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Monday, March 15, 2021

| March 15, 2021

Monday Memo: Radio Has a 100-Year Head Start. Who ISN’T doing a podcast? “Your advertisers,” who consultant Holland Cooke notes, “are, increasingly, diverting radio dollars to digital shiny objects much less productive than assets stations can craft.” In this week’s column, HC outlines a strategy. Read it here.

Pending Business: Attitude Is Everything. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that a seller’s attitude is even more important now. “Negotiating any deal to a win-win can be delicate surgery. The economic variables, personalities, and now the lack of body language feedback can make the process frustrating.  As we move to a hybrid sales-work environment of online, in-person, Zoom, and mobile, negotiating takes on a new dimension.” Read his piece here.

Rita Cosby Returns to WABC, New York for Late Night Show. Talk and news media pro Rita Cosby makes a return to the WABC, New York airwaves as host of the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show, effective tonight. She fills the slot that opened when Red Apple Media recently dropped the “John Batchelor Show” from the late-night slot. Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Rita Cosby is the best in the business, with a tremendous following and incredible background. ‘The Rita Cosby Show’ will bring a new and exciting dynamic to our important evening programming, with Rita’s top-notch interviewing skills, impeccable record in journalism, and deep ability to connect with our listeners. We are proud to welcome such a respected host to 77 WABC Radio and anticipate big success for ‘The Rita Cosby Show.’” Cosby – an Emmy-winning TV host who’s anchored programs on FOX News Channel and MSNBC – previously served with WABC from 2014-18 as a host and political editor. She says, “I am honored to be joining 77 WABC’s terrific lineup and working with legendary New York icon John Catsimatidis and his team. During this pivotal and unpredictable moment in our nation and communities, 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight will be a nonstop voice of reason and truth you will not want to miss.”

WEEI Officially Names Andy Gresh Midday Co-Host. As TALKERS reported last week, longtime Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold’s replacement on the midday show at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM is Andy Gresh, the company announces. Arnold left the station after Friday’s program, capping a 30-year career on WEEI. Gresh partners with Rich Keefe for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Gresh & Keefe” show, starting today (3/15). Entercom Boston regional president Mark Hannon says, “Andy Gresh has a vast amount of experience covering the Boston sports scene, making him a perfect addition to our midday programming. We’re excited to team him up with WEEI’s Rich Keefe to bring listeners a dynamic midday show that will reflect what sports fans are talking about day in and day out.” Gresh, who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence earlier this year, says, “I’m excited to be back on the radio in Boston. I think people know I’m pretty familiar with this time slot, but it’s time to present something new and fresh, with energy, focus and fun. Rich Keefe and I have always had a cool relationship that I truly believe will translate through the speakers.” During his career, Gresh has hosted at “790 The Score” in Providence; WFAN, New York; ESPN Radio; SiriusXM; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”

Sponsored Story: Take The Work Out Of Creating Sponsor Recaps And Airchecks. Leading networks and syndicated hosts effortlessly track key sponsor and advertiser campaigns. You can do so too by providing recaps that highlight in-show integrations, sponsorships and endorsements. Share detailed reports of when and where sponsors’ messages are delivered, complete with airchecks. Show off your talent and take your advertiser relationships to the next level.  Level Up My Insights

TALKERS News Notes. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Stephanie Miller’s first Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show in Madison, Wisconsin, the entire cast is getting together on April 10 at 8:00 pm ET for an online Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show featuring a look back at the last 10 years (plus all-new comedy just for the occasion). Joining Miller on the live event will be John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Skyview Networks – the exclusive radio network sales and affiliate sales partner of VSiN, the sports betting network, announces six new stations in Phoenix, Palm Springs, Jacksonville, and Toledo sign on for VSiN’s content…..Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants and Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco agree to a multi-year extension to keep Giants games on KNBR through 2025. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “We’re elated that Giants baseball and KNBR will continue to be the Bay Area’s favorite summer soundtrack for years to come. Between KNBR’s powerful AM/FM signals and our streaming platforms, we look forward to providing fans with multiple options to enjoy every Giants game.”

Migrant Crisis at the Border, Cuomo on the Ropes, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Breonna Taylor Marches, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Everard Vigil Arrests, Deadly Myanmar Violence, and the Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the protests in Louisville and other cities on the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s slaying; the voting bills in various states critics say will making voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; the violence at the UK vigil for Sarah Everard; the deadly violence in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s Grammy awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, March 12, 2021

| March 12, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “The New Abnormal” looks back at this past week of March 8-12, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston / Michael Berry Network;  Grace Curley, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio NetworkDom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia / “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason” podcast; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV / “What in the World?”; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

Saga Communications Reports Q4 2020 Net Revenue Down 10%; Decline of 24.9% for Full Year. In reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the full year, Saga Communications, Inc says fourth quarter and year-end 2020 revenue and the related net income continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Net revenue was $28.8 million for Q4 2020, a 19.1% increase over net revenue for the third quarter, but a decline of 10% compared to Q4 2019. For the full year of 2020, net revenue was $95.8 million, a decrease of 24.9% from the $123.1 million in net revenue it posted in 2019. Back to the fourth quarter of 2020, station operating expense decreased $1.9 million to $21.1 million compared to the same period last year.  Station operating income was $9.1 million for the quarter compared to $10.5 million for the fourth quarter last year and operating income was $5 million for the quarter compared to $5.4 million for the same period last year.  Saga posted a net loss of $1.9 million for the full year 2020 that included a non-cash impairment charge of $5.2 million. Without the impairment charge the company would have reported net income of $1.7 million for the period. Saga Communications’ balance sheet reflects $51.4 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2020 and $56 million as of March 8, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of year-end 2020.

WEEI, Boston’s Dale Arnold to Leave Sports Talk Station. Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold – a staple at Entercom’s WEEI-FM since its inception as a sports talk outlet 30 years ago – will leave the station and his role as co-host of the “Dale and Keefe” midday program after today’s show. The Boston Globe has the story here. Although the soon-to-be-65-year-old Arnold on Thursday told listeners, “I’m going to retire from the radio business. I am not going to be coming back after tomorrow’s show,” he’ll continue his role as studio host for Boston Bruins hockey broadcasts on cable TV’s NESN. The Globe’s Chad Finn says it’s expected that Andy Gresh – who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence in January of this year – will be partnered with Rich Keefe for middays going forward. Arnold told listeners his decision to leave WEEI – and not accept the offer to do part-time work there – was personal. “Some of you know this and some of you don’t. My wife had to retire from her employment in September, she’s had some medical issues. And you start thinking about things. You start thinking about, you know, ‘I’d like to spend some more time with her. I’d like to have one full-time job instead of two. I’d like to have summer months to go back to my home state of Maine and enjoy myself more.’”

Salem New York Debuts Evening ‘Bring Back NYC’ Show. Hosted by regular evening personality Kevin McCullough, Salem Media Group’s New York news/talker WNYM-AM “AM 970 The Answer” is launching a new nightly broadcast that “will be a deep dive into areas of life relevant to relaunching arguably the most important city on planet earth.” Salem New York says the program will feature specific expertise designed for this unique moment in the nation’s recovery. Monday nights will feature the expertise of “Millionaire Maker” Hilary Kramer in the markets and money. Tuesday nights the journey will be guided by veteran travel expert Valerie D’Elia. Wednesday nights focus on the medical expertise of Nicole Saphier MD, FOX News senior medical contributor and physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center. The law is the focus of Thursday nights with Arthur Aidala Esq. Friday nights will play host to PR pro Cristyne Nicholas, who serves as chair of the 109-year-old Broadway Association. McCullough says, “Given the mighty struggle our city and people have faced in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, political mismanagement, criminal riots, and the longest extended closures of business in the city, we asked ourselves the question of how we could best answer the needs of the city, and I’m here to let them know, ‘help is on the way!’ What greater good can we do with the airwaves than help turn on the lights, smiles, and lives again in the city that never sleeps?”

Edison Research ‘Infinite Dial 2021.’ It’s “the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America – tracking mobile behaviors, internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers, and more.” Noting that, “‘more’ now includes radio,” consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the latest findings, and includes a download link to the report. Read it here.

Jonathan Hutton Ousted from Tennessee Titans Radio Team. Former WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” radio personality Jonathan Hutton will not be part of the radio broadcast team for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans for the 2021 season. Hutton recently left “The Zone” to become part of Clay TravisOutkick digital platform on which he’ll co-host the “Outkick 360” program with fellow former “Zone” hosts Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. On his website, Kuharsky quotes Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren, who says, “Jonathan Hutton has certainly been a big part of 104.5 The Zone’s Titans Radio broadcast over the years. However, regrettably Jonathan declined our offer to continue with 104.5 The Zone deciding to pursue other opportunities which has impacted his role on the Titans Radio broadcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. The anniversary of the official beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is the impetus behind the CBS News Radio series that reflects on the past year. The series will be featured on CBS News top-of-the-hour and “World News Roundup” broadcasts airing Monday through Friday of next week (3/15-19)…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off,” a six-episode series of special NCAA men’s college basketball tournament programming that launches tomorrow (3/13). Led by Nick Kostos, host of BetQL Audio Network podcast “You Better You Bet,” “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off” will serve as breakdowns of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, featuring a mix of sports betting insight. The show will also welcome talent from across Entercom’s portfolio of sports stations, including Travis Thomas, WTEM, Washington; Mike Valenti, WXYT, Detroit; Danny Parkins, WSCR, Chicago; and Marc Malusis, WFAN, New York…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, announces the debut of “The Rock Podcast with Denny Somach.” Rock historian and radio producer Somach goes deep undercover on “The Rock Podcast” to shine new light on the soundtrack of the most exciting decades in music, bringing on guests to talk about their career experiences and using Somach’s own personal library of thousands of interviews to bring the lives of the most legendary rock stars who matter to the forefront. Upcoming guests include Nancy Wilson from Heart, Steve Lukather from Toto, Jon Anderson of Yes, and John Densmore of The Doors. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Denny is a fantastic producer with a track record that goes back decades. His knowledge of music history and love of rock ‘n’ roll is second to none. I love his work and now millions will be able to access that work on PodcastOne,”…..New York City was hit early and hard by the pandemic, and during those first bewildering days and weeks, WNYC’s call-in news program “The Brian Lehrer Show” was a life raft for New Yorkers seeking information, answers, and companionship. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shutdown that forever altered New York City, the program plans two special events: a broadcast on Tuesday (3/16) at 10:00 am called “Reading Their Names” in which, for 90 minutes, 484 listeners who will read the names of 1,780 people in the New York listening region who have died from the virus. The second is “WNYC’S 2020 Time Capsule” – broadcast on Thursday (3/18) that culminates the programs assemblage of its 2020 time capsule that is a repository of listener calls, news reports, and personal submissions by New Yorkers sharing what they have been through that’s saved on a hard drive to be safely stored alongside the transmitter atop the Empire State Building. The capsule will be opened in 2031.

iHeartMedia Names Nicky Sparrow SVP of Multi-Cultural Sales. Moving from her current position as market president for iHeartMedia Jacksonville to the new corporate position SVP of multicultural sales is Nicky Sparrow. In this role, Sparrow will be responsible for leading multicultural ad sales revenue for the Markets Group division. Sparrow will apply her deep knowledge of multicultural audiences and strong relationships with multicultural ad agencies and brands to build, drive, influence, and execute strategic multicultural initiatives across the iHeartMedia sales organization. She says, “I’m thrilled for this next step in my career. I’ve been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years, and I can’t wait to take my experience and strong relationships with partners and advertisers to further deliver and create innovative and effective multicultural opportunities for our consumers that will not only grow our portfolio of assets, but represent and truly connect with our diverse audiences.”

Stimulus Package and the Economy Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and the state of the U.S. economy combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 8-12, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and Joe Biden’s immigration policy. Coming in at #3 was the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants and the rollout of vaccines. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

Producer Wanted for Syndicated Morning Show. A nationally syndicated morning show is searching for an experienced producer to help generate content and show prep. The successful candidate will have 3-5 years’ experience producing a lifestyle-based show. The individual we’re looking for will have the ability to check their ego at the door and dig deep to provide show prep and occasionally deliver on-air content. Although we’re a national show with a significant nationwide and worldwide footprint, we’re a small operation and very much a family. The successful candidate will understand the high-pressure nature of the business but also understand how to operate with minimal direction with strong personalities. This is a full-time, remote position; relocation is not required. Salary is commensurate with experience. Finalists will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Learn more about this position here and send materials to: Dtc_exec@yahoo.com.

Morning Drive News Anchor-Host at Top 25 Market East Coast Station. Looking for a news air talent who can write and read news for a local, current events issue-driven morning show. Prefer an air talent who is comfortable expressing an opinion on the hot topics of the day. Interested? Submit a demo mp3 and resume ASAP. Apply confidentially to talkradiogig@gmail.com. The radio station is an EOE and females are encouraged to apply.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

| July 19, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Flip Midday and Afternoon Programs.  Beginning August 13, the “OMF” Show featuring Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria takes over the afternoon drive daypart and the “Dale & Keefe” show with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe slides to middays. The change was announced on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning program today (7/19).  This is a return to afternoons for Glenn Ordway who for years reigned as ringmaster of “The Big Show” in PM drive.  But competition from new rival WBZ-FM upset that show’s dominance and Ordway was let go in 2013 and was replaced by Mike Salk.  WEEI re-hired Ordway two-and-a-half years later to work the midday show.  Since then, the OMF program has steadily gained ground in the Boston ratings.  “OMF” will compete with WBZ-FM’s “Felger & Mazz” program, which was the highest-rated show in afternoons, racking up a 14.7 share (Men 25-54) in Nielsen’s June PPM survey.  The “Dale & Keefe” show earned a 6.8 share going against “Felger & Mazz.”

WFAN’s Joe Benigno Accused of Sexual Harassment. In a suit filed in New York State Court in Brooklyn, WFAN, New York midday personality Joe Benigno is accused by former sales staffer Lauren Lockwood of sexual harassment.  The allegation is part of a larger, $5 million suit against CBS RADIO (now owned by Entercom), sales execs Sean Argaman and Mark Zukerman, and other unidentified staffers for creating a hostile work environment based on sex, discrimination based on sex, retaliation, and more.  The complaint reads like a lurid expose of a workplace dominated by men behaving badly.  Lockwood – who worked in sales at WFAN for 11 years – alleges that Benigno tried to coerce her into having a “threesome” with him and his wife.  Additionally, she says he engaged in a two-year affair with a female subordinate.  Her complaint paints a picture of a workplace where drinking on the job took place, prostitutes were acquired for clients, and potential clients were entertained at strip clubs.  She alleges the station’s executives tolerated a workplace that subjected her to sexual harassment.  Entercom tells the New York Post it can’t comment on pending litigation but that it will “defend the company vigorously.”

WBZ-FM, Boston Midday Show to Simulcast on NBC Sports Boston. The simulcast of the midday “Zolak and Bertrand” show on NBC Sports Boston is now the second show based at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to air on the New England cable sports channel. The “Felger & Mazz” PM drive show (co-hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti) has been simulcast there since 2010.  The Zolak and Bertrand show – featuring former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak (left) and Marc Bertrand (right) – airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and will be available via NBC Sports Boston, nbcsportsboston.com and on the NBC Sports app as well as the 98.5 Sports Hub app and 985thesportshub.com, effective July 23.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “We are thrilled to extend the Felger and Mazz simulcast partnership with NBC Sports Boston and to include our top-rated midday show so Boston fans can not only hear, but see the fun that this team has together in our new state-of-the-art studios.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Overall, public radio news/talk stations were down from the May survey to the June survey with 51% of stations seeing dips in weekly 6+ AQH share. Comparing numbers from a year ago, almost half the stations on the panel were up year-over-year and almost half were down.  Three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets: KQED was #1 in both the San Francisco and adjacent San Jose markets.  KOPB, Portland and WUNC, Raleigh also were #1. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that sports media icon Brent Musberger has agreed to a three-year deal to serve as the radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Raiders, who are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. Musberger is the managing editor at Las Vegas-based VSiN (Vegas Sports Information Network).  He retired from ABC Sports and ESPN in January to join VSiN…..U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) is in a battle for re-election with challenger Democrat Angie Craig (whom he beat by 1.8% two years ago) and his radio past is playing a role in the campaign.  The former Minnesota and nationally syndicated talk radio personality’s musings about women and political correctness were the focus of a CNN report that Craig and Lewis’ opponents are trying to use against him in the campaign.  Lewis’ campaign manager Becky Alery tells the Star-Tribune, “This has all been litigated before, and as Rep. Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio.”…..The terms of the settlement are sealed, but the agreement between plaintiff Jennifer Neill and defendants WMGK, Philadelphia morning host John DeBella and Beasley Media Group has been approved by the court.  Neill was suing the defendants claiming a pattern of sexual harassment on the part of DeBella.  Neill served as a traffic reporter on DeBella’s program.  She alleged some 30 incidents of harassment, including unwanted physical contact…..Envision Networks’ “American Biker Minute” is added to the programming at Southern Stone Communications-owned WRTT-FM, Huntsville, Alabama.  The 60-second feature is hosted by bike enthusiast Jeff Ryan.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Award Presentation for “Lifetime Achievement.”  Today (7/19), TALKERS magazine concludes posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session or activity has been posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s 17th and final installment is of the presentation of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award by publisher, Michael Harrison to Vuolo Video Air-Chex CEO, Art Vuolo at the event’s closing cocktail reception.  Already posted: the panel discussion titled “The Talk Rumble.”  It is moderated by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon; introduced by WABC, New York host, Curtis Sliwa; and featuring panelists WPHT, Philadelphia host, Dom GiordanoWYD Media host, Thom HartmannDC Radio Company executive director, Victoria JonesUSA Radio Network host, Wayne Allyn RootFox News Radio host, Todd Starnes; and WOLB, Baltimore host, Larry Young; the panel discussion titled “Programming News/Talk Radio.”  It is moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian; introduced by KFBK/KSTE, Sacramento PD, Bill White; and featuring panelists CFRB, Toronto PD and Bell Media national news/talk format head, Mike BendixeniHeartMedia national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Grace Blazer; WOR, New York assistant PD, Scott Lakefield; WBAL, Baltimore PD, Scott Masteller; and WABC, New York PD, Craig Schwalb; the panel discussion titled, “Talk Media: The Big Picture.”  It is moderated by ABC News Radio VP/GM, Steve Jones; introduced by “The Cats Roundtable” host, John Catsimatidis; and featuring panelists iHeartMedia SVP news/talk/sports programming Chris BerryBeasley Media Group EVP programming, Justin ChaseWeiss Agency EVP, Heather CohenCumulus Media EVP content & programming Mike McVay; and Premiere Networks president, Julie Talbott.  Already posted: the panel discussion titled “Hosting a Talk Show in 2018.”  It is moderated by Cumulus Media VP of news/talk and PD of WMAL, Washington, DC, Bill Hess; introduced by iHeartMedia VP programming/national news/talk brand coordinator and PD KOA, Denver, Greg Foster; and featuring panelists Howie Carr Radio Network host, Howie Carr; WPGG, Atlantic City host, Harry HurleyFox News Radio/Fox News Channel host, Brian KilmeadeWestwood One host Chris PlanteTalk Media Network host Tom Sullivan; WPRO, Providence host, Dan Yorke; and KTSA, San Antonio host, Jack Riccardi; the panel discussion titled “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.”  It is moderated by Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; introduced by WPHT, Philadelphia host Rich Zeoli; and featuring panelists Armstrong & Getty Show co-hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty; WRKO, Boston PD, Michael Czarnecki; WRHU-FM/WRHU.org, Hofstra University OM, John T. Mullen; WABC, New York host Sid Rosenberg; and Compass MediaNetworks/Newsmax host, Todd Schnitt;  a video of the donation given by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley to the Broadcasters Foundation of America and accepted by its president Jim Thompson;  convention luncheon greetings by WNYM “970 AM The Answer,” New York morning host Joe Piscopo with an introduction by Salem SVP Phil Boyce along with the posthumous presentation of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to the late Texas and Ohio radio talk show host Matt Patrick by Michael Harrison with an acceptance by his widow and show producer, Paula Ryan;  the panel discussion titled “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” moderated by Livestream head of news, Clayton Rose and featuring panelists Krantz Media Group CEO, Gary Krantz and KTRS, St Louis host, McGraw Milhaven; the panel discussion titled “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor, Kevin Casey; introduced by Crossover Media Group managing member, Ron Hartenbaum; and featuring panelists Asa RX host, AsaBold Gold Media Group CEO, Vince BenedettoHowie Carr Radio Network president, Kathy CarrWestwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; WBAL, Baltimore president/GM, Cary Pahigian; and KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz owner, Michael Zwerling;  the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality, Dr. Daliah Wachs ;  a special presentation by PodcastOne chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin;  a special presentation by WFAN personality, Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer, Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP, Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the fireside chat between TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO, Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s fireside chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star, Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host, Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman; and the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor, Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Trump-Putin Meeting Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation/Russia’s Interrogation Request, Alleged Russian Spy Case, California Break-Up Question, Israel Passes ‘Nation-State’ Law, Facebook’s Conspiracy Theory Policy, Google’s EU Fine, and Hader Tweets Controversy/MLB All-Star Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The effects of President Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and the related request by Putin to interrogate U.S. officials; the case of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina and her relationship with GOP consultant Paul Erickson; the question of splitting California into three states fails to make the ballot; Israel’s passage of the controversial “nation-state” law; Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation of Facebook’s conspiracy theory policies; Google is fined $5 billion by the European Union; and Brewers pitcher Josh Hader suffers fallout from past racist and homophobic tweets, tied with the MLB All-Star Game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Philly Station Deals Announced: Beasley Acquires Country WXTU-FM from Entercom; Jerry Lee Sells Hot AC WBEB-FM to Entercom.  Philadelphia-based Entercom is paying $57.5 million cash to Jerry Lee LLC for hot AC WBEB-FM “101 More FM” and it is divesting of country WXTU.  Beasley Media Group is paying Entercom $38 million for that station.  Beasley says, “Excluding one-time transaction costs, the acquisition of WXTU-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley formerly owned WXTU and launched the country format on the signal in 1983.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our acquisition of WXTU-FM represents a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders and further enhances our revenue and competitive position with a strong cluster of five FM and two AM stations in a key, top-10 market.  Importantly, the addition of WXTU-FM is consistent with Beasley’s disciplined approach to growing our platform by executing accretive transactions that deliver valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement, all with a limited impact to our leverage.”  Speaking about the acquisition of WBEB, Entercom CEO David Field says, “We are very pleased to add the legendary WBEB, one of the country’s most recognized and awarded stations, to our group.  It is a terrific addition to our lineup that will enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers and the community.  I tip my cap to Jerry Lee, one of the industry pioneers and a visionary leader who built ‘B101’ into such a special station and has done so much for radio over the decades.  We are saddened to say goodbye to our colleagues at WXTU but know that they will be in great hands.”  Beasley begins operating WXTU under an LMA on July 23.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

| March 1, 2018

iHeartMedia Moves News/Talk Programming to New Signal in Boston.  The lineup of predominantly Premiere Networks-syndicated news/talk shows moves from WKOX to WXKS-AM in Boston.  WXKS-AM had been leased to Bloomberg for its news radio format, but that deal is not renewed and iHeartMedia elects to shift the conservative talk format from WKOX’s 1430 AM to WXKS-AM’s 1200.  The station continues to be simulcast on WJMN-HD2.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Boston Dylan Sprague comments, “We are proud to have the best talent in talk radio on ‘TALK 1200.’  With a more powerful signal, we can now reach a wider audience.”

Michael Holley Exits WEEI, Boston.  Thirteen-year WEEI, Boston personality Michael Holley leaves Entercom’s sports talker for a larger role on cable’s NBC Sports Boston.  His emotional farewell announcement on yesterday’s program probably shocked fans.  The “Dale & Holley Show with Rich Keefe” has been a consistently high-performing show for the station and Holley was offered a multi-year contract extension, but he elected to focus on an expanded role on TV.  For now, the afternoon drive show on the station will be co-hosted by Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe while Entercom seeks a replacement for him.

Cumulus’ WJOX-FM, Birmingham Replaces AM Drive Show with Midday ‘JOX Roundtable’ Program.  “The Opening Drive” show starring Jay Barker, Al DelGreco and Tony Kurre has been canceled by Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham and is being replaced by the midday “JOX Roundtable” program that features Jim Dunaway (center), Lance Taylor (right) and Ryan Brown (left).  The shift takes effect on Monday (3/5).  Cumulus Media Birmingham VP and market manager David Walls says, “We are extremely excited and pleased to be able to put our most successful show in the mornings and introduce this fantastic program to more JOX listeners. These guys know how to win and with their work ethic and talent, we are expecting great things.”  Program director Ryan Haney adds, “The listener response to the ‘JOX Roundtable’ has been exceptional over the years.  We look forward to continuing to build upon the momentum and passion shared by both the show and its loyal fan base.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  It’s not surprising that 77% of stations in the panel saw their 6+ shares increase following the Holiday 2017 PPM survey that is so dominated by Christmas music listening.  Comparing January 2017 to January 2018, 61% of stations enjoyed an increase in their 6+ shares.  Just one sports talk station in PPM markets was ranked #1 (6+) during the January survey and that honor went to Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia – flagship of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM, Boston “The Sports Hub” ranked #2 in its market as did Minnesota Vikings flagship KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN.”  See the entire report here.

iHeartMedia Misses More Interest Payments.  Because it is expecting to enter into some form bankruptcy protection very soon, iHeartMedia has elected not to make interest payments totaling $138 million.  That total is from outstanding 11.25% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2021 — $59.1 million due – and outstanding 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2021 — $78.8 million due.  This kicks in a 30-day grace period before default, but as the company’s filing with the SEC indicates, it is in continuing negotiations with debt holders over a comprehensive debt restructuring to reduce its more than $20 billion in debt.  This is the second non-payment of interest for the company.  It’s February 1 non-payment on $106 million goes into default after tomorrow (3/2).

TALKERS News Notes.  A new conservative television talk show will hit the airwaves on PBS – at least for an eight-week trial run.  The program, called “In Principle” and starring columnist Michael Gerson and commentator Amy Holmes, debuts on April 13.  As reported by AP, the program “will take its cue from William F. Buckley’s ‘Firing Line,’ which aired from 1966 to 1999.”  It goes on to say that each show will feature interviews with two guests for in-depth discussions about such issues as race, gun control, and more.  Gerson is quoted saying, “I think the Trump era has been a very difficult time for traditional conservative discourse.  I think a lot of institutions and places have been co-opted in this era.  I view conservatism not only as a belief but a state of mind, a respect for tradition but also a respect for facts.”…..Beasley Broadcast Group chief financial officer Marie Tedesco is presenting at next week’s Deutsche Bank Media, Telecom & Business Services Conference in Palm Beach, Florida.  In addition to the presentation, Tedesco will meet with institutional investors at the conference…..iHeartMedia and entertainment industry publication Variety are teaming up to produce a new podcast titled, “PLAYBACK,” a film-focused program hosted by Variety awards editor Kris Tapley.  The weekly podcast will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and feature exclusive, in-depth interviews with the talents behind many of today’s hottest movies.

Hope Hicks Resigns, Trump’s Televised WH Meeting, NRA vs Delta, Trump-Russia Investigation, Parkland Shooting Investigation, FISA Abuse Matter, Oprah Presidential Bid, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). White House communications director Hope Hicks’ announcement she’s resigning from her position; President Trump’s televised White House meeting during which he proposes new gun restrictions; the NRA’s battle with Delta over the termination of their business relationship and threats by Georgia politicians to punish the airline; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the ongoing investigation into the police response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting; President Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions for asking the Inspector General’s office to look into allegations of FISA abuse; Oprah Winfrey’s statement she’s waiting for a sign from God whether to run for president; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

BFoA to Honor Urban One’s Cathy Hughes.  At the Broadcasters Foundation of America annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 11, the organization will honor Urban One founder and chairperson Cathy Hughes as recipient of the 2018 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.   The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually upon an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  Hughes’ unprecedented career has spawned a multi-media conglomerate across radio, television, and digital media.  In 1980 she founded Radio One (now Urban One), which became the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation.

Michael Harrison Discusses Podcasting.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison appears as a guest on this week’s installment of the popular podcast, “Viral Podcasting,” hosted by media/financial consultant Kerry Lutz.  Harrison and Lutz discuss the rise of podcasting and its relationship to terrestrial radio.  Harrison says that podcasting (originally a term that originally related to the Apple iPod) is just a word that in a broader sense means “programming on demand.”  He explains how the internet and digital age are undoing the culture of “mass media” that grew out of 20th century technology.  He suggests that to be successful at podcasting “you can’t just mail it in as you could when consumers had fewer choices in terms of media products and platforms.”   To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Three air personalities are returning to Westwood One’s 24/7 Formats division.  The company announces that rock personality Marconi – who’s served with WKQX, Chicago; KUFO, Portland; and KNDD, Seattle – returns to the Rock 2.0 format.  Well-known Los Angeles jock Jay Coffey returns to host middays on the classic hits service.  Tony Scott, who has worked at KLOS, KRTH, and KSWD in Los Angeles, is returning to host the evening show on the classic rock service.  Westwood One also announces that Lynn Briggs is taking on the afternoon daypart on its adult contemporary service.  Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland says, “Hundreds of our affiliates, along with their listeners coast-to-coast, are hearing their old friends on radio once again, on a multitude of formats here at Westwood One.  Marconi, Jay, Tony and Lynn are deeply experienced radio pros and I am very pleased to welcome them to the 24-Hour Format where they will bring great value to our customers.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

| December 5, 2016

WISN, Milwaukee to Re-Align Programming in New Year; Dan O’Donnell Adds Daily Show.  Milwaukee news/talker WISN is adding a new local, daily talk show featuring current news anchor, reporter and fill-in host Dan O’Donnell.  The iHeartMedia station is also shuffling the lineup around a bit, effective January 3.  Inodonnelldan January, morning host Jay Weber’s show will be trimmed to 6:00 am to 9:00 am, O’Donnell’s show will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh will air live from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Vicki McKenna, currently heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, will be heard from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, followed by wisn-logolongtime afternoon drive personality Mark Belling from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Evenings will still feature Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Westwood One’s Mark Levin.  WISN program director Jerry Bott comments, “WISN is blessed with a lineup of extremely strong, popular local talk show hosts.  Adding someone with Dan’s level of talent is an excellent opportunity to make that lineup even better.”  O’Donnell joined WISN in 2013 and is currently a drive-time news anchor, reporter, and a substitute host for all of WISN’s local talk shows.  Dan also serves as a Wisconsin correspondent for FOX News Radio, HLN’s “The Nancy Grace Show,” ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio Network and CBS Radio News.  In addition, O’Donnell is known for his extensive coverage of the 2007 Steven Avery murder trial in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and subsequent “Rebutting A Murderer” podcast following the 2015 Netflix special “Making a Murderer.”  Previously O’Donnell served as a news anchor for Journal Broadcasting for almost 12 years.

WEEI, Boston Fills Roles with Rich Keefe.  Boston writer and personality Jerry Thornton left Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and WEEI.com to return to Barstool Sports as a senior columnist.  Now, Entercom announces that Rich Keefe is joining the company effective Tuesday (12/6) to serve as the third voice on the afternoon drive “Dalekeeferich & Holley” show with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley and as a columnist for WEEI.com, penning his weeinetwork16popular “Keefer Madness” blog.  WEEI notes that Keefe is “a nine-year sports radio veteran in Boston and has worked in an array of capacities for CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, ‘The Sports Hub.’  He also hosts the pre- and post-game shows on Patriots.com and has substituted on play-by-play broadcasts for the Boston Celtics Radio Network.”  In addition to his new role on the “Dale & Holley” program, Keefe will co-host with Mike Mutnansky, weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.   WEEI program director Joe Zarbano says, “We are proud to add a rising talent like Rich Keefe to our team.  Rich brings an entertaining, opinionated and fresh outlook on the Boston sports landscape, and I have no doubt he will be a great addition to the ‘Dale & Holley’ show.”

CBS Radio News Pros Take Buyouts and Exit.  According to a story in the New York Post, a number of longtime CBS Radio News staffers are agreeing to take buyouts and exit the news organization as it trims its cbsradionews-logopayroll.  Last month, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler announced he would be retiring from the company in early January after a 50-year career in the business and the last 18 years spent with CBS.  Nagler’s retirement appears to be just that, but the Post is reporting that among those who took the early buyout are: executive producer Charlie Kaye; Washington correspondent Barry Bagnato; afternoon anchor Harley Carnes; and “CBS World News” anchor Bill Whitney.  A source tells the Post that the new deal with Westwood One (for ad sales and affiliate sales) requires some cost-cutting on CBS Radio News’ part.

Trump Transition/Cabinet Nominations, Election Recount Effort, ‘SNL’ Trump Skits, Dakota Pipeline Project, Italian Referendum/Renzi Quits, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of the Trump Administration during the transition period and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations; the election recounts taking place in several states; Saturday Night Live’s skits poking fun at Donald Trump’s Twitter habit; the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline and the Army Corps of Engineers’ denial of the permit for its current planned route; Italy votes “no” on a referendum to shrink its legislature and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s promise to resign; the college football weekend games and the subsequent playoff seeding; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  It’s a name change for Radiate Media as the deal to be acquired by Global Traffic Network closes.  Global’s American operation is now United States Traffic Network.  In addition to the American business, Global also serves clients in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Brazil.  United States Traffic Network begins providing traffic services for CBS RADIO beginning in April…..In the case of Nielsen Audio vs. Bubba the Love Sponge, the two sides have done an about-face and are telling the court that they believe – after new evidence from the discovery phase – a settlement can now be reached.  The sides are asking for a U.S. Magistrate Judge to preside over a settlement hearing.  Nielsen is suing Bubba for damages it claims to have suffered as the result of Bubba’s PPM ratings tampering.