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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

| February 24, 2021

Entercom Q4 Revenue Down 25.7%; Full Year 2020 Declines 33.6%. The third major radio company to present 2020 fourth quarter and full year financial data is Entercom (Beasley and Cumulus have already posted their financial results and iHeartMedia is scheduled to do the same tomorrow). The company reveals 2020 Q4 net revenue was $319.5 million, down 25.7% from the same period in 2019, and 2020 full-year net revenue was $1.06 billion, a decline of 33.6% from 2019. Entercom notes that since the depths of the pandemic revenue dip in the second quarter of 2020, business is trending up. Its 2020 Q4 revenue was up 19% from Q3. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to drive strong sequential operating improvement with revenues up 19% and EBITDA more than doubling vs. the third quarter. Digital, podcasting, sports betting and network radio all posted strong double-digit growth over prior year and we are continuing to drive innovation across these businesses to enhance future growth potential. While the pandemic continues to hobble a large number of our advertisers, particularly locally, we are optimistic about a strong recovery in our local ad sales later this year driven by vaccinations, fiscal stimulus and pent-up consumer demand in heavily impacted categories.” Entercom breaks down its revenue by segments and some of the noteworthy data in this report includes that spot (local and national) revenue was down 27.7% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020; year-over-year spot revenue was down 42.9%. On the positive side, digital revenue (including podcasting) rose 20.5% from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020 and was up 26% year-over-year. Looking at radio revenue by format, while Entercom’s music formats took the biggest hit in 2020 – revenue was down 44% — sports talk revenue declined by 39.3% and news/talk was off by 21.7% during the year.

Round One of Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round. In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations both saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares increase – WINS added four-tenths to finish with a 4.0 share and the #8 rank and WCBS-AM added two-tenths for a 2.9 share and the #12 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacked on three-tenths for a 5.0 share and remains ranked #3. In Chicago, Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM added half a share to re-claim the #1 rank with a 7.3 share. Across town, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM added four-tenths for a 4.1 share and the #7 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here

Talk Programmer Bob Shomper to Retire in April. Longtime news/talk programmer Bob Shomper announces he’ll retire from the radio business on April 2. Shomper is currently program director at NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska. During his career he’s served at some of America’s great news/talk stations, including: WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; KTAR-FM, Phoenix; WLS-AM, Chicago; WGN-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Fort Worth/Dallas; and more. Shomper tells TALKERS magazine that his decision to retire is entirely his own and he’s grateful to be doing so on his own terms.

Robbie Stevens Posts Powerful Commentary to TalkersRadio About Honoring Truth in Media Discussions About Politics.  Noted record producer Robbie Stevens, one of TalkersRadio’s roster of “out-of-the-box” talk talents has posted a powerful new commentary yesterday (2/23) titled, “My Mistake(s),” that takes a candid look at a problem radio talk show hosts wrestle with all the time – staying true to core principles, maintaining a healthy sense of skepticism, and being honest about mistakes when making them. Stevens, who was the first talent signed for TalkersRadio – a service of TALKERS magazine – when it launched in the fall of 2013, has agreed to perform as a commentator on the platform for a “limited engagement” that will run through June of 2021. The Bronx-based New York City native is well-known in the music industry for his years of innovative studio work with a wide variety of high-profile artists, most recently on behalf of the estate and fans of the late John Lennon, for which he has achieved critical acclaim for his “raw” remix of the legendary artist’s Imagine album. He also most recently executive produced 13 Billboard #1 Dance Chart singles in a row, for Yoko Ono’s innovative ensemble Ono. He also recently produced (with Yoko Ono) the “John Lennon Anthology,” a four-CD set of unreleased material that was Rolling Stone magazine’s boxed set of the year. During his colorful career, he’s played on, mixed, or produced records by Herbie Hancock, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other high-profile musicians going back decades. During this time, Stevens has developed an alternative career as a talk radio host and commentator heard occasionally via on-air and online outlets provided by heritage NYC stations WOR and WNYM (in addition to TalkersRadio). Commenting on Stevens’ latest posting, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations (and former WOR PD) David Bernstein says, “Robbie is raw, fresh, and as real as the urban streets that gave rise to his gritty philosophy and we always get strong response to his work on our exciting platform. This new installment of his show is a grand slam home run because it strikes at the very core of our deepest personal conflicts in arriving at and sticking with our truths as talk radio hosts operating in a swirling ocean of changing information.” To listen to Robbie Stevens’ new series of commentaries on TalkersRadio, please click here. TalkersRadio is an “experimental” talk radio platform launched in 2013 to provide the industry with a “workout space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts.” Since its launch it has been a temporary home to a number of spoken-word talents – both high-profile and obscure – who’ve used it to work and showcase concepts that have gone on to achieve terrestrial radio exposure and even national syndication. In addition to Stevens, current TalkersRadio hosts include Claire CarterMeg McDonald, and UK sensation, Graham Mack. At the time of his passing, Alan Colmes was working on a series concept called “Healed Planet” heard on TalkersRadio which offered a glimpse into the late FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel star’s metaphysical interests. Files of that fledgling show remain archived on TalkersRadio as a tribute to Colmes. For more information about TalkersRadio, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Cool Operations Manager Opportunity. Locally owned southern-based radio group seeking a full-time Operations Manager with strong technical and digital skills. The ideal candidate MUST have experience operating OP-X and managing satellite operations for syndicated programs. Applicant must have at least 5 years of experience. Proven experience in managing social media branding, digital marketing, and video production. Proficient in digital automation systems, digital audio editing and production is a must. EEO. Send resumes to dalton@starnesmediagroup.com

TALKERS News Notes. A new channel from Newsmax TV officially launches on VIZIO SmartCast, the award-winning Smart TV platform available to millions of viewers. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Launching on VIZIO SmartCast allows our viewers to simply plug in their new televisions and play Newsmax TV. Newsmax is experiencing exponential growth and provides a much-needed perspective on the issues that many VIZIO viewers care about.”…..A new partnership between iHeartMedia and independent UK podcast company Novel will result in the debut of 11 original podcast series over the next three years. The relationship begins with the release of two podcast series, “The Assault on America” and “Deliver Us From Ervil.” “The Assault on America” tells the inside story of the insurrection at the Capitol by working with open-source investigative journalists Bellingcat. “Deliver Us From Ervil” is an investigative true-crime series in which a groundbreaking team of journalists enters a lawless town on the border of Mexico run by a secretive religious sect living in exile and outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government since 1924…..Content creation company Mean Ole Lion Media adds three new lifestyle-based podcasts to its portfolio. The podcasts are: “Conversations with Dr. Ian Smith,” all about people and discovering their back-story; “Business First with Sonia Alleyne,” that shines a light on brilliant and successful business people in a variety of industries; and “The History of Being Black” with host Eunice Elliott.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Riot Public Testimony, Biden Cabinet Nominees, Biden Migrant Policy, Trump Tax Returns, Rochester Protests, Russian Sanctions, China’s Hong Kong Loyalty Oath, and Tiger Woods Car Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the testimony before the U.S. Senate about the January 6 Capitol insurrection; the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, embattled White House budget office nominee Neera Tanden, and Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland; the Biden administration’s continued use of Trump policy turning away migrants at the Mexican border; the SCOTUS’ ruling Donald Trump must turn his tax data over to New York AG Cyrus Vance Jr.; the protests in Rochester, New York over the decision not to prosecute police in the death of Daniel Prude; the Biden Administration’s sanctions on Russia for the SolarWinds hack and the Navalny poisoning; China’s instituting loyalty oaths for Hong Kong politicians; and Tiger Woods is hurt in one-car accident in California were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

| June 4, 2020

Sean Spicer Interviews President Trump on Newsmax TV. The first press secretary in the Trump administration – now hosting a nightly program on the Newsmax TV network – held a one-on-one, sit-down interview with President Trump. Sean Spicer and the president addressed the George Floyd case, the protests that have followed, his visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, the border wall, the president’s views on social media, and more. The interview first aired Wednesday evening (6/3) at 6:00 pm ET.

KLIN, Lincoln Names Karla James Morning News Anchor. Lincoln, Nebraska news/talk KLIN announces Karla James joins the NRG Media family as morning drive news anchor, taking over for Jane Monnich, who retired from the station in February after a 45-year career with the station. James comes to KLIN after a 21-year career with KFAB, Omaha, where she was most recently afternoon drive anchor.  James also previously served with Nebraska News Network and as an adjunct professor of broadcasting for Midland University. KLIN program director Bob Shomper says, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Karla on the KLIN team. She’s a native Nebraskan who’s arguably the best-known news voice in the state.”

Magnum.Media Acquiring Three Wisconsin Signals from La Crosse Media Group. Wisconsin broadcasting firm Magnum.Media announces it has struck a deal with Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, LLC, d/b/a La Crosse Media Group and has filed an application with the FCC to acquire La Crosse, Wisconsin market signals news/talk WLFN-AM, country WQCC-FM, and oldies KQEG-FM. Dave Magnum states, “A dedicated bunch of folks really stuck together over 14 months to put this puzzle of transactions together. I’ve known [La Crosse Media managing member] Pat Smith for a long time. He’s a multi-talented broadcaster who forged and sustained a very impressive radio career.  Pat and his business partner, Kelly Ramsey, achieved many successes.” Reid Magnum adds, “My late mom Lynn, and my dad started from scratch with a Tomah-licensed Construction Permit in the La Crosse market in 1991. My brother, Ty, and I were both born in La Crosse. My wife, Chelsey, graduated from UW-La Crosse. The region known as ‘God’s Country’ is special to our family in several ways.”

George Floyd Case/Protests, COVID-19 Statistics, Re-Opening Continues, Presidential Race/RNC Convention, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The upgrade to second-degree murder charges against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the charging of three other officers in the death of George Floyd and the protests taking place across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections for future cases; the re-opening of economies across the country; the November presidential election and the RNC’s moving the August convention to another city; and the state of U.S.-China relations tied with China’s tightened control over Hong Kong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tonight (6/4) at 8:00 pm ET, Urban One is presenting a virtual town hall “to discuss the current political and racial climate plaguing the African American community titled, ‘We Are One: More Than A Hashtag.’” The one-hour event will stream live on the digital platforms on Radio One, Reach Media, TV One, and iOne Digital. Media personality Sybil Wilkes, former co-host of the Reach Media syndicated radio program “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” will moderate the town hall. Panelists will include: NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson; National Urban League president Marc Morial; political analyst and former South Carolina lawmaker Bakari Sellers; CURLS founder and CEO Mahisha Dellinger; Reach Media syndicated radio personalities Russ Parr, Erica Campbell, Angie Ange, Rickey Smiley, Willie Moore, Jr., former DC police officer and current associate rector of Calvary Episcopal Church and founder of the Center for the Study of Faith in Justice Rev. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, and more panelists to be announced…..Crossing Broad editor Kyle Scott reports on the status of WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon drive personality Mike Missanelli, who’s been off the air for the past nine days. Missanelli told Scott he’s using up vacation time, but Scott believes something deeper is going on in the aftermath of an on-air spat between Missanelli, producer Tryone Johnson, and Natalie Egenolf. Though he says Missanelli will return to the air on Monday, he believes Missanelli may be maneuvering his way out of WPEN purposely. Read it here…..ABC News Radio is presenting live coverage of George Floyd’s memorial services anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. ABC News Radio is also providing an hour of live anchored coverage – instant specials – each evening this week beginning at 8:06 p.m. ET. The special coverage will include developments in the Floyd case, the latest on the protests and “insight into the feelings of hurt and outrage sweeping the nation.” ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast hosted by Brad Mielke will also cover the services…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces that Chris Munoz is named EVP of national sales. In this role, Munoz will oversee Entravision’s national spot television, national spot radio, network radio, and national digital audio platforms. He was most recently SVP for Univision national sales. Entravision CRO Karl Meyer says, “Chris is an experienced and accomplished executive in the media space, and we are pleased to have him join the Entravision team and lead our national sales efforts. He is a proven strategic leader, a passionate advocate for Hispanic media, and possesses extensive client, industry and agency relationships.”…..Danny Lipford’s Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated television show, “Today’s Homeowner,” is joining the Crackle on-demand video platform as an exclusive AVOD release. The television series is Crackle’s entry into the home improvement genre. Crackle is a free-to-use platform that offers full-length movies, TV shows, and original programming…..The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that non-commercial WJCT, Jacksonville is transitioning to an “all-news and talk radio format,” effective July 13. The NPR-affiliate station, which will re-brand as “WJCT News 89.9,” will add a midday newscast and 13 national news programs from U.S. and Canadian public media outlets. Corporation president David McGowan comments, “The growing need for sources of news and information that are deeply thoughtful, unfailing in the pursuit of truth and universally available has never been clearer than it is now.”

Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee and the highest-ranking African American radio talk show host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, Joe Madison is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a candid conversation recorded this past Sunday (5/31) as the civil unrest was gaining momentum across America, Harrison and Madison discuss the issue of race relations and the police brutality perpetrated against black people that came to an emotional head with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. During the discussion, Madison accurately predicted that President Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807. He also takes a shot at black conservative talk show hosts as well as non-committed fence-sitters regarding the issue of racism. Do not miss this important conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; as well as several distinguished experts on coping with getting healthy sleep and intelligently handling finances during the pandemic. Speaking of the pandemic and money, check out a dynamic guest who has information making the case that the 1918 Spanish Flu did NOT have that much of a negative impact on the economy of that time. Ever hear of the “Roaring Twenties?” Don’t miss that! To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. South Florida CHR WFLC, Miami re-launches as “HITS 97.3” after becoming “Quarantine Radio” to serve listeners during the COVID-19 crisis. Cox Media Group has also changed the lineup at “The SoFlo Morning Show,” moving afternoon drive personality Kimmy B into the driver’s seat along with resident DJ and night show host Al P, and weekend host Kelbin Live. The afternoon show now stars WFLC music director Dia Ryan. Carolina Calix is the new evening personality. Station director of operations Jill Strada comments, “The entire ‘HITS 97.3’ on-air team represents the passion, culture and soul of South Florida.”…..iHeartMedia’s rock KYMT, Las Vegas “93.1 The Mountain,” brings Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the station lineup for morning drive,  effective June 8. At the same time, station assistant program director AD Rowntree begins hosting the afternoon drive show.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

| August 1, 2019

Urban One Posts Strong Q2 Numbers; Net Revenue Up 5.5%. It was “a very strong quarter from an advertising revenue standpoint,” says Urban One, Inc. CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III. The parent company of Radio One reports second quarter 2019 net revenue was approximately $121.6 million, an increase of 5.5% from the same period in 2018.  Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $46.3 million, an increase of 4.5% from the same period in 2018.  Urban One reports operating income of approximately $30.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared to approximately $24.8 million for the same period in 2018.  Net income was approximately $6.6 million or $0.15 per share (basic) compared to net income of approximately $23.6 million or $0.51 per share (basic) for the same period in 2018.  Liggins says, “Radio advertising was up 6.8%, TV advertising was up 9.4%, and digital was up 16.8%.  Our radio division is also pacing up approximately 8% for the third quarter, with robust demand for national business in our larger markets… Reach Media benefited from another successful cruise event, with the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage posting 12% year-over-year revenue growth… Overall, I am happy with our progress this quarter, and believe we can carry this positive momentum into the second half of the year.”

Sanchez Joins KDWN, Las Vegas for Evening Program; ‘The Vegas Take’ Moves to Mornings. Talk radio host Steve Sanchez announces he’s signed a four-year deal with Beasley Media Group to host the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm weeknight show on news/talk KDWN-AM/K268CS, Las Vegas, effective August 12.    Sanchez will continue to host his nationally syndicated weekend talk program distributed by Genesis Communications Network.  Sanchez’s arrival on the KDWN program schedule comes as the station moves “The Vegas Take” with Brian Shapiro and JD Sharp from evenings to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  Ray Lucia, who announced recently that he’s retiring from his radio show, had been heard in late mornings on the station.

Former KSL-FM, Salt Lake City Host Jay Mcfarland Running for Congress. Talk radio personality Jay Mcfarland gave up his “JayMac News Show” on Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City in order to run for congress in the Utah 4th Congressional District.  In a story posted at KSL.com, Mcfarland says he wants to become a national voice for conservatism.  He hopes to win the Republican primary to challenge the state’s only Democrat – Ben McAdams – and believes that this seat that is so important to Republicans will be a high-profile race nationally.  He’s quoted saying, “I got into radio to be able to impact the public debate.  Just over the last couple of years, I felt like our political discourse has degraded to such a horrific level, it’s not enough for me to talk about it.” Mcfarland hosted his radio show on KSL for the past nine years.

Bob Pittman Reminisces About MTV Launch on Michael Berry Show. Today (8/1) is the 38th anniversary of the launch of MTV. Back on August 1, 1981, 27-year-old Bob Pittman and his colleagues at MTV debuted the network that would transform television and music in ways that few had foreseen. The iHeartMedia chairman and CEO spoke on the KTRH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated Michael Berry program today about MTV and its place in history.  Pittman told Berry and his listeners “creating an identity for the NETWORK” was the most important reason for its success, sayin the one word which best described MTV was “cool.”  He also said MTV gave artists an identity to their fans.  Prior to that, with album covers largely artistic drawings, fans did not know what their favorite band looked like.  The video component gave them an insight into those bands, and their fashion.  Hear the whole interview here.

Kim Guthrie to Lead New Cox Media Group.  When Apollo Global Management agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cox’s radio stations earlier this year, it was assumed that most of its executives would remain with the new Cox Media Group since Apollo said it wanted to maintain the successful operating structure of the radio, TV, CoxReps and Gamut businesses.  Now, Cox is confirming that current Cox Media Group president Kim Guthrie will lead the new company as chief executive officer.

West Virginia Radio Renews with Nielsen Audio. After a time without subscribing to Nielsen Audio’s radio ratings service, West Virginia Radio Corporation reached a new agreement for measurement in the Charleston, West Virginia market.  Company president and CEO Dale Miller says, “In a time when audience metrics are so important, Nielsen remains the only ratings currency that consistently reflects the value of our radio stations.  Having reliable research is more important now than at any other time, and we feel that Nielsen Audio is a partner in our business, allowing us to generate true ROI.  We tried plan B for a time, but you can budget cut yourself out of the business.”

iHeartMedia Proposes Private Offering of $500M of Senior Secured Notes. Today, iHeartMedia, Inc. is offering – via its wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., $500,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due 2027 in a private offering.  The Notes and related guarantees will be offered only to persons reasonably believed to be “qualified institutional buyers.”  They will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility.  iHeartCommunications intends to use the proceeds from the Notes, together with cash on hand, to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.

TALKERS News Notes. WEPN-FM, New York personality and New York Yankees radio voice Michael Kay is being told to stay silent for at least another 10 days after his recent vocal cord surgery.  The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand writes that Kay had hoped to return to the broadcast booth tomorrow (8/2) but his doctor says he needs more time to heal. ESPN New York general manager Tim McCarthy says they want to be careful with Kay’s return and is fine with Kay “taking the whole summer.”  For Yankees games, Ryan Ruocco will sit in next week with Bob Costas calling one of the two Yankees-Red Sox games on Saturday…..In what is becoming an informal series of appearances, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh will join fellow Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk media star Sean Hannity on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” tonight (8/1) to talk about the Democratic debates and “the latest developments regarding former FBI director James Comey.”  Limbaugh – who appears to choose his television appearances carefully – has done several one-on-ones with Hannity during the past year.  Of course, Hannity rose to national fame filling in for Limbaugh back in the late 1990s…..CBS News Radio names Allison Keyes to the position of Washington, D.C.-based correspondent.  CBS News Radio VP and general manager Craig Swagler announces that Keyes will be integral to the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election.  She will also focus on covering stories on diversity and equality issues.  Her reporting will be heard daily on CBS News Radio affiliates around the country.  She has served as a freelance reporter for CBS News Radio since 2014.  Prior to that, she was a reporter for NPR in Washington, where she was a guest host for the program, “Tell Me More with Michel Martin.”…..The nationally syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program is added to the air schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, effective August 5. Katz says, “With our Midwest focus, being with KFOR could not be more perfect.  Working with PD Rob Kelley, going into an election year and highlighting how big news stories affect us locally, this is gonna be amazing!”  In addition to his syndicated show, Katz is the morning drive personality at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn appoints Juliette Morris CEO.  She’s been with the company as chief marketing officer since March of 2018…..NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha “1620 The ZONE” remains the flagship radio station for Creighton University’s men’s basketball for the next three season and gives “The Zone” exclusive rights to broadcast play-by-play for all home and away games as well as pre-game and post-game coverage.  Creighton’s home games will also continue to be broadcast live on NRG’s sister classic rock KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg” as part of the contract extension.  KOZN afternoon talk host John Bishop continues to handle play-by-play duties while a number of former Bluejays, including FOX Sports Radio talk show host and national college basketball television analyst Nick Bahe, will continue to provide color commentary.

Rebecca Thomas Takes on More Duties at CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design as Media Affiliates Director. For the past 12 years, Rebecca Thomas has been doing voice work for projects and accounts at her husband’s well-known imaging firm.  Now, she adds the official role of media affiliates director to her responsibilities at her husband Sandy ThomasCore Voice Imaging and Sound Design as media affiliates director.  She tells TALKERS magazine that their audio branding company does imaging for all radio formats.  Rebecca can be reached at: CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com.

2020 Presidential Race/Detroit Debates, Reagan-Nixon ‘Monkeys’ Controversy, Immigration Policy/Border Conditions, Capital One Hack, and China-Hong Kong Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the debates in Detroit; the controversy over the recording of Ronald Reagan referring to blacks as monkeys in conversation with Richard Nixon; the Trump Administration’s immigration and asylum policies and conditions at border detention centers; the aftermath of the hack of Capital One; and the tensions between China and Hong Kong in the wake of the recent protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked Launch New Show. A new, two-hour weekly show from Premiere Networks and Hollywood Unlocked is debuting on 50 iHeartMedia urban contemporary stations nationwide, in addition to iHeartRadio.   The show is “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee” and is co-hosted by Melyssa Ford and DJ Damage.  The program is targeted to hip hop fans by staying on top of hip hop culture and pop culture with “celebrity news, information and gossip, along with candid conversations with the stars who will bring truth to the latest stories and rumors.” Additionally, Lee’s podcast, “Hollywood Unlocked Uncensored,” which is also co-hosted by Ford and Damage and has more than 33 million views on its YouTube channel, is now available on iHeartRadio.

Monday, April 15, 2019

| April 15, 2019

Brown Parts Ways With iHeartMedia Denver. The approximately 12-year association between talk show host Michael Brown and iHeartMedia Denver has come to an end. While this turn-of-events isn’t something Brown wanted or anticipated, he emphasizes he has “fond memories” of his time in radio and is “looking forward to getting behind the microphone as quickly as possible.” He maintains radio is “a fantastic medium that will never disappear,” and he “readily embraces” the digital aspect of the business. Citing conversations he had with iHeartMedia regional senior vice president of Denver programming JoJo Turnbeaugh, Brown – who served as under-secretary of Homeland Security in both of George W. Bush’s administrations – reports his departure is owing to “format changes.” Brown’s Denver radio career began at news/talk KOA, where he did part-time work before becoming a full-timer. He then spent several years in afternoon drive on news/talk sibling KHOW, and recently returned to KOA. Regarding his highly-publicized experiences during Hurricane Katrina, Brown co-authored June 2011’s “Deadly Indifference, The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” In it, he criticizes the performance of several people and critiques his own performance by stating that he “failed to be ready for the press and was too timid in his response.” Politically, Brown describes himself as “very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent.” He appears at #83 on The Talkers Magazine 2018 Heavy Hundred.

Thomas Inducted Into The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. In recognition for her career in radio and community service, Entercom Detroit WWJ “News Radio 950” reporter Vickie Thomas was honored yesterday (4/14) in a ceremony at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Entercom Detroit senior vice president/market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit. Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.” Thomas comments, “In thinking about my over 30-year career in radio, with most of that time spent at WWJ, I can’t help but acknowledge all the people who took the time to encourage me and guide me. I’m really a reflection of those outstanding individuals. This award is extremely special because it comes from my peers. I’m blessed to have my body of work in journalism acknowledged by the selection committee; I thank each member who poured over all the applications and deemed me worthy of this honor.” Thomas, who joined WWJ in 1991, has earned awards from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She graduated cum laude and with honors in journalism from Wayne State University in 1989.

MONDAY MEMO: The Podcast Consumer 2019.  In our on-demand culture, consumers have taken control of their media.  We call the audio version “podcasting,” something everyone seems to be doing now.  But who is listening?  In this week’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the recently released Edison Research “Podcast Consumer 2019” report. Click here to read how he outlines ways radio broadcasters can exploit this trend.

TALKERS News Notes. All remaining regular season and postseason play of the New York City Football Club will air in Spanish on the ESPN app, along with the iHeart and Tune-in apps. In addition, select games of the American professional soccer team will air locally in New York City on WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes Radio 1050.” ESPN Radio Group senior vice president Tim McCarthy remarks, “WEPN-AM is proud to be associated with a tremendous brand like NYCFC. We believe giving our  listeners a choice on quality play-by-play has tremendous value; this agreement with NYCFC does just that.” NYCFC chief executive officer Brad Sims notes, “We are excited to have our 2019 matches broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes platforms. We want to give our fans many different ways to follow our club. This is a terrific alliance that will make our games even more accessible. New York’s Hispanic community is extremely passionate about soccer and is an integral part of our fanbase, so it continues to be a priority for us to provide Spanish-language presentations. ESPN is a leader in the sports media landscape and we’re looking forward to working together.” Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas will give their commentary throughout the season ….. Changes to take effect in three weeks (5/6) at Emmis-owned WFNI “Indy’s Sports Center – The Fan” will find Jeff Rickard and “Big JoeStaysniak moving from mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon) to morning drive (7:00 am – 10:00 am). “Jeff & Big Joe” will succeed ESPN Radio’s “(Mike) Golic & (Trey) Wingo,” while ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” will inherit the vacated 10:00 am – 12:00 noon slot …. A nine-year program director of iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “Cleveland’s Country 99.5,” Charley Connolly is named operations manager of Cumulus Media’s eight Youngstown stations and will be the day-to-day PD of country WQXK “K-105” there. Cumulus Youngstown vice president/market manager Bill Kelly comments, “We are fortunate to have someone of Charley’s background available to us in Youngstown. This is going to be fun.” In addition to WGAR, Connolly programmed iHeartMedia Cleveland’s adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Prior to that, he performed similar responsibilities for Cumulus Media Nashville’s news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” and country WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon.” In addition to WPIC “News Talk 790,” WBBW “Sports Radio 1240 AM,” and WLLF “Sports Radio 96.7 FM,” Cumulus Media Youngstown consists of aforementioned WQXK; CHR WHOT “Hot 101”; classic rock WYFM “Y-103”; classic country WSOM “America’s Music”; and classic hits-oldies WWIZ “Z-104.” ….. Approximately 250 guests attended last Friday’s (4/12) eleventh annual “Hurley in the Morning” charity dinner and silent auction, which raised $40,000. Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes keynoted the festivities at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino – Hotel. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the highest levels of government, business, and industry sectors,” declares Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG morning talent Harry Hurley. “Todd is a kind and generous friend. He is such a well-respected talent and a wonderful gentleman. Todd took the time to greet every guest, making each one feel like the most important person in the Ocean Ballroom.” Resorts Casino – Hotel president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio opines, “Harry could take his iconic event anywhere – it was truly spectacular. Todd Starnes was engaging and entertaining. Our audience enjoyed his humble, friendly, and unifying message. Resorts was happy and proud to once again host this charity dinner and we look forward to hosting Harry’s event again next year.” Starnes did his 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm Fox News Radio talk show onsite. Among dignitaries attending were congressman Jefferson Van Drew; New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney; New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella; and current and past New Jersey state legislature members. Ahead is Hurley’s twelfth annual charity golf open (6/21) in Egg Harbor Township (New Jersey) ….. Following his tenure as Reach Media’s integrated ad sales coordinator, Erick Vilson joins Sun Broadcast Group as national account manager and will be based in New York City. Sun Broadcast Group chief operating officer Julio Aponte, Jr. comments, “I was very impressed with Erick’s background, reputation, and his dedication to excellence. Bringing someone with his digital and event experience on-board will allow our team to offer greater business opportunities for our agencies and a deeper connection with our national audience for our advertisers.” Vilson notes, “Becoming part of the Sun Broadcast Group family is a fantastic opportunity. Their reputation in the industry, new approach to business, and clever ways to market their offerings was very attractive to me. I am very excited to bring my experience to the sales team.” Vilson has held sales and operation positions for iHeartMedia and Emmis.

Mueller Report Anticipation, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Assange Case Free Speech Implications Top Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio This Weekend.  According to the research of TALKERS, news/talk shows across the country this weekend (4/13-14) were largely focused on the topics of anticipation of the Robert Mueller Report’s planned delivery to Congress this Thursday, the next level of the College Admissions Scandal and charges filed against celebrity participants, the 2020 Presidential Race, and the Julian Assange Case’s implications on free speech and the free press going forward.

Progressive Talk Radio Champ Thom Hartmann Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. What is the state of progressive news/talk radio on the commercial and non-commercial dial? What is the liberal talk radio view of the early competition in a crowded field of hopefuls vying for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination? And what is the general status of the “Left” in American politics in 2019? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartmann – consistently ranked the most important progressive talk radio host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Hartmann (heard daily 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET) tackle these and other pertinent issues in an illuminating conversation that gets right to the heart of today’s talk media landscape. Harrison states, “Thom Hartmann has not only earned the respect of people on all sides of the political spectrum for his authentic, even-handed approach to today’s issues from the liberal perspective, but the unique and aggressive multi-platform distribution paradigm that he and his team have developed over the years stands as a model for independent radio syndication of all ideological stripes going forward into the digital era. The radio industry should pay attention to this innovative broadcaster.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Survey Says: Social Media Use Unchanged. Notwithstanding privacy controversies, “fake news,” and social media censorship, the share of adults in the United States who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically the same as it was this time last year. That is the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted January 8 to February 7 (2019). The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are each basically the same as in 2016. Instagram, however, shows an uptick during this same timeframe, growing from 35% of adults to 37%. Roughly seven of every ten adults in this country say they still use Facebook; nearly three of every ten visit Pinterest; and more than one of every five are Twitter users. Of all Facebook users, approximately three of every four visit the site every day – half check that platform several times a day. Those particular numbers identically mirror Pew’s 2018 survey results. At the same time, YouTube use remained at 73%, while LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Slightly more than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the site daily – up from the 45% who said the same in 2018. According to the report, Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, with Instagram used by two of every three 18 – 29-year-olds and Snapchat used by slightly more than two of every five (62%) people in that demo.

Lilly Broadcasting Becomes A Radio Player. As a result of paying $900,000 for three Warren (Pennsylvania) stations it is acquiring from Frank Iorio’s Radio Partners LLC, San Luis Obispo, California-based Lilly Broadcasting enters the radio business. The three Warren-area outlets involved are WNAE “News Talk 96.7,” classic hits-oldies WRRN “92 Gold,” and WKNB “Kinzua Country 104.3.” Lilly owns television facilities in Honolulu, Erie (Pennsylvania), Elmira (New York), Marquette (Michigan), and the Caribbean. According to Lilly Broadcasting president Kevin Lilly, “The Warren radio properties create synergies with our current footprint in our Pennsylvania television DMA, comprised of Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties. They will allow us to better serve our viewers and now our radio listeners while in their homes, cars, and online. We look forward to providing the best content available for our listeners and will improve the news, weather, and sports information on all platforms.”

 

 

San Antonio’s New Vibe. KXTN “Tejano & Proud,” San Antonio transitions to KVBH “Vibe 107.5.” Of the rhythmic hot AC presentation that will mix “pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists from the 1980s and early-2000s,” Univision San Antonio vice president and general manager Chris Morris states, “We are excited to launch a brand-new format that reflects the distinct musical tastes of San Antonio – one of the most diverse communities in the nation. By reformatting and optimizing our audio portfolio, we are able to better serve our audience and give them more of the content they love.” In conjunction with the format flip, the “Tejano & Proud” format shifts to a simulcast on KVBH-HD2 and KCOR, while “Univision Deportes Radio” moves from KCOR to KROM-HD3. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 survey period, KXTN ranks #14 (3.1). Its February 2018 through February 2019 high was 4.0 (6+) in February 2018.

More Than A Million Smiles. As part of its fourth annual “Laugh United: A Night of Cocktails and Comedy,” Westwood One’s “The Bob & Tom Show” raised a record $1,053,500 in Vienna, West Virginia for the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Pictured here is show cast member Josh Arnold who performed with fellow veteran touring comics Greg Hahn, Jack Freeman, and Henry Phillips. Parkersburg (West Virginia) rocker WHBR “103.1 The Bear” is the local “Bob & Tom Show” affiliate.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After nearly four years with iHeartMedia Denver CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” morning driver J.J. Kincaid (of “JJ & Nina”) departs. Immediately in advance of his Denver stint, Kincaid had a nine-year afternoon drive run in New York at co-owned/similarly-formatted WHTZ “Z-100” and spent three years in Dallas at another iHeartMedia CHR, KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” ….. On the heels of Beasley Media Group Boston flipping WBOS from “Alt 92.9” to “Rock 92.9” last Thursday (4/11), the station eliminates the music director position that was held by Joel Weiss, who exits. After having spent 13 years in a similar position at Cox Media Group Tampa’s WSUN, Weiss joined WBOS less than a year ago ….. Formerly the program director/afternoon drive talent at Martz Communications Group-owned WAMO “Pittsburgh’s #1 for Hip-Hop,” Jonathan Steele, will join Beasley Media Group Detroit’s WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” next Monday (4/22) as afternoon drive personality, using the air name “J. Steele.” According to WMGC vice president and market manager Mac Edwards, “When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list. Having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success.” Program director John Candelaria comments, “We are very impressed with J.’s experience and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.” Steele adds, “This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid. I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves for this incredible radio station.” The revised weekday “Bounce” line-up includes: “The Gello Show with Joanna” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. With Emmis Indianapolis’ WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” ever since the country outlet launched in 2005, morning talent Dave O’Brien exits, as his contract isn’t renewed. O’Brien started his Indianapolis radio career in 1996 at WRZX, later going to WNOU for two years and to WENS in 2004 ….. Jazz KUVO, Denver program and content director Nikki Swarn is appointed PD for Rocky Mountain Public Media‘s new R&B/hip-hop streaming service, “The Drop.” Swarn comments, “It is such an honor to get to serve the Colorado community through this incredible opportunity. We anticipate engaging Coloradans with an exciting blend of their favorite artists, while providing a platform for new and Colorado-based musicians as well. The audience consuming R&B and hip-hop is vast and hungry for dynamic experiences in music; we want to fill that void.” Swarn previously was Entercom Denver’s director of promotions and marketing and spent six years as Max Media Denver’s director of marketing and promotions ….. In separate fundraisers for their respective communities, two Alpha Media country-formatted properties (WFLS and KZKX) recently combined to bring in nearly $200,000. Completing its eleventh year of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WFLS “93.3 – Today’s Country,” Fredericksburg (Virginia) accounted for $135,479 in a two-day event hosted by the station’s morning team – Steve & Jessica. That figure broke WFLS’ previous records. Alpha Media market manager Beth Vickers states, “It is a privilege to lead a team of individuals who are passionate about helping others. Steve & Jessica were amazing hosts, pulling long hours to make it all happen. Our community and our listeners were so generous with donations – results like this make a difference.” Meanwhile, co-owned/similarly-formatted KZKX “KX-96.9,” Lincoln (Nebraska) – along with the Starlite Event Center – raised over $60,000 for American Red Cross flood relief during a one-night (3/29) benefit concert. Entertainment was provided by local bands Dylan Bloom, Bucka Ruse, and Sack of Lions. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “That night was a humbling experience as the people of Saunders County and surrounding areas – many of them flood victims themselves – came together with auction items and monetary donations to go directly to their friends, family, and neighbors. We are so blessed to have listeners like this in the KZKX family.” Severe flooding began impacting Nebraska in mid-March. The “KX-96.9” donation check was presented to the American Red Cross last Thursday (4/11).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

| April 10, 2019

Salem Radio Network and Larry Elder Sign New Deal. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Elder and Salem Radio Network announce they have agreed to extend their relationship through 2022.  Elder’s show airs live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 350 affiliate stations.  As SRN notes in a press release, Elder “built a loyal local following in Los Angeles over 20 years with KABC.”  He says, “I can’t think of a better fit for ‘The Larry Elder Show’ than Salem Radio Network. Our national show has grown astronomically in the last three years, and I’m both thrilled and honored to continue broadcasting with the Salem Radio family.”  Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “Larry has been a huge hit for the Salem Radio Network.  He is a leader in conservative thought and listeners all across the country have made an appointment with him every day to hear a voice of reason to cut through the noise of a world gone mad.  It has been an honor and privilege to work with a talk radio legend like Larry these last three years and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship.”

Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks Name Jennifer Newman Senior AE. Radio executive Jennifer Newman joins Sun & Fun Media and its affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks as senior account executive.  Newman was most recently market president for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. Sun & Fun Media is a network radio company that offers radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. Key Networks recently announced it is syndicating Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update” to the radio industry.   Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO and co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “As we continue to grow, we are delighted to add a sales professional who understands our business like Jennifer.  Her experience and knowledge of the value of our service to stations is the recipe for success.”

2019 NAB Crystal Radio Awards Announced; KFOR-AM/FM Honored with Crystal Heritage Award. Yesterday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters announced the 10 winners of the 32nd annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  The Crystal Awards recognize stations for outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  This year’s recipients were chosen from among 50 finalists.  This year’s winners include: KBHP-FM Bemidji, MN; KCVM-FM Cedar Falls, IA; KNDE-FM College Station, TX; KWBG-AM Boone, IA; WMBX-FM West Palm Beach; WMGK-FM Philadelphia; WRLT-FM Nashville; WTAM-AM Cleveland; WWPR-FM New York; and WYCT-FM Pensacola, FL.  Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Heritage Award, given to radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade says, “KFOR-AM/FM has proudly served the Lincoln, Nebraska region for over 94 years and our commitment to the community has never wavered.  We are so proud of our team’s accomplishments both on and off the air and are honored that this dedication is being rewarded with a coveted NAB Crystal Heritage Award.” Pictured below at the NAB Show in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Gade, director of sales Joy Patten, and OM/content director Rob Kelley.

Cumulus Dallas RVP Dan Bennett Featured in D Magazine Piece. Radio programmer-turned-executive Dan Bennett is the focus of a profile piece in Dallas’ D Magazine.  Bennett is the regional vice president for Cumulus Media’s Dallas and Houston markets.  According to the piece, Dallas is the company’s “biggest, strongest market” and Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says of Bennett, “He brings his A-game every day.”  Bennett was the program director at KFLI-AM, Dallas when he flipped it to news/talk in 1987.  He also was put in charge of sports talk KTCK-AM “The Ticket” when Cumulus bought it in 1996 and was instrumental in turning it into a money maker for the company.  Read the piece here.

Alpha Media Promotes Walton to Director of Sales. General sales manager Cressy Walton is promoted to director of sales at the Alpha Media Portland cluster that includes news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM, and several music-formatted stations. Walton replaces Amy Leimbach, who leaves for a similar position with iHeartMedia Phoenix (see next story).  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We have worked hard to create a strategic succession plan.  Elevating the talented Cressy Walton will make this transition seamless and poise us for continued success and revenue growth.  Cressy is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values.”

Leimbach to Lead Sales at iHeartMedia Phoenix.  Former Alpha Media Portland vice president of sales Amy Leimbach is assuming the SVP of sales position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster that includes news/talk KFYI, sports talk KGME and six music-formatted stations.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little states, “I am thrilled to have Amy lead our sales organization in Phoenix where she began her career.  After working with Amy here in the market, I know she will bring her incredible passion, energy, creativity and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and partnerships.”

Mueller Report Aftermath/William Barr Testimony, Waters-Mnuchin Exchange, 2020 Democratic Candidates, U.S.-Mexico Border Policy/DHS Shakeup, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Netanyahu Re-Election Bid, Brexit, Magic Johnson Leaves Lakers, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The aftermath of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before a congressional subcommittee; the highly charged exchange between Rep. Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the political battle over immigration and refugee policies at the U.S.-Mexico border and the related shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security; Democrats’ efforts to get Trump’s tax returns; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins re-election; the political chaos in England over Brexit; Magic Johnson leaves the Lakers; 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.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  The annual list from the editors of TALKERS magazine officially titled, “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America,” has been published.  The 2019 edition of the “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” is the seventh edition of this companion list to TALKERS’ long-running Heavy Hundred that ranks news/talk radio hosts.  Both lists are the work of TALKERS magazine editors and inclusion on the list is based on a number of objective and subjective factors, including ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent, potential, and uniqueness.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey says, “The Heavy Hundred of Sports talk – like its older sibling ranking news/talk radio hosts – is one of the most difficult tasks the TALKERS editors face each year.  The sheer number of qualified sports talk radio personalities in America, combined with the intense competition among them – especially in markets with two or more sports talk radio stations – makes this a challenging job for the editors.  We at TALKERS salute the hard-working sports talkers who made this year’s list.”  TALKERS magazine will publish the 2019 edition of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” in the coming weeks. See the 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Danni Bruns will continue her run with Cumulus Media’s Memphis cluster after signing a new, multi-year agreement.  Bruns is the operations manager for the station group and PD and PM drive co-host (with Chris “The Jar” Jarman) for rock WXMX “98.1 The Max.”  She’s been with the cluster since 2007.  Cumulus Memphis VP and market manager Morgan Bohannon comments, “I’ll go to battle any day with Danni Bruns on my team.  Energetic, passionate, and talented are just a few of the words I would use in describing Danni.  She’s a fighter and has proven to be a great leader for our programming team.  I’m excited to know we have her committed for years to come.”…..Radio pro Tammy Ragusa returns to Premiere Networks to serve as a writer and producer for its country radio prep team. Ragusa will be based in Nashville and report to Ira Robbins, VP/editorial director for Premiere.  She’ll be responsible for creating and developing show news prep, music, and special event coverage, and holiday programming for 200 country radio affiliate stations across the U.S.  She held a similar position with Premiere from 2006-2012. Most recently, Ragusa was a senior correspondent and community manager for Rare Country…..SummitMedia Knoxville names Loyd Ford program director and afternoon drive personality for country WCYQ “Q100.3,” effective April 15.