PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio. Coming off the historically down Holiday survey, almost 80% of news/talk stations on this panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) in the January survey with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.4) and WISN, Milwaukee (+2.2) leading the gains. Comparing January 2018 to January 2019, almost 45% of stations were up (slightly more were down) with Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+2.3) and WLW, Cincinnati (+2.0). CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dropped 2.3 shares from last January to this year but still retains its #1 ranking (6+) in the Atlanta market. Four other news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the January survey: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Monday Memo: ‘Today’s Bonus Question…’ Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about evergreen talk radio topics. He says, “Smart talk radio hosts have always kept an evergreen file, undated call-in topics for use, y’know, back when we had slow news days.” Even though there have not been lot of those lately, Cooke says for hosts who want to break away from Washington topics for a bit he has some thoughts on questions they can throw out to their listeners to start a fun topic, such as, “What’s your gripe about where you work?” See Cooke’s entire Monday Memo here.
Ethan Bearman Leaves KGO. Heavy Hundred talk media rising star Ethan Bearman has informed TALKERS magazine that he and KGO, San Francisco have parted ways. Bearman, known for his youthful view of politics and lifestyles from an independent position, began his career at KSCO, Santa Cruz. He joined Cumulus San Francisco in January of 2014 as a personality at KSFO and moved over to KGO in early 2016 where he was most recently heard live each day between 10:00 am and 12:45 pm with a replay in evenings at 7:00 pm. Bearman, who lives in Southern California and has been studying law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, performed his daily show by remote from the Westwood One studios in Culver City. Bearman tells TALKERS, “I love the Bay Area audience and the folks at KGO have been wonderful, but my home and family are in LA and I always knew that this set up would eventually have to end. I’m excited about receiving my law degree this coming May and moving on with my media career with that extra credential from this location.” In addition to his radio work, Bearman has become a popular go-to commentator on cable news/talk TV and regularly appears as a guest on the Fox News Channel.
Alfred Williams Joining iHeartMedia Denver. Sports talk host Alfred “Big Al” Williams left Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” last week where he was co-host of the market’s highest-rated show with partner Darren McKee to join iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KOA, according to a report by KUSA-TV, Denver. Williams will wait out a non-compete (probably six months) and speculation is that he’ll join Dave Logan and Rick Lewis on the afternoon drive program. In the piece, Williams speaks about how much Bonneville manager Bob Call has meant to his career. His new boss, iHeartMedia region president Tim Hager says, “I’m unbelievably excited about the possibility of having Big Al on our team as a broadcaster, a talent and a man. Right now, I just respect Bob [Call] and Bonneville and everything they have going on as they transition from that great broadcaster and talent and man. Much more to come, but really exciting times.”
iHeartMedia Ups Marc Sherman to Regional SVP of Programming for New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Houston senior vice president of programming Marc Sherman has been promoted to regional senior vice president of programming for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets, that include news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT-AM in New Orleans and news/talk WJBO-AM/K249DV in Baton Rouge. iHeartMedia region president Eddie Martiny says, “I’m excited to expand Marc’s programming expertise to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets. I have had the pleasure of working with Marc for over 15 years and he is not only a brilliant programmer but an excellent leader. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are in good hands.”
Amber Parker Named SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Tuscaloosa. Programming pro Amber Parker moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs where she served in programming and on-air roles to Tuscaloosa where she’s senior vice president of programming for the four-station Tuscaloosa cluster that includes news/talk WRTR-FM “Talk Radio 105.9” and three music outlets. Parker will be responsible for spearheading the programming, promotions, and digital strategies for all four stations and will also host the midday show on country WTXT.
Harvey Wells Named Director of Sales Development and Marketing for GeoBroadcast Solutions. Radio sales and management pro Harvey Wells joins GeoBroadcast Solutions as director of sales development and marketing. In this role, Wells is responsible for the continued roll-out of GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting technology and help introduce its ZoneCasting technology to a broader audience. The company’s press release says MaxxCasting “leverages Single Frequency Network (SFN) architectures to optimize a radio station’s signal strength within its FCC-allocated contour, allowing greater numbers of potential listeners and Nielsen Personal People Meter encoding…ZoneCasting, pending FCC approval, will allow a radio station to divide its signal based on a market’s geography, allowing a radio station on its single frequency to air different news, traffic, weather, public service announcements and advertisements based on where a listener is located.” Wells was most recently general manager for Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois cluster. During his career he also managed CBS RADIO’s Chicago station group.
TALKERS News Notes. In Burlington, Vermont, Vox AM/FM makes changes to the morning show on news/talk WVMT, ousting Pete Belair and Sarah Mitiguy after two months as hosts of the morning show and launches a new program hosted by Burlington City Council president Kurt Wright and local DJ and podcaster Marcus Certa. Belair and Mitiguy took over the morning program after working together at Sison Broadcasting’s CHR WXXX, Burlington. They replaced Charlie Papillo and Ernie Farrar, who retired at the time Vox AM/FM was buying the station from Paul Goldman in late 2018. Seven Days Vt has the story here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on what he’s calling “reality-show premise of an inspired stunt” as most of the talk hosts from Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” will live in a rented house in Mesa, Arizona while covering the Chicago Cubs’ spring training. The hosts – midday’s Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight and pm drive’s Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins (along with PD Mitch Rosen) – will live together in the house with show producers and a video producer. Morning hosts Mike Mulligan and David Haugh are staying in a nearby hotel. Fans can watch for video highlights on the station’s website…..Entercom Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM is presenting the seventh annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes” event being emceed by morning show host Larry Richert on March 26 at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino. Richert will honor five hometown heroes who’ve made contributions to the local community. This year’s honorees are: Joyce Erdner, founder of The DoorWay, an organization that serves those who need a second chance from dealing with abuse, addiction and neglect; Steven D’Achille who, following the loss of his wife to post-partum depression, founded The Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital; Debbie Thackrah, founder and president of Feeding the Spirit, a special non-profit dedicated to nourishing the bodies, minds and spirits of those in need in the Greensburg community; German Township police corporal John Lingo, who stepped into the line of fire and took down a gunman who shot four people in a magistrate’s office; and George O’Donnell, who operates Runs Friends to Friends, an organization bringing kids with and without disabilities together through sports and mentoring.
Trump-Russia Investigation/House Obstruction of Justice Investigation, Trump CPAC Speech, Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Summit, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Deadly Alabama Tornadoes, Leaving Neverland Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related investigation by the U.S. House into possible obstruction of justice by President Trump; the president’s two-hour speech at CPAC; last week’s congressional testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the list of Democrats vying to oppose President Trump in the 2020 election; the tornadoes that ripped through Alabama and taking the lives of at least 23; the controversy over the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland and the legacy of Michael Jackson; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
RadioInfo Review: Australian Artist Michael Burrows Deserves American Radio Attention. Melbourne, Australia-based recording artist Michael Burrows knows a thing or two about life – and his take is laid out beautifully within a custom blend of folk, rock, and country music. Burrows’ music has been described as a fusion of musical genres with hints of artists such as the Beatles, Wilco, Eagles and Ron Sexsmith. From intimate solo shows to full band performances, his songs are deceptively simple about complex things: love, family, home, and trust. The latest single, “Turn This Love Around,” is attracting a lot of attention from music directors and on social media with listeners. It’s a strong melodic tune with lyrics that Ed Sheeran or Jason Mraz would have been proud to have written. It’s a comfortingly familiar track that conjures feelings of a time when things were easier, responsibilities were less, and the vulnerability in Burrows’ voice provides an invitation for the lover and the listener to engage in more – coming back to bed…while tapping their feet and singing along. To check out his latest single please click here. To set up an interview with Michael Burrows, please email Sam Schipman at email@example.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A format flip takes place in the Motor City as iHeartMedia drops alternative on WDTW-FM and goes classic rock as WLLZ-FM “106.7 Detroit’s Wheels.” The station’s core artists are 80s and 90s rock artists: AC/DC, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica,Ozzy Osbourne, and Pearl Jam. The jock lineup features well-known Detroit radio personalities, including Bill McAllister in mornings, Trudi Daniels in middays, Doug Podell in afternoons, and Casey Krukowski in evenings. iHM region president Paul Corvino states, “Detroit’s Wheels is back. The attitude, music, and personalities featured on ‘106.7 Detroit’s Wheels’ is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.”
Industry Mourns Passing of Gary Fries. Former Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Gary Fries has died. Details of his passing are few but current RAB president and CEO Erica Farber issued the following statement about the man who led the organization from 1991 through 2006: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries. Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance. Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing. Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of president emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day. With a large physical presence and a strong personality, he always made his presence known. On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”
Senator Nelson Gets Behind FM Chip Activation. According to a story from WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is serious about pushing the government to require that smart phone manufacturers activate the FM chips in their devices. The story says Nelson is citing the recent hurricanes that hit Florida and the public’s need to get emergency information in his efforts to see that action is taken. Though no legal avenue to force manufacturers to activate the chips has been explained, Nelson wants to get the FCC involved. Currently, Samsung, AT&T and T-mobile are agreeing to activate the chips but Apple has not been interested in conversations about the matter. See the WBBH-TV story here.
CMG Names Two to Market Manager Posts. This week, Cox Media Group named two radio management pros to new market manager positions. Cathy Gunther assumes the market vice president position for the converged Tulsa operations that includes “FOX 23 News,” “My41,” and “MeTV” television stations and radio stations news/talk KRMG “News102.3 AM740,” classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” hot AC KRAV “Mix 96.5,” country KWEN “K95.5,” and Christian contemporary “Spirit 105.7.” She was previously VP/GM for the TV stations. In Jacksonville, Dan Lawrie takes on the market vice president position for the converged cluster that includes: “Action News Jax FOX30” and “CBS47” TV stations and radio stations news/talk WOKV “News 104.5,” urban contemporary W258CN “Hot 99.5,” adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 106.5,” CHR WAPE, classic hits WJGL :The Eagle 96.9,” hip hop W291CI/WJGL-HD2 “Power 106.1,” and alternative rock WXXJ “X102.9.” CMG EVP Bill Hendrich comments, “Both Dan and Cathy are successful media veterans and proven leaders on the Cox Media Group leadership team. We are fortunate to have great leadership within CMG to promote from within for these two new critical roles as we converge our Jacksonville and Tulsa media markets. They will work with our teams in these markets to take our award-winning brands to new heights.”
Ramsey Solutions Event Stops in Indy. Pictured above is Ramsey Solutions personality Chris Hogan on stage at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis last night (9/21). Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money event took place there as Pilgrim Communications news/talk WFDM “Freedom 95” and WXLW “Freedom 950” joined forces with Ramsey Solutions to promote it. Pilgrim Communications VP/GM Randy Tipmore says, “As usual, when Dave Ramsey or one of his team, such as Chris Hogan, comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm goes up as do station sales. ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is the number one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’”
GOP Health Care Bill Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 18-22. The Cassidy-Graham bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation, focusing on Paul Manafort’s role. Coming in at #3 was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the new sanctions placed on the hermit kingdom, followed by President Trump’s Tuesday speech before the UN General Assembly 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is appointed to the program director position for iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KKCW “K103” and classic hits KLTH “106.7 The Eagle” in Portland. La Crosse, who begins his new duties on October 9, was most recently with the company in Los Angeles programming ACs KOST and KHHT. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “Michael’s skillset is a natural match for taking the reins of KKCW and KLTH in Portland. His vast experience in programming for these formats and working with top talent is second to none.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Federated Media classic hits outlet WFWI, Fort Wayne adds Cliff to the program schedule, hosting the afternoon drive show. He also serves the company as production director for the cluster…..Cumulus Media names broadcasting executive Cheryl Salomone to the vice president/market manager position at its for its four-station cluster in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Salomone was most recently serving at Pamal Broadcasting’s White Plains, New York offices as director of NTR and local sales manager for WXPK…..Emmis Communications’ WQHT, New York is bringing its “HOT 97 Summer Jam” back to Tokyo in November for the second year in-a-row. The company is working with Japan’s Avex Entertainment on the concert. Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “We’re thrilled to bring ‘HOT 97’ and ‘Summer Jam’ back to Tokyo as we take the next step in growing these venerable brands for the passionate and growing global hip hop audience. Our collaboration with our partners last year laid the foundation for an even larger event in November and further expansion in the coming years.”
The Occasional RadioInfo New Music Review. RadioInfo music editor Duane Doobie Jr. writes: The group Cold Engines brings together some of the finest musicians on Boston’s north shore. Together, they deftly weave soul, new wave, rock, and dance into an instantly identifiable sound that really drives triple-A playlists. Founder/frontman David Drouin paired with former band mate Aaron Zaroulis after ‘The Brew,’ a long-running band from the Boston area dissolved amicably. Both Drouin and Zaroulis are seasoned indie musicians with previous stages at popular venues of Boston including The House of Blues and The Paradise Rock Club. Additional hand-picked bandmates include Eric Reingold (Jamantics, Black Light Ruckus), a journeyman musician who brings his passion for the thundering bass, and Casey Herlihy (Slipkey, Flake), an award-winning musician whose insane chops on guitar seem to only be matched the spirit of his vocals, and Geoff Pilkington (Soul Rebel Project, Mighty Mystic, and Left Over Wine), brings his infectious grooves with each performance behind the drums and percussion. After exploding on the Northeast scene in 2015, and releasing three records inside of 18 months, the band garnered national attention, playing well over 150-plus shows a year supporting musicians such as Black Keys, Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby, Michael McDonald, moe., and The B-52s. Cold Engines dropped their most ambitions album, Physical Education, this summer setting the bar even higher. The title track has found a place in my ears and should be considered for a place in your station’s playlist. To listen, click here.
Receptionist/Office Manager Opportunity. WDST-FM, Woodstock, New York “Radio Woodstock” is looking for an outgoing, friendly and highly motivated receptionist/office manager who is well-organized with the ability to follow directives and complete projects. Candidates need to be able to multi-task, and assist various departments including the sales team, business manager and promotions manager. Customer service experience is a plus. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office is necessary. Mail cover letter and resume to: Cynthia V. Huggins, WDST-FM, PO Box 367, Woodstock, NY 12498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column originally appeared in RadioInfo.com on October 1, 2009
By Sean Ross
Ross on Radio
TAMPA — For a radio person of a certain age (mid 30s to mid 40s say), Jacor’s launch of “Power Pig” WFLZ Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 25, 1989 and its subsequent battle with WRBQ (Q105) is probably one of the formative events of their broadcast career. Not only was WFLZ a spectacularly successful attack on a heritage incumbent’s fortress, but WRBQ (Q105) became an example of how not to respond: it did nothing at first, then stunned the industry by deciding to engage for young-end listeners. A war of attrition ensued and although Q105 would actually pass WFLZ for a while, Q105’s true resurgence was when it went Country in 1993. Now the station is Oldies/Greatest Hits and invoking some of the legacy that was so damaging in 1988.
Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour Hits Boston. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his 2016 Smart Money tour to the sold-out Lowell Memorial Auditorium last night (9/29). Ramsey and local affiliate WRKO worked to promote the event. Entercom New England VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “The timing of Dave’s visit to Greater Boston could not be better. While many candidates are politicizing the challenges of America’s working middle class, Dave deploys a program of proven techniques and positive motivation that ensures everyone in attendance will come away with an improved outlook on life. I just can’t think of a more uplifting experience to offer WRKO listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): radio consultant Holland Cooke, Ramsey, and Zachary.
AdAge and iHeartRadio Partner for Marketing Podcast. The new program is titled “Tagline” and will be available via the iHeartRadio digital platform and AdAge.com. iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman announced the collaborative effort at an Advertising Week VIP event. A press release says, “‘Tagline’ will give listeners an insider’s perspective on what the world that influences pop culture is really all about. The new podcast series will air twice a month on iHeartRadio and Advertising Age and feature a rotating series of the most talented and entertaining people in the business, tackling everything from the most pressing questions to the most annoying trends. The content and the participants will evolve organically as each episode concludes with this week’s Tagline host tagging the next guests via an unprompted phone call.” AdAge publisher Josh Golden comments, “Every day, people in the marketing community are whispering about what’s happened and what’s next – and now ‘Tagline’ will let people all across the industry listen to those otherwise private conversations. Our audience wants to hear about the real conversations, frustrations, insights and resolutions that happen in the conference rooms late at night and this partnership with iHeart will expose exactly that.” The first season will launch in November and include 24 podcasts and special edition episodes corresponding with select industry events.
Mike Francesa Confirms End of WFAN Show at Contract’s End. Once again, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa has told his listeners that he will be leaving CBS RADIO’s WFAN after his contract ends on December 15 of 2017. This is not the first time he’s addressed the matter but, obviously, things can change. However, according to the New York Daily News, Francesa reiterated that he’ll leave CBS RADIO but that he also promised the station he won’t spend a lot of time talking about it. Where will he go? Sounds like he doesn’t know right now. The Daily News reports he says, “I’m very open to different things. In broad strokes I have been contacted by some broadcast entities about what I would do. I won’t be going to satellite, it’s just not something I want to do. I have a few things that do interest me, that’s not one of them. It has nothing to do with Dog [Chris Russo] being there. I wish Dog well there, I know he signed a new contract, so congratulations on that, but it’s not going to have anything to do with me.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of September 2016 PPM Data. The fourth of four rounds of September 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The September 2016 survey period covered August 11 through September 7. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Cop Shootings and Train Crash Among Top Talk Stories Behind the Presidential Race for Week of September 26-30. Once again, the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week was the presidential race, highlighted by Monday’s debate. At #2 this week was the police killing of a black man in El Cajon, California and the aftermath of the Charlotte shooting and protests. Coming in at #3 was the New Jersey train crash, followed by the Syria civil war and the related U.S.-Russia tensions 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.
The Yappy Tour Rolls On. Former radio talk show producer-turned-author Bernadette Duncan recently brought her “Yappy Tour” to the massive Western Massachusetts audience of classic rocker WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102” by appearing as a guest on the very popular “Bax & O’Brien” morning talk show to discuss her buzz-worthy book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Above, Duncan (c) is pictured with hosts John O’Brien (l) and Mike “Bax” Baxendale (r). Duncan’s national “Yappy Tour” will roll on through the remainder of the year. She has already appeared on more than 25 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.