PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Compared to the July 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, 65% of news/talk stations had better weekly, 6+ AQH shares in the July 2020 PPM survey, according to our report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Looking at ratings increases from the June 2020 PPM survey to the July 2020 survey, 43% of news/talk stations were down, with 35% improving. Gainers from June to July were led by iHeartMedia’s KSTE-AM, Sacramento (+1.2 for a 3.0 share). Back to the year-over-year comparison, Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the top gainer, adding 4.0 shares to post a 10.6 share, good for the #1 rank in Atlanta. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington also climbed to the #1 spot (from #6 in 2019) on the strength of an 8.4 share (+3.1). Joining WSB and WMAL in the #1 club in July was Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle after finishing the July survey with a 7.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Air Personality Changes at Sports Talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee. According to a piece in the Milwaukee Business Journal, the new program schedule at Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee “ESPN 94.5” includes ESPN television personality Jen Lada joining the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show alongside co-hosts Gabe Neitzel and former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura. Lada is prominent on ESPN’s “College Game Day” and “College Football Live” broadcasts. Other changes at the station include the move of Steve “The Homer” True’s show from the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot. He’s also being joined by new co-host Tony Smith. In the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot is Greg Scalzo and Ben Brust simulcast from Good Karma’s WTLX-FM, Madison. Good Karma general manager Steve Wexler says of the Scalzo and Brust show, “It’s a very high-energy — and we think super-entertaining — afternoon show. They had really great success on our Madison ESPN station.”
Dave Andreesen Upped to Director of Programming and Ops for Binnie Media’s News/Talk and Sports Stations. Programmer Dave Andreesen is promoted to director of programming & operations for news-talk-sports brands at Binnie Media. Andreesen has been based at the company’s Dover, New Hampshire stations. Company vice president of programming Heath Cole states, “Dave has been an amazing captain of our Dover, NH properties and I’m extremely proud of what he and Mike Pomp have accomplished over the years. Dave will continue in his role with [news/talk] WTSN, Dover as well as [news/talk/sports] ‘107.7 The Pulse’ WTPL-FM, Concord.” Andreesen adds, “It’s an honor to continue in a new role at WTSN, one of the oldest radio stations in the state with a long history of local programming and the personalities who have set the standard for broadcasting. And WTPL is a powerhouse of locally originating programming led by a group of exceptional broadcasters with decades of experience who give the community a voice. Binnie Media is proud to be the home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots in these two markets.”
Jules Riley Named Operations Director for CMG Jacksonville. Programming pro Jules Riley joins Cox Media Group Jacksonville as operations director for the eight-brand cluster that includes news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690” and six music brands. Riley was most recently SVP of programming at iHeartMedia’s St. Louis cluster. CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid comments, “Jules brings a wealth of experience and talent to CMG Jacksonville. We are extremely excited she will be leading and growing our team, our brands and the future of our programming.”
TALKERS News Notes. Variety is reporting that former PBS personality Tavis Smiley is being ordered by a Washington, DC court to pay the Public Broadcasting Service $2.6 million after being found guilty of breach of contract. The jury found Smiley guilty of having numerous affairs with subordinates in violation of the morals clause of his contract. The jury awarded PBS $1.5 million for the costs and underwriting revenue for the last two seasons of his talk show. A judge tacked on $1.1 million in damages…..The Props Network and JAKIB Media Partners announce a deal for an exclusive partnership between golf podcasters “The Tour Junkies” and “The Tony Bruno Show w/ Harry Mayes” for the former to provide the radio show with weekly golf content. Bruno says, “We have golf action-yo. Weekly, we will bring you the most comprehensive golf coverage as part of ‘The Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes.’ Our show is unpredictable and this content will deliver listeners the in-depth knowledge and insight that is a cornerstone of our program.”…..The Seneca Women Podcast Network, iHeartRadio and P&G announce the premiere of “Seneca’s 100 Women to Hear,” an original 100-episode podcast spotlighting women who have positively impacted and created change across all sectors of society. The series launched Tuesday (8/18) with an episode spotlighting abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. New episodes will drop over nine consecutive days, through August 26 on Women’s Equality Day, and then move to twice weekly starting in September…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., announces a new video podcast deal with actress, model, and influencer Amanda Cerny and award-winning Bollywood actress and social media star Jacqueline Fernandez. Launching later this summer on both PodcastOne and LiveXLive’s platforms, “FEELS GOOD” w/ Amanda Cerny and Jacqueline Fernandez “brings these two lost sisters from different sides of the world together to give global weekly inspiring news story updates alongside insightful reviews, unexpected guests, conversations about sex, dating, wellness, and culture, while delivering to audiences what ‘feels good.’”
Radio Execs Make Big Stock Investments in Their Companies. Recently, two executives at major audio media firms have added large amounts of their companies’ stock to their personal portfolios. Entercom chairman David Field just added more than 121,000 shares of Entercom stock, paying $1.6 per share and totaling $195,000. This adds 4.9% to Field’s share of Entercom’s stock, according to Yahoo! Finance. On August 14, iHeartMedia filed a Form 4 with the Securities Exchange Commission to report that company CFO and COO Richard Bressler purchased, via the company’s Employee Stock Option plan, $4.14 million worth of its Class A Common Stock (416,500 shares at $8.98 per share).
Presidential Race/DNC, USPS Crisis/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Campus Flare-Ups, Fall School Openings, Senate Russian Interference Report, Financial Markets Gains, Anderson Cooper-Mike Lindell Spat, and California Wildfires-Blackouts Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The November presidential election and night two of the Democratic National Convention; the U.S. Postal Service funding crisis and the related criticism of mail-in voting by President Trump; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases and the related reports of flare-ups at some college campuses; the debate over school openings in September; the latest Senate report concluding that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election; U.S. financial markets hit highs erasing the spring pandemic losses; the tense exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell over Lindell’s promotion of oleandrin as a cure for COVID-19; and the Southwestern heatwave and California wildfires 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. The syndicated rock morning drive program “The Billy Madison Show” is now being represented for ad sales and affiliate sales by Key Networks. The program – based at Cox Media Group’s rock KISS-FM, San Antonio – was originally a cooperative effort between CMG and Nineball Radio. United Stations Radio Networks acquired Nineball in 2016 and had been syndicating it since. It’s heard in the Palm Springs, Corpus Christi, and Salisbury, Maryland markets. Key Networks president and COO Jim Higgins says, “Billy Madison and his team work really hard and deliver a unique brand of passion and humor that has generated huge ratings and revenue for KISS-FM in San Antonio and Billy’s other affiliates. Key Networks is proud to now market his program and get it the recognition and additional stations and listeners that it deserves.”…..Maine’s Binnie Media promotes programming pro Leif Erickson to director of programming and operations for the classic hits FRANK format airing on the company’s WFNK-FM, Lewiston/Portland and WBQX, Rockland. Erickson says, “My predecessor, Stan Bennett, built a powerful brand and taught me a lot. After 15 years of being his right-hand man, it’s an honor to step up and take the reins. Frank FM has been my passion, and I’m excited to keep our winning streak going, aided of course by the best team in the Portland market.”
Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).
PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”
TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).
Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”
Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. Third quarter 2019 net revenue for Townsquare Media was $112.6 million, an increase of 6.2% over the same period in 2018. (Net revenue was up 7.9% excluding political revenue.) The company also is reporting year-to-date figures (the first three quarters of the year) and says that net revenue was up 6.7% over the same period in 2018. Net income was up $29 million during the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says in a statement, “Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, with ex-political net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing 7.9% and 12.9%, respectively, over the prior year. In addition to the continued strong results of our digital marketing subscription business, Townsquare Interactive, which increased net revenue by 26.0% over the prior year, our Advertising business grew net revenue a very impressive 7.3% excluding political revenue over the prior year. Both segments also achieved strong profit margins in excess of 30% in the third quarter and year to date periods, which as a result increased Adjusted EBITDA by a strong 11.5% in the first nine months of 2019. Continued momentum in our revenue growth, coupled with our disciplined expense management, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.7x as of September 30th, a reduction of 0.6x year over year and the lowest net leverage level in our history. The ongoing strong performance of Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, is contributing to digital revenue being 35% of our total net revenue and reinforces our belief that each of those digital divisions will generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next two to four years. We believe that our strong financial performance, talented teams, broad product suite of high quality, locally focused multiplatform offerings, and the size and strength of our digital businesses, further prove that Townsquare is not a traditional radio broadcaster, and has evolved to be a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company.”
‘ESPN Tucson’ Adds New Morning Show. The new, two-hour morning drive show on Arizona Lotus Corp’s sports talk KFFN-AM/K285DL in Tucson is hosted by Jeff Dean. He’s a 20-plus year broadcast pro who has served as the PA announcer for University of Arizona Wildcats football and men’s basketball for the past six years. Station operations manager Larry Mac says, “We are excited to have someone with the level of expertise that Jeff Dean will bring to the airwaves here in Tucson. His love of the Wildcats, and his passion for sports will help make ‘ESPN Tucson’ the destination for local morning sports talk radio in the Old Pueblo.” Dean, whose show will air Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, says, “It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to return home. I really hope to strengthen the relationship between the University of Arizona athletic department and the great sports fans of Tucson. It’s time for these fans to know the real U of A and I hope that I can help facilitate that.”
TALKERS News Notes. An 11-part series of reports in honor of the men and women who’ve served in the U.S. military is available from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. The Veterans Day report is approximately one minute long and features the men and women who make up the U.S. veteran population. They include perspectives from national leaders and veterans of varying ages about how veterans view their service and the day set aside to honor it. The series is reported and produced by Westwood One News reporter Chas Henry, himself a combat decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War…..A special episode of “The Adam Carolla Show” on PodcastOne was released yesterday (11/4) featuring Ford v Ferrari co-stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale. PodcastOne notes that “perhaps the most ‘candid’ moment came after they finished recording the podcast as Carolla and Damon were overheard talking about Carolla’s longtime friend and colleague, and Damon’s long-time public nemesis, Jimmy Kimmel.” Check it out here…..PBS is presenting a Christmas special that will air a number of times in this month and in December featuring some of the traditional popular holiday music written by such composers as Johnny Marks, who wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Serving as associate producer of the project is Chick Pallotta, who specializes in producing mini-radio programs for the holiday season using the voices of that era to introduce the recordings of their well-known compositions. Some 300 PBS stations will be airing the special…..SiriusXM announces host changes to its SiriusXM Progress channel leading up to the 2020 elections. First, “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” co-hosted by Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh will expand to two hours, airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Wrapping up the day’s news will be SiriusXM’s John Fugelsang, who joins the Progress channel’s primetime schedule from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Fugelsang previously hosted a show on SiriusXM’s Insight channel. In addition to regular appearances as a political expert on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, Fugelsang recently co-hosted the nationally syndicated television entertainment program “Page Six TV.”
Celebrating Brian Kilmeade’s New Book. Crews from New York news/talkers WABC, WOR, and FOX News were at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in New York City to celebrate the publishing of FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing). Pictured above are (from l-r): FNC’s Bill Hemmer, WABC executive producer Jill Vitale, WOR host Mark Simone, famed defense attorney and fill-in radio host Arthur Aidala, FOX News Radio affiliate relations account manager Tamara Karcev, Kilmeade, WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, and WABC APD Matt Dahl.
Premiere Networks Offers ‘Early Edition’ of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ An additional three-hours of “Coast to Coast AM” is being offered by Premiere Networks beginning this week. The company says that “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory – Early Edition” is a partial re-broadcast from the previous night that is available to existing affiliates to air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET, Monday through Friday. In the same press release, Premiere reminds affiliate stations that “Coast to Coast AM” is continuing its long-standing tradition of providing live programming throughout the holidays, including music, special guest appearances, open lines and surprises on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Impeachment Process, Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Roger Stone Trial, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S. Withdraws from Paris Climate Deal, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, and Popeye’s Chicken Stabbing Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The impeachment process against President Trump and the speculation about who will testify; a federal appeals court rules President Trump must turn over 8 years of tax returns; longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone federal trial on obstructing a congressional investigation looking into Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign begins this week; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. begins the final stage of exiting the Paris Climate Accord; the U.S.-China trade negotiations, and the death of a Maryland man as the result of an argument at a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hail to the… Chef! Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher as he broadcast his nationally syndicated program on Monday (11/4) from Famous Hamburger Joe’s restaurant in Surfside Beach, South Carolina to thank owner Tony Cherney for a large donation to Gallagher’s “Food For The Poor” campaign. Gallagher says it was “magical” to have a restaurant provide such a major donation to feed hungry children through “Food For The Poor.”
Alex Luke Appointed SVP of Digital Content for SiriusXM and Pandora. Music and media executive Alex Luke joins SiriusXM to take on the newly created position of senior vice president, digital content for SiriusXM and Pandora. In this role, Luke will lead programming for Pandora and editorial content on the Pandora and SiriusXM digital platforms. Most recently, Luke was global head of programming and content strategy at Amazon Music. He’s also served with Napster and Apple. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Alex is an expert in shaping the digital content experience for listeners, and we are excited to have him join us as we continue to advance and evolve how we create and present content for our listeners across our digital platforms. It is vital we ensure that the great content we produce today, as well as what we create in the future, is done in the most attractive and consumer-friendly manner so that it drives growth in usage across our digital platforms.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jack Shell exits the midday show at Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis after almost two years there. He moved north from the company’s adult contemporary WLYF, Miami “101.5 Lite FM” in December of 2017. In a Facebook post, Shell says, “Would like to thank those who listened to my show on 95.5 WFMS in Indianapolis, and I am proud to have accomplished quite a bit during my brief time here in terms of ratings and connecting with this audience. Thanks to Cumulus for getting me back into country music radio and giving me a great station on which to perform these last two years.”…..Also leaving a Cumulus Media country outlet is Nathan Fast. He leaves his morning gig at KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf” after a little more than a year there. He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Lisa Taylor, who remains on the air in AM drive…..Entercom announces that 2019 CMA Awards nominee Luke Combs is hosting its exclusive one-hour “CMA Red Carpet Countdown” immediately preceding the televised CMA Awards beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 13. The show will feature Luke Combs introducing additional content and a curated playlist from Nashville…..The lineup for night two of Entercom‘s RADIO.COM event “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019,” taking place on Sunday, December 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim is revealed. Taking the stage that evening will be: Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, The Raconteurs, Of Monsters and Men, The Interrupters, lovelytheband, Matt Mason, and DJ Jeremiah Red. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of tickets benefits Para Los Niños and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center…..Pictured below is “NASH Nights Live” co-host Elaina Smith (left) with country star Miranda Lambert (right) after Lambert appeared as a guest on Smith’s podcast “Breaking Thru with Elaina.” The interview will also be heard as part of Smith’s “With Elaina,” the Westwood One syndicated two-hour weekend country program for pop culture junkies, entertainment fans and country music lovers!
TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing. A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1). The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network, John Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTV, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times. The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. See the video of today’s event here.
Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”
NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCullough, Richard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”
Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”
Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations ….. Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.
Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.