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Monday, November 8, 2021

| November 8, 2021

Monday Memo: Ask the CVS Question. “Supply chain” is something CNBC talks about all day and our listeners and advertisers suffer every day. “To be useful and relatable and relevant and SOUND LOCAL,” consultant Holland Cooke recommends asking “the question the CVS clerk asks when you bring what you’re buying to the counter.” In this week’s column: “How to have listeners quoting you to each other.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says the best way for radio to compete with digital ad platforms like Google is to serve clients in a way that the digital guys can’t. He offers some suggestions for radio sales pros to consider when e-commerce and online advertising are growing at exponential rates. Read it here.

Talk Host Jon-David Wells Puts Show on Hold to Serve Texas Guard Duty. Talk radio host Jon-David Wells – whose program “The Wells Report” is syndicated nationally via USA Radio Network – is donning his Texas State Guard uniform and his combat boots as he becomes First Sergeant John D. Wells of the Texas State Guard. Wells has been activated by the Texas Military Department to take part in a multi-month deployment and to do so, Wells is putting his radio program on temporary hiatus. Wells will be updating his fans through his website, thewellsreport.net with newsletters, blogs and occasional videos. “The Wells Report” originated on September 11, 2001, when Wells turned his light-hearted lifestyle/pop culture talk show into a daily, three-hour examination of the day’s news with analysis for facts, commentary and debate.

Westwood One and ‘The BOB & TOM Show’ Sign New, Three-Year Deal. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” and CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One announce they’ve inked a new, three-year agreement to continue their relationship. The program is heard on more than 100 affiliates across the U.S. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “‘The BOB & TOM Show’ was one of the first shows to make it big in multiple markets back when satellite distribution was new, and that legacy continues today with top ratings and revenues in our affiliated markets. Tom [Griswold] and the cast are both consistently amazing and amazingly consistent. We look forward to another three years with this incredible team.” Griswold says, “Our relationship with Westwood One makes this business fun. We can spend our time and resources making people laugh…Westwood handles everything else. Thrilled to be ‘hitched’ for three more years.”

Audacy Names Palak Forbes SVP, Digital Business Operations. Media executive Palak Forbes joins Audacy as SVP, digital business operations. She’ll report to chief digital officer J.D. Crowley and will “provide commercial and operational leadership for the company’s podcast business, while working across Audacy’s entire digital portfolio and with key strategic partners to enable continued strong growth in Audacy’s digital and podcast businesses.” Forbes was most recently head of business development and operations at The New York Times. Crowley says, “As we make consistent strides to evolve and enhance our digital and podcast businesses, Palak is a perfect choice to lead our day-to-day efforts to provide a world-class experience for our customers, creators and consumers. Her deep experience launching and scaling innovative new businesses, and expertise managing strategic relationships with companies across the media and technology sectors will enable us to continue delivering robust growth.” Forbes states, “Digital audio is in a really exciting phase where we have evolving audio formats and listening experiences as well as new ways of life emerging from the pandemic. Audacy has brought together a portfolio of innovative brands to meet the needs of the modern listener, content creators, and advertisers alike. I’m so excited to operationalize our strategy across the digital portfolio. It’s an honor to join the leading creator of original and premium audio during this time of growth and transformation.”

Longtime WDRC, Hartford Host Brad Davis Passes. The radio station’s website posts notice that former longtime morning drive personality Brad Davis died at the Connecticut Veteran’s Home in Rocky Hill on November 2 at the age of 87. The cause of death was not revealed but he had been in declining health recently. Davis worked in radio and television beginning in 1956. He began his 43-year stint as WDRC-AM morning host in 1977 when it was still a music outlet. He eased the program into a talk show over a number of years. He was inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Biden Infrastructure Bill, COVID-19/Aaron Rodgers Flap, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COP26, China Military Aggression, and Deadly Astroworld Concert Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden gets his Infrastructure Bill through the House; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccines for kids, mask & vaccine mandates, and the Aaron Rodgers COVID flap; the supply chain breakdown, the soaring cost of retail goods, and the record high price of gasoline; last week’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow; concerns over China’s military aggression toward Taiwan and its military build-up; and the deaths of eight concertgoers and the wounding of hundreds of others at the Astroworld festival in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

| December 6, 2018

Longtime Baltimore Talk Show Host/Reporter Les Kinsolving Passes at 90.  Known for his no-holds-barred questioning tactic as a White House reporter and for his regular talk show on WCBM, Baltimore, Les Kinsolving cut a colorful figure in the Baltimore-Washington market and across the talk radio industry. Kinsolving – born Charles Lester Kinsolving – died early Tuesday morning.  He had triple bypass surgery in 2005 after suffering a heart attack. WCBM morning personality and program director Sean Casey said in a message posted on Twitter: “Les was one of the founding fathers of WCBM. I hired him in 1990 after a strong recommendation from out former colleague Tom Marr.  Les was a fearless reporter/broadcaster who confronted the Jim Jones cult, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and covered the White House in his signature red jacket.” Casey notes that Kinsolving hosted “Uninhibited Radio” on the station for 28 years before his health declined and he was forced to retire several months ago.

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news outlets.  Ratings movement (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October survey to the November survey among all-news stations was pretty much split fifty-fifty – half the stations saw an increase and about half went down.  The same goes for a comparison to last November’s PPM survey, about half the stations were up and the other half were down.  This month, four all-news stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets.  Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and Hubbard’s WTOP-FM, Washington both ranked #1, while the Entercom’s KCBS-AM ranked #2 in San Francisco and #3 in adjacent San Jose and its WWJ, Detroit also ranked #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Moffett to Lead SummitMedia Springfield. Taking over the leadership of SummitMedia’s new Springfield, Missouri station group is Janelle Moffett, who rises from general sales manager to president.  She begins leading the cluster that includes news/talk KSGF-AM/FM, country KTTS, CHR KSPW, and adult hits KRVI upon the exit of retiring president Rex Hansen.  Moffett says, “We have great stations and a talented, committed team here.  We will make certain we continue to entertain and inform our listeners, deliver results for our clients, and serve our wonderful Springfield community.  I’m very excited about all the possibilities ahead for us!”

Forbes Publishes ‘Highest-Paid Radio Hosts’ Piece. In a story in Forbes by Hayley Cuccinello, the five highest-paid talk hosts are ranked.  Topping the list this year is SiriusXM star Howard Stern, estimated to be making $90 million.  Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh is #2 with an estimated $84.5 million made this year.  At #3 is Premiere’s Ryan Seacrest with $74 million, followed by Premiere/FOX News superstar Sean Hannity at #4 with $34 million and Premiere’s Glenn Beck in fifth place with $8.5 million.  The piece also delves into the merger of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital platform and CRTV and other radio talk show issues.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a publication – currently only available to “lawmakers, decision-makers, and others involved in D.C.’s political process” – that Clarity Media Group announces is expanding to the public arena.  The weekly Washington Examiner magazine will launch on January 1 “with a new look, an expanded editorial range, and an increase in its distribution.”  Under the continued editorial leadership of editorial director Hugo Gurdon, the expanded magazine will publish 44 issues per year.  Clarity Media president and CEO Ryan McKibben says, “Over the years, we’ve frequently been asked if individuals outside of the Beltway could subscribe to the publication. With this expansion and relaunch, our aim is for the new, national Washington Examiner to build on its position as a leader in providing a conservative perspective on the events of the day.”…..Nielsen Audio holds a client webinar today to brief them on the transformation of the measurement of 200-plus small and medium markets measured with the Audio Diary from a quarterly or two times a year static view to monthly reporting.   Nielsen says the change “will enable clients to react more quickly to marketplace changes.”  Continuous diary measurement will be released in stages with the first phase beginning in mid-2019 in 47 markets presently measured four times a year…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM, Chicago news reporter/anchor Dometi Pongo is also hosting a new Twitter Live video titled, “Need to Know.”  The program is produced by MTV News and “offers a ‘deep dive’ on a major story of the day and each afternoon he recaps the day’s top stories.”…..KORE Broadcasting’s sports talk KORE, Eugene, Oregon “FOX Sports Eugene” adds “The Dan Patrick Show” to its weekday morning lineup, effective December 17…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings beginning Sunday (12/9).  Both the MLB Network Radio and Mad Dog Sports Radio channels will broadcast live from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas where club owners, front office executives, managers and many others from the major and minor leagues will gather to discuss offseason baseball business.

Bush Ceremonies, Trump-Russia Investigation, Migrants at U.S.-Mexico Border, U.S.-China Trade War, Mercurial Dow, ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ Controversy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The ceremonies honoring late President George H. W. Bush; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the border wall issue; the Trump administration’s tariff policy toward China; the up-and-down Dow and concerns about a returning bear market; radio stations are caught in a controversy over the lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”; and the week’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. Programming pro Josh Gebhart, a.k.a. Jay Jay, moves from Cumulus Media’s Twin Cities operations where he was an air personality and producer, to the company’s Eugene, Oregon cluster to serve as program director for hot AC KEHK “Star 102.3” and sister adult contemporary KSCR-AM/FM.  Cumulus Eugene operations manager Al Scott says, “It’s great to finally have a PD here in the building to steer KEHK through this very competitive radio market.  Josh brings a lot of enthusiasm to the table and is breathing fresh life into the station!…..Sheridan Broadcasting names Tracey Harvey creative director.  In her new position, she’ll be charged with developing the company’s new web presence – including audio and video content.  She’ll also be responsible for expanding the company’s social media content and branding footprint by identifying new business partnerships…..Cumulus Media’s urban AC KMEZ is moving from its current 106.7 frequency to the 102.9 frequency it previously occupied, effective today (12/6).  As a result, hip hop KKND “Power 102.9” goes away.   The station is being branded “Z 102.9.”  Program director J’Michael Francois says, “During the first 30 days, ‘Z 102.9’ will be heard both on 102.9 and on 106.7 so that all our current listeners will know that KMEZ will now be heard on 102.9 FM…..Mariah Carey is the special guest host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated R&B show “The Sweat Hotel” with Keith Sweat. In addition to playing R&B slow jams and taking song requests, the award-winning artist will play music from her new album, Caution, as well as some of her fan-favorite hits…..TMZ reports that rock radio and television personality Matt Pinfield was hit by a speeding car while walking in Los Angeles.  The report says Pinfield’s leg was broken in two places and he received a wound to his head that required stitches.  Pinfield was most recently morning host at Cumulus Media’s triple A KFOG, San Francisco.

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL).  Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.