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Monday, April 27, 2020

| April 27, 2020

Monday Memo: Freebie-of-the-Year? Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke points to a research report “that recommends specific, tested guidance for crafting messages to convey our clients’ – and our stations’ – concern for listeners in a way that will resonate long after the pandemic passes.”   Read it here.

The U.S. Coronavirus Cases and the Death Toll, Weekend ‘Reopening’ Activities, Presidential Race/Biden Accuser, CCP’s Coronavirus Response, ‘SNL,’ and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll from the pandemic; the “re-opening” activities taking place in some states; the November presidential election and case of former Joe Biden senate staffer Tara Reade who claims Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993; scrutiny of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; Brad Pitt plays Dr. Tony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live”; and the 2020 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Seven Simple Steps. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s not easy doing business in this uncertain time.  Yes, audience levels for news/talk are up! But, “you know ad sales are down.  More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off.  Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through.  All markets hate fear and uncertainty.  Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know.”  Read Lapa’s suggestions for helping you adapt here.

Investor Leases XEPRS; Will Launch ‘The Mightier 1090’ This Summer. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Flagstaff, Arizona ad agency owner Bill Hagen is signing a five-year lease with XEPRS, Rosarito, Mexico owner Interamericana de Radio to operate the station.  The signal – for some 16 years a San Diego sports talk station branded “The Mighty 1090” – stopped airing sports talk after previous lessee Broadcasting Company of the Americas was unable to renegotiate its lease.  Hagen tells the paper that former “Mighty 1090” sports talk host Scott Kaplan will rejoin the station but the soon-to-be-rebranded “The Mightier 1090” will not be 24/7 sports talk.  Hagen says the station will be about “lifestyle.” He has no specific date for launching the format but tells the Union Tribune, “We have a ton of work to do.”

PodcastOne Subscribes to Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Service.  Podcasting firm PodcastOne announces that it has entered into a deal with Nielsen to use the ratings giant’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service.  As part of the deal, PodcastOne will “have access to podcast insights spanning 18 genres and numerous listening preferences that can be cross-referenced among a variety of consumer purchase behavior patterns and services usage.” Nielsen says its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service (launched last August) allows clients to see the qualitative profile of their shows using program titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with advertisers and key brand categories.  PodcastOne EVP of sales Sue McNamara says, “Nielsen represents the addition of another powerful tool to our arsenal of research resources.  With these insights, we’ll be able to use podcast listener analytics to provide ourselves and our clients with information that will accelerate monetization opportunities.  With programming in virtually every content category, this information will provide us invaluable research to communicate our importance to podcast advertisers, as well as our partners.”

Emmis to Voluntarily Delist from Nasdaq. The company says in a statement that it plans to voluntarily delist its Class A Common Stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market, and based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record, deregister its Class A Common Stock and suspend its public reporting obligations.  Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve undertaken a detailed and thoughtful review of the costs and benefits associated with being a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.  After careful consideration, our board of directors unanimously decided to voluntarily delist from Nasdaq and deregister with the SEC as we believe the expected savings of more than $1 million per year outweigh the advantages of continuing as a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.”  After the delisting takes place, Emmis’ Class A Common Stock is eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market, if one or more brokers choose to make a market for the Company’s Class A Common Stock, however, there can be no assurances regarding any such trading.

BIA Advisory: Radio to Take $1.7 Billion Ad Hit Due to COVID-19. Revising its advertising revenue projections for 2020 that were originally laid out in November of last year, BIA Advisory Services now expects the total for all U.S. local advertising across all platforms to be $144.3 billion, down 10.6% from its November 2019 projection of $161.3 billion.  Over the air radio is expected to lose $1.7 billion as it and local television are being hit hard by “decreased ad spend by Leisure and Entertainment, Restaurants and Retail companies, as well as sports cancellations.”  The report goes on to say, “One encouraging element is that political advertising will keep the decrease in both local cable and local OTA television smaller than other media. Other media, without that buffer, will see larger percentage decreases from what BIA originally projected for 2020.”  For radio, political advertising is situational – stations in swing states tend to get more presidential advertising than those in non-swing states.

TALKERS News Notes. Some of the hosts of the New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” talk radio program attended a rally at the state house in Concord to protest the social distancing measures in place.  Hosts including show founder Ian Freeman, Nobody, Vincent, and Captain Kickass were there.  Freeman reports that the local police ignored the event.  He was quoted by the Associated Press in its national coverage, saying, “Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home.  I’d rather take the risk and be a free person.”…..This Thursday (4/30), a national radiothon will take place to raise funds for Feeding America and its 200-member network of local food banks across the U.S.  It’s called, “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,” and is open to any radio station wishing to join……Condolences to the family and friends of WNYC, New York personality Richard Hake, who passed away on Friday (4/24) at age 51 from natural causes.  He as most recently serving as the local host of WNYC’s “Morning Edition.”  He also worked on the national; editions of NPR programs “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Protest Parade.  Pictured above is Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root thanking participants in Friday’s “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan.”  Root organized the parade of vehicles that drove down Las Vegas Boulevard to protest the business shutdowns due to social distancing that has all but shuttered the tourist-reliant economy there.  The Las Vegas Sun estimates 500 cars took part in the event but Root says there were “thousands and thousands of cars!”

PPM Analysis: Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the rock format. In this report, you can see which stations improved from the February survey, how their weekly, 6+ AHQ shares changed from a year ago, and how some of the format’s best performers ranked in their local markets.  See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, “Lady B in the Afternoon” debuts on Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WPPZ-FM “Classix 107.9” today (4/27).   Station program director Jay Dixon says, “Afternoons is where Lady B shines.  Philly radio grew up on Lady B. We’re so happy to have her back in this time slot – bridging music, the community, and people – every weekday.  With her team, DJ Touchtone and Roxi Fab, Lady B is like medicine for the soul.”…..Alpha Media’s country KGNC-FM, Amarillo, Texas adds the “Big D & Bubba” show for mornings, starting today (4/27).  The duo say, “It is such an honor to be given the reigns of such a legendary station!  We appreciate Alpha and their leadership giving us this opportunity.”  The “Big D & Bubba Show” is distributed nationally via a partnership between Silverfish Media and Compass Media Networks…..This Wednesday (4/29) “The iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm” will launch, featuring some of the biggest artists in music.  The series will video stream and broadcast every Wednesday to celebrate the importance of community and being a “good neighbor” through the power of music during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wednesday’s performance will feature country artist Thomas Rhett.  It will stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube Channel and broadcast across iHeartRadio stations nationwide at 7:00 pm local time.  iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “The living room has become the new stage.  Until our live music events return, this is a way for millions of fans to stay connected to their favorite artists, while staying safe at home.  We are excited to partner with State Farm on this new music series.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

| July 10, 2019

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with a Special Address by Bill O’ Reilly.  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 (7/10) post presents the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’ Reilly.  Posted yesterday: A one-on-one discussion titled, “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.   Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, served as facilitator.  Already posted: A panel discussion titled “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.  The discussion is moderated by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS.  The page also presents a video of the convention’s 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.  The two discuss a variety of topics including Hannity’s special relationship with President Donald J. Trump; what it takes to be successful on both radio and television talk media; the challenges facing talk radio in terms of ratings and marketing; Hannity’s feelings about his life and career; plus more.  The session is introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones.  Also already posted:  The convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories” as well as 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.

Salem Radio News to Feature ‘Religious Freedom’ Series. A weeklong series titled, “America’s Fight to Preserve Religious Freedom” is being presented by Salem Radio Network’s SRN News to its 2,200-plus affiliate stations, beginning on July 15.  Salem says, “The multi-part broadcast focuses on threats by secular activists and politicians to drive Christianity and other religions out of the public square in America.” It features exclusive interviews with Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia (pictured at right with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup); Michael Farris, president & CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom; Texas attorney general Ken Paxton; Daily Wire talk host Michael Knowles; and David French, senior writer at National Review.  Tradup says, “From gender-bending activists to outright hostility by states and local governments, religious freedom in America is under more attack in 2019 than at any other time in our history.  Our series will shine the white-hot light of public scrutiny on the very real dangers facing one of our most fundamental rights as American citizens.  And we hope it will fuel a national dialogue on how men and women of faith can mobilize to reverse recent trends which have created hostility toward faith-based businesses and organizations here is the United States…which nevertheless remains the beacon of religious freedom around the globe.”

Five Podcast Publishers Sign Up for Nielsen’s ‘Podcast Listener Buying Power Service.’  A new tool for podcasters is launched called the Nielsen Podcast Listener Buying Power Service from Nielsen Scarborough and podcast publishers iHeartMediaCadence13, Midroll-Stitcher’s advertising arm, Westwood One and cabana are its charter clients.  Nielsen says, “For the first time, clients will be able to profile shows using program titles collected from our subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with particular advertisers and specific program-level insights…Nielsen Podcast Listener Buying Power Service has an effective sample of close to 30,000 respondents, with the ability to capture results for specific programs.  It also uses targeted questions on podcast listening with more than 12 podcast genres, over 2,000 retail/plan-to-buy categories and hundreds of advertisers with specific brand names such as insurance companies, automotive, quick service restaurants, home improvement retailers and more. These easy-to-use reports are generated from web-based software and have a two time per year data release.”

TALKERS News Notes. New York City sports media figure Michael Kay is off the air for the next month after having surgery on his vocal cords.  The WEPN-FM “ESPN NY 98.7” afternoon drive host and Yes Network Yankees broadcaster tweeted that he’d seen a doctor in Boston and surgery was recommended…..The KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based, nationally syndicated “Armstrong & Getty” program is now airing in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot at Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-FM, Kansas City.  This latest affiliate signing comes after last December’s announcement by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty that affiliate relations pro Craig Whetstine is working with Armstrong & Getty Media to take the program beyond its Western U.S. affiliation base…..CBS News is offering affiliate stations a one-hour Apollo 11 special titled, “One Giant Leap Revisited,” staring July 11, ahead of the July 16 50th anniversary of the moon landing.  CBS correspondent Peter King takes listeners from the Apollo 11 launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Johnson Space Center in Houston where he talks with the brave men and women who made the mission possible…..A new iHeartRadio Original podcast is launched titled, “Noble Blood,” presenting “the salacious, secret, and tragic stories of monarchs like you’ve never heard them before.”  Dana Schwartz, entertainment writer for publications including Entertainment Weekly and Marie Claire hosts the program…..Envision Networks announces that registration is open for the next “Coffee with Envision” webinar, this edition titled, “Demographics for a New Age of Radio,” on July 16 at 1:00 pm ET.  Brand consultant/No Borders Radio “Brandfather,” Brian Burns, and Radio Consulting Services president Jon Holiday, will present and promise to “separate facts from the radio listening myths of Millennials and Baby Boomers.”  Envision president Danno Wolkoff says, “There’s so much misinformation out there about Millennials and Baby Boomers and their listening habits that we want to dispel.  Brian and Jon will cover the top myths and then provide the facts that programmers can reference when working to attract these valuable audiences to their stations.”…..Talk radio pro Simon Conway is doing double duty this week as he hosts his usual afternoon drive program on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and fills in Wednesday through Friday in morning drive on the company’s WFLF-AM/W226BT, Orlando.  Conway used to work in the market and is looking forward to reconnecting with his old listeners.

Census Citizenship Question, Immigration/Detention Facilities, 2020 Presidential Race, Jeffrey Epstein Case, Ross Perot Dies, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).The Trump Administration’s battle to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census; U.S. immigration policy and the controversy over conditions at border detention camps; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sexual trafficking charges facing billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein; the death of business tycoon and former independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot at 89; and the pay discrepancy issue brought up by the U.S. Women’s National Team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, a big change takes place at classic hits WCBS-FM.  Longtime midday personality Dan Taylor exits after New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office broadens its investigation into workplace misconduct dating back to CBS’ ownership of the station. Read the New York Post’s coverage here.  Meanwhile, WCBS-FM owner Entercom brings former WPLJ personality Race Taylor aboard to handle the midday show, effective July22.  Entercom regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We are extremely excited to welcome Race to WCBS-FM and to reunite him with some of our most legendary on-air personalities.   We are thrilled to offer former WPLJ fans a new place to call home at our station and to offer Race’s loyal listeners more of the absolute best on-air listening experience for which we are known.”  Race Taylor spent more of the last 20 years with former hot AC WPLJ, prior to its sale to Educational Media Foundation…..Cumulus Media moves rock radio pro Axel Lowe from his position as PD and afternoon drive personality at WFTK-FM, Cincinnati “96 Rock” back to his hometown of Atlanta to program the company’s rock WNNX-FM.  Cumulus Atlanta VP and market manager Sean Shannon says, “Axel may well be the longest, continuously employed, full-time talent in Atlanta as he started in 1992 and has never been off the air since, even when he relocated to Cincinnati for the company nearly five years ago.  That said, we are thrilled to welcome him home to Atlanta as program director for ‘Rock 100.5,’ a station and a format he knows inside and out.  It will be terrific to have his leadership and passion for ‘Rock 100.5’ back at work here in our Atlanta studios.”…..J.D. Justice joins Midwest Communications’ country KTCO, Duluth “Kat Country” as brand manager.  He was most recently with Trending Media Inc’s country KXIA, Marshalltown, Iowa as PD and morning show host.  He takes over for Justin Henrickson, who exited to relocate to the state of Washington.  He’ll also co-host the morning show with “Brookie the Rookie.”…..Classic rock WBPT-FM, Birmingham, Alabama announces the passing of award-winning morning show personality Lisa Mason, after suffering health complications.  She served with WBPT for the past 17 years.  The station says, “While we mourn the loss of a very special woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young and old alike.  For those who may ask what they can do to honor Lisa, you may donate funds in her name to the ASPCA at the following link: https://secure.aspca.org/donate/memorial.”