Monday Memo: “Here’s What’s Happening…” In today’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke reminds radio news people that “local information is something radio’s non-local, new-tech competitors just can’t deliver. And if recent cutbacks have competing stations mailing-it-in yours will be conspicuous by comparison. And if you’re relevant and user-friendly to those busy in-car listeners advertisers want to meet, you’re gold.” Read HC’s Monday Memo here.
iHeartMedia Revenue Rises 6% from January to February. Those following iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization process are aware the company has been filing monthly revenue reports since April of last year – a month after it declared Chapter 11. The most recent report filed with U.S Bankruptcy Court in Houston on March 28 shows revenue of $246.2 million for the month of February, up 6% from January. Most of the figures in the report – revenue, operating income, net income (loss) – have bounced around a lot since April 2018. Although revenue was up in February, that followed a drop in revenue of almost $100 million from December to January. Net income in February was $14.3 million, a turnaround from January’s loss of $9.5 million. Operating income was $24.1 million in February, a bounceback from January’s $7.6 million figure, the lowest reported number since April of 2018.
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 February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. Half of the news/talk stations on our panel improved (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the January survey to the February survey, led by Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.0). Comparing February 2018 to February 2019, about half the stations showed improvement with Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis leading the pack (+2.2) and Cumulus’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+2.0) close behind. Three stations ranked #1 in their markets in February: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
2019 Radio Mercury Awards Deadline Is Now April 19. The deadline for submitting entries for the RAB’s 2019 Radio Mercury Awards is being extended to April 19. The “biggest creative awards show for radio and audio” will honor broadcasters’ efforts in numerous categories. They include: Radio station produced commercials and campaigns; radio station produced promotional spots; creative use of audio: podcasts, branded content and activations, interactive audio, and more; creative use of sound/music: sonic branding, jingles, songs and music, etc.; integrated campaigns with radio/audio; PSA spots/campaigns; and Spanish-language spots/campaigns. You can listen to last year’s winners, learn about the prize money, get more information, and enter by clicking here.
TALKERS News Notes. Washington, DC all-news station WTOP is celebrating 50 years as an all-news radio station and features a nice, historical piece on its website that chronicles the station’s evolution. The idea for making the station a news-intensive one came from Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham who’d been listening to suburban AM WAVA present an all-news format and instructed WTOP’s managers to focus on news. WTOP was owned by the Post at the time…..A piece published at NJ.com speculates about whether former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton could pop back up at the Entercom-owned sports talk station if Carton avoids jail time at his sentencing on Friday (4/5). Citing a comment by WFAN program director Mark Chernoff in Newsday in which he said the station would welcome a discussion about a chance to return if he avoids prison, writer James Kratch reports Carton’s attorneys suggest Carton would be able to pay restitution if he’s allowed to work. However, Newsday also reports that the judge is unlikely to be so lenient about such serious fraud crimes. According to a story in the New York Daily News, prosecutors are seeking six to seven years in prison…..As per Chicago media maven Robert Feder’s report, Erich Mancow Muller’s morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM is starting a bit earlier as the station makes a minor schedule change. Instead of starting at 6:00 am, the Mancow show starts at 5:30, effective today (4/1)…..Sports talk radio host Dan Sileo – who hosts the morning drive show at Entercom’s San Diego sports talk station KWFN “97.3 The Fan” – is also hosting a new, two-hour weekend show at the company’s WEEI-FM, Boston. Sileo’s show – airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm – debuted over the weekend. Sileo is a Connecticut native who played college football at Miami and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987.
Podcasting Is Now Mainstream (or Is It?). According to a new study by Edison Research, podcasting continues to permeate and gain ground within the general public’s media usage. Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sited these latest stats on his RT America “The Big Picture” TV show (3/29) and examined their implications by interviewing TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs. To view the segment in its entirety, please click here.
Central American Aid Cuts, Joe Biden Inappropriateness Allegation, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Border Wall/Immigration Issues, Mueller Report Aftermath, AOC FDR Snafu, Trump vs Obamacare, NCAA Tourney, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Trump administration plans aid cuts to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; allegation about inappropriate touching by Joe Biden; the Democrats vying to face President Trump in 2020; the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the flow of migrants to the border; the aftermath of the Trump-Russia investigation report from Robert Mueller; Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s statement that Republicans engineered the 22nd Amendment to force FDR from office; the Trump administration’s effort to repeal Obamacare; the NCAA tournament action; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Danita Maldonado is named afternoon personality and web/social media manager for Cumulus Media’s country KXKC, Lafayette, Louisiana “NASH FM 99.1.” She previously served on air at country KMRK-FM, Odessa, Texas and country KFTX, Corpus Christi, Texas as well as with production companies and ad agencies in New York City…..Swick Broadcasting adds the “O’Reilly In The Morning” program with Phil O’Reilly to WLKI-FM, Angola, Indiana. This is a move of flagships for O’Reilly who most recently broadcast his syndicated show from Midwest Communications’ WNWN-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan. O’Reilly says, “I am very excited to be part of the teams at Swick Broadcasting and Local Radio Networks. My family and I reside just up the road in Battle Creek, Michigan and we are very happy to stay right here and continue to have fun on the radio!”…..Programming pro Brian Stephenson is named operations manager for Townsquare Media’s six-station Yakima, Washington cluster that includes rock KATS-FM, CHR KFFM-FM, and country KDBL-FM…..Resonate Hawaii LLC is buying adult hits KBGX-FM, Keaau and country KKOA, Volcano from Mahalo Multimedia LLC for $550,000. Susan Patrick and Jason James of Patrick Communications were the exclusive brokers for this transaction…..Westwood One’s new urban AC morning stars Rick Party (left) and Sasha the Diva (center), attended the NAACP Image Awards this weekend. Below, they pose for a pic with “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah (right).
iHeartMedia Releases May Financial Figures; Net Income in the Black. As iHeartMedia winds its way through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, it is releasing monthly financial statements with a bunch more information than the privately-owned company used to reveal in its quarterly reports. Although iHM’s revenue dipped from $417.9 million in April to $318.7 million in May, net income went from a loss of $139.8 million to a gain of $57.7 million. Operating income also rose from April to May – going from $63.9 million to $80.9 million.
‘Rip City Sports Radio’ Announces New Programming. Portland, Oregon sports talker KPOJ “Rip City Radio 620” and collaborator NBC Sports Northwest announce a new weekday lineup starting Thursday (7/19). Changes include sports talk radio pro Brian Noe taking over for “The Dwight & Aaron Show” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart and the re-launch of the evening program, “The Bridge,” hosted by Serena Winters. Noe has been a national host at FOX Sports Radio since 2013 during which he hosted a Saturday evening show with Ephraim Salaam and a Sunday morning show with Andy Furman. Noe has also hosted shows with Rob Parker, former ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard, former NBA slam dunk champion Cedric Ceballos, and former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Aaron Fentress and Dwight Jaynes will return to NBC Sports Northwest as digital contributors, taking on bigger roles covering all sports on NBCSportsNorthwest.com. Serena Winters was previously co-host of “The Bridge” and has been elevated to primary host. She’ll be accompanied by a variety of expert contributors. Rich Moore is PD for the iHeartMedia station and he says, “We are excited to be adding Brian Noe to the team and our daily lineup at ‘NBCSNW Rip City Radio 620.’ He’s a great young talent and will help us strengthen our platform with NBC Sports Northwest and for the Portland fans.”
FOX Sports Radio and Clay Travis Extend Deal. Nationally syndicated sports media personality Clay Travis and FOX Sports Radio (a division of Premiere Networks) announce they’ve come to terms on a new, multi-year agreement. The deal will keep Travis in his current role as host of the network’s morning drive (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) program, “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis.” Premiere SVP sports programming Don Martin and VP sports programming Scott Shapiro say, “We’re excited by what we’re building with this network and ‘Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis’ is an integral piece of the puzzle. We’re proud to have Clay leading our lineup every weekday morning with his bold, opinionated, and entertaining brand of sports talk, which continues to drive positive results for our affiliates and advertising partners. We look forward to working together for many years to come.”
Sweet New Studios. Pictured above are WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” personalities (from l-r) Mike Felger, Marshall Hook, and Matt McCarthy in the station’s new studios. The station began broadcasting from Beasley Media Group Boston’s new facilities in Dorchester this week.
TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Panel Discussion, “Programming News/Talk Radio.” Today (7/17), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each business day, another session or activity will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s 15th installment is the panel discussion titled “Programming News/Talk Radio.” It is moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian; introduced by KFBK/KSTE, Sacramento PD, Bill White; and featuring panelists CFRB, Toronto PD and Bell Media national news/talk format head, Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Grace Blazer; WOR, New York assistant PD, Scott Lakefield; WBAL, Baltimore PD, Scott Masteller; and WABC, New York PD, Craig Schwalb. Already posted: the panel discussion titled, “Talk Media: The Big Picture.” It is moderated by ABC News Radio VP/GM, Steve Jones; introduced by “The Cats Roundtable” host, John Catsimatidis; and featuring panelists iHeartMedia SVP news/talk/sports programming Chris Berry; Beasley Media Group EVP programming, Justin Chase; Weiss Agency EVP, Heather Cohen; Cumulus Media EVP content & programming Mike McVay; and Premiere Networks president, Julie Talbott. Already posted: the panel discussion titled “Hosting a Talk Show in 2018.” It is moderated by Cumulus Media VP of news/talk and PD of WMAL, Washington, DC, Bill Hess; introduced by iHeartMedia VP programming/national news/talk brand coordinator and PD KOA, Denver, Greg Foster; and featuring panelists Howie Carr Radio Network host, Howie Carr; WPGG, Atlantic City host, Harry Hurley; Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host, Brian Kilmeade; Westwood One host Chris Plante; Talk Media Network host Tom Sullivan; WPRO, Providence host, Dan Yorke; and KTSA, San Antonio host, Jack Riccardi; the panel discussion titled “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.” It is moderated by Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; introduced by WPHT, Philadelphia host Rich Zeoli; and featuring panelists Armstrong & Getty Show co-hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty; WRKO, Boston PD, Michael Czarnecki; WRHU-FM/WRHU.org, Hofstra University OM, John T. Mullen; WABC, New York host Sid Rosenberg; and Compass MediaNetworks/Newsmax host, Todd Schnitt; a video of the donation given by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley to the Broadcasters Foundation of America and accepted by its president Jim Thompson; convention luncheon greetings by WNYM “970 AM The Answer,” New York morning host Joe Piscopo with an introduction by Salem SVP Phil Boyce along with the posthumous presentation of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to the late Texas and Ohio radio talk show host Matt Patrick by Michael Harrison with an acceptance by his widow and show producer, Paula Ryan; the panel discussion titled “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” moderated by Livestream head of news, Clayton Rose and featuring panelists Krantz Media Group CEO, Gary Krantz and KTRS, St Louis host, McGraw Milhaven; the panel discussion titled “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor, Kevin Casey; introduced by Crossover Media Group managing member, Ron Hartenbaum; and featuring panelists Asa RX host, Asa; Bold Gold Media Group CEO, Vince Benedetto; Howie Carr Radio Network president, Kathy Carr; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; WBAL, Baltimore president/GM, Cary Pahigian; and KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz owner, Michael Zwerling; the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality, Dr. Daliah Wachs ; a special presentation by PodcastOne chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin; a special presentation by WFAN personality, Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer, Bernadette Duncan; Salem SVP, Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the fireside chat between TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO, Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s fireside chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star, Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host, Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman; and the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor, Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. To view the page, please click here.
NAB Announces Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the National Association of Broadcasters’s 2018 Marconi Awards have been announced. The winners will be revealed at the NAB Radio Show at the Awards Dinner & Show on September 27 in Orlando. Of the five stations nominated for Legendary Station of the Year, four are spoken-word outlets: iHeartMedia’s KOA-AM, Denver; Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM, Dallas; and Cox Media Group’s WHIO-AM, Dayton and WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville. News/Talk Station of the Year Nominees are: CMG’s KRMG-AM, Tulsa; Entercom’s KYW-AM, Philadelphia; Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton; and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington. See the whole list here.
Cohen Victim Joe Walsh Says He’s ‘Gotta Own’ What He Said. The list of politicians and media pros who’ve been fooled by comedian and producer Sacha Baron Cohen for his new Showtime program “Who Is America?” is lengthy. Last Friday, TALKERS pointed to a THR piece in which WGAC-AM, Augusta personality Austin Rhodes detailed his experience being taped (and fooled) for the program. Former congressman and Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Joe Walsh was also a victim and he – like Rhodes – is taking it in stride. Borat – who tricked Walsh into traveling to Washington to receive an “award” from an Israeli TV network as a “friend of Israel” – got Walsh to read phony ad copy for a “course” that trains kids to wield guns. Walsh says, “I gotta own what I said.” Read the CBS piece here.
Bill Handel (Reluctantly) Celebrates 25 Years at KFI, Los Angeles. As reported by LARadio.com, Bill Handel – who apparently hates studio decorations and celebrations – was forced to recognize his quarter-century mark at iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles as an air talent. Handel started in 1993 on weekends doing his legal show. He moved to morning drive and has been one of the most successful news/talk morning personalities in American radio.
Trump-Putin Meeting, Trump-Russia Investigation, Illegal Immigration Policy, Sacha Baron Cohen Show, U.S.-China Trade War, Brexit Complications, Elon Musk-Cave Rescuer Spat, and MLB All-Star Week Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). Monday’s meeting between President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents, including the indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller of 12 Russian agents for hacking; the Trump Administration’s illegal immigration policies; the duping of numerous guests on Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?” TV show; the Trump tariffs and concerns about a U.S.-China trade war; British Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts to craft a strategy for leaving the EU; the public spat between Elon Musk and Thailand cave rescuer Vernon Unsworth; France beats Croatia for the soccer World Cup; and the Major League Baseball All-Star week 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. A shocker in San Diego as Shelly Dunn of KFMB-FM’s “Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw” morning program announces she will retire from the show and the radio biz after a 36-year radio career and 28-and-a-half years on the program. Adding spice to this news are reports in San Diego that the morning show’s contract comes up next month and there’s speculation about the status of negotiations as some industry watchers wonder if TV-centric Tegna wishes to continuing owning the radio stations it got in the Midwest TV deal that also landed it KFMB-TV. If the station is for sale, it may not want to burden a new owner with a lucrative talent deal – even for a show that is as successful as “Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw.” Others wonder if Entercom will try to woo the show over to handle mornings on embattled, fledgling sports talker KWFN “97.3 The Fan.”…..iHeartMedia announces Rachel “Rach” Viggiano is the new midday personality at CHR WIOQ, Philadelphia “Q102.” Station PD Jared Fallon says, “On the search for our next star, I was looking for someone who’s passionate about our brand and engaged in the lifestyle of our audience, so as soon as I met Rach I knew she was exactly what ‘Q102’ Philly needed! Between her upbeat energy and humor, she is the perfect fit for our listeners.” Rach joins the Philadelphia market from WPUR-FM, Atlantic City, New Jersey where she was morning host…..Air personality and programmer Toni Marie is leaving Buck Owens Broadcasting’s country KRJK, Bakersfield “The Bull 97.3” where she was PM drive host and music director for an opportunity yet-to-be-disclosed. This was her second tour with Buck Owens Broadcasting. She was music director for country KUZZ from 2009 through 2015…..In Santa Rosa, California, Carey Edwards is the new program director and morning personality at Redwood Empire Stereocasters-owned country KBBL “106.5 The Bull.” Edwards was most recently morning host at Riviera Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KOAI, Phoenix…..Morning personality John Balginy exits Sandhill Media’s country KUPI, Idaho Falls, Idaho as Jeff Roper joins the station as program director and morning host. Balginy says in a Facebook post, “For the first time in 27 years, I will not be waking up listeners in Southeast Idaho. The ‘99 KUPI ‘Breakfast Boys’ are no longer! I would like to thank my co-hosts for going on this ride with me – Dennis Carlson, Phillip Moon, Kenny Mac, Brother Dale & Jess Jennings, and Cory Daniels. It’s time for this old man to sleep in for the first time in over a quarter of a century. A big thank you to all of the great listeners who have tuned in all these years.”…..The second episode of the “iHeartRadio Presents: Inside the Studio’ podcast has been released and features an exclusive interview with Dave Matthews. Rolling Stone contributor Joe Levy interviews Matthews, hitting subjects including the six-year gap between records, the year he took off from music, and the secret connection between his band and Black Sabbath.
Corporate Programmer Chris Oliviero to Exit Entercom. After a long history with CBS RADIO and seven months into the transition after that company’s merger with Entercom, EVP of programming Chris Oliviero is exiting the company to pursue new opportunities. “From my very first day as an intern and over the past 22 years, my experience at CBS RADIO has been nothing short of spectacular. Now that our merger with Entercom is fully integrated, I feel this is the right moment to begin turning my focus to new opportunities. David Field has been fully supportive and understanding of my departure and I thank him for my smooth transition. It has been my true honor and joy to have had a chance to partner with and learn from the best and brightest programmers in the industry. Though our days as colleagues might be winding down, the friendships will continue. So, to all my old friends at CBS RADIO along with my new ones at Entercom, I wish you all the best.” A message from Entercom CEO David Field to his management team states, “I am writing to let you know that Chris Oliviero will be leaving Entercom on July 6 to pursue other opportunities. He will remain in an advisory role through year end. Chris has been a key leader over many years at CBS RADIO and, more recently, at Entercom. He has made a great impact on the organization. We are saddened that Chris is leaving the company, but we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Our programming organization will remain the best in the industry. We are blessed to have a terrific group of program directors across the country and an outstanding leadership team led by our president of programming Pat Paxton and SVP radio and Radio.com programming Jeff Sottolano.”
iHeartMedia Releases Revenue Projections in Bankruptcy Filing. The revenue projections were part of a 251-page Disclosure Statement filed by iHeartMedia as part of the reorganization process. Starting with 2018 and looking through 2022, the report says that “management has based its revenue projections in part on third party forecast audio market declines of -2.6%, -2.9%, -3.4%, -3.7% and -4.1% in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. Management expects its core audio business to return to its historical market outperformance of 200 bps, as measured by standard industry sources, by Q4 2018. Additionally, management anticipates continuing the 200 bps outperformance in each year from 2019-2022. The Debtors’ core audio business, comprised of spot, streaming, and non-traditional and other markets revenue, was $2,289 million in 2017 and is projected to decline to $2,207 million in 2018 and $2,160 million in 2019. Thereafter, it is projected to total $2,095 million, $2,025 million, and $1,949 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.” The company drops in a forward-looking positive note when it reports that its “digital platform composition is moving towards home smart speakers. As of April 2018, home consumer electronics comprised 22% of total monthly active users for the Debtors’ iHeartRadio app.”
Judge Orders Nielsen and Bubba Back to Mediation. The trial of Nielsen Audio v. Bubba the Love Sponge is supposed to open in court on July 23, but a surprise Order from U.S. District Judge James Whittemore may – or may not – change that. Yesterday (6/21), Whittemore ordered both parties to mediate with U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli. This is not the first time Nielsen and Bubba have been in mediation. The last session proved fruitless. Nielsen is suing Bubba the Love Sponge for damages related to allegations of Bubba’s attempts to manipulate the PPM ratings in Tampa. Bubba is countersuing Nielsen, alleging the company conspired with competitor Cox Media Group to entrap him into engaging in ratings manipulation.
Attorneys General File Objections to Sinclair-Tribune Merger. Petitions to Deny were filed with the FCC by attorneys general in Illinois, Iowa, and Rhode Island, objecting to the merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. As most industry observers are aware, Sinclair and Tribune are primarily television companies, but Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago is part of the proposed deal. Sinclair owns three Seattle market radio stations: news/talk KVI, all-news KOMO-AM/FM, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5.” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan criticized the merger that would give Sinclair penetration into “nearly 60% of U.S. television households.” She says, “The massive Tribune-Sinclair merger contradicts the FCC’s principles of diversity, localism, and competition that ensure consumer choice in the marketplace. I urge the FCC to deny the Tribune-Sinclair merger because it will result in the loss of diverse viewpoints on national and local television broadcasts.”
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk. Pub talkers in general had a tough month, with 51% of stations losing weekly 6+ AQH share compared to the April 2018 survey. However, comparing May 2017 ratings to May 2018, 51% of public news/talk outlets saw their 6+ weekly AQH share increase. Looking at market rank, there are 10 public news/talkers that finished in the top five in May, and five stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets: KQED was #1 in both San Francisco and San Jose, as were KPBS, San Diego; KCFR, Denver; KOPB, Portland; and KUT, Austin. See the entire report here.
Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball to Host Hill.tv AM Show. Conservative media figure Buck Sexton – who hosts his own Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio program – is co-hosting the new morning program “Krystal & Buck” with MSNBC anchor Krystal Ball on The Hill’s new Hill.tv platform. The show launched on the “digital, bi-partisan news channel” on June 13. A press statement says the program is designed to “break through the façade of cable news to expose the real Washington.” Recent guests on the show include: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, Hollywood actor/producer Rob Reiner, Senator Ted Cruz, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Illegal Immigration Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22. The Trump administration’s policy detaining and deporting illegal aliens and controversy over separating children from parents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was the Trump tariffs and fears of a trade war, followed by the Charlottesville white supremacist rally organizer’s application for a rally on the Washington Mall 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.
TV Comedy Writer Andy Cowan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The world of television sitcoms and late-night talk shows is explored in depth as former “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” and “Third Rock from the Sun” writer Andy Cowan is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Cowan discusses his new book, Banging My Head Against the Wall: A Comedy Writers Guide to Seeing Stars (Black Rose Writing, 2018) and the neurotic nature of his brand of comedy as well as comedians in general. The discussion includes a look at the fractionalization of TV audiences going forward into the 21st century. Harrison states, “Andy Cowan’s unique mind operates at the turbulent intersection between the generations, the centuries, the down-to-earth, and the absurd. He is a largely unsung genius and potential cultural hero to the gigantic but quietly suffering population of neurotics that drag their sorry asses amongst the rest of us who are perfect.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Radio Talk Show Producer Opportunity. The Salem Radio Network is seeking a radio talk show producer in the Washington, D.C. area. Candidates should be capable in booking radio talk shows and have radio experience both on air and in digital. The position is based at the Salem Radio Network News Bureau. Contact Phil Boyce, SVP spoken word for SRN at 212-857-9696, or email resume and qualifications to: Philip.Boyce@salemmedia.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At JVC Media’s Orlando operations, sales pro Lisa Kitchener is named general sales manager. In Orlando, JVC operates country WOTW “103.1 The Wolf” and rock WOTW-HD2/W231CT “Bud 94.1.” JVC Orlando general manager Chris Ganoudis says, “Lisa is a huge addition to our stellar staff in Orlando. ‘103.1 The Wolf’ was voted 2017’s Best Local Radio Station by Orlando Business Journal readers, and with the recent addition of ‘Bud 94.1,’ Lisa will have two very popular radio stations with strong programming, promotions and events to showcase to Metro Orlando’s business leaders. Lisa’s enthusiasm, relationships, ideas, and leadership will propel JVC Orlando to the greatest heights.”…..Benztown names four new staffers to the company’s operations team with the addition of marketing coordinator Susan Aksu, imaging producer Matt Anderson, office manager/executive assistant Laura Keeney, and commercial production creative director Teddy Shrader.
Conservative News/Talk Radio Takes on the White House Correspondents Dinner. While listeners of news/talk radio were venting about what they overwhelmingly saw as unnecessary attacks on President Trump’s administration – most especially comedian Michelle Wolf’s targeting of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner, some news/talk radio industry players were also making their thoughts about the evening’s program known. WABC, New York news and talk personality Rita Cosby attended the event. (She’s seen above with Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a WHCD party and below with Kellyanne Conway at the event itself) Cosby tells TALKERS magazine that she’ll be offering her take to WABC listeners on the “Curtis and Cosby” show today. Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup shares the letter he penned to Bloomberg White House correspondent and White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev:
Hi, Margaret…and congratulations!
After viewing the disgraceful White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday—and your refusal on CNN this morning to denounce “comedian” Michelle Wolf and the mortifying, obscenity-laced attacks she directed at White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House counselor KellyAnne Conway and other Trump Administration officials in attendance last evening…you have actually achieved what I had always thought impossible: displaying less professional journalism and more outrageous bias than even The Associated Press. An astonishing accomplishment.
Given the fact that you, personally, invited the vile Michelle Wolf as the evening’s entertainment…and that rather than booing or leaving, members of your Association were seen on television guffawing over an onslaught of stupid “pussy” references, lame jokes about President Trump’s performance in bed, the suggestion that President Trump’s daughter is “full of shit” and sophomoric F-bombs for nearly 20 minutes…I hope President Trump never attends another White house Correspondents Dinner.
I know I won’t.
iHeartMedia Files Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization. This Saturday (4/28) filing in iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization lays out the current plan for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection. The Disclosure Statement states, in part, that “the proposed Plan achieves a value-maximizing restructuring that comprehensively addresses the Debtors’ funded debt obligations and positions their businesses for continued growth and long-term success. As a result of extensive negotiations with groups representing their primary stakeholders, the Debtors entered into a restructuring support agreement on March 16, 2018. As a result, the transactions embodied by the Plan enjoy the support of Holders of nearly $12 billion of outstanding debt obligations across the Debtors’ capital structure (including outstanding indebtedness held by the Debtors and their Affiliates), as well as the Debtors’ equity sponsors. The Plan will reduce the Debtors’ funded debt by nearly two-thirds – approximately $10.3 billion – and will result in the separation of the iHeart business and CCOH businesses through either a Tax-Free Separation or a Taxable Separation (the ‘CCOH Separation’).”…Reorganized iHeart will emerge from chapter 11 with New Secured Debt of $5.75 billion that will be secured by substantially all assets of Reorganized iHeart with a 5 – 7 year maturity, as well as a new ABL facility that will, among other things, provide working capital and fund distributions under the Plan; Senior Creditors collectively will share, in the manner described in detail below, in (i) 100% of iHeart’s equity interests in CCOH (as separated from iHeart), (ii) $5.55 billion of the New Secured Debt, (iii) all Excess Cash, and (iv) 94% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; Holders of Unsecured Debt Claims will receive their Pro Rata share of (i) $200 million of the New Secured Debt and (ii) 5% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; and Holders of iHeart Interests will receive 1% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart.”
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. In this final analysis of Nielsen’s March 2018 PPM survey, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the 6+ performances of news/talk stations. iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego and Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis each record 6+ AQH share increases of more than half a share (+0.8 and +0.6, respectively) from the February 2018 survey. This during a period when only 34% of news/talk stations saw ratings increases. WIBC (+1.8) was one of five stations to see a year-over-year (March 2017 to March 2018) increase of more than one full share. Others were: iHeartMedia’s hot talk WTKS-FM, Orlando (+1.6); Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (1.3); and iHeartMedia news/talkers KTLK, Minneapolis (+1.0); and WHJJ, Providence (+1.0). During Nielsen’s March PPM survey, only two news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” See Kinosian’s complete report here.
Russo and Rosen Appointed to Executive Posts at Entercom’s Radio.com. The moves signal what Entercom is calling its “renewed commitment and strategic shift” regarding the Radio.com platform. Critics say that CBS’s focus on TV and video allowed the digital audio platform Radio.com to languish under its watch. Now, new owner Entercom is bringing aboard Pamela Russo as SVP and general manager and Christopher Rosen as editorial director. Russo will report to Entercom EVP of digital JD Crowley, who says, “This is an exciting time for Radio.com. We welcome both Pam and Chris’s expertise as we accelerate our strategy to make Radio.com a daily habit for the millions of fans across our family of brands, entertaining and informing users with spoken-word audio, curated music and premium editorial.” Russo joins Entercom from Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.) where she led digital strategy and operations for the company’s portfolio of entertainment, travel and luxury brands, including People.com, EntertainmentWeekly.com, TravelandLeisure.com and Departures.com, among others. Rosen is being charged with leading the content development, editorial and video strategy for Radio.com, overseeing content teams in New York and Philadelphia. The company says that “working alongside Entercom programming executives Jeff Sotolano and Liana Huth, Rosen will focus on developing exclusive and original national content for Radio.com’s national platform and portfolio of stations, while also working with local markets to surface their best content for national audiences.” Rosen joins Entercom from Entertainment Weekly, where he served as executive editor for the brand’s digital properties.
Michael Harrison Says Advertiser Boycotts Infringe Upon the Spirit of the First Amendment, If Not Its Letter. During a provocative conversation Friday evening (4/27) about advertiser boycotts being waged against the hosts of talk radio and television commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham by their political critics, RT America “The Big Picture” host Holland Cooke asked TALKERS founder Michael Harrison if this practice infringes upon Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Cooke suggested that boycotts are also an expression of free speech. Harrison agreed, but only to a point stating, “The First Amendment guarantees you not to be censored by the government, with a few limitations here and there, but basically the First Amendment gives you free speech separate from government control and government censorship. It doesn’t provide you with a soap box and it doesn’t guarantee that other people can’t express their free speech rights in protest of what you said. So, the boycotts are a form of free speech – however, because commercial media today is so dependent on advertising revenue as its life blood, boycotts may not be an infringement of the letter of the First Amendment but they certainly are an infringement of the spirit of the First Amendment.” Harrison continued, “It’s hitting below the belt…it’s part of the game but it’s playing very dirty and it does threaten free speech in America because so many of our vehicles of free speech are dependent upon advertising.” To see the entire segment of Friday’s conversation, please click here.
WFAN-AM/FM, New York Keeps ‘CMB’ for Early Afternoons. With the return of Mike Francesa to the WFAN-AM/FM, New York “The Fan” program schedule tomorrow, the Entercom station announces the new program lineup. Current 2:00 pm to 6:30 PM hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott – “CMB” – remain with the station hosting the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. An hour is cut off the “Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts” program (now heard 10:00 am to 1:00 pm), and Francesa’s “Mike On” show airs from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Prior to Francesa’s December departure from WFAN, his show aired daily from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm.
Price: All I Learned About Resilience I Learned from ABBA. Business continuity expert Howard B. Price writes today to explain that all he’s learned about dealing as a broadcaster with the challenges of natural disasters and made-made calamities he learned from the pop supergroup ABBA. The former, longtime ABC news and technology & operations director of business continuity and crisis management says that within the titles of the group’s iconic songs lie the “inspiration and guidance for every resilience practitioner who aspires to rock-star status in the craft.” Read his piece here.
Michiana’s WTRC Raises $174,000 for Five Star Life. Pictured above is the staff of WTRC, Niles, Michigan “95.3 MNC” celebrating the $174,100 grand total raised recently during the radiothon to benefit Five Star Life – an organization that teaches middle-school children five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, and courage in after-school programs. This is the eighth year that the Pathfinder Communications news/talk station has raised funds for Five Star Life.
TALKERS News Notes. Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur is joining Dickey Broadcasting Company’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan” for a regular Tuesday appearance on the late morning show with Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. WCNN general manager David Dickey says, “I’m excited that Jeff will continue to help ‘The Fan’ provide Braves fans with the best coverage and most in-depth analysis of the Atlanta Braves. And we are thrilled that Jeff will continue to be an important member of the Dickey Broadcasting Company family…both in prime-time and in game-time content.”…..The NAB Education Foundation announces the election of six new members of the NABEF board of directors. They are: Graham Media Group’s Emily Barr, Cox Media Group’s Kim Guthrie, Sinclair Broadcasting’s Rebecca Hanson, Univision Communications Inc.’s Rosemary Mercedes, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting’s Kevin Perry and NBCUniversal’s Craig Robinson. The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to “serving broadcasters and the public interest by supporting and advocating community service, diversity, education and broadcasting issues and trends.”…..Wishes for a speedy recovery go out to New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella who recently underwent emergency surgery for acute diverticulitis. Rotella says that although there were complications, he’s on the mend and expects to be back working from his home office by next week…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle hosted the quarterly “Freedom Series” debate on April 24, this time addressing the issue, “Guns and Our Children.” The station says the intent of the live community discussion “was to give the public an opportunity to talk through and find common ground on what’s normally a polarizing issue. The two-hour panel event was hosted at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in front of a sold-out audience of more than 600 people. Pictured below (photo courtesy of Ashten Linkhart) The panel featured KTTH hosts Jason Rantz (far right) and Todd Herman (second from right), King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht (center), and KIRO-FM morning host Dave Ross (second from left). KCPQ-TV, Seattle reporter Brandi Kruse (left) served as the moderator. Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Dave Pridemore says, “Through the ‘KTTH Freedom Series’ events, it is our hope to help our communities work through the issues that are important to them, especially issues that directly affect their families. I was proud of how the station respectfully addressed this timely and highly emotional topic. It was clear from the size of the audience, as well as their passion for the station, our KTTH hosts are connecting with our listeners about these matters on a daily basis.”
White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump Threatens Government Shutdown/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Sprint and T-Mobile Announce Merger, Texas Voter ID Ruling, Pompeo Confirmed as Secretary of State, MLB Action and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The flap over Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner; President Trump’s threat to let the federal government close in September if he doesn’t get funding for the Mexico wall, along with the related issue of “caravan asylum seekers” at the border; T-Mobile and Sprint announce plans to merge; a federal panel of judges rules Texas voter ID law does not violate rights of blacks and Hispanics; Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State; the weekend’s MLB action and NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At San Francisco hip hop outlet KRBQ “Q102.1,”Entercom promotes midday personality and music director Billy Vidal to program director. Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz, says, “Billy has a great understanding of this format and, more importantly, the Bay Area market. I have no doubt he will excel in his new role and will continue the upward trajectory of ‘Q102.1.’” Vidal has been with the station for the past three years. He rose to music director in June of 2017…..Alpha Media appoints Dave Numme content director for classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR. Numme was most recently serving with Hubbard Radio in Seattle. He previously worked in the Bay Area as program director for KITS, San Francisco and was vice president of rock/alternative formats for CBS RADIO. Alpha Media San Jose market manager Lori Heeren comments, “I am honored to be able to work with someone with Dave’s breadth of experience in radio and the Bay Area. He’s a perfect fit for our team in Silicon Valley!”…..Gene “Bean” Baxter returned to the air on Entercom’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles on the “Kevin & Bean” show after more than a month off to deal with an undisclosed medical issue. Stryker had been sitting in on the morning show and returns to his afternoon drive show…..At the same time as Cox Media Group’s WPYO “Power 95.3” shifts from hip hop to CHR, operations manager and WPYO program director Steve DeMann exits…..Neuhoff Media brings Miggy Santos to Illinois to program CHR WSOY-FM, Decatur “Y103” and rhythmic CHR WWHX, Bloomington “Hits 100.7.” Neuhoff VP/programming Mike Shamus says, “Miggy brings experience and energy to a new concept for us. We’ve developed a special brand in the Twin Cities, Miggy has experience in winning with these types of projects. We’re excited to have him on our team.”