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Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

| August 6, 2020

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Revenue Declines 47%. In line with the other broadcast companies that have reported Q2 2020 data so far, iHeartMedia’s revenue of $488 million represents a 47% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. Breaking it down into segments, iHM reports that broadcast revenue declined 57% ($561 million to $244 million), networks revenue was down 38% ($156 million to $96 million), digital revenue increased 2% ($91 million to $93 million – led by a 103% increase in podcasting revenue), sponsorship and events declined 65% ($42 million to $15 million), and audio & media services dropped 33% ($59 million to $39 million). iHeartMedia is reporting an operating loss of $159 million in Q2 of 2020 compared to an operating income of $182 million in the second quarter of 2019. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “The challenges that we have faced due to COVID-19 were unprecedented and had a severe, negative impact on our revenue in the second quarter. Despite those financial challenges, we retained our strong relationship with the consumer as the #1 audio company in America and the #1 media company in America by reach. As the advertising marketplace is recovering, we are working hard to ensure that we have the products and services to fully capitalize on the opportunity while proactively taking steps to fortify our balance sheet and our liquidity. Finally, I want to thank our employees for their commitment and creativity under such difficult and challenging circumstances.” Company president, CFO and COO Rich Bressler adds, “In response to COVID-driven market weakness, we acted rapidly and decisively to further streamline our cost structure and capital-spending programs, while continuing to implement pre-COVID cost savings programs through our modernization initiatives. These actions played an important role in minimizing the negative impact on our free cash flow results against the backdrop of the significant revenue declines we saw in the second quarter. We believe that these actions, in combination with our proactive capital structure management provides the company with sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness.”

Round Three of July PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on one-tenth to finish the July survey with a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte dips one-tenth to a 5.9 share but rises one spot to the #3 rank. Despite losing a full share and finishing with a 5.5 share, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio remains ranked #2 in the market. In Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds three-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.4 share good for the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City jumps by half a share to claim the #5 rank with a 5.8 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states,“With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

Giuliani Suggests Salem’s Hewitt and Elder Serve as Debate Moderators. On behalf of the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani submitted a list of potential presidential debate moderators to the Commission on Presidential Debates that includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated hosts Larry Elder and Hugh Hewitt. The list of moderators the campaign would find acceptable also includes David Muir of ABC News and Norah O’Donnell of CBS News. Salem Media Group SVP spoken word programming Phil Boyce says, “We are so proud to see Hugh Hewitt and Larry Elder mentioned as possible moderators of a presidential debate. Frankly all of our SRN national hosts are capable of doing this, and these two especially are. We hope they get the nod.” Hewitt served as co-moderator of four 2016 Republican Primary debates co-produced by CNN and the Salem Radio Network.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on some news from Nexstar’s WGN-AM, saying that the station is not talking with market legend Garry Meier about replacing Roe Conn in afternoon drive when his contract ends this year as previously reported. His sources say serious talks with Meier never got off the ground. In other WGN news, Feder says that if John Records Landecker’s fill-in stint for morning host Bob Sirott goes well next week, Landecker may be in line for the permanent evening show position…..Cadence13 – a part of Entercom’s podcast network – is partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures to create The Boardroom Podcast Network. The network will launch with two podcasts. In “The Boardroom: Out Of Office,” Kleiman hosts and digs deep into guests’ career trajectories, the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and the stories they’ve gathered along the way. In September, Durant launches the monthly podcast “The Etc’s with Kevin Durant.” He says, “I’m really excited to be launching both of these podcasts and this partnership with Cadence13. We’re really invested in making both of these pods different than anything else out there, and I’m personally looking forward to having in-depth conversations about some of my favorite topics.”

NAB’s Gordon Smith Suffers Stroke. A statement from the National Association of Broadcasters reveals that its president and CEO Gordon Smith suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. The statement adds, “He is responding well to treatment, is stable and alert, and is resting comfortably. His prognosis is good, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/5). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election and President Trump’s statements about the validity of mail-in ballots; the controversial BLM protests in Portland; the deal to allow Microsoft to acquire TikTok and the tenuous U.S.-China relations; the investigation into the ammonium nitrate-caused explosion that rocked Beirut; and pro sports leagues struggle with positive COVID-19 cases were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Venerable Multimedia Personality Shadoe Stevens Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Los Angeles-based radio and TV personality Shadoe Stevens is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Stevens is an extraordinarily talented and creative individual who has succeeded to one degree or another in just about every phase of performance media in a career that has spanned five decades. He remains on the leading edge with the debut of a 12-part podcast series titled, “MentalRadio,” that pulls out the stops on imaginative writing, complex production, and audio theatrics. During the course of his career, Stevens has served as program director and/or air talent at legendary radio stations including LA’s KROQ and KMET. He was the first successor to Casey Kasem as the voice of “American Top 40” which he hosted for seven years. He’s been a television announcer and personality on such shows as “Hollywood Squares” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He was also producer, writer, and talent on hundreds of successful radio and television commercial campaigns – highlighted by his celebrated creation and performance of the outrageous character, Fred Rated, for the Federated Group home appliance chain. As an actor, he appeared on such TV programs as “Baywatch,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Dave’s World,” “Max Monroe: Loose Cannon,” and he performed in the movie “TRAXX,” plus more. Harrison and Stevens recount their days in Los Angeles radio (both served as PD of KMET), the intricacies of Stevens’ colorful career, and the unlimited potential of modern podcasting as a platform for 21st century audio theater. Radio and media freaks will really enjoy this interview! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle radio and music business legend Pat O’Day died on Tuesday (8/4) at age 85. As a DJ, O’Day was arguably the most popular air personality in the market in the mid-1960s when he was the afternoon jock on KJR-AM. He eventually became PD of the station, then general manager in 1968. O’Day ran a lucrative teen dance events business. He was also a concert promoter, founding the firm Concerts West. O’Day also eventually became a station owner. Read more about his colorful career here…..Rochester classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” announces its new afternoon drive show is “The Big Show,” hosted by Earl David Reed, Megan Carter, and Pat McMahon. Reed is a nationally recognized stand-up comedian. Carter most recently served as the afternoon host on iHeartMedia’s sister CHR “KISS 106.7.” McMahon has been with iHM Rochester for six years. Program director Joe Bonadonna says, “Earl, Megan and Pat clicked from the minute we put them together. They are the three friends you want with you when you’re getting a garbage plate, grabbing a Genny Light or spending the day at Seabreeze.”…..Entercom promotes Emily Ward to general sales manager for the Chattanooga station group that includes CHR WKXJ-FM “103.7 Kiss FM,” adult hits WLND-FM “98.1 The Lake,” WRXR “Rock 105,” country WUSY “U.S. 101,” and country WUSY-HD2 “Real 961.” Ward has been serving the cluster as local sales manager and digital sales manager.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

| July 31, 2019

Mitch Rosen Adds PD Duties for Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee.  WSCR, Chicago “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen is going to begin double duty with Entercom and add programming responsibilities for sister sports talker WSSP-AM/W289CB, Milwaukee “105.7 The Fan.”  He’s taking over for WSSP program director Tom Parker, who is retiring on August 1.  Parker will continue as a programming consultant.  Entercom Milwaukee SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “Having worked closely with Jimmy de Castro and the Entercom Chicago team over the last year and a half, it was the logical next step in the partnership. Mitch has become quite familiar with the market and the WSSP staff over that time and we are very fortunate to now have him calling the plays in Milwaukee as well.”  Rosen has been with “The Score” for almost 15 years.  He adds, “It’s an honor to be part of this great Milwaukee sports brand.  ‘The Fan’ team has great personalities who identify with the sports fans who live and breathe Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports.  I plan to be here to help in any way I can to expand the brand both on the air and through all the digital platforms, including RADIO.COM Sports.”

SiriusXM Q2 Pro Forma Revenue Up 9%. Although SiriusXM is reporting its net income was down 10.8% in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 ($263 million versus $293 million), the company’s pro forma revenue was up 9%.  The acquisition of Pandora pushed SiriusXM’s revenue to $2 billion – an increase of 38% over Q2 in 2018.  Chief executive officerJim Meyer says, “Our company produced outstanding financial and operating results once again this quarter, and I’m pleased by the quick progress we’ve made in integrating Pandora.  Revenues and adjusted EBITDA each reached records in the period.  We’re thrilled with the results in the first half of the year, and we are raising 2019 guidance for revenue and adjusted EBITDA and reiterating our guidance for net subscriber additions and free cash flow.” The satcaster reports that it added 290,000 self-pay subscribers during the second quarter that puts its total at 29.3 million.

Nielsen Second Quarter Revenue Rises 1.2%.  That 1.2% figure is for the company as a whole.  The company reports that its Media segment – the one that includes radio ratings – is being driven by Total Audience Measurement and that during the second quarter of 2019 its audience measurement business is up 4.2% over the same period in 2018.  Nielsen predicts that its audience measurement segment will finish 2019 up 2% to 3%.

Salem Selling Seven Florida Signals for $8.2 Million. Continuing to follow through on its plan to sell certain assets in order to reduce its debt, Salem Media Group is agreeing to divest itself of seven signals in the state of Florida. It has filed with the FCC to sell Spanish Christian-formatted WKAT-AM, business talk WZAB-AM, and FM translator W249DM in Miami and Spanish Christian-formatted WLCC-AM, business talk WWMI, and FM translator W282CI in the Tampa market (plus the construction permit for translator W260DM, St. Petersburg) to Immaculate Heart Media for $8.2 million.  Immaculate Heart Media will not get the WKAT call letters or that station’s intellectual property.  These moves will leave Salem with Spanish Christian WOCN, Miami, plus news/talk WGUL, Tampa “AM 860 The Answer” and religious duo WTBN-AM/WTWD-AM, Tampa.

2020 Presidential Race/Democratic Debates, Capital One Hack, Immigration Policy/Border Conditions, North Korea Missile Tests, California Festival Shooting/Mississippi Walmart Shooting, and Katy Perry Song Copying Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the first Democratic debate from Detroit; the hack of Capital One that made data from 100 million credit applicants vulnerable; the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and controversy over conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border; North Korea tests more short-range missiles; the deadly shootings at the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival and at a Walmart in Mississippi; and the jury’s ruling that Katy Perry copied aspects of a Christian rap song in her hit ‘Dark Horse’ were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Last week’s 19th annual “WSB Care-A-Thon 37-hour radio broadcast event raised more than $1.7 million for research and programs for the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, nearly breaking the record set in 2017. In the 19 years Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and CHR WSB-FM have been hosting the fundraising broadcast, more than $24 million has been collected to support patients and families.  WSB Radio director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “There is an extraordinary local story to tell at the Aflac Cancer Center — one that is filled with emotion and hope.  Our entire team considers it the honor of their careers to be able to tell that story and to meet the kids, parents, families, doctors, nurses, and caregivers there.  But our listeners deserve all the credit, due to their incredible generosity year after year.”  WSB personalities Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Neal Boortz, and Brian Kilmeade took part in the broadcast…..ESPN Radio is reporting that its programming saw a 6% increase in listening with men 25-54 from the winter 2019 period (Jan., Feb., March) to the spring  book (April, May, June).  Breaking it down, the network’s “Golic and Wingo” saw a 6% combined increase for M25-54 in total audience across Nielsen subscribing stations in PPM markets on radio plus all platforms combined including television simulcasts.  “The Will Cain Show” also had year-over-year increases across M25-54 PPM audience on terrestrial radio and ESPNEWS simulcast for both June and the spring book.  The M25-54 total audience across all platforms for “The Stephen A Smith Show,” with the addition of its television simulcast which began August 13, 2018, grew 38% in June and 32% percent for the quarter from the same time periods in 2018.  For the quarter, the ESPNEWS simulcast of “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” was up 33% from last year.  In June, the show saw a 9% year-over-year increase on ESPNEWS…..KTLK-AM, Minneapolis morning drive co-host Jon Justice has published his second sci-fi novel – part two of a series – titled, Embark: Treasure In Darkness.  Justice has self-published the book that follows the story’s protagonists after humanity is forced to leave the Earth following an industrial disaster.  Check out the Amazon listing here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rhythmic oldies WPPZ, Philadelphia “Classix 107.9 FM” announces that “The Russ Parr Morning Show” is airing in the AM drive daypart. The Radio One station is programmed by Jay Dixon, who says, “This guy is fun, funny, and all about winning.  I’ve heard about Russ Parr for years.  He lives up to his reputation as a first-class broadcaster and content king.  He’ll be the icing on the cake to make ‘Classix 107.9’ one of the greatest classic R&B brands in history.  We are too happy to have him on board.”…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop “104.5 The BEAT” WTKS-HD2/W283AN, Orlando announces the lineup for its “The BEAT Music Fest” on Saturday, October 5 will feature DaBaby, YK Osiris, Afro BShordie Shordie, Summerella, Trap Beckham, with more to be announced.  iHeartMedia Orlando partnerships manager Chianna Ray says, “The entire Greater Orlando area has been patiently waiting for a music festival that highlights the hip-hop culture.  ‘The BEAT Music Fest’ could not have come at a better time and we are thrilled to give our listeners this experience.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the 2019 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, November 2 will include: Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, and Ozuna, with more artists to follow.  For the fourth straight year, the concert event will be hosted by Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino and on-air personality for iHeartRadio.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

| August 3, 2017

Saga Communications Reports Q2 Financials; Net Revenue Down 1.9%.  That figure is based on revenue of $30.3 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.  For the six months ended on June 30, Saga Communications reports net revenue of $56.4 million – a decrease of 3.3% compared to the first six months of 2016.  Saga recently signed off on its intent to sell its television stations in Joplin, Missouri and Victoria, Texas to Morgan Murphy Media for approximately $66.6 million and is acquiring eight radio stations in the Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina markets from Apex Media for $23 million.  The television stations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the above figures.  As for net income, Saga is reporting a figure of $4.5 million, down 5.9% from $4.8 million in Q2 of 2016.

E.W. Scripps Radio Division Revenue Down 5.6%.  Television is the majority of E.W. Scripps business, with radio and digital taking a back seat.  For the company as a whole, revenue was $232 million – up 2% from that same period a year ago.  Breaking the company down into segments, radio revenue was $17.2 million, down 5.6% from $18.2 million in the second quarter of 2016.  The company says segment profit in the radio division was $2.9 million in the second quarter, down from $3.9 million a year ago.  Looking at the digital segment for a moment, while revenue was up 27.2% to $19.3 million during the second quarter, expenses were up to $23.5 million for a segment loss of $4.2 million – down a bit from the loss of $4.7 million in Q2 of 2016.  Scripps reports that it is expecting third quarter radio revenue to be down in the mid-single digits.

ESPN Promotes Marcia Keegan to VP, National Radio Programming and Production.  This is a promotion from her previous title as vice president, production.  ESPN says that in this new role, Marcia Keegan will oversee all talk programming content on the ESPN Radio national network, including such shows as “Golic and Wingo,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “The Ryen Russillo Show,” “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” and “Jalen & Jacoby.”  She will continue to be responsible for ESPN’s packaged show productions – the unit that handles approximately 1,000 hours of programming produced by outside vendors.  ESPN SVP Traug Keller comments, “I’m so happy to welcome Marcia to the ESPN Audio team.  Her new perspective, strategic thinking and creativity strengthen an already formidable ESPN Audio talk programming lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Smitty O’Loughlin is retiring from the radio biz after a 36-year career.  O’Loughlin has been serving as the market manager for Community Broadcasters’ Elmira, New York station group for the past four years.  He says, “It is bittersweet as I turn the page to a new chapter in my life.  Broadcasting is and will always be part of my life regardless of what retirement brings.  I cherish the moments and memories with so many professionals, helping so many people throughout the years, and the personal fulfillment with all the community outreach.”  O’Loughlin began his career in the Fort Smith, Arkansas market in 1981…..There’s a change in the on-air team for Tennessee Titans football broadcasts this season as former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck is taking the season off and is being replaced by former NFL coach Dave McGinnis as color analyst.   Wycheck continues his role on “The Wake-Up Zone” heard on Cumulus Media’s Titans flagship WGFX, Nashville “104.5 The Zone.”  The team released the following statement, “After multiple discussions with Frank, it was agreed that he will take this season off from the radio broadcasts and return next season. With the season quickly approaching, we have reached an agreement with Dave McGinnis to fill-in for Frank this season. Coach Mac has a deep knowledge and passion for the game, along with eight years as a coach with the Titans.  He is very excited about taking on this role and we think he will fill in admirably.”  Wycheck has been vocal about how concussions from his playing days have affected his health and its believed that this move is designed to, at least temporarily, lighten his workload.

Russian Sanctions/U.S.-Russia Relations, Fate of ObamaCare, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Iran-Nukes Deal, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s Book, West Wing Power Struggle, Trump Immigration Plan, Affirmative Action College Admissions, Dow Hits 22k, MLB Action and NFL Training Camps Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). President Donald Trump sign’s Russian sanctions bill and the tense relations between the U.S. and Russia; the GOP’s continuing efforts to build consensus for repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it; North Korea’s nuclear threats and U.S. diplomatic/military options; both sides in the Iran nuclear deal accuse the other of violating the pact; Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s new book, A Principled Conservative, rankles fellow Republicans for its anti-Trump content; chatter about the ongoing West Wing power struggle and whether adviser Stephen K. Bannon will be next to exit; the Trump Administration’s plan to curtail immigration numbers; concerns by minority advocates the DOJ will investigate race-based admission policies at U.S. colleges; the Dow closes at a record 22,000-plus for the first time; Major League Baseball action; and news from the NFL’s training camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Completely Posted Today (8/3) with the Presentation of the “College Broadcaster of the Year Award” to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions have been posted to Talkers.com.  They include:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          Three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtimeTALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

–          Presentation of the 2017 “Woman of the Year” award to Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.

–          Special luncheon greeting by Salem Radio Network syndicated host Joe Walsh (with introduction by SRN VP Phil Boyce).

–          TODAY (8/3) completes the agenda with the posting of the presentation of the 2017 “College Broadcaster of the Year” award to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).

Every session will remain online for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  There’s a plum gig open in Milwaukee as Entercom hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” is seeking an air personality for its “Morning Mix” AM drive show alongside market pro Elizabeth Kay.  Interested radio pros should apply via Entercom’s website here…..On-air and programming pro Johnny Maze exits Adams Radio Group’s rock WZBH, Salisbury/Ocean City “93.5 The Beach” and sister classic rocker WGBG “BIG 98.5.”  Maze, who was the afternoon drive personality at WZBH, also served as program director for both stations.  He says in a Facebook post, “I am ‘officially’ ON THE BEACH! As of today, I am no longer with ‘93.5 The Beach’ in Salisbury/Ocean City.  I had a good time, accomplished some great things and I made some awesome friends.  Looking forward to finding my next opportunity and challenge.”…..The “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show – heard in mornings on Emmis classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin is celebrating 25 years on the air at a special show on August 12 at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.  The program will honor show founders Dale Dudley and Bob Fonseca.  The event will feature a dedication from Austin’s mayor as well as performances by comedians and local music acts.  The show was nominated for a Marconi Award in 2007 for Medium Market Personality of the Year.   They were inducted in to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009…..Superadio promotes two to new positions.  Rich O’Brien rises to the newly created position of EVP of programming and affiliate relations and Eric Faison is elevated to SVP of programming and affiliate relations.  Superadio COO Jack Bryant states, “Both Rich and Eric are seasoned veterans of the industry and both epitomize the high standards for which the company is known.  All programming, talent, and affiliate matters are in the best of hands with the team of Rich and Eric.”

Ice Cream for a Good Cause. Pictured here in the WPLJ, New York studios are (from l-r): Jason Street from Applegate Farm, WPLJ morning co-host Jayde DonovanMelinda Street from Applegate Farm, and Philip Salerno from Children’s Specialized Hospital.  They are holding the two winning ice cream flavors – Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk and S’mores Fluff-A-Nutter – that WPLJ jocks and listeners created to be featured at Applegate Farm in Montclair, New Jersey through October.  Ninety-five cents from every cone sold will be donated to Children’s Specialized Hospital.

Friday, July 28, 2017

| July 28, 2017

Entercom Reports Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 3%.  With the pending EntercomCBS RADIO merger front-and-center in the radio news these days, when Entercom president and CEO David Field talks, people listen.  Analysts and industry watchers were no doubt eager to hear what Field had to say about the merger process and here’s what he told them on this morning’s conference call.  “We’ve made good progress towards completing the transaction. We’re well along in our post-merger integration work, developing our plans to optimize our structure, practices and strategies to ensure we move quickly and effectively to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us.  And we have entered into letters of intent on all of our planned divestitures with strong interest from a significant number of various parties for the various stations and we’re pleased with the outcome of this process.  That said, we’re still working to achieve approval from the Department of Justice on the divestiture plan and are in the midst of that process.  We believe we’ll remain on schedule for closing in the second half of this year.”  To the numbers, Entercom reports net revenue of $125 million during the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 3% compared to the same period a year ago.   Same station net revenue was up 1%, excluding political.  In a statement, Field says, “We continue to make great progress in our planning for our transformational merger with CBS RADIO that will make us the #1 provider of original, local audio content in the U.S. and create the scale to compete with other media for a larger share of ad spending.  As we meet with clients, agencies, and strategic partners, we are more confident than ever about the value-creating opportunities ahead.  Second quarter revenues increased 3% as reported, and up 1% on a same-station basis ex-political.  Expenses were up more than usual due to our acquisition in Charlotte, some significant one-time-only expenses and additional costs related to building the organization in anticipation of the merger.  We expect expense growth to recede in the third quarter and look for meaningful margin expansion post-closing.”  As of June 30, Entercom had outstanding $467.6 million of senior debt under its credit facilities and $27.7 million in perpetual cumulative convertible preferred stock.  The company reports $8.6 million in cash on hand.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Up 9%; Subscribers Top 32 Million. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM is reporting 2017 second quarter financial numbers, led by “record” revenue of $1.3 billion, up 9% compared to Q2 of 2016.  Net income was $202 million in the second quarter, up 16% from $175 million in 2016.  The company’s free cash flow rose 6% to $417 million.  During the quarter, SiriusXM added 466,000 net new self-pay subscribers, putting its total self-pay subscribers at nearly 26.7 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “In the second quarter, SiriusXM continued its strong track record of execution and demand for our premium content bundle pushed our listener base to an all-time high of more than 32 million paying subscribers. We are pleased to raise our full-year guidance for net self-pay subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA. We also made tremendous progress on strategic initiatives in the second quarter with the closing of our recapitalization of SiriusXM Canada, our acquisition of Automatic Labs, and our agreement to acquire a minority stake in Pandora Media.”

TALKERS Hears: Westwood One Signs Syndication Agreement with Walter Sabo.  TALKERS magazine hears that, according to unconfirmed inside sources, Westwood One has signed an agreement to syndicate a three-hour radio show hosted by Walter Sabo.  Sabo, CEO of the New York-based consultation firm Sabo Media, has been hosting a live, weekly two-hour talk show at 11:00 pm on Sunday nights on CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia for the past several years.  He uses the on-air name Walter Sterling.  The pact is the result of conversations between CBS RADIO and Cumulus Media to make the Walter Sterling Show (a CBS property) available to Cumulus stations and others in the late night weekend slot including an extra third hour.  TALKERS editors who have been listening describe the show as a departure from typical “left versus right” political news/talk fare focusing largely on social, family, and cultural issues of current life.  Noted radio impresario Kraig Kitchin is reportedly managing Sabo’s emerging on-air career and negotiated the deal. NEXT WEEK:  TALKERS will be presenting a special feature story by managing editor Mike Kinosian detailing the history of Walter Sabo’s colorful career from being a wunderkind 20-something radio executive in the 1970s and 1980s with ABC and NBC through his work as a leading consultant in the 1990s and early 2000s – culminating with his emerging presence as an on-air talent today.

Longtime KTRS, St. Louis Personality Frank O. Pinion Exiting.  After more than 20 years onFrank the St. Louis talk station, afternoon drive host Frank O. Pinion, a.k.a. John Craddock, will wrap his deal with CH Holding’s KTRS on September 14. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Craddock told his listeners that the parting was not amicable – he’s resigned – and that he’s not retiring either.  The paper reports that Craddock is not a KTRS employee but an independent contractor who brokers the show, getting inventory to sell.  Read the Post-Dispatch story here.

Jon Kelly Takes Control of SummitMedia LLC.  The company announces that shareholder and private investor Jon Kelly reaches an agreement to purchase the controlling interest in SummitMedia LLC held by Highpoint Holdings.  SummitMedia chairman/CEO Carl Parmer states, “Jon has been our largest individual shareholder since inception and we are delighted he will become our controlling shareholder, pending FCC approval.  Not only is he a good friend, but he and his family have a long and incredibly successful history in broadcasting in the United States.  His commitment to SummitMedia positions us to take advantage of strategic opportunities and grow our platform in the years ahead.”

Conclave 42.  Consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above with conference chair Lori Lewis, VP/social for Cumulus Media/Westwood One) reports from Minneapolis with his notes on the Conclave Summer Learning Conference.  Among the topics discussed at this year’s conference were: the possibilities for radio with the growth of smart speakers, podcast strategies for radio personalities, the future of radio’s place in the car, and more.  See Cooke’s coverage here.

Salem Hosts at the White House.  Pictured above are some of the Salem Radio Network personalities and some of the hosts whose shows air on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk stations at this week’s “Made In America” radio remote from the White House.  Clockwise from left: Kevin McCullough (WNYM, New York), Joe Piscopo (WNYM, New York), Salem SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce, Craig Silverman (KNUS, Denver) and his son, SRN’s Eric Metaxas and Larry Elder.

Talking Issues with Jon Lovitz. “Saturday Night Live” alum Jon Lovitz (right) is pictured here with talk radio star Lars Larson (left) at Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland studios. Larson tells TALKERS magazine that Lovitz appeared on his radio show and talked “Trump, guns, Caitlyn Jenner and a lot of other things.”

TALKERS News Notes. With the goal of making its 34 radio stations in 13 states available on to Amazon Alexa-supported devices, E.W. Scripps enlists XAPPmedia.  XAPP VP of sales Ryan Higbie says, “We are honored to work with Scripps to bring Amazon Alexa users access to its radio stations’ original audio content.  The technology offers an immersive experience for users to listen to their favorite radio programs on demand.  XAPP is committed to helping Scripps make the most of this new distribution channel and build deeper listener relationships at the same time.”…..SiriusXM announces comedian and actor Godfrey begins hosting a daily show on the Urban View channel on Monday (7/31).  “The Power Hour” will air daily from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and feature “dynamic and often provocative conversations on politics, pop culture, and social issues in Godfrey’s relaxed, comedic style.”

ObamaCare Repeal and Replace Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 24-28.  The GOP’s attempts to vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to craft a replacement health care plan tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was the threat by new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci to fire the entire West Wing to stop leaks to the press.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers in the military, followed by the announcement by Foxconn of plans for a new plant in Wisconsin 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/28) with Memorial Tribute to Alan Colmes by Jim Bohannon.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          TODAY (7/28) we posted the second of a series of three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtime TALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  Today’s posted tribute is for Alan Colmes. Dr. Joy Browne’s tribute will be posted on Monday.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Charlotte, air personality JT Bosch is named the afternoon drive host and assistant program director at iHeartMedia’s country WKKT “96.9 The Kat.”  Effective August 14, Bosch begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  Bosch was most recently with the company as APD/evening personality at WMZQ, Washington.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region president Dave Carwile states, “I’m excited to have JT in Charlotte and involved in the programming of WKKT.  He is familiar with the area and his experience in both programming and on-air is unrivaled.”…..Carson Daly is resigning from his morning show duties at CBS RADIO’s KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio,” in order to focus on his television projects and his other radio work.  He told his radio listeners that his desire to spend more time with his wife and three kids was a big factor in the decision.  “I just want to have breakfast with my kids,” he said.  Daly will still produce the weekend radio countdown show “Daly Download” while handling television duties that include hosting “The Voice,” anchoring on the “Today” show, and hosting “Last Call with Darson Daly.”…..The mystery surrounding the April disappearance of Kathy Hart from WTMX, Chicago’s popular “Eric & Kathy” AM drive show may soon be revealed to some degree or another, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder.  He writes today that sources say action on her relationship with the station should come soon and it sounds as though she’s negotiating an end to her contract.  However, everyone seems mystified as to what caused her to choose to take a leave from the highly rated program 12 weeks ago, including radio partner Eric Ferguson.  Read Feder’s piece here…..Entercom’s WLNK, Charlotte “The Link 107.9” inks a new deal with Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch (pictured at right) for the two to continue hosting their syndicated “Bob & Sheri” show on the station.  Entercom Charlotte VP/GM Matt Hanlon states, “This is the top-rated show in the market and one of the best, most unique morning shows in America.  We’re fortunate to have the caliber of talent and creative engagement the ‘Bob & Sheri’ show brings to the airwaves every day.”