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Friday, August 14, 2020

| August 14, 2020

Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).

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 “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; 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; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; 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.

Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).

PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).

Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

| August 28, 2017

How Radio Is Handling Harvey.  Tropical storm Harvey was a hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast of Texas on Friday evening and is being called the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in more than 10 years.  Obviously, the intense rain brought by the storm has caused widespread flooding in the region and Houston has been the recipient of some of the most serious floodwaters.  iHeartMedia’s Houston news/talk KTRH “News Radio 740” is being simulcast across all of the company’s Corpus Christi stations.  In Houston, talk KPRC is off the air due to water damage to its transmitter, but “Sunny 99.1,” “94.5 The Buzz,” “93.7 The Beat,” KTRH, and “Sports Talk 790 AM” have been broadcasting around the clock since Friday morning.  The company says the region lost a station vehicle and numerous employees’ homes have been affected by the storm, on-air talent, operational staff, sellers and managers are on-site to answer phones and direct listeners to the appropriate community resources.  Also, the Red Cross is featured across all of iHeartMedia’s station websites letting people know where to find information and to encourage donations.  Salem Media Group’s Salem Radio Network News and Townhall News have been airing round-the-clock appeals for donations for the non-profit relief organization Save The Children, already on the ground in Texas and Louisiana.  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “With SRN based in Dallas — and Salem radio colleagues operating in Houston and San Antonio — this critical national news story took on an even more compelling, personal nature because Hurricane Harvey was devastating our friends, colleagues, and families throughout the region.”  Tradup says Salem deployed veteran talk host Sam Malone in Houston and SRN News southwest correspondent Val DeOre in Corpus Christi to offer analysis and perspective on the impact of Harvey’s high winds and 25-30 inches of rain.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Comes to Aid of Broadcasters.  Broadcasters affected by Hurricane Harvey are being encouraged to find out if they qualify for emergency aid from the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  Broadcasters can complete the emergency grant request form on the website at https://broadcastersfoundation.org/emergency-grant-form/.  The Broadcasters Foundation’s emergency relief program distributes one-time grants of $1,000 each after a disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, or other serious misfortune.  The expedited emergency grant application process is streamlined to provide assistance as quickly as possible.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “The Broadcasters Foundation is a safety net in an emergency.  When a colleague’s roof is suddenly blown away, their belongings destroyed, or their families displaced, the Broadcasters Foundation can step in quickly. We need everyone in our business to help us ensure that all broadcasters in need are aware of the Broadcasters Foundation.”  The BFoA works closely with state broadcast associations to ensure that colleagues who are in need know about the foundation and that they can apply for aid.  The Texas and Louisiana Broadcasters Associations already have been contacted and are working with the Broadcasters Foundation to get the message to broadcasters in their area who might need help.  Following last year’s floods in Louisiana, the Broadcasters Foundation awarded nearly $100,000 to radio and TV professionals, including account executives, on-air personalities, producers, program, music, and traffic directors, and more.  The Broadcasters Foundation also delivered aid to colleagues who were struck by Hurricane Sandy in the New York area in 2012, the tornadoes in Joplin in 2011, and Hurricane Matthew in the Carolinas last year. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Broadcasters Foundation awarded a total of $250,000 to 250 broadcasters.

Westwood One Reveals Audience Demos for On-Demand Listening.  The data indicating who is using on-demand audio comes from Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement delves into the demographics of those listening to its local on-demand content from Cumulus Media-owned radio stations and national on-demand content from Westwood One syndicated programs.  Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “It’s hard to believe, but this is the first ever study of the demographic profile of on-demand radio content.  Our biggest finding is that on-demand content skews more female than AM/FM radio content across all genres.  This is an incredible insight for brands and content creators, as it opens up new opportunities to connect with women.”  Other key findings include: Information-based on-demand shows (news/talk, sports) skew younger than the AM/FM audience, while entertainment-based on-demand shows attract a similar audience to AM/FM; the median age of news/talk on demand listeners is eight years younger than the AM/FM audience, and the sports audience is seven years younger;  among adults 25-54, more than 40% of on demand news/talk listeners are women, compared to 30% of AM/FM listeners; and the younger the listener, the more likely they are to consume on-demand content on a mobile device.  See  more here.

FOX Sports Radio Adds R.J. Bell for Weekends.  Las Vegas sports-betting pro R.J. Bell – who is also founder and CEO of Pregame.com – joins FOX Sports Radio to host weekend programs for the network.  “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” debuts on September 1, airing live Fridays from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and on Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  FSR says Bell and Las Vegas radio personality Steve Cofield, along with Pregame.com’s top analysts, will give listeners the true Vegas perspective on all the leading sports stories and the major games, including how breaking news and injury updates affect the odds.  Bell will continue to serve as a contributor to FOX Sports Radio’s 24/7 lineup, including Colin Cowherd’s “Blazing Five” podcast, the “JT The Brick Show with Tomm Looney,” and “Steve Gorman SPORTS.”  Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro says, “We’re excited to welcome R.J. Bell to FOX Sports Radio, adding to the strongest lineup of sports-talk personalities in the industry.  There has never been more demand for the Vegas perspective in the world of sports.  R.J. has proven to be a credible national voice for years who brings a uniquely interesting outlook for both casual and hardcore sports fans.”

TALKERS News Notes. Listeners to Hearst’s news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98 Rock” for Baltimore Ravens programming this year will hear four former Ravens on the radio.  Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Justin Forsett and Jarret Johnson will appear for four games each, joining play-by-play team Gerry Sandusky and Stan White…..SiriusXM is announcing the addition of former NFL quarterback Phil Simms to the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel where the longtime CBS Sports television color man will join host Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo each week for “Simms and the Mad Dog,” an hour-long program where the duo will discuss the news from the league that week and preview the coming weekend’s matchups.  Simms will make his debut on Thursday, September 7 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Also, former Florida State and NFL quarterback Danny Kanell is joining SiriusXM as a daily host on the college sports channel. Beginning today (8/28), Kanell will host “Playbook” every weekday afternoon from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET with co-host Jason Horowitz.  Kanell says, “I’m honored and thrilled for the opportunity to join the SiriusXM family and I look forward to contributing to a company that is made up of such incredible people.”

Harvey Hits Texas, Trump Pardon’s Arpaio, Trump Targets China Tariffs, Berkeley Rally Violence, ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Finale, MTV’s Video Music Awards, Mayweather-McGregor Fight, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Hurricane Harvey dumps enormous amounts of rain on Texas hitting Houston and the Gulf Coast particularly hard; the reaction to President Trump’s pardon of convicted former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio; Trump reiterated desire for tariffs on Chinese imports to level trade imbalance; “anti-facists” attack conservative protestors at rally in Berkeley, California; the finale of this season’s “Game of Thrones” series; Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards and the politically oriented speeches at the event; Saturday’s Floyd MayweatherConor McGregor fight; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Brian Joyce Serves as PA Announcer at Chattanooga Lookouts Game.  Pictured above is WGOW, Chattanooga and WYAY, Atlanta talk show host Brian Joyce in the broadcast booth at AT&T Field.  After hosting his 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WGOW, then his afternoon drive show on WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7,” Joyce hustled down to the ballpark to serve as PA announcer for the Lookouts’ game against the Mississippi Braves.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking on the assistant operations manager position at Cumulus Media’s Peoria station group is Brian Scott.  As of September 5, he’ll be working with country WFYR “NASH FM 97.3” and CHR WZPW.  Cumulus Peoria OM Matt Bahan says, “We’re thrilled that Brian Scott is taking the programming reigns in Peoria with WFYR and WZPW.  His passion is obvious, and his attention to detail and history of great ratings and success speak for themselves.  Brian will be a tremendous asset to our already strong programming team.”…..WPRI-TV, Providence is one of a number of media outlets reports that religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation has signed a deal to buy FM signal WBRU, Providence.  The station has been affiliated with Brown University since the 1960s as a rock and alternative rock outlet.  The station was put up for sale in the spring after the not-for-porofit Brown Broadcasting Service board determined was not a viable business under the current operating structure.  It’s expected EMF will install the “K-Love” format on the station, possibly as early as Friday (9/1)…..From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes news that, “after roughly six weeks, Tiny exits as morning host at Swick Broadcasting-owned hot AC WLKI, Angola, Indiana” ( in the northeast corner of the state).  Mike Scott will take over the morning show.  He’ll also voice-track airshifts for the Swick Broadcasting-owned Local Radio Networks country and classic hits 24 hour formats…..Indiana-based Woof Boom Radio acquires a five-station cluster in Lima, Ohio from Childers Media Group.  The company is acquiring CMG from principal Matt Childers who will continue to manage the Lima cluster for Woof Boom.  Childers bought the stations from Maverick Media four years ago…..iHeartMedia Portland launches the new “Alt 102.3, Portland’s New Alternative” and brings in the syndicated “The Woody Show” to anchor mornings.  The station is fed from the HD2 channel of iHeartMedia’s CHR KKRZ to translator K272EL at 102.3 FM.  Program director Ben Marcotte says, “Portland has an avid alternative rock fan base and ‘The Woody Show’ has built an incredibly compelling and entertaining brand that we can’t wait to share with our listeners.”…..Marc Radio closes on purchase of classic hits WXJZ, Gainesville from JVC Broadcasting.  Marc paid $500,000 for the station and says in a press release that it is “bullish on the Gainesville-Ocala market.”  Marc Radio says it has no plans to change the format.  General manager Dave Cobb comments, “What’s especially important about this purchase is that it provides our company with yet another signature item on the menu for advertisers to reach the audiences they covet.”…..“Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo has posted a video tribute to late actor and radio personality Jay Thomas, who passed away last week at age 69 of cancer.  See the video here.