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Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom. During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment. First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck. The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country. And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10. He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR. I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence. I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.” Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst. Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format. This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different. About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey. However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share. Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey. See all the data here.
RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue. The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast. This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.” The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million. The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.” It is being released today to RAB members. It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.
SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media. The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing. Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018. 2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018. Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019. The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019. On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods. Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year. Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance. Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”
TALKERS News Notes. Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney – Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.” iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.” It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry. The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM. Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station. The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space. Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.
Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986. In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters. Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years. Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me. I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown. I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence. We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah. AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics. We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show. Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium. MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. The 6+ numbers for all-news formatted radio stations have been fairly steady over the past year. Increases or decreases in those 6+ weekly AQH share numbers have been pretty small, for the most part. Of the seven all-news stations that saw decreases from the November survey to the December survey, all were by .3 shares or less. When it comes to market rank, the majority of all-news stations rank in the top 10 in their respective markets with three – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago; Hubbard’s WTOP-FM, Washington; and Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit – all ranking #2. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
Mike Kasper Joins KBOI, Boise Morning Show. Boise news/talk outlet KBOI announces it has hired market radio pro Mike Kasper to join the morning show, assuming the role that opened with the retirement of Paul J Schneider. Kasper will work with Chris Walton on the “Kasper and Chris” show, effective January 14. Kasper previously served in the market hosting mornings on the old KFXD “KF-95” and several other Boise music stations. Kasper says, “I finally get the chance to work in a news/talk format where, for the first time in my career, I’ll be able to talk with listeners to discuss current events, news, sports, politics and issues that affect our state and the Treasure Valley.” Station general manager Don Morin says, “KBOI was overwhelmed with the number of qualified applicants and talent wanting to be part of our team. Through hundreds of applications, Mike’s presence in the Treasure Valley is part of what made him one of the best candidates for the position. I look forward to 670 KBOI moving into a new era.”
Westwood One: In-Car Display Ads Improve Recall and Effectiveness. From a study by MARU/Vision Critical, commissioned by Westwood One, comes data that indicates the combination of the in-car visual with the over-the-air radio ad “generates a major improvement in advertising recall and impact.” The study examined consumers with vehicles that have next generation HD Radio technology and revealed the impact of a retailer’s visual in the in-car display when synced to the advertiser’s radio ad. Some of the findings indicated that the more time consumers spend in the car, the more they pay attention to the visual information. The study determined that heavy AM/FM radio listeners recall seeing visual information from in-car display screens and two-thirds of heavy AM/FM radio listeners have frequently or occasionally seen the advertiser name or logo on their connected vehicle’s screens. Moreover, those who recall the retailer’s in-car visuals were more likely to visit the stores. In fact, 84% of those who recalled seeing the in-car visual synced to the radio ad had visited or planned to visit the store. See more in the Westwood One blog post here.
Chris Duncan Takes Leave from WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Sports talk host Chris Duncan is taking a permanent leave from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis to focus on his battle against brain cancer. The former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has been hosting the midday program “The Turn” with co-host Anthony Stalter. The station tweeted out the message: “Dunc will be taking a permanent leave from ‘101 ESPN’ to continue his fight against cancer and focus on health. If you pray, please keep him in your prayers. If you don’t, keep him in your thoughts. He is our brother and we miss him deeply.” Duncan first joined the station in 2011. He was diagnosed with cancer about six years ago.
ESPN: Podcast Downloads Increased 43% in 2018. Sports content giant ESPN announces that downloads of its podcasts increased 43% in 2018 as its podcast business saw 411 million downloads. The data comes from Blubrry, which says its measurement system is certified by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The most downloaded show was “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” totaling more than 91 million downloads. “First Take,” the leading television show podcast, was next with more than 31 million downloads. ESPN says that among its original podcasts, “538: Politics” enjoyed another strong year with more than 26 million downloads, followed by “Fantasy Focus Football” with more than 21 million.
SiriusXM Total Paid Subscribers Hits 34 Million. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM will reveal its fourth quarter 2018 financial data later this month (1/30) but announces today that it added 1.4 million self-pay subscribers in 2018 to bring its total of paid subscribers to 34 million. The company says that beat its 2018 guidance by about 40%. SiriusXM issued 2019 subscriber and financial guidance in which it expects to add another 1 million self-pay net additions and projects total revenue of $6.1 billion. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I’m proud to report that 2018 was not only another year of operational excellence at SiriusXM, with record high subscribers, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA. Last year also saw SiriusXM achieve important milestones, like the introduction of 360L and significant improvements in our smartphone apps and IP distribution on connected devices. We attained a record 40% adjusted EBITDA margin in the third quarter, saw our efforts in connected vehicle services bear fruit and, of course, we were extremely pleased to reach an agreement to acquire Pandora Media.” The company expects to close on the Pandora deal shortly after Pandora’s stockholder meeting later this month.
Talking About the Future of In-Vehicle Infotainment. Pictured above at CES 2019 in Las Vegas is Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley and her fellow panelists who talked about “The Future of In-Vehicle Infotainment” that addressed the future of in-vehicle entertainment, radio’s place in the connected car, and data attribution. From l-r are: NAB EVP of strategy planning and special projects Steve Newberry; BBC senior distribution manager Ben Rosenberg; Beasley; Xperi SVP of broadcast radio Joe D’Angelo; and author, futurist and founder of Ellis and Associates, John Ellis.
Community Broadcasters Sells Twin Tiers Cluster to Seven Mountains Media. The Twin Tiers region of New York includes the towns of Elmira and Olean, to which the seven stations in this deal are licensed. Seven Mountains Media is agreeing to buy CHR WNKI-FM, rock WNGZ-FM, country WPGI-FM, news/talk WWLZ-AM and classic country WRCE-AM in Elmira and country WPIG-FM and CHR WHDL-AM/W296DB in Olean from Community Broadcasters for a price yet to be announced. The deal puts the Kristin Cantrell-led Seven Mountains at the 38-station mark.
Comrex Unveils New EarShot IFB. The new EarShot IFB is a VoIP-based auto coupler for IFB and listen lines from Comrex. It is designed to help TV stations reduce costs and provide more flexibility for remote IFB feeds. EarShot IFB provides telephone-based, live studio program and IFB audio to field-based remote broadcasts that serves up to 30 users who can listen to program or IFB feeds by calling into EarShot IFB with a standard telephone. For higher fidelity, the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app can be used to pull audio in studio quality. FieldTap uses the Opus audio decoder to deliver studio quality audio, and is available to download for free on iOS and Android.
President Trump’s Border Wall Speech, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein’s Future, U.S.-China Trade War, NYC Health Care Guarantee, Fate of Sears, Clemson Beats Alabama for NCAA Football Title, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). Tuesday evening’s border wall speech by President Trump and the Democrats’ response; the state of the federal government shutdown; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related status of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio guarantees health care for all; Sears chairman Eddie Lampert’s attempt to save the retailer; Clemson beats Alabama in NCAA title game; and the NFL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Beasley Brings Brian Ives Aboard Centralized Digital Content Team. Content pro Brian Ives was most recently editor-in-chief with Townsquare Media’s Loudwire. Now, he’s joining Beasley Media Group to serve as managing editor of its centralized digital content team. In this new position, Ives will be responsible for leading the team that will be supplying its owner-operated and social media sites with breaking news and format-specific content in an effort to drive traffic and audience engagement. Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “Brian’s journalistic background and passionate knowledge about artists and music genres made him perfectly poised to lead our centralized digital content team with the intent to create compelling, multi-platform content. His background in video, storytelling and interviewing and creating content on multiple platforms will further elevate Beasley’s efforts in the digital space.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Rob Miller is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s South Florida region. He’s also being elevated to executive vice president of hot AC programming and strategy for iHeartMedia national programming group. He’ll be responsible for the day-to-day operations in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets. He takes this new role after having served as program director for WKTU, New York for the past 12 years……….The new airstaff at iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WISX, Philadelphia “106.1 The Breeze” is named. Mornings will feature former WOGL “Breakfast Club” co-host Valerie Knight. She’s followed by former “Power 99” operations manager Helen Little in middays and former WBEB afternoon personality Dan Blackman in PM drive. Evenings are being hosted by Premiere Networks’ Delilah. The station flipped to adult contemporary back in November…..In the Twin Cities, iHeartMedia’s CHR KDWB extends its deal with morning show personality Falen for another three years. She is part of the “Dave Ryan in the Morning Show” with Ryan and co-host Steve-O. KDWB program director Rich Davis says, “I’ll never forget calling and offering the job to Falen late one night in early 2012. Since then she has connected with the Twin Cities KDWB audience in ways I could’ve only wished for and solidified herself as a true morning talent. I can’t wait to see what happens next as she continues her career on the ‘Dave Ryan in the Morning Show’ on KDWB.”…..Townsquare Media names Dave Fields afternoon drive host for country WYRK, Buffalo. He moves to that position from sister WMSX where he did mornings and takes over for brand manager Chris Crowley who recently added programming duties for the re-branded WMSX “96.1 The Breeze.”……Cumulus Media adds the Westwood One-syndicated “The Bert Show” to the morning daypart at CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania…..iHeartMedia announces several new affiliate stations add the syndicated “Rover’s Morning Glory” program, including WNCD, Youngstown, Ohio “93.3 The Wolf”; WFXN, Mansfield, Ohio “102.3 The Fox”; and WZRX, Lima, Ohio. Host Shane “Rover” French says, “We are thrilled to increase the size of our radio network. We look forward to getting to know fans in these new markets and are confident that ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ will become their #1 choice for morning radio.” The WMMS, Cleveland-based show is now heard on 15 affiliate stations.
Armstrong & Getty Launch in National Syndication. KSTE, Sacramento-based morning program Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – is rolling out into national syndication. The program is currently heard on 15 stations in the Western U.S., including KGO, San Francisco; KFMB-AM, San Diego; KEX, Portland; KKAT, Salt Lake City; KHHO, Seattle; and more. But that’s going to change as the program goes fully national. Craig Whetstine is handling affiliation relations for Armstrong & Getty Media and reports that the show is fed live on XDS from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. He adds, it would be “a great alternative for stations looking to replace Laura Ingraham with another live show in that daypart.” Whetstine can be reached at 503-975-6153 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out this video of a “behind-the-scenes” tour with Armstrong & Getty.
Report: Liberty Media Seeking Up to 35% of Reorganized iHeartMedia. According to a story in the New York Post, John Malone-led Liberty Media is talking with iHeartMedia’s creditors to acquire approximately a 35% ownership in the post-Chapter 11 iHeartMedia. The piece suggests that “gaining control of iHeart would give Liberty a music four-pack, as it already owns 71 percent of publicly listed SiriusXM Radio. Sirius in September agreed to buy streaming service Pandora Media. Liberty also owns 33 percent of listed Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster.” The story goes on to note that post-Chapter 11, “creditors Pimco and Franklin Resources will own about 25 percent of the business, while Liberty, which owns $660 million of iHeart debt, will end up with between 4 percent and 5 percent of iHeart post-bankruptcy. Liberty in June unsuccessfully tried to buy 40 percent of iHeart at a $2.9 billion valuation…Liberty is expected to want only a minority iHeart stake so it does not have to consolidate financials and hurt Liberty’s trading multiple.”
News Anchor Judy Pielach Takes WGN-AM Buyout. According to a report by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, WGN afternoon news anchor Judy Pielach is taking the buyout being offered by Tribune Media. Her last day handling the news on the afternoon show with Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes will be December 21. She’s been with the station for 32 years. Also taking the buyout are engineers Aubrey Mumpower and Ben Cortez. The future ownership of WGN-AM is up in the air as television operator Nexstar has successfully bid to acquire Tribune Media and, should the deal make it through the regulatory process, most media watchers believe Nexstar would sell the lone radio outlet. Potential suitors include iHeartMedia, Entercom, and Hubbard since all three companies have space under the ownership caps in Chicago.
Chris X Joins KSEV, Houston for Afternoon Show. Houston talk station KSEV names Chris X host of the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who introduces him as “a strong conservative and the new generation of conservative talk.” Chris X says, “I couldn’t be happier to be part of ‘The Voice of Texas.’ Houston is my hometown and I’ve been listening to this station for the last 30 years. There is plenty of anger and division out there, but I prefer to embrace this sociological environment with a little humor and lot of common sense, which has been lacking in today’s political discourse.”
Westwood One to Rep Fox News Radio Programming. Beginning on December 31, Westwood One will begin representing ad sales for FOX News Radio’s long-form talk programming. As such, Westwood One will be the exclusive seller for FNR’s Brian Kilmeade, Todd Starnes, and Tom Shillue programs as well as the weekday and weekend editions of “Benson & Harff,” the weekend “I’ll Tell You What with Perino & Stirewalt,” “FOX News Sunday,” and “From Washington” shows. WWO president Suzanne Grimes states, “Westwood One is known for unique, exclusive, premium content partnerships with iconic brands, and FOX News Radio is a terrific addition to our portfolio. We’re excited to bring this impressive talk lineup to blue-chip advertisers on our radio, podcast, and streaming channels.”
TALKERS News Notes. This week, FOX News Radio is covering the passing of former President George H. W. Bush and the memorial services with live reports for all radio affiliates through Thursday, December 6. Gurnal Scott, Jared Halpern, Jon Decker, Jeff Monosso and Tonya J. Powers are leading the coverage. Additionally, FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide updates every 15 minutes on SiriusXM…..Chicago urban talk outlet WVON is presenting a five-part radio docu-series reporting on “the declining Black population in what was once considered America’s Black Mecca.” The program is titled, “Exodus: Movement of the People,” and will chronicle the two migrations that occurred in the past century; the first that made Chicago home to more than 1.2 million Blacks and the series of occurrences which has caused the decline of nearly 300,000 of its residents. WVON reporter and special assignment producer Josh McGhee wrote and produced the five-part series that includes exclusive interviews from a number of long-time residents, historians, demographers, and urban planners. It will air Monday through Friday at 7:50 am, 11:50 am, 4:50 pm and 7:50 pm on WVON from December 9 – December 13, and can also be accessed live on the iHeartRadio…..NPR president and CEO Jarl Mohn announces he will transition into the role of president emeritus of the media organization when his contract runs out at the end of June, 2019. In a memo to NPR staff, Mohn also announced that he and wife Pam are donating $10 million to the organization to demonstrate their commitment to helping it “achieve long-term financial stability, particularly at a time when journalism is under economic and political pressures.” The NPR board of directors are beginning a search for the company’s next chief…..Glamour and iHeartMedia are premiering the first episode of “Broken Harts,” Conde Nast’s first investigative podcast in collaboration with HowStuffWorks. The series features director Justine Harman and books editor Elisabeth Egan joining field reporter Lauren Smiley to explore the case of Jennifer Hart, her wife Sarah their six adopted children who all died after Jennifer Hart drove off a cliff in California, killing all eight of them. Also, from iHeartMedia on the iHeartRadio platform is “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” The audio series will launch on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network in early 2019, co-produced by Funny Or Die. The first of 24 episodes will launch in the first quarter of 2019.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Year-End Appeal. The Broadcasters Foundation of America has launched its annual year-end appeal for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative. The year-end drive asks broadcasters to reflect on their success and good fortune and give back with a tax-deductible personal or corporate donation that will help the Broadcasters Foundation continue its mission of delivering financial assistance to broadcasters in acute need. The BFoA is a 501(c)3 charity, and the only charitable organization devoted exclusively to broadcasting professionals. The year-end giving campaign comes as more broadcasters than ever before are reaching out for monthly or emergency relief. This year, the Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.3 Million in aid, surpassing last year’s record-setting figure of more than $1 million. Close to $300,000 of this year’s total is for the emergency assistance that is disbursed quickly to broadcasters whose lives or homes have been affected by the unprecedented number and severity of natural disasters, including Hurricanes Maria, Florence, and Michael and the wildfires in California. Monthly aid is distributed to qualifying broadcasters who have been confronted with unexpected medical emergencies, including life-threatening critical illnesses and devastating tragic accidents. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Our lives can change in the blink of an eye. In its 70-plus years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial aid to every broadcaster who qualified. It is only through the generosity of the people in our industry that the Broadcasters Foundation can continue to deliver this much-needed assistance to those in our profession who need it most.”
Trump-Russia Investigation, the Passing of George H.W. Bush, Migrants at U.S. Border, Government Shutdown Threat, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Brexit Process, Paris Protests, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the death of former President George H. W. Bush; the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border where migrants seeking entry into the U.S. have amassed; the threat of a government shutdown over border wall funding; the tensions over the military incursion into Ukraine by Russia; the status of Britain’s exit from the European Union; the rollback of the gas tax in France after violent protests in Paris; the NCAA’s College Football Playoff selections; and the weekend’s NFL action 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. Radio personality Brian “Sludge” Haddad is returning to Chicago from Philadelphia where he’s been creative director at Entercom’s sports talk WIP to host the morning show on alternative WKQX. Haddad and co-host Ali Mattacola and executive producer Justin Nettlebeck. Brian Phillips has been hosting the morning show for past year and will transition to a part-time role with the station…..Former country WMIL, Milwaukee and country WKTI, Milwaukee personality Karen Dalessandro joins Saga Communications’ rock WKLH, Milwaukee for fill-in work. She was most recently with WKTI before the station flipped to sports talk as Good Karma Brands assumed operations…..Programming pro Brad Hansen, most recently with country KRST, Albuquerque, is named operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Northern Colorado cluster that includes country KUAD and four other music formatted stations.
November 2018 PPM Data – Part Four. November 2018 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey period covered October 11 – November 7. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all 12 of these PPM-markets.
Austin Spoken-Word Formats – A November gain of four-tenths to 4.5 (6+) by Emmis news/talk KLBJ-AM erases its combined -.3 in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+) as “News Radio 590 AM” progresses from ninth to eighth. This (4.5) is its highest 6+-share since March (4.6).
Regaining the one-tenth it lost in October (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX continues at #16. “The Horn” posted a +.5 in June; was -.9 in July; and +1.0 in September. The 2.5 in November (and September) is its best 6+-stat since December 2016 (2.5, as well). Albeit flat at #24, iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” has more than doubled its 6+-share as a result of seven straight sweeps without a loss (.3 – .3 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .6 – .7, 6+).
This is the third straight month at #1 for University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk KUT (8.6 – 8.5, -.1, 6+), which had been a collective +1.5 in September and October (7.1 – 7.9 – 8.6, 6+).
Austin Music Formats – After dropping three-tenths in October, University of Texas at Austin-owned triple A KUTX erases it with an increase twice that margin (2.1 – 2.7, +.6, #18 to #15, 6+). Just before October’s -.3, “98.9 The Austin Music Experience” was up an overall six-tenths via six straight sweeps without a loss (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+). Unchanged in the runner-up slot, Emmis adult hits KPBA “103.5 Bob-FM” is a cumulative +1.0 in three straight up or flat moves (7.3 – 7.8 – 7.8 – 8.3, 6+). Conversely, regional Mexican sibling KLZT “107.1 La Z” is off a collective seven-tenths in October and November (5.5 – 5.4 – 4.8, fourth to sixth, 6+), while co-owned KLBJ-FM is a collective -1.3 in three straight sweeps without an increase; “93.7 The Rock of Austin” departs the top ten (4.7 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.4, #10 to #11, 6+). The last three sweeps have found Entercom adult contemporary KKMJ -1.2 (September); +1.2 (October); and now -.5 in November (6.7 – 6.2, 6+), but “Majic 95.5” continues at #3. Its 6.7 in August and October is its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.4. Level at #20, urban AC KKMJ-HD3 hasn’t had a decrease since February and is up three-tenths in that stretch (1.2- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+). Off by one-half share in addition to KKMJ is KVET-FM “98.1 The Austin, Texas Original” (5.1 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+). Before posting a +.6 in September, the iHeartMedia-owned country outlet was an overall -1.7 in four straight downward trends (6.4 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.6 – 4.7, 6+). Moving from fifth to fourth is co-owned and similarly-programmed KASE (5.3 – 5.4, +.1, 6+), which has been within 5.1 – 5.7 range (6+) in each of the last 10 ten survey periods. “Austin’s #1 For New Country” was -.5 (May); +.5 (June); -.5 (July) and a combined +.6 in August and September. Up two-tenths (1.3 – 1.5, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio-owned KOKE-FM “Austin’s Country Alternative” returns to the top twenty (#21 to #20). With a combined +.6 in August and September (.8 – 1.0 – 1.4, 6+), KOKE-FM erased three straight decreases that produced a loss of six-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .8, 6+).
Raleigh Spoken-Word Formats – Down four-tenths to 5.9 (6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK dips from fifth to sixth. In September and October, “106.1 Stay Connected” was a collective +1.2 (5.1 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+). A July increase of four-tenths halted three down or flat trends that produced a loss of three tenths (5.3 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.0, 6+). Having nearly doubled (+.8) its 6+-share in eight straight sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+), Curtis Media Group news/talk WPTF “News Radio 680” falters by two-tenths in November to 1.6 (#17 to #18, 6+).
A cumulative +.6 in September and October (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” surrenders two-tenths to 2.2 (#14 to #16, 6+). Its increase of four-tenths in September stopped three losses in a row that accounted for more than a 50% reduction (-2.1) of its 6+-share (3.9 – 2.6 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+).
Over the last five survey periods, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” has gone from third to first (June, +9); first to third (July, -1.1); third to first (August, +1.2, 6+); first to second (September, -.4+); unchanged at second; and now in November, second to third (8.3 – 7.4, -.9, 6+).
Raleigh Music Formats – Powered by a +1.8 to 7.1 (6+), Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5” zooms from eighth to fourth. The massive November increase obliterates its collective -1.7 in September and October (7.0 – 5.8 – 5.3, 6+). Earlier this calendar year, “Mix” was an overall +2.6 via three April, May, and June improvements; -1.3 (July); +.6 (August); and a collective -1.7 in September and October. Roaring back from October’s loss of two-tenths with a November uptick of nine-tenths (9.4 – 10.3, 6+), Radio One urban AC WFXC “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is on top for the third straight month with its strongest 6+-stat (10.3) since January’s 10.7. While it notches a gain of eight-tenths (2.5 – 3.3, 6+), Curtis Media Group CHR WPLW “Pulse FM – All The Hits” remains at #12. It is a bit over two-shares (6+) behind iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WDCG “G-105 Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” (5.5 – 5.4, -.1, seventh to eighth, 6+). Prior to posting a one-half share increase in October, “G-105” was a combined -1.3 in four straight down or flat trends (6.3 – 5.7 – 5.7 – 5.2 – 5.0, 6+). Just after adding one-tenth in October, Curtis Media Group’s WQDR “94.7 QDR Today’s Best Country” erodes by -1.7 (8.0 – 6.3, 6+), segueing from third to fifth with its lowest 6+-stat (6.3) since “Holiday” 2016’s 6.0. With a +1.0 in September, WQDR halted three straight downward moves that led to a collective -1.2 (8.1 – 7.7 – 7.2 – 6.9, 6+). Its format rival – iHeartMedia-owned WNCB “B-93.9 #1 For New Country” – is an overall -1.0 in three downturns in a row (3.3 – 2.9 – 2.5 – 2.3, #12 to #14, 6+). A four-tenths decrease in September suspended at four its consecutive string of increases that netted six-tenths (2.7 – 3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+).
Just as they were in October, WIBC sports talk sibling WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center” and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station” are tied at #16. Both are up one-tenth to 2.3 (6+). WFNI improved by six-tenths in September, while WNDE notched a one-half share gain in October.
Off a combined three-tenths in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+), Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk WFYI erases that deficit with a one-half share increase to 4.6 and is back in the top ten (#11 to #9).
Indianapolis Music Formats – Despite being off one-tenth to 9.9 (6+), Cumulus Media’s WJJK is #1 for the fifth month in a row. The loss, however, does pull the plug on five successive uptrends which yielded a +3.2 (6.8 – 7.3 – 7.9 – 8.6 – 9.7 – 10.0, 6+). In October, “Classic Hits 104.5” reached 10.0, the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. Within 4.3 – 4.9 range (6+) in each of the last seven sweeps (4.7 – 4.9 – 4.3 – 4.8 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.5, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” erodes by one full-share to 3.5 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #12, 6+). While the FM signal of Entercom hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix” falters by one-half share (#13 to #12, tied with WKLU) and continues a down/up pattern that started in June (4.3 – 3.2 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+), its online “stream” debuts at .6 (#22, 6+). Five straight decreases by Radio One CHR WNOW for a collective -1.3 (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 2.5 – 2.4, 6+) send “100.9 Radio Now” from #14 to #15. Dropping from third to fourth, Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” is off a collective seven-tenths in October and November (7.5 – 7.1 – 6.8, 6+), following four consecutive up or flat moves for an overall +1.4 (6.1 – 6.6 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 7.5, 6+). The market’s (6+) country share shrinks one full-share as Emmis-owned WLHK “Country 97.1 Hank FM” sputters by seven-tenths (5.7 – 5.0, sixth to eighth, 6+), while Cumulus Media’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” falters by three-tenths (8.3 – 8.0, second, 6+). “Hank” improved by six-tenths in October after September’s -1.5. On top in April, May, and June, WFMS has been -.5 (February); +1.0 (April); +.5 (May); -.5 (July); -.7 (August); and +.9 (October).
Milwaukee Spoken-Word Formats – While it relinquishes 40% of October’s massive +2.5 (10.4 – 9.4, -1.0, 6+), Good Karma Brands news/talk WTMJ repeats at #1. “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the key station of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Milwaukee Brewers. Adding nine-tenths to October’s +.4 (6.0 – 6.9, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WISN vaults from ninth to fifth. In advance of October, “News/Talk 1130” was a combined -2.1 in four straight decreases (7.7 – 6.9 – 6.7 – 6.2 – 5.6, 6+).
The market’s sports talk scene has become more crowded as – approximately three-quarters through the November sweep – Good Karma Brands shifted country WKTI (3.4 – 2.3, -1.1, #12 to #15, 6+) to “94.5 ESPN.” In addition, co-owned, Jackson-licensed WAUK “ESPN Milwaukee” debuts with a .5 (#20, 6+). It is tied there with iHeartMedia’s WOKY “The Big 920,” which has quintupled its 6+-share in seven successive sweeps without a loss (.1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .4 – .5, 6+). Meanwhile, Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan” drops four-tenths to 1.5 (#16 to #17, 6+), snapping at four its consecutive string of increases that accounted for a collective +.7 (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.9, 6+).
Flat at #12, University of Wisconsin news/talk WUWM follows October’s gain of seven-tenths with a +.2 (3.4 – 3.6, 6+). Prior to October, WUWM ranked #14 for three straight months and had been within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+) for 17 consecutive sweeps. The June 2018 – November 2018 topline for Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD is .9 – .9 – .7 – .9 – .7 – .8 (flat at #19, 6+).
Milwaukee Music Formats – As of November 1, iHeartMedia-owned WMIL “FM 106.1 – Milwaukee’s Best Country” is without a direct format competitor as Good Karma Brands’ WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” has transitioned to sports (see above). Already making the most of the situation, WMIL is a collective +2.2 in three positive spikes in succession, including November’s +1.3 (5.3 – 5.6 – 6.2 – 7.5, fourth to third, 6+). WKTI finishes its country tenure with an overall -2.1 in six straight decreases (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 2.3, 6+). After an astonishing 43 consecutive ratings periods at #1, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WRIT “95.7 Big FM – Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” was knocked out of the top spot in October by Good Karma Brands news/talk WTMJ. WRIT trailed WTMJ by 2.5 shares in October but, with a gain of eight-tenths (7.9 – 8.7, steady at #2) and WTMJ dropping one full-share, “Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” narrows the lead to seven-tenths. Notwithstanding that is an overall -1.3 in four negative moves in succession (4.1 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 2.8, 6+), Milwaukee Radio Alliance alternative WLUM “FM 102.1 Sounds Different” manages to improve from #14 to #13. Flat at #6, Saga Communications’ WHQG “102.9 The Hog – Everything That Rocks” is off one-half share in three successive modest downturns (5.8 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.3, 6+), while co-owned rhythmic CHR WNRG “Energy 106.9” more than doubles (+.9) its 6+-share with its third straight gain (.8 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.7, #17 to #16, 6+).
Nashville Spoken-Word Formats – Once again, Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” – which departs the top ten – logs a month-to-month fluctuation of two-tenths (4.0 – 3.8, -.2, #10 to #11, 6+). Dating back to March, it has – in that stretch – been 3.5 – 3.7; 3.7 – 3.5; 3.5 – 3.3; 3.3 – 3.5; and 3.8 – 4.0 (6+).
The May 2017 – November 2018 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” (#20 to #19) indicates a (6+) high of 1.4 and (6+) low of .8: 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.2 – .8 – .7 – 1.1 – 1.2.
Having more than doubled (+3.3) its 6+-share in four consecutive up or flat moves (3.0 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 5.0 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” surrenders nine-tenths in November to 5.4 (fifth to seventh). October’s 6.3 was the highest 6+-share for the Tennessee Titans’ flagship since January’s 6.5. Steady at #18, Cromwell Group-owned sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a collective +1.0 via three consecutive improvements (.7 – .8 – 1.3 – 1.7, 6+), wiping out roughly half of its -1.9 in four straight decreases (2.6 – 2.5 – .9 – .8 – .7, 6+).
Owing to three setbacks in succession, Nashville Public Radio news/talk/classical hybrid WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” is a collective -1.5 (4.9 – 4.6 – 3.6 – 3.4, #12 to #14, 6+).
Nashville Music Formats – Transforming October’s loss of seven-tenths into a November gain of nine-tenths (8.1 – 9.0, 6+), Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” sets the pace for the 10th successive ratings period. Among its fluctuations this calendar year are: -6.7 (January); +1.0 (February); -.5 (May); +1.0 (June); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); and now +.9 (November). As a result of four upticks in a row (4.4 – 4.8 – 5.5 – 5.8 – 6.4, sixth to fifth, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is a combined +2.0. This (6.4) is its highest 6+-share since 6.6 in March. A loss of one-half share to 2.6 (#14 to #16, 6+) by Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Inspiring K-Love” suspends five consecutive sweeps without a loss that generated an overall increase of eight-tenths (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+). In three straight downturns, iHeartMedia-owned WNRQ “105.9 The Rock – Nashville’s Classic Rock” is a combined -1.3 (7.8 – 7.6 – 6.6 – 6.5, third to fourth, 6+). August’s 7.8 was the best 6+-stat for WNRQ, which was an overall +1.5 via four consecutive increases (6.3 – 6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.8, 6+), since January (7.8, as well). In the market’s three-way country battle, Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” (-1.0 in September) logs an improvement of eight-tenths (5.8 – 6.6, sixth to third, 6+), while co-owned WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” posts its third increase in a row for a +.7 (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.3, stable at #10, 6+). At the same time, iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country,” which had been +1.2 (4.3 – 5.1 – 5.5, August-September-October), falters by one-half share (5.5 – 5.0, eighth to ninth, 6+).
Providence Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +1.1 in four straight increases (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” advances from eighth to seventh. Its August increase halted three straight down or flat sweeps for a -1.0 (4.7 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.7, 6+). A combined +.6 via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.1 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” is steady at #12. This directly follows an overall loss of nine-tenths through five straight decreases (2.0 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+). Returning the one-tenth it picked up in October (.5 – .6 – .5, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned WPRV “AM 790 Talk & Business” continues at #21. In five straight Providence sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Boston’s WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” is up three-tenths (.8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 -1.1, #16 to #17, 6+).
Up or flat for the fourth time in a row for a net gain of two full-shares (3.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.8 – 5.4, 6+), Entercom sports talk WVEI inches up from seventh to sixth. Before dropping six-tenths in July, WVEI was a collective +1.2 in three upticks in a row (2.8 – 3.4 – 3.9 – 4.0, 6+).
After logging a +.4 in September and October (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.6, 6+), The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH surrenders six-tenths of that combined +.8 in November (2.0, 6+), dropping from ninth to tenth. In advance of adding four-tenths in September, WELH was off one-half share in six straight sweeps without an increase (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+). It is tied at #10 with WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH, which follows October’s one-half share gain with a loss of three-tenths (2.3 – 2.0, 6+). In September, WGBH returned the four-tenths it earned in August (1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+). Immediately prior to the May sweep, these two outlets finished back-to-back four straight times and were tied in May at #10.
Providence Music Formats – Having lost a combined eight-tenths in three straight setbacks (2.6 – 2.5 – 2.1 – 1.8, 6+), Cumulus Media rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” bounces back with a gain of one-half share to 2.3 (6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #9). Stable at 9.4 (6+), adult contemporary cluster-mate WWLI “Lite Rock 105” is #1 for the fourth month in a row. June’s 10.3 is its highest 6+-stat since 12.3 in “Holiday” 2017. Forfeiting 90% of its combined September and October +1.0 (4.5 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3” slips to 4.6 (-.9, sixth to eighth, 6+). Off by one-half share each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (8.7 – 8.2, second to third, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (6.9 – 6.4, flat at #5, 6+). Ironically, both “Cat Country” and “B-101” were up one-half share in October. Prior to October’s +.5, WWBB was a combined -1.7 in August and September.
Norfolk – With a one-half share increase (1.2 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH has its best 6+-stat (1.7) since April’s 1.8 as “Alt 105.3” breaks into the top ten (#11 to #9). Nearly tripling (+1.2) its 6+-share in four upticks in succession (.7 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.9, 6+), rhythmic hot AC sibling WMOV “Movin’ 107.7” advances from ninth to eighth. Immediately prior to this particular run, “Movin’ 107.7” lost 86% of its 6+-share (-4.3) through seven successive sweeps without an increase, (5.0 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .7, 6+). Although it is without an increase for the third sweep in a row for a -2.4 (15.5 – 13.7 – 13.7 – 13.1), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” is #1 for the 24th straight time and posts a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher for the 32nd time in the last 33 sweeps. Its 15.5 in August sets the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Following five consecutive months in the runner-up slot, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WOWI falls to fourth, as “103 Jamz” is a combined -2.0 in October and November (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.2, 6+). Its erosion of -1.2 in October curtailed five consecutive up or flat moves that yielded an overall gain of nine-tenths (7.3 – 7.4 – 7.9 – 8.1 – 8.1 – 8.2, 6+). In four consecutive (albeit slight) decreases (6.3 – 6.2 – 5.9 – 5.8 – 5.7, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WWDE is off a combined six-tenths and segues from fourth to fifth; “101.3 2WD” was +1.3 in June and July (5.0 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+). The rollercoaster ride continues for Saga Communications’ WNOR “99 Rocks,” which was an overall -2.5 via four straight declines (8.3 – 7.3 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+); roared back with a +1.1 in October; and is now -.6 (6.9 – 6.3, 6+) but carries on at #3. Flat at #7, Entercom hot AC WPTE “94.9 The Point” falters by one-half share to 2.9, its lowest 6+-stat since April (2.9, as well). There are two new Norfolk entries this month, the online “stream” of Entercom’s WNVZ “Z-104 Norfolk Rhythmic Music,” which debuts with a .4 (#14, 6+) and the online “stream” of co-owned urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today,” popping on with a .1 (#15, 6+).
Greensboro Spoken-Word Formats – By adding four-tenths to October’s +.3 (3.8 – 4.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” climbs from tenth to ninth; WPTI was down eight-tenths in September.
Flat at #16, Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” hands over half of October’s +.2 (.4 – .3, -.1, 6+). Going into the October sweep, WSJS lost 75% (-.6) of its 6+ AQH share as a result of six straight down or flat moves (.8 – .6 – .5 – .4 – .2 – .2 -.2, 6+).
One streak continues for Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD and another one ends. It’s the sixth consecutive time that “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” finishes at #13, but after four straight up or flat trends that netted four-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+), WFDD falters by one-half share to 1.9 (6+). Its +.1 in August concluded at four a consecutive string of down or flat monthlies for an overall -.5 (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 2.0, 6+). Meanwhile, the May through November topline for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC (unchanged at #15) is: 1.1 – 1.0 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – .8 (6+).
Greensboro Music Formats – Adding one full-share (10.4 – 11.4, 6+), Entercom urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” finishes at #1 for the 11th straight sweep and 24th straight time that it is in double-digits (6+). October’s +.2 pulled the plug on five successive decreases that resulted in a net loss of -2.0 (12.2 – 12.0 – 11.2 – 10.9 – 10.5 – 10.2, 6+). After being off a combined nine-tenths in three straight declines (10.0 – 9.7 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+), adult hits cluster-mate WSMW “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” picks up two-tenths to 9.3 (6+) and stays in the runner-up slot for the 11th straight sweep. A July gain of nine-tenths halted five consecutive decreases that accounted for an overall -2.5 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.3 – 9.4 – 9.1, 6+). Having occupied the #12 position for five consecutive sweeps, WMKS “100.3 Kiss FM All the Hits” bumps up to #11. The iHeartMedia CHR was +.5 in September (2.9 – 3.4, 6+); -.6 in October (3.4 – 2.8, 6+); and now +.9 in November (2.8 – 3.7, 6+). Prior to August, “Kiss” was a collective -1.4 in three downward moves in a row (4.1 – 3.7 – 3.2 – 2.7, 6+). Remaining at #3 with its highest 6+-showing (8.5) since 16.1 in “Holiday” 2017, adult contemporary sibling WMAG “99.5 – The Triad’s Best Variety” is up or flat for the third straight month for a collective +1.7 (6.8 – 7.9 – 8.5 – 8.5, 6+). In the market’s always competitive country battle, iHeartMedia-owned WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” gains three-tenths (6.4 – 6.7, 6+), while Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” falters by four-tenths (5.9 – 5.5, 6+). The two rivals remain at #5 and #7, respectively. “Q-104.1” was a combined -.8 in October and September; “The Wolf” was up one-half share in October.
West Palm Beach Spoken-Word Formats – Answering October’s loss of four-tenths with a November increase of six-tenths (2.0 – 2.6, 6+), Alpha Media’s WFTL “News Talk 850” progresses from #12 to #11. October’s -.4 ended at four its consecutive string of upticks that netted seven-tenths (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). Conversely, after gaining one-half share in October, iHeartMedia news/talk WJNO “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” drops one-tenth to 2.3 (#11 to #12, 6+). WJNO was a combined -1.0 in August and September (2.9 – 2.3 – 1.9, 6+). This is the third straight month at 1.8 (6+) for co-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk for the Palm Beaches,” which slips from #13 to #14; WZZR gained one-half share in August. In addition to erasing the four-tenths it gained through three straight increases (.9 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+), Miami news/talk sibling WIOD departs the top twenty (.9, #18 to #22, 6+).
Three straight improvements by WLRN resulted in a collective +1.0 (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.9, 6+), but the Dade County School Board news/talk station forfeits 60% of that increase (3.3, -.6, sixth to eighth, 6+).
West Palm Beach Music Formats – Tacking on one-half share to October’s robust +1.1 and advancing from sixth to fifth is WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF (3.9 – 4.4, 6+). “WAY-FM Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” was down one-half share in September but now has its best 6+-share (4.4) since January’s 5.3. Stable at #10, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WRLX “Mia 92.1” is +1.3 through five positive spikes in a row (1.5 – 1.6 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.8, 6+). Its similarly-formatted Miami sibling, WZTU “94.9 Donde Viven Tus Hits,” debuts at #22 in West Palm Beach with a .8 (6+). Having posted an overall +1.7 in five consecutive reports without a loss (9.0 – 9.3 – 9.3 – 9.4 – 10.0 – 10.7, 6+), Alpha Media hot AC WRMF relinquishes all of that increase and one-tenth more to 8.9 (6+). The -1.8 represents the largest (6+) October 2018 – November 2018 decrease by any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here. Even so, “97.9 Variety from the 90s and Now” is #1 for the 11th survey period in a row. Its 10.7 in October was the highest 6+-share for WRMF since November 2017’s 11.2. The market’s two mainstream adult contemporary outlets continue to remain close together as iHeartMedia-owned WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” adds two-tenths to October’s +.1 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+) but drops from a second-place tie to third, while Alpha Media’s WEAT “Sunny 107.9” improves by four-tenths (4.6 – 5.0, 6+) and remains at #4. Prior to October’s increase, “Kool” was an overall -1.2 via three straight decreases (6.5 – 6.3 – 6.1 – 5.3, 6+). “Sunny” was up four-tenths in August and September, but then down six-tenths in October.
Jacksonville Spoken-Word Formats – Over the course of the last five survey periods, Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV has been -.7 (July); +.5 (August); -.6 (September); +2.0 (October); and now +.6 in November to 11.2, its best-ever 6+-stat in the PPM-era. The station’s “old” record of 10.6 (6+) was set … this time last month. Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” repeats at #1. Prior to October, the last time WOKV finished first was in May when it scored a 9.3 (6+).
Having logged a .5 (6+) in each of the last three sweeps, iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “Sports Radio 930” improves three-tenths to .8 (#20 to #18, 6+).
As a result of three consecutive downward moves (3.4 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.2, 6+), public news/talk WJCT is a combined -1.2 and remains at #13.
Jacksonville Music Formats – Within 4.2 – 4.7 range (6+) in each of the last seven survey periods (4.2 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.7 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL records a gain of eight-tenths to 5.2, its best 6+-showing since 5.3 in March; “V-101.5” carries on at #8. Not only is Cox Media Group CHR WAPE an overall +1.6 through five straight upticks (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.0 – 6.4 – 7.0, fifth to fourth, 6+), “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its strongest 6+-share (7.0) since “Holiday” 2016’s 7.4. In the market’s adult contemporary tussle, WAPE sibling WEZI remains on a roll: “Easy 102.9” is an overall +1.9 through four straight improvements (3.4 – 4.2 – 4.7 – 4.8 – 5.3, 6+). This immediately follows three straight down or flat trends that produced a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.4, 6+). Simultaneously, Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” is a collective -2.7 via three straight setbacks (10.6 – 9.8 – 8.6 – 7.9, 6+). August’s 10.6 was the best 6+-showing for WEJZ, which was #1 in June, July, August and September, since “Holiday” 2017’s 11.9. WEZI and WEJZ remain at #7 and #3, respectively. After debuting in October with a 1.1, Delmarva Educational Association contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” adds one-half share to 1.6 (#17 to #16, 6+). Following six successive downward moves that resulted in an overall -2.2 (5.9 – 5.8 – 5.7 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 3.7, 6+), Renda Broadcasting-owned WGNE notches a +.4 to 4.1 (6+) as “Gator Country 99.9” repeats at #9. Despite a loss of seven-tenths (9.2 – 8.5, 6+), Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL “96.9 The Eagle” is in the runner-up slot for the third month in a row.
Memphis Spoken-Word Formats – Regaining the three-tenths it lost in October (3.4 – 3.1 – 3.4, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” remains in tenth-place. July’s +.2 to 3.1 (6+) interrupted five straight sweeps without an increase for an overall loss of six-tenths (3.5 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+).
Off six-tenths in July, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has followed with four straight gains for an overall +.9 (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.2, #12 to #11, 6+).
Memphis Music Formats – The market’s top three stations are all in double-digits (6+). Boasting the largest (6+) October 2018 – November 2018 upswing by any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here (8.8 – 10.7, +1.9, 6+), Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO advances from third to second. Moreover, this (10.7) is the highest 6+-share for “Soul Classics and Today’s R&B” in its PPM-history. Prior to adding two-tenths in October, WRBO was a combined -1.4 in four successive sweeps without an increase (10.0 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.8 – 8.6, 6+). Anchored at #5, iHeartMedia gospel WHAL “95.7 Halleluiah – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” is up one full-share in three straight positive spikes (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.3 – 5.6, 6+). This streak directly follows six successive down monthlies in a row for a collective -2.7 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.6, 6+). Having logged six downward moves in succession for an overall -2.7 (9.8 – 9.4 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 8.1 – 7.2 – 7.1, 6+), urban contemporary sibling WHRK “K-97.1 – Memphis’ Only Hip-Hop and R&B” is up three-tenths to 7.4 (6+) and remains at #4. A gain of three-tenths to 4.7 (ninth to seventh, 6+) by WMC-FM “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” pulls the plug on four straight decreases that accounted for a combined -2.4 (6.8 – 6.0 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.4, 6+). Entering the July sweep, the Entercom hot AC was an overall +2.3 in four straight increases (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 6.8, 6+). Basically stabilizing after October’s massive +2.4, its adult contemporary cluster-mate, WRVR “104.5 The River,” is off one-tenth (11.0 – 10.9, 6+), repeating at #1. October’s 11.0 is its best 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9. Its format rival – Cumulus Media’s WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (steady at #14) – is an overall +.7 in five consecutive reports without a loss (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1, 6+). When co-owned WGKX lost two-tenths in September, it suspended three straight increases that netted +1.8 (3.4 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+). “Kix 106 Today’s Best Country,” however, falters by one-half share in back-to-back (October and November) sweeps (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.0, 6+), segueing from #7 to #9.
Hartford Spoken-Word Formats – On the heels of October’s +.8, Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM is off two-tenths (7.0 – 6.8, 6+0 but continues in fifth-place. Going into the October sweep, “News Talk 1080” notched a 6.2 (6+) in each of the previous three sweeps. Thus far this calendar year, Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” has an ultra-consistent topline: 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.1 (6+) and remains at #14.
Despite faltering by four-tenths (2.0 – 1.6, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” advances from #13 – #12.
A combined +1.1 in three positive spikes in a row (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.3 – 4.6, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” progresses from ninth to eighth. Directly in advance of this streak, WNPR was -2.4 after seven straight down or flat trends (5.9 – 5.9 – 5.5 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.5, 6+). Meanwhile, University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” has a collective loss of one-half share through three negative moves in succession (1.6 – 1.5 – 1.2 – 1.1, flat at 14, 6+). An August gain of three-tenths halted five successive down or flat trends that led to a -1.2 (2.5 – 1.8 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3, 6+).
Hartford Music Formats – While unchanged at #11, Red Wolf Broadcasting’s Spanish tropical WMRQ-HD2 displays an increase of seven-tenths (2.4 – 3.1 6+). In addition to being an overall +1.4 via three straight improvements (6.4 – 7.0 – 7.2 – 7.8, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WWYZ “Country 92.5” marches from fourth to second with its highest 6+-stat since May (7.8, as well). Up four-tenths to 6.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX “Hot 93.7” applies the brakes to five straight decreases that accounted for a -1.9 (8.3 – 8.2 – 7.8 – 7.0 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). Albeit down eight-tenths (11.4 – 10.6, 6+), its adult contemporary cluster-mate, WRCH “Lite 100.5,” is #1 for the 28th consecutive ratings period and is in double-digits (6+) for the 25th time in the last 27 sweeps. Following July’s -2.2, “Lite” rebounded with a +1.2 in August, which stymied four straight March through July downward moves that accounted for a -4.1 (14.3 – 13.2 – 13.1 – 12.4 – 10.2, 6+). Faltering by eight-tenths as well is iHeartMedia CHR WKSS (7.9 – 7.1, 6+), which slides from second to fourth with its lowest 6+-stat since April’s 6.9. As a result of three straight declines (5.7 – 5.4 – 5.0 – 4.4, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting’s WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale – Hartford’s Classic Rock” is an overall -1.3 and slips from eighth to ninth.
Steve Dahl to End WLS-AM, Chicago Show on December 21. After yesterday’s report from Chicago media maven Robert Feder that Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WLS-AM will undergo programming changes in 2019, legendary Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl reached out to Feder in an email to announce his time with the station will end on December 21. He’s been hosting the afternoon drive show for the past four years. He says his podcast – that is still growing in terms of subscribers – will continue and will retain its relationship with Cumulus Media Chicago. Dahl writes, “WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to breakout like we hoped we would. The podcast numbers continue to grow every day, so that’s encouraging.” Read his entire email here.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Net Income Up 24%. Satellite radio provider SiriusXM releases its third quarter 2018 numbers today and reports its revenue for the period was $1.5 billion, up 6% over the same period in 2017. Net income was $343 million in the third quarter – up 24% over the same quarter last year. Looking at subscriber numbers, SiriusXM says that it added 298,000 net new self-pay subscribers during the quarter to raise its self-pay subscriber total to 28.5 million. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “SiriusXM’s standout third quarter saw continued strength in subscriber additions and churn performance while adjusted EBITDA reached a quarterly record-high $589 million. Our revenue growth, adjusted for the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, totaled 8% in the quarter. In addition to our operational excellence, we were thrilled this quarter to announce an agreement to acquire Pandora Media, which we expect to close in the first quarter of 2019. With the end of the year in sight, we are increasing our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA. We have a relentless focus on creating and curating content our subscribers will love — our limited-run Dave Matthews Band Radio was a perfect example. We also presented fiery live performances just for subscribers, like our recent show by The Killers in New York. We’ve added provocative talent in talk and sports with a daily show from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, a new show from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, the return of Brett Favre’s popular show, and a new program highlighting women in sports hosted by journalist Christine Brennan and retired tennis pro Rennae Stubbs.”
Phil Valentine Voted Best Conservative in Nashville. That’s right, not Best Talk Show Host (there is no such category), but Best Conservative, as voted by the readers of Nashville Scene. Phil Valentine’s afternoon drive show is based at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” and is syndicated nationally via subsidiary Westwood One. He is also an award-winning filmmaker and bestselling author whose latest book, Barbican: A Sterling McQueen Spy Story, was released earlier this year. Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren says, “Every year, the editors of Nashville Scene ask their readers what they love best about Nashville and it’s no surprise that Phil Valentine is at the top of the list. We agree wholeheartedly that Phil brings his best to ‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ and our listeners every afternoon. His common-sense approach to talk radio cuts through the hype of the day’s news, challenging conventional wisdom on both sides and presenting actionable solutions that people respond to. It’s gratifying that Nashvillians love Phil as much as we do and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Mega Millions Jackpot, Khashoggi Murder Aftermath, O’Connor Dementia Diagnosis, Financial Markets Activity, Gender Definition Issue, Trump Threatens to Exit INF Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, NFL Action, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The November elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the Honduran migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border; the $1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces she’s been diagnosed with dementia; the wild swings in the financial markets and fears of a looming debt bubble; the Trump Administration’s plan to require legal gender based on genitalia at birth; President Trump threatens to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the weekend’s NFL action; and the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox were some of the most-talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Almost seven weeks after announcing that he would be taking a leave from his morning drive duties at Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston, Kirk Minihane Tweets that he’ll “be back soon.” Minihane took a brief leave in early August after experiencing suicidal thoughts and checked himself into a hospital. In his September 7 message, Minihane said that he would this time take indefinite leave to deal with depression issues, he admitted that he came back to work too soon after the August hospital stay. However, he Tweets that all is not necessarily well between him and Entercom management. “…I’ve been ready to work for the last week or so and have been kept off the air. You build a show, take it to number one, step aside to get healthy and expect to be welcomed back. Hasn’t happened.” During Minihane’s absence, WEEI personality Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been sitting in with regular co-host Gerry Callahan…..From the podcast world, Westwood One Podcast Network adds the “Team Never Quit” podcast – co-hosted by former Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell and David Rutherford . WWO says “Team Never Quit” is “an authentic, positive, and inspiring show that implores listeners to face their greatest challenges” and features “the incredible camaraderie between Mr. ‘Never Quit’ Marcus Luttrell and energetic ‘Instructor Rut’ David Rutherford, that not only comes from their time together on SEAL Teams but also due to their mutual 10 years of inspiring audiences of all types.”…..MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is host of a new podcast from the network titled, “Bag Man: A Rachel Maddow Original Podcast.” The weekly podcast will launch on October 30 with ad sales being handled by TuneIn. The first episode will center on the corruption scandal that took down Vice President Spiro T. Agnew…..Nationally syndicated radio star Elvis Duran reveals his 4thAnnual Carney Awards – named in honor of the late Art Carney and dedicated to honoring Hollywood’s great character actors – is getting some help from legendary actor Harrison Ford, who will attend the October 28 ceremony in Santa Monica to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to M. Emmett Walsh with whom Ford appeared in 1982’s Blade Runner.
TalkersRadio’s Meg McDonald Active in Los Angeles Community Beautification Projects — Studio City-based media figure Meg McDonald, who hosts the short-form feature titled “MEG!” on TalkersRadio, has become increasingly involved in Los Angeles beautification projects. She recently played a role at a major fund-raising initiative. California Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian secured $150,000 in the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year state budget for the long-needed revitalization of the Studio City Greenway along the Los Angeles River from Whitsett Ave. to Laurel Canyon Blvd. The project will improve bike and pedestrian access points, restore the landscaping by eliminating invasive species, and enhance public health and safety along the Los Angeles River. Pictured (l-r) joining in the funding celebration is Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy executive director Joe Edmiston; Assemblyman Nazarian; Studio City Beautification Association board member and host of MEG! on TalkersRadio Meg McDonald and Los Angeles City Councilor Paul Krekorian.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fayetteville, North Carolina market, Kenny J is named program director and brand manager for Beasley Media Group hip hop WZFX-FM “Foxy 99” and brand manager for sister rhythmic oldies WUKS “Old School 107.7.” He most recently served with Cumulus Media as program director at urban contemporary KMJK, Kansas City. Beasley Fayetteville VP and market manager Erika Beasley comments, “I’m so excited to have Kenny J on the Beasley Fayetteville team. We welcome his expertise and knowledge in programming both formats in large and small markets. Kenny’s ability to coach and grow on-air personalities really sets him apart for this position. We look forward to having his energy and positive attitude in our building and continuing to lead our brands to success!”…..Programming pro Nick Fox joins Cumulus Media as program director and midday personality at country WXBM, Pensacola, Florida “NASH FM 102.7.” He comes to Cumulus from Saga Communications’ country WVVR, Clarksville, Tennessee where he was an air personality and APD. He says, “I’m ecstatic to be back home as the PD of WXBM! This station has a rich legacy and passionate listeners. I am ready to hit the ground running in Pensacola.”…..SummitMedia is tweaking the format at WJSR, Richmond from classic hits as “Star 100.9” to adult hits as “Jack FM.”
WECK, Buffalo Announces Live and Local Lineup. The new Buffalo full-service radio station operated by Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo announces its new, live and local personality lineup. Previously, TALKERS magazine reported the station hired Buffalo news radio pro John Zach to anchor mornings and serve as news director. Now, WECK says it will officially shift its format to become a live and local, full-service station on July 10, with 24-hour news, well-known local personalities and locally programmed music. The station has been airing a syndicated adult standards format. Soon it will move to “adult favorites,” centered primary on the 70s and 80s (with some earlier and some more recent music mixed in). Veteran Buffalo personality Gail Ann Huber will pair with WECK’s Tom Donahue as morning co-host. Jon Summers, a longtime Buffalo radio and TV personality joins the station to host 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Buffalo Broadcasting Hall-of-Famer Harv Moore will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart Moore handled wake-up duties for many years as part of the well-known “Taylor & Moore Breakfast Flakes” show on WYSL and WPHD. Moore’s former on-air partner, Robert W. Taylor, joins as WECK’s imaging voice. Afternoon drive will be hosted by Mike Jacobs. Evenings will be hosted by WECK owner and president Buddy Shula.
WGN named Chicago’s Station of the Year. This actually marks the tenth year in a row that Tribune Media news/talk WGN, Chicago has nabbed such Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome honors. This year’s event was held last night (6/8) in Champaign. In addition, Tribune Media president of broadcasting Larry Wert was cited as IBA’s “Broadcaster of the Year.” The station took away first place awards in “Best Radio Local Broadcast Team” (“The Nick Digilio Show”); “Best Radio Station Use of New Media” (“Honoring Our Marines” by Shanae Paulus and Jackie Paulus); “Best Radio News Reporter” (Andrea Darlas); “Best Radio Series or Documentary” (“National Parks at 100: Our Midwest Treasures” by Dave Schwan); and “Best Radio Play-by-Play” (Blackhawks force game seven versus [St. Louis] Blues (John Wiedeman and Troy Murray). WGN Radio vice president of programming & content Todd Manley states, “We are so proud to share Chicago stories every day with personalities who are authentic and passionate. I know our entire staff is grateful for these honors.” Out-of-state broadcasters did the judging for the Illinois competition.
Pandora – SiriusXM Update. As a follow-up to what we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 6/8), on the heels of Pandora Media extending the countdown of a possible sale, SiriusXM marches in with a $480 million strategic cash investment in Pandora. The infusion will help Pandora make targeted investments and capitalize on opportunities to build on its business. Last month, the private equity firm KKR & Co LP agreed to invest $150 million in Pandora, which reportedly lost $132 million on revenues of $315 million in the quarter that ended on March 31.
WBUR Readies “Circle Round.” Produced by Boston University-owned WBUR, Boston in conjunction with Sheir & Shim founders Rebecca Sheir and Eric Shimelonis, “Circle Round” is a storytelling podcast for youngsters aged three to ten. “Circle Round” features folktales with an eye toward inclusivity. Stories are adapted into five- to 20-minute episodes that deal with topics such as kindness, persistence, and generosity. WBUR general manager Charlie Kravetz comments, “We are excited to be launching WBUR’s first-ever child-focused program. Public radio has a rich and recognized tradition of narrative storytelling. With ‘Circle Round,’ we want to inspire a young audience to cultivate a love of storytelling.” The station’s managing producer for program development Jessica Alpert remarks, “Like so many parents, I am always trying to find alternatives to screen time. As we know, nothing grabs a child’s attention like a really great story – especially one you can listen to anywhere, anytime, like in a podcast. We are hoping that ‘Circle Round’ fills a void for parents, while at the same time provides a thrilling experience for their kids.” Sheir will serve as the podcast’s narrator, while award-winning composer Shimelonis will create the accompanying soundtrack and production. The podcast series begins this fall with weekly episodes.
Phoenix Trombo Taps Trimmer as PD. Former WRVA “Newsradio 1140,” Richmond; WRNL “Fox Sports 910,” Richmond; and Virginia News Network program director Aaron Trimmer will transfer in a similar capacity to iHeartMedia Phoenix siblings KFYI “The Most Trusted News in Phoenix”; KGME “Fox Sports 910”; and KFYI 2, “The Next Generation of Talk Radio.” Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s west division Steve Geofferies comments, “We are excited to have Aaron bring his experiences out west; his track record speaks for itself. From brand execution to talent coaching, he is a tremendous resource for our stations in the Arizona region.” Trimmer – who begins his new duties in a little over three weeks (7/5) – notes, “I am beyond excited to work with the iHeartMedia team in Phoenix. There is a tremendous amount of talent with their spoken-word brands. I look forward to leading the team and community to new heights.” His previous programming credits include four other iHeartMedia clusters: WHAM “NewsRadio 1180,” Rochester; FM news/talk WERC, Birmingham and the Alabama Radio Network; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse; and WLAP “NewsRadio 630,” Lexington, Kentucky.
College Radio Providing Vital Farm System for Professional Talk Media Talent. At a time when many industry participants and observers ask the question, “Where will the future talent in radio come from now that consolidation has wiped out the old farm system?” – it is becoming evident that to a significant degree the answer lies on the college radio level. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “We are hearing more and more from outstanding college radio and media communications departments – students and faculty alike – around the country. These communication departments are really stepping up to the plate in becoming an effective breeding ground for new, dedicated and extremely bright talent – especially in the areas of journalism, commentary, talk and sports. I am personally gratified by the number of superb young people gaining the skills and developing the styles that will clearly propel talent-driven radio and TV deeper into the 21st century.” Each year the TALKERS annual seminar is attended by an increasing number of college radio students interested in making broadcasting their careers as well as a growing percentage of already-professional practitioners under the age of 35. Talkers 2017: A New Era was attended by delegations of student broadcasters from Hofstra University on Long Island and Hillsdale College in Michigan, among others. According to Harrison, who sits on the executive committee of the advisory board of Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, “The future of radio lies in developing young audiences – but before we can even think about doing that effectively, we must develop young broadcasters.” Pictured (below) are the students attending the TALKERS conference from Hofstra University’s Marconi Award winning WRHU-FM (front row l-r): Jazmine Gonzalez, Joy Jones, and Yenny Sanchez; (back row l-r) operations manager John Mullen, Alexi Cohan, TALKERS “Student of the Year” Maria Santana, Sean Bates, Juliana Spano, and Joe Sibilia.
Stand By for Exciting Video Coverage of Talkers 2017: A New Era. As the magic of Talkers 2017: A New Era recedes into the broadcast industry history books, the TALKERS editorial and technical staffs are busily readying the hours and hours of valuable video footage recorded at the event by rising young New York videography star Zach Feldman into a presentable form for posting here on Talkers.com and for posterity. TALKERS subscribers can expect the first of these to be posted sometime next week. Stand by! Meantime, scroll down this page for earlier photo and story coverage of the event.
Syndicated star Doug Stephan (l) interviews KTRS, St Louis personality McGraw Milhaven (r) on the American Family Farmer program at Talkers 2017: A New Era about the local relationship between St. Louis and mega-corporation Monsanto Company that is headquartered in that market. Both broadcasters are members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.
WOR, New York, assistant program director Scott Lakefield facilitating one of the major “one-on-one” sessions at Talkers 2017: A New Era. Photo by Don Hurley.
Beasley Broadcast Group Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. The amount is $0.045 per share for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Class A and Class B common stock and is payable next month (7/7) to shareholders of record on the final day of this month (6/30). All subsequent Beasley Broadcast Group dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board of directors at its discretion. Meanwhile, at the annual New Jersey Ad Club “Jersey Awards,” Beasley Broadcast Group news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick won “Best Podcast” for The State Theatre (program & creative director/air talent Bert Baron, host and producer). Senior vice president and regional market manager Dan Finn remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled our team was recognized for their work with this incredible award. This is the night where all the best advertising agencies in the state of New Jersey gather and announce winners across all media platforms. We were honored to be among the winners.” The event took place this past Wednesday (6/7) in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
TALKERS News Notes. As he did two weeks ago, Lou Pate will sit-in today (6/9) for Michael Savage on Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” …..Nine-year iHeartMedia vice president of digital operations Joseph Bond departs. Bond previously spent six years overseeing web content and development for the company’s eight Cincinnati stations.
Grangenois Joins WEAA As Interim GM. The former publisher of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mireille Grangenois, is named interim general manager of Morgan State University‘s NPR-member public outlet WEAA. The Baltimore-based institution’s dean of the school of global journalism and communication DeWayne Wickham remarks, “Ms. Grangenois has an impressive record of media management. Our intention is to revitalize WEAA’s mission as a learning lab by providing our students with an exceptional, practical experience in the production of news and public affairs programming. We also want to do this by strengthening the station’s ability to offer listeners music programming that will grow WEAA’s audience and revenue. I have great confidence in Ms. Grangenois’ ability to lead this effort.” Grangenois began her news career in Baltimore and has marketing, sales, audience development, and leadership experience. Morgan State University is one of only five historically black higher education institutions with a school of journalism.
Comey Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 5-9. The Senate Intelligence Committee testimony of former FBI Director James Comey was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was the Tehran terror attack and the rejection of President Trump’s condolences, followed by the British general elections and the aftermath of the London terror attacks at #4. 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.
Radio Disney Country Los Angeles Debuts Today. KRDC, Los Angeles will officially begin broadcasting at 12:00 noon today (6/9) on 99.1 and 1110. Disney Channels Worldwide vice president of music strategy/Radio Disney Network general manager Phil Guerini states, “As country music continues to deliver some of the biggest artists in music today, we are broadening the reach of Radio Disney Country through both terrestrial and digital extensions of its brand.” In association with KRDC’s debut, Kelsea Ballerini, Hunter Hayes, Bailey Bryan, Scotty McCreery, Tegan Marie, and Temecula Road will join Radio Disney Country host Betsy Spina on the Radio Disney Country Stage at CMA Music Fest‘s Xfinity Fan Fair X at 11:45 am today for a countdown event streaming live on Radio Disney Country’s Facebook page. The first hour commercial-free playlist on Radio Disney Country’s KRDC will begin with Ballerini’s single “Legends,” which was released this week. The complete first hour will include: “Legends” (Ballerini); “Play It Again” (Luke Bryan); “God, Your Mama, and Me” (Florida Georgia Line featuring The Backstreet Boys); “Every Little Thing” (Carly Pearce); “Say” (RaeLynn featuring Dan + Shay); “Yours If You Want It” (Rascal Flatts); “Own It” (Bailey Bryan); “What Ifs” (Kane Brown featuring Lauren Alaina); “You Look Good” (Lady Antebellum); “No Such Thing As a Broken Heart” (Old Dominion); “Hoping” (Temecula Road); “I Could Use a Love Song” (Maren Morris); and “How Not To” (Dan + Shay). Radio Disney Country will also be available on iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and as curated playlists within Spotify, and Apple Music.
Brown Appointed iHeartMedia Norfolk Market President. Inbound from Cumulus Media Mobile, where she was vice president/market manager and vice president of sales, Angel Brown is named market president for iHeartMedia Norfolk. President of iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region Dave Carwile comments, “We are thrilled to have Angel joining our Norfolk group of station brands. She combines a proven track record of sales leadership with an understanding of how to integrate client needs with our multimedia platforms. Angel will provide a great complement to our outstanding sales and programming leadership in the market.” Brown remarks, “I am elated to join the iHeartMedia family in Norfolk. The market and the company have had tremendous success over the years and are attributed to the company’s culture and its people. I look forward to working alongside the talented iHeartMedia Norfolk team and I look for forward to my future with the industry leader.” The company’s four-station Norfolk cluster consists of urban AC WHBT “92.1 The Beat”; rhythmic hot AC WMOV “MOViN 107.7”; CHR WNOH “NOW 105”; and urban contemporary WOWI “103 Jamz.”
KFRG Boosts Ward to APD/MD. With two-dozen years of service at CBS Radio Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario country outlet KFRG ‘K-Frog,” on-air talent Robin Ward is elevated to assistant program director and music director. According to program director Scott Ward (no relation), “Since she has been here for most of the station’s history, Robin is such a natural fit for this position. She knows the format and the artists like the back of her hand.” Robin Ward, who hosts mid-days using the on-air persona Heather Froglear, comments, “My patience has been rewarded with my dream job – being the APD/MD of the greatest station on earth.” She joined “K-Frog” in 1993 and has previously been the Inland Empire outlet’s promotions director and morning show host.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking home the 2017 Gracie Award as “Best Co-Host, Radio” is Kelly Ford, co-host of Cumulus Media and Westwood One‘s syndicated morning show, Ty, Kelly, & Chuck. Ford was among the honorees at a Wednesday night gala at Los Angeles’ Beverly Wilshire …..Having already worked at CBS Radio-owned CHRs in Chicago (WBBM-FM “B-96”) and Philadelphia (WZMP “Amp 96.5”), Jason Cage will debut on the company’s Houston hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5” next Monday (6/12) in afternoon drive. “Mix 96.5” program director Chase Murphy has “been a fan of Jason’s work for years – winning is in his DNA. We are excited to add him to the KHMX team and cannot wait for the Houston community to meet him.” …..Nine-year iHeartMedia vice president of digital operations Joseph Bond departs. Bond previously spent six years overseeing web content and development for the company’s eight Cincinnati stations …..Several-dozen suits were collected as part of the recently concluded “Boots to Suits” campaign of Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch.” In partnership with Equity Prime Mortgage, JCPenney, and Two Men & A Truck, the station’s campaign focused on collecting suits for local veterans entering the workforce after they return home from deployment …..Changes at Saga Springfield, Massachusetts alternative WLZX “Lazer 99.3 & 105.1” find morning host Leslie exiting at the end of this month to relocate to Sarasota and afternoon drive talent Pat Kelly segueing to mornings next month …..Along with partners United Supermarkets and Amarillo National Bank, Alpha Media Amarillo, Texas’ KGNC “Country 97.9” earlier this week raised more than $60,000 for the Amarillo Area Rotary Youth Baseball League. Alpha Media Amarillo market manager Robert Mueller notes, “It is truly awesome to see the community and our partners work together to support the local youth each and every year.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. The amount is $0.045 per share for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Class A and Class B common stock and is payable next month (7/7) to shareholders of record on the final day of this month (6/30). All subsequent Beasley Broadcast Group dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board of directors at its discretion. Meanwhile, at the annual New Jersey Ad Club “Jersey Awards,” Beasley Broadcast Group’s WDHA “The Rock of New Jersey, ” Dover won “Best Radio Spot” for Oink and Moo BBQ (written, produced, and voiced by Mike Cocheo with additional voice-overs by Dannie Schade). Vice president and regional market manager Dan Finn remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled our team was recognized for their work with this incredible award. “This is the night where all the best advertising agencies in the state of New Jersey gather and announce winners across all media platforms. We were honored to be among the winners.” The event took place this past Wednesday (6/7) in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
Eagle Communications Hutchinson Boosts James to Operations Manager. Three-month KHUT, Hutchinson, Kansas morning host Pat James is elevated to operations manager of Eagle Communications’ “Country 102.9,” as well as co-owned hot AC KHMY “My 93.1,” and news/talk combo KWBW-AM & KWBW-FM. Eagle Hutchinson market manager Mark Trotman states, “Since his first day at Eagle Communications, Pat has demonstrated the leadership we want in an employee-owned company – he is our type of people. We are looking forward to the places we can go in further service to keeping our community connected.” James, who will continue his morning drive duties on “Country 102.9,” adds, “I look forward to working with a talented staff that is committed to making great local radio every day for our community. This is a refreshing and exciting environment to work in every day. I can’t wait to help these stations and our company achieve even greater successes. I am grateful to market manager Mark Trotman and Eagle president/chief executive officer Gary Shorman for this amazing opportunity.” In addition to co-hosting “The Cornbread Morning Show” on WIL, St. Louis, James previously was program director/brand manager of Connoisseur Media Wichita’s adult hits KIBB “Bob-FM” and classic country KVWF “Hank-FM,” and he was the assistant program director/music director at Scripps-owned country KFDI, Wichita.
Trace Enters U.S. With Streaming Service. International urban media company Trace will launch a streaming service called Trace Play. The company will deliver subscribers urban music and content from the United States and worldwide, including 2,000 hours of on-demand programming, 30 digital radio stations, nine live television feeds, and the soon-to-be launched Trace Prime television network. The service will come from a Trace USA joint venture with John Pasmore, the former chief executive officer of Russell Simmons’ Oneworld Media, who declares, “Trace is the only media company that has successfully connected urban youth and communities of color around the world while respecting their identities.” It will be available online and to iOS and Android devices for $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year. Backers include actor-musician Wyclef Jean; producers Rob Marriott and Tonya Lewis Lee; Fubu co-founder J. Alexander Martin; and JKD Entertainment’s Karlie Lewis.