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Monday, September 28, 2020

| September 28, 2020

Monday Memo: It’s Not Debatable. As the president and his challenger prepare to take the stage tomorrow night, consultant Holland Cooke can’t resist an analogy about radio programming vs. digital challengers. Read it here.

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated for SCOTUS Seat, the Presidential Race/Tuesday Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, NYTimes Trump Tax Story, BML Movement/Protests, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The president introduces Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court; the November presidential election and Tuesday’s first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, especially in the U.S. Midwest, and projections for future cases; the New York Times piece that details President Trump’s tax, income, and debt situation; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in numerous cities across the country; and the ongoing wildfires in California, Oregon and others were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartSports Network Debuts. The new iHeartSports Network from iHeartMedia launches today, “servicing more than 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country, across multiple formats.” The company says the new network, “with a monthly reach of 75 million listeners, will feature some of the biggest names in sports including Cris Collinsworth, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Joy Taylor and more.” The iHeartSports Network will deliver short-form national, regional local sports reports to listeners on formats that index high against sports interest, including rock, country, hip hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. The company adds, “Scarborough found that 83% of sports fans want a daily update. Nielsen confirms that 89% of sports fans listen to radio each week and radio listeners typically tune in multiple times per day. Research also indicates that almost two-thirds of sports fans do not have the time to seek out additional desired information, so the iHeartSports Network will deliver sports reports to listeners conveniently and timely wherever they are.” iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock states, “This is a product driven network responding to the interests of our listeners. People are passionate about sports and this will deliver the timely regional and local coverage they care most about along with the biggest national stories.”

Sarah Foss Joins Entercom as Chief Information Officer. Advertising executive Sarah Foss is named chief information officer for Entercom. In this role, Foss will “provide strategic direction and oversight for the design, development, acquisition, operation and support of the company’s enterprise technology systems and programs. She will also collaborate with cross-functional executives to create a vision for how digital, data and analytics, and new technologies can help create a differentiated experience and drive efficiency in operations.” Foss was most recently senior vice president, strategic initiatives for FreeWheel Advertisers. Prior to that role, she was general manager, ad tech for Imagine Communications. Entercom EVP and CFO Richard Schmaeling says, “This role is critical to our success in the constantly evolving media landscape and we’re thrilled to have Sarah on board. Her strong business acumen and enriched media technology intellect is incredibly valuable as we continue to evolve and elevate our business.” Foss adds, “I’m thrilled to be joining Entercom at this exciting time in media. We have a unique opportunity to leverage outstanding content and deep community relationships to reach new, targeted audiences through our digital and broadcast platforms. Smart technology choices will accelerate this for us.”

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign is tomorrow night (9/29) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and ABC News Radio is offering three hours of live, anchored coverage the night of the debate, including a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, FiveThirtyEight’s Galen Druke, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams. ABC News Radio will also offer multiple one-minute “Status Reports” throughout the night…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS-AM, Wichita takes home three top honors in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Television & Radio Awards. The station won first place for Complete Newscast by Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward, Jad Chambers, Ronelle Williams; Complete Sportscast by Ted Woodward; and Station Website…..A new podcast series called “The Frost Tapes” is coming to the iHeartRadioplatform. It is an original podcast featuring unheard interviews of towering figures in American life during the 1960s and 1970s conducted by legendary broadcaster David Frost and hosted by his son, Wilfred Frost. Debuting on October 6, the podcast will include unaired behind-the-scenes footage from Frost’s famous 28-hour interviews with Richard Nixon, and huge swathes of interviews that have not been heard since their original broadcast date 50 years ago.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Todd Schnitt is returning to morning drive in Tampa Bay in his alter ego MJ as “The MJ Morning Show” joins Beasley Media Group’s WRBQ-FM “Q105,” effective October 5. As a result of this move, current longtime morning personality Mason Dixon takes over afternoon drive and Geno Knight shifts to middays. Schnitt continued to host his afternoon drive, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Schnitt Show.” The Schnitt Show on Compass Media Networks. Beasley Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Steve Triplett says, “We are excited and proud to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back on the legendary Q105. For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market. I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay!”…..Los Angeles-based “Valentine In The Morning” is the new morning program on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KSOF, Fresno “Soft Rock 98.9.” The program features Valentine along with his co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. To make room for the program, Teri-Ann Schlesser moves to middays…..Programming pro McConnell Adams is promoted to director of content for Townsquare Media’s Lansing station group. He’s been serving as brand manager for CHR WJIM-FM “97.5 Now” and adult contemporary WFMK. He says, “I am truly blessed for the opportunities I have been presented by this amazing company. Our multi-platform, ‘Local First’ strategy is second to none at delivering local, original content and entertainment. I am really excited to be working even closer with the talented team here to continue our amazing success.”…..Morning personality John Houston is retiring from Woof Inc’s adult contemporary WOOF-FM, Dothan, Alabama after a 44-year career in radio. The Dothan Eagle reports on Houston’s career and his decision to start sleeping in and spend time with his children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

| September 24, 2014

harrisonherald2Michael Harrison Sings Praises of Podcasting as “a Fundamental Broadcasting Process” of the New Era.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) reiterated his longtime praise of podcasting as “the best thing to come down the pike since sliced bread” as a natural and obvious supplement to the tools available to broadcasters “in distributing their media products to a potentially unlimited global consumer base.”  In a statement made Monday (9/22) during the weekly TALKERS conference call, Harrison described podcasting as “so simple, elegant and traditional a distribution concept, it is amazing many people in radio are still confused as to exactly what it means now that it has become reincarnated in a digital age configuration and is being called podcasting.”  According to Harrison, “Podcasting has always been around.  On a fundamental level, a ‘podcast’ is simply a convenient unit of packaging in the distribution of a cohesive piece of pre-produced media content.  From the perspective of basic media theory, music records were ‘podcasts’ before the advent of the internet.  In 1978 and ‘79, when the infamous Ayatollah Khomeini — while in ‘exile’ in France — instigated a revolution that ultimately ousted the Shah from Iran, he did so, in part, by sending his manifesto and doctrines to his constituents via recordings on audiocassettes which were duplicated and/or ‘bicycled’ around the country from interested person to interested person.  That was also a pre-internet form of podcasting.”  Harrison says that modern digital podcasting should be a fundamental service of every radio station, network, syndicator and individual radio show every bit as important as their on-air service and online streaming.  He says, “Basically the word ‘pod’ – although stemming from an Apple device – should mean programming on demand. What we are really talking about is the vital and growing role ON DEMANDpattiznorm programming will play in the presentation of radio-oriented content.  We might soon reach a point when the only real-time, appointment broadcasting in both radio and television will be ‘live events’ most typified by sports presentations, breaking news, and talk shows dependent upon live listener/guest interaction.”  Harrison continues, “We will be getting into deeper and deeper discussions about the optimum programming of podcasts (or on demand content) as we figure out better and more practical ways to slice and dice the episodes into pragmatically digestible portions.”  When asked if he could cite an example of a broadcaster, station or company effectively executing podcasting at this point on the timeline, he immediately responded, “I’d put my money on Norm Pattiz and what he is doing with Podcast One.  This prestigious platform he is developing with attractive on demand entities performed by significant names with built in followings is an example of elegant, obvious genius at work.  This is an example to emulate.  Podcast One is going places and fast!”  He concludes, “But there is room on this train for everyone who has decent content and a handle on digital age promotion.  Thankfully, lots of bright folks in radio are well on their way to fully capitalizing on this marvelous technological gift.”

ludlumandyLudlum Leaves KNX. After nearly six years as director of news programming at Los Angeles’ KNX, Andy Ludlum exits the CBS RADIO all-news outlet.  He spent more than 16 years at onetime (similarly-formatted) KNX sibling KFWB in a variety of capacities including program director; news director (2003 – 2006); and executive producer (1998 – 2003).  KNX news director Julie Chin is the station’s interim PD until CBS RADIO Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney hires a successor to Ludlum.  After a -.6 to 2.4 (May – June, 6+), KNX advanced to 2.5 in July and to 2.7 (#14) in August. It registered a 3.1 in January (#9) and March (#10).

podcastone logoThree New Multi-Media Talent Debut PodcastOne Shows.  Speaking of Norm Pattiz’s PodcastOne, the company announces three new podcast series preparing to debut.  TV and radio legend Larry King and his wife Shawn King will premiere their podcast on October 10.  “Pawn Stars” cast member Rick Harrison debuts his “Pawncast” next month, and Ultimate Fight Club star Chael Sonnen begins a series in October as well.  The Kings will interview guests and Shawn will lend a female perspective to the show.  Larry King comments, “I’ve never worked with a partner before.  It’s going to be fun doing this with the wife!”  Harrison will talk about history, pop culture and more, plus speak with Las Vegas mainstays and celebrities on his show.  And, saying the company is building upon its colossal success with former WWE stars Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Jim Ross, Roddy Piper, Bill Goldberg and Jesse Ventura, the PodcastOne is targeting the lucrative MMA audience with Sonnen’s new weekly show featuring mixed martial arts talk and special guests.

scba logoSCBA White Paper Contrasts AM/FM Radio Satisfaction with That of Pandora.  In an effort to combat the perception that pureplays like Pandora are running away with consumer satisfaction – and more important, being an effective advertising medium – the Southern California Broadcasters Association is issuing its latest white paper titled, “Consumer Response and Listening Satisfaction of Broadcast Radio vs. Pandora Internet Music Service.”  Using data from Bridge Ratings LLC and Scarborough, the study included a survey of 4,339 Pandora Prime users and 4,400 heavy users of broadcast radio.  The SCBA states while marketers are always looking for something new and different, “questions of how the audience is measured and/or its effectiveness over time may not have been looked at in the rush of the ‘new media blitz’ on advertisers.  Moreover, how is the consumer using broadcast radio vs. the Pandora internet music service over time and what are the trend lines advertisers should concern themselves with to protect their media investment and ensure the media plans are performing as they should?”  Some of the conclusions reached by the SCBA include: customer dissatisfaction with Pandora over time as evidenced by a 40% drop in reported satisfaction over the course of three years; the collapse of session use on Pandora; and diminished awareness – or recall – of ads heard on Pandora versus broadcast radio.  See the white paper here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Holds Live Online Chat Regarding Missing UV Student.  With the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham a top story in the region, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington held a live chat about the case with reporters Neil Augenstein and Mike Murillo from a press conference in Charlottesville.  Augenstein Tweeted statements from authorities and the questions from the media and then took questions from visitors to WTOP.com.  It was during the chat that Augenstein reported the breaking development that 32-year-old Jesse Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the missing Graham.

woodwardeliseWoodward Exits KJR-AM, Seattle.  Sports talk outlet KJR-AM cuts midday personality Elise Woodward from the payroll.  She was co-host of the 10@10 show with Jerry Brewer on the iHeartMedia-owned station.  The Seattle Times reports the former UW basketball star was surprised by the move after being at KJR since 2002.  She worked in afternoon drive with Mike Gastineau for four years until Gastineau retired from the station in 2012.  Woodward maintains her roles as both a sideline reporter for UW football on crosstown KOMO and color analyst for UW women’s basketball home games that air on KKNW.

espnPDspanelESPN Holds Affiliate Programming Conference.  At the recent affiliate programming conference held at ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut campus, radio PDs and brand managers at affiliate stations took part in panels and discussions on such topics as the state of sports radio, best programming practices, how to produce great talk shows and more.  Pictured here taking part in the “Producing Great Talk Shows” panel are (from left to right): ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, KGMZ, San Francisco PD Jason Barrett, ESPN Radio talent producer Josh Drew, and “The Herd” producer Vince Kates-Paulus.

U.S. Strikes in Syria/ISIS Fighting Coalition, Domestic Violence and the NFL, Climate Summit 2014, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections, White House Security Breach, and Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23).  The strikes against ISIS in Syria by the U.S. military and the building of a coalition; the NFL’s domestic violence cases; President Obama’s address at the UN Climate Summit 2014; the prospects for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race; the looming mid-term elections and potential majority changes in Congress; the recent Secret Service White House security breach; and the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.