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Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

| June 18, 2020

KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque Names John Summers News Director. Radio news and programming pro John Summers is named news director for Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque. Cumulus says Summers is an award-winning journalist who was most recently brand manager and news director for Saga Communications’ WHCU-AM/FM, Ithaca, New York. Prior to that, he was regional program director and news director for the Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart says, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the News Radio KKOB family. He’s a great fit to lead this iconic Albuquerque station into an exciting new chapter and to help capitalize on our recent expansion of the KKOB brand.” Summers says, “I’m thrilled to become part of the awesome Southwest legend, KKOB. I really appreciate Jeff Berry and Jared Hart’s confidence in my journalistic vision for the giant AM/FM signals involved – and I love New Mexico. This is going to be fun.”

Disruptor Radio LLC Acquires WNTW-AM, Richmond. Virginia media company Disruptor Radio, LLC announces it has closed on the purchase of WNTW-AM and translator W224EB – both licensed to Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Disruptor Radio is operated by John Fredericks, whose radio show airs in morning drive on the simulcast and is based at Disruptor’s WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia. It’s distributed by the John Fredericks Radio Network. Fredericks says the combination of the three signals “gives JFRN the largest footprint and most coverage in central Virginia.” John Fredericks says, “As of June 17, we have the most dynamic and engaging news/talk network lineup in America right here in central Virginia. Our combined three-stick radio reach now goes to Petersburg in the south, Fredericksburg to the north, west to Charlottesville, southwest to Longwood University in Farmville and east to Newport News and the Northern Neck. We now have a bigger footprint then-rival legacy station WRVA in Richmond and we look forward to the opportunity to offer central Virginia radio listeners an exciting alternative in the news/talk arena.” Fredericks adds he’s not shy about further expansion potential and he’s bullish on the future of talk radio.

Firings at U.S. Agency for Global Media Draw Rebuke from Democrats. The U.S. Senate confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and his subsequent firing of four news organization chiefs has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats. According to Edward Wong’s story in The New York Times, those let go on Wednesday evening were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund. The story adds that Pack also “disbanded the bipartisan boards that govern and advise those five organizations. He replaced the members, which are the same across the organizations, largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman.” On Monday of this week, Radio Free America director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned their positions.

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 May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Obviously, without any sports contests being played since March, the format has suffered, but the downward trend the format experienced in March and April is leveling off. Sixty-two percent of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up, led by Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver (+1.0, 3.1share). Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, just 32% of stations are up with 65% down. The year-over-year gainers are led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (+1.8, 5.9 share). No sports talker came close to ranking #1 in its market in May. Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia was the top ranker in the format, finishing at #4 with a 5.9 share. Read Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

John Bolton Book, BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Case, Trump Police Reform Order, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, Aunt Jemima Retired, Presidential Race, China-India Clash, and Return of the NBA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The controversy and legal battle over former national security adviser John Bolton’s yet-to-be-released book; the Black Lives Matter protests and the officers being charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks; President Trump issues a police reform executive order; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S., the states seeing increases, and the outbreak in Beijing; the Aunt Jemima brands are retired by PepsiCo; the November presidential election; the deadly clash between China and India over a disputed Himalayan border region; and the NBA prepares to return to action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Scott Herman Elected Chair of Broadcasters Foundation of America. The board of directors of the Broadcasters Foundation of America elects radio executive Scott Herman chair of the charitable organization. Herman served for years with CBS RADIO and Group W and he’s currently CEO of SHH Media Management. He takes over for Dan Mason, who remains on the board of directors. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb is re-elected as vice chair. Additionally, Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones is elected to the board. Dan Mason says, “It has been an honor to serve the broadcasting industry as chair of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement as a board member of this unique charity that helps our colleagues. I am pleased to turn over the chair seat to Scott, who I know to be both capable and caring. He loves this industry as much as I do and will work tirelessly to help those in our business who need it most.” Herman is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board and has served as vice chair since 2017.

DOUBLE HEADER: ‘Two Men, Two Games’ – Sean Spicer and Colin Cowherd Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former White House press secretary and current Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer and FOX Sports Radio/Television host Colin Cowherd are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a two-part program titled, “Two Men, Two Games,” Harrison discusses a wide array of current issues with two of the most colorful individuals in talk media focusing on the impact that today’s turbulence is having on media, business, sports, and society. Harrison and Spicer talk about the seismic changes that have taken place in the relationship between the presidency and the press during the Donald Trump administration in addition to ongoing debate over government regulation of social media. Spicer also offers his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and offers a few tips on how to approach this president in an interview or ask him questions at a press conference. Harrison and Cowherd (who is ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on professional sports, the delicate art of simulcasting a talk show on radio and television, the responsibility team owners have to the fans, as well as a fascinating breakdown on the political leanings of sports talk radio listeners. Don’t miss this power-packed installment of one of the world’s most-respected, media-oriented podcasts. 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. After last week’s exit from SummitMedia by SVP of programming Beverlee Brannigan, the company announces that Randy Chase is joining the company in the same capacity. SummitMedia says Chase joins the leadership team and will oversee all country music stations. He’ll report to EVP of programming Bill Tanner. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “Randy’s experience across all formats and his passion to serve our listeners make him an excellent addition to our team. His ability to innovate in our industry and drive consumer engagement are attributes we are particularly excited about.” Chase has served with the Educational Media Foundation as VP of radio for the past seven years. Prior to that he led national country branding and programming for Cox Media Group. Chase will be based in Knoxville and will also serve as program director for country WCYQ, Knoxville “100.3 The Wolf.”…..Hubbard Radio makes changes to the air staff at Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 THE MIX.” Eric Ferguson remains in mornings but everything else changes. Sixteen-year afternoon drive personality Kevin “Koz” Koske leaves that daypart and will be director of creative services for both WTMX and sister AC WSHE. He’ll also handle some weekend and fill-in shifts. Taking over afternoon drive is evening host Chris Petlak and midday jock Lisa Allen. Taking over Allen’s midday slot is music director Nikki Chuminatto. Weekend personality Jordan “Dash” Weiss is upped to evening personality…..In Charlottesville, Virginia, Saga Communications lets classic rock WWWV morning host and imaging director Max Hoecker go and replaces his show with the Westwood One syndicated “Bob & Tom” Show…..United Stations Radio Networks announces a new program hosted by Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Kenny Loggins. Titled, “Kenny Loggins: The Real Thing,” the program will debut at a yet-to-be-finalized date this summer and will be delivered as completely flexible segments allowing stations to build their imaging and music around voice tracks supplied by Kenny Loggins.

Friday, December 2, 2016

| December 2, 2016

Art Bell and Wife Suing Michael Savage and WW1 for Defamation.  In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, radio talk host Art Bell and his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell are suingsavagemichael Michael Savage, Westwood One and parent company Cumulus Media for defamation, defamation per se, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The Bells are seeking damages “in the amount to be proven at trial.”  The bellartcomplaint stems from a September “Savage Nation” broadcast in which Savage said, “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…”  The Bells argue that to anyone who knows the business, it was obvious Savage was referring to Art Bell and further, that the “10-year-old hooker” remark refers to his wife, Philippines national Airyn Ruiz Bell.  The Bells say they petitioned Westwood One for a retraction but their request was not honored.

WEEI, Boston Names New Leadership Team.  The Entercom sports talker announces its new programmingzarbanojoe management team.  It is promoting assistant program director Joe Zarbano to PD, taking over for Kevin Graham, who announced his exit from the station back in June.  This comes after a six-month search that resulted in the station promoting from its “in-house talent bench.”  In addition to Zarbano’s kichenbenpromotion, senior producer Ben Kichen rises to executive producer.  He’s been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and “Dale & Holley” programs.  He also produces Kirk Minihane’s “Enough About Me” podcast and hosts “Soccercast” for WEEI.com.  Carlson Mozdiez, currently director of integrated marketing strategies for Entercom Boston, assumes the director of operations role for the cluster with special emphasis on the company’s WEEI.com digital platform.  Entercom New England VP/marketmozdiezcarlson manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive.  “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting.  Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it.  As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe.  Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”

Brandys Promoted to Baltimore SVP/Market Manager for CBS RADIO.  From her most recent position as VP, director of sales, Tracy Brandys is elevated to senior vice president, market manager and director of sales for CBS RADIO’s Baltimore stations, including sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan,” WJZ-AM “CBS Sportsbrandystracy Radio 1300,” adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9,” CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5,” as well as the CBS RADIO Up Close Performance Studio that hosts local and national sports figures and musicians.  She replaces former Baltimore market manager Bob Philips who was recently named chief revenue officer for CBS RADIO.  Company COO Scott Herman says, “Tracy’s years of sales and management experience, coupled with her intimate knowledge of our Baltimore stations and the overall market, made her the natural choice to take on this important role.  Throughout her tenure with CBS RADIO Tracy has proven to be a powerhouse salesperson who has led and grown our revenue and market share in Baltimore and has been a trusted leader to our valued employees.  We are delighted to reward her accomplishments with this well-deserved promotion.”

The News Media Alliance and National Association of Broadcasters Seeking Review of FCC’s Cross Ownership Rules.  The News Media Alliance is going straight to President-Elect Donald Trump with a white paper that lays out its case for abandoning the 1975 rule that makes cross-ownership of electronic and print medianewsmediaalliance illegal and the National Association of Broadcasters is petitioning the FCC for nab-logoreconsideration of the 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review’s conclusion to maintain the ban (as well as other policies).  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the argument that the current state of media looks nothing like it did in 1975 and current regulations should reflect the current business conditions.  News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern states, “While news organizations are innovating and adapting to a vastly different media landscape, antiquated government regulations and imbalanced policies are unnecessarily hindering investment and growth at news media companies.  We encourage the new administration to revisit these regulations and policies as it charts a new course for our nation’s economic growth.”

Al Peterson to Cease Publication of NTS MediaOnline in New Year.  After 10 years serving the spoken-word radio business, radio pro Al Peterson is announcing he’ll stop publishing his NTS MediaOnline Today andpetersonal NTS MediaOnline Monthly come January.  In a press release, Peterson says, “After serving as the News/Talk/Sports editor for 10 years at the top industry newspaper Radio & Records, to then creating NTS MediaOnline and building it into a reliable hub for news, information and conversation about talk radio for the last decade, it just feels right to start a new chapter in my life – one where I’m not waking before sunrise to a blank page and a daily deadline.”  Working with Peterson during the last 10 years (and before that with R&R) has been his sales and marketing partner Brooke Williams.  The statement says Peterson plans to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests outside the industry.

siriusxmsmallReport: Pandora and SiriusXM Talking Acquisition.  According to CNBC, digital music pure play Pandora is talking with SiriusXM about being acquired by the satellite radio company.  The report indicates that the talks arepandoralogo very preliminary but that this shows a change of heart after Pandora dismissed an informal offer of $15 per share from SiriusXM parent Liberty Media back in July.  Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is quoted saying, “We think that the free space, whether it be commercial, terrestrial radio or Pandora, is still a very attractive space.  And we talked about how we’d like to find a way to participate.  I think the streaming business, which Pandora seems to have doubled down on, is a very unattractive business.  So there are parts of Pandora that could be attractive.  And there’s parts that we’d have questions about.”  Read the CNBC piece here.

talkersten-logoTrump Cabinet Nominees Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 28 – December 2.  The growing list of cabinet nominees for the Trump Administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the election recount tied with Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Carrier deal, followed by Trump’s flag burning comments at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Odds & Sods.  News/talk WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin is broadcasting in FM as well now with the addition of translator W287AU at 103.5.  Woodward Radio Group brand manager Justin Hull states, “We are thrilled to be taking WHBY to the FM side of the dial.  The new frequency, along with our revamped website and app, gives listeners another way to experience WHBY in all aspects.”…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of WVON, Chicago is hosting its 26th Annual Seniors Breakfast tomorrow (12/3) at the House of Hope.  Seniors will enjoy a hot breakfast and live entertainment from three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and Christmas carols from musical artist Uneqka…..Both satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM and digital platform TuneIn will be broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings starting this Sunday, December 4, through Thursday, December 8.

gracies-logoSix Days Left for Gracies Early Bird Deadline.  The deadline for early bird entries for the 2017 Gracie Awards is Thursday, December 8.  The annual awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize “exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individual achievement.”  All submissions must have been released, posted or aired between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.  Please note, this is a change from previous years’ timeline for eligibility.  The final deadline for submissions is January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET.  See how to register submissions here.

bernadettestudio16The Yappy Tour Rolls Through WABC, New York.  The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadettehamburgjoan Duncan (left), continues to burn up the airwaves.  The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through New York City yesterday (12/1) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio grand dame Joan Hamburg for her Saturday show (12/3) on the legendary WABC.  Duncan tells TALKERS, “It was one of the highlights of my career being interviewed by the great Joan Hamburg.  Not only is she one of my personal idols, but I can safely describe her as one of the best radio talkers of any era and a national treasure.  Being on her show and the airwaves of WABC is deeply gratifying to me and hopefully to the thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderfulbernadettebooksmall support.”  Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry KingSally Jessy RaphaelLou DobbsTom SnyderGil GrossCharles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature.  The interview is already posted as a podcast on the WABC website and can be heard by clicking here.   Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the first quarter of 2017.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 40 local and syndicated programs.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

| October 25, 2016

CRTV Digital Network to Launch in December.  Production firm CRTV is announcing plans to launch a new digital network in December “uniquely rich with honest and informative conservative content seen nowhere else in any medium anywhere.”  The company (parent of the Conservative Review) partnered with Mark Levin (left) back in crtvlevinmalkinsteynFebruary to debut the digital video program “LevinTV.”  Now, CRTV is adding conservative media personalities Michelle Malkin (center) and Mark Steyn (right) to the mix.  CRTV chief content officer Chris Crane comments, “We have partnered with the best thinkers and storytellers out there and given each the resources to design their own show in their own voice on their own custom set reflective of each of their personalities.”  Mark Levin adds, “With the huge success of ‘LevinTV’ launched earlier this year, we decided to accelerate plans.  We know people have rejected liberal media bias and there is an enormous demand for straight, bold, conservative talk and they will get it here from a wide variety of talent.  This is much bigger than any of us.  It is about our beloved audience.  This is a movement with millions of liberty lovers who know cable TV content doesn’t square with their worldview.  Proudly conservative in content, CRTV will allow popular personalities, presenting scholarly thought, culture to comedy, the liberty to be themselves.  And, viewers will have the freedom to consume straightforward, candid, unfiltered, commercial-free content whenever and wherever they want.”  CRTV is a subscription-based service available on digital and mobile devices for $99 per year or $12 per month.

CBS RADIO Names Radiate Media New Traffic Data Provider.  The 10-year deal between CBS RADIO and iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic Network ends on March 31 of 2017 and CBS is announcing that it has chosen cbsradio-logoRadiate Media as its new broadcast content traffic partner, effective April 1.  In a statement, CBS RADIO says Radiate will supply it with customized traffic data for its over-the-air radio stations in 26 markets, as well as on corresponding station websites.  Radiateradiatemedia-logo Media will sell sponsorships within traffic reports to national network advertisers while CBS RADIO will continue to sell sponsorships to local and regional advertisers.  CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman states, “We are excited to work with Radiate Media to deliver superior traffic reports to our local listeners who rely on our stations for timely updates and alerts.  The new arrangement allows for Radiate to better serve national network advertisers, while giving CBS RADIO maximum flexibility to deliver unique marketing opportunities to our local and multi-market partners.”

Genesis Simulcasts WHOO, Orlando’s Erik Kuselias Show to WHBO, Tampa.  Back in April, sportskuseliaserik media personality Erik Kuselias joined Genesis Communications to begin hosting a sports talk show on Orlando’s WHOO and the company’s SportsTalkFlorida.com platform.  Now, Genesis announces the show – airing 6:00 am to 9:00 am – will also be heard on the company’s WHBO, Tampa.  Kuselias comments, “Tampa has always been one of my favorite sports towns.  It’s incredibly underrated because it has smart, diverse sports fans.  I think my show and the city will be a great match and I’m honored to be part of their scene.”

nielsen-logoNielsen Audio Releases Round One of October 2016 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of October  2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The October 2016 survey period covered September 8 (the first game of the NFL season) – October 5.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallMichael Harrison and Richard Neer Get ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Baseball and the World Series.  Veteran WFAN, New York sports talk show host Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” paying tribute to what used to be called America’s National Pastime and talking about the unusual “battle of the underdogs” nature of the 2016 World Series.  The discussionneerrichard focuses on the importance of sports teams to their local communities and the people who grew up loving them.  It covers changes in the relative popularity of sports in the US (baseball, football, boxing and horse racing) and even brings up Ronald Reagan’s early career as a baseball play-by-play pioneer.  Harrison and Neer engage in a pop cultural-oriented sports dialogue unlike most heard on sports talk radio.  To listen to this fun and illuminating conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

The 2016 Election, Battle Against Islamic State in Mosul, Soaring ObamaCare Premiums, Enlistment Bonus Scandal, Friday’s Cyber-Attack, France to Demolish Calais Immigrant Camp, Josh Brown Spousal Abuse Controversy, Cubs-Indians World Series, and Weekend NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24).  The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as well as the U.S. House and Senate races; the fight against Islamic State in the battle to assume control of the Iraqi city of Mosul; reports of soaring premiums under the Affordable Care Act; the scandal at the California National Guard forcing thousands of soldiers to repay unqualified-for enlistment bonuses; the attack on U.S. DNS servers that greatly affected parts of the Internet on October 21; France begins to move immigrants from “the jungle” camp in Calais; controversy over the NFL’s handling of the Josh Brown spousal abuse admissions; anticipation for the Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians World Series; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated morning duo Armstrong & Getty is working to mobilize its listeners to help war veterans by signing a WhiteHouse.gov petition to ask congress to forgive the debts of the thousands of California soldiers who are being forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after they went to war.  Through improper action by California National Guard recruiters, thousands of soldiers were given enlistment bonuses for which they may not have qualified.  Many are now being asked to repay those bonuses.  Jack Armstrong says, “We are outraged.  Our listeners are outraged.  We are going to get something done about this.  The United States cannot mistreat our veterans like this.”  Joe Getty adds, “It’s time that the bureaucrats andelswickclown politicians honor our promises to our vets and honor the will of the people.  And it’s absolutely indisputable that these vets not get screwed.  We are going to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire.”…..Award-winning political journalist Soledad O’Brien and National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith are being featured in a keynote session on the intersection of media and politics at the NAB Show New York on November 9 – the first day of the two-day conference at the Javits Convention Center in New York City…..Pictured at right, Gizmo the Clown (left) stopped by the KHTE-FM, Little Rock studios to visit with afternoon personality Dave Elswick (right) to discuss recent “scary clown” sightings in the Central Arkansas area.

Monday, July 20, 2015

| July 20, 2015

cbsradio logoScott Herman Promoted to COO of CBS Radio.  President Andre Fernandez announces EVP of operations Scott Herman has been promoted to chief operating officer for CBS RADIO.  The company says that in this new role, Herman will continue to report to Fernandez and lead local operations across the division’s 117 major market stations.  CBS RADIO’s market managers will now report to Herman.  Fernandez states, “Scott has ahermanscott tremendous reputation in the industry, and is a distinguished representative for radio.  He understands CBS RADIO’s vision for the future and will provide strength to our senior leadership team as we move forward with a variety of key growth initiatives.  Having someone with Scott’s experience collaborating directly with our station management will result in new value for CBS RADIO and our partners.”  The company notes that, because of this experience, Herman “works particularly close with the division’s news and talk stations, and his expertise in this area has allowed CBS RADIO to retain its leadership position in the format.”  Herman was promoted to EVP, Eastern Region for CBS in 2003.  Prior to that, he was senior vice president, market manager for the division’s New York properties, including all-newsers WINS and WCBS plus sports talk WFAN.  Herman was vice president and general manager of WINS from 1994-2003 and WNEW-FM on two different occasions during the 1990s.

trn logoTRN Loses Appeal of Back Pay Judgement in Savage Case.  The appeal of the ruling by an arbitration panel that the Original Talk Radio Network Inc. owes talk host Michael Savagesavagemichael $800,000 in back pay is unsuccessful after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled Friday in Savage’s favor.  A small victory for TRN, though, as the Court denied Savage’s request for sanctions against TRN for filing a “frivolous appeal.”  This latest court action stems from Savage’s original suit against TRN to void his contract with the syndicator after the relationship between the two parties had soured and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One pursued Savage’s services.

espnradioEarly Line on Cowherd’s Replacement at ESPN Radio: Le Batard.  According to TALKERS sources, there are two scenarios for filling the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on ESPN Radio after Colin Cowherd does his final show for the network before departing for FOX Sports.  The first is that Dan Le Batardlebatarddan moves to the slot and Jorge Sedano slides down from his 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show to assume Le Batard’s 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  The second possibility is that ESPN keeps Le Batard where he is and moves Sedano into the midday program.  TALKERS sources also say ESPN is high on Bomani Jones, who hosts sedanojorgethe 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and potential talent shuffles could involve a better daypart for his show.  As for Cowherd, reports indicate that he was making about $2.5 million with ESPN and that FOX Sports will pay him approximately $6 million per year.  Just what FOX Sports’ plans are for Cowherd are not set in stone and the company hasn’t been specific, but it’s expected he’ll host a nationally syndicated radio show and host a TV show on Fox 1, possibly at 6:00 pm to compete with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

wibclogoEmmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Radio America’s Chad Benson Show for Evenings.  Saying the show has a “Gen-X perspective,” WIBC-FM, Indianapolis programbensonchad director David Wood announces the Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show joins the station’s lineup for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Wood says, “I was looking for something unique and contemporary for evenings.  I found it in Chad Benson.  Chad’s show has a great energy and Gen-X perspective, but still with conservative sensibilities.  Plus he’s got the best set of tattoos in talk radio.”  Radio America says Benson’s sense of showmanship and entertainment was developed from years in music radio and has had a huge influence on him as a talk host.

digilionickWGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Returns to the Air; Explains Stomach Ailment Exacerbated by Alcohol.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the return to the WGN airwaves of overnight personality Nick Digilio, who was back hosting his show today (7/20) after an absence of a month.  Digilio explained to his listeners that he landed in the hospital after complicating existing stomach troubles by consuming too much alcohol being unable to eat much food.  He explained that he came down with a stomach ailment in May that made it difficult to eat.  His overconsumption of alcohol caused him to spend five days in the hospital. Now, he says he’s done drinking.  He admits it was a stupid thing to do and blames no one but himself.  Read Feder’s piece here.

pasacritawalterWalter Pasacrita to Host Local Show on Sports Talk KONO-AM, San Antonio.  The station had been an oldies outlet before flipping to sports talk in January of 2014.  Now, the Cox Media Group-owned station is adding a local show by market pro Walter Pasacrita, who previously co-hosted a sports talk show with Jeff Vexler on iHeartMedia’s crosstown KTKR.  Pasacrita will host the afternoon drive show on KONO-AM.  He tells the San Antonio ExpressJeanne Jakle he is prepared to take on the competition on crosstown sports talkers KTKR and KZDC.  “I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people.  I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people.  I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated.  I tell it like it is.”

kvet-am logoSean Adams and Chip Brown to Host Mornings on KVET, Austin.  A new, local sports talk show replaces ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on iHeartMedia’s KVET, Austin.  Sean Adams moves from his early afternoon “Adams Theory” show to the morning slot alongside Chip Brown for “The Bottom Line with Sean Adams and Chip Brown.”    Brown was most recently with crosstown Total Austin Sports Radio-owned KTXX-FM.  The two worked together from 2007-2010.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio’s “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin” Posts Second Installment.  The second installment of the groundbreaking, experimental talk show, “Vox Animali” hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin is posted today (7/20) after receiving widespread positive response to its pilot episode last month.  The series – the latest offering of TalkersRadio’s “laboratory” workshop – is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of animals that are institutionally abused and tortured at the hands of humans and foster respect for the dignity of all earthly creatures.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I am so pleased that we are able to address a deeply important cause that hardly gets its due share of attention in the media – including talk radio – and when it does get attention, it is usually in the form of ridicule.”  Harrisonlundinlori continues, “We are very happy to have a brilliant and talented radio journalist of Lori Lundin’s caliber spearheading this project.”  Lori Lundin – who has received a number of prestigious industry honors including a Gracie this year – is an anchor with WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter/podcaster with the Washington Examiner.  Harrison adds, “Lori, who is a breast cancer survivor and an all-around inspirational human being, brings a level of intelligence, sensitivity and empathy to her work that takes it beyond today’s typical newsroom fare in connecting to the heart as well as the brain.”  TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein adds, “This is a heck of a show.  It has the potential to become a very influential vehicle for consciousness-raising for the animal rights movement, one of the fastest growing areas of public sentiment in America today.  And that’s what TalkersRadio is all about – developing spoken-word programs that address issues and interests outside the rigid boundaries of everyday broadcast radio.”  The new installment of “Vox Animali” features a look at the abuse and suffering of chimpanzees and presents an interview with Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico.  Another current show under development on the TalkersRadio platform is “Healed Planet” hosted by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes that explores the human consciousness movement.  A recent “graduate” of TalkersRadio is the weekly “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan.  Its mission is to champion the beleaguered small farmers of the nation being pushed out by the alliance of Big Agriculture and Big Government.  It has now cleared about 30 stations and is adding new ones daily on the GCN and Radio America platforms.  Bernstein says, “TalkersRadio is not set up to compete with broadcast radio or develop long-term hit shows for its own sake… but rather, as an experimental theater… a laboratory… to help new ideas develop to the point that they find a regular home on broadcast media.”  To listen to TalkersRadio, please click here.  For more information, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new, two-year contract for some 400 NPR staffers represented by SAG-AFTRA.  The union announces the new pact will provide 2 ½ % salary increases at the start of each of the next two years.  Other provisions include NPR paying 70% of health care benefits and a contribution of 7% of workers’ pay into the retirement plan…..Hubbard Broadcasting donates $5 million to the Newseum in Washington, DC and gets naming rights to the concourse level of the building.  Hubbard chairman and CEO Stanley Hubbard comments, “Our family has always been a strong advocate of a free press.  Because it is the only institution solely devoted to educating the public about the fundamental value of First Amendment freedoms and free expression, the Newseum is a great gift to the nation and the world.  It’s an honor for our family and our company to help support this noble cause.”

WachsWalkerDr. Daliah Wachs Welcome’s Scott Walker.  Nationally syndicated talk host and practicing physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) welcomes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (left) to Las Vegas.  Walker – a just-announced candidate for president in 2016 – visited the Silver State a day after announcing his candidacy.