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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

| May 22, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The performance of the all-news format is very important to Entercom as it owns nine of the 12 all-news stations in our panel.  Almost 60% of these stations went down (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the March PPM survey to April.  Comparing April 2018 to this year, 6+ ratings movement was even, with half the stations going up and the other half going down.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington again ranks #1 in its market (the only all-newser to do so this month), while Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 in their markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s full report here.

Cumulus Asks FCC to Allow Up to 100% Foreign Investment.  The FCC has a rule that no more than 25% of an American broadcast entity can be owned by foreign investors.  As Cumulus Media emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 2018, foreign ownership of its voting stock was no more than 22.5%.  The company made sure of that in order to facilitate the proceedings. Now, Cumulus is asking the FCC to allow foreign investment of up to 100%. The FCC public notice states, “Cumulus now requests approval to permit up to a 100 percent aggregate foreign investment to enable holders of warrants and non-voting stock to convert or exercise these instruments in exchange for voting stock and allow non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to 100 percent of its voting stock and capital stock generally in the future.  Specifically, Cumulus explains that upon grant of the Petition, the special warrants would be automatically exchanged, and foreign ownership of Cumulus immediately following such exchanges would then be approximately 34 percent on a voting basis and 31 percent on an equity basis.  Notwithstanding that the foreign ownership which would result from exercise of the special warrants is expected to be much less than 100 percent, Cumulus states that it is requesting a ruling that would permit non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to and including 100 percent of its voting stock and 100 percent of its capital stock generally.  Cumulus believes that elimination of the overall limitation on foreign ownership of its shares will, inter alia, enhance the market liquidity of its stock and ‘provide the Company with the greatest degree of flexibility in accessing foreign investment capital.’  Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is entirely consistent with the public interest. In support of the Petition, Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is consistent with the reorganization plan, which has enabled Cumulus to emerge from bankruptcy in a stronger financial condition, and which, in turn, will enable Cumulus to raise capital, enhance its programming, better serve the public, and compete with non-FCC regulated entities on a more level playing field.  Cumulus also maintains that grant of the Petition aligns with U.S. foreign trade policy and the U.S. government’s desire to ‘promote inbound foreign investment’ and encourage reciprocity with U.S. trading partners.”  The public comment period is open through July 8.

Alpha Media Stations Moving into Chicagoland Mall. After almost two years of negotiations, the local village board in Gurnee, Illinois (near the Illinois-Wisconsin border) has voted to pay Alpha Media $200,000 to assist in the cost of moving its four north suburban stations – news/talk WLIP-AM, Spanish sports talk WKRS-AM, rock WIIL-FM, and hot AC WXLC-FM – into space at the Gurnee Mills mall complex.  According to a report in the DailyHerald, mall owner Simon Property Group is paying Alpha $600,000 to help with the cost of the estimated $847,000 renovation project.  In return, Alpha will produce at least 32 public events at the mall to drive foot traffic and will air ads for the mall.

TALKERS News Notes. The Kirk MinihaneEntercom relationship appears to be turning sour again with the sports media personality now threatening to take legal action to get the platform he desires.  Brandon Contes at Barrett Sports Media writes an account of Minihane’s displeasure over his situation at Entercom that he expressed while broadcasting recently on Periscope.  Minihane wants his own “network” on Entercom’s Radio.com platform within a month or he says he’ll sue.  Minihane officially left the WEEI, Boston morning show last fall.  At the time, Entercom said it wanted Minihane to do a show on Radio.com…..Media personality Michele Tafoya – whose work includes serving as co-host of “The Tom Barnard Show” on Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis – was honored Monday at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York with the Outstanding Sports Personality award for her work as an NBC Sports sideline reporter for NFL games.  Tafoya also won the award in 2012 and 2014.  Cumulus VP, classic rock and Twin Cities operations manager Scott Jameson says, “All of us at Cumulus Minneapolis are very proud of Michele winning this prestigious Emmy award.  We’re quite fortunate having her on our legendary morning show hosted by National Hall of Fame inductee Tom Barnard and the rest of the morning team.”…..Westwood One News picks up another honor for exceptional reporting as the organization and correspondent Jim Roope receive a Deadline Club Award for best “Radio or Audio Feature Reporting.”  The award recognizes Roope’s 2018 report, “Las Vegas: Remembering and Healing,” in which he returned to Las Vegas one year after the deadly mass shooting and spoke with the community and the victims about how they were remembering, coping, and healing. The Deadline Club Award is bestowed by the NY Society of Professional Journalists for reporting across all media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, radio, digital, and TV…..Radio personality Walter Sterling is guest starring on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento this holiday weekend.  He’s sitting in for Pat Walsh on both Friday and Monday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Sterling’s syndicated program is heard Sunday evenings on the iHeartMedia station…..Forever Media closes on its acquisition of the 10-station group in Delaware and Maryland it purchased from Steinman Communications for $18.5 million. The signals include news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, Wilmington and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware.  Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the exclusive broker for the deal.

ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, 2020 Election Politics, New Anti-Abortion Laws, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The request from congressional Democrats for President Trump’s tax returns and financial records; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; Iran’s increased production of enriched uranium and the possibility of U.S. military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and NBA/NHL playoffs 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia names programming pro Brandon “Buster” Satterfield program director for CHR WIOQ-FM “Q102,” effective June 17.  Satterfield moves north from his most recent position with the company as APD for CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP for programming Brian Check says, “Brandon brings a unique combination of top 40 radio experience on and off the air, as well as knowledge of the market and passion for everything Philly.  His dedication to the brand and keen eye for programming and the latest music make him the perfect fit.”…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” brings two-time Grammy nominee and radio personality Monie Love aboard to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, effective today (5/22).  Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “We are so excited to have Monie Love join the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.  Her love of hip-hop, entertaining personality and star power make her a great addition to our afternoons here in Atlanta.”…..Westwood One’s internationally syndicated “The Ty Bentli Show” announces Adrian Kulp joins the show as senior executive producer.  WWO says Kulp brings a wealth of creative experience across multiple entertainment mediums to the show.  He served for almost 10 years as a television executive with positions including vice president of TV development at Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, vice president of TV development at Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing, and a stint at CBS’s “The Late Late Show.”  NASH Network director of programming John Shomby says, “Ty Bentli continues to build a team that is focused on maximizing creativity!  Adrian brings a different perspective to the table that will help the show build a unique vision and bring that to our listeners each morning!”

Friday, October 11, 2013

| October 11, 2013

tantarosandreaAndrea Tantaros Ceases TRN Show; Sues Company for Fraud and Breach of Contract.  After greatly reducing its offerings in the wake of financial troubles, Talk Radio Network continued to produce the Andrea Tantaros program (along with a few others).  That’s no longer the case as Tantaros has terminated her employment agreement with TRN and is suing the company for fraud and breach of contract.  In the suit, Tantaros’ attorney Joseph Cane alleges that, under the breach of contract portion of the suit, TRN has, due to financial troubles, failed to uphold multiple contract responsibilities.  “Plaintiff Tantaros found herself in a situation wherein she no longer had a competent executive producer, a full-time call screener, a paid assistant, or a sound effects manager, and further, had either no guests or only decidedly ‘C-list’ quality guests, was provided with no research for the third-rate guests that were booked for the Tantaros show, a lack of sufficient research for the topics at hand, provided with no editorial guidance, and she was expected by Defendant TRN to basically produce her own show…In addition, there no longer was any meaningful sales force to sell her program to advertisers or potential advertisers and there was no affiliate relations staff at Defendant TRN to service the needs or the requests of the Tantaros show’s affiliates.”  As far as the fraud portion of the complaint goes, the suit alleges that Tantaros was promised a number of things that TRN was not able to produce including money for a promotion budget, an ample sales effort to allow Tantaros to earn the money specified in her contract and did not disclose its suit mastersmarkagainst then-Dial Global, its primary ad sales rep.  Sources close to Andrea Tantaros tell TALKERS that although she is resolute in breaking her ties to TRN as indicated in her legal action, she remains enthusiastic about and committed to her career in talk radio.  She hopes to continue her career in this arena with another syndicator or network based on the premise that her obligations to TRN no longer exist as a result of its alleged breach of contract with her.  TRN CEO Mark Masters is denying the allegations and issued the following statement: “Our relationship with Andrea has been wonderful.  She is a brilliant host and a talented person.  Until very recently, we had an excellent relationship with her.  We are now concerned that a third party is misleading her to their own direct benefit.  This is not an uncommon problem when the host of a successful syndicated radio show has achieved such early success in our industry.  In any event, we look forward to the prompt resolution of the matter in our favor, and to moving forward on a positive and mutually rewarding basis with Andrea for many years to come.  In the approximately nine months that Andrea has been in syndication with TRN Entertainment, the combination of our investment of our radio expertise, training, coaching, support, promotion, affiliate relations, time, effort and substantial dollars into the development of the show and of Andrea as a radio personality, combined with Andrea’s growth as a radio personality, has built the show from start-up status to the seventh largest talk radio show in the TALKERS rankings, and has landed Andrea on the cover of the October talk radio issue of Radio Ink.  To our knowledge, this has never been done before.  It is a testament to the mutually successful collaboration between Andrea and our team.  Regardless of this temporary intrigue, there is no legal basis for Andrea to terminate our contract (to the benefit of a predatory competitor), and we will require, and fully expect, her to abide by its terms.  Contrary to certain reports we have heard, we are in full compliance with our obligations under the contract, and are prepared to enforce our rights.”  As of today (10/14), Tantaros is not on the air.  Sam Sorbo is serving as host of the program.

wilsonlarrytalkersTalkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success.  More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platformcohenbertolucci ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day.  In the coming days and weeks, TALKERS will provide extensive coverage of the event, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “one of the most dynamic and productive conferences in the publication’s 24 year history.”  Pictured here are, at top left, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson delivering the keynote speech.  At right are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (l) and KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci (r).  Bertolucci was last year’s recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award and she presented it to Cohen who received the award this year.

salespanelRAB CEO Erica Farber Leads Sales Panel at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  During the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, RAB CEO Erica Farber moderated a panel of industry pros working in the sales end the business that addressed the current struggles talk radio faces in the national and network areas but also pointed to success on the local level.  Sports USA Media president Bob Moore told the attendees, “Network business, as a whole, sucks.  There are 35 buyers controlling radio and forcing down rates.  I happen to be in one of the positive aspects of the business – sports.  No-buy lists are killing talk radio as we know it.  We need to find new clients and [bypass the buyers and] get to the CEOs and presidents and present our cases.”  Salem Los Angeles vice president and general manager Terry Fahy concurred saying, “It’s tough out there with the rate suppression.  Our challenge is to tell our story.  We’re still getting results for our advertisers but the digital competition is intense.”  WYD Media Management CEO Ron Hartenbaum noted that in his business, they are selling without numbers.  “There are so many ways in which fans of talent are interacting with the product.  Nielsen Audio can’t measure it so we’re selling based on results and that means a lot of direct response.”  But WGDJ, Albany owner Paul Vandenburgh said his local efforts are delivering results for his station.  “Everything seemingly starts with local radio.  We’re knocking on doors and we find that business is as good as we make it.  Radio still really works if you want it to.”  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Fahy, Bonneville Seattle’s Chris Pendl, Hartenbaum, Moore, Vandenburgh and Farber.

walshpatKFBK, Sacramento Debuts New Evening Talk Show with Pat Walsh.  Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento announces the launch of the Pat Walsh show to begin airing Monday, October 14 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm PT.  Walsh is the station’s longtime sports anchor (serving as morning and afternoon sports anchor for the past 17 years) and he will continue in that role from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the station.  CC Sacramento vice president of programming Ken Charles says, “KFBK is Sacramento’s local news station and adding Pat Walsh to the evening lineup helps further establish KFBK asherendabill the leader in local news and information.”  To make room for Walsh, the station moves Premiere NetworksSean Hannity to sister station KSTE in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Additionally, KFBK adds Bill Herenda to the morning show staff to serve as morning sports anchor.   Herenda joins KFBK as the morning sports reporter following a career where he has appeared on the ESPN family of networks as a basketball analyst and on Time Warner Cable as a contributor to sports talk shows throughout the U.S.

Houston Gold Dealer and Talk Host Charged with Felony.  The improbably named Brett Bogus, owner of the local Houston business The Gold Exchange, was charged with Misapplication of Fiduciary Property and is free on $150,000 bond.  Bogus brokered time on Salem Communications’ KTEK, Houston for his program, “The Meltdown,” on which he touted the value of gold over paper money and other investments.  Complainant John Menna alleges Bogus shorted him approximately $75,000 in a gold transaction.  Bogus tells KPRC-TV, Houston he intends to make full restitution for the former client.  Bogus’ time brokerage agreement with KTEK was cancelled.

ramseytulsaLiving on Tulsa Time.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Mabee Center in Tulsa presenting his new “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event in before a packed house yesterday (10/10).  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage.  Ramsey worked with local affiliate KCFO on the event.  Station manager Ken Staley says, “The new revenues are one thing, better than anything we’ve ever done.  But the notoriety, positive PR and the public’s excitement are priceless.  The event is a well-oiled machine that runs flawlessly.  It was a joy to sit back and watch.”  Ramsey was in Colorado Springs the day before hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” before a full houst at the Pikes Peak Center. Ramsey, along with speaker Chris Hogan, spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.  KRDO, affiliate of The Dave Ramsey Show, took part in the event.

salemtownhallTexas Governor Rick Perry Joins Salem Los Angeles Event.  More than 1,000 people attended the “Townhall 2013” gathering at the Sheraton Fairplex and Conference Center in Pomona, Calilfornia on Sunday, October 6 sponsored by Salem’s KRLA and KTIE “AM870 & AM590 THE ANSWER.”  Texas Governor Rick Perry made a special appearance at the event.  The theme of the confab was the kickoff of the 2014 mid-term elections and what Republicans can do to rebuild.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Hugh Hewitt, program director Chuck Tyler, “Morning Answer” team Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss, Governor Perry, marketing and promotion director Pamela T. Tyus, Ben Shapiro (“Morning Answer”), Michael Medved, VP and general manager of Salem Los Angeles Terry Fahy and Dennis Prager.