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Monday Memo: R.I.P. Bill Balls. “He’s the Central Casting baritone, shouting or growling-through whatever promo copy the station sends.” And consultant Holland Cooke warns that “because radio ratings – and your advertisers’ results – are a memory test, conformity is detrimental to station imaging.” In this week’s column – and now that we’re a Month into the MLB season – HC points to baseball’s unlikeliest success story as a template for freshening station imaging. Read it here.
Pending Business: Drop These Excuses to Earn More. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about two tired old excuses that no seller should be uttering in today’s media landscape. When negotiating rates, are you still arguing with your client using the phrases, “We don’t give it away” and “We have hard costs?” If so, Steve explains why this is dated and is only harming your potential commission. Read more here.
Sarah van Mosel Named EVP of iHeart Audience Network. Digital audio revenue pro Sarah van Mosel is named executive vice president for iHeartMedia’s iHeart Audience Network. She was most recently chief revenue officer at Stitcher, where she led podcast revenue strategy across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher. The iHeart Audience Network is iHM’s new audience-based buying service that provides advertisers with inventory “sourced from the expansive iHeartRadio database and other premium publishers across streaming and podcasting.” In her new role, van Mosel will assist with iAN sales operations, publisher development and podcast slate partnerships and will report to Conal Byrne, CEO of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. Byrne says, “The iHeart Audience Network is the first and only audio marketplace that seamlessly unifies all forms of audio with one common set of audiences, and we’re thrilled Sarah is bringing her expertise, vision and talent to take these unique capabilities to their full potential for advertisers and publishers. She’s been at the forefront of innovation in podcasting from the very beginning and her unique perspective on the rapidly growing medium will ensure this venture becomes the premier service for all brands. The team is looking forward to seeing where she takes iAN next.”
Cumulus Media Ups Brian Philips to Chief Content Officer. Rising to chief content officer for Cumulus Media is Brian Philips, who has been serving the company as EVP of content and audience since 2019. Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Brian Philips is an exceptional executive and the perfect choice to lead our programming efforts as we continue to execute our audio-first strategy, which is transforming the company from a traditional radio broadcaster into a multi-dimensional audio media company. This promotion reflects Brian’s tremendous contributions, and I have full confidence in his creative vision, operational expertise, and savvy leadership to guide us through this critical evolution.”
TALKERS TIP. Excellent Correspondent Available for Interviews from War. News directors and talk show hosts take note. Gregg Stebben, who spent years being interviewed every month by talk stations all over the country as an editor for Men’s Health magazine, is now in Poland and Ukraine as a volunteer doing radio interviews about the Ukraine situation. He’s available to be “Your-Man-in-Poland/Ukraine.” In an interview, he can talk about the situation with refugees in Poland and all over Europe, his personal experiences with Ukrainian refugees, and the mood in Poland and Western Ukraine. Are the Polish overwhelmed by absorbing almost 3 million refugees and/or terrified they might be next on Putin’s list? He can also talk about his trip to the Ukraine border, and what he’s seen and heard in Poland that makes him fear this Russian invasion will turn into a global conflict if Putin is successful in Ukraine. To schedule an interview with him: Gregg@Stebben.com, 843.722.3100 (cell or text).
WBAP, Fort Worth/Dallas Celebrates 100 Years of Service. Fort Worth/Dallas news/talk station WBAP-AM begins celebrating its 100th year of service to the market today (5/2) from its Victory Park studios. Station program director Bruce Collins says, “We begin the celebration today and have exciting things planned throughout the year to celebrate. WBAP has meant so much to the DFW community. It is going to be a fun year.” The celebration was kicked off this morning as the “WBAP Morning News” team featuring Hal Jay and Brian Estridge welcomed back notable contributors, including former on-air talent and executives that “helped WBAP become a trusted leader in Dallas-Fort Worth.” The station plans to continue its centennial celebration with historical audio clips played on the station daily, the launch of a podcast series highlighting the key figures in the station’s 100 years, and a celebration in the fall. WBAP signed on for the first time under the direction of famed Fort Worth businessman Amon G. Carter on Tuesday, May 2, 1922, operating at 10 watts of power. Within the first six months, WBAP established itself as a service to the community, becoming the first station to air livestock market reports and weekly church services. As the station continued to evolve, WBAP would become the first to broadcast a rodeo, air remote broadcasts, and send a war correspondent to Europe in the early days of World War II. Additionally, WBAP was the first station with regularly scheduled newscasts. Today, WBAP operates as a 50,000-watt, clear-channel station operated by Cumulus Media.
Tom Webster to Leave EVP Role with Edison Research. Announced in his “I Hear Things” blog on Friday (4/29), Edison Research SVP Tom Webster will be stepping away from his role with the company next month. He outlines his new professional goals, saying, “…I want to continue to work to establish a podcast industry: a place where established networks and independent podcasters alike have fair access to information, revenue, and opportunity. I think there are some structural issues in podcasting, and some information arbitrage, as well. I want to work on both of these issues, and help to create the sandbox I wish to continue to play in for years to come.” You can read it here.
The Economy, White House Correspondents Dinner, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War/Pelosi Visit, Elon Musk & Twitter, COVID-19, NFL Draft, and Naomi Judd Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The state of the U.S. economy, high gas & food prices, and threats of a recession; Saturday evening’s White House Correspondents Dinner; the primary races leading up to the November mid-term elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Nancy Pelosi’s visit with Volodymyr Zelensky; the controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter; the rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., the debate over masks, and China’s zero-COVID policy; the weekend’s 2022 NFL Draft; and the death of country legend Naomi Judd after a long battle with mental illness were some of the most-talked-about stars on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The 1970s-sounding “Star Wars” type lasers and WHOOSH that still plague sound-alike station imaging now seem as dated as those 1960s TV “Batman” fight-scene graphics: “POW!” And doggedly dodging them all is the Central Casting baritone, shouting or growling-through whatever copy the station sends.
“To stand out, take whatever you think is normal, and do the exact opposite.”
50 years ago, I was an English teacher; and I’ve been assigning reading ever since. And here’s a page-turner that will not only inform your station’s on-air marketing, it may inspire your career.
WIND-AM, Chicago’s Steve Cortes Takes Leave to Work for Trump Campaign. WIND-AM Chicago afternoon drive talk host Steve Cortes is taking leave of his program on the Salem Media Group station to join the Donald Trump re-election campaign as senior advisor of communications. Cortes – who served on the 2016 Trump campaign’s Hispanic Advisory Council in addition to acting as a surrogate for Trump – became the host of the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program in January of this year. Salem Chicago regional vice president and WIND-AM general manager Jeff Reisman says, “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump. Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” In the interim, WIND’s afternoon drive will feature a fill-in host to be announced.
Lotus Broadcasting Announces Re-Brand of KRLV-AM, Las Vegas as ‘Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.’ In partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Lotus Broadcasting reveals that its rock KOMP-FM, Las Vegas “92.3 The Rock Station” will serve as the Raiders’ flagship radio station for play-by-pay and that it is re-launching KRLV-AM as “Raider Nation Radio 920AM.” Beginning August 3, “Raider Nation Radio 920AM” will feature a lineup that includes: “Pritch & Clay” – Mike Pritchard and Clay Baker – in morning drive; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; JT the Brick from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; “Silver & Black Today” with host Scott Gulbransen; and “In the Huddle with Vincent Bonsignore” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Lotus general manager Natalie Marsh says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders and broadcast their games to a sports craved Las Vegas fanbase. Launching ‘Raider Nation Radio 920AM’ will give Raiders and NFL fans unparalleled access to the Raiders and the league as a whole.” Lotus says that with Clay Baker joining Mike Pritchard in morning drive, air personality Tyler Bischoff is moving to the company’s sports talk KWWN “ESPN Las Vegas” alongside longtime Review Journal columnist Ed Graney for mornings.
Entercom Names Danny Freisinger Brand Manager for ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. Sports talk pro Danny Freisinger adds the brand manager role for KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” to his duties with Entercom. Freisinger serves as assistant brand manager for KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” and will continue in that position as well. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “For the last four years, Danny has consistently given ‘95.7 The Game’ listeners a reliable home for premier coverage of their favorite teams and we’re excited to expand his role with ‘ESPN 1320. With a fair amount of Bay Area fans rooted in Sacramento, Danny will lead the way in reshaping how we cover sports in Northern California and better serve fans.”
Nielsen Audio Exits Nine Small Markets. Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it is exiting the radio ratings business in nine small U.S. markets: Battle Creek, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; New Bedford-Fall River, Massachusetts; Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas; Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, Washington; Twin Falls-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Yakima, Washington. The company says in a press statement, “Like most commercial businesses, Nielsen Audio continually reviews the economic viability of doing business in all markets. If the audio marketplace in select markets cannot financially support measurement, we discontinue producing our syndicated market report in those markets. That is just business as usual, the typical expansion and contraction of our rated audio market list, which is the case with these nine markets.”
PPM Analysis: Cume Part 4 – The #1 Club. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps up his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey and the four-part dive into station cume with a review of the outlets that finished tops in cume in their respective markets. In this report you’ll find charts detailing #1 cume stations by market size, #1 cume stations by format, cume rank versus AQH share rank, and more. See it all here.
TALKERS News Notes. Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announces to WXYT-FM, Detroit listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer for the past two years. Mlive.com reports that Samuelsen made the announcement on Monday’s “Jamie & Stoney” program (7/27), telling listeners, “Each morning since my diagnosis, I got up, turned on the radio mic, and got to talk sports. I needed the escape from cancer, just like so many of our listeners who face hardships, grief and illness, too, they turned to us in the morning for some levity in this crazy world. So, I wanted to continue to have fun and not let cancer get in the way of doing what I loved. Connecting with listeners, laughing, teasing Stoney, all of it, it helped me be normal, while continuing to fight this disease.” He added, “It’s a battle. It goes on. I don’t want to make it sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”.…..The Bubba The Love Sponge program adds two new affiliate stations as Birach Broadcasting adds the show to WCXI, Detroit and WWCS, Pittsburgh. The program is based at Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM, Tampa and is syndicated via United Cities Productions…..Gow Media announces that the new SportsMap Radio Network has officially launched with the talent lineup including: Scott Ferrall, Tony Bruno, Jake Asman, Scott Wetzel, Matt Perrault, Anthony Pepe, Gabe Morency, and Eytan Shander. SportsMap program director and Gow Media COO Craig Larson comments, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this exciting endeavor. With a solid infrastructure in place, and led by a dynamic innovator in David Gow, SportsMap Radio is well positioned to be an industry leader for many years to come.”
Skyview Networks’ Virtual Sales Conference Taking Place This Week. The annual sales conference hosted by Skyview Networks is virtual this year and got underway yesterday (7/27). Among the presenters are: Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau; Stacia Deshishku, vice president and general manager of ABC Audio; and Skyview Networks’ CEO Ken Thiele, president and COO Steve Jones, and executive vice president and general manager, Jeanne-Marie Condo. Skyview announced that it will reveal new network partnerships this week “that will expand its business further through the acquisition of the audiences that advertisers desire and, in doing so, create greater financial benefit for its partner networks.”
COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Tests Begin, Fall School Opening Debate, BLM Protests/Federal Troop Deployment, GOP Stimulus Bill, Big Tech CEOs Before Congress, MLB’s Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the first Phase 3 vaccine trial begins the in U.S.; the ongoing debate over whether to and how to open schools this fall; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in various cities and controversy over the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; Senate Republicans announce their new stimulus package – the HEALS Act; Wednesday’s testimony by big tech CEOs before the House Judiciary Committee; and Major League Baseball’s season opens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Premiere Networks-syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” gets its first Canadian affiliate as My Broadcasting Company’s CJMB-FM, Peterborough, Ontario adds the program for morning drive. Host Woody says, “A big thank you to Rob Mise and Jon Pole at MBC Radio for believing in us even after they spent endless hours listening to our show. We have been workshopping some new jokes for our big Canadian debut on ‘FREQ 90.5,’ and we’re confident that we’ll at least get a smirk from five out of 10 of them. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being part of the chaos.”
Nielsen Audio VP of Client Service Brad Kelly to Appear on Talkers New York 2015 ‘State of Radio Ratings’ Panel. Joining the star-packed panel addressing the State of Radio Ratings at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference from Nielsen Audio is vice president of client service Brad Kelly. He’ll discuss how Nielsen has its eye on both terrestrial listening and the ever-evolving digital options. He will also update conference attendees on Nielsen’s improvement programs for its basic ratings service in both PPM and Diary markets. This hour-long panel will be moderated by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity and will analyze the changing relationship between talk radio (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age. It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike. Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including: Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazine which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
Report: CBS Under Pressure to Sell Radio Assets to Cumulus. In a story in The Deal by Chris Nolter, hedge fund Sandell Asset Management Corp is lobbying CBS Corp to divest of its radio station group and merge it with Cumulus Media. Nolter reports that the two companies have been advised to “pursue a reverse Morris Trust merger of their radio businesses. By spinning off the radio stations to shareholders, CBS would divest an asset with a low tax basis without incurring a large bill from the IRS. It could also collect a nearly $900 million dividend.” The story suggests that if CBS’ radio stations merged with Cumulus, they would pull in about $2.4 billion in sales. Nolter writes that executive chairman Sumner Redstone controls 79.6% of CBS Corp’s shareholder vote so any move would require him being on board. Read Nolter’s piece here. CBS has said repeatedly that it likes radio as a cash flow business.
Executive Changes at iHeartMedia as Lakamp to Exit Digital Division; Kaminsky Moves Up and Market Managers Become Presidents. In a company-wide memo, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman announces president of technology and digital ventures Brian Lakamp has left the company in order to pursue “entrepreneurial endeavors.” Pittman thanks Lakamp for his time with the company and credits him for iHeartRadio’s registered user growth as well for some of the sales-related technologies and partnerships Pittman says will “increase the importance of our platforms for our advertising partners and make our sales process more efficient.” Pittman is reconfiguring the technology and digital ventures team with iHeartRadio COO Brian Kaminsky rising to president of programmatic and data operations. Simultaneously, Michele Laven – currently iHeartMedia president of partnerships and local activation – is now the president of business development and partnerships. Finally, the company announces that all market managers are now market presidents.
Adam Kaufman Named WBZ-AM, Boston Morning Sports Anchor. Veteran sports reporter Adam Kaufman is promoted to morning sports anchor for CBS RADIO’s Boston news station WBZ-AM. The company says that Kaufman is “a multi-platform sports journalist for more than a decade” who will continue to be a show host at sister sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and CBS Sports Radio, in addition to being a columnist for Boston.com sports and serve as a regional television anchor on Comcast SportsNet New England. During his career, the Syracuse University grad has worked as the lead play-by-play voice of the Boston College men’s hockey team and spent five years doing radio play-by-play of the Providence Bruins minor league hockey team.
The 8th Annual Hersky Awards Announced. It’s the time of the year when radio sales maven and H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz pronounces what he deems to have been the best in talk radio advertising over the course of the past year. While these “awards” are delivered tongue-in-cheek, the winners are named by Herskovitz as excellent examples of quality and effective talk radio advertising. To find out the winners in the categories of Best National Host Doing a Local Commercial; Best Jingle Spot; Best Live Spot Reader; and Commercial of the Year, click here.
It’s a Tough Job, But Somebody’s Got to Do it. Morning duo Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for a shot with supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio (center) after her guest shot on WFAN, New York to promote tomorrow night’s “Victoria’s Secret Swim Special” airing on the CBS Television Network at 10:00 pm ET. In addition to a bevy of bathing beauties, the show will also feature GRAMMY Award-wining artists Maroon 5 and Juanes.
Obama’s Amnesty Order, Bill O’Reilly Falklands Report Controversy, the FCC’s Net Neutrality Mandate, Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Keystone Pipeline Veto, Continued ISIS Brutality, Feds Choose Not to Charge George Zimmerman, Chris Kyle Trial Conviction, and Ukraine Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). The state of President Obama’s amnesty order; the controversy over Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly’s Falklands War reporting in the early 1980s; the “net neutrality” proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler; the battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security before the Friday deadline; Obama vetoes the resurrected Keystone Pipeline project; the ongoing brutality being perpetuated by ISIS; the Justice Department decides not to prosecute George Zimmerman; Eddie Ray Routh is convicted in the slaying of fellow former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield; and the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and Russia’s involvement.
‘The HopeLine’ with Dawson McAllister Goes into Syndication. Radio pro Dawson McAllister recently returned to Christian on WAY-FM with “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister,” and is now offering clearance of his new show to the general Christian market, focusing on contemporary Christian radio stations. For 17 years Dawson McAllister was heard Sunday nights on more than 300 Christian radio stations with “Dawson McAllister Live,” before transitioning exclusively to top 40/mainstream stations in 2007 in a syndication agreement with Premiere Networks. After years of requests from Christian stations and former listeners for Dawson to return, along with the recent opportunity presented by WAY-FM, he made the decision to launch this new Saturday night show. He comments, “The unique thing about this show is that I have the opportunity to challenge my audience to make a difference in their world by having an impact on the lives of their friends – I love the idea of partnering with teenagers and young adults to change the world one life at a time.” The show is described as “a three-hour, interactive call-in show where 13-29 year olds can call and talk to Dawson about all the issues in their lives. In return, Dawson and his co-host Sarah Lee offer trustworthy Biblically based common-sense advice and encouragement that is truly life-changing. Christian stations wishing to air “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” or CHR stations wishing to air “Dawson McAllister Live” can contact Ike Wingate at Wingate Media at firstname.lastname@example.org.