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Thursday, June 17, 2021

| June 17, 2021

Weekly Reach, Average Audience Post Highest Levels In 14 Months. As the nation continues to reopen and returns to pre-pandemic routines, the industry experiences another month of radio listening gains. According to results from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period, radio’s weekly reach is at its highest level since March 2020 and has grown each of the past four months. In the latest sweep (May 2021), radio’s reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, which is within two million of where it was before lockdown precautions took effect last year. In May 2021, radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience also scored its highest level since March 2020. Coinciding with vaccination rollouts and more normal commutes, AQH audience levels have increased 11% since January. PPM’s year-over-year (May 2020 – May 2021) weekly reach and AQH comparisons stand at a 108 index and 120 index, respectively. From a weekly reach perspective, May 2021’s radio audience is 8% larger than this time last year, while the AQH audience is 20% larger versus May 2020. May 2021 listening gains were widespread, with all major dayparts at or near AQH peaks since COVID-19 began. Weekday morning drive and weekends hit their highest audience levels in 15 months. May 2021’s weekend AQH (6.6 million) is 300,00 higher than March 2020’s 6.3 million, before the peak of the lockdown. Even though news/talk is lower than in prior months (12.6% in May 2021, compared to May 2020’s 13.6%), it does remain the most-listened to format in PPM markets. Registering its third gain in a row (4.1% – 4.2% – 4.4% – 4.6%), sports talk posts its highest AQH share since COVID-19 began, surpassing October’s high point (4.5%) when football season was in full swing.

Round One of May 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 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). In presenting his “Ratings Takeaways” from this round of markets, Mike Kinosian notes that, while it erodes by one full-share from April 2021 (9.6 – 8.6, 6+), Cox Media Group Atlanta’s WSB-AM & WSBB is the only mainstream news/talk outlet to reach #1 (24th consecutive month, 6+). Meanwhile, the lone news/talk stations from the aforementioned metros that finished in the top 20 (6+) and posted an April 2021 – May 2021 increase are Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (3.2 – 3.4, 6+) and Townsquare Media-owned WKXW, Middlesex (3.8 – 4.1, +.3, 6+). Off one-half share and three-tenths, respectively are Audacy NYC news siblings WINS (3.2 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+) and Mets key station WCBS-AM (2.7 – 2.4, #15 to #16, 6+). Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR (Giants) improves by eight-tenths (4.3 – 5.1, 6+) to progress from fourth to third. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

IBA/Vipology Technology Contest Creates Nearly $1 Million In Local Sponsorships. During an eight-week “Key Word Contest” (April 19 – June 11), participating Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) member stations collectively generated approximately one million dollars of revenue from local sponsors. IBA president/Adams Radio Group chief executive officer Ron Stone notes, “Hundreds of our member stations were able to generate new revenue from our group contesting. “Vipology’s technology, member execution/management, and data follow-up was nothing short of spectacular. We are planning a second contest for the fall; many participating groups have already indicated their interest in participating again.” Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee adds, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, Kansas, I’m proud of our team for building the technology and supporting hundreds of stations across the country in their effort to sound big on-air and powerful in their markets.” Participating stations’ on-air personalities gave three key words throughout the day. Listeners were then encouraged to enter the words on the IBA “contest widget” on that station’s website. Listeners correctly identifying the day’s ‘Winning Key Word” became eligible for that day’s random drawing to win $1,000.

Shattuck Set To Join WTIC-AM. Formerly the senior editor of Lowell Massachusetts’ “The Lowell Sun,” Tom Shattuck will become the mid-day host (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) on news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk” next Monday (6/21). The Audacy Hartford outlet will feature all-local programming from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Audacy Hartford senior vice president/market manager Stephanie Perl opines, “Radio is best when it is local, when we can discuss and look at the local issues affecting our listeners. Being able to expand our local weekday programming further separates WTIC-AM from other radio stations in the state and we look forward to unveiling this new slate of content to our audience.” According to Shattuck, “[WTIC-AM] has been serving the people of Connecticut for almost 100 years. I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of this great station. These are extraordinary times and I look forward to talking about our politics and culture with the thoughtful, astute WTIC-AM audience.” Shattuck previously was editorial page editor of The Boston Herald and executive producer of Boston Herald Radio. In addition, he spent four years at Boston’s WTKK as executive producer of the afternoon drive show and was a content manager, web designer, and executive producer at cross-town news/talk WRKO. In other WTIC-AM changes, morning show co-host Brian Shactman will add “Extra Time with Brian.” As of next Monday (6/21), the station’s revised 5:00 am – 6:00 pm lineup will be: “WTIC Sunrise Special” (5:00 am – 5:30 am); “Mornings with Ray and Brian” (5:30 am – 9:00 am); “Extra Time with Brian” (9:00 am – 10:00 am); “The Tom Shattuck Show” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); and “The Todd Feinburg Show” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm).

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place last Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

TALKERS News Notes. After a five-year run at KNBR “The Sports Leader” and KTCT “KNBR 1050,” program director Jeremiah Crowe is set to depart the Cumulus Media sports talk facilities the middle of next month. A new assignment has not been announced for Crowe, who is reportedly relocating to Las Vegas … Starting next Wednesday (6/23) at 9:00 am, Audacy Chicago sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” will air a 24-hour “What About Chicago?” radiothon. In partnership with former Chicago Bears player Sam Acho, the radiothon will benefit Athletes For Justice and the Austin Harvest program. WSCR afternoon talent Danny Parkins comments, “I hate when people who don’t care about our city ask ‘What about Chicago?’ in bad faith. The name ‘What About Chicago’ is a defiant response and this radiothon will hopefully highlight what Chicago is really about: A Chicago radio station partnering with a Chicago charity with a mission to help improve the lives of Chicago kids in a Chicago neighborhood.” … In acknowledgement for its protest coverage following the death of George Floyd, Audacy San Francisco all-news KCBS-AM & KFRC has won a national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for “Best Radio Breaking News Reporting.” KCBS-AM & KFRC director of news & programming Jennifer Seelig comments, “I’m incredibly proud of my team’s thoughtful and compelling protest coverage. On behalf of everyone at KCBS-AM & KFRC, I’d like to thank SPJ for this prestigious honor. [We strive] to deliver comprehensive coverage of stories that resonate with our audience. This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to our community.” KCBS-AM & KFRC was the only commercial station in the country to win in any category … Even though its officials have not released an official statement, Cox Media Group continues to rectify digital damage apparently caused by a ransomware attack. Those trying to stream a CMG station hear the following, “This stream is currently unavailable and we are working diligently to bring it back online. Our radio stations continue to broadcast 24/7; you can listen to us over the air – thanks for your patience.” Cox Media Group news/talk outlets include WSB-AM & WSBB, Atlanta; WHPT, Tampa, WDBO, Orlando; and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.

Facebook Censors Harry Hurley’s “Heavy Hundred” Post.  A post regarding Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” morning host Harry Hurley being named to the TALKERS list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (“Heavy Hundred”) has been censored by Facebook. In an article posted this morning on the “WPG Talk Radio” website, Hurley (pictured with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2021) says that his story about receiving the honor was taken down by the social media giant with the explanation that it does not meet Facebook’s community standards and that the URL to the feature is considered spam. To read the entire article, please click https://wpgtalkradio.com/facebook-censored-my-post-about-talkers-magazine-honor/. 

Now Saluting “Kentucky Colonel” Roten. WVHU “News Radio 800” morning talk host Tom Roten was recently presented a plaque commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions as Kentucky Colonels are presented for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. The honor stunned Roten, who happened to be emceeing a grant award ceremony. Kentucky Colonels executive director Sherry Crose spoke of Roten’s commitment to the community and years of promoting charitable organizations and then made the surprise presentation. Having just marked his 20th anniversary at the iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia – Ashland, Kentucky station, Roten remarked, “This is such a tremendous honor – I am very grateful.” Roten has interviewed hundreds of guests from the region including many from the Commonwealth. He regularly talks to state and federal lawmakers from the Bluegrass State and speaks to representatives of many Kentucky charitable groups. For over 10 years, Roten served as public service director for iHeartRadio’s Huntington-Ashland cluster and has written/produced hundreds of PSAs for non-profit organizations. Approximately 30 Eastern Kentucky charities received a portion of $2.1 million in grants that the Kentucky Colonels will award this year. Kentucky Colonels are that state’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.

Total Subscribers To Paid Audio Services Double in Six Years. According to data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear,” 47% of Americans 13+ now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. That’s just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials. I believe we’ll see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies. Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. Such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well.” Growth has come across the board from SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Audible audiobook subscriptions to music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Pandora Premium or Plus.

KCUR Enlists Edgell As Midwest Newsroom Managing Editor. Effective July 6, public radio news/talk WFYI, Indianapolis project manager/assistant editor Holly Edgell will join University of Missouri-Kansas City’s similarly-programmed KCUR, Kansas City as managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom. KCUR general manager Sarah Morris states, “We are thrilled to have had such a strong pool of candidates and delighted that Holly will be joining the Midwest Newsroom as a KCUR employee. Holly has extensive leadership in working with newsrooms across the midwest and beyond. She will help form and create a highly functional and collaborative team for the hub.” NPR managing editor for collaborative journalism Kenya Young adds, “We’re excited to see Holly join our team of stellar managing editors leading the hub newsrooms across the country. Holly at the helm ensures our mission to plan shared coverage and create stories that reach local, regional, and national audiences. Holly will be an agent of change in the midwest region; I look forward to seeing how she shapes collaborative journalism within our network.” KCUR is lead partner in the NPR-formed Midwest Newsroom, a collaborative among Nebraska Public Media; Iowa Public Radio; St. Louis Public Radio; and NPR.

iHeartPodcast Network Adds Three True Crime Mysteries. The new entries include: “Missing On 9/11”; “After The Uprising: The Death Of Danye Dion Hones”; and “Algorithm.” From the producers of “Missing In Alaska,” “Missing On 9/11” traces the whereabouts of a woman living near the World Trade Center who disappeared on that horrific day. John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski-hosted “After The Uprising” is an 11-part series that examines the truth behind the hanging death of a St. Louis Black Lives Matter activist. From iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, Ben Kuebrich-hosted “Algorithm” is an examination of a reporter’s algorithm he claims can detect serial killers.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

| December 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November 2020 survey (10/8-11/4), 50% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up while 28% were down and 22% were unchanged. Gainers were led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+0.6) and KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Jose (+0.5). Comparing year-over-year data, 63% of all-news stations were up with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+2.2) and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+2.0). During the November ratings period, two all-news stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington with a 9.3 share and WBZ-AM, Boston with a 7.0 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

John Kincade Named New Morning Host at WPEN-FM, Philadephia. As a number of Philadelphia radio watchers had predicted, Beasley Media Group brings sports talker John Kincade back to Philadelphia to take over hosting duties at WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” effective January 4. Kincade was a longtime host of the “Buck and Kincade” show (with Buck Belue) on Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN-AM, Atlanta “680 The Fan.” He exited that role back in September as part of a budget-related talent shakeup at the station. He has also served as co-host of “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” on PodcastOne. WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “We have a very clear vision for what we want to accomplish at the station and adding John Kincade is a giant leap towards accomplishing those goals. Our team is thrilled that he chose ‘97.5 The Fanatic’ for his homecoming to Philadelphia. We’re excited about the future!” Kincade says, “From the beginning of my search for a new radio home, my conversations with [market manager] Joe Bell and Chuck Damico were the most enthusiastic and interesting. It became clear to me that joining the team at ‘The Fanatic’ was the best place for me to start this next chapter. With guys I have long respected like Mike Missanelli and Anthony Gargano already there, I knew it would be an honor to join their team.”

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz Joins FOX Sports Radio. Former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz becomes part of the weekend lineup at FOX Sports Radio where he joins FSR personality Steve Hartman as co-host of the Saturday afternoon program (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET). The program debuts on Saturday (12/5) on 400 stations and includes highlights and instant analysis on the weekend in games plus conversations with insiders and experts. Schwartz has served as one of the primary fill-in hosts for FSR’s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” for the past three years and is a weekly guest on the show. Premiere Networks SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “Building on what’s already the strongest weekend lineup in the game, Geoff’s entertaining and thoughtful approach takes it up yet another notch. FSR’s talented weekend cast is here to deliver exactly what sports fans want before, during and after games.”

WEEI-FM, Boston Raises $1.5 Million for Jimmy Fund. The COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on the annual Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that takes place every August, so this year Entercom sports talk outlet WEEI-FM, Boston used the national “Giving Tuesday” (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving) to help raise more than $1.5 million for The Jimmy Fund that directly supports innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and helps transform cancer treatment, so patients and their families can spend more time together. Since 2002, WEEI has helped raise nearly $60 million for The Jimmy Fund. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “This was the first time in 19 years we were unable to hold our annual ‘Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon,’ but this broadcast allowed us to continue supporting the fund’s lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. I’m very grateful for the widespread support from our listeners and some of New England’s biggest stars to help make this radiothon a success.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Biden Transition/Trump Tactics, Georgia Runoff Elections, UN Climate Report, the Economy/New Stimulus Negotiations, and NFL’s COVID Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the climbing death toll, and the rollout of vaccines in the U.K. and Russia; the Joe Biden administration transition process and Donald Trump’s ongoing statements calling the election results into question; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the dire tone of the new UN Climate Report; the state of the U.S. economy and current negotiations for a new COVID relief deal; and the NFL’s handling of positive COVID cases as the season moves toward the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Progressive Political Talker and Multi-platform Groundbreaker Stephanie Miller Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the longest-running leaders among the relatively rare species of commercial news/talk radio progressives, Stephanie Miller is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Miller’s daily morning ensemble program, now in the middle of its second decade, has developed a large, active, and extremely loyal national audience through a cross-platform array of venues that includes terrestrial radio, SiriusXM Satellite RadioFree Speech TV, podcasts, and online streaming. During the past several years, this three-decade-plus veteran of talk radio has enjoyed groundbreaking success in bringing her “Sexy Liberal Tour” – a theatrical version of her ensemble radio show – to sold out houses at some of the most prestigious theaters in America. Since that got sidelined in early 2020 by COVID-19, she and her business partner Ron Hartenbaum have successfully morphed it into the “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” that has been drawing in gigantic monthly audiences anxious to see and follow what has become a rising force in online political sketch comedy. Ironically, Miller comes to the Left from the Right. She is the daughter of William MillerBarry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican presidential running mate. In a fast-paced, candid, and informal conversation between longtime friends, Harrison and Miller discuss the “survival mode” state of progressive news/talk radio, non-traditional methods of generating broadcasting revenue, the evolution of her successful theatrical (and now online) “Sexy Liberal” offshoot, and her no-holds-barred take on today’s explosive presidential politics. Not to be missed! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At  Entercom’a hip hop WVEE, Atlanta “V-103,” air personalities Tylerchronicles and Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville join “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” that airs from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Adding Tylerchronicles and Christina ‘Ms. Basketball’ Granville will not only round out our widely popular morning program, but further establish ‘V-103’ as the people’s station throughout Atlanta. Both possess a unique talent for captivating and entertaining their audiences, and I look forward to introducing them to our listeners as part of their morning routines.”…..Eagle Communications closes on the acquisition of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP, Sutherland – both in Nebraska – from Legacy Communications. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

October 2020 PPM Ratings

| October 27, 2020

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, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”