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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

| June 14, 2022

Urban One Enters into Deal to Acquire Emmis Communications’ Indy Radio Stations. The price for the four radio stations, two translators and the regional programming network has not been revealed yet, but Urban One, Inc’s definitive asset purchase agreement with Emmis Communications to purchase its Indianapolis radio cluster means Emmis will be effectively out of the radio business. It still owns the licenses to WEPN-FM and WLIB-AM in New York but leases them. Under the terms of this new deal, Urban One will acquire adult contemporary WYXB-FM, country WLHK-FM, news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk “The Fan” (translators W228CX at 93.5 and W298BB at 107.5), and Network Indiana. Urban One president and CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “These are terrific general market formats and will be a great addition to Urban One in a transaction that is accretive and deleveraging.” Urban One adds that in anticipation of the transaction, it will sell its hip hop WHHH-FM, Indianapolis along with the intellectual property related to WNOW to a third party. Emmis will continue to operate its stations and Urban One will continue to operate WHHH until the transaction closes. Meanwhile, Emmis founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan states, “When Emmis launched our first station, WENS now ‘HANK FM,’ in 1981, I never could have envisioned the journey we would go on. Indianapolis is my hometown, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish – we’ve become an invaluable contributor to the Indianapolis community, a leader of radio industry initiative and innovation, and a trusted resource for Central Indiana listeners and businesses.” Emmis notes in its press release that in recent years it “has sold many of its media assets and redeployed capital into new ventures which emphasize its sales and marketing experience including: Lencore Acoustics, a leader in high-quality sound masking solutions for commercial applications; Sound That BRANDS, the Los Angeles-based podcasting studio specializing in branded audio content for national advertisers; and Digonex, a leading provider of dynamic pricing solutions for attractions and live entertainment industries.”

 

Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s May 2022 sweep covered April 28 – May 25. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York City, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC slips by three-tenths to a 3.3 share (weekly, 6+ AHQ share) finish good for the #10 rank. Across town, Audacy’s all-news WINS sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 3.1 share and the #11 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles loses one-tenth, but remains ranked #3 on the strength of a 5.0 share. Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco is up one-tenth, finishing with a 6.2 share that bumps it into the #2 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP posts a seven-tenths increase that pushes it to the #10 rank with a 3.6 share, while Audacy’s crosstown all-news KRLD-AM is steady at a 2.1 share but falls to the #20 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

 

TALKERS 2022 Coverage Coming Soon.  The 25th annual installment (and second pandemic-era edition) of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest, and most important national convention – TALKERS 2022 – took place this past Friday, June 10 and by all accounts significantly exceeded expectations. It was widely hailed by many of its longtime participants as “the best ‘TALKERS’ ever!” It was presented by TALKERS in association with Hofstra University’s award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org. Some 275 passionate media professionals from all over the country traveled to the beautiful campus of Hofstra on Long Island to see, hear and meet more than 60 luminary speakers – from talk media programming, management, station ownership, syndication, sales, marketing and technology – tackle the most compelling issues, opportunities and challenges currently at play in the industry. It was a power-packed day of non-stop panels, solo addresses, fireside charts, award presentations, exhibits and networking opportunities. The TALKERS editorial staff is now sifting through hundreds of photos and hours of video preparing extensive coverage of the conference and its enormous treasure trove of content that will be appearing in TALKERS magazine for days and weeks ahead. Pictured at the top of this story is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) interviewing Key Networks-syndicated star Bill O’Reilly (right) during one of three keynote addresses. Pictured in the inset is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio personality Buck Sexton addressing the attendees during the opening session.

 

Greta Van Susteren Launches on Newsmax TV Tonight. This evening (6/14), news/talk television pro Greta Van Susteren begins her program on Newsmax TV’s evening lineup. “The Record with Greta Van Susteren” airs at 6:00 pm ET. Van Susteren says, “With all that is going on in the world, I am getting back to my roots — a daily live news show with real reporting from the places where things are happening.” At the same time, Newsmax announces the new daily program schedule on the network: “The Chris Salcedo Show,” 4:00 pm; “Spicer & Co.” with Sean Spicer, Lyndsay Keith, 5:00 pm; “The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” 6:00 pm; “Rob Schmitt Tonight,” 7:00 pm; “Eric Bolling The Balance,” 8:00 pm; “Prime News” with Jenn Pellegrino, 9:00 pm; and “Greg Kelly Reports,” 10:00 pm. Newsmax EVP programming Elliot Jacobson comments, “This new schedule will strengthen Newsmax’s ability to deliver hard-hitting news and analysis when Americans need it the most.”

 

ATTENTION: TALKERS Heavy Hundred MembersTALKERS has been made aware that a trophy and plaque manufacturing company has been contacting talk show hosts who are listed as being members of the Heavy Hundred (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and is soliciting them to purchase a costly plaque or trophy commemorating the honor. Please be advised that this plaque (or a variety of variations of awards and trophies available in their catalogue) is unofficial and the company – SHOWMARK MEDIA, LLC – enjoys no official connection or licensing agreement with TALKERS. According to TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison, “TALKERS has never engaged in charging its award recipients for items or products indicating their receiving an honor bestowed by our organization.”

 

Radio Hall of Fame 2022 Nominees Announced. The nominees for the Radio Hall of Fame class of 2022 have been announced by the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The 24 nominees were chosen by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, with input from the radio industry and listeners. Voting for inductees begins Tuesday, June 22 and runs through July 8. The top six vote recipients will gain induction as part of the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame Induction class. The two additional inductees that will make up the eight-person induction class will be selected by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. More than 600 industry members will receive a confidential ballot on Tuesday, June 22, to cast votes for up to six nominated individuals. The confidential ballot will be conducted by Votem.com, and overseen by Miller Kaplan’s Andrew Rosen. The nominees in spoken-word radio include: Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, SiriusXM; Dave Ross, KIRO-FM, Seattle; Diane Rehm, WAMU-FM,Washington DC; John & Ken, KFI, Los Angeles; Larry Elder; and Suzyn Waldman, New York Yankees Radio Network. You can see the complete list of nominees here. Radio Hall of Fame co-chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’ve made changes in 2022, to allow voting participants to vote for up to six nominees for induction, and limit the voting process to knowledgeable industry members. Listeners and industry members alike contributed more than 2,500 suggestions for the Nominating Committee to consider in addition to their own considerations.”

 

iHeartMedia Names AJ Punjabi Market President for San Francisco. Radio sales and management pro AJ Punjabi moves from iHeartMedia’s Charleston market, where he most recently served as the market president and enterprise leader of the Blockchain/Crypto/NFT category, to San Francisco to serve as market president. iHeartMedia’s San Francisco station group includes business talk KNEW-AM “Bloomberg Radio” and KKSF-AM “BIN: Black Information Network. iHeartMedia division president Scott Hopeck says, “AJ is a talent-focused leader with exceptional digital experience, which will serve him well in the Bay Area, where he will lead a talented team of creators and sales professionals. I’m excited for AJ to begin working with his team and our partners!”

 

Rob Parker Makes Debut at LA’s The Comedy Store. Last week, FOX Sports Radio personality Rob Parker, co-host of “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker,” made his stand-up comedy debut at the legendary Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Parker participated in the “Crack’Em Up Comedy” show in the Belly Room, a weekly showcase and workout room featuring rising comedy stars and established comedians. Pictured above are (l-r): Elijah Sebunnya, FOX Sports Radio digital content director; Scott Shapiro, FOX Sports Radio VP of programming; Parker; Jade Kozup, Premiere Networks director of marketing; and Mike Lingard, FOX Sports Radio executive news producer & operations manager.

 

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present Town Hall on ‘Growing Weed in the Garden State.’ This Thursday (6/16) at 7:00 pm,Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts. “Growing Weed in the Garden State” explores how the legal adult use marijuana industry is impacting New Jersey. The station’s Eric Scott leads a panel that includes law enforcement, legal experts, regulators, growers and dispensary operators. “The sale of legal cannabis products for recreational use generated over $24 million in the first month,” Scott says. “While there is clearly demand for product, unintended consequences are continuing to surface.” The program will explore not only those unintended consequences, but also how legal marijuana sales are positively impacting New Jersey. The program’s on-air panel will feature: Bill Caruso, co-founder of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform; Rob Nixon with the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association; New Jersey State Senate president Nicholas Scutari; Chrissy Buteas, chief government affairs officer at New Jersey Business & Industry Association; as well as marijuana cultivators and dispensary operators.

 

The Economy, January 6 Hearings, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, White Nationalist Movement, and Western Heat-Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). Financial markets hit bear territory, the soaring price of gasoline & food, and concerns about a recession; Monday’s session of the January 6 hearings; the primary elections for November’s midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and the effects of the blockade on Ukraine’s major ports; the rate of infections of COVID-19; the arrest of 30 members of the white nationalist organization Patriot Front in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and the Western heatwave and ongoing drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

| August 18, 2021

RTDNA Announces Winners of 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the national winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards that recognize more than 100 outlets for outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “A core pillar of RTDNA is celebrating the best in journalism, and one of the ways we do that is through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. This year especially, we are honored to recognize outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the history of our profession, and these recipients — among thousands of other journalists — clearly fulfilled their obligations to serve the public.” There were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized more than 750 winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition. Eight organizations received national awards for Overall Excellence in their categories, including ABC News in the Radio Network category. ABC News was also honored with wins for: Breaking News – COVID-19: President Trump Tests Positive, for its overnight coverage of President Trump’s positive COVID test; Continuing Coverage – A Nation Divided, for its reporting on the murder of George Floyd and the protests and anger that swept the nation; News Series – Pandemic: A Nation Divided, which covered the pandemic’s significantly worse impact on communities of color and working class America; and Investigative Reporting – Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein, for the ABC News Investigative Unit’s podcast on the investigation into Epstein. Two Audacy radio stations were winners with KRLD “Newsradio 1080” recognized for its coverage of the protests against the death of George Floyd and police brutality in the award’s Breaking News Coverage in Large Market Radio category and KMOX, St. Louis “News Radio 1120” receiving top honors in the award’s Newscast in Large Market Radio category for its “Total Information AM 7:00 a.m.” newscast on March 18, 2020. You can see the complete national winner list here.

iHeartMedia Flips KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City to Sports Talk as ’94.7 The Ref.’ In a deal with SportsTalk Media’s KREF-AM, Norman, Oklahoma, iHeartMedia flips its KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City from rock to sports talk and is simulcasting KREF’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm schedule on KBRU and re-brands it “94.7 FM The Ref.” From 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, KBRU will air FOX Sports Radio programming including: Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller. iHeartMedia area president for Oklahoma Jon Phillips states, “We are thrilled to enter the sports talk arena with such an outstanding lineup. This talent base is very aligned with Oklahoma University sports and we feel this will give us a unique advantage in creating content that is focused on the biggest sports entity in the state. Hats off to SportsTalk Media in Norman for collecting and producing such compelling radio. We feel this partnership will greatly benefit both parties and ensure that Sooner fans can get reliable, accurate and timely coverage.” The station’s lineup is: Toby Rowland and TJ Perry in AM drive, Chris Plank and Josh Helmer from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Mike Steely and Parker Thune from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, Teddy Lehman and Tyler McComas from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, followed by FOX Sports Radio shows “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon,” The Ben Maller Show,” “Outkick The Coverage.”

Cumulus Media Dallas Announces Sales Promotions. There are a number of promotions and appointments to report from the Cumulus Media Dallas station group. With the retirement of the cluster’s director of sales Alec Drake at the end of this month, new positions effective September 1 include Dawn Girocco rising from her director of sales post for three of the cluster’s music outlets to VP of sales for the entire six-station group. Filling her role with the three music outlets is Dean Canter, who becomes general sales manager. On the spoken word side, RJ Lane rises from general sales manager for sports talk KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” news/talk WBAP-AM, and news/talk KLIF-AM to director of sales for the stations. Also, Steve Holm is promoted from sales manager for the spoken word stations to general sales manager and Janet Dupree, digital sales manager, remains in charge of the station cluster’s digital sales efforts. Cumulus Dallas/Houston regional VP Dan Bennett says, “Dawn Girocco’s vast experience as a DOS and market manager made her a great choice to lead our Dallas sales operation as our new VP of sales. Dawn is an around-the-clock engaged manager who is accessible to our sellers 24/7. She has earned this opportunity and our sales team will benefit greatly from her leadership. I cannot begin to thank Alec Drake enough for his huge contributions over the years to our organization. He has been an incredible leader – especially through the Covid pandemic. Keeping Cumulus Dallas as the company’s top revenue market has always been our goal and Alec pushed the limits every day to ensure we kept that position. Thank you, Alec, from our entire team!”

Gracie Awards Gala Moves to Virtual Celebration. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 46th annual Gracie Awards Gala, originally scheduled for Monday, September 27, is being moved to a fully virtual celebration. Details of the air date and streaming are being finalized to ensure the best experience to recognize all winners in an important year as AWM’s 70th anniversary. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Gracie winners are responsible for creating and telling the important stories of the most compelling content in our history. We were informed, enlightened, and entertained by women in media across all platforms. Our focus remains celebrating this incredible group of women who have demonstrated their commitment to sharing emotionally charged, timely, and compelling content. While our goal was to be in person in September, we are thrilled to bring our winners to the world.”

TALKERS News Notes. KIVA-AM, Albuquerque station owner and talk host Eddy Aragon is running for mayor of the city. According to KOAT-TV, Aragon has gathered enough signatures to run in this November’s election though he’s still waiting for certification from the county clerk. Aragon is challenging incumbent Mayor Tim Keller. Sheriff Manny Gonzales is also running as a Republican. If none of the three candidates get 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes face a run-off election. Aragon tells the station, “I just want to live in a better place. And, when there wasn’t anybody there that was speaking up for the conservatives, the Republicans and the independents out there, that’s when I immediately jumped on board.”…..Virtual News Center adds Legend Communications of Wyoming, LLC radio stations KLGT, KBBT, KZZS, and KHRW in Sheridan, Wyoming to its roster of affiliate stations. Virtual News Center will provide newscasts for all four stations anchored daily by Lisa Rodman and Jim Taylor. Virtual News Center CEO Joel Dearing says, “We are excited to expand with Legend Communications. We currently do news for their station in Gillette and have now added their stations that serve the Sheridan market. Brady Sasfranek has a strong cluster and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”…..Audacy and the NFL’s Washington Football Team have announced a new radio broadcast partnership in which Spanish hits WLZL, Washington “El Zol 107.9” will air the Spanish broadcast for all of the team’s regular and postseason games. Spanish broadcasts had previously aired on sister station WJFK-AM, “El Zol Deportes” for the past three seasons

Taliban Takes Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, COVID Booster, Western Drought & Wildfires, and Gavin Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The Taliban takes control of Afghanistan and former President Donald Trump’s media appearances blaming President Joe Biden; the rise of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and the controversy over mask and vaccine mandates; the expectation the U.S. will recommend COVID booster shots after eight months; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, August 14, 2020

| August 14, 2020

Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).

PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).

Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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 entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”

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.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

| September 10, 2019

KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Talk Host Chris Daniel ‘Semi-Retires’ from Station.  The afternoon drive host had been on extended leave from the Cumulus Media station but now announces that he’s leaving the station at which he’s worked for the past 10 years.  Chris Daniel states in a letter to listeners: “Hi, everybody.  It’s been a while.  I thought it would be best for me to let you know what’s going on.  Sorry to leave everybody guessing, but it was the best way to go.  Now, it’s time to let my friends and colleagues off the hook with the many questions they have had to field.  Thanks to them for doing it and to you for caring enough to ask.  First of all, I am ok. Truly.  Stop worrying.  I was simply looking hard at some things I have been contemplating for a while now and I wanted to be certain that I was doing the right thing.  So, I took this extended leave I’ve been on to make sure.  Now, I am. For the past couple of years, I had been considering leaving my position at KMJ, for various reasons, none of which have to do with the people I work with and/or for, or the wonderful people who take the time to listen to the show.  Now, I have decided to do so.  I have resigned my position at KMJ and am moving on to some other things that I’d like to do.  I am not going to another station. I guess you could say that I have semi-retired.” KMPH-TV, Fresno reports that Philip Teresi will take over as PM drive host.

Dan Sileo Off the Air at KGME-AM, Phoenix. There’s been no official statement from iHeartMedia, and TALKERS has reached out to sports talk host Dan Sileo for comment, but a week after starting his position as afternoon drive host on sports talk KGME-AM, Phoenix “Fox Sports 910,” Dan Sileo is off the radio.  His information has been scrubbed from the station’s website and the program schedule lists FOX Sports Radio’s “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker” in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  It appears that the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes put pressure on the station to oust Sileo.  The Athletic was first to report that the club – which just inked a deal to air its games on KGME – was unhappy with Sileo’s history of making “sexist and racist” social media comments.  The club’s statement was: “When we became aware that Fox Sports 910 had hired Dan Sileo, we immediately reached out to the station’s management to express our deep concern regarding Mr. Sileo’s abhorrent comments.  Our promotion of inclusivity is deeply rooted into the fabric of who we are as an organization and we have no tolerance for racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or any other discriminatory behavior.”

Neil Larrimore Leaves News/Talk WPRO, Providence. After two years in the program director role at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM in Providence, Neil Larrimore exits the station.  Prior to joining WPRO, Larrimore served with iHeartMedia, serving as program director for the company’s talk outlets in Phoenix and Tucson.  He’s also programmed KMBZ-AM and FM in Kansas City during his career.  There’s no official word from Cumulus on its strategy to fill the program director role.

WRAW, Reading Flips to News/Talk. Gone from the Reading, Pennsylvania AM station is the Spanish music “Rumba 1340” format and in is news/talk.  iHeartMedia flips the station to talk as “Newsradio 1340 WRAW.”  The program lineup includes a number of Premiere Networks programs, including Rush LimbaughSean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Buck Sexton, as well as a simulcast of the WHP, Harrisburg morning program, “The RJ Harris Breakfast Show.”  iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming Jeff Hurley comments, “We’re thrilled to bring this all-star lineup of talk radio programs to Reading with the launch of ‘Newsradio 1340 WRAW.’ We’re confident that ‘Newsradio 1340 WRAW’ will become a favorite source for compelling news, talk, and entertainment.”  RJ Harris adds, “WRAW is where I got my start in radio at 16 years old, so I’m excited to contribute to the re-launch of an all-new talk station with some of the biggest names in the format.”

‘ESPN 630’ Washington to Air Kornheiser Podcast. DC sports talk outlet WSBN-AM “ESPN 630” is adding the “The Tony Kornheiser Show” podcast to its on-air schedule in the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot. Kornheiser co-hosts “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN with Michael Wilbon.  He’s a former Washington Post sports columnist and former DC market sports talk radio host.  Cumulus Media programmer Bill Hess says, “Tony is a legend on sports radio in DC and we’re thrilled to be his new home.  With Tony at noon, followed by ESPN’s ‘The Stephen A. Smith Show’ at 1:00pm, ‘ESPN 630’ has the best one-two midday punch in town!”  The podcast is an exclusive partnership between Cadence13 and Tony Kornheiser.

TALKERS News Notes. A news podcast titled, “Modern Ruhles,” – hosted by MSNBC anchor and NBC News correspondent Stephanie Ruhle – debuts today as an iHeartRadio Original podcast.  A press release states that the show addresses some of today’s most pressing issues and features “conversations between Ruhle and influential guests, who help dissect the sensitive and often complex social topics that impact the state of the world today.”  Some of the first guests include actress and writer Amber Tamblyn, actor and comedian Terry Crews, musician Amir “Questlove” Thompson and more…..Seven Bucks Productions, Andrew Jenks, and Cadence13 announce the launch of season three of the podcast, “What Really Happened?”  The program, written and hosted by award-winning documentarian Andrew Jenks, kicks off the season with a special two-part episode exploring the life and death of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein…..FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes’ new book, Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left from Killing a Nation (2019, Post Hill Press) is published today (9/10).  The presser for the book says, “America is on the verge of another Civil War.  Socialism is on the rise. Free Speech is under assault. People of Faith are facing persecution. Gun owners are in the crosshairs. Our public schools have been turned into indoctrination centers.  A leftist mob made up of socialist politicians, academic elites, raging feminists, and effete Pajama Boys has partnered with Antifa, illegal aliens, and other radical groups to finish what President Obama started—a fundamental transformation of our nation. Can America be saved?  Political columnist, commentator, author, and radio host Todd Starnes addresses this issue and more in Culture Jihad. He believes that if good-hearted patriots rise up together, we can stop the jihad. It is possible to keep America great.”

Katz Unveils Programmatic Sales Division. The new division, called Audiology by Katz, and operating under Katz Digital, “was built with the mission to help advertisers and agencies utilize the power of audio to connect with consumers.  The service offers access to a scalable, premium and brand-safe digital audio marketplace with programmatic inventory across 120-plus connected devices and smart speakers.”  Katz says the new sales division will be led by David Krulewich, who also serves as SVP/programmatic sales for Katz Digital.  Katz Media Group CEO Mark Gray adds, “The addition of Audiology is part of Katz’s ever-expanding position in the digital marketplace.  This new digital audio programmatic sales division enables us to continue to invest even more time and resources into evangelizing audio on behalf of our partners in the rapidly expanding programmatic space.”

Bahamas Refugees, NOAA-Alabama Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race, CNN-Russia Spy Report, Gun Control Legislation, and Antonio Brown Antics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). The U.S. position on Bahamian refugees in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian; the controversy over allegations NOAA staffers were threatened not to contradict President Trump’s statement Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama; the Democrats and Republicans hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the CNN report that the U.S. had to extract a Russian spy from Moscow due to the Trump Administration’s mishandling of classified intelligence; current gun legislation that would expand background checks to nearly all gun buyers; and wide receiver Antonio Brown signs with the Patriots after orchestrating a messy exit from Oakland were some of the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $250k at Golf Tourney.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $250,000 yesterday (9/9) to help broadcasters in need during its 2019 Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, New York.  More than 175 broadcasters and celebrities took part in the event that has, since its inception, raised more than $5 million for financially afflicted broadcasters and their families.  Celebrity golfers in attendance were: John Anderson, ESPN; Bruce Beck, NBC TV Sports; Dick Brennan, CBS News; Scott Brunner, New York Giants; Scott Burrell, University of Southern Connecticut; Bobby Carpenter, NHL Stanley Cup Champ; Chad Cascadden, New York Jets; Rick Cerone, MLB great; Ron Claiborne, ABC News; Jon Crispin, UCLA-Big Ten Network; Maurice DuBois, CBS News; Mike Eruzione, 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Team & Captain; Rachel Grant, actress-model; Harold Green, Atlanta Falcons; Brian Leonard, NFL great; Ann Liguori, WFAN, New York; Otis Livingston, CBS Sports; Rob Marciano, ABC News; Donny Marshall, FOX Sports; Sean McDonough, ESPN; Bill Neil, New York Giants; Karl Nelson, New York Giants; CJ Papa, SNY Sports; Sterling Sharpe; Lee Saltz, New England Patriots; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Taylor Twellman, ESPN; Tim Welsh, Providence Friars; Bob Wischusen, ESPN; Chris Wragge, CBS News; Larry Roth, MSG Network; plus, Sarah Stone and Liz Caron, LPGA Pros.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Louisville, Kobi Kearney exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WNRW-FM “Radio Now 98.9” where he was program director and afternoon drive personality.  Kearney announced his exit via Facebook saying: “I guess it’s ironic that I’m celebrating 20 years in radio this month and all of a sudden I am no longer on the radio.  Thanks to everyone in Louisville and Southern Indiana who has showed me love and support for last four years.  I am a believer in the old saying everything happens for a reason, so hopefully the universe has something dope in store for me.”…..WWKA, Orlando “K92.3” afternoon drive personality AJ Maguire exited the station last Friday (9/6) after seven years with the Cox Media Group station.  He’s expected to announce a new gig in the near future…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago announces the lineup for its annual Christmas shows, “The Nights We Stole Christmas.”  The series of five shows is being held at Chicago’s Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom December 11-15, 2019.  The lineup by date includes: 12/11 – Cage The Elephant, Angles & Airwaves, The Federal Empire; 12/12 – The 1975, Bob Moses, Allan Rayman; 12/13 – Twenty One Pilots, IDKHBTFM; 12/14 – Mumford & Sons, Local Natives; and 12/15 – 311, Highly Suspect, The Glorious Sons.