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Wednesday, July 5, 2020

| August 5, 2020

Entercom Names VP of News; 10 Promoted to Executive Posts. In a memo to staff from Entercom president and CEO David Field, he announces that news pro Bill Smee is named to the newly created position, vice president of news. Smee has served with CNN, NBC News, and Slate during his career. Field says Smee “will spearhead our work to enhance and expand our news brands, building on their unparalleled position in our communities and adding new products and capabilities across our broadcast, digital, podcast, and smart speaker platforms. We are very excited about the future of our news and news/talk brands and the robust opportunities that lie ahead.” Field also announced the following promotion of 10 staffers to the following positions: Chris Ebbott, vice president, programming; Chad Fitzsimmons, senior vice president, promotions & experiences; Rose Isard, vice president, senior counsel; John Kennedy, senior vice president, engineering; Jennifer Morales, vice president, corporate communications & PR; Nancy Muir-Gaire, vice president, facilities management; Johnny Palumbo, vice president, senior counsel; Reggie Rouse, vice president, programming; Jeff Sottolano, executive vice president, programming; and Stephanie Taylor, vice president, benefits, compliance and talent acquisition.

David Field Positive About Entercom’s Future. In the same memo referenced above, David Field says he’s optimistic about the future for Entercom even though he says the road will “be bumpy and the continuing toll on our society tragic.” He says that since the nation’s economy bottomed out in April, things are improving. “Since then, our revenues have shown strong and steady improvement with each successive month getting progressively better. While there is still a long way to go, momentum is building as sports return. RADIO.COM remains the country’s fastest growing digital platform, our podcasting business continues to expand and thrive, and we are reactivating customers who shut down in the spring. In addition, advertising rates are rebounding as clients return and inventory tightens across all media during this intense political season. We are counting on our sales teams to be at their very best in the weeks ahead to help drive a speedy recovery.”

Saga Communications Q2 Revenue Down 47.6%. Reporting its second quarter 2020 financial data, Saga Communications’ net operating revenue for the period was $16.9 million, a decrease of 47.6% compared to the same period in 2019. During Q2 of 2019, the company reported net income of $4.7 million. In Q2 of this year, Saga is reporting a net loss of $4.9 million. Saga says, “Saga Communications, Inc. reported today that second quarter revenue and related net income (loss) was materially impacted by disruptions to businesses and service providers activities from closures and restrictive measures imposed by governmental authorities attributable to COVID-19 in the markets in which the company operates, and the nation as a whole. The inability for businesses and service providers to operate normally negatively impacted all broadcast and other media advertising. Initial industry estimates for radio broadcast revenue predicted a decrease in gross revenue of more than 50% for the month of April. This held true for the company as well. The company, however, did show monthly revenue improvements for each subsequent month, as the company concentrated on new revenue strategies and enhanced engagement with its existing and new advertisers. This trend has continued through Q2 and further revenue improvement has been noted in the beginning of Q3. From the company’s low point in April when its gross revenue was down 55% compared to the prior period, its revenue has continued to build.  The company’s July revenue was down 29% over the prior period. These amounts represent gross cash revenue. Trade and barter revenue are not included in these gross revenue numbers, because it only represents approximately 2% of the company’s revenue each month. From the start of Q2 to the end of the first month of Q3 there was a reduction in the decline in revenue by approximately 50%.”

Round Two of July PPMs Released. The second round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington adds two-tenths to finish with an 8.4 share and is #1 for the fourth straight survey. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington tacks on one-tenth for a 7.7 share and the #2 rank. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is flat with a 7.1 share and continues at #1 for the fifth survey in a row. iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix adds three-tenths for a 4.4 share finish good for #6 in the market. Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis picks up three-tenths, good for a 5.0 share and the #9 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Steve Borneman Named COO for JAM Media Solutions. Radio executive Steve Borneman joins JAM Media Solutions as chief operating officer. JAM owns and operates two music outlets and a digital publication in Muscatine, Iowa and news/talk WZPR “News/Talk 92.3,” three music outlets and the digital platform OBXToday on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  Borneman, who most recently was COO of Pamal Broadcasting, will be based in North Carolina. JAM Media Solutions CEO Jonathan Mason says, “I am excited to work with Steve again. We worked together at 77 WABC in New York. Steve is one of the best operators in radio and an amazing human being! JAM Media Solutions is excited to welcome him to the family and we look forward to winning with him!” Prior to joining Pamal, Borneman served as president and general manager at Cumulus Media New York.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Sammy Simpson tweets that he’s been hired as the new brand/content manager for Capitol Broadcasting Company’s Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina stations that include adult contemporary WRAL-FM, a trio of sports talk outlets – WCMC-FM, “The Buzz,” and WDNC – and “95.7 FM That Station.” He starts on September 8. In June, the company eliminated the sports content director post held by Dennis Glasgow…..Public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington is in turmoil over allegations of sexual harassment at the American University-owned property. It all came to a head after the WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a story by Rachel Kurzius that details allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU reporter Martin Di Caro. The Washingtonian reports that at an all-staff meeting, numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he says he will not do at this time. Former WAMU chief content officer Andi McDaniel left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and CEO, effective in September. The DCist piece indicates she was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.….Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa is joining the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network and will air all games when the season begins. Cox Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “We know that Green Country football fans are eager for more ways to listen to their favorite teams and we are glad to add the Chiefs Radio Network to our programming. This has been a while in the making and we are very proud of what is about to hit the airwaves at KRMG.”…..Public media WGBH firm announces it has hired two journalists for its growing newsroom. Carrie Saldo joins WGBH as a reporter covering Worcester County and will be based in WGBH’s recently announced Worcester news bureau. Former Boston Globereporter Megan Woolhouse reports on education for the WGBH news K-12 education desk.

Former Radio Exec Norm Schrutt Dies at 87. Former former Capital Cities/ABC executive Norm Schrutt died in Atlanta Tuesday (8/4) at age 87. Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine he worked for Schrutt while serving as president and GM of WLS-AM, Chicago in the early 1990s. He says that in recent years, Schrutt led a talent agency in Atlanta representing broadcasters. “Norm was a larger-than-life personality in his own right, with a sarcastic, wry sense of humor. Once when his daughter was about to give birth to his first grandson, I asked him if he wanted to be called Grandpa or PaPa or some other nickname. He replied, “I’d like the kid to call me Mr. Schrutt.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race/Tuesday Primaries, Trump Axios Interview, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, Tropical Storm Isaias, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election, the debate over vote-by-mail, and the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the criticism of President Trump’s interview with Axios; the BLM protests taking place in Portland; the deal for Microsoft to acquire Chinese app TikTok and U.S.-Chinese relations; the explosion that rocked Beirut; the damage along the East Coast from Tropical Storm Isaias; and the positive COVID-19 cases affecting pro sports leagues 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. Non-commercial triple A WXPN, Philadelphia is airing a special series of broadcasts all next week, beginning on August 10. “Woodstock Week: Back to the Garden Again” will feature all 33 music sets from the 1969 Woodstock music festival. In August 2019, WXPN exclusively replayed every moment from the four-day Woodstock festival in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. Listeners from across the globe tuned in and WXPN’s special broadcast was picked as a “Who Won the Week?” winner on MSNBC. WXPN associate GM for programming Bruce Warren says, “Our four-day broadcast last year was a unique, one-time opportunity to bring the entire Woodstock festival to WXPN listeners in celebration of its 50th anniversary. This year, we’re looking forward to hearing the full music sets performed by all 33 Woodstock artists – from Joan Baez to Johnny Winter – that will really highlight what the music meant at that special point in music history.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

| December 12, 2012

Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication.  Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years.  The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years.  Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years.  Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus.  He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele.  They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”

The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal.  Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up.  But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal.  TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort.  Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV.  One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV.  “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News.  The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.”  To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language.  Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete.  The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others.  During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.”  Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company.  Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.”  On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.

KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director.  Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh.  Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.”  Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas.  Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market.  I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.”  On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’  That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished.  Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.”  Hanson begins his new post on January 14.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel.  Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive.  Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children.  Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Fighting Golic.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image.  Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.