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Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; 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; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

| June 2, 2020

KFI, Los Angeles Front and Center in Coverage of Chaos. Los Angeles is another American city in which authorities are trying to quell civil unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. KFI, Los Angeles – which, on the strength of a 5.5 share in Nielsen’s April PPM survey, shot to #1 in the market – has been front and center in covering the story. Program director Robin Bertolucci tells TALKERS that KFI “was and will continue to be wall-to-wall on this story. KFI’s news team, led by Chris Little, was all over this, covering the protests and the ensuing chaos. One of our reporters, Kris Ankarlo, was so close to the action in the Fairfax district that his tires were slashed. In addition to covering it for KFI, we covered it with updates all weekend long for all of our iHeartMedia LA stations.” Bertolucci shared with TALKERS the content of a memo to all staffers sent Sunday. “I want to remind everyone that as this situation unfolds, we are in NEWS mode. This goes for all shows, news or talk. This is the time to tell people what’s happening and explain all the sides of the story. This is a dynamic situation and we need to cover it clearly, first and foremost. We should try to refrain from drawing grand conclusions, making pronouncements or adding to the overall tension and confusion. The tone is INFORMATION and CLARITY. There are many different factions at play in this story… business owners, antifa, police, looters, the national guard, and let’s not forget the original focus of this… the protest about race and police brutality that launched this moment in history. This has become something very different and awful, but we need to stop talking about this as if it’s an us/them situation. We are all part of the same community and we need to find a way to talk about what is going on. Let’s get the whole story and let’s talk to different members of our community. No, I’m not condoning any bit of this horror show but I am asking us not to simplify this, not to paint everyone with the same broad brush and to find the nuances and tell the stories.”

WSB, Atlanta’s Drew Anderssen: Proud of WSB and CMG News/Talkers. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m very proud of the work that WSB and frankly all of our Cox Media Group news/talk stations have done in response to local market protests. In Atlanta specifically, our 95.5 WSB news center was staffed around the clock and we aired wall-to-wall coverage of the protests throughout the weekend. ‘The Show’ with Shelley Wynter and Malanikai, which features a predominantly black cast, were integrated into our news coverage and helped facilitate conversations about how we move forward each night as a community while protests continue. We added 22 hours of local programming this weekend focused on the impact of George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement, featuring talk with prominent Atlanta leaders in government, civil rights, entertainment, and faith. We continue to monitor the developments of the historic protests happening across the country and are making real-time decisions on adjusting programming to meet the needs of our listeners and to serve our community.”

KPCC, Pasadena Reporter Shot with Rubber Bullet. As reported by LARadio.com, KPCC-FM, Pasadena reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was shot in the throat (at right) by a Long Beach police officer. LARadio.com notes that the law allows reporters access to protests in order for them to do their jobs and KPCC had “confirmed with officials from L.A. County and the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica that journalists were among those exempt from the curfew.” Guzman-Lopez tweeted that he’d just finished interviewing a man with his iPhone when he saw a police officer take aim and shoot. He tweeted, “The rubber bullet hit stings like a mf, and is starting to hurt, talked to doctor friends, said if not having trouble breathing then ok. Going home.” He later tweeted that an ER doctor confirmed no damage to his windpipe.

New York Landmark Boarded Up. In New York City, WABC talk host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS he’s been “leading the Guardian Angels patrols at night to stop the looting in Soho and return in the morning to broadcast on WABC about what I just experienced hours before.” The photo above is a still from video Sliwa shot of the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square – all boarded up. Sliwa adds, “The NYPD seems unable to address these safety issues.  So, the Guardian Angels have stepped in and are now patrolling these hot spot areas around the clock. It is uncertain how long the mayhem will last but we are in it for the long haul. We have been here since 1979 and we don’t intend on going anywhere.” You can see Sliwa’s eerie video of the Macy’s storefront here.

Rush Limbaugh and ‘The Breakfast Club’ Air Conversation About Race. In a first for the Premiere Networks personalities, conservative talk star Rush Limbaugh and “The Breakfast Club” hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God had a 30-minute conversation about race relations in America that aired on both of their programs. The point of contention between Limbaugh and the “Breakfast Club” cast was the issue of white privilege. During the conversation Limbaugh said he doesn’t believe in the concept of white privilege, calling it a “construct of today’s Democratic Party.” Charlamagne called Limbaugh “delusional” for his stance on the matter. You can hear the exchange here.

Dimes Media Launches ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ in San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo market has a new news/talk station as Dimes Media unveils “K-NEWS 98.5 The Power of Information” on KWWV-HD2/K253BR. Dimes Media president and CEO Eric D. Fahnoe says, “‘K-NEWS 98.5’ now provides San Luis Obispo county residents with a voice and perspective they didn’t have before. We look forward to enhancing the diversity and dialogue regarding issues ranging from local to national which our resident’s face daily. The importance of hearing and considering other perspectives cannot be overstated during these current times. Our culture will best evolve and compromise through informed discussions and we look forward to ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ contribution to the conversation every day.” The station’s weekday lineup includes: “The Armstrong & Getty Show,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Savage Nation with Michael Savage,” “The Andy Caldwell Show,” “The Larry Elder Show,” “The Dennis Prager Show,” “Red Eye Radio” and “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Weekend programs include: “Handel on the Law,” “Free Talk Live,” “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” “Townhall Review,” “Meet the Press,” “Armed American,” and “The Christian Outlook.”

George Floyd Protests, Trump vs Governors/Military Threat, Trump Church Visit, Facebook ‘Walkout,’ COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, and Limbaugh-Breakfast Club Conversation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The ongoing violence and looting accompanying the protests over George Floyd’s death; President Trump calls U.S. governors “weak” for failure to stop protests and threatens the call in the U.S. military; Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC; Facebook employees stage a virtual “walkout” over Trump posts; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; and the radio conversation between Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and the syndicator’s “Breakfast Club” hosts were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3.7%. Reporting its financial data from the first quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $58.3 million, down 3.7% from the same period in 2019. After reporting net income of $322,000 in Q1 of 2019, Salem reports a loss of $55.2 million this year. Breaking down the company by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.0% to $45.2 million. Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 0.6% to $44.3 million. Digital had a tough quarter, dropping 11.1% to $9.1 million.  Speaking during Monday’s investor conference call about the company’s strategy for surviving the economic impact of COVID-19, CEO Ed Atsinger said, “First of all, we’ve reduced discretionary spending such as travel and entertainment, which of course has been easy so far. We’ve eliminated open positions, we’ve instituted a hiring freeze, we’ve made request for discounts or forbearance from vendors and landlords, and we laid off and furloughed about 10% of our employees. We have limited capital expenditures to emergency expenses only, we suspended the quarterly dividend, we suspended the 401(k) match, and we’ve taken advantage of the ability of deferred payroll taxes of approximately 3.6 million under the CARES Act, and we’ve reduced base salary for every employee with salary cuts ranging from between 5% and 10% depending upon the salary levels.” Company EVP and CFO Evan Masyr says the company will not be offering Q2 guidance but delivered some April data. “April revenue is down 24%. I’ll break that decline down in a little bit more detail. Broadcast revenue in total declined 24%; local spot advertising was down 49% and national spot advertising was down 38%; local programs were down 26% while national programs were down 2%; local digital revenue was up 30%; national digital revenue declined 11% and publishing revenue declined 45%; and in May, revenue was down just around 23%.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the whole conference call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. KXTV-TV, Sacramento reports that KHTK-AM, Sacramento sports talk host and Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear has been placed on leave by station owner Bonneville after a Twitter exchange with former King’s player Doug Christie in which Napear said, “all lives matter.” The Sacramento Kings issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident with broadcast partners KHTK and NBC Sports California…..This Thursday (6/4), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of COVID-19-related Town Hall broadcasts. This edition is titled, “NJ Back to Business.” The station says, “Even as more New Jersey businesses are permitted to reopen, the road to economic recovery will be long. With unemployment at record levels and the state facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit due to lagging tax collections, critical decisions will be made in the months ahead that will determine how quickly businesses will recover, or if they will recover at all.” Vice president, senior political director and director of special projects Eric Scott leads the discussion with New Jersey State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. LARadio.com reports that Muerelo Media has let a number of staffers go from classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles. Frosty Stillwell – who had been on furlough from the Frosty, Heidi & Frank morning show – is let go permanently. Joining him are afternoon drive host Gary Moore, as well as Jim ‘JD’ Daniels, Steve Jones, Frazer Smith, and Greg Beharrell.…..On-air pro Matt Ryan – assistant brand manager and afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJLK, Asbury Park, New Jersey “94.3 The Point” is named host of “Pop Crush Nights.” He takes over for Lisa Paige. He’ll continue his role with WJLK.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

| April 23, 2019

Entercom Files with SEC to Announce $300 Million Refinance. In the filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Entercom announces that subsidiary Entercom Media Corp. – the former CBS RADIO stations – is offering $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company says it will use the net proceeds from the offering, cash on hand, and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.  Also contained in the filing is preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2019.  It reports net income should be between $1.3 million and $5.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between $41.7 million and $43.7 million.  Entercom also says pacings for the second quarter of 2019 are up by more than 4% as of April 18, 2019 compared to the same period in the second quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the company completed asset sales that generated $24.5 million in net cash proceeds. It used the proceeds, along with existing cash on hand, to repay $180 million in borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

New Myrtle Beach News/Talk Station to Launch on May 6. The station that is currently
adult contemporary WYEZ “94.5 The Tide” is flipping to news/talk with new calls WTKN as “Talk 94.5′ on May 6. The Byrne Acquisition Group station is bringing market radio personality Liz Callaway – formerly with Dick Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WRNN-FM – to host the morning show.  The rest of the lineup will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck; Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder; and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro and the overnight “Red Eye Radio” show.

KKFN, Denver Names Nick Ferguson Host of Late Morning Show. On-air changes are taking place at Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The late morning “Pritchard and Cecil” show is giving way to a new show hosted by former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson.  “The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will feature current on-air staffer John Davis as co-host.  Meanwhile, Cecil Lammey will remain with the station as digital talent in which he’ll focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and the station’s social media platforms.  Mike Pritchard will continue as a fill-in host, allowing him to focus on his own small business.  KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with.  In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp.  He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice.  Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Rush Limbaugh Show’s George Prayias. Digital pro George Prayias is promoted to vice president of digital for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  Prayias is based in New York where he reports to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She comments, “This is a well-deserved promotion.  George has been a valuable member of ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ team for nearly 20 years.  His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush’s digital business and helping maintain the award-wining program’s industry-leading status.”  The company says Prayias started his career with Premiere in 2000 when he conceived and launched the original website for the program.  Prior to joining Premiere, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel.  He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show.”

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo Inks Extension with SiriusXM. Sports media personality Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo signs a new, four-year deal with SiriusXM to continue leading his Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on the satellite radio service.  He hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed” each weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Russo’s show is also available to Pandora subscribers as a podcast.  Russo says, “Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”

Entercom Promotes Stacey Schulze to GSM for Greenville Station Group. Sales pro Stacey Schulze is being promoted to general sales manager for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD,” sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music radio stations.  She was most recently digital sales manager for the cluster. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Stacey has done a tremendous job with our digital products and is an invaluable resource to our team and customers to navigate the sophisticated and fast-changing digital space effectively.  In her expanded role, she’ll also work with our team and customers with RADIO.COM, our seven radio brands, play-by-play sports and all digital products.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City traffic reporter Jeff McKay announces he’s taking a new position with Westwood One News and will be relocating to Washington, DC. McKay posts on Facebook that he’ll be leaving his WINS, New York-based traffic reporting gig for DC next month.…..FOX Sports Radio says a new baseball podcast titled “”Inside the (Rob) Parker” – hosted by Rob Parker – will debut on The Herd Podcast Network.  Parker says, “Baseball is my first love, my true sports passion. If you think I have hot takes on the NFL and the NBA, wait until you hear them about the national pastime. For sure, it will be fun and informative.”  Parker continues co-hosting FOX Sports Radio’s 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard” that airs on close to 340 affiliate stations…..SiriusXM is providing subscribers with comprehensive coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from Nashville, beginning with the first round on Thursday through the final round on Saturday.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature: Gil Brandt, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former longtime player personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys; Pat Kirwan, former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive; Jim Miller, former veteran NFL quarterback; Rick Neuheisel, former NFL quarterback and veteran coach; and Jason Horowitz, lead host for SiriusXM’s draft coverage.

Mueller Report Released/Impeachment Chatter, Trump Tax Returns Issue, 2020 Presidential Politics, Southern Border Crisis/New Mexico Militia, Iranian Oil Sanctions, Sri Lanka Bombings, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The release of the redacted Mueller Report and talk amongst Democrats of impeaching President Trump; the congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns and his suit to avoid being forced to comply; the 2020 presidential candidates and their policy proposals; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border and New Mexico militia detaining migrants; the U.S. imposes sanctions on nations buying Iranian oil; the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia announces that Khary Sharpe is named general sales manager for hip hop WUSL-FM “Power 99” and urban contemporary WDAS-FM.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP of sales Jeff Moore says, “I am thrilled to add Khary to our growing team.  Khary is someone that I’ve admired in the market for a long time and his extensive knowledge of the industry and ability to create and grow relationships with our advertisers on the client level as well as internally will contribute to the work we’re doing in creating a great culture here at iHeartMedia Philly.”  Sharpe joined iHeartMedia from Entercom where he most recently served as the digital sales specialist for WOGL, WBEB and WTDY…..Lincoln, Nebraska morning personality Matt McKay, a.k.a. Matthew Rydberg, is on leave from Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX-FM after being charged with domestic violence as the result of an incident that took place on Saturday (4/20).  The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that Rydberg is being charged with felony strangulation.  According to the Journal Star, “police went to Rydberg’s home on a report of a domestic assault witnessed by two children.  A 46-year-old woman reported she went to sleep in her children’s room after an argument with her husband, who had been drinking, when he became angry… the woman told police Rydberg pushed on her neck and she couldn’t breathe, pushed her face, bit her nose and shoved her.”  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade confirmed Rydberg is on leave from the radio station…..Westwood One says recent ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter – Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Janson – will host Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick-Off” special.  The four-hour broadcast is available for radio stations nationwide to air over Memorial Day weekend.  Janson will spin popular summertime hits from Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jason AldeanCarrie Underwood, and some of his own hits, including his new single, “Good Vibes.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

| December 20, 2016

MRC Withholds Accreditation of Nielsen’s December PPM Survey.  Ratings giant Nielsen Audio has released the first round of data from its December 2016 PPM survey (November 3-30) but it does so without accreditation for the 26 markets that the Media Rating Council has previously accredited.  This stems from mrc-logoNielsen’s PPM connectivity issues that affected the first week of the December survey.  Here’s what the MRC had to say in a statement: “Since the PPM connectivity disruption, Nielsen has shared information with MRC about the outage, Nielsen Audio’s recovery efforts, and related data analyses Nielsen Audio has performed.  However, MRC believes the data analyses related to this incident with which we have been presented by Nielsen Audio, in addition to Nielsen Audio’s response to a series of questions related to the incident that MRC has raised to Nielsen Audio, are incomplete, and therefore MRC and its Radio Committee and its Board of Directors are unable to conclude as yet on this matter.  Nielsen has committed to continue to work with MRC on this issue.  Therefore, MRC has chosen to withhold its accreditation for the December PPM reports to which it would otherwise have been applicable until we receive responses and appropriate analyses of the impacted data that we deem satisfactory to address these concerns.  We will update the marketplace at a future time should this situation change and we believe these issues have been sufficiently addressed to reinstate MRC accreditation of the December 2016 PPM estimates.”

nielsen-logoNielsen Audio Releases Round One of December 2016 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of December 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The December 2016 survey period covered November 3-30.  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.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallKABC, Los Angeles Morning Host Doug McIntyre Joins Michael Harrison on this Week’s Podcast.  After serving a decade as morning host on KABC, Los Angeles (and 10 years before that developing a powerful, all-night presence on “Red Eye Radio”), multi-media renaissance man, Doug McIntyre has just signed a new, two-year extension to his contractmcintyredoug with the heritage Cumulus-owned West Coast talk outlet.  He is this week’s guest on the award-winning, PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  In addition to radio, McIntyre is a page one newspaper op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News, and has enjoyed a successful 20-year career as a television and film writer/producer/director.  According to Harrison, “Doug is one of the most original hosts in talk radio today – a potent combination of quirky humor, keen intelligence, unbridled courage and smoldering rage.”  Harrison and McIntyre talk about the state of politics, journalism, fake news, and new media – making this program a must-listen for its worldwide audience of “media freaks.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Mark Anderson Rises to VP of Programming at CBS RADIO Pittsburgh.  At its Pittsburgh cluster, CBS RADIO promotes Mark Anderson to vice president, programming, a move up from his current role as Pittsburgh operations manager and program director of hot AC WBZZ and country WDSY.  Anderson will continue to programandersonmark WBZZ and WDSY and will now “provide operational guidance and oversight as well as leadership in developing new products, partnerships and opportunities for all of the Pittsburgh stations.”  Jim Graci continues his role as program director for news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM.  SVP and market manager Michael Young comments, “Mark is a well-seasoned programming executive who has a strong track record of successfully managing the day-to-day details as well as the long-term vision and creativity to develop and advance exciting new concepts.  As our products evolve to engage audiences beyond the airwaves, I am excited about the additional contributions that Mark will make to all of our stations.”

Andy West Appointed Creative Services and Imaging Director for iHeartRadio.  In this new role at iHeartRadio, Andy West will oversee a network of producers to develop and produce fresh, format-specific on-air content for the iHeartRadio app, that airs across iHeartMedia’s network of 850-plus radio stations.  The company says he’ll also collaborate with marketing, operations, sales and senior management to create innovative new features and content for iHeartRadio, as well as manage the imaging for iHeartRadio’s digital only stations.  The Atlanta-based West will work alongside fellow creative services & imaging director Ricky Roo.

Chris Jericho and PodcastOne Launch ‘Beyond the Darkness.’  This new audio exploration of the paranormal comes from Chris Jericho’s podcast network under the PodcastOne umbrella and it’s called “Beyond podcastone-bthe Darkness.”  The podcast is hosted by author and radio host Dave Schrader, and radio producer and host Tim Dennis.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “Chris has distinguished himself as one of the jewels of the PodcastOne network.  When he started The Jericho Network collection, we knew it would evolve beyond wrestling.  He’s delivered comedians and now takes us into the paranormal with ‘Beyond the Darkness.’”

Doug Stephan Broadcasts from Israel.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Doug Stephan, co-host of thestephanuri16 “On Air with Doug, Jen, and Victoria,” is pictured here (left) in the Tel Aviv airport with popular illusionist Uri Geller (right).  Stephan reports he’s originating his portion of the program this week from Israel, talking about such topics as President-Elect Trump’s desire to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tense relationship with President Obama, and more.  Stephan says, “The timing of this visit is extremely newsworthy, and besides, what better week to be in Israel than the week before Christmas!”

Odds & Sods.  At news/talk WFMD and country WFRE in Frederick, Maryland, director of operations Phyliss Betson rises to market manager for the duo.  She takes over for Michael Banks, who is exiting to join Connoisseur Media.…..The NHL’s Minnesota Wild and iHeartMedia’s KFAN, Minneapolis announce a three-year extension of their partnership.  KFAN is currently in its sixth season as the official radio flagship home of the Minnesota Wild…..BizTalkRadio announces the addition of “The Win. With Heather Havenwood” to its Thursday evening lineup.  The program, featuring entrepreneur and digital marketing, email marketing and online publishing business strategies expert Heather Ann Havenwood will air at 7:00 pm ET beginning in January.

Russian Diplomat Assassinated, Monday’s Electoral College Vote, ‘Fake News’/Russian Hacking Allegations, Trump Cabinet Nominations, Terror Attack in Germany, China-U.S. Drone Incident, and Weekend’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Sergey Lavrov by off-duty Turkish police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas; the electoral college vote to officially name Donald Trump president-elect; the ongoing controversy over “fake news” and the related story of allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election; the cabinet nominations by President-Elect Trump; the deadly terror attack at a Christmas bazaar in Berlin; China returns an intercepted submersible drone belonging to the U.S. Navy; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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A Big 2016 for KXNT, Las Vegas’ Alan Stock.  Sin City talk personality Alan Stock – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at CBS RADIO’s news/talk KXNT – checks in with TALKERS magazine to share this pic with President-Elect Donald Trump and what he’s been up to all year.  In addition to his radio work, Stock has enjoyed a weekly presence on KLAS-TV, appearing on the station’s “Politics Now” in the program’s “Face Off” segment.  He writes a weekly column for the Las Vegas-based Now Report.  In February, he’ll lead a tour of listeners on a trip to Israel.