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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

| August 11, 2021

Phil Valentine Update: Doctors Focusing on Lungs. The latest update on the status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive host Phil Valentine published by Newsweek indicates that doctors “are focusing on treating the lungs of conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, in what his family has described as a ‘critical issue.’” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and as the viral infection got worse, he was hospitalized and eventually put on a ventilator. Dan Mandis is the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host on the station and has been communicating with Valentine’s listeners on behalf of his family. He wrote on Monday, “They are working on his lungs, that’s the critical issue right now. Other problems will come along but right now the focus is on his lungs. I’m hoping to have another update soon. #PrayForPhil.” The day before, Mandis posted, “Phil remains in critical condition this morning. There isn’t much new to report, but your continued prayers and support are appreciated. #PrayforPhil,” and later added that Valentine’s atrial fibrillation had improved, as well as his blood pressure. “The hope now is that his dependence on the vent will decrease and his lungs will improve.” The Newsweek piece also quotes Valentine’s longtime producer Johnny B saying, “I know I’d be emotional about this, but not to the point that I have. It’s been a very dark period, actually. I’ve really had to talk to myself, and my wife has helped me tremendously, my family’s helped me, and it’s not been easy. And my co-workers too have been very wonderful,” adding that Valentine is “just the nicest guy and loves to help people out.”

Round Two of July 2021 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2021 survey period covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM remains ranked #11 after tacking on one-tenth for a 3.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to #1 on the strength of a 1.1 share uptick and an 8.8 share finish. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 position after dropping two-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 3.5 share. Sister all-news WBZ-AM is also steady at #5 after adding two-tenths for a 5.9 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM takes over the #1 rank after climbing 1.9 shares to a 7.8 share while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM drops from #1 to #4 after falling two-tenths to a 6.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the first round) here.

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2021 Study Says AM/FM Listening Hits Highest Level in Over a Year. The just released Audio Today 2021 study from Nielsen Audio – from June 2021 online survey data based on a weighted sample of 1,000 among persons 18-plus – indicates “nine in 10 now feel life is becoming more normal, and they’re resuming pre-pandemic activities, spending and listening.” The study also finds that, “among the employed, two thirds are now working outside the home, up more than 70% since the height of lock-down in the spring of 2020. As a result, the AM/FM radio audience just recorded its highest levels in over a year across Nielsen’s PPM markets.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly adds, “Listening may have migrated into the home during the past year via smart speaker or mobile device, but now we’re tracking the audience shift back to pre-pandemic habits with in-car and out-of-home consumption increasing. All the while, radio’s value proposition for marketers hasn’t budged: it specializes in reaching consumers who are ready to spend right now, while they’re in the marketplace, and does so in a controlled environment which protects the advertiser’s reputation… Elsewhere in the audio universe, podcast usage — which flat-lined last year — is also growing again as millions of new listeners are engaging with the hottest new audio marketing opportunity. We’re approaching one million available podcasts, with something literally for everyone including radio broadcasters who are nimbly using on-demand audio as an extension of their on-air brands. The question now is how can advertisers reach the right audience in the right podcast?”

Gow Media’s SportsMap Radio Network Adds Three New Shows. The SportsMap Radio Network announces the launch of three new programs to its weekday lineup. They are: “Just Sayin It with Cole Thompson” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET), “In My Opinion with Denton Day” (9:00 am to 11:00 am ET), and “High Frequency with Kevin Dziepak” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET). Thompson, who covers the NFL and college football for Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation, says, “This is the start of something special. I just can’t thank the staff here at SportsMap enough for giving me the chance. Not everyone is lucky enough for this opportunity, but I will certainly make the most of it.” Day states, “I’m extremely thankful for the chance to host a weekday show. I started at the company nearly three years ago doing one live hour on Sunday mornings. Craig Larson and David Gow allowed me the creative freedom to grow and it’s very rewarding to have all that hard work lead to this exciting opportunity.” Dziepak, who spent the last eight years with WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score,” comments, “My goal is really simple: just have fun and try to provide an entertaining and enjoyable product for those listening. I want to widen the scope of the show beyond sports as well, integrating pop culture, TV, music and whatever else can spark conversation; sort of a cosmic gumbo.” Gow Media CEO David Gow states, “We have a number of partners who produce fabulous content for our network. I’m very excited about each of these new shows. The opportunity to produce original, informative and entertaining programs will always be an indispensable part of our core business model.”

Paul Mason to Lead Titans Radio for Cumulus Nashville. Programming pro Paul Mason is appointed to lead programming operations for Titans Radio for Cumulus Media Nashville. The company says that Mason will continue to serve as program director for sports talk WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” and Middle Tennessee sports audio. The appointment comes after Cumulus and the NFL club extended their multi-year partnership for WGFX to serve as the official radio broadcasting home of the Tennessee Titans and Titans Radio. Longtime executive producer Rhett Bryan remains in his role with Titans Radio. Cumulus Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “From the beginning, we were seeking a creative visionary with a passion for sports entertainment to lead ‘104.5 The Zone,’ the dominant sports destination in Middle Tennessee. Clearly, Paul has stepped into that role and done exceptional work. Adding programming operations oversight to Titans Radio is a natural next step for Paul and we are confident he’ll continue to deliver the best live and local sports content to fans on both WGFX and Titans Radio.” Mason states, “I am excited to work with this amazing group of broadcasters. Mike Keith, coach Dave McGinnis, executive producer Rhett Bryan, and the entire Titans Radio team are among the best in sports, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I also want to thank Allison Warren and [VP of programming operations] Charlie Cook for their confidence in me.”

TALKERS News Notes. Electronic voting firm Dominion Voting Systems is suing conservative video platforms OAN and Newsmax for defamation, alleging that they “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” about the company, relative to the presidential election of 2020. The complaint says they did so despite knowing the claims were false. Newsmax has issued the following statement regarding the suit: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”…..Focus360 announces that Forever Media is now a client as 29 Forever Media brands will be included in Focus360’s exclusive Jelli Plus networks including Jelli Male Plus, Jelli Female Plus and Jelli Music Plus. Focus360 CEO Phil Brown comments, “I’m elated to welcome such a storied media company to our Jelli Plus lineups. Forever Media covers some of the largest markets on the East Coast with incredible brands that super-serve their local audience. I’m honored that they have given us the opportunity to share that relationship with our advertising partners.”…..Edison Research unveils the results of its U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 of 2021. The list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report (which Edison says is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads). The top three shows based on measurement from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021 are: “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “The Daily,” and “Crime Junkie.” You can see the rest of this Top 50 report here…..Public radio outlet WVXU, Cincinnati – operated by Cincinnati Public Radio – is dropping its music programming and will go all news/talk as of August 14, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization says its goal is to “bring a wider diversity of voices to Cincinnati airwaves.” It will use NPR, American Public Media, and other programming to fill its schedule.

Longtime Public Radio Broadcaster Neal Conan Dies at 71. The NPR website has Neal Conan’s obituary here. Conan passed away in Hawaii after a battle with glioblastoma. He was host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” for 11 years, until NPR cancelled the show in 2013. During his lifelong public radio career, he served with WBAI, New York and with NPR in numerous capacities, including as executive producer of “All Things Considered” and as news director.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Controversy, Cuomo Resigns, Infrastructure Bill/Dems’ Budget Resolution, Senate GOP Blocks Voting Bill, Social Media Suspensions, Dominion Lawsuit, and Prince Andrew Sued Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/10). The rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and the hotly debated mask policies for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns yet maintains innocence; the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; Republicans in the Senate block Democrats’ attempts to revive the For the People voting act; Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene and YouTube suspends Rand Paul for “pandemic misinformation”; electronic voting firm Dominion sues OAN and Newsmax over “stolen election” broadcasts; and Britain’s Prince Andrew is sued by Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, April 1, 2013

| April 1, 2013

krausselishaSalem’s KRLA, Los Angeles Names Elisha Krauss Co-Host of Morning Show.  From her most recent position as senior producer for the nationally syndicated Sean Hannity show, Elisha Krauss joins Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro as co-host of the morning show, “The Morning Answer,” on Salem’s “AM 870 The Answer.”  Krauss says of her new position, “After being behind the scenes in radio for years I know this is a huge opportunity to share my conservative beliefs with the KRLA audience every day.”  Salem Communications vice president, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce hired Krauss as an intern at WABC in New York years ago.  He says, “Elisha impressed me from the day we first met when she applied to be an intern.  She had been home schooled in Oklahoma, but here she was in Manhattan making a name for herself as a freshman and I was immediately impressed with her character, integrity and maturity.”  KRLA program director Chuck Tyler says, “Elisha is a great addition to the team.  This is a truly unique show for Los Angeles morning drive and I know Brian and Ben are very anxious to get her into the mix.”  Krauss takes over for Heidi Harris who exited the program last week.

wgvx logoCumulus Flips Oldies Trimulcast in Twin Cities to Sports Talk.  The CBS Sports Radio Network comes to Minneapolis-St. Paul as Cumulus drops oldies on WGVX, WGVY and WGVZ and brands it as “SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.”  (The three sit alongside each other on the dial at 105.1, 105.3 and 105.7, respectively.)  The stations are carrying the entire network lineup.  In a statement, Cumulus Minneapolis Scott Jameson says, “The passion for sports combined with the power and credibility of the CBS brand makes for engaging and entertaining content.  Sports fans in the Twin Cities now have a choice for their daily fox of news and conversation delivered by the best in the business: Jim Rome, John Feinstein, Boomer Esiason, Doug Gottlieb and the entire team on ‘SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.’”

schnittshow logoSchnitt Update.  These past few months have certainly been interesting for talk show host Todd Schnitt.  Despite losing a high-profile defamation suit as plaintiff versus talker Bubba the Love Sponge – then settling the dispute in mediation instead of a return trip to trial court — Schnitt’s nationallyschnitttodd syndicated Compass Media Networks’ “The Schnitt Show” been showing continued growth and positive momentum with the recent addition of 15 new affiliates.  These include KSTE, Sacramento; WTAX, Champaign; WKBN, Youngstown; KPSF, Palm Springs; WINA-AM, Charlottesville as well as Mississippi Super Talk Radio Network outlets WFMM-FM, Hattiesburg; WFMN-FM; Jackson; WKBB-FM, West Point; WLAU-FM, Laurel; WRQO-FM, Brookhaven; WTCD-FM, Greenwood; WTNM-FM, Oxford; WXRZ-FM, Corinth; WZKR-FM, Meridian; and WWMR-FM, Tupelo.  Schnitt’s program originates in the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel‘s WFLA, Tampa where the local publicity garnered by the recent legal fracas has lifted his profile to the status of household name.  Schnitt, a rising member of the “Heavy Hundred” (#26) tells TALKERS that he is continuing to evolve his show with the “right” amount of politics.  He states, “I choose the most important issues to cover and do it concisely and informatively with fact, opinion and entertainment value.  My content is more diverse than ever and I’m really utilizing my aptitude and experience gained as a 20-plus year CHR morning guy.  I feel I’ve constructed a show that my competitors can’t match.  The daily political, ad nauseam Obama-bashing and wonk minutiae is burned close to needing dental records.”

nprNPR to Replace “Talk of the Nation” with “Here and Now.”  Calling a move away from opinion programming to storytelling, The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that NPR chief content officer Kinsey Wilson says the move to a news magazine from an opinion talk show is “what the audience is looking for and what member stations have been looking for.”  The issue was discussed on the March 29 “Morning Edition” program on NPR during which NPR media correspondent Davidconanneal Folkenflick stated that despite the $7 million dollar deficit NPR is facing this fiscal year, that is not the motivation for eliminating “Talk of the Nation” – which is heard on some 400 member stations and, according to NPR, reaches more than 3.5 million listeners.  Folkenflick says Wilson told him the move is “more of an effort to insure that the network is investing both personnel and money in places that will make it distinctive and he thinks more original reporting and a greater number of stories from around the country involving member stations will do that trick.”  As for host Neal Conan, he was offered to stay with NPR but will exit the program when it ends on June 30.  WBUR, Boston-produced “Here and Now” will be produced on the East Coast from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm and updated as needed until 4:00 pm for stations airing it later.

portcityradio logo‘The Big Talker’ in Wilmington, North Carolina Flips to All-News.  Citing the retirement of morning host Chad Adams from the stations, Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn tells the Port City Daily that “we decided to give Wilmington something it was missing — all-news radio with a focus on local news, sports, traffic and weather.”  Gunn says the simulcast on WNTB and WLTT is being branded “Port City Radio” alluding to its relationship with Port City Daily.  Port City Radio program director and morning host Aimee Bowen will speak with Port City Daily reporters about the stories behind the stories.  Those same reporters will be featured throughout the day.  She states, “Port City Radio is your hands-free device for Wilmington news.  Everybody is busy.  They’re on the go all the time.  This is a unique product that gives you unrestricted access to local and national news.  Our partnership with Port City Daily creates the ability to provide constant, local content.”  The format is using CBS Radio News as well as content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network.

wgnlogoNHL Lockout Shows How Important Sports Play-by-Play Can Be to Stations.  In a piece in the Chicago Tribune analyzing the recent BIA Kelsey revenue figures for Chicago’s top billing stations from 2012, the case of Tribune’s WGN stands out.  According the BIA Kelsey, WGN absorbed a revenue hit of more than $5 million from 2011 to 2012 ending the latter year with $30.2 million in revenue.  In the piece it’s noted that the NHL lockout affected the Chicago Blackhawks flagship dramatically.  WGN director of sales and interim general manager Jeff Hill tells the paper, “We probably took a loss of over $2 million just in Blackhawks fourth quarter revenue.  That represented a significant loss in our revenue.”  To be clear, Hill says that wasn’t the only reason for the revenue decline.  He cited a down year for agri-business and a poor political advertising year for the Chicago market.

tillemlenLen Tillem Out at KKSF, San Francisco.  The 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Len Tillem show is gone from Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco and the hour is being absorbed by the expansion of the Gil Gross program.  Tillem – along with former KGO, San Francisco personalities Ed Baxter and John Rothmann – crossed over to KKSF after being let go by the Cumulus Media news/talk station.  Now, Tillem is gone and Baxter and Rothmann remain at the KKSF in a fill-in capacity.

millerchrisDigital Consultant Advises Keeping Radio Websites Free of Clutter.  In his weekly column posted today (4/1) digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says “less is more” when it comes to putting appropriate time, energy, and space into play when developing a website to extend a radio station’s or show’s presence.  He suggests starting by taking inventory of the pages and features that are drawing the most visits and consider them the “important” ones.  Others (with a few key exceptions), he says, you should seriously consider taking down.  To read Chris Miller’s entire column “Prune Now to Grow Later,” click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Foundation to Present Check to Family of Murdered Police Dispatcher.  On Tuesday, April 2, WHTP, Tampa-based talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge will present a check for $15,000 to the family of slain Tampa police dispatcher Deanna Mendoza.  Mendoza’s three surviving children will be the recipients of the money raised through the Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation.  Bubba says, “A lot of times, people forget the high-stress job the dispatchers have.  People’s lives depend on the efficiency of police dispatchers and I wanted to remember her life and thank her family for her service.”  Mendoza was killed in January.  Tampa Police Department Major Brian Dugan will join Mendoza’s co-workers and family for the presentation.

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Network Goes Live Today.  After almost nine months of promotions and planning, the NBC and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio network goes live.  The network is boasting a starting affiliate base of 257 and is touting its newly designed, revamped website at NBCSportsRadio.com plus a customized NBC Sports Radio mobile app for Android and Apple devices.  The network says, “NBCSportsRadio.com features a fresh, modern look with a number of new features — like programming schedules, talent bios and photos, and a terrestrial radio station finder — plus added capabilities including live streaming, station streaming, and social media chatter.  The NBC Sports Radio mobile app, powered by Abacast, showcases a branded home page with rotating sponsorship panels and an integration system that syncs audio ads and rotating display ads — a feature that will help advertisers extend their brands.  Among its many features, the mobile app also delivers programming content, Facebook and Twitter promotion, and a station information page linking to phone request lines.”  NBC Sports Radio EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Game on!  We are pumped and ready to take the field.  When you combine our unmatched talent with our stations, our digital assets and our social media presence, it all adds up to an amazing listening and interactive experience for sports fans everywhere.”

donahuetomTom Donahue Show Expands to Five Days on KCAA, Loma Linda.  Talk radio personality Tom Donahue expands his program from its initial Friday show on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda, California to five days per week beginning today.  The “Tom Donahue Reports” program airs live at 1:00 am PT.  Donahue says April 1 holds a special significance for him because that is when he got his big break in talk radio replacing the legendary Chuck Harder as a nationally syndicated host for the Sun Radio Network in 1991.  He says he plans to offer his show to other stations.  The Talk Superstation remains his primary internet station, while Talk Stream Live serves as his streaming digital directory.