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Round Two of Nielsen’s October PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+, weekly AQH share data from subscribing stations here. Also today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM gives up one-tenth to finish at a 7.9 share but rises from the #3 to the #2 rank. Across town at Hubbard Radio, all-news WTOP-FM remains ranked #1 in the market after adding eight-tenths to finish with a 10.3 share. It was a good survey for iHeartMedia in Boston as news/talk WRKO adds 1.1 shares to finish with a 6.0 share good for the #6 rank and all-news WBZ-AM also adds 1.1 shares to jump from the #5 to the #1 rank on the strength of a 7.2 share. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM posts a six-tenths increase after four surveys without a positive move to wrap the October survey with a 7.0 share that lifts it to #1. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.
Joe Benigno Expected to Announce Retirement from WFAN, New York Today. As reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” says there will be an important announcement during the 5:00 pm hour of today’s “Joe & Evan” show. It’s widely believed that co-host Joe Benigno will announce his retirement from the station that will open the door to bringing Craig Carton back to the station, most likely to co-host the afternoon drive show with current co-host Evan Roberts. Even before all of the Carton-to-return-to-WFAN chatter began, 67-year-old Benigno had dropped hints about his desire to hang up the cans and retire to Florida. As for Carton, the station has not announced his return but incessant reports in the New York media indicate the former morning drive co-host – out of prison after being convicted of fraud in a Ponzi scheme created to pay off gambling debts – is a lock to be back on WFAN’s airwaves.
Dori Monson Returns to KIRO-FM, Seattle Air After Suspension. Seattle talk radio host Dori Monson returned to host his afternoon drive program on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM on Tuesday (10/27), some two-and-a-half weeks after being suspended for a tweet that he said “didn’t hit the mark.” The Seattle Times reports that Monson issued his apology on air that followed the written one posted on the KIRO-FM website. Monson said his tweet was commentary during the gubernatorial debate between Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Loren Culp. In addressing the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Inslee said the state follows science (implying science as opposed to politics). His tweet read: “Inslee: we follow science in WA. The state where I could go to Olympia tomorrow and change my birth cert to say I was a girl on 10/2/61. HAHAHAHAHA.” Monson faced immediate backlash accusing him of being transphobic and was suspended indefinitely from his daily show and his role on Seattle Seahawks pre- and post-game shows.
TALKERS News Notes. The parent company of Nielsen Audio – Nielsen Holdings LLC – is reportedly in talks with Advent International to sell its consumer goods data business, according to the Financial Times. The piece indicates the deal would value that division at around $2.9 billion. Nielsen had previously announced its plans to spin off the Global Connect business and recently revealed it will be renamed NielsenIQ…..Hubbard Radio’s KIXI-AM, Seattle adds weekend programming from Smart Talk Radio Network to its lineup. Three shows – “Around The House With Eric G,” “Our Auto Expert,” and “Barbeque Nation” – made available via Sun Broadcast Group, will air on Saturdays and Sundays…..Entercom’s Steve Holman, Mike Conti, Miller Pope, and James Fairey of sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” were honored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters with Merit Award for “Best Sports Play-by-Play” as part of this year’s Gabby Awards…..WHO, Des Moines-based radio iron man Simon Conway is doing double duty this week as he hosts his afternoon drive talk program on iHeartMedia’s WHO, WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids, and WOC-AM, Davenport, as well as handling mornings on the company’s “Good Morning Orlando” show that airs on news/talk WFLF-AM.
WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Afternoon Personality Jordana Green Reveals Cancer Diagnosis. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis afternoon drive personality Jordana Green told listeners that she has been diagnosed with leukemia and is receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Yesterday (10/27), Green – who co-hosts the program with Paul Douglas – told listeners doctors found the cancer last week, and immediately decided she should get treatment that includes multiple rounds of chemo and a possible bone marrow transplant in the spring. In a report posted to the station’s website, Green says, “I’ve been feeling crappy for a few months, very fatigued. About two weeks ago I noticed some large bruising on my legs but didn’t remember bumping myself. Last Tuesday, I went for some bloodwork. Tuesday night my doctor called and said I need to go to the ER as my platelets were low. Normal platelets are 150,000+. Mine were 19,000. They admitted me, did a bone marrow biopsy and 12 hours later told me I had leukemia.” She says she’ll try to check-in on the show from her hospital room when she’s “feeling up to it,” for the next several weeks she’ll be off the air while she is receiving chemo treatments.
The Presidential Election, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Deadly Philly Police Shooting/Protests, Hunter Biden Emails, Big Tech Before Congress, Financial Markets Activity, New California Wildfires, and Tropical Storm Zeta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The November 3 presidential election and the final week of campaigning by Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad and projections for the fall/winter; a second night of protests and looting in Philadelphia after a Black man is killed by police; the allegations that Hunter Biden used his father’s vice presidency to gain lucrative business deals in Ukraine by promising access to Joe Biden; today’s appearance before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai; the world’s financial markets respond to the rise in COVID-19 cases; the new wildfires affecting Southern California; and the expected path of Tropical Storm Zeta 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. According to a report at Syracuse.com, adult contemporary WLZW, Syracuse “Lite 98.7” morning show co-host and classic rock WOUR midday personality Dave Coombs is leaving Townsquare Media and will join Saga Communications to host the morning drive show on active rock WLZX, Springfield, Massachusetts “LAZER 99.3” in November. Coombs has been co-hosting the “Lite 98.7” morning show with his wife Beth, who will remain in her position with new co-host Dave Wheeler…..The entertainment podcast “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee [UNCENSORED],” enters into a deal with FOX Soul to air the program on the digital television network. Lee is also host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee,” a two-hour weekend show that airs on 60 hip hop stations nationwide, in addition to iHeartRadio…..Entercom proudly congratulates hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94” air personality Mike Kannon for being honored with a GABBY Award for “Best On-Air Personality” from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters…..Cumulus Media announces that WIXV, Savannah “I-95” air personality and program director Don Scott (below, left) is being honored by the State of Georgia with the Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award for exemplary community service. The Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award is Georgia’s highest service award and was personally presented to Scott by State Representative Carl Gilliard (below, right). Scott says, “‘I-95’ and our parent company Cumulus Media respects our audience and understands our responsibility to serve the public interest. My personal passion for radio, as well as the passion of our staff, drives us to maintain a high level of quality in everything we do. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive this award. I would like to thank Carl Gilliard and the State of Georgia for this recognition.”
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — A time-honored tradition continues this week as the first workout for major league baseball pitchers and catchers will be held for roughly half the teams tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/12), while battery-mates for approximately the other half of MLB teams return to work Thursday (2/13).
Thus, the calendar confirms what “King Kelly” (Ray Milland) and “Monk Lanigan” (Paul Douglas) would state in the 1949 film of the same name, “It Happens Every Spring.”
Those in radio have been accustomed to wild ratings fluctuations this time of year and have a consensus reaction: “It happens every ‘holiday’ ratings period.”
For historical context, ever since Arbitron (and now Nielsen Audio) added a thirteenth yearly sweep called “Holiday” in 2007, we’ve witnessed positive spikes by stations playing wall-to-wall Christmas for a roughly six-week period leading up to December 25.
Concurrently, there’s usually a corresponding decline in listenership to stations not caught up in the all-Christmas music mood.
The following breakouts reflect those stations in PPM-markets that either improved their 6+-stat by at least one full-share or regressed by that margin or greater in the “Holiday” 2019 sweep (December 5, 2019 – January 1, 2020).
CBS RADIO Names Paul Douglas and Jordana Green PM Drive Hosts at WCCO-AM. The new afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis will be hosted by Paul Douglas and Jordana Green and officially launch on August 1. The change was necessitated by longtime WCCO personality John Williams’ decision to move to Chicago and focus on his 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WGN. (Williams had been doing both shows from Minneapolis.) Jordana Green moves to the co-host role after five years with the station hosting the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and working with Williams in afternoons. Paul Douglas is the head meteorologist at WCCO-TV and KARE-TV in the Twin Cities. CBS RADIO says Douglas is “a nationally respected broadcaster and meteorologist, with 34 years of broadcast television and 36 years of radio experience.” He also launched the national weather channel, WeatherNation TV in 2011. He provides daily weather for the Star Tribune, the St. Cloud Times, Conservation Minnesota and WeatherNation, and is an author and regular contributor to TPT’s Almanac. WCCO operations manager/program director Lindsey Peterson comments, “Our goal is to have a show that speaks to our community and brings listeners relevant and entertaining topics each day. Paul and Jordana are passionate about speaking to our community and we are excited to have them as part of the station.”
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. In the first of a four-part analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June PPM survey, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the public news/talk format. Eight stations ranked in the top five in their respective in PPM markets – led by KQED, San Francisco and WAMU, Washington, both of which ranked #1. Comparing year-over-year 6+ share, “more than seven of ten stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (71%, 6+) while 27% decline; the remaining 2% are steady.” WNPR, Hartford was tops in that category, rising from a 3.1 share in June 2016 to a 5.2 share in June 2017. See the entire piece here.
PodcastOne Debuts New Mobile App with Video and Social Components. Digital content network PodcastOne launches a new platform and mobile app that the company says “offers unique video and social capabilities designed to enhance the listening experience and offer new and exciting ways for fans to engage with their favorite shows and hosts.” The press statement goes on to say, “The new PodcastOne mobile app offers fans a collaborative destination where they can participate in conversation around shows, access exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, message one another, read trending articles and take polls. In addition, a new loyalty program rewards users with virtual currency, which can be redeemed for access to special events in virtual reality (VR), premium content and merchandise discounts.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norman Pattiz adds, “The launch of our new PodcastOne mobile app is a milestone for our company, as we are providing a host of features for our listeners to choose from to enhance their listening experience that no other network provides. Now, with our partners at MANDT VR, we can offer a truly immersive experience that allows the listener to sit in the recording studio, right across the table from the host.”
TALKERS News Notes. York, Pennsylvania news/talk WSBA-AM is now also airing on FM translator W253AC, recently moved in to York from Reading. The Cumulus Media station now brands itself “Newstalk 93.9 & 910 WSBA.”…..In Fargo, Forum Communications fires up FM translator K261BA, Fargo at 100.1 MHz – recently moved in from Rolla, North Dakota – to air the programming of news/talk WDAY-AM…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show is added to the program schedule at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
Fate of ObamaCare/GOP Health Care Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 17-21. The state of the Affordable Care Act and a GOP-authored health care plan were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, tying for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the investigation into connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s approval rating, and following at #4 was Senator John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. 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.
CLARIFICATION. In yesterday’s story in TALKERS, “WRRD, Milwaukee Owner Challenging WTMJ Translator Deal,” detailing WRRD owner Michael Crute’s filing of an Objection with the FCC to translator owner Frank McCoy’s Construction Permit Amendment filing, we wrote that “Scripps and translator owner Frank McCoy have filed applications with the FCC to move the translator to a tower owned by Scripps and to carry WTMJ programming.” It should be noted that Scripps is not involved in the filing as the translator is owned solely by McCoy.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/21) with John T. Mullen, Scot Bertram and Scott Lakefield. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are:
– The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).
– The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).
– The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).
– The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).
– The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman, Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein. All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.
– A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).
– The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.” They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess (introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).
– TODAY (7/21), the first in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram (facilitated by WOR, New York APD, Scott Lakefield).
Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Coaches Team USA to Gold. Pictured above is the USA team and coach Doug Gottlieb (crouching, lower right) who is also host of his eponymous sports talk show on Fox Sports Radio. The men’s basketball team won the gold at the 20th World Maccabiah Games, held July 4-18 in Israel. Gottlieb, who continued to host his national radio show for three weeks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, led a team of Jewish athletes ages 18-35 at the games, that is the world’s third largest international sporting event with more than 9,000 total participants representing 75 countries.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning drive show on Beasley Media Group’s alternative WBOS-FM, Boston is the “Dave & Chuck the Freak Morning Show,” emanating from the company’s rock WRIF, Detroit. The program, featuring Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart, debuted on CIMX, Windsor/Detroit in 2001. They left that station in 2012 and debuted on WRIF in May of 2013. Beasley Media Group EVP of programming Justin Chase states, “We have been eager to expand Dave & Chuck’s content beyond Detroit and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it all starts in Boston. This is a market where their genre of show has been very successful in the past and I’m certain Boston will love D&C!”…..Programmer Steve McKay is named program director for Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk” in the Wilmington, North Carolina market. Cumulus says McKay’s “visionary radio programming” has led to success at WPTE, Norfollk; WBHT, Scranton; and “Jammin’ Gold” in Philly. Cumulus Media Wilmington VP/market manager Eric McCart comments, “We searched for a leader who will take ‘102.7 GNI’ and ‘94.5 The Hawk’ to the next level, and most importantly, someone who will keep the music sounding the best, while creating a great listener experience and a deeper connection with our listeners, advertisers and community. I’m ecstatic to welcome Steve to our family and we’re excited to have him on board.”…..At Midwest Television’s rock KFMB-FM, San Diego assistant program director and night personality Robin Roth moves up to the midday daypart. Roth is a longtime market personality who joined KFMB-FM in May. She says, “I’m so excited to do what I love in middays and following ‘The DSC’ is a dream come true. Taking the baton from them every day is going to be an honor. Plus, now I get to enjoy the San Diego scene at night again.”…..Relationship expert and author LaDawn Black is taking her radio show to urban contemporary WBLS-FM, New York. Black has most recently been on air at Urban One’s urban contemporary WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9.” Her show will air Sundays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, effective August 6…..On-air pro Dave Stewart exits CBS RADIO’s classic hits WCBS-FM, New York after a four-and-a-half year stint. He posted to Facebook, “Having been even small part of that station’s huge legacy is a feeling I can’t describe.”…..Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw recently spoke with affiliates of Envision Networks’ Guest Services about the release of the band’s first new album in 14 years, The Mission (Universal). Shaw is just one of a number of high-profile guests available to stations via Envision’s Guest Services.
Judge Rules Swift Attorneys Can Question Mueller About Meeting Recording. This story was reported by KMGH-TV, Denver. Taylor Swift’s lawyers will be allowed to cross-examine former KYGO, Denver morning personality David Mueller about a missing recording of Mueller’s meeting with radio station bosses immediately after he was accused of groping Swift’s bottom during a meet-and-greet. Mueller made the surreptitious recording of the meeting and revealed segments of it but now he claims the full recording has been lost due to a failed computer hard drive. Swift’s attorneys want to question him before the jury to determine if the missing recording was deleted deliberately or not. Mueller is suing Swift for being instrumental in getting him fired. Mueller claims someone else groped Swift and he’s been blamed falsely.