to him be bid upon by listeners. Giordano tells TALKERS, “We had Bill O’ReillyBrad ThorGeraldo RiveraMike RoweHerschel WalkerLee Greenwood, and Jesse WattersNelson Perez, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, even contributed one. The doodles also provided a lot of fun during the broadcast and a listener even bid $300 for my wife’s doodle of me.”

Entercom Launches ‘The Bet 105.9’ in Chicago. A new, sports-betting focused radio station is hitting the air in Chicago as Entercom unveils “The Bet 105.9” on the HD2 channel of WCFS-FM. The station is a “BetQL Audio Network” and CBS Sports Radio affiliate and programs airing on the signal include: “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker, “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley, CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney,” “The DA Show” and “Reiter Than You.” Entercom regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “Since legalization in 2019, sports betting has exploded in the state of Illinois and we’re delighted to enter the arena of this rapidly growing landscape to deliver insightful content to our listeners with the launch of this new station. The station will serve as the home for several favorites from the BetQL Audio Network and CBS Sports Radio Network, giving listeners a wide array of expert analysis.”

iHeartMedia Reveals New Downtown Cleveland Facilities. The nine Cleveland radio brands operated by iHeartMedia will have a new home by the end of the year. The company is moving to Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland and it says the 10-year agreement with K&D Group provides space for the stations’ studios along with the company’s sales, marketing, digital and Total Traffic operation in a new, state-of-the-art street level facility. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “We are thrilled to return our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the downtown business district will further drive the passion to serve the community we all call home.” New office features will include five conference rooms, 11 studios featuring cutting-edge technology, eight service booths for news, traffic, and podcast creation, and phone audio sound via Sound+. A marquee broadcast studio and mixed-use podcast content creation room both face street level on Euclid Avenue. Studio designs are by Beneville Studios and AUX1 design.

Tom Hamilton Named Market Manager for Curtis Media’s North Carolina Sports Talk Trio. Radio management pro Tom Hamilton is returning to Curtis Media Group as the new market manager for the sports talk trio “Hub Sports” WSJS-AM, WMFR-AM, and WPCM-AM in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point market. Hamilton previously served as GM of WSJS and WMFR with Curtis Media Group from 2007 until 2011. Curtis president and COO Trip Savery comments, “We are very pleased to welcome Tom back to Curtis Media Group. He has enjoyed much success in the Triad for many years, and we look forward to Tom leading our efforts with WSJS Sports.”

Jerry Donadio to Lead Sales at ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. The Times of San Diego reports that San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mightier 1090” names sales pro Jerry Donadio vice president of sales and marketing. Station operator Bill Hagen tells the paper that Donadio will be responsible for building revenue growth for “The Mightier 1090.” Donadio tells the Times, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I now have the opportunity to return to 1090 and build my own sales team. Prior in my career, I’ve always been in media sales with an existing infrastructure. I’m really excited to be part of The Mightier 1090’s renaissance.” Donadio was most recently serving with KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM as an account executive from 2017 to 2020.

COVID-19, Spring Break, Asian Protests, Border Crisis, Cuomo Troubles, Trump Social Media Platform, Chauvin Trial, and Deshaun Watson Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concern about variants and the rollout of vaccines; the chaos in Florida as the beach towns are inundated with spring break revelers; protests in the Asian community over the shooting deaths of six Asian women in the Atlanta area; the crisis of young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the allegations of sexual misconduct by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the news that Donald Trump will launch a new social media platform within the next few months; the ongoing jury selection in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; and the allegations of sexual harassment against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

| December 3, 2019

Round Four of November PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of November 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen’s November 2019 survey period covered October 10 – November 6.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for spoken-word stations during the November survey include: In Raleigh, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC-FM “99.9 The Fan” adds another two-tenths to its recent full-share increase to land at a 3.1 share and the #14 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ flagship news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” rises six-tenths to a 6.4 share good for the #5 rank; and Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds six-tenths to its recent 6+ uptick for a 4.8 share and the #11 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Takeaways” from these markets here.

Dave Ramsey Launches ‘Borrowed Future’ Podcast Examining the Student Loan Crisis. This new podcast series from Ramsey Solutions is hosted by George Kamel in which bestselling author of Debt Free DegreeAnthony O’Neal – joins him to “explore the lies we believe about college, the soaring cost of tuition, and the predatory nature of the student loan industry.  Listeners will learn how to pay for college without going into debt and find out if college is even the right choice for them.”  Guests on season one of the eight-part “Borrowed Future” podcast include: Mark Cuban, Mike Rowe, Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Dr. Meg Meeker, Seth Frotman, and Ramsey Network personalities Ken Coleman, Rachel Cruze, and Chris Hogan.  Apple Podcasts Review says, “This is the first honest approach to the student loan crisis that you will hear.  Not just a commentary or criticism, but real-world solutions to the #1 personal finance challenge in America.”

Key Networks Launches ‘O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.’ A new, morning drive program featuring Bill O’Reilly is being offered in national syndication by Key Networks.  “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition” is a two-minute feature and companion to Key Networks’ 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” currently airing on more than 180 stations.   The three-minute program – two minutes of content with two embedded 30-second network spots – officially debuts in January.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “‘The O’Reilly Update’ has been a great success in a short amount of time.  We have heard from stations that asked for an opportunity to have O’Reilly’s content available for morning drive and Key Networks delivers with ‘The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.’  The best way to start your day is analysis from the best commentator in the business.  I can’t think of a better way to start 2020 than to bring this expansion of ‘The O’Reilly Update’ to the market.”

Crossover Media to Lead Sales Efforts for Bleav Podcast Network. Cross-platform ad sales firm Crossover Media Group Sales is leading the advertising sales for Bleav Podcast Network’s 150-plus podcasts.  The Bleav Podcast Network focuses on sports team content, “uniquely providing team fanbases with former players as hosts in football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.”  In addition to team shows, Bleav creates local and national podcasts with topic experts in multiple categories such as golf, tennis, fitness, gymnastics, family, action sports, racing, film, esports, law, music, self-help, and more.  Bleav says that based on the highly exclusive local and national content experience, its advertisers see a very high awareness, retention, and response rates based on the show host’s live read endorsements.  Crossover Media managing partner Sue Freund says, “We’re excited to be working with Bleav.  This is an ideal partnership as both Crossover Media and Bleav are rapidly growing companies within the podcast market.  Bleav is introducing new podcasts daily to the marketplace and we’re looking forward to giving advertisers the opportunity to partner with their network of fantastic hosts and content.”

Logan Upped to OM at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Programming pro Bruce Logan is promoted to operations manager for Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group.  Logan has been serving as program director for country WIRK-FM and adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9.”  In this new role, he’ll add oversight for news/talk WFTL, sports talk WMEN-AM “FOX Sports 640,” hot AC WRMF, and urban contemporary WMBX “X102.3.”  Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach SVP/market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “We have an exceptional cluster of stations in West Palm Beach and I’m pleased to have an exceptional leader in the OM role.  Bruce has made an immediate impact on our cluster in the short time he has been with us.  I look forward to putting his talent to work on all of our brands.”

KBME, Houston’s Greg Koch to Leave Station to Focus on Health. Former NFL offensive lineman and midday sports talk host Greg Koch told his listeners on Monday (12/2) that he’s leaving his role with KBME at the end of this week to focus on his health.  Koch – who co-hosts the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with fellow former NFL player N.D. Kalu – was diagnosed a year ago with Parkinson’s disease, but says he realizes he’s been feeling the effects of the disease for more than 10 years.  The iHeartMedia sports talk station has issued no statement about its plans for the program after this week.  Read the Houston Chronicle account here.

Townsquare Ups Sieks to Regional VP. Sales and management pro Christine Sieks rises to regional vice president for Townsquare Media’s Northeast Region.  For the past two-plus years, she’s been VP for Townsquare New Hampshire.  In her new role, she will continue to directly oversee sales in New Hampshire as well.  Prior to joining Townsquare, Sieks served in senior management with iHeartMedia New Hampshire.  Townsquare SVP Rob Williams says, “Christine Sieks made an immediate impact on our performance and culture when she joined Townsquare in 2016, distinguishing herself among our best local market leaders and strategic thinkers.  I’m thrilled to work more closely with her to help our teams continue to learn, grow, and perform.”

BFoA Commences Year-End Giving Appeal. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is launching its annual year-end appeal today (12/3) in conjunction with the national charitable giving event, Giving Tuesday.  The BFoA’s drive asks for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative.  The Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity, and the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe.   The Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.3 Million in aid this year. Monthly grants have increased over 75% since 2015, and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 19 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed over $11 million to broadcasters in need.  Donations can be made by visiting www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “These funds make a huge difference in the lives of broadcasters and their families.  Our grant recipients are hard-working broadcasters who have experienced unthinkable tragedy and desperately need and deserve our support.”

Impeachment Proceedings/Republican Report, NATO Summit, 2020 Presidential Race, China Bans U.S. Military from Hong Kong, U.S.-France Tariffs, Jeffrey Epstein Case, and ‘AGT’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The impeachment proceedings against President Trump and the Republican-authored report attempting to refute the Democrats’ case against the president; the controversial start to the NATO summit as President Trump calls comments by France’s Emmanuel Macron about the U.S.’ reliability “very insulting”; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; China enacts a ban on U.S. military ship stopovers in Hong Kong because of the U.S.’ pro-democracy act; Trump ramps up tariffs on French goods; the Jeffrey Epstein case returns to the news cycle after BBC interview with Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre; and the controversy over the exit of judges from “America’s Got Talent” due to allegations of a hostile workplace 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. Programming pro Derrick Brown is promoted to vice president of urban programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago region.  He’d been serving the company as director of urban programming and program director for urban contemporary WVAZ “V103.” He’ll continue to program “V103.”  iHeartMedia Chicago SVP of programming James Howard says, “Derrick’s exemplary record of success with our urban brands puts this promotion into the no-brainer bucket of decisions.  We are beyond fortunate to have him at the helm of the Chicago region’s phenomenal urban brands.”  In this role, Brown will be responsible for overseeing all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” hip hop WGCI and Gospel WGRB-AM “Inspiration 1390.”…..Programmer Eric White is adding PD duties for alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina to his current role as program director at Sunrise Broadcasting’s co-owned hot AC WILT.  White, who takes over for Laura Lee, says, “I’m grateful to Valerie Brooks, Sunrise, and Capitol Broadcasting management for this opportunity.  I look forward to digging in and taking on the already solid modern rock brand and growing it to new heights in 2020.”