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Pending Business: Updating Your To-Do List

| January 11, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The new year has brought back an old technique in my “To-Do” list.

End of year organization of both personal and business to-do, pushed into 2021 combined with developmental targets for 2021, has forced me to re-think how to re-organize scheduling, priorities and time management. WFH or remotely is still the norm for many sellers and managers. The layers of interruption and disruption can and will hamper performance. Previous in person interactions that have now shifted to on line contact has led to more delays that start with “this time of year…..”

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

| October 7, 2020

2020 Radio Show: “What Business Are You In Now?”  For years – as digital competitors horned-in-on radio Time Spent Listening, and lured advertisers – convention panels have talked-the-talk. Yet cutbacks have compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet. This Radio Show session details how Neuhoff Media/Decatur walked-the-walk, and made money, during the pandemic shutdown. Read it here.

Syndicated Radio Personality Walter Sterling Says the Technical Snafu During Entercom CEO David Field’s NAB Radio Show Remarks was the ‘Single Most Important Event of the Virtual Conference.  Syndicated radio host Walter Sterling (a.k.a. Walter Sabo, the longtime radio consultant) pointed to a key takeaway from the current NAB/RAB Radio Show taking place virtually. Sterling tells TALKERS, “The key takeaway of the Radio Show was the opening of David Field’s remarks. His video/audio internet connection crashed and was unstable. That was the single most important event. It showed the high risk for any advertiser to invest in the unproven medium of online video and audio streaming. That’s why media buying companies put online video campaign money on the ‘Test Budget’ line of their spreadsheets.” Sterling adds, “Radio is a proven medium that continues to work. It has streamed to the car since 1938. Everyone knows how to access radio content, from eight to 98-year-olds and they access it because they love it. That’s the news.” Today (10/7) marks the third day of the conference.

Bloomberg: Sirius and Howard Stern Close to New Deal. According to a report by Bloomberg, SiriusXM and Howard Stern are very close to a contract extension that will pay the radio legend $120 million per year. The story quotes outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer saying at a Goldman Sachs conference that Stern is still valuable to the company. “I can tell you that we understand the economics very, very well, for instance, of content like Howard Stern. I can look every investor in the eye and tell them that is a good investment for Sirius XM.” Neither SiriusXM nor Stern’s representatives commented for the Bloomberg piece. Stern’s most recent deal, signed in 2015, is estimated to have paid him between $80 million and $100 million per year.

Forbes: Mark Levin Facebook Page Restricted. A Forbes story by Jonathan Berr indicates that the Facebook page of Westwood One nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mark Levin has been restricted for “repeated sharing of false news.” It’s not clear what Levin posted that Facebook found objectionable but Levin, via a post on the conservative platform Parler, denies the allegation of misleading users and says Facebook is guilty of “censorship” and “pushing a left-wing agenda.” He added, “Every link I post is from a legitimate source. But because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of the election, it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome.” In his story, Berr cites an NPR piece that says a half dozen “technology experts, including data scientists who have special access to Facebook’s internal metrics” that it contacted concluded “there is no statistical evidence to support the argument that Facebook does not give conservative views a fair shake.” The NPR piece goes on to say that publicly available data shows that “conservative news regularly ranks among some of the popular content on the site.”

Call for Repeal of Section 230 Raises Issues for Media Industry. The movement to repeal Section 230 of the 1990s-era Communications Decency Act – which allows users to put content on the Internet without making the platforms themselves liable – is gaining momentum with President Trump, his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as well as numerous members of Congress calling for a change in that protection. In fact, earlier this summer the president issued an executive order asking the FCC to create new Section 230 rules and ordered the FTC to act on incidents of deceptive communication. Critics of Section 230 say it is outdated because of the ubiquity and influence of today’s social media and its role in the public discourse as well in the health and safety realms. The Republican-sponsored Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would “condition the content moderation liability shield on an objective reasonableness standard. In order to be protected from liability, a tech company may only restrict access to content on its platform where it has ‘an objectively reasonable belief’ that the content falls within a certain, specified category.” You can read that bill here. Free speech organizations such as Fight for the Future argue bills such as the one cited here would only make matters worse. Reacting to President Trump’s recent tweet attacking Section 230, Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer says websites would become legally responsible for the opinions of its users. As a result, “social media platforms would likely engage in mass censorship and banning of accounts rather than open themselves up to lawsuits for hosting controversial opinions – Trump’s accounts would surely be among the first to go. It would strip users of key protections too. Who’s excited to get sued for retweeting something? The reality is that lawmakers from across the political spectrum are deeply misinformed about how Section 230 actually works. It feels like every week there’s a new misguided proposal in Congress. But repealing Section 230 won’t do anything to hold Big Tech companies accountable or address the harms done by their data harvesting business models. And it won’t do anything to address concerns around biased moderation or the silencing of marginalized voices.” Any changes in Section 230 would apply to audio content as well as text, images, memes, etc.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (10/13), Edison Research and NPR will present a webinar (2:00 pm ET) in which they will reveal the results of the second annual “Spoken Word Audio Report.” The data indicates that Americans’ share of listening to spoken word audio is up over 8% in the last year and in the report “NPR and Edison Research explore what is driving this increase and how news, podcasts, audiobooks, and talk radio continue to cut into time that was previously spent with music.” The study promises to reveal which listeners are spending more time with spoken word audio; how time spent with audio has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; provide excerpts from in-depth interviews that help explain changes in listening behavior; and results from a new national survey that measured these behaviors on a larger scale. Findings will be published online at the conclusion of the webinar. You can register for the webinar here…..Nielsen announces that Radio Research Consortium, Inc. signs a multi-year renewal agreement to license individual non-commercial stations for Nielsen syndicated products, including Nielsen Scarborough syndicated services. Radio Research Consortium president Joanne Church says, “As a long-term user of Nielsen data, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as we advance our mission and commitment to provide audience data to non-commercial radio stations.”…..Cadence13, a division of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces an exclusive partnership with Karina Longworth for “You Must Remember This,” the storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Longworth tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars, and scandals of the 20th century. Previous seasons of the show explored stars and scandals including Polly Platt, the woman behind some of the most legendary films of the 1970s and 1980s; the complicated racial and historical dynamics of Disney’s animated film Song of the South; Joan Crawford; the Hollywood Blacklist; and Charles Manson’s Hollywood.

2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The 2020 Radio Mercury Awards were held virtually yesterday evening (10/6) and the Radio Advertising Bureau says that this year’s winners “will serve as a time capsule of work created during the current unusual times.” BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald served as chief judge for this year’s competition and says, “The innovation and creativity that we heard with this year’s winning audio truly impressed the jury. From at-home recording to using bots as talent, these winners showcased what it means to convey a brand’s message in a way that is both storytelling and story-doing.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Tonight’s awards presentation reflects the power of radio creative and its ability to deliver for listeners and advertisers. Despite these unprecedented times, the Radio Mercury Awards winners continued to bring their all to this year’s awards and pushed the medium forward.” You can watch the program here.

Trump’s COVID-19 Case/White House Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Stimulus Deal Dead, Big Tech Breakup Talk/Facebook Bans QAnon, Texas Cop Charged in Shooting of Black Man, McCloskeys Indicted, California Wildfires, Hurricane Delta, Eddie Van Halen Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). Controversy over President Trump’s return to the White House after his COVID-19 diagnosis and the White House safety protocols; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for increased cases this fall and through the winter; the November presidential election and tonight’s vice presidential debate; Trump’s announcement that stimulus deal negotiations will be put off until after the election; chatter in Washington about breaking up the Big Tech companies and Facebook’s ban on QAnon content; a Texas police officer is charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations and tampering with evidence after brandishing guns during protests near their home; the ongoing California wildfires; Hurricane Delta loses strength; and rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Don Chris Williams, a.k.a. “DJ Wrekk-1,” signs an extension with Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach to continue his roles as brand content director and afternoon drive host on urban AC WMBX “X102.3.” Cluster operations manager Bruce Logan comments, “We are so excited to continue our relationship with Don Chris ‘DJ Wrekk-1’ Williams! Don has done a masterful job of growing the WMBX ratings. Under Don’s leadership WMBX has achieved new rating highs and is a vital part of the West Palm Beach African American community.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle’s classic rock KZOK helped raise more than $116,000 during its 23rd annual “Rock The Harvest” radiothon to benefit Northwest Harvest, Washington State’s leading hunger relief agency that supports a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. The 12-hour broadcast was hosted by “The Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show” personalities in which listeners were encouraged to call in to the show and donate $102.50, enough funds to provide nutritious meals to a family of four for a month. Over the past 23 years, “Rock the Harvest” has raised more than $1.3 million to benefit Northwest Harvest.

Monday, September 28, 2020

| September 28, 2020

Monday Memo: It’s Not Debatable. As the president and his challenger prepare to take the stage tomorrow night, consultant Holland Cooke can’t resist an analogy about radio programming vs. digital challengers. Read it here.

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated for SCOTUS Seat, the Presidential Race/Tuesday Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, NYTimes Trump Tax Story, BML Movement/Protests, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The president introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and projections for future cases; the New York Times piece that details President Trump’s tax, income, and debt situation; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in numerous cities across the country; and the ongoing wildfires in California, Oregon and others were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartSports Network Debuts. The new iHeartSports Network from iHeartMedia launches today, “servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.” The company says the new network, “with a monthly reach of 75 million listeners, will feature some of the biggest names in sports including Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Joy Taylor and more.” The iHeartSports Network will deliver short-form national, regional local sports reports to listeners on formats that index high against sports interest, including rock, country, hip hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. The company adds, “Scarborough found that 83% of sports fans want a daily update. Nielsen confirms that 89% of sports fans listen to radio each week and radio listeners typically tune in multiple times per day. Research also indicates that almost two-thirds of sports fans do not have the time to seek out additional desired information, so the iHeartSports Network will deliver sports reports to listeners conveniently and timely wherever they are.” iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a product driven network responding to the interests of our listeners. People are passionate about sports and this will deliver the timely regional and local coverage they care most about along with the biggest national stories.”

Sarah Foss Joins Entercom as Chief Information Officer. Advertising executive Sarah Foss is named chief information officer for Entercom. In this role, Foss will “provide strategic direction and oversight for the design, development, acquisition, operation and support of the company’s enterprise technology systems and programs. She will also collaborate with cross-functional executives to create a vision for how digital, data and analytics, and new technologies can help create a differentiated experience and drive efficiency in operations.” Foss was most recently senior vice president, strategic initiatives for FreeWheel Advertisers. Prior to that role, she was general manager, ad tech for Imagine Communications. Entercom EVP and CFO Richard Schmaeling says, “This role is critical to our success in the constantly evolving media landscape and we’re thrilled to have Sarah on board. Her strong business acumen and enriched media technology intellect is incredibly valuable as we continue to evolve and elevate our business.” Foss adds, “I’m thrilled to be joining Entercom at this exciting time in media. We have a unique opportunity to leverage outstanding content and deep community relationships to reach new, targeted audiences through our digital and broadcast platforms. Smart technology choices will accelerate this for us.”

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign is tomorrow night (9/29) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and ABC News Radio is offering three hours of live, anchored coverage the night of the debate, including a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, FiveThirtyEight’s Galen Druke, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams. ABC News Radio will also offer multiple one-minute “Status Reports” throughout the night…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS-AM, Wichita takes home three top honors in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Television & Radio Awards. The station won first place for Complete Newscast by Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward, Jad Chambers, Ronelle Williams; Complete Sportscast by Ted Woodward; and Station Website…..A new podcast series called “The Frost Tapes” is coming to the iHeartRadioplatform. It is an original podcast featuring unheard interviews of towering figures in American life during the 1960s and 1970s conducted by legendary broadcaster David Frost and hosted by his son, Wilfred Frost. Debuting on October 6, the podcast will include unaired behind-the-scenes footage from Frost’s famous 28-hour interviews with Richard Nixon, and huge swathes of interviews that have not been heard since their original broadcast date 50 years ago.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Todd Schnitt is returning to morning drive in Tampa Bay in his alter ego MJ as “The MJ Morning Show” joins Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM “Q105,” effective October 5. As a result of this move, current longtime morning personality Mason Dixon takes over afternoon drive and Geno Knight shifts to middays. Schnitt continued to host his afternoon drive, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Schnitt Show.” The Schnitt Show on Compass Media Networks. Beasley Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Steve Triplett says, “We are excited and proud to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back on the legendary Q105. For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market. I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay!”…..Los Angeles-based “Valentine In The Morning” is the new morning program on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KSOF, Fresno “Soft Rock 98.9.” The program features Valentine along with his co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. To make room for the program, Teri-Ann Schlesser moves to middays…..Programming pro McConnell Adams is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Lansing station group. He’s been serving as brand manager for CHR WJIM-FM “97.5 Now” and adult contemporary WFMK. He says, “I am truly blessed for the opportunities I have been presented by this amazing company. Our multi-platform, ‘Local First’ strategy is second to none at delivering local, original content and entertainment. I am really excited to be working even closer with the talented team here to continue our amazing success.”…..Morning personality John Houston is retiring from Woof Inc’s adult contemporary WOOF-FM, Dothan, Alabama after a 44-year career in radio. The Dothan Eagle reports on Houston’s career and his decision to start sleeping in and spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

| September 15, 2020

Van Harden Announces Retirement from WHO-AM, Des Moines in January. Thirty-four-year WHO, Des Moines morning personality Van Harden announced he’s retiring from the station on January 8, 2021, capping a 50-year radio career. In a public statement, iHeartMedia notes that during Van Harden’s time at WHO, he’s won five Marconi awards for his work as the host of the morning show and has been inducted along with co-host Bonnie Lucas into the Iowa Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Harden says, “I know people will ask why I am retiring. My answer is, after 50 years, why not? For years people have asked me if I ever think about retirement and I have told them, ‘Yes, at 2:45 weekday mornings.’ Getting up has been the biggest challenge of the job and it has gotten more difficult as time has gone on, but I wouldn’t trade any of those past mornings for anything. I want to deeply thank my past co-hosts and good friends, Patti Christensen, Connie Murad, and Bonnie Lucas, especially Bonnie, after putting in 25 years of her own, for being such fabulous on-air partners. I could make a huge list of incredible co-workers from the past 50 years that have made this an amazing ride. Besides the on-air shows it was a great honor to be the program director of WHO for 30 years and of KXNO from the day we put it on the air as a sports station. It has been a privilege to have hired and worked with so many talented people on both stations.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. In today’s report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, he notes that news/talk stations in PPM markets have been remarkably consistent in their 6+ AQH share increases this year over last. Based on Nielsen Audio’s data, 64% of news/talk outlets in PPM markets were up August 2019 – August 2020. For the two previous surveys, growth was very similar as is evidenced by the 65% up from July 2019 – July 2020 and the 68% up from June 2019 – June 2020. Returning to the August data, 55% of news/talk stations were up from July 2020 to August 2020 with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.3), WTAM, Cleveland (+2.0), and WISN, Milwaukee (+1.8) leading gainers. Joining WLW and WISN as #1-ranked stations in their respective markets in August were Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Mike Kinosian also provides cume data in this report and notes that 54% of news/talk stations in PPM markets showed improved cume from the July 2020 survey to August 2020 with Nexstar Media Group’s WGN, Chicago leading the gainers. See his complete report here.

Minnesota Public Radio Reporter Quits in Solidarity with Victims of Air Personality. According to a report by WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio news reporter Marianne Combs resigned her position with the public media company after her editors did not run her investigative piece about the actions of an unnamed air personality at sister triple A station KCMP, Minneapolis “The Current.” Combs tells WCCO-TV that she spent two months speaking to eight women who were “sexually manipulated and psychologically abused” by the staffer. Combs says that she was told that although editors found the behavior “creepy,” it did not rise to the level of illegality and was therefore not worthy of news coverage. MPR president Duchesne Drew told WCCO-TV that they are “blindsided” by her resignation and believed she was continuing to work on it but that he stands by his editors’ decisions. He also adds that editors discussed with Combs how to strengthen the story to allow it to “meet our standards.”

Jim Meyer to Retire from SiriusXM CEO Position. After seven years as chief executive officer of SiriusXM, James E. Meyer announces he intends to retire on December 31, 2020. Meyer was named CEO in April of 2013 after serving as interim CEO since the previous December. Under his watch, revenue has more than doubled to an expected $7.7 billion and the number of subscribers has grown to 34.3 million. SiriusXM says that current president of sales, marketing and operations Jennifer C. Witz will become CEO. Meyer will remain on the company’s board of directors and will serve as vice chairman. Board chair Gregory Maffei says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.” At the same time, SiriusXM announces that David J. Frear will leave the EVP and chief financial officer position to pursue other opportunities and Sean S. Sullivan is appointed to that role. Sullivan has been serving in a similar capacity for AMC Networks since 2011.

Salem Radio Network News Presents September 29 Debate Coverage. When the first presidential debate takes place on Tuesday, September 29 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. SRN begins coverage with an hourlong “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt, joined by special guests and SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. The debate itself runs with no commercial breaks from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm and will be followed by a “SRN Debate Wrap-Up” at 10:30 hosted by Hewitt. SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup says, “Excitement in anticipation of this first 2020 debate has been building for months. With the polls tightening and no teleprompters on stage, our debate coverage promises to highlight the first gloves-off, no-holds-barred encounter between these two candidates for the highest office in America.”

Hurley in the Morning Charity Passes $1 Million Mark. With last Friday’s 13th Annual “Hurley in the Morning” Charity Golf Tournament at The Harbor Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey in the books, the charity founded by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley pushes the charity’s total funds raised since its inception past the $1 million mark. Hurley says, “The latest installment generated more than $50,000, which has enabled the ‘Hurley in the Morning’ Charity to surpass $1 million raised in our history. We are so grateful for the amazing support that we have received over the years. It’s also very gratifying that we have proven that you can safely and responsibly hold an outdoor event during the pandemic. The annual charity event was modified to respect social distancing and was made as contactless as is humanly possible.”

The Presidential Race, Western Wildfires/Climate Change Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, PA Protests/BLM Movement, Facebook Whistleblower Memo, Iran Assassination Plot, and Hurricane Sally Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The November presidential election; the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington and the debate over climate change and its effect on the wildfires; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the protests in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after police kill a knife-wielding man; a Facebook whistleblower’s memo about the company’s challenges dealing with voter manipulation; President Trump warns Iran after rumors of its intent to assassinate an American ambassador; and Hurricane Sally’s projected path into the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jim Richmond Named Director of Sales for Bonneville Seattle. Sales pro Jim Richmond is named director of sales for the Bonneville Seattle Media Group. Richmond was most recently general sales manager for Entercom San Francisco and assumes the role held by Cathy Cangiano prior to her promotion to SVP and market manager. She says, “I believe Jim Richmond’s experience, combined with his business acumen and strong leadership skills are well aligned to capitalize on opportunities that we have identified as integral to our success. In addition to his responsibilities leading the sales teams, he will be a key contributor to our Leadership Team and our constant efforts to align with Bonneville’s purpose.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcaster and journalist Rita Cosby is named the chair of the Global Service Institute at Long Island University.  In this role, Cosby will lead the Institute’s “game-changing and innovative educational initiatives to inspire a timely commitment toward volunteerism and elevate the importance and power of service. During this unprecedented moment with the economic devastation caused by the virus, the need for volunteers to assist drastically depleted nonprofit organizations has never been greater.” LIU president Dr. Kimberly R. Cline says, “The Global Service Institute established LIU as a premier destination for developing values-driven global citizens who will impact their communities. With her global experience exploring critical headlines and lifelong dedication to service, Rita Cosby is an exemplary leader who will elevate the Institute to even higher levels.”…..This week’s Westwood One blog examines a number of Nielsen case studies that indicate AM/FM radio ad campaigns lift TV viewership. The studies compare those who had been exposed to AM/FM radio ads for TV tune-in with people who had not heard the ads. The studies show that while on-network promos and paid TV buys reach heavy TV viewers, AM/FM radio TV tune-in campaigns reach medium and light TV viewers. In one case, the returning season of a scripted cable drama ran an AM/FM radio campaign that represented only 5% of the media plan but generated 20% of the total campaign impressions. 70% of the AM/FM radio impressions were from persons 18-54, while half of the paid TV and TV promo impressions were from persons 55+…..iHeartRadio and Treefort Media announce a new docuseries podcast titled, “DRAFTED,” that follows top college football players as they prepare to enter the NFL Draft. The program is produced in association with Klutch Sports Group and is narrated by Emmy-winning actor Keegan-Michael Key. He says, “I’m excited to be part of this series because it gives mega fans like myself intimate access and insight into the world of these incredible athletes. It’s really special to be able to hear everything they’re going through, and experience their nerves, excitement and tension leading up to one of the biggest events of their lives. I look forward to every moment.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. An internal memo from Entercom chief operating officer Susan Larkin reveals the company’s “hub-and-spoke” programming philosophy for its alternative and country radio stations. As a reduction-in-force for air talent and programmers takes place, we learn that Entercom is creating national and regional program hosts for certain dayparts and is realigning its programming management. For country, Tim Roberts is named format captain/VP of country programming with John Foxx and Kevin Callahan serving as regional vice presidents. Marci Braun, Justin Cole, and Scott Roddy are named regional brand managers. On air, Katie Neal is the national midday host and “Rob and Holly” are national night hosts. In the alternative format, Mike Kaplan is format captain/SVP of alternative programming with Matt Malone, Christine Malovetz, and Leslie Scott serving as regional vice presidents of programming. Regional brand managers are Bailey and Bryce Segall. Kevan Kenney is the national night host and regional on-air personalities are: “Cane and Corey” for mornings, “Church of Lazlo” in afternoons, and morning shows “Dave and Mahoney,” “Gregr,” and “Stryker and Klein.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr begins hosting the Camping World Concert Series “Taking the Highways Across America” tonight, featuring the legendary country group Alabama. Parr hosts the Key Networkssyndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program. He’ll host the 10-week virtual concert series that will feature such country acts as Martina McBride, Chris Young, Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Lady A, Brett Young, Little Big Town, and Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Parr says, “I am SO excited to team up with Camping World and host their virtual concert series, ‘Taking the Highways Across America!’ We are having a ball bringing it to all of our affiliates and fans ‘Across The Country!’ Plus, we are hitting the road for some NEW adventures in the Parr-V very soon.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that Charlie Maxx is promoted to production director and assistant program director at country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia. She also hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Mark Razz says, “Charlie has a depth of experience that will be so helpful in her expanded role her at 92.5XTU. I look forward to putting our heads together to move the station forward.” In addition, WXTU promotes Jennifer “JJ” Scordo to production staffer and weekend personality.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

| August 25, 2020

KKFN-FM, Denver’s Darren McKee Status Uncertain After Racist Twitter Typo. Denver alternative publication Westword reports that KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon personality Darren “D-Mac” McKee was off the air yesterday (8/24) after Sunday’s tweet in which he posted the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” McKee quickly deleted the tweet and apologized. How the “N-word” got there instead of “Nuggets” is unclear but it comes a week after Charlotte Hornets announcer John Focke was suspended for the same instance – tweeting the “N-word” in place of “Nuggets.” It’s unknown when McKee will return to the air. Here’s what he said in the aftermath. “Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game. I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry.” Station PD Raj Sharan tells Westword that Bonneville policy is not to discuss personnel issues publicly.

Bill Smee Named Vice President of News for Entercom. Back in early July, Entercom CEO David Field announced to staff that news pro Bill Smee is joining the company in the newly created position of vice president of news. Now, Entercom makes the announcement public. It says that in this position Smee will have strategic oversight of the company’s “best-in-class multiplatform local news brands, including eight all-news and 18 news/talk radio stations in 23 markets across the country, and nationwide via the RADIO.COM platform. Smee will spearhead linear audio, podcast and on-demand audio, written editorial, and video news content produced both centrally and at market level, while collaborating with digital product teams on the design of new features to serve news listeners.” Smee has led video strategy for multiple leading news outlets, including CNN, where he supervised editorial content and managed rapid deployment teams on breaking news specials as senior supervising producer for the outlet’s documentary unit “CNN Presents.” Smee also previously served as director of digital video for NBC News, where he launched, built and led a news team to produce original video for all digital platforms. He also served as an executive producer for Slate Magazine. Smee previously served as a strategic consultant for Entercom’s news radio, podcasting and digital platforms. Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Bill is a highly respected, award-winning news professional with over 30 years of experience leading and growing high-profile news brands. As the #1 local news platform, we remain committed to providing our audiences with quality local content via our collection of iconic news brands. Bill’s expertise will help us enhance and expand our position as an unparalleled leading news platform to better serve our communities.”

NRRC Recommends National Buys Be Based on Fall 2019 Ratings. On the heels of Nielsen’s statement that future media buying and planning decisions should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates (including the upcoming Spring 2020 Nationwide survey) the Network Radio Research Council is recommending that all network/national buying and selling be based on the Fall 2019 Nationwide survey – the latest data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRRC says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented divergence of traditional patterns of media consumption, including AM/FM listening and the streaming of audio. Listening behaviors were significantly altered starting in mid-March 2020, as the public adjusted to remote work environments and shelter-at-home mandates across the United States. The broadcast month of April represents the first month of Nielsen’s Spring 2020 (April-May-June) Nationwide survey. Each month subsequent to April has demonstrated consistent increases in listening, and there is confidence listenership will continue to stabilize and approach pre-COVID-19 levels. It is, therefore, the NRRC’s position that the Fall 2019 Nationwide book represents the best solution for the upcoming 2021 network radio upfront and Q4 scatter buys.” The Network Radio Research Council was created in 2001 “to promote valid, reliable, and effective national radio audience measurement research.” Its current member roster includes: AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, Sun Broadcast Group, United Stations Radio Networks, and Westwood One.

PPM Analysis: Ongoing Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a deep dive into Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings in this report. Although some people in portions of the country have returned to commuting, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting radio listening patterns. In today’s report, you can see which markets put up the strongest PPM numbers for spoken-word stations; which markets gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share for spoken-word stations (and which markets lost the most); as well as which stations gained the most shares and which lost the most. See it all here.

Presidential Election/Republican National Convention, Kellyanne Conway to Exit White House, BLM Movement/Wisconsin Riot, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Openings/College Flareups, Navalny Poisoning, California Wildfires, and Tropical Storms Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The November presidential election and the first night of the Republican National Convention; Donald Trump’s White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announces she’ll leave her post at the end of the month; the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of a Black man by police; the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the outbreaks at several college campuses; officials in Germany say Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned; the California wildfires; and Tropical Storms Laura and Marco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel looks at ESPN’s taking over of day-to-day operations of KESN-FM, Dallas on October 8. Cumulus Media has been operating the station since October of 2013. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal and ESPN will resume operation of the station. It is expected that ESPN will air its entire lineup of national programs beginning in October…..Effective January 1, 2021,  The Weather Channel and Skyview Networks, will begin a multi-year partnership in which Skyview will handle radio network sales and distribution for The Weather Channel. TWC president Tom O’Brien says, “As one of the top five most trusted brands in America, The Weather Channel radio network’s goal for this new partnership is to further expand our reach to provide more listeners with the world’s most accurate weather information to manage their daily lives. We’re thrilled to partner with Skyview Networks as we continue to grow our radio network’s reach and increase our brand awareness among listeners, radio stations and advertisers alike.”…..VSiN announces an expanded lineup, new shows and additional talent heading into “the most anticipated sports betting season in years.” Beginning this fall, the 24/7 sports betting network will begin broadcasting nearly 100 live linear hours each week, adding several new shows and new talent. VSiN is adding Tim Murray, former host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line,” former professional football player and sports broadcaster Mike Pritchard, journalist and $1 Million Super Contest winner James Salinas, and the NFL Network’s Danielle Alvari. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “VSiN has experienced incredible growth over the past 18 months, significantly expanding distribution, advertising sales, and industry partnerships, while enhancing our product across channels. We’re excited to build on that momentum by launching new shows and introducing new talent. This new programming will allow us to cover sportsbooks around the country and provide unique and valuable insights to our growing audience of sports bettors.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The WQHT, New York show “Ebro In the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” is going into syndication via Superadio on September 8. The program features Ebro Darden and co-hostsLaura Stylez and Pete Rosenberg. Superadio Networks president Eric Faison says, “Ebro is the king of real talk and a reluctant influencer, but what you hear is what you get. We’re happy to be able to bring this show to the world via radio stations across the country.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Sal Palazzolo program director for classic rock WODE-FM, Allentown “99.9 The Hawk” Palazzolo previously programmed sister alternative WWYY-FM prior to it becoming a simulcast of country WCTO-FM. Cumulus Lehigh Valley VP and market manager Elizabeth Pembleton says, “It is exciting to welcome Sal to this new role with ‘99.9 The Hawk.’ The support from the entire Cumulus staff, especially WODE air talent and corporate programming, has been outstanding. This promotion is well deserved and earned through commitment and dedication. It is an honor to have an individual of Sal’s caliber guiding one of our flagships.” At the same time, the station promotes Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell from weekends to the afternoon drive position.