WABC’s McGuirk Tribute Airs Today. The day-long remembrance of Bernie McGuirk on Red Apple Media New York news/talk WABC-AM & WLIR-FM “77 Talk Radio” began at 6:00 this morning (Wednesday, 10/12). The 65-year-old McGuirk passed away last Wednesday (10/5) from prostate cancer. For the past four and a half years, he and Sid Rosenberg co-hosted “Bernie & Sid in the Morning.” According to Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis, who purchased WABC two years ago, “We are airing this all-day tribute to honor our friend and colleague, who loved New York, radio, and his listeners. We’ll have the opportunity to bid farewell to a wonderful man who reached WABC radio listeners around the world every morning with his unique take on the news.” Red Apple Media/WABC radio president Chad Lopez notes, “Bernie’s observations and analysis of world and local news and politics were not only insightful – they were authentic. His brilliant mind, combined with that New York attitude, [gave] listeners what they wanted – the truth; we will miss him.” News anchor/air personality Charles McCord worked with McGuirk during their years together on “(Don) Imus in the Morning” and will appear this morning in the 9:00 hour. Among others scheduled to be part of the tribute are: New York City mayor Eric Adams; comedian/longtime “Imus” cast member Rob Bartlett; sports talk host Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo; former “Imus In The Morning” sports personality Warner Wolf; NBA play-by-play announcer Mike Breen; actor/author Chazz Palminteri; Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean; and WABC host Bill O’Reilly. McGuirk joined WABC in 2007 as “Imus in the Morning” producer/on-air contributor. He’d previously been with Imus at New York’s WNBC and WFAN. In 2016, WABC teamed McGuirk and Rosenberg in mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon), before boosting them to morning drive. Rosenberg reflected on McGuirk with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. Listen to their conversation by clicking here.
Round Four of August PPMs Released. The fourth round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for Austin; Raleigh; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Nashville; Providence; Norfolk; Jacksonville; West Palm Beach; Greensboro; Memphis; and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. Three news/talk outlets are included in West Palm Beach’s top twenty (6+). A four-tenths improvement from August 2022 by iHeartMedia’s WZZR (1.8 – 2.2, 6+) coupled with co-owned WJNO’s half-share dip (1.8 – 1.3, 6+) results in “92.1 Real Radio” (ninth to eighth) overtaking “News Radio 1290” (#9 to #11). Also in that Florida market’s mix is Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850,” which drops two-tenths (1.1 – .9, #13 to #14, 6+). Although they only yield a combined 5.0 (6+), four Hartford news/talk stations crack the top twenty. Leading that group is Audacy’s WTIC-AM, although “News Talk 1080” logs a full-share deficit from August (4.6 – 3.6, 6+), slipping from eighth to ninth; its internet stream is unchanged in share and market rank (.2 and #20, respectively). Meanwhile, Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” picks up two-tenths (.8 – 1.0, #15 to #14, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM,” which had been unlisted since April, resurfaces with a .2, (#20, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets (as well as the first three groups) here.
Charges Dropped Against Subject Of “Serial” Podcast. Baltimore prosecutors yesterday (Tuesday, 10/11) dropped charges against Adnan Syed in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee, a case that was chronicled in the first season of the podcast “Serial.” Laura Nirider, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, tweeted, “After the latest round of DNA testing generated results that, like previous rounds of testing, excluded Adnan Syed, he has now been formally exonerated.” A Baltimore judge last month overturned Syed’s murder conviction and ordered him released from prison, where the 41-year-old had spent more than two decades. Circuit judge Melissa Phinn gave prosecutors 30 days in which to decide whether to retry Syed or drop the charges. Syed captured the attention of millions in 2014 when the debut season of “Serial” focused on the case and raised doubts about some of the evidence, including cellphone tower data. Syed served more than 20 years in prison for strangling the 18-year-old Lee. Her body was found weeks later buried in a Baltimore park. More than a decade later, “Serial” revealed little-known evidence and attracted millions of listeners, shattering podcast-streaming and downloading records. Prosecutors failed to tell Syed’s defense attorneys about evidence that would have allowed him to defend himself, including details that established two other people had threatened Lee’s life. In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, said that recently tested DNA completely exculpated Syed from the crime. She declined to say if any other known suspects may be implicated in the recent DNA testing, saying that the investigation is ongoing.
TALKERS News Notes. Effective next Monday (10/17), Jeff Rowe will join Southern California Public Radio Pasadena-Los Angeles news/talk KPCC and LAist as vice president/programming. Southern California Public Radio chief content officer Kristen Muller comments, “As we reach more audiences, we need to rethink the way we program across multiple platforms. Jeff brings an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset – these are critical skills that will be a huge asset.” Co-founder of Okanjo and Zap2it, Rowe has worked at AOL; Journal Communications; Tribune Media; NBC; and VH1. … Three-year KDWN “The Talk of Las Vegas” program director Steve Hoffman exits the Beasley Media Group news/talk station. … College Station, Texas news/talk WTAW celebrated its 100th anniversary last Friday (10/7). The Bryan Broadcasting-owned outlet began as experimental station 5XB in 1914 and was officially licensed as WTAW by the Commerce Department in 1922. Vice president/general manager Ben Downs comments, “When we followed the [Rush] Limbaugh wave into talk in 1989, it was a great day for the station. We still control the 25+ demos, which isn’t bad for a 100-year-old station – even though we don’t look a day over 70.” … Attorney/Corporation For Public Broadcasting board chair Bruce Ramer will be honored tonight (Wednesday, 10/12) with CPB’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” CPB president/chief executive officer Patricia Harrison notes, “Bruce Ramer’s award is in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and guidance given to CPB over the nearly 14 years of his service. He led CPB’s support for innovation, interconnection, infrastructure, and access to content over many platforms. [Bruce] was committed to strengthening local, national, and international public media journalism and editorial integrity. On a meaningful level, he always advanced diversity and inclusion personally and professionally.” CPB vice chair Laura Gore Ross adds, “Bruce’s leadership has strengthened CPB and public media when we needed it most. On his watch, CPB was able to distribute $75 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding and $175 million in CARES Act stabilization funding to public media stations. He has provided wise counsel through thick and thin that’s been felt by all.”
SiriusXM To Open Miami Broadcast Center. Scheduled for completion in 2023, the Miami Broadcast Center venue will feature several radio and recording studios, a 50-seat performance space, as well as office space. SiriusXM president/chief content officer Scott Greenstein notes, “We are excited to open our Miami broadcast complex and deepen our ties in such a multicultural and entertainment-rich city. Our Miami facility will feature a world-class performance space for our special events. Its artist-first recording studios will be a destination for major stars and emerging personalities to connect with listeners.” SiriusXM’s other facilities include its New York Rockefeller Center headquarters; West Hollywood studios; and studios/offices in Washington, DC and Nashville.
New York All-Newser WINS An FM Signal. Beginning two weeks from this Thursday (10/27), Audacy New York’s WINS “1010 – All News/All The Time” will begin simulcasting on 92.3, a frequency currently occupied by alternative WNYL “Alt 92.3.” At the same time, WINS’ longtime brand manager Ben Mevorach is boosted to vice president of New York news, overseeing WINS and co-owned/similarly-formatted WCBS-AM “News Radio 880”; Ivan Lee is promoted to brand manager of both stations. As noted here yesterday (TALKERS, Monday, 10/10) WCBS-AM news director/brand manager Tim Scheld indicated in a staff memo that he’d be exiting the all-news outlet before the end of the year. A new agreement with SAG-AFTRA will allow cross-utilization of anchors and reporters for WINS and WCBS-AM. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero comments, “At a time when quality journalism and local reporting is so critical, it was the ideal moment to make a strong investment in our news creation and distribution capabilities. Audacy New York’s news organization, anchored by both WINS and [WCBS-AM], is the premier audio news outlet in the city. Now more than ever, we remain committed to serving our audiences as we have done so for over the last 50 years.” Mevorach states, “We are standing at the edge of an exciting new era for news in New York for our team, advertisers, and – most importantly – our listeners. [WINS and WCBS-AM] will be in more places, covering more stories, creating more original content, expanding our digital footprint, and now offering listeners a crystal-clear FM audio experience. Both brands will retain their distinct identities but will now harness resources with the single mission of better serving our communities and reaching the next generation of news consumers.” Mevorach began his career in Boston as a magazine writer/editor for The Library Scene. Lee previously was operations manager at Talk America, which rebranded to Liberty Broadcasting; became WCBS-AM’s operations coordinator in 2004; WINS’ news editor in 2010; and was promoted to assistant news director in 2012. From November 1985 – December 2005, WXRK (now WNYL) was Howard Stern’s flagship station. The station flipped from CHR “Amp Radio” to alternative in February 2017. Recording its third consecutive down trend (1.6 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.2, 6+), WNYL ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep. WINS (3.0, 6+) and WCBS-AM (2.9, 6+) rank #11 and #13, respectively.
Round Four of August PPMs Released. The fourth round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for Austin; Raleigh; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Nashville; and Providence. Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. News/talk is again #1 and #2 in Milwaukee – but – with a +1.1 from August (8.9 – 10.0, 6+), Good Karma Brands-owned WTMJ “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” advances from second to first, while iHeartMedia’s WISN “News Talk 1130” drops seven-tenths (10.3 – 9.6, 6+) and shifts from first to second. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” notches a +1.5 (7.3 – 8.8, 6+), progressing from third to first. Simultaneously with Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” gaining seven-tenths (4.8 – 5.5, seventh to sixth, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” dips eight-tenths (1.2 – .4, #15 to #16, 6+). Not only does Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX vault from #13 to #5, “104.5 The Zone” ties Columbus’ similarly-formatted WBNS-FM for the largest (6+) August 2022 – September 2022 increase of any station from the 42 PPM-markets analyzed thus far (3.5 – 6.1, +2.6). In Austin, Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” posts a +1.1 from August (1.4 – 2.5, 6+), inching up from #19 to #16. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets (as well as the first three groups) here. His overviews of Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford will appear tomorrow.
iHM WPB, Florida Panthers Announce Broadcast Agreement. The pact between iHeartMedia West Palm Beach and the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers is effective through the 2024 – 2025 season. As part of the deal, Florida Panthers games will be aired on sports gambling-formatted WBZT “Sports Radio 1230 The Gambler.” iHeartMedia market president Mark McCauley states, “We’re excited to partner with the Florida Panthers and provide listeners great play-by-play action on ‘1230 The Gambler.’” Meanwhile, Panthers chief revenue officer Shawn Thornton adds, “We’re excited for iHeartMedia West Palm Beach to join the Florida Panthers radio network. With the refresh of their sports radio station ‘1230 The Gambler’ this past summer, we look forward to working with the leading audio media company in America to broadcast Panthers games to our fans in Palm Beach County.” In addition to Panthers play-by-play coverage, WBZT will air a one-hour Florida Panthers weekend show. The eight-station iHeartMedia West Palm Beach cluster includes WBZT, news/talk WJNO “News Radio 1290,” and news/talk WZZR “92.1 Real Radio.”
“The Book of Joe” Podcast Debuts. In their iHeartMedia/Fox Sports Radio “Book of Joe” podcast, three-time MLB “Manager of the Year” Joe Maddon and three-time “Sportswriter of the Year” Tom Verducci provide insight, commentary and discussion on the MLB postseason. According to Maddon, “We are here to tell you what we think, not what we’ve heard. No regurgitation and original thoughts are valued.” Maddon managed in the big leagues for 19 years. He famously led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years and the Tampa Bay Rays to their first-ever World Series. Five-time Emmy Award winner Verducci is the lead baseball writer for Sports Illustrated; lead analyst/reporter for MLB Network and Fox Sports; and a member of the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. He comments, “Like its namesake [forthcoming] book, the podcast will be full of surprises and insight. From game strategy to baseball history to leadership lessons – and maybe to some rock & roll and classic cars – we’ll cover more ground than a gold glove shortstop on the most illuminating and interesting podcast in baseball.” The podcast launched yesterday (Monday, 10/10) and will air through the World Series.
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow at 7:00 pm (Wednesday, 10/12), Hearst Television Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM” (and sister NBC affiliate WBAL-TV) will air a Maryland gubernatorial debate between Democrat Wes Moore and Republican Dan Cox. WBAL president/general manager Dan Joerres comments, “The production and broadcast of this debate on both WBAL ‘News Radio’ and WBAL-TV is an important part of our ‘Commitment 2022’ political coverage. Putting all of our broadcast and digital sources to work to bring voters across the state this gubernatorial debate is a major part of our continuing effort to help them make informed decisions on election day. The debate will be moderated by WBAL-TV anchor Jason Newton. … The first episode of ESPN’s “The CJ McCollum Show” was posted last Thursday (10/6). The guard of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans had teammate Brandon Ingram as the inaugural guest on the podcast, which will post episodes each Thursday. McCollum formerly hosted Cadence 13’s “Pull Up With CJ McCollum.” … Elsewhere in NBA-themed podcasts, Jam Street Media introduces 15-year-old Sloane Weinstein hosting the bi-weekly “Sloane Knows.” She’ll interview some of the NBA’s biggest names, including the Boston Celtics’ newly-signed Blake Griffin; free agent Dwight Howard; and former NBA players Richard Jefferson and Baron Davis.
Supreme Court Sides With KQED On Prop 8 Trial Video Release. The ruling concludes a 12-year effort by a media coalition guided by San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED that paved the way for the release of videotapes from the 2009 – 2010 Prop 8 trial, leading to legalization of same-sex marriage in California. Proposition 8 passed in 2008 and banned same-sex marriage in the state. The subsequent trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, questioned whether Prop. 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in favor of the right to same-sex marriage, but said at the time that videotapes of the trial would remain sealed for 10 years. KQED “Political Breakdown” podcast co-host Scott Shafer spearheaded the effort to make the tapes public. Shafer states, “As someone who sat through the entire Prop. 8 trial, I witnessed some very dramatic and moving testimony, as well as riveting cross-examinations. I’m glad others will now get to view this important part of the historical record.” KQED chief content officer Holly Kernan notes, “If our systems work behind closed doors, with no press or public access, we have no idea how decisions are made, nor what arguments are leading to these decisions. KQED wants more sunlight on our legal system, and we will fight on behalf of the public to get that access.”
Peter Boyles to Host Weekend Show on KNUS, Denver. Longtime Denver talk radio personality Peter Boyles is returning to Salem Media Group’s news/talk 710 KNUS to host a Saturday program airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, effective September 10. Boyles has been serving as morning drive host and recently announced his retirement from that full-time position. Last week, Salem announced that former Colorado district attorney and current Denver Post columnist George Brauchler has assumed daily morning show duties. Station operations manager Kelly Michaels says, “Pete is a Denver radio legend and we are blessed to have him back sharing his unique take on the issues of the day.” As part of the lineup change, Randy Corporon’s weekly program moves to Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. During his career, Boyles has served with numerous Denver radio stations including: KAAT, KLAK, KWBZ, KYBG, KHOW, and KOA.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Morning Personality Michelle Smallmon to Exit for ESPN Opportunity. The Hubbard Radio sports talk station posts on its website the news that WXOS-FM, St. Louis morning drive co-host Michelle Smallmon will leave the “Karraker & Smallmon” program after this Friday’s show to join ESPN as overnight “SportsCenter” anchor for ESPN Radio. Earlier in her career, Smallmon served with WXOS as producer of “The Fast Lane” program that included her current broadcast partner Randy Karraker before she left to join ESPN the first time around. She rejoined WXOS in May of 2020.
Leon Williamson Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Indy. Broadcast marketing pro Leon Williamson is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis cluster that includes WNDE “FOX Sports 1260,” WOLT-HD2/W248AW “Business News 97.5,” and three music brands. Williamson transitions to this position from iHeartMedia’s Miami operations. iHeartMedia Indianapolis market manager Kristy Beebe says, “We are so excited to welcome Leon to iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Leon’s unique skill set and passion to lead our sales team is what we’re most excited about. His familiarity of our brands and products, along with the experience he brings from different sectors will be a tremendous addition to our Indianapolis team.” Williamson has also served with Urban One in St. Louis and Cox Media Group in Miami. He comments, “I am extremely excited to lead the Indianapolis team with both my professional and personal skills. I look forward to creating a legacy and blazing a trail for young professionals in media that share my experience.”
Michael Burger Promoted to Market President for iHeartMedia Raleigh. Radio sales and management pro Michael Burger is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Raleigh station group that includes news/talk WTKK-FM and five music brands. Burger was most recently serving as SVP of sales for the cluster. iHeartMedia division president Tom McConnell states, “Michael is a strong natural leader with high business acumen. He has introduced new strategic changes and created synergies between our content creators and revenue drivers that have helped fuel the overall performance for the market.” Burger comments, “I am beyond appreciative and grateful to be trusted with this opportunity. As Raleigh continues to grow, expand and flourish, I look to the future with excitement, encouragement and promise. iHeartMedia Raleigh has established itself as a fierce competitor in the market. We have positioned ourselves incredibly to not only be a destination source for entertainment, music, events, social media, and audio, but to help our clients tell their stories in a creative way that helps them achieve new heights.”
WWO AAG Blog: Performance Marketing Versus Creating Future Demand. This week’s Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog addresses the difference between the “buy now” marketing strategy versus one that seeks to “create future demand.” Some of the research-based findings in this study include: For the automobile category, only 3% are in-market for a new vehicle and consequently, sales event ads only work on the small group who are ready to buy. But looking ahead two years, 24% will purchase a vehicle in that time span and therefore advertisers who focus on creating future demand will have access to a much larger pool of potential customers. The report says, “When a business consistently uses brand building to create future demand and sales events to convert existing demand, great things happen.” It posits that the ideal budget mix is 40% for sales events and 60% to create future demand via brand building. Read the blog here.
KWTO, Springfield, Missouri Unveils ‘Uncommon Sense with Cass’ Program. A new weekend program will debut on Zimmer Midwest Communications’ news/talk KWTO-AM/K227AO, Springfield, Missouri called “Uncommon Sense with Cass,” hosted by Cass Bowen. The show launches on September 3 and airs Saturdays at 10:00 am. Zimmer says the show “will cover politics, culture, and social issues through a Christian conservative lens, and will feature a diverse group of guest interviews from politicians, local special interest groups, cultural commentators, and more.” Bowen serves with the station on the KWTO morning drive program as executive producer and air personality.
TALKERS News Notes. The content staff at Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp – operator of public news/talk WESA-FM and independent music station WYEP-FM announce their intention to form a union with SAG-AFTRA. The bargaining unit includes hosts and disc jockeys, reporters, editors, producers, and others. The group states, “We will approach this process in the spirit of collaboration and professionalism and urge PCBC leadership to do the same by voluntarily recognizing the union and begin bargaining in good faith with us. As a union town, Pittsburgh’s public radio stations should be union shops.” The bargaining unit says its goals are securing livable, equitable wages for staff, and improving the company’s approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. The union also seeks to create a more supportive and transparent workplace to help strengthen PCBC as an organization…..Community Communications’ public radio outlets WMFE, Orlando and WMFV, Cedar Creek, Florida announce they are launching a revamped version of the weekly arts, culture and entertainment segment “Spotlight” on Septempber 1. The segment, hosted by WMFE’s “All Things Considered” host, Nicole Darden Creston, will air at 4:45 pm on Thursdays. “Spotlight” will relaunch as both a four-minute radio segment and an extended podcast. The segment explores Central Florida’s arts scene from a unique perspective and amplifies voices not often heard. “Spotlight” will also share performances from creators of all stripes.
Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, FBI Raid/Documents Investigation, Biden Student Loan Plan, Russia-Ukraine War, Immigration, Musk vs Twitter, Droughts & Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the investigation into classified documents; criticism of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; migrant troubles at the U.S.-Mexico border; Elon Musk’s battle against Twitter to back out of his $44 billion acquisition of the company; the droughts and floods affecting life in America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.