Monday Memo: ‘Mainstream Media’ Redefined. “For several decades,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “the term has been weaponized, first by scrappy fringe voices railing against legacy networks and newspapers; more recently by FOX News Channel and Rush Limbaugh,” which Cooke finds “ironic, since ratings qualify them as ‘mainstream.’” Now, as Spotify pays former “Fear Factor” host and MMA commentator Joe Rogan a reported hundred million dollars to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounces him “the new Mainstream Media.” And after a bystander’s smartphone captured the George Floyd killing, Cooke asks, “Are not We The People now ‘Mainstream Media?’” In special segment on his TV show, Cooke and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss how the publisher/consumer balance of power has shifted, even during the pandemic. To view the segment, please click here. To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, please click here.
Pending Business: Creative Always Counts. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “when it comes to selling a personality live read, audience size often takes a back seat. The power of personality reads is based on the trust the audience has in your on-air talent. The trust between them is real because your on-air talent earns that trust with every show. Until you see it at work for your advertisers, you will never truly understand the sell.” Read his entire column here.
NRG Media Names Allyson Hillman Market Manager for Waterloo, Iowa. Radio management pro Allyson Hillman is named market manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo, Iowa cluster that includes news/talk KXEL-AM, rock KFMW-FM, classic hits KOKZ-FM, and classic country KPTY-AM/FM. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We are thrilled to have Allyson join NRG. She brings extensive experience in management and sales to the market. She understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio. We are confident with Allyson’s belief that success comes from a positive culture and strength development that she will continue to develop innovative strategies for the market while providing great local radio.”
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. The weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations in our panel are largely coming back down after skyrocketing during the April 2020 PPM survey. Comparing April to May, 65% of news/talk stations regressed while just 24% of news/talk stations improved. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.4, 6.8 share) and iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+0.8, 4.3 share). A year-over-year comparison shows 65% of stations improve while 24% of news/talk stations decline. Stations improving most since May of 2019 include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+4.8, 11.1 share), Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+4.1, 9.3 share) and iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus (+4.0, 9.0 share). During the May 2020 survey, six news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.
Pittsburgh Play-By-Play Talent Charged with DUI. Radio play-by-play personality Bill Hillgrove has been charged with DUI in Murrysville, Pennsylvania after driving his car through a grocery store’s plate-glass windows. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Hillgrove – the announcer for Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football games – went into the store to fill a prescription after hitting the building and drove home in his damaged car. Authorities found him there and arrested him after he failed a preliminary breath test.
Trump Tulsa Rally, NY Prosecutor Fired, Bolton Book, Re-Opening of America/COVID-19 Stats, Police Defunding Debate, Presidential Race, and Deadly UK Stabbing Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s Trump campaign rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center; Southern District of New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman is fired by President Trump; the controversy over the tell-all book by former national security adviser John Bolton; states across the country continue re-opening their economies and the COVID-19 statistics and projections; the debate over protestors’ defund the police demands; the presidential race; and the stabbing in England that took the lives of three and is being investigated as a terrorist attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Larry Elder Premieres New Film UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (at center, waving) acknowledging a standing ovation at the Dallas premiere of his new documentary film, UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Elder is executive producer of the film that explores the personal journeys of black conservatives. Attendees at the premiere included former U.S. Congressman Allen West, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, and media personalities, ministers and civil rights activists. SRN V.P. news & talk Tom Tradup says the film is “a groundbreaking documentary that examines self-empowerment and individualism of black conservatives in a compelling, eye-opening perspective.” Elder will talk about the film on FOX News Channel this evening (6/22) when he’s interviewed on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Independent Broadcasters Association Momentum Growing. The movement to create the Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) is continuing to grow and is approaching its stated goal of 3,000 member stations. The IBA announces that an additional 600 outlets have joined during the past week. The movement was launched by Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone when he reached out to 4,000 radio stations gauging their interest in the association. Stone says, “The momentum we are seeing is incredible. We are now up to 424 owners and operators and 2,395 stations. It takes time to build any organization as we all know. To see this kind of growth every week it screams volumes of how much independents need the help this association can deliver. We are going to hit our goal for sure… and very few independents will shy away once the organization is formed and they realize the benefits. It would not surprise me to ultimately have most of the 7,000 independents participating. Our future is in our own hands and we have to make the right choices now.” Stone says benefits of membership in the organization could include: Group Employee Benefits – better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees; Revenue Generation – An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us; Digital Services Group – This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming; Shared Resources – A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both; and Proprietary Systems and Services – Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling. Interested stations can visit the IBA website here.
QGoLive RV Radio Road Trip Seeks Affiliate Stations. The RV pictured above is the vehicle QGoLive’s James Copeland is using to tour the country visiting radio stations offering demos of the QGoLive software that enables studio-quality audio from anywhere on any smartphone or computer. AdLarge Media is serving as affiliate sales rep for the service and it notes that QGoLive is already serving more than 100 stations around the country and recently added affiliates such as Cenla Broadcasting of Alexandria, Louisiana; Jam Media; and classic hits WATH-AM and CHR WXTQ-FM, Athens, Ohio. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman says, “Our QGoLive team are experts in remote broadcasting software. James is on the road to get the word out and to help all operators, large and small, equip their entire team and contributors with remote capabilities. The pandemic has taught us all that radio needs easy solutions for broadcasting from home that sounds great. QGoLive delivers just that, but we can be so much more as broadcasters open up to our new reality”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Saturday, June 27, Global Citizen and the European Commission will present “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert” hosted by Dwayne Johnson and featuring performances by Shakira, Coldplay, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens. The concert will air on 150 iHeartMedia radio stations as well as on the iHeartRadio app. The purpose of the event is to “combat the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities and to call on world leaders to make COVID-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines available for everyone, everywhere.”…..Bonneville’s classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 KFOX” officially announces its new morning show “San Jose’s Great Radio Experiment” featuring Joey V, Chris Jackson, and Karina Farias. Station director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Congratulations to Chris Jackson, celebrating 30 years of rock radio excellence on KFOX. Joey, Chris and Karina’s unique chemistry has already resonated with rock fans all over the South Bay.”…..Reach Media nationally syndicated radio host D.L. Hughley is in quarantine in Nashville after passing out on stage during a performance. While being treated, Hughley was tested for COVID-19 and the result was positive. Hughley said via social media that he was asymptomatic….. Beasley Media Group Detroit radio personalities Mason and Angie Star (WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM), Gello (WMGC “105.1 The Bounce”) and Randi Myles from “The Detroit Praise Network” are hosting a Zoom conference call with community leaders to discuss ways to bridge the gap between residents and the police department to create “Solutions Not Slogans.” The event will take place on Thursday (6/25) at 7:00 pm and will feature Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Washtenaw Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Shiefield, Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly, and Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren.
Price: Who Else Must Die? Business continuity expert Howard B. Price writes about the importance of security at media outlet offices in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Annapolis, Maryland newspaper Capital Gazette. “This is not the time for the media to cower in fear. This is the time for action. This is the time to stop talking about this issue of violence perpetrated against members of the media – and start DOING SOMETHING…The work we do every day – and the toxic environment in which we do it now – exposes print and broadcast journalists, crews and support staff to unspeakable risks that would have been unheard of just a few short years ago, except in war zones and riots. Yet, most often the response within our industry is – crickets. Or a series of lame excuses. Or an unending game of kick the can into the next budget cycle. Or the next. Or the next.” Read what Price has to say about developing a security and safety plan here.
Iowa Sports Media Pro Larry Cotlar Dies in Des Moines Flash Flood. Central Iowa sports radio personality Larry Cotlar died on Saturday (6/30) after being swept away by flash flood waters in Des Moines. The 65-year-old broadcaster had been the voice of Drake University men’s basketball for the past 12 seasons and was currently hosting a weekly sports talk show on Saga Communications’ KRNT, Des Moines “1350 ESPN.” According to WHO-TV, Cotlar’s van became stalled in high waters. Cotlar and unnamed occupants left the van but Cotlar was swept away. His body was found several hours later a couple of blocks from the van. Cotlar started his sports radio career on WHO-AM in 1981. He’s also served at Des Moines stations KXNO and KBGG in addition to producing and co-hosting the “Out of Bounds” show on KCCI-TV. Saga issued the following statement: “All of us at 1350 ESPN and the Des Moines Radio Group are devastated by the loss of our voice, our colleague, and our friend, Larry Cotlar… today, our thoughts are with his wife, Deb and their son, Zach. There is absolutely no replacing Larry. He will be thought of fondly and missed greatly by his family, friends, and his extended families in the sports and broadcasting communities.”
WCCO, Minneapolis’ John Hines to Retire at Summer’s End. Minneapolis-St. Paul news/talk station WCCO-AM announces that late morning talk show host John Hines is retiring from his position at the end of the summer (though he will continue to do part-time fill-in work for the station). He’s been with WCCO since 2012. He released a statement saying, “I am thankful to the many listeners who have supported me over the years and to WCCO in allowing me the opportunity to extend my career these past years. I am also pleased that WCCO has invited me to stay on in a part-time/fill in capacity.” During his career in the Twin Cities, he’s worked at WWTC, KSTP-AM, WLOL-AM, and KSTP-TV, among others.
Mike Valenti Signs New Deal with WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports talk personality Mike Valenti signs a new, long-term deal with Entercom sports talker WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” to continue as host of the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Valenti is a native New Yorker who made his way to Michigan to study at Michigan State and began his radio career as a producer in the Lansing market. Prior to joining WXYT-FM in 2007, he was co-host of “The Sports Inferno” on WXYT-AM. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Mike is an extraordinary talent who has a great rapport with Detroit sports fans. He has built a dedicated listener base and we’re thrilled to have him on the 97.1 team for years to come.”
Ex-“stream”-ly Enlightening Net Results. TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at how stations’ streams add to their (6+) ratings, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys. Kinosian notes that during the most recent survey, “Among all formats throughout the entire 48 PPM markets, there are only 34 instances of a station’s online ‘stream’ appearing in print during the May 2018 sweep.” See which stations are getting credit for streaming listening and how it affects their overall ratings in Kinosian’s report here.
TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Special Presentation by WFAN, New York, Afternoon Drive Mega-Star, Mike Francesa. Today (7/2), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s sixth installment features the special presentation by WFAN personality Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer Bernadette Duncan. Videos already posted include: Salem SVP Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?” Last week’s posts also include the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman. Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. To view the page, please click here.
Talk Host Phil Valentine and Book Publisher Question Google’s Ad Rejection. As regular TALKERS readers are probably aware, Nashville-based, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine is an author and filmmaker in addition to his radio work. He just published his latest novel, a spy-thriller titled, Barbican: A Sterling McQueen Spy Story, and publisher Oxley Durchville created a 30-second video ad to promote the book and submitted it to Google Adworks. They were surprised when the ad was rejected for “dangerous and derogatory content.” They’ve reached out to Google for further explanation but have not yet heard back. You can see the ad here. Oxley Durchville and Valentine are concerned the rejection has nothing to do with the ad but with Valentine being a conservative talk host. After viewing the ad, the consensus among TALKERS editors is that a rushed and harried censor probably noted the tone of the ad, saw the phrase “politically incorrect” connected with the book cover’s swastika image, and arrived at this conclusion. Time will tell if the two parties can resolve this issue.
Giordano Hosts Eagles QB Nick Foles at Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano (left) chatting with Philadelphia Eagles QB – and Super Bowl LII MVP – Nick Foles (right). The interview was a special installment of the station’s “Speakers Series.” Foles talked about his new book, Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure and Overcoming the Odds (2018, Tyndale Momentum). WPHT says listeners who attended the live event made it the largest audience to date for the series.
Veteran Talk Show Host Mike Siegel Broadcasts from the Free Iran 2018 Rally in Paris. Longtime radio talk show host and author Mike Siegel brought his microphone to Paris where he conducted numerous interviews on the site of yesterday’s (7/1) Free Iran 2018 rally. The rally is an annual call for a democratic Iran and included hundreds of dignitaries from around the world joining tens of thousands of Iranians supporting the ousting of the nation’s authoritarian regime. Pictured is Siegel (right) interviewing former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (left) who was one of the many speakers at the event.
TALKERS News Notes. The weekend “Hugh Hewitt Show” on MSNBC has aired its last episode. During Saturday’s program – which was a “best-of” format – Hewitt announced the end of the show that began a year ago. He offered no reason, but Mediaite’s coverage of the story notes that the weekend edition of “FOX & Friends” on FOX News Channel topped Hewitt’s program in the ratings. The Salem Radio Network-syndicated radio personality did say he will remain with MSNBC as a contributor and a guest on “Meet the Press.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program adds new affiliates. The Saturday night edition of the show is airing on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston. Other new stations include: KYCA-AM/FM, Prescott, Arizona; and WRKQ-AM, Madisonville, Tennessee. “Free Talk Live” is heard on 190 affiliate stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that journalist, author, and radio personality Amy Guth is named executive director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. Guth is a weekend personality on Tribune’s news/talk WGN.
Air Personality and Programmer Richard “Box” Bachschmidt Dead After Suicide. Radio programming and on-air pro Richard “Box” Bachschmidt has died after apparently committing suicide in Charleston, South Carolina. Most recently, he’d been hosting an Internet morning program. He left his gig with LM Communications where he was hosting AM drive on triple A WCOO, Charleston “The Bridge” in February. During his career he’d also served with iHeartMedia as host and PD at news/talk WSC, Charleston and APD at Cumulus’ WTN-FM, Nashville.
Saturday Immigration Policy Protest Rallies/Abolish ICE Movement, Open Supreme Court Seat, Iran Sanctions/Regime Change, New Canada Tariffs/Trade War Concerns, North Korea Nuclear Program, Lopez Obrador Wins Mexican Presidency, LeBron James Signs with Lakers, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s “Keep Families Together” rallies and the related movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau; the open Supreme Court Justice seat; President Trump’s call for renewed sanctions in Iran and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that the Trump wants Iranian regime change; Canada puts tariffs on more American goods and concerns about the effects of a global trade war; new intelligence suggesting North Korea is expanding its nuclear missile program; leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins the Mexican presidency; LeBron James’ new deal with the Los Angeles Lakers; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio Hall of Famer Wolfman Jack is back on the air as Envision Networks begins offering digitally remastered programs. The classic radio show is available as a five-hour weekly show and contains Wolfman’s comedy bits, funny phone calls, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and great music from the 60s and 70s. Wolfman Jack Licensing executive producer Jay Harvey says, “We are delighted to be working with Danno and his team at Envision Networks. The world famous Wolfman Jack Radio Show is back and sounding better than ever.”…..Country air personality Roxanne Steele exits Entercom’s WYCD, Detroit. The company has scrubbed her info from that station website and Steele posted the following message, “I’m back from vacation but on a permanent vacation from WYCD. I’m still having a hard time processing that I no longer wake up and go to a job I absolutely loved. This is like a bad dream that doesn’t seem real even though I’ve been through this before.”…..Anaheim Broadcasting’s rock KCAL, Riverside-San Bernardino is saying adios to longtime personality Kelli Cluque who is joining Cal State Bernardino to serve as operations manager for the school’s Coyote Radio station.