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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

| April 27, 2021

Shari Gonzalez Promoted to Market President for iHeartMedia Miami. Radio sales pro Shari Gonzalez is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Miami/Fort Lauderdale station group that includes news/talk WIOD, sports talk WINZ, WXBN “Black Information Network,” and eight music brands. She was most recently regional SVP of sales for the cluster. iHeartMedia division president Linda Byrd says, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to promote Shari into her first market president role. In the short time that we have worked together, I have seen her competitiveness, work ethic and ability to move her team in the direction we need to go. Shari has the experience and smarts to make a great market president of iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale. She will be a great leader in one of our most important markets.” Gonzalez comments, “I am honored and thrilled for this opportunity. To continue to work with and now lead this incredible portfolio of brands and this ‘best-in-class’ team of talented, passionate colleagues is a dream come true. Miami/Fort Lauderdale is experiencing a boom like no other market in the country and the South Florida market is filled with a culture and uniqueness that is second to none. As our market continues to grow as a multi-cultural, global economic and entertainment destination, we at iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale remain committed to being the largest and most meaningful connection to millions in South Florida.”

‘The Rich Eisen Show’ Joins Audacy for Live Streaming and On-Demand Service. Sports media personality Rich Eisen enters into a content distribution partnership with Audacy to add his “The Rich Eisen Show” to the Audacy digital platform. “The Rich Eisen Show” streams live daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The show, as well as his new podcast, “Just Getting Started,” are available on-demand on the Audacy digital platform. “The Rich Eisen Show” emanates from Los Angeles and is simulcast on NBC Sports on Peacock. Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano states, “Rich’s show is a terrific addition to our Audacy platform and reinforces our position as the unrivaled leader in local and national sports audio content. We’re thrilled to bring Rich’s mix of sports and culture to our audience, just in time for this week’s NFL Draft.”

Tricia Gallenback to Lead Cumulus Media’s Eugene Stations. Sales and management pro Tricia Gallenback is named the new vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Eugene, Oregon station group that includes news/talk KUGN-AM, sports talk KUJZ-FM, and three music brands. She most recently held the same position at Reno Media Group’s stations in Reno, Nevada. Prior to that she was director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina operations. Gallenback says, “It’s an exciting time to work in radio! Cumulus is a dynamic and innovative company and I’m honored that [Cumulus RVP] Don Morin invited me to join the talented team in Eugene. The Cumulus stations in Eugene are iconic brands and have a history of commitment to community and partnership success. I’m looking forward to discovering how much more we can accomplish together.”

Ernest Fears III Rises to Director of Sales at Radio One Washington, DC. Radio sales pro Ernest Fears III is promoted to director of sales for Radio One’s Washington, DC station group that includes sports talk WTEM-AM “The Team 980” and news/talk WOL-AM/W240DJ. Fears was most recently general sales manager for the station group. Fears says, “During my 40 years in the business in the DC market, I’ve had the chance to work with so many professionals that I have learned from. If not for them, I would not stand where I am today. I look forward to paying forward the help and guidance that I received to my team and their clients.” Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson adds, “For decades, Ernie has been one of the most respected leaders in Washington, DC media.  But today, we celebrate his leadership and innovation moving forward as we blaze new trails while creating unprecedented solutions for our business partners.”

WWO Blog: What Changes in TV Viewing Mean for Radio. In this week’s Westwood One blog, chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard addresses the changes taking place in the television industry as viewers shift from linear TV to ad-free streaming options. This is a massive challenge for advertisers who’ve made TV a big part of their media plans. The piece is peppered with ominous stats, including: Nielsen’s just-released Total Audience Report reveals linear television’s weekly reach among persons 25-54 has dropped from 85% in Q3 2018 to only 77% in Q3 2020; pay TV lost 5.5 million subscribers in 2020; MoffettNathanson reports that residential penetration of traditional pay TV is down to 61% of occupied households. This is sharply reduced from pay TV’s peak 89% penetration in 2009; and according to MoffettNathanson, in Q4 2020, 67% of all broadcast network viewership was from the 50+ audience. So how does radio advertising play into this? Bouvard says that putting AM/FM radio in the plan generates triple the reach of connected TV – for example, adding 50 points of AM/FM radio to 250 points of TV (225 linear TV GRPs and 50 connected TV GRPs) generates a +24% increase in reach, triple the incremental reach lift that connected TV can add alone.

TALKERS News Notes. A deal between direct mail firm We Mail America.com and the Independent Broadcasters Association to “bring the We Mail America.com business model to independently owned radio markets of all sizes.” A press release says, “We Mail America.com is reinventing the traditional direct mail model by coupling it with a full suite of digital advertising services that works precisely and in conjunction with each radio ad campaign and mail deployment. This comprehensive view of advertising fortifies audio marketing strategies across all mediums, screens, and devices.” IBA president (and Adams Media CEO) Ron Stone says, “Independent radio has never had so many competitors, and direct mail is certainly one of them.  We Mail America.com brings a no-nonsense approach to direct mail and provides radio operators a new tool for their clients. The model that [We Mail America.com founder] Gary [Pizzati] has created enables independent stations to add a new source of revenue to their cluster that does not just move money from one pocket to the other.”…..Audacy’s C13Originals is expanding its longtime partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham to launch Shining City Audio, a podcast studio co-venture focused on creating a wide-ranging slate of audio documentaries and series centered around history with some of the most well-respected historians and voices joining at launch. The Shining City Audio initial 2021 slate features two new series written and narrated by Meacham: “Fate of Fact,” a limited-run series examining the question of how and why so many conservative Americans have become prone to disinformation and anti-democratic narratives, and a daily podcast focused on this day in history…..SiriusXM today announced that it has acquired 99% Invisible Inc., the company owned by Roman Mars, the creator, host, and executive producer of the “99% Invisible” podcast. The acquisition brings the podcast host and his team to SiriusXM, where they will continue to operate 99% Invisible, the podcast “What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law,” and develop new podcast projects…..Observing the reaction to the “Saturday Night Live” cast’s befuddlement at the news that Elon Musk will host an upcoming episode of the sketch comedy show, KZRG, Joplin, Missouri program director Peter Thiele is inviting Musk to appear as guest host on “KZRG Morning News Watch.” He says, “Elon Musk is one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs! We are proud to invite him to be the guest host of the ‘KZRG Morning News Watch!’ Joplin, Missouri’s convenient location on two major freeways with a fantastic airport makes this offer even more tantalizing.”

COVID-19, Biden 100 Days Address, Deadly Police Shootings/Race Relations, Iran-Israel Tensions/John Kerry Allegation, Southern Border Crisis, Newsom Recall, and Oscars Show Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/26). The rates of positive COVID cases in U.S. states, the rollout of and concerns about vaccines, and the overwhelming cases and deaths in India; President Joe Biden’s Wednesday address before Congress marking his first 100 days; protests over recent deadly police shootings of Black citizens and the call for a complete release of body camera video in the death of Andrew Brown Jr.; the military tensions between Iran and Israel and the allegation former Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Israeli air strikes with Iran’s foreign minister; the mass of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; petitioners gather enough signatures to put the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom on the ballot; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package 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. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

| December 2, 2020

Entercom Names Rick Dayton Afternoon Host at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. Almost three months after former afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell was taken off news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s air for suggesting park rangers shoot people caught defacing public monuments (she was officially fired on October 16), Entercom names local news pro Rick Dayton host of “KDKA Radio Afternoon News hosted by Rick Dayton,” effective December 7. Dayton has worked in television news in North Carolina, at WOWK-TV, Charleston, West Virginia; and at KDKA-TV, Pittburgh. He’s most recently been a fill-in host for the station. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rick is ingrained in the local community and has a tremendous news reputation in the market. He is a beloved personality who will engage the listeners daily with content and information and I’m excited to welcome him to our weekday lineup.” Dayton adds, “After spending more than a decade back home in western Pennsylvania, I am honored to join KDKA Radio and build on its iconic legacy. To talk with KDKA’s loyal listeners each day and to discuss important issues is something I do not take lightly. I cannot wait to get those conversations started on Monday afternoon.”

WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Fires Morning Host Marc Farzetta. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, morning drive host Marc Farzetta is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” after a little more than two years in the daypart. Farzetta let fans know about his departure via Twitter in which he said: “I was informed a few hours ago that today was my last day hosting the Morning Show at 97.5 The Fanatic… I’m so proud of the work we did taking that time slot to heights it hadn’t seen in the station’s 15-year history in the sports format.” Farzetta had been hosting the show with Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. At this time, it’s not clear if they remain with the station or not.

OPINION: Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility. In the response to the on-air statement by Trump campaign attorney Joe diGenova about former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales president Ron Hartenbaum pens a piece for TALKERS explaining his take on the responsibilities of broadcasters who find themselves in such a position. diGenova, while appearing as a guest on “The Howie Carr Show,” said, “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” Read Hartenbaum’s response here.

UNCF First Recipient of iHeartMedia’s Media Grant Program. The new iHeartRadio Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program from iHeartMedia is designed to “support organizations that are making a positive impact within the communities iHeart serves and to use iHeart’s multi-platform media network to deliver messaging that is timely, relevant and hyper-targeted to most effectively serve impacted communities.” The company says that the inaugural Spotlight Grants will provide a nationwide platform for Black-focused community organizations to “inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice; celebrate Black excellence, achievement, and culture; help members of the Black community express themselves and address the unique needs of their communities; and invest in educational programs and individuals that are inspiring the next generation of Black journalists and leaders.” Long-time partner UNCF, an organization that helps fund 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), has been named the first partner and will receive a minimum media grant of $350,000 to be used through the end of the year. The all-new PSA airs now through the end of the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations and will bring attention to the many social, financial, educational and mental health challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to communities of color and the threat to America’s progress for a more equitable society. UNCF is asking listeners to donate $10 online at UNCF.org/donate to help HBCU students who had to withdraw from school because of COVID-19 challenges get back to college in the spring. Additionally, iHeart will again host UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax as a guest on the iHeartRadio Communities public affairs show in the coming weeks.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new sports channel coming to SiriusXM as the satellite radio company and NBC Sports have partnered to create NBC Sports Audio on SiriusXM that will launch tomorrow (12/3). Sirius XM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “The NBC Sports Audio channel is a terrific addition to the SiriusXM lineup. Fans of NBC Sports’ great programming and talent will get access to an outstanding sports talk lineup every weekday, and our subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of many top events on the sports calendar.” Shows airing on the channel will include: “PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” “Brother From Another with Michael Holley and Michael Smith,” and more…..Entercom Chicago is presenting its 25th annual “Good Neighbor Radiothon” on all-news WBBM Newsradio (WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM) to raise money for The Salvation Army. Hosted by WBBM Newsradio news anchor Pat Cassidy, the live program will encourage listeners to donate through the station’s phone bank or online via the station’s website…..Prior to Thanksgiving, Cox Media Group Atlanta’s radio stations – including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations to supply holiday meals for local families in need and collected a grand total of 2,127 pounds of dry food, 1,325 pounds of frozen turkey, and monetary donations that will provide 25,816 meals for hungry children, hardworking families and struggling seniors…..Entercom Milwaukee is presenting WSSP-AM  1250AM The Fan’s 14th annual “FAN Toy Drive,” to benefit Children’s Wisconsin. This year’s 24-hour virtual on-air event will aim to raise funds and toys for the hospital’s patients. Listeners will be encouraged to donate via the station’s website…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Imperative Entertainment’s Podcast Division and Pegalo Pictures are premiering the podcast, “American Coyote” that tells the true story of America’s most successful coyote, Elden Kidd. While active, Elden was responsible for ushering over a thousand people across the border — and was unfazed even after cheating death multiple times and spending two years incarcerated in a Mexican prison…..iHeartMedia Stockton’s “Fox Sports AM1280, Stockton’s Only Sports Station,” announces an extension of its broadcast agreement with the University of the Pacific to continue to broadcast the university’s men’s and women’s Pacific Tiger basketball games through the 2020-2021 basketball season.

COVID-19/Vaccines, Trump Tactics/Barr Statement, DOJ Pardon Bribery Investigation, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Nuke Scientist Death, and the NFL’s COVID Problem Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/1). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, concerns about private gatherings fueling the pandemic, and the promise of soon-to-be-available vaccines; Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to call the election results into question and Attorney General William Barr’s public statement that his agency had found no evidence of widespread election fraud; the DOJ’s investigation into a possible bribery scheme involving pay for pardons; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fallout from the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; and the NFL’s strategy for dealing with growing COVID-positive players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In a move that’s not too surprising to the staffers at the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting, the company’s two radio stations – hip hop KZGO-FM and alternative KQGO-FM in Minneapolis – are being sold to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed sum. The Pohlad family owns MLB’s Minnesota Twins and until 2018 games were broadcast on KQGO. Now, with Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM, the family has little use for the signals. Both stations will flip to religious formats in the New Year. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..SiriusXM and the family of Bob Marley announce a new, exclusive year-round channel dedicated to the legacy of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio launches tomorrow (12/3) and will feature the cultural icon’s entire music catalog, both live and recorded, including rare recordings, some of which have never been made available to the public. The channel is being curated by the Marley family and will include a wide range of Caribbean music from its inception to present day.

Monday, August 17, 2020

| August 17, 2020

Monday Memo: Emulate Success. Talkers of all sorts – music DJs, talk hosts, podcasters – are fighting for attention, now more than ever, in what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison calls “today’s sped-up world.”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists success prescriptions from industry icons. Read it here.

USPS Controversy/Mail-In Voting, Presidential Election/Kamala Harris Choice, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, Portland Protests/Urban Violence, WAP Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The funding issues facing the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud; the November presidential election and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools this fall; the ongoing protests in Portland and rise in violent crime in a number of U.S. cities; and the controversy over the Cardi B song “WAP” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: In the Market for a Test Drive. A personality endorsement campaign is a commitment on both sides – the client’s and the talent’s and AE’s. What happens when a prospect responds with the desire to “try it for a month?” Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about tying the length of time it takes to get a consumer through the purchase process to the minimum term required for an endorsement campaign featuring one of your talk personalities. Read it here.

WQAM, Miami Re-Vamps Daily Program Schedule. South Florida sports talker WQAM “560 The Joe” announces it’s tweaking its daily lineup, adding ESPN Radio’s “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart and is expanding the afternoon drive “Hochman and Crowder” show – hosted by Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder – to 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “With the return of live sports, we aim to give sports fans of South Florida a home for both national headlines and premier coverage of their favorite teams. As he returns to radio, Mike Greenberg is a nationally recognized and trusted voice and we’re delighted to add his show to our already impressive lineup of weekday programming.”

John Fredericks Radio Network Announces New Virginia Digital News Operation. In conjunction with Star News Digital Media, the Virginia based John Fredericks Radio Network is launching The Virginia Star – a new, digital news operation that begins publishing today. John Fredericks is host of the network’s morning drive program and he’s also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of the news operation. He says, “We are very excited about this new venture: real news in real time. The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section. Like on my radio show, we encourage all voices.” Star executives say they have hired three local, full-time reporters and have contracted with several more on a part-time basis. Fredericks adds, “We are going to cover the stories important to our readers that the fake news refuses to do simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative. At The Virginia Star, we have our own narrative, it’s called the truth.” Star News Digital Media CEO Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Virginia Star now becomes the fifth state-based news site in the Star News Network, joining The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and The Michigan Star.” Star News Digital Media chief technology officer Christina Botteri adds, “The Virginia Star is the first affiliate of the Star News Network. We own and operate our four other news sites. We searched the country to find the right organization with the reputation and experience to work with in a fifth state, and the John Fredericks Radio Network in Virginia was hands down the right choice for us. Together with John, our crackerjack team of on-the-ground reporters, and the great people of Virginia, we will change the face of news in the Commonwealth.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As sports leagues begin returning to live play-by-play, America’s sports talk stations are hoping it will translate into improved ratings. During the July 2020 survey, Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” was the big gainer, adding seven-tenths to post a 3.6 share. Right behind was Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco tacking on six-tenths for a 2.5 share finish. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, the top gainer is iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN,” which posts a seven-tenths gain for a 5.0 share. No sports talk station ranked #1 in its market in July – not even close. However, three stations – Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; WBNS-FM, Columbus; and KXFN-FM, Minneapolis – tied for ranking #8 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. This month, Premiere Networks is celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere says that it and FOX Sports “have enjoyed a long partnership that kicked off in 2000 with the goal of producing a home for industry-leading talent focused on delivering entertaining, informed and thought-provoking programming for sports fans. FOX Sports Radio launched in August of that year, and the network’s storied 20-year run has developed a loyal following of more than 14 million listeners across more than 500 affiliates nationwide with an unmatched weekday lineup featuring some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller.” Premiere SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “What an amazing accomplishment – 20 years! I’ve been fortunate to be part of the FSR family for the entire run, both as an affiliate and on the management team.”…..San Diego is getting its first taste of “The Mightier 1090” today (8/17) as the Bill Hagen-led station begins operating. XEPRS-AM had been a sports talker as “The Mighty 1090” operated by Broadcast Corporation of the Americas but that organization lost its lease on the Mexican blowtorch last year. Now, ad exec Hagen is re-imagining the station. Times of San Diego reports that former XEPRS sports talk host Scott Kaplan is hosting afternoon drive. The rest of the schedule is: SportsGrid’s “The Morning After” with Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith in morning drive, Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, two programs hosted by Scott Ferrall, and Tony Bruno in evenings…..ESPN Radio announces that effective today (8/17), personalities Dan LeBatard and Stugotz are presenting new daily podcast-exclusive content. A new digital-only episode will be recorded and posted before their 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET national radio show.  Following the radio program, LeBatard and Stugotz will record more thoughts and ramblings as a digital-only “post-game show.” In addition, each hour of the radio show – as well as their local hour heard in Miami – will continue to be available as podcasts. ESPN Audio VP, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks says, “Dan and Stugotz already have a large digital-only audience, and we wanted to better serve that audience with exclusive podcast content. They are a unique show on sports radio and now their podcast listeners will get more unique podcast content each day.”

Michael Harrison Joins Gunhill Road with New Song About Life During Pandemic.  Here they come again! Gunhill Road, the legendary album rock band that was a cult favorite of FM radio in the early 70s and then scored a Top 40 AM radio one-off smash in 1973 with “Back When My Hair Was Short” has returned in 2020 with a reworked version of the classic hit. This time the catchy tune has new lyrics that address the coronavirus with a lovingly humorous take on the sacrifices society is making to contain it. Rock enthusiasts might recall that Gunhill Road reunited in 2014 to a packed house at New York’s Bitter End and a brand new double album titled, “Every 40 Years,” which became the subject of a feature film documentary. The long-running ensemble which consists of original members Glenn LeopoldSteve Goldrich, and Paul Reich and new members musician/arranger Brian Koonin and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has a new set of songs ready to drop in early 2021. Among the new songs is one co-written and performed by Harrison that addresses the issue of animal welfare. To check out the new “Back When We Used to Hug” video, please click here.

Newsmax TV Adds ‘Stinchfield’ to Nightly Lineup. Four-time Emmy-winning journalist Grant Stinchfield is joining the evening lineup at Newsmax TV, beginning tomorrow (8/18) at 8:00 pm ET. Newsmax says “Stinchfield” is “a full hour of the day’s top news and provocative conversation.” Stinchfield says, “I’m thrilled to be at Newsmax TV. Each night, our viewers can look forward to a compelling mix of up-to-the-second news and compelling discussions with newsmakers and Newsmax TV’s great roster of contributors.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Grant has an impeccable track record in broadcast journalism with the awards to prove it. He will bring our viewers solid news reports with the insight they can’t find elsewhere.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Albany, New York station group, country WGNA brand manager Matty Jeff is promoted to director of content for the cluster that also includes alternative WQSH, rock WQBK, adult contemporary WPBZ, hip hop WQBK-HD2/W256BU, and sports talk WTMM-FM. Townsquare Albany market president Kevin Rich says, “Matty has programmed WGNA to be a consistent local ratings and online leader and by far the #1 country station in the Capital Region. Having him as my partner in the director of content role will make our locally programmed stations even stronger.”…..Country radio air personality Jessica Cash announces she’s leaving Alpha Media’s WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia at the end of this week. She says, “Fourteen years is a long time for someone in our profession to be in one place. I’ve had the good fortune to do that, to hopefully get your day started with a smile. But, now it’s time for me to make a change in my life.” Cash co-hosts the morning drive show with Steve Waters. The duo has won honors over the years, including CMA’s Small Market Morning Show in 2018 and the ACM Small Market Personality in 2019. The station is searching for her replacement…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime South Florida radio personality Sonny Fox, who passed away on Friday (8/14) in Dunnellon, Florida after an illness at age 73. An obit in the Miami Herald notes that Fox worked at former rock outlet WSHE (now hip hop WMIB), CHR WHYI, oldies WMXJ, and country WKIS.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

| January 22, 2020

New Talk Format to Launch on WTZA, Atlanta. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, local entrepreneur Will Regan is leasing WTZA-AM, Atlanta and translator W271CV at 102.1 FM to air a news/talk format featuring Atlanta talk radio icon Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoon drive.  Peterson will continue to work with show cast members Pete Davis, Jim Gossett, and producer Brent “Flounder” Dundon.  Peterson was most recently heard in the market on WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” (now WAKL) prior to Cumulus Media selling the signal to Christian broadcaster Educational Media FoundationMike Brooks, who also hosted a show on “Talk 106.7,” is slated to host the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Regan tells Ho that he’s still looking for morning and midday hosts.  The station is expected to debut on February 3.

Impeachment, Trump at Davos, Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Honduran Immigrant Caravan, Putin’s Power Grab, and Megxit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s battle in the Senate over procedure for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the various topics Trump addressed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November; the Wuhan Coronavirus affecting China and the first confirmed case in the U.S. in Washington state; the status of the migrant caravan attempting to get from Honduras to the U.S.; Vladimir Putin’s attempt to re-engineer the Russian constitution to remain in power; and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s move to Canada were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Networks Gear Up for Super Bowl LIV. Radio networks covering Super Bowl LIV are announcing their plans. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the National Football League – is presenting play-by-play of the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2.  Kevin Harlan handles the play-by-play with Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner as the lead analyst.  Former NFL referee turned rules analyst Gene Steratore joins the radio broadcast booth.  Former All-Pro offensive lineman Tony Boselli returns for a fourth straight year as sideline reporter and is joined by longtime field reporter Laura Okmin, who is making her debut on the Super Bowl crew.  Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime coverage with appearances by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and New England Patriots quarterback and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.  Westwood One is producing the hourlong preview show “Seven Days to Sunday — The Road to Super Bowl LIV” that airs each evening from January 26 through February 1, hosted by Scott Graham and co-hosted by a different WWO analyst each night.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Sports Network – is on site in Miami during Super Bowl week broadcasting its shows from Radio Row at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell”; and “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker” will emanate from the Convention Center while AT&T/DIRECTV’s “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show” will broadcast live from South Beach.

TALKERS News Notes. Arkansas Business reports that Cumulus Media has downsized at the Little Rock cluster and that three staffers from news/talk KARN-FM’s news department have exited.  The publication says news and traffic anchor Chris Ingram, anchor and reporter Heidi Sohl, and traffic reporter Chris Counts are all out…..In the Twin Cities, reporter and air personality Danny Cunningham leaves Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM “SKOR North” after his contract was not renewed.  Cunningham – who co-hosted the “Vikings Vent Line” show and hosted the “Raised by Wolves” podcast in addition to his reporting duties covering the NBA’s Timberwolves – announced his departure via social media…..Lima News reports that Woof Boom Radio’s sports talk WWSR, Lima, Ohio “93.1 The Fan” has filled the afternoon drive daypart with “The Drive With Marty Bannister.”  He takes over after longtime market sports personality and PM drive host Vince Koza succumbed to cancer in December.  Bannister is currently play-by-play announcer for Ohio University’s men’s and women’s basketball.  He also serves with Spectrum TV and the Ohio High School Athletic Association radio network…..Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman and current WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” morning drive personality Tra Thomas was honored by his hometown of DeLand, Florida last weekend.  The city re-named Eastside Park and Playground after Thomas during a ceremony that was part of a number of events linked to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.  Thomas has stayed active in charity efforts in the city where his parent’s still reside, helping fund Our Daily Bread, a nonprofit outreach ministry at Bethel A.M.E. Church that provides bagged groceries, and clothing; paying off his church’s mortgage and purchasing a bus for the church; and buying books for the Tra Thomas Book Club with the Boys & Girls Club of DeLand, the DeLand Library and the Chisholm Community Center…..Sison Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT, Burlington adds Envision Networks’ “60 Seconds of Service” to its programming, airing twice daily each week.   The one-minute feature spotlights the men, women, and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities…..Late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon is being honored with induction into the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame.  The induction takes place on June 6 at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark as part of the 2020 Awards Banquet at the MBA annual convention.  Bohannon’s program is syndicated nationally via Westwood One.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Emily Boldon – who serves as vice president of AC formats and STRATUS music scheduling for Cumulus Media – moves back to the company’s Atlanta headquarters.  Boldon had been working from the company’s Providence cluster and was serving as program director for AC WWLI “Lite Rock 105.”  With the recent arrival of new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske – who is also the new PD of WWLI – Boldon is free to return south.  Cumulus VP of programming operations John Dimick says, “If there was ever any doubt about Emily’s programming acumen, she proved her skills with the tremendous growth and continued success of ‘Lite Rock 105’ Providence while maintaining our company’s leadership in the AC format.  Now it’s time to bring her back to Atlanta where she can continue to lead our AC stations and focus more of her time and effort on improving the company’s STRATUS system.”…..UJA-Federation of New York names SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein its Music Visionary of the Year.  He’ll be recognized for his exceptional professional accomplishments and commitment to philanthropy at the annual Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon on June 4 in New York City.  Daniel Glass, president & founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group and vice chair of UJA’s Entertainment, Media & Communications Division, says, “Scott’s vision and leadership have made an indelible impact on the world of music and entertainment.  Scott is the perfect recipient of this prestigious award because he is always ahead of the cultural and technology curve.  He is responsible for the discovery and growth of so many careers.”…..On-air pro Robyn Cisar exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC KURB-FM, Little Rock “B 98.5” where she was co-host of the morning drive “Kevin and Robyn Show” with Kevin Idol.  She posted on Facebook, “It’s all still a blur, but news travels fast.  I have never loved a job more than I did working with Kevin on ‘B98.5.’  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do what I did.  I’ll always remember it and treasure the memories.”…..Skyview Networks’s “The Dana Cortez Show” adds two new affiliates as Campesina’s KBHH, Fresno “Forge 95.3” and KBDS, Bakersfield “Forge 103.9” add the show to their program lineups…..Big Radio names three new program directors to its Rock County radio operations.  Paul Michaels assumes the programming duties for rock WWHG “105.9FM – The Hog”; Micki Morgret is program director for 90s-formatted WBEL-AM/W222AU, Beloit/W255CZ, Janesville “The Beat 92.3FM and 98.9FM”; and Greg “Big Red” Hanthorn is the new PD for country WGEZ-AM/W270CW, Beloit “Iron Country.”