Cumulus Media Appoints Dimick Vice President/Programming Operations. Former Lincoln Financial Media senior vice president of programming and operations John Dimick joins Cumulus Media as vice president of programming operations. Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay remarks, “John Dimick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position. He joins Doug Hamand and Greg Frey as a [vice president of programming operations]. Those three, along with our format specialists and analysts, will provide even more tools to our managers and program directors to employ when programming their stations.” Dimick – who begins his new assignment next Wednesday (6/1) – jokes, “I am very happy that Mike McVay would not buy my ‘retirement from the industry’ thinking. The new senior management team at Cumulus is building [something that] is extraordinary and compelling. I am flattered [corporate believes] I can help advance the growth and success of the stations and the remarkable Cumulus platform. Joining the corporate programming team with people like Greg Frey, Doug Hamand and the other pros at Cumulus is very exciting.” For the past 11 months, Dimick was franchise owner of the Dimick Automotive Group. In addition to Lincoln Financial stations in San Diego, Dimick has programmed Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97,” New York; KPLZ, Seattle; KISN, Salt Lake City; and WNCI, Columbus.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Donates $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. This year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”), Harry Hurley of WPGG, Atlantic City, capped off his acceptance speech last Friday (5/20) at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations by making a donation of $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). For almost a decade, Harry Hurley has used his successful morning show in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a platform for the numerous fundraising activities of his Hurley Morning Show Foundation that have raised more than a half million dollars in support of more than 100 New Jersey charities and service organizations. And he has an outstanding track record of philanthropic activities going back years prior to that. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Hurley as, “The quintessential local radio talk show host – entertaining, community-involved, well-connected and philanthropic – a veritable charity machine!” Harrison recently email blasted a powerful video plea on behalf of the BFOA to thousands of industry professionals that has drawn strong reaction and donation pledges of thousands of dollars. According to Harrison, “Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvement are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate. I know this for a fact, not just by reading press releases, or going to golden mic dinners and golf tournament fund-raisers – but by the personal experience of seeing, on more than one occasion, the Broadcasters Foundation of America step in and rescue sick, destitute and almost-completely broken people – who were, at one time, important players in this game – from literally being thrown out into the street.” To view a video recording of Harry Hurley’s acceptance speech and donation to the BFOA, please click here. To view Michael Harrison’s personal message on behalf of the BFOA, please click here.
Edison Research Webinar on Podcasting: Podcasting Now “Mainstream Media.” The firm Edison Research presented a webinar yesterday (5/26) on the state of podcasting conducted by its VP Tom Webster and covered for TALKERS by media consultant Holland Cooke. During the webinar, Webster stated, “It’s safe at this point to call podcasting ‘mainstream media.’” Cooke comments, It’s always puzzled me how talk radio demonizes that term, while sales reps have been telling prospects that their stations ARE mainstream. What advertiser wants to utilize FRINGE media?” Admitting he’s wary of making predictions, Webster did venture that “Podcasting has been a medium of slow, steady growth. This year, we saw a spike we haven’t seen before. If we’re looking for that ‘hockey stick pattern,’ I’m willing to give you a confident ‘maybe’.” For full details of the information-packed webinar, see Holland Cooke’s coverage by clicking here.
MLB Flagships: Part Two. In the second of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. Whereas all five NL Central key stations can be found in the April 2016 top ten (6+), no AL West flagship finishes higher than #20. Three AL East flagships reach the top ten in April 2016 (6+), as do three key stations of AL Central teams. See the second edition of this exclusive special feature piece about MLB flagships here.
“Sugar Mom” Marshall’s Meaningful Marking. While “voiceover artist,” “audio producer,” and “author” are apt summations of Robin Marshall, the most important depiction of the Dallas-based talent is that she is a one-year cancer survivor. Marshall will release recordings of “Lemons to Lemonade” blogs, which she wrote while undergoing aggressive ovarian cancer treatment. Those episodes will be part of the “Sugar Mom” podcast, leading up to National Cancer Survivors Day next Sunday (6/5). Starting next month, Marshall will distribute her audio book “The Diary of a Sugar Mom: Don’t Tell the Kids” free via her “Sugar Mom” podcast on various podcast directories. Marshall comments, “I want women and men who subscribe to my podcast and/or visit my Facebook page to understand what the concept of a ‘Sugar Mom’ really is, and more importantly, what it is not. If you can try one new thing a day, you are headed towards becoming who you used to be and now want to be again.” The “Sugar Mom” podcast releases new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marshall spent 20 years as a New York City on-air talent and she is the imaging voice for several radio stations. Since being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, she underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments in Dallas; she is in full remission.
Millennials Account For 66.5 Million Radio Users. This is not a homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests, and behaviors; ungrouping millennials can help advertisers, agencies, and radio stations understand each group more closely. Nielsen‘s Q4 2015 “Total Audience Report” separated 18-34s into three groups: “Dependent Adults” (those living in someone else’s home); “On Their Own” millennials (those living in their own home without children); and “Starting a Family” millennials” (those living in their own home with children). The data shows 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home. By their mid-30s, 90% of millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Radio is an important part of a millennial’s life and they listen to it in many ways. In the average week, radio reaches about 92% of “Starting a Family” millennials; 90% of “Dependent Adult” millennials”; and 89% of “On Their Own” millennials. CHR is the number one format for all three groups, but “Dependent Adult” millennials, who tend to live at home with their parents or another adult, listen to more classic rock, classic hits-oldies, and urban AC than the overall millennial group. “Dependent Adult” millennials listen to these formats because they are exposed to them by older adults in the home. “On Their Own” millennials are the least ethnically diverse group and they show a preference for non-ethnic formats like hot AC and alternative. They also listen to sports stations more than the other two millennial groups. Radio reaches 90% of all 18-34 African-Americans each week with urban AC the top format among this group. “Starting A Family” millennials include the highest percent of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking listeners. In this group, regional Mexican has the third-highest share of listening time. Overall, 16% of this group’s listening is spent with a Spanish language format. That is more than three times the amount of “On Their Own” millennials.
All Roads Lead to the “Pothole Derby.” A constant critic of the legislature’s “lack of action” regarding South Carolina road conditions – which station executives classify as being a “wreck” – Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg talker WYRD-FM “Word” announces a contest focusing on the Upstate’s pothole crisis. Operations manager Mark Hendrix remarks that his station’s listeners are “fed up with our terrible roads, huge potholes, and auto damage, so we are paying them to document how bad our roads really are. We are grateful to have the support of First Class Halt to help us with the ‘Pothole Derby.'” Listeners who submit photos of the biggest, deepest, potholes could win $500 in repair services from the station and their promotion sponsor. Approved pothole pictures will be posted on the WYRD-FM “Word” website. In addition, listeners are encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Transportation to file complaints about potholes. Only eight stations (four owned by SummitMedia and four iHeartMedia properties) are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book for Greenville-Spartanburg (market #59). SummitMedia urban AC WJMZ “107.3 Jamz Today’s R&B” ranks first with an 11.0 (12+).
Getting Together with Smaldone. For almost 24 years, Valerie Smaldone was the mid-day talent at market dominant adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM,” New York. More recently, she has been hosting/producing a variety of projects. The latest for the imaging voice of CBS Radio New York all-newser WINS is “Hit Makers: Music Icons in Performance and Conversation”; Tommy James (“Tommy James & The Shondells“) was her first guest and he sang several of his hits. In addition, Smaldone interviewed him about his book “Me, The Mob, and the Music,” as well as his days with Roulette Records. For the past two years, Smaldone’s weekly, three-hour Envision Networks’ talk show “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone & Friends” is heard in 15 markets.
KCMO-AM Slots Mysterious Saturday Morning Show. The unusual and the unexplained will be explored on the weekly, one-hour (6:00 am – 7:00 am) Wendy Garrett-hosted “Wendy’s Coffeehouse” that debuts next week (Saturday, 6/4) on Cumulus Media Kansas City talker KCMO-AM. Garrett “guarantees” the program will, “cover information and material you will not hear in the normal run of the news. It will address the unusual, under-reported, unexplained, and the mysterious.” Topics to be covered include UFO sightings, near-death experiences, innovative living strategies, and government disclosure issues. Among those already booked are “Children of Roswell” authors Thomas J. Carey & Donald R. Schmitt, who will discuss the aftermath and lifetime impact Roswell has had. Robbie Holz (“Secrets of Aboriginal Healing”) will explain beliefs and principles of the 60,000-year-old healing practices of the Australian Aborigines, who claim their techniques can help cure arthritis and cancer. Nick Redfern (“Weapons of the Gods”) will provide “evidence” that ancient civilizations developed and thrived until they “moved to self-destruction, using weapons with terrifying power.” Prior to working for KCMO-AM, Garrett – who claims to live in a haunted house – has been a reporter, host, and anchor on Kansas City outlets KCKC, KFKF, and KRVK. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2016 PPM ratings period, KCMO-AM is in a three-way tie at #20 and is down or flat for the fifth straight time (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2); Entercom hot AC KZPT is at #1 (6.9, 6+).
Presidential Race/Trump Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of May 23-27. The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2, the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s investigation of Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe for alleged campaign finance improprieties were tied. And following at #3 was President Obama’s trip to Vietnam and the related increase in Chinese naval activity. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcast Group Board Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. It is for $0.045 per share of its “Class A” and “Class B” common stock. The dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record on June 30. While Beasley Broadcast Group intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.
Odds & Sods: WHO, Des Moines afternoon driver Simon Conway pulls off a triple play today. In addition to doing his 9:00 am – 11:00 am show on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) and hosting his 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm program on WHO, Des Moines, he will fill in on Joe Pagliarulo‘s syndicated “Joe Pags Show.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s tempting to credit “House of Cards” for inventing binge watching. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Roku, and YouTube are following – not leading – consumers’ on-demand expectation, and their appetite for more than just more-of-the-same.
Radio is late to the party, playing catch-up as podcast TSL swells, and radio dollars leak to digital. Ask any GM about car dealers; and how corporate is barking for more digital revenue.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — “Our industry is literally changing the world,” Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro proclaimed in his opening keynote, forecasting his to be a $287 billion industry in USA alone in 2016.
“We champion The Sharing Economy,” he declared, noting how his organization helped make Uber and Lyft available in Las Vegas. Almost every time I jump in a cab in New York or Washington, an irked driver is railing against Uber; and, when I ask, admits that fellow drivers are defecting. Disrupt or be disrupted.
“Sharing is green” Shapiro reckons, because “now anyone can be an entrepreneur, by offering unused resources.” Like Airbnb, some of whose members say the extra income “has allowed them to stay in their homes.” And he cited 3D-printing accomplishments: a broken tool cloned aboard the International Space Station, prosthetic limbs, and rapid prototyping for inventors. Other innovations he boasted of include “a smartphone app they’re using in Rwanda that can diagnose HIV in 15 minutes.”
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — I should clarify. I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing — contrived political arguments. That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate “Talk Radio” caricature. When there’s a-war-on…the-war-on…The War on Christmas – and there’s feigned outrage about under-decorated cardboard coffee cups — you know they’re running out of things to talk about.
I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called “Over The Top” (OTT) TV such as Netflix. And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering “podcasting.”
Mosko calls himself “a studio guy” whose independent shop has 35 shows on 18 different networks, “the largest programming provider to OTT services.” He was interviewed by author and veteran journalist Bill Carter (SiriusXM’s “The Bill Carter Interview”) at NAB Show/New York* this week.
“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98” and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”