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Friday, January 24, 2020

| January 24, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter.  The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina.  She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016.  Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team.  I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”

Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns.  That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market.  And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show.  New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920.  In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage.  Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics.  New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio.  TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology.  The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.”  The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here.  For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.

TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio.  In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.”  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met.  We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career.  Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.”  This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month.  CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24.  The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November.  Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group.  AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there.  They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market.  Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.”  They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show.  There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations.  The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

| November 13, 2019

Salem Third Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2019 for Salem Media Group, Inc. was $64.1 million, down 2.2% from the same period in 2018.  It also posted an operating loss of $14.5 million in Q3 compared to operating income of $6.3 million a year ago.  Salem is reporting a net loss of $20 million, or $0.75 net loss per share, “impacted by a $17.5 million loss on the disposition of assets and a $1.9 million impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.05 net income per diluted share in Q3 of 2018.  Salem breaks its divisions down into three segments: Broadcast, Digital and Publishing.  In the third quarter, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.3% to $47.7 million from $48.8 million.  Same station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.4% to $46.5 million from $47.2 million and same station SOI decreased 11.4% to $10.6 million from $12.0 million.  Digital was also down 12% for Salem to $9.1 million.   However, publishing revenue increased 15.3% to $7.3 million from $6.3 million.  Salem also reports a $17.5 million ($13.0 million, net of tax, or $0.49 per share) net loss on the disposition of assets which includes a $9.9 million estimated pre-tax loss for the pending sale of radio stations WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a $4.7 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio stations WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida, a $1.6 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida and a $1.3 million pre-tax loss on the exchange of radio station KKOL-AM in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon.

DeMann Named Director of Programming for JVC’s Florida Stations. Programming pro Stevie DeMann joins JVC Broadcasting as director of programming for the company’s Florida radio station group that includes talk WDYZ-AM, Orlando and WYGC-FM, Gainesville “Florida Man Radio 660AM/105.5FM” and five music brands.  DeMann was most recently operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster.  DeMann says, “I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business.  The team at JVC Florida is the best.  From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful local content, events, and promotions.  I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best.”  Caracciolo comments, “Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well.  Stevie’s history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market.  His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala.  I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country!”

TALKERS News Notes. In Miami, sports radio personality Brian “The Beast” London exits his position with Entercom’s sports talk WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” where he was a cast member on the “Tobin & Leroy” morning show and assistant program director for the station…..Today, Lexington, Kentucky news talk WVLK “97.3FM/590 AM” is airing a nine-hour broadcast dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis and how it impacts Central Kentucky and the Commonwealth.  Titled, “Enough: Opioid Awareness Day,” the Cumulus Media station is partnering with Lexington city government, local organizations, and businesses to present the personal stories of addiction and recovery, city and state programs designed to help, the physical and physiological effects that lead to addiction, and alternatives to pain medications…..Envision Networks’ “GeekOut” celebrated the airing of its 500th episode this past weekend.  The daily audio and video vignettes are hosted by Peter Welpton, formerly managing director and resident technology “guru” for longtime, syndicated hosts “Lex and Terry.”  Envision says, “‘GeekOut’ is a daily vignette highlighting everything techies love.  Each episode covers a variety of topics including technology, movies, video games and all things geeky.”…..Lemonada is announcing its third original podcast, “Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A**hole,” is premiering on November 26 with five episodes.   Lemonada co-founders Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs say the new series “is a podcast for anyone in the trenches of parenting or anyone with an opinion on parenting (see: everyone).  For 15 minutes each week, a diverse set of parents, teachers, policy makers, and world shapers grab the mic and offer relevant advice, rants, and reflections on child-rearing today. It’s funny, touching, helpful, and exactly what the world needs right now.”  Earlier this year, Lemonada Media partnered with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to distribute, sell, and build audiences across the Lemonada network…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original podcast launching titled, “The Women.”  It’s hosted by Rose Reid and features “personal and candid interviews with some of today’s female changemakers – including artists, politicians, amateur kickboxers, mothers, and lovers – who didn’t back down in the face of resistance.”  Episode one features former CIA agent and current New Mexico congressional candidate Valerie Plame.  Plame revisits the year 2003, when she says the Bush administration blew her cover in retaliation for a critical op-ed written by her husband…..PodcastOne announces the debut of the “Adulting Like A Mother Father” podcast in partnership with The Direct Message Network.  New episodes each Tuesday feature actress and entrepreneur Daniella Monet and her fiancé Andrew Gardner navigating parenthood and defining what it truly means to “adult.”

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Hears DACA Arguments, Trump-Erdogan Meeting, Bitter Cold U.S. Weather, Hong Kong Violence, and the NFL’s Kaepernick Workout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The impeachment process against President Trump and allegations against him in the Ukraine affair; the Supreme Court hears arguments about the status of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the controversy surrounding President Trump’s scheduled meeting today (11/13) with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the unseasonably cold weather affecting the U.S. north and east; the violent protests in Hong Kong; and the NFL-organized workout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: AM/FM Radio Gets Out the Vote. The latest installment of the Westwood One blog uses Nielsen Scarborough data and Nielsen Media Impact to show that AM/FM radio is a consistently effective tool “for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter.”  Some of the conclusions drawn include: AM/FM radio has mass reach: according to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio reaches 88% of likely voters, more than the Internet (85%), TV (83%), and Facebook (62%). AM/FM radio also has significantly greater reach among likely voters than SiriusXM(18%), Pandora (17%), and Spotify (10%); AM/FM radio reaches Twitter users: with the recent announcement that Twitter will no longer take political ads leading up to the 2020 election, AM/FM radio steps in to fill the void. According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio (88%) outreaches Twitter (18%) among likely voters. Among likely voters, 90% of Twitter users are reached by AM/FM radio. By investing in AM/FM radio, political campaigns get virtually the entire Twitter audience for free; AM/FM radio reaches every key voting segment: 88% of Democrats, Republicans, and swing voters are reached weekly by AM/FM radio; and AM/FM radio makes your TV better: according to an actual U.S. Senate campaign run in Nielsen Media Impact for an October 2018 media buy, a TV-only media plan achieves a 79% reach. Reallocating 20% of the media budget to AM/FM radio boosts reach to 90%, a +14% increase in incremental reach versus just TV alone for the same budget.  Read the blog here.

NPR and Edison Research: Spoken-Word Audio Consumption Up 20% in the Last Five Years. During yesterday’s webinar, NPR and Edison Research revealed data from The Spoken Word Audio Report that examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio, and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study.  Among the findings of the report are: The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%.  This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken-word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34.  Other findings include: 121 million Americans listen to spoken-word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years; growth in spoken-word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken-word audio (up 58% from 2014); mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken-word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken-word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago; and spoken-word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken-word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.  See the study here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG, Colorado Springs “98.9 MAGIC FM.”  He moves west from the company’s Indianapolis CHR WZPL where he was serving as assistant PD and music director…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” starring Jackie Kajzer adds Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK-FM, Ft. Myers “96K-Rock” to its affiliate list as the station adds the program to its Saturday night program schedule. Kajzer is the KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year and a four-time FMQB “Metal Host of the Year” recipient for her work on “Full Metal Jackie Radio.”…..Another round of on-air staff reductions at an Entercom cluster, this time in Miami as on-air pro Todd Durkin exits the morning show at country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country,” classic hits WMXJ “102.7 The Beach” midday host Jade Alexander Mia leaves, and adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE-FM” afternoon personality and APD Kimba is out…..In Madison, three on-air personalities are gone from the airwaves at Midwest Communications stations.  Julie Jacobs is gone from the midday gig at adult contemporary WMGN “Magic 98.”  Dave Ogden exits the middays/APD role at country WWQM “Q106,” and Jason Ryan loses his evening host/traffic reporter gig on “Q106.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One offers a four-hour, Thanksgiving country radio special hosted by CMA and ACM award-winning, multi-platinum artist Luke Combs.  Luke and his friends are going to talk food and traditions with a side of gratitude and a lot of music. Guests joining Combs on the show include: Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion, and Kelsea Ballerini.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

| April 9, 2019

Craig Carton Appears on WEPN’s Michael Kay Show After WFAN Decides to Pass.  Three days after receiving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for defrauding investors in a concert tickets re-sale Ponzi scheme, former WFAN morning personality Craig Carton made an appearance on WEPN “98.7 ESPN” on the afternoon drive Michael Kay show.  Carton talked about his sentence, his gambling addiction, and the sports talk battle between WFAN and WEPN.  The New York Post’s Greg Joyce reports that Carton’s former partner – WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason – told his listeners that Carton, contrary to internet chatter, had not “backstabbed” WFAN by going on the competition.  In fact, he offered to go on the “Boomer and Gio” show to talk, but Esiason felt uncomfortable with that.  He said, “At the end of the day, [WFAN vice president of programming Mark] Chernoff and I sat down, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it.  I really didn’t.  I don’t know necessarily if they talked to Mike [Francesa] about it, or whoever.  I know that he went on with Sid and Bernie [on WABC Radio].” Carton wrapped his appearance on the Michael Kay show by saying he “owes his audience an apology” and “he thanks those who believed in who he was and what he said on-air.”  He also advised people dealing with addiction or who are victims of sexual assault to seek help.

In the Halls at the NAB Show. Pictured above at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas are (from l-r): NPR CEO Jarl Mohn, Geller Media International president Valerie Geller, Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, and the NAB’s Josh Miley.

2019 NAB Show: Sound Bites from Sin City. Consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas at the 2019 NAB Show covering the confab for TALKERS magazine.  Coverage from Monday includes his notes from the opening presentation by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith that included bestowing actor Alan Alda with the NAB’s Distinguished Service Award.  See his report here.

Trump’s Homeland Security Purge/U.S.-Mexico Border Battle, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Mueller Report Aftermath, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Democratic Candidates, Netanyahu Re-Election Bid, NCAA Final, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The ouster of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the further purging of DHS officials and the related state of affairs at the U.S.-Mexico border; the attempts by the House Ways and Means Committee to get access to President Trump’s tax returns; the aftermath of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s appearance before a House appropriations subcommittee; guilty pleas in the college admissions scandal; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid for re-election; Virginia beats Texas Tech for NCAA hoops crown; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s Chris Daniel Celebrates 10 Years On-Air. Pictured above is KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno afternoon drive host Chris Daniel (wearing hat) at a special live event to celebrate his 10th anniversary in the position.  Standing with Daniel is Fresno Mayor Lee Brand who presented Daniel with a framed declaration marking “Chris Daniel Day” in the city.  Hundreds of Daniel’s loyal fans attended the event that featured music and comedy.  Daniel told the crowd, “Thanks for being there, thanks for listening, but most of all – thanks for the laughs!”

Beasley Media Group Partners with ConnectedTravel for HyperDrive Rewards Safety Promotion. As the result of an increase in fatal crashes in Nevada in 2018, the firm ConnectedTravel is expanding its HyperDrive Rewards mobile app to the Las Vegas market with the assistance of Beasley Media Groups local stations.  HyperDrive Rewards is a free app that gamifies everyday driving challenges, helps users to improve their driving habits on the road, and offers them points and rewards for success.  The app, available to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, alerts Las Vegas drivers when and where they speed, how often they use their phone, how they accelerate, how they brake, and how much time they spend on the road and in traffic.  The multi-city rewards can be redeemed for cash and gift cards from over 50 local and online retail partners.  Beasley’s stations – including news/talk KDWN and its four music-formatted siblings – are promoting the app.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Christine Malovetz is promoted to assistant program director at Entercom’s alternative WNYL-FM, New York “ALT 92.3.” She’ll continue to host the station’s midday show.  Entercom New York SVP of programming Mike Kaplan says, “Christine has been a huge contributor to the team.  She’s been my true partner-in-crime and I’m thrilled for her on this much-deserved promotion.  Christine has her finger on the pulse of alternative music in New York and we look forward to the station’s continued growth under the leadership of this team.”…..Programmer Curtis Johnson is named program director for Lotus Communications’ Fresno rock outlet KKBZ “105.1 The Blaze.”  Johnson takes over for Jon Ballard, who recently exited the station.  Johnson notes in his Facebook post he’s been out of radio since leaving One Putt Broadcasting in 2014.  “Today starts a new chapter in my career… My skills may be a little rusty, but I still have a face for radio.”…..WUSY, Chattanooga “U.S.101” morning show “Mo & StyckMan” (pictured at left) is honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Radio Award for “On-Air Personality of the Year – Medium Market.”  The show was recognized at the annual Radio Winners Reception in Las Vegas…..Through his entertainment company the Elvis Duran Group, New York-based radio star Elvis Duran is embarking on a nationwide talent search for documentaries, docu-series, reality and lifestyle shows.  EDG is working with NYC TV/film/digital production firm Atlas Media Corp to leverage Duran’s “10-plus million listeners to help find talent.”  The press release says, “This innovative nationwide casting initiative will deputize millions of eyes and ears to help find talent that Atlas Media and the Elvis Duran Group can develop into TV shows, documentaries, short-form webisodes, podcasts, and other content. Through verbal prompts on the top-rated Elvis Duran & The Morning Show, and related social media blasts, listeners and fans will be encouraged to submit their TV-friendly friends, family members, and interesting local personalities to a nationwide talent search on elvistvcasting.com. Atlas and EDG will review the submissions and offer development deals to the most promising talent. Resulting projects will be pitched to networks and SVOD platforms.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the Daytime Village at the iHeartCountry Festival taking place on Saturday, May 4 at Frank Erwin Center’s North Box Office Plaza in Austin.  The free, daytime event will feature live performances by: Russell Dickerson, Michael Ray, Lauren Alaina, LOCASH, and Morgan Wallen.

iHeartMedia Execs Honored by UJA-Federation of New York. Last week’s gathering of music and media executives at Freds at Barneys New York was a precursor to the June 11 UJA-Federation’s Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon at which iHeartMedia’s Bob PittmanRich Bressler, John Sykes, and Tom Poleman will be honored for their outstanding professional and philanthropic achievements.  Pictured above from left to right are: Rob Stringer, Fred Davis, Julie Greenwald, John Sykes, Bob Pittman, Daniel Glass, Rich Bressler, Tom Poleman, Jessica Reif Ehrlich, Kevin Liles, Barry Weiss, and Avery Lipman.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

| March 28, 2019

iHeartMedia and Connoisseur Agree to Erie, PA and Frederick, MD Swap. The stations that Connoisseur Media is getting in this deal – news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE-FM in Frederick, Maryland – come from the Aloha Trust that iHeartMedia created 11 years ago for stations it has to sell to comply with ownership caps.  In exchange, iHeartMedia will get six stations from Connoisseur Media in Erie – CHR WRTS-FM, rock WRKT-FM, adult hits WXBB-FM, country WTWF-FM, news/talk WJET-AM and sports talk WFNN-AM and adult contemporary WLTM-FM in Mina, New York.  The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.  Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “iHeart is getting a remarkable team and an amazing array of brands.  We have owned the stations for 13 years and have tremendous gratitude for the people of Erie. We are excited to enter the Frederick market with these legendary properties.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Allentown/Harrisburg region president Dan Lankford states, “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our reach and establish a presence in the Erie and Mina markets.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  More public radio news/talkers were up (60%) than down (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the January survey to the February survey, with perennial uber-performer KUOW, Seattle showing the best increase of 0.6 shares.  About half of the stations on the panel were down (51%) from last February to this February, with KQED losing 2.3 shares in the San Jose market and 1.7 shares in the San Francisco market.  However, both KUOW, Seattle and KQED, San Francisco ranked #1 in those markets in the February 2019 survey.  Also ranking #1 in their respective markets were KPBS, San Diego; KCFR, Denver; and KUT, Austin.  See the entire report here.

Backbone Demonstrating ‘Total Radio – In the Cloud’ at NAB Show. The NAB Show in Las Vegas gets underway on April 6 and among the “hot topics” that will be addressed at the huge confab are: content in the cloud, streaming, and podcasting, all of which attendees can see in operation at the Backbone Networks booth.  The company says it will show how users can create a completely virtualized radio production environment – all operating in the cloud.  Backbone Networks will have a SUNY college radio station broadcasting live to demonstrate how students produce live and automated shows in the cloud, stream them, and automatically generate and publish podcasts – all done with just a Mac, a mixer, and a couple of mics. Attendees can see the broadcasters using Backbone’s Production Suite – the whole turnkey bundle for a complete radio station that includes: Backbone Radio – professional streaming radio station in the cloud, live and automated, always-on 24/7; Backbone Talk – broadcast multi-line call-in phone system; Backbone Co-Host – unlimited SIP/OPUS remotes and multi-location shows with no boxes or hardware; Backbone Hub – cloud assistant for automated production, podcast publication, Alexa briefings, and scheduling live audio and FTP show syndication to AM/FM stations; and more. If you’re going to the NAB Show, check out the Backbone Networks booth (#N6319).

ESPN: Live Sports Reached 22.3 Million 12+ Fans Via Radio Last Fall. The sports media giant says that its ESPN Audio segment conducted a custom live sports audio study with Nielsen for the period of August 30, 2018 to January 17, 2019 that concluded an estimated 22.3 million people – 9.2% of the 12+ population – listened to live sports on ESPN Radio on terrestrial stations.  The study consisted of the company’s play-by-play broadcasts of college football including bowl games and the College Football Playoff, regular and post-season MLB action, and NFL & NBA games.  ESPN VP, multimedia sales John Fitzgerald says, “ESPN Radio’s live events are at the core of what makes it so valuable to our advertisers.  This study has shown that once again our unparalleled lineup of marquee matchups continues to grow our audience nationally and increase the reach of ESPN Radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. “I would probably say not,” is the quote from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about getting back together with Mike Francesa on Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York.  Russo made the comment to WEPN, New York personality Michael Kay on his afternoon drive program.  The competition between Kay and Francesa in afternoons in the Big Apple has been a big story in New York media lately…..Radio personality Walter M Sterling is serving as the guest star on KMOX, St. Louis’ late night, 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show.  Sterling, whose Westwood One show “Sterling on Sunday” airs on KMOX, is sitting in for host Ryan Wrecker…..Today is Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and SiriusXM is beginning its season of presenting live play-by-play broadcasts of every game, all season long to accompany the news and analysis of baseball heard on the MLB Network channel on the satellite radio service.

Mueller Investigation Report Aftermath, Trump Administration’s Obamacare Battle, Charlottesville Guilty Plea, Jussie Smollett Case, Border Wall/Immigration Issue, Green New Deal, Brexit Chaos, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27).  The aftermath of the completion of the Trump-Russia investigation and President Trump’s appearance on ‘Hannity’; the Trump administration’s moves to do away with the Affordable Care Act; James Alex Fields pleads guilty in the deadly car attack at the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally; the controversy over the Illinois state’s attorney not to press charges against actor Jussie Smollett; the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reports of migrant overcrowding in El Paso; the U.S. Senate’s vote on the Green New Deal; the political chaos in Britain over Theresa May’s EU exit proposal; NBA action and the NCAA tournament 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. There are two programming announcements from iHeartMedia Cleveland. First, programmer Carletta Blake moves from the company’s Raleigh country station WNCB “B93.9” to Cleveland to assume the PD post at country WGAR-FM, effective April 8.  Simultaneously, cluster programmer Jason Carr is named PD for adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.”  He adds this role to his PD duties at alternative WMMS-HD2/W256BT “ALT 99.1 FM” and his APD responsibilities at rock WMMS.  iHeartMedia North Ohio president Keith Hotchkiss says, “I could not be more excited for Carletta and Jason.  Both are incredibly adept and have proven, extensive track records of success with aligning our market-leading iHeartMedia brands across all platforms.  They are a perfect match for the vision of these stations and I know they will continue to move WGAR and ‘The Lake’ forward with music and content our listeners love.”…..At Griffin Communications’ Tulsa radio cluster, programmer Brian Jennings exits his position as PD of country KVOO and classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” after 15 months with the stations…..iHeartMedia rock WZZO, Allentown “95.1 ZZO” adds the WMMS, Cleveland-based “Rover’s Morning Glory” program, effective Monday (4/1).  The change comes shortly after the recent death of longtime station morning personality Kevin “The Bearman” Schutts.  Longtime morning co-host Keith Moyer is moving to the afternoon drive to host “The Keith Show.”  He says, “I am thrilled for many reasons.  My dream job has arrived.  No more getting up at 3:00 am, I can actually stay out past 6:00 pm and I can spend more quality time with my family and friends and TV.  I will be doing what I did in mornings, but now in the afternoon thus keeping The Bearman and Keith’s legacy alive!  Plus, being the only live afternoon drive show, I have the freedom to get out of the studio and broadcast from all over the Lehigh Valley.  ‘The Bearman and Keith’ will never be replaced, but ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ is a great alternative and will be the second best morning show in WZZO’s history!”…..Westwood One’s syndicated country program “The Ty Bentli Show” is being heard across the pond as WWO strikes a deal with the UK’s Bauer Media, making it the only American program that’s part of its Country Hits Radio format.  Bentli and cast members Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ Jenkins” will debut there on April 5 in markets including: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Humberside, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Tayside, Inverness, and Ayr…..Entercom and RCS ink a new deal for an expanded, long-term data partnership for the broadcaster’s use of RCS’ Mediabase service.  As part of the agreement, Mediabase will provide Entercom with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for the company’s portfolio of over 235 stations nationwide.  Additionally, Entercom will report the company’s weekly station music adds to the Mediabase platform.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”