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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

| November 19, 2019

BREAKING NEWS – Masked Intruders Break In and Set fire to Hong Kong Office of The Epoch Times.   Four masked intruders dressed in black (three of which are pictured above in a still from a security camera) set fire to the printing press of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in the early hours this morning (11/19), marking the fourth attack on the Hong Kong facility of the international news organization since its opening more than a decade ago.  According to a breaking report in The Epoch Times online edition, the manager of the printing press said that the incident took place around 3:40 am HKT at the facility located in the Mong Kok area, as the newly printed newspapers were about to be delivered to the stands.  Moments after staff at the press opened the factory door, however, the men walked into the facility and pointed batons towards the workers, shouting, “All of you don’t move!” Surveillance footage from the printing shop shows two of the men dressed in all black carrying batons, while one of them holds newspapers, and another carries two containers containing a flammable liquid, which he poured onto the factory machines and newspapers.  The other black-clad man then ignited fires with a lighter. The men immediately ran away after the fires started. The whole incident lasted about two minutes. The fire caused the sprinkler system to turn on, and a staff member used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The staff then called the police and fire department, who arrived shortly afterward. The Tsuen Wan police bureau has launched an investigation.  Two print machines, four rolls of printing papers, and several stacks of newspapers in the factory suffered damage from the fire. Some papers were also damaged by the water.  In February 2006, thugs broke into the print shop and attempted to smash the presses. In October 2012, the door of the print shop was damaged. In December 2012, seven men carrying multiple tool boxes appeared and began attempting to break through the gate. They fled after police were called.  The Epoch Times has a long history of persecution in which reporters have been arrested and suffered violence at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.  Talk show hosts interested in booking a spokesperson from The Epoch Times to discuss today’s break-in may do so by contacting Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company by phone 917-865-3991 or email at victoria@dcradiocompany.com

PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of news/talk stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey.  This report delves into commercial news/talk listening by market, comparing data from October 2018 to October 2019.  A review of the 47 PPM markets (Puerto Rico not included), show news/talk listening (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share) was up in 19 of those markets and down in the other 28 PPM markets.  Markets that saw gains were led by Chicago, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, and Memphis.  Markets losing share were led by Denver, Providence, Seattle, and Milwaukee.  Which markets, as of October 2019, are the biggest news/talk listeners?  The top five are: Milwaukee (13.4 share), Cincinnati (12.9 share), Orlando (12.1 share), Minneapolis (11.9 share), Middlesex (10.8 share).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nick Kayal Exits Nashville’s “102.5 The Game.” Morning drive sports talk personality Nick Kayal exits Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” in a move that appears to be a cost-saving effort.  The show currently stars Braden Gall and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason.  Kayal joined the WPRT morning show in 2018 after having previously served with WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Sports Fanatic.”  Gall and Mason discussed Kayal’s departure on today’s program and an appreciative good-bye text from Kayal appears on the morning show’s page on the station website.

TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated “John Fredericks Show” – based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia – is broadcasting today (11/19) live from the White House.  Fredericks says the show will be “no-holds-barred as we delve into White House and GOP strategy for passing USMCA, prescription drug pricing, vaping restrictions, stopping surprise medical billing, and of course, the impeachment witch hunt.”  Guest will include members of Congress as well as press secretary Stephanie Grisham, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Vice President Mike Pence…..Sports talk radio personality Matt Jones – whose “Kentucky Sports Radio” program is based at WLAP-AM, Lexington – announces he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Mitch McConnell.  FOX 17 Nashville reports Jones made the announcement on Friday (11/15).  Jones says he intends to publish a book about McConnell titled, Mitch, Please, sometime in the New Year.  After he made that announcement in August, he was fired from his TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington.  The station says Jones will not return to air there.  Jones briefly was off his radio show after the Kentucky Republican Party filed a complaint about his candidacy being promoted on the radio…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that he hears Rachel Williamson – currently president of Cox Media Group’s multiplatform advertising organization Gamut – is the odds on favorite to take over for Jimmy de Castro as senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Chicago operations.  During her career, Williamson has served as director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group and director of national ad sales for Cumulus Media, among others…..iHeartMedia adds an FM translator to the WVOC-AM, Columbia, South Carolina news/talk brand.  The station can now be heard on W278CY, Columbia at 103.5 FM…..ABC Audio is presenting three special programs for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  For news/talk stations there is “America’s Bounty.”  Hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky with reporting by correspondents Alex Stone, Jason Nathanson, Jim Ryan, Michelle Franzen, and more, the program takes listeners to an egg farm in New Hampshire, a five-generation livestock farm in South Dakota, and a hydroponic vegetable farm in New Jersey to report on the people who produce what ends up on America’s table.  The program also visits a vineyard in California’s Santa Maria Valley, where sustainable winemaking is their mission…..Public media firm KQED, San Francisco is creating a dedicated news desk to cover the Bay Area’s housing and affordability crisis.  The desk is comprised of journalists Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari, and Molly Solomon.  The team’s goal is to provide ongoing coverage of housing and affordability issues in the Bay Area for multiple KQED platforms.  The formation of KQED’s housing desk has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative…..Last Friday (11/15), Eric Goranson, host of “Around The House With Eric G.” and Jeff “JT” Tracy, host of “Barbecue Nation,” – both distributed in syndication by Envision Networks – led the effort to raise funds for the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center via the “Operation Helping Our Heroes” radiothon on KPAM, Portland “AM 860 The Answer.”  The production netted $51,225 for supporting active military, veterans, and their families in obtaining benefits, services, and resources to meet their basic needs.  Below from left to right are: Tracy, retired Portland and KPAM radio legend Bob Miller, and Goranson.

Entercom Presents Live Event Addressing Addiction Hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. The two-hour live event titled, “I’m Listening,” takes place Thursday (11/21) before a live audience at the Entercom Baltimore Performance Studio presented by Recovery Centers of America and hosted by radio host, television host, and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky.  The program airs live on adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and Facebook Live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Dr. Drew and a panel of expert speakers will discuss substance abuse, suicide prevention, and information on how to get help.  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Millions of people are affected by mental illness.  It is our goal to open up the conversation and help end the stigma surrounding mental health.  We are proud to leverage our platform and voices to help provide the appropriate resources and information to those affected and encourage people to talk.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, Trump Hospital Visit, A Warning Book Released, Trump West Bank Reversal, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong University Siege, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, and Fresno Shooting Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The impeachment testimony scheduled for this week and the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; controversy over President Trump’s unannounced, weekend visit to the hospital; today’s publication of the book A Warning by Anonymous, purportedly a White House insider; Trump’s reversal of the 1978 U.S. policy declaring West Bank settlements illegal; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the siege by Chinese soldiers of the protester-occupied Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; the protests in Iran after the government shut off the Internet; and the investigation into the football party shooting in Fresno that left four dead 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. On-air pro Glenn Kalina becomes part of the morning show at Entercom’s classic hits WOGL-FM, Philadelphia alongside incumbent AM drive host Marilyn Russell for the new “Glenn Kalina and Marilyn in the Morning.”  Kalina had been doing weekend and fill-in work for the station.  Kalina has worked on air in the market on WMWX-FM, WIOQ-FM, and the former WLCE-FM…..Actress, model, and radio personality Claudia Jordan exits urban contemporary KRNB-FM, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7.”  Air personality Rudy Rush moves from KRNB to Service Broadcasting’s co-owned hip hop KKDA-FM, Dallas “K104” as part of the “DeDe in the Morning” show, led by DeDe McGuire…..ABC Audio presents two music-oriented shows for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The three-hour country music special, “Every Girl At Christmas,” is hosted by Trisha Yearwood and includes appearances by Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge, Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Luke Bryan, and more.  “Rock & Reelz” is a three-hour program hosted by Journey’s Jonathan Cain that takes a look back at some of the greatest rock songs from popular films such as Goodfellas, Easy Rider, Bohemian Rhapsody, and more.  The special features artists including Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Aerosmith, Bob Seger, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Journey.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

| October 29, 2019

Round One of October PPM Ratings Released.  The first of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex (New Jersey).  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some positive (6+) ratings gains of note include: Entercom’s WFAN, New York (+0.6) re-enters the market’s top 10 with a 3.8 share; Nexstar’s WGN, Chicago (+0.3) continues to ascend to #9 in the market with a 3.5 share; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas marks six consecutive surveys without a dip and scores a 4.1 share; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston has a another positive survey, now ranking #11 in the market with a 3.9 share; Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta earns a fourth consecutive positive survey (+0.6) and is #1 in the market with an 8.2 share; and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises almost a full share from September to a 7.5 share.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does every month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Bill O’Reilly Packs House at Boston Event. Pictured above at center is Key Networks syndicated radio personality and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly at last Saturday’s appearance in suburban Boston.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO airs the daily “The O’Reilly Update” program and hosted the “An Afternoon with Bill O’Reilly” event that drew a sellout crowd during which O’Reilly offered his “no spin” take on news, politics, the 2020 election, his experience being back on radio, and more.  He also talked about his latest book, The United States of Trump (2019, Henry Holt & Company).  Pictured with O’Reilly are WRKO talk show hosts Doug “VB” Goudie (left) and Jeff Kuhner (right).  Photo: Mario Jarjour.

TALKERS News Notes. With the release of the latest October 2019 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio, the sports talk radio battle in New York between Entercom’s WFAN and ESPN’s WEPN is once again under scrutiny by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.  He reports that in afternoon drive, WEPN’s Michael Kay grabbed a 7.4 share to take the #1 spot in that daypart while WFAN’s Mike Francesa had a 5.6 share – or a 6.0 share if his streaming numbers are included – to finish third or second, respectively…..Salem Media Group’s KNUS, Denver is presenting a live event titled, “Countdown 2020: War for America’s Soul,” at University of Colorado South Denver tonight (10/29).  It features Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager and author, FOX News contributor, and TOWNHALL columnist Michelle Malkin discussing such topics as “the march toward socialism,” “Iran waging war,” “restricted free speech and religious rights,” and “racial tensions.”…..Good Karma Brands fires up a new subscription service for content from its Wisconsin sports talk stations called, “Wisconsin On Demand.”  For $5 per month or $50 per year, subscribers get content on demand from WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison” and WKTI-FM and WAUK-AM, Milwaukee “ESPN Milwaukee” that includes limited commercials…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime Syracuse traffic reporter Anthony Bombardo, Jr., who passed away on October 27 at the age of 78.  During his career, Bombardo worked as an aerial traffic reporter on WHEN, Syracuse as Captain Scott King.  Later, he provided traffic reports to numerous Central New York stations using his given name.  He retired in 2010.

Robin Fitzgerald to Serve as Chief Judge for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards. The Radio Mercury Awards announces that BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald will serve as the 2020 Chief Judge for the 29th annual Radio Mercury Awards.  Fitzgerald has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Creative People in Social Media Marketing” and “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”  She has participated on juries for the Radio Mercury Awards, D&AD, One Show, Clios, Art Director’s Club and New York Festivals.  She says, “I’ve always loved radio. To me, it’s one of the most challenging platforms for creatives.  The Radio Mercury Awards are a champion of great ideas delivered in stereo.  It’s a pretty cool gig to be leading the charge on curating the best of the best for 2020.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, Death of Baghdadi, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Hill Scandal, and Trump Booed at World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo offer to Ukraine and Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there; the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; the California wildfires that threaten some 25 million and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sex scandal that forced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) to resign from the House; and President Trump being booed at the World Series 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 pro Nick Rivers joins Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group to serve as APD and music director for country WIRK and classic hits WEAT.  He is also hosting afternoon drive on WIRK.  He was most recently in the production and imaging department at Dick Broadcasting’s Greensboro, North Carolina station group.  Hubbard West Palm Beach OM and brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “We had a lot of fantastic candidates to join Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach, but Nick’s enthusiasm and the chemistry he had with the team truly set him apart from the others.  We are building something special at WIRK and Nick is another outstanding puzzle piece.”…..In Atlanta, Radio One promotes Derek Harper to operations manager for the cluster, taking over for Hurricane Dave Smith, who exited in August.  Harper has been serving as program director for urban AC WAMJ “Majic 107.5” and Gospel WPZE “Praise 97.5.”  He’ll continue to program WAMJ and serve as Radio One and Reach Media’s captain for the inspiration format…..Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles announces the lineup for the RADIO.COM event, “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019” on December 7 at the Honda Center in Orange County.  The opening night of the two-day event will feature performances by: Cage The Elephant, Beck, Jimmy Eat World, Young the Giant, Angels & Airwaves, Cold War Kids, The Head and the Heart, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and DJ Jeremiah Red…..Non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” begins a search for a new executive director as Glenn Kleiman announces he’ll exit the position next spring.  Station board president Juli Kaufmann says, “The search will focus on seeking the next leader to continue our forward momentum of inspiring positive change in the community.  Through creative content and programming, Radio Milwaukee will continue to raise the social awareness and engagement of listeners while expanding our audience.”  Kleiman became executive director in April 2016 after previously serving as a station consultant.  He says, “I love this job, our team, and our mission.  I’m proud of the work we do, and I’ll miss leading our efforts.  But it’s time for me to slow down a bit.  I’m not retiring, just turning it down a notch.  I do hope to stay involved with ‘Radio Milwaukee’ in some capacity.”…..Christian broadcaster Brighter Media Group announces the addition of Molly Chambers to afternoons on Christian contemporary WRBS, Baltimore “SHINE-FM,” alongside longtime host Jack Larkin.  Program director John Lawhon says, “It’s amazing to see what God is doing with SHINE-FM.  Molly brings a new and fresh voice to the SHINE-FM team.  She represents a commitment to investing in the next generation of talent.  She is a rock star!”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

| July 25, 2019

Dan Le Batard Off Air Again Today.  According to a story in The Washington Post, ESPN sports personality Dan Le Batard is off his radio program, “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” and his cable TV show, “Highly Questionable,” today (7/25) because he’s meeting in New York with ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro.  Le Batard was off the air on Monday after he addressed the “Send her back!” chants directed toward Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar by Trump supporters at a recent Trump political rally.  Le Batard was reminded by ESPN brass of the company’s mandate that politics are off limits on the sports network unless there’s a sports connection.  Le Batard criticized that policy as well.  He was, however, back on the air on Tuesday and Wednesday.  FOX News coverage quotes former ESPN staffer and Le Batard friend Bill Simmons saying on his podcast that he doesn’t think Le Batard will remain with ESPN much longer.  He calls him “a really proud guy, who I feel like at some point looked at it and said, ‘I have a platform, I’m on live radio right now and I’m just gonna use the platform for this and I know there is going to be repercussions.’”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk.TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Summer listening trends may be having an effect on public talk stations as 61% of those in PPM markets saw their weekly AQH share dip, led by KCFR, Denver and KUT, Austin – both declining 1.6 shares from the May survey to the June survey.  Comparing June of 2018 to this year, just 38% of public radio news talkers are up – including KNPR, Las Vegas with an impressive 2.8 share gain – but 58% of stations see a ratings dip, including WBUR, Boston (-2.5), WFAE, Charlotte (-2.0), and KUT, Austin (-2.0).  Just two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KPBS, San Diego – ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets during the June survey.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Wraps Up Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Today (7/25), TALKERS concludes the posting of videos of 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.  This final post is the panel discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019,” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; and Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York.  The panel was moderated by Andrew Kalb, then-executive director of programming, ABC News Radio and introduced by Dr. Daliah Wachs, host, Genesis Communications Network.    This concludes the posting of all the key panels, speeches and presentations that took place at the annual event.  All will remain posted for viewing/listening at Talkers.com for the rest of 2019.  Thank you to Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video for the excellent job of capturing these historic recordings.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Bert Baron Exits WCTC-AM, New Brunswick for Public Service Gig. Central New Jersey morning personality Bert Baron is exiting his position as host on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick after tomorrow’s program to take a position outside of the radio business.  In a press release, Mayor Jim Cahill says, “Bert is a well-known and admired member of our community.  His vast experience in communications, messaging, social media, community engagement, advocacy, and community work and education initiatives will serve as key assets in his daily responsibilities as PIO.  We are excited to welcome him to the team.”

Premiere’s George Noory Profiled in Boca Magazine.  Nationally syndicated late-night radio star George Noory was recently profiled in the Florida publication, Boca magazine.  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” promoted his live stage show that’s taking place at the Miramar Cultural Center on Saturday (7/27), and discussed his 17-year tenure as host of the Premiere Networks radio program.  Noory’s stage show will feature live interviews with Billy Carson, an expert in forbidden archaeology; James L. Paris, a motivational speaker and lecturer on the power of prayer; and Chip Coffey, a renowned psychic medium. Check out the Boca piece here.

Max Media Norfolk Back with Nielsen.  Three years after deciding to do without Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings service for its Norfolk, Virginia cluster that includes sports talk WVSP-FM “ESPN 94.1,” urban talk/music hybrid WGH-AM and three music radio brands, Max Media signs a multi-year deal to use PPM data and a number of other services from Nielsen. Max Media VP and general manager Keith Barton says, “We are delighted to be working again with Nielsen. The comprehensive capabilities of Nielsen’s tools, including Nielsen Scarborough, Polk by IHS Markit, Nielsen Rhiza and Tapscan, are integral to our ability to facilitate success for the advertisers and agencies that we work with.  We are now armed with the tools necessary to provide valuable marketing and advertising expertise to our clients and ultimately increase ROI.”

WWO: Smart Speaker Bringing AM/FM Back into the Home. The radio industry is hopeful that the rapid adoption of the smart speaker among American households will heighten listening to AM/FM stations in the home.  Westwood One presents some data to indicate the smart speaker is beginning to do just that.  Some of the conclusions drawn from recent research are published in this week’s Westwood One blog post.  They include: according to Nielsen, 28% of U.S. households own a smart speaker; 19% of streaming listening to AM/FM radio stations occurred via smart speaker at the start of this year, up from 9% in January 2018; streaming audiences skew female: 68% of the total music streaming audience is female, compared to 50% of the on-air audience to the same AM/FM radio stations; smart speaker AM/FM radio streamers listen to 7:55 hours and 6.3 sessions per month, higher than the average streaming listener; and a higher proportion of smart speaker streaming occurs on Saturdays and Sundays where smart speaker listening peaks between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Mueller Testimony, Immigration/Asylum Policy, Epstein Injured in Jail, North Korea Missile Test, Puerto Rico Governor Resigns, and Boris Johnson Becomes Prime Minister Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). 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 conditions at detention centers; accused sex traffickerJeffrey Epstein is found in jail cell injured; North Korea tests new short-range missile; Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello resigns over leaked chat message controversy; and Boris Johnson assumes the role as Great Britain’s prime minister 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 rumored arrival of Jason Pullman as host of the new morning drive show on Entercom’s country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99” is confirmed as the company announces the new show launches on August 8.  Pullman was most recently morning host at iHeartMedia’s country WUBL, Atlanta “94.9 The Bull.”  Joining him on the air for the new morning show is Chicago native Katie Bright.  She returns to WUSN after serving as national director of promotion for Warner Music Nashville. Prior to that, she’d worked with WUSN in the sales department.  Also contributing to the show is current WUSN lead promotions coordinator Erin – known to WUSN listeners as the station’s “Batchelor” expert.   Entercom Chicago president and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We are thrilled to welcome this talented team to ‘US99.’  The team will bring country music fans an entertaining and informative live, local show that is built for Chicagoland.”