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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

| September 2, 2020

Round Two of August PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 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 August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these 12 markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips a half share to finish with a 7.9 share and falls to #2 behind Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM which added eight-tenths for an 8.6 share and the #1 rank. Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” climbs eight-tenths to a 4.9 share good for the #7 rank in the market while iHeartMedia’s crosstown all-new WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” loses one-tenth, finishing the August survey with a 6.6 share but rises to the #3 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM remains unchanged at a 7.1 share and continues its now six-survey run at #1. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway from this report (and the first round!) here.

Cumulus Stations Sign Up with ABC Audio for News Service. With the shuttering of the Westwood One News service that took effect on August 30, Cumulus Media news/talk, sports talk and some music outlets were in need of a news affiliation. The company announces that 29 of its news/talk stations – including heritage signals such as WLS-AM, Chicago and KGO-AM, San Francisco — are now using ABC Audio’s news. At the same time, 12 of Cumulus’ sports and music stations are signing on to air ABC’s hourly newscasts. ABC Audio executive director of business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “We’re excited to welcome these big stations back to the ABC Audio family after six years away. Through this partnership, our unmatched reporting including crisis coverage, breaking news, and special programming, will reach new listeners and help ABC Audio continue to be the best in the business.” ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku adds, “We’re in one of the biggest news cycles in history, with no end in sight. Our teams have worked nonstop to not only keep up with but also exceed listeners’ demand for trusted information. We’re thrilled that more stations are noticing our robust offerings and signing on to be part of our affiliate family.”

Pat McAfee Show to Air on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports. After exiting the CBS Sports Radio platform last month, former Indianapolis Colts punter and sports media personality Pat McAfee will be heard on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET, beginning September 9. McAfee says, “I’m very thankful and honored for the chance to be on Mad Dog Sports Radio. SiriusXM is such an incredibly massive platform and the freedom it allows is perfect for our style of show. To say we’re grateful to Scott Greenstein, Steve Cohen, Andrew Moss and all of the other awesome folks at SiriusXM for this opportunity would be an understatement. Let’s do the damn thing. We hope you’ll join us daily.”

Trump Visits Kenosha/Protests/BLM Movement, Presidential Race, Pelosi Salon Flap, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Melania Trump Book, and New Stimulus Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). President Trump’s visit to Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the protests in Kenosha, Portland, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, and the Black Lives Matter movement; the November presidential election; the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pictured maskless in a closed San Francisco salon; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the flareups on some college campuses; former Melania Trump aid Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book about the First Lady; and a new stimulus deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Report: Radio Listening Returning to March Levels. This week’s Westwood One blog includes data from Nielsen Audio from the August PPM survey and the May-June-July diary markets survey that indicates radio listening is returning to its March 2020 levels. The Nielsen data cited notes that “benchmarking against the March PPM survey, August average quarter-hour audiences increased again, now generating 90% of the prior audiences. In terms of weekly reach, AM/FM radio in the PPM markets has recaptured 96% of March cume listening. In diary markets, AM/FM radio has retained 97% of prior weekly cume.” Further, Nielsen says, “In medium and smaller diary markets, AM/FM radio is ‘pandemic proof’: AQH listening in the just-released May-June-July survey is virtually identical to the January-February-March period as AM/FM radio retains 100% of prior listening.” In a sign that more people are back in their cars in the morning, Nielsen notes “in the just-released August PPM data, most of the AQH growth occurred Monday-Friday 6AM-10AM and on weekends.”

iHeartMedia Reveals Results of ‘Trustworthiness’ Study. Based on information from data & analytics firm Engagement Labs, iHeartMedia says that one of the key findings is that “listeners’ trust in radio and its on-air personalities continues to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy over the past year.” The survey of radio listeners found radio to be 79% more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago while social media is 50% less trustworthy during the same time period. In particular, sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has plummeted in recent months, with Facebook down 56%, Instagram down 38%, and Twitter down 140%. The survey of radio listeners age 18-69 ranked media trustworthiness as follows: 75% trust radio, 66% trust television, 57% trust websites, 38% trust Twitter, and 37% trust Facebook. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman comments, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people – and these findings show that radio continues to deliver a much needed and sought out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and iHeartMedia are partnering on a 20-episode podcast series in which the former South Bend, Indiana mayor will discuss “the issues and choices that will define America’s next chapter.” “The Deciding Decade with Pete Buttigieg” debuts on September 9. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Pete created a groundswell of excitement during his presidential campaign run, and he is one of the most admirable and energetic young leaders of our time. We’re excited to bring Pete’s sharp intellect and remarkable eloquence to The iHeartPodcast Network.”…..A new podcast partnership between iHeartMedia and The Recount results in three new weekly shows: “Hell and High Water with John Heilemann,” “Just Something About Her with Jennifer Palmieri,” and “Battleground with David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt.” The Recount executive editor John Heilemann says, “The 2020 election is, without question, the most important election of our lifetime and this exciting trio of podcasts from hosts who’ve operated at the highest level of politics will help listeners cut through the bullshit and understand the big picture of what’s happening ahead of Election Day and beyond. Our content is resonating on our platform and across social media and we are excited to bring it to podcasting with iHeartMedia.”…..Pictured below is GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood during National Blood Donation Week. Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine, “We’re off to a great start to National Blood Donation Week. Multiple governors declared Blood Donation Months, all falling on September 4 (National Blood Donation Day). Not only does this week help raise much needed blood for our blood banks and medical centers that has been drastically lowered during the COVID pandemic, but it unites both Democratic and Republican governors in a common cause. Blood isn’t a political issue, it’s a human life issue and National Blood Donation week proves Americans can come together for a common cause.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Angelique Alston is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s hip hop WPGC-FM, Washington. Since 2013, Alston has served WPGC as assistant program director, morning show producer and events producer. Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Angelique has done a tremendous job elevating our team and I am excited to see her expand her career as brand manager. Her unique way of providing entertainment for our listeners, educating the community with viable content and her engagement with the sales management team tells me she will thrive in this new role. Her ability to multi-task, implore creative thinking, work hard and commit to excellence has led to great success and we are delighted to have her lead WPGC 95.5 FM.”…..Rochester country WBEE announces that air personality Chris Konya is joining “The All New Bee Morning Coffee Club” program alongside Terry Clifford and TJ Sharp. This is a return to Entercom Rochester for Konya. Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “Chris was a fan favorite during his time producing ‘The Breakfast Buzz’ and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to our airwaves alongside Terry and TJ. His humor and wit make him a perfect fit as a co-host for our new weekday morning program and together the trio will create a dynamic show for our community.”…..Premiere Networks’ syndicated Delilah adds three new affiliate stations. Picking up Delilah for evenings are: iHeartMedia’s KBFP-FM, Bakersfield “Sunny 105.3,” Cumulus Media’s WBZE-FM, Tallahassee “Star 98.9,” and McKenzie River Broadcasting’s KMGE-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Mix 94.5.”…..An application has been filed with the FCC for transfer of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP-FM, Sutherland in Nebraska from Legacy Communications to Eagle Communications. Kalil & Co is serving as the exclusive broker.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

| July 23, 2019

Blair Garner’s Pete Buttigieg Interview Kept Off Westwood One Show. After Cumulus Media denied nationally syndicated overnight country radio host Blair Garner (left) permission to air segments of his interview with Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (center) (but allowed him to post it on his personal Soundcloud account) the company is facing public scrutiny over its decision.  Cumulus’s official statement was that equal-time concerns – especially considering the large number of Democratic candidates running – were the only reasons for not allowing the interview on the air. Regarding the equal-time rule, TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says, “As it applies to advertising, the rule means that if a station sells advertising to one candidate, it must offer the same amount of time to other candidates.  Where the rule gets confusing to some is that if the station offers free air time to a candidate, it must offer free air time to other candidates.  However, the [four] exceptions to the rule effectively eliminate this as a concern because free air time to other candidates is not required if the air time being used – as with the Buttigieg interview – is a bona fide news interview.  Other candidates are not required to be given equal time.  Therefore, the position of Cumulus Media that they are not running the interview because the provisions of the equal time rule would require them to provide air time for interviews with all of the other candidates, is an inaccurate interpretation of the rule.”  It’s possible that Cumulus is choosing to avoid the political “can of worms” entirely by not engaging in political content on a country music show.  Some critics, perhaps cynically, are suggesting the company’s true motive centers on the fact that Buttigieg is openly gay and the country music audience is traditionally conservative.  Garner said it all started when he was approached by Buttigieg’s campaign ahead of his appearance in Nashville.  Garner agreed to the interview because Buttigieg requested it.  Garner told Buttigieg during the interview, “I think that our base tends to be more conservative.  And the fact that you, from the Democratic ticket, are the singular candidate to reach out and to say, ‘May I please be on your show?’  That you are reaching out to our listeners, I think we all have to embrace that and be appreciative of that.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/23) post: the panel discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, the Joe Pags Show; Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, the Rick Ungar Program/editor-in-chief, TheDalyCentrist.com.  The session was moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One.  Posted yesterday (7/22): the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  Posted Friday (7/19): the discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra UniversitySid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session was moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.   Also already posted: discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media;  Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite RadioBrett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence.  Also already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.   Also posted: special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Gallagher Broadcasts from ‘Teen Student Action Summit.’ Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallagher (left) speaking with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk (right) live from the group’s “Teen Student Action Summit” in Washington, DC.  Scheduled speakers at the three-day event include: President Trump, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, plus Gallagher’s SRN colleague, Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

Sports Talk WNDE-AM, Indianapolis Losing FM Translator. According to a piece in the Indianapolis Star, iHeartMedia has new plans for FM translator W248AW at 97.5. Local management is only saying they will debut a new format on the signal “very shortly.”  iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Dave Hill tells the paper that the programming on sports talk WNDE-AM remains the same.  WNDE-AM airs FOX Sports Radio programming, the local “Query & Schultz” PM drive show plus Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh.

Mueller Testimony, Immigration-Asylum Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Louisiana Cops’ AOC Threat, $320B Budget Deal/Debt Ceiling Rises, Puerto Rico Protests, UK PM Race, and Brady-Daughter Cliff Jump Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Wednesday’s testimony before the House judiciary and intelligence committees by special counsel Robert Mueller; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border; the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claim to have arrested 17 CIA operatives; two Louisiana police officers are fired for social media post suggesting Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot; the two-year budget deal that raises the debt ceiling and allows for $320 billion in new spending; the protests roiling Puerto Rico over Governor Ricardo Rossello’s leaked chat messages; Britain’s prime minister race between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt; and the flap over video of Tom Brady and his daughter jumping off a cliff into water were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Walter Flakus moves from Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago to Entercom’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End” where he’s taking on assistant program director and afternoon drive duties, effective August 6.  He’d been APD, music director and evening personality at WKQX. Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented programmer to the ‘107.7 The End’ team.  Walter brings extensive experience and leadership both on and off the air which will benefit listeners and partners.”…..In Atlanta, Cox Media Group names Chris Centore assistant program director for urban contemporary WALR, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” and classic hits WSRV.  Additionally, he’s hosting the PM drive program on “B98.5.”  Centore joined WSB-FM in April of this year.  He’d previously worked in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.  He says, “I am excited for this new opportunity with ‘B98.5’ and to work alongside Chris Eagan and the CMGA team.  I look forward to being part of our listeners’ afternoon commute and to help our radio stations continue to deliver the best, most compelling on-air content in Atlanta.”…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis inks morning man Scott Rizzuto to a multi-year contract renewal to stay with alternative rock KPNT “105.7 The Point” with castmates Tony Patrico, Jeff Burton, Phillip Sneed, and Scott McNew.  Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Hubbard Radio believes in live and local talent.  The Rizzuto show is undeniable when it comes to connecting with listeners, mirroring their lifestyles, and talking about things that matter locally.  ‘The Rizzuto Show’ love is real!  We’re excited to partner with Scott for another four years.”…..Radio One programming pro Arthur “A-Plus” Willis – currently PD for hip hop WIZF, Cincinnati “The Wiz 101.1” – is adding programming responsibilities for the company’s rhythmic CHR WCKX, Columbus “Power 107.3/106.3.”…..All day today, Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM, Philadelphia is playing exclusively Rolling Stones songs as “102.9MCK – All Stones All the Time” in recognition of the band’s show this evening at Lincoln Financial Field.  “102.9MCK” is also providing complete concert coverage with afternoon drive host Andre Gardner broadcasting live from the venue.