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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

| May 6, 2020

Chris Oliviero Returns to Entercom as SVP/Market Manager for New York. It’s been almost two years since Chris Oliviero left his EVP of programming role with Entercom. On June 1, he returns to the company’s New York offices as senior vice president and market manager for the station group that includes all-news WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, and alternative WNYL “ALT 92.3,” classic hits WCBS-FM, and country WNSH-FM. He assumes the role previously held by Susan Larkin, who was promoted to company chief operating officer. Larkin says, “Chris is an exceptional leader with proven success developing talent, growing many of our leading brands, and building a thriving culture. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to take the helm of his hometown where his energy, passion and drive will help further raise the bar of excellence in the top media market in the country.” Oliviero originally transitioned to Entercom as the company acquired the CBS RADIO properties.  He worked for CBS for 22 years and was a senior manager for CBS for years. He comments, “Radio in New York is an incredibly special place, so to have the chance to return to a collection of the most iconic and influential brands on the dial is humbling. Our stations are in many ways the soundtrack of the city. I am confident that along with all my Entercom New York colleagues we will add to this legacy. I can’t wait to reconnect with so many old friends and of course meet new ones as well.”

Sandhill Media to Launch New Talk Station in Idaho Falls; Neal Larson and Julie Mason Recruited for Mornings. There’s no exact launch date set for the new format but Sandhill Media Group says it will move its CHR format off KAOX-FM, Idaho Falls and install the new “Newstalk 107.9 FM” format with market morning duo Neal Larson and Julie Mason as hosts of the AM drive show. Larson and Mason left their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk KID last month.  The station plans to air Westwood One’s Mark Levin program as well as other national programs.  Neal Larson is also serving as program director for the station.  He says, “We’re thrilled at the opportunity to not just continue doing what we love to do, but also join the great and talented team at Sandhill and build something from the ground up. It is a unique opportunity at a truly unique time in our community, state, and country. We can’t wait to unveil to the whole region what we’re putting together.”  Mason adds, “While being part of a brand-new station is an incredible opportunity, what we really love is what happens after – building a community of informed and loyal listeners on one side, and also watching that audience create huge value for our advertisers on the other.”  Station OM Will Kezele, says, “We have a fantastic core of music stations here at Sandhill, but the one piece we’ve been missing is a news/talk station. This is our moment to fill that void and create something that will be a valuable part of east Idaho for many years to come.” Sandhill will move the CHR format to KAOX-HD2/K286BU at 105.1 FM.

Kim Guthrie to Leave Cox Media Group President and CEO Post. This change comes as a surprise to industry watchers and one has to wonder what caused Cox Media Group president and CEO Kim Guthrie to decide to “move on from the organization after a 22-plus year career with the company.” In a press release, CMG says executive chairman Steve Pruett will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is named. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to thank Kim for her decades of service to Cox Media Group and her leadership during the company’s transition to new ownership. She has been instrumental in positioning CMG for future success as an industry-leading media company.” Guthrie, who will work with Pruett on an orderly transition, comments, “We have built a strong foundation for future growth, including an exceptional senior management team, a successful carveout from Cox Enterprises, and deep, long-term relationships with our communities, customers and partners. I have full confidence in this great team at CMG and I look forward to watching CMG’s future achievements.”

Saga Communications Reports Q1 Financials; Net Revenue Dips 6.5%. The first broadcasting company to report its first quarter 2020 financial data is Saga Communications, Inc and its report comes with a huge caveat – this report doesn’t reflect the hit the company has taken from April 1 to now.  Saga states net income increased to $1.7 million from $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 20.3%.  However, net revenue was $26.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 6.5% from Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $27.8 million. Free cash flow was $1.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared to $2.6 million for the same period last year.   Saga reports having $47 million in cash on hand as of May 4, 2020. It says in its report, “The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, and state and local ‘shelter-in-place’ orders in the states where we operate have impacted and restricted various aspects of our business. Our operations are functioning, subject to regulated restrictions and safety constraints we have enacted in order to protect our employees and customers. As a result of the current challenging economic conditions, our reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not reflective of current market conditions. The company’s advertising revenue has declined significantly as a result of the pandemic and these unfavorable trends have continued into May and June. While we cannot reasonably estimate the length or severity of this pandemic, an extended economic slowdown in the U.S. could materially impact our consolidated financial position, consolidated results of operations, and consolidated cash flows in fiscal 2020 or beyond.”

PPM Analysis: Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the “Extra” edition of his monthly study of Nielsen Audio’s 6+ ratings data from the March 2020 PPM survey. He says this “Extra” coverage of each PPM sweep in the foreseeable future will uniquely detail month-to-month shifts among news/talk; all-news; public radio news/talk; and sports talk stations. Among this month’s data is: A ranking of the strongest spoken-word markets among the 48 PPM markets – #1 is Washington, DC, followed by Boston at #2 and San Francisco at #3; a ranking of the markets that most improved over the February 2020 PPM survey – Portland saw a 4.0 share gain from month to month, with Seattle close behind with a 3.8 share improvement; a ranking of the stations that achieved the highest increase from February to March – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago is the winner here; as well as a look at the stations losing the most ground, month to month (hint: sports talk).  See the entire report here.

Entercom All-News Stations Honored with Awards. Two of Entercom’s all-news stations were recently honored for programming quality.  KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco garnered 10 2019 Associated Press Television and Radio Association Awards – eight first place awards and two second-place awards. KCBS won first place for Outstanding News Operation, Best Evening Newscast, and Best Spot News Coverage, among others. Meanwhile, the company’s WINS, New York took home three 2020 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards first-place honors from the New York State Broadcasters Association.  “1010 WINS” won for Outstanding Spot News, Outstanding Newscast, and Outstanding Use of Digital Platforms.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Rush to Re-Open, Scrutiny of China’s COVID-19 Response, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll plus the projections of future cases; the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ as states begin to re-open their economies; the accusations that China tried to hide the coronavirus outbreak; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and activity among the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Nobody covers the New York City sports radio scene more colorfully than the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, and in today’s column he speculates about the possible return of former WFAN-AM/FM morning personality Craig Carton now that radio executive Chris Oliviero is returning to Entercom as SVP and market manager of its New York stations. Of course, Carton is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted of fraud in a concert tickets Ponzi-scheme. Marchand notes that Oliviero and WFAN program director Mark Chernoff put together the team of Boomer Esiason and Carton back in 2007…..ABC News’ “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Trump in Phoenix on Tuesday as the president was in the city visiting a plant that makes face masks. Muir is featured on ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast with host Brad Mielke speaking about his interview with the president…..Entercom launches a daily “I’m Listening” capsule. The 60-second public service announcements, an extension of the company’s annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative, features the voices and thoughts of artists, celebrities, media hosts, and mental health specialists. The daily capsules will feature singer and songwriter Halsey; former American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist Lizzo; singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Allessia Cara; rock band Blink-182; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic, and more to help listeners navigate the complexities of this global health pandemic…..Three new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts launch today. “Fierce,” co-produced by Tribeca Studios, is hosted by Jo Piazza and explores the stories of extraordinary women who never made it into history books; “Flashback: History’s Unintended Consequences” in conjunction with OZY Media, is hosted by OZY’s Sean Braswell who explores disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas, crazy coincidences, unsung heroes, and forgotten villains in history; and “The Trend Reporter,” hosted by four-time Emmy award-winning TV personality and journalist Mara Schiavocampo, is a weekly show that will help listeners figure out which wellness, beauty, style, and fitness trends are actually worth trying…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network welcomes two shows to its platform: “The Stacking Benjamins Show,” with host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman teaching listeners about personal finance through headlines, guest experts, and plenty of humor. The hour-long, magazine-style show drops each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and the spin-off program “Money with Friends” with Joe Saul-Sehy and Bobbi Rebell who are joined each season with a rotating cast of thought leaders providing fresh perspectives and unique insights to the personal finance news and issues discussed on the podcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Jacksonville, iHeartMedia launches a regional Mexican format branded “El Patrón 97.3” on translator W247CF (fed by WKSL-HD2). The translator had been fed by sports talk WFXJ-AM. Jacksonville iHeartLatino GSM Jorge Lopez says, “I am grateful to be part of a company that sees Hispanic growth in Jacksonville, by adding another radio station and Hispanic brand to our market. With this launch, we confirm our commitment to the community and our solid growth in the communications industry in North Florida, covering 100% of the Hispanic market with our ‘Rumba’ brand and now with ‘El Patrón.’”…..SiriusXM launches the “Mandatory Metallica” channel through the month of May featuring the band’s biggest songs, rarities, and concert recordings from throughout its history. The channel is embarking on a 30-date “virtual Metallica tour,” which will air a daily concert from the band on tour around the globe, including the band’s exclusive SiriusXM concert from 2013 at the Apollo Theater in New York City and their 2016 concert at New York City’s Webster Hall.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

| April 23, 2020

The Nitty Gritty of Online Listening.  WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk show host Phil Valentine writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about news/talk listening habits in the current coronavirus crisis and how online listening is affecting ratings.  Valentine says some of his fellow hosts were concerned about losing listeners since fewer people are commuting and therefore are not in their cars to listen.  But, he says, that’s not what happened.  His show’s ratings, as well as the station’s overall, went up.  “What’s really interesting is our ‘universe’ in PM drive only shrank 4% overall with listeners 6+.  Even more interesting is our weekly cume with adults and men 25-54 actually went up. So did our time spent listening, which is understandable. If people are listening, they’re primarily listening from home without the constraints of a commute. This same scenario is being replicated on talk stations in many places all across the country. If they’re listening at home, it probably means more people are moving their listening to the Internet rather than listening to the on-air signal.  The big question is, if more people are listening online are we getting credit for it?”  Valentine contacted Nielsen Audio to find out.  Read the column here to find out what he learned.

Las Vegas-Based Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizing ‘Patriot Caravan’ on Las Vegas Boulevard. Talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root – heard in Las Vegas on KBET-AM and syndicated nationally via USA Radio – is organizing what he calls the “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan” up Las Vegas Blvd. tomorrow afternoon (4/24) at 3:00 pm.  Root says, “We will have biggest caravan in Vegas Strip history on Friday to demand our governor re-open the economy.”  He calls it a “massive show of force by WAR Army – made up of small business owners, patriots, conservatives, capitalists, and every employee left penniless by closure of the entire Strip.”  Root says he has designed it to adhere to government guidelines about social distancing as all participants will be in cars.  He will broadcast his entire show from his car at the head of the “parade.”  He adds, “This event is a political version of drive-in church service.”

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Owner Explains Morning Duo’s Departure.  On Monday (4/20), TALKERS magazine published a summary of the East Idaho News’ report on the resignation of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team of Neal Larson and Julie MasonRich Broadcasting owner Richard Mecham tells TALKERS their decision to resign “had nothing to do with a disagreement with the owner [which is how TALKERS phrased it in our coverage].  What it had to do with was the fact that their comments were irresponsible, they were challenging the governor’s order, and could have potentially put our license in jeopardy.  I invited them to discuss the issue over lunch and they quit with no notice.”  Mecham shares his email to Larson and Mason and further explains what happened in a piece you can read here.

SmartTalk Radio Network’s ‘CoronaLert’Airing on 300-plus Stations. The month-old “CoronaLert” program hosted by Cary Harrison and syndicated by SmartTalk Radio Network and Sun Broadcast Group is airing on more than 300 stations across the country.  SmartTalk says Harrison “presents slickly produced, 60-second rapid-response features that draw from the top scientific and medical minds available today.  ‘CoronaLert’ is the first of its kind with both volume of daily segments and a custom fleet of professionally produced companion videos for stations’ websites.”  SmartTalk CEO Chuck Duncan comments, “‘Facts Not Fear’ is the basis for ‘CoronaLert’ and provides listeners on all platforms and devices with a daily topic or development that is covered in a solution-oriented, easy-takeaway format.  SmartTalk Radio Network presents a forum for discussion, info, and entertainment covering myriad life topics, including COVID-19 and its lasting effects on our world.”

Entercom Expands Relationship with Sonos for RADIO.COM. Content from Entercom’s RADIO.COM will soon be available via the new Sonos Radio streaming service from Sonos.  Numerous Entercom stations are currently available as an integration on the Sonos platform.  Entercom corporate business development VP David Rosenbloom states, “Sonos provides a premier listening experience and we’re pleased to expand our relationship with them and bring RADIO.COM’s stations to millions of listeners across the country.  Through this partnership, Sonos customers can access RADIO.COM’s music, sports, and news content on their Sonos system, providing them with an enhanced listening experience of their station of choice from the comfort of their homes.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new American Uncensored News Network (AUN-TV) has launched with the goal of creating “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots producers.  Currently, AUN-TV shows air on seven stations in Northern California, including in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fort Bragg, Santa Rose, and more.  The network has appointed Rick Trader CEO, general manager and president of program development.  He says, “I am thrilled and excited at the prospects of AUN-TV!  Now, many great shows, views and voices will have a television platform to call their own.  The AUN-TV Network is badly needed to report on the stories the alphabet networks do not want the American people to know of.  Our goal is to bring original, thought-provoking programs to the viewing public that has a thirst for the truth, and to return our country to the principals of Liberty, Rule of Law and Judeo-Christian ethics our founding father created it for.”…..JVC Media is bringing infectious disease expert Dr. Rajeev Fernandez aboard as a contributor to its radio programs in three of its markets.  Dr. Fernandez joins “Steve and Leeana Mornings” on CHR WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3,” “The Shannon Burke Show” on “Florida Man Radio” (talk WDYZ, Orlando and WYGC, Gainesville), and news/talk WRCN, Long Island “103.9 LI News Radio.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “When we founded JVC, the goal was to be hyper-local and community focused.  Having Dr. Rajeev Fernandez available to our loyal listeners does so much good for the communities we serve.  The doctor is so relatable, likable, and easy to listen to.  It’s like a friend giving us the answers to this crazy puzzle called coronavirus.  I’m grateful to Dr. Fernandez and our hard-working JVC family for working together to super-serve our hard-hit communities.  It can’t be said enough, we WILL get through this together.”…..The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program with host Lee Habeeb adds new affiliate stations including: Entercom’s KRLD-AM, Dallas; Second Amendment Foundation’s KITZ-AM, Seattle; KBNP, Portland, and KSBN, Spokane; Futures and Options Inc’s KFNX-AM, Phoenix; Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Fargo; and STARadio’s WTAD-AM, Quincy, Illinois.  Habeeb, who is also CEO of producer American Private Radio, says, “There is no question people are starving for positive, original radio programming that celebrates this great country.  Partnering with one of the great stations in America, the legendary KRLD, means so much to our team at American Private Radio.  Now, we can bring our great stories to more people of not one, but two of America’s greatest cities under the banner of the 50,000 watt blow-torch of KRLD-AM.”…..Sports betting information network VSiN is partnering with Skyview Networks for the latter to handle affiliate sales.  Skyview CEO Ken Thiele states, “Skyview is in a strong position to partner with content creators as a full-service audio shop and is actively engaging in deals that bring exciting, high-demand content, like VSiN’s programming and analysis to the industry.”…..Radio’s “Best Friend” Art Vuolo handled editing duties for a film called iPot made by retired radio personality Joey Reynolds back in 2014 about the marijuana-growing industry in Humboldt County, California.  Reynolds’ daughter is in the growing business and that piqued his curiosity to investigate the newly legal industry.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly is among a number of special guests who appear in the film that you can see here.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Southern States Re-Opening Plans, COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign, Transferred HHS Doc Controversy, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Glut, U.S.-Iran Tensions, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases; several Southern states announce plans to begin re-opening their economies, clashing with President Trump’s advice; allegations that China, Russia, and Iran are mounting a social media disinformation campaign blaming the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic; the controversy over Dr. Rick Bright’s transfer from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for opposing widespread use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; the world’s financial markets’ response to the pandemic and the oil crash; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

American Urban Radio Networks DC Bureau Chief April Ryan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington, DC bureau chief and White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, veteran journalist April Ryan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Ryan, who is also a political analyst for CNN, is an African American single mother of two who has been covering the White House since Bill Clinton’s second term.  She was thrust into the national spotlight with the advent of the Trump Administration when she attracted controversy for standing up to the president and his press secretary at White House briefings and press conferences by asking tough questions and holding her ground for follow-ups.   Among her many awards and honors, the National Association of Black Journalists named Ryan its “Journalist of the Year” in 2017.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Westwood One-syndicated urban AC morning show “Rick and Sasha” is the new morning show on WNBM, New York.  The program airs in more than 30 markets.  Cumulus Media vice president of urban programming Kenny Smoov states, “The ‘Rick and Sasha’ show is growing fast and going BIG! New York is going to love this show!  There is nothing like getting a historic first-year report card.  Rick and Sasha, with George Willborn, not only sounds better than it ever has but is also showing remarkable ratings growth – extraordinary for a second-year show.  It is refreshing when the actual numbers match my ear test. This show is poised for long-term greatness.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

| April 21, 2020

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Morning Hosts Resign Over COVID-19 Coverage Conflict with Station Owner. The morning drive duo of Neal Larson and Julie Mason resigned from their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s news/talk KID-AM, Idaho Falls yesterday (4/20) after deciding a directive from station owner Richard Mecham about their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic went against their principles.  The East Idaho News reports that at the heart of the disagreement was the duo’s disagreement with Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “stay at home” order.  While Larson and Mason tell the paper they didn’t suggest anyone to break the law, Mason says she told listeners they should “follow your heart and figure what’s right for you and your family because COVID-19 is really situational.”  Mecham tells the paper, “I was trying to understand why you would fly in the face of the governor’s order when so many other stations are doing things to support your clients and listeners.  This is the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with them about what they do and don’t cover.  I’ve always trusted Neal.  I’ve always supported them.  I’ve never critiqued the show, and I’ve always had their back.”

Entercom Adopts Limited Duration Shareholders Rights Plan.  The board of directors of Entercom Communications has voted to adopt a shareholder rights plan – also known as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without consent of the board.  The company explains the move in a press release, “The Board adopted the Plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Entercom’s share price.  The Plan is similar to those adopted by other publicly held companies and is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders and ensure that the Board remains in the best position to uphold its fiduciary duties to the Company and its shareholders.  The Plan is designed to allow shareholders to realize the long-term value of their investment by guarding against opportunistic efforts to capitalize on recent macroeconomic conditions, including open market accumulations and other strategies, aimed at gaining control of the Company without paying all shareholders a full control premium for their shares.  The Plan provides for the issuance of one preferred stock purchase right for each share of Class A Common Stock and each share of Class B Common Stock held by shareholders of record on May 5, 2020, exercisable for Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock, respectively. Generally, the rights will become exercisable or exchangeable only if a person or group (with the exception of certain existing holders in certain circumstances) acquires 10% or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A Common Stock, or 15% in the case of certain passive investors (including shares synthetically owned pursuant to derivative positions or deemed owned due to specified actions in concert) or announces a tender offer and the consummation of that offer would result in ownership above such percentage-levels.  If the rights become exercisable, the rights will entitle its holder to purchase one one-thousandth of a share of the newly-created Series A and Series B Preferred Stock, as applicable, which, in each case, at the Board’s election, may be converted into shares of Class A and Class B Common Stock, respectively, of the Company.”  The Plan has a one-year duration, expiring April 20, 2021.

Cox Media Group: Local Media Outperforms During Pandemic. According to a study conducted by Cox Media Group, consumers are turning to local radio for information, entertainment, and companionship more than any other media source during the coronavirus pandemic.  The multi-market, online in a wide variety of demographics – ranging from 18 to 54 – and yielded more than 11,000 responses.  CMG says that the study found that one-third of participants are listening to radio more since the coronavirus outbreak.  Since the outbreak, 94% of participants indicated that they have tuned into local radio more than any other streaming service for music, talk, and information, demonstrating that as radio continues to evolve, ‘local’ ranks as one of the most important differentiators.  CMG Radio VP, audience and content Tim Clarke says, “Audience engagement is very strong by any metric you look at.  Listeners depend on our radio brands more than ever for a mix of news, entertainment and a friendly and familiar voice to keep them going during this uncertain time.  They are captive and immersed in our content on all platforms and our top personalities continue to deliver.”

Members of Congress Send President Trump Letter Requesting Aid for Local Media. The letter dated Monday (4/20) is written by Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Flores (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Fred Upton (R-MI) and is signed by more than 240 Members of Congress.  It expresses the notion that people rely on local newspapers, TV, and radio for information and that those entities can’t survive without advertising.  The letter requests the following specific action: “We believe that Executive Branch agencies have a powerful opportunity to support local media and promote public awareness by directing that federal spending on advertising be prioritized for local media outlets.  Specifically, we encourage federal agencies to put into action today already funded campaigns to achieve certain public objectives as well as potential promotions of the economic stimulus programs provided for by the CARES Act and other recent legislation. We urge you to: 1) Direct your Cabinet secretaries to review any resources intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite such activities with local media outlets; 2) Direct federal agency advertising dollars for existing and new federal programs where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities; and 3) Incentivize a portion of stimulus funds provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media.”

Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 survey period covered February 27 through March 25.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly, 6+ AQH shares during the March survey include: Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” adds eight-tenths to finish with an 8.8 share and the #2 rank in the market; in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia  news/talk WISN tacks on six-tenths for a 5.8 share and the #5 rank while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ also rises six-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #6 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” is up six-tenths to a 5.3 share and the #6 rank; Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville rises 1.4 shares for an 11.8 finish and the #1 rank; and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford shoots up a full share to wrap March with a 7.2 share and the #4 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

TALKERS News Notes. Milwaukee sports talk outlet WAUK-AM is airing content from SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel instead of the ESPN Radio content it usually airs now and for the foreseeable future.  Good Karma Brands vice president and Milwaukee manager Steve Wexler states, “We can’t wait for live sports to resume and for the threat of the coronavirus to subside, but in the meantime, we believe the health and well-being of our community is the top priority, as well as delivering relevant information to our audience.”…..No medium does parody songs better than radio and one such example addressing the coronavirus pandemic comes from Bob Flaherty, morning drive personality at Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts.  Taking on the topic of “herd immunity,” the Flaherty Singers twist a Johnny Cash classic into a parody for our times.  Check it out here…..Cox Media Group’s Tampa Radio stations – including talk WPHT-FM “102.5 The Bone” and its four music brand sisters – raised close to $268,000 for the Metropolitan Ministries via its “Feed It Forward: A Virtual Food Drive” that took place last Thursday (4/16).  The donations will assist families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia stations, including sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” and its four music-formatted sisters have officially unveiled a line of ‘Philly Stands Together” merchandise to benefit the “PHL COVID-19 FUND.”  The PHL COVID-19 FUND is a joint venture between Philadelphia Foundation and The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey designed to benefit organizations throughout Philadelphia and surrounding counties in PA and New Jersey to serve the region’s most vulnerable neighbors and to ensure critical resources remain accessible for those with the greatest need…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft that begins on Thursday (4/23).  The SiriusXM NFL Radio channel will carry the live announcements of every selection by every team.  The broadcast will feature Pro Football Hall of Fame member and legendary player personnel executive Gil Brandt; former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive Pat Kirwan; former veteran NFL quarterback Jim Miller; and lead host Jason Horowitz.  Former college coach Rick Neuheisel will join the broadcast team for the Friday and Saturday draft rounds.  All hosts will be broadcasting from their home studios.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Trump vs Governors, ‘Stay at Home’ Protests, Relief Funds Controversy, Oil Prices Crash, GA TN and SC Plan Reopening, Kim Jong Un Status, and Tom Brady Cited in Tampa Park Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases and fatalities; the battle between President Trump and the governors of several states over authority to issue directives and the states’ needs for medical assistance; the protests against “stay at home” directives; the controversy over reports that large corporations are receiving relief funds designated for small businesses; the price of oil continues to crater in the absence of demand; Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina’s plans for re-opening immediately; questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Tom Brady is cited for working out in a closed park in Tampa 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. After exiting iHeartMedia’s KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull” for a new opportunity, we learn that Brian “B Dub” Washington is taking on afternoon drive show host duties at Hubbard Radio’s KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull.”  He says, “I’m beyond excited to get my family back home to the Northwest and join the team at ’98.9 The Bull’ and Hubbard Seattle.  Can’t wait to make some great radio with Fitz, Wingnut, and the rest of the crew at ‘The Bull,’ as well as work with Scott Mahalick again!  Amazing things to come!”…..Changes take place at Saga Communications’ country WCVL-FM, Charlottesville, Virginia as morning drive host Adam Rondeau and program director and PM drive personality Bryan Shine exit.  Operations manager Les Sinclair takes over station programming duties…..After being off the air since March 31 due to a case of COVID-19, iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” evening jock Karah Leigh returns to the air.

Friday, January 8, 2016

| January 8, 2016

carrollbillKFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” CarrollKFI began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”

talkersten logoObama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states 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.

wtmj logoWTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’  The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee.  The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery.  The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning.  The Netflix seriesnetflixMaking has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story.  WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance.  WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.”  This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game.  WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage.  WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information.  We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can.  WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”

price howardRadio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’  In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K.  Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.”  Read his entire piece here.

kiblerkellyKibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

emmis logoEmmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts.  After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives.  During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes.  This is always very, very hard for us.”  The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.

kidRich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls.  The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market.  The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market.  KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho.  Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage.  With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello.  Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”

cookeCES16hashtagCES 2016 Wrap Up.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.  Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.

Odds & Sods.  The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami;rosenbergsid and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines,  The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.

pittmanbobPittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to theBroadcasters Foundation of America Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.

poebobBroadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.