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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

| April 6, 2021

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Skyler Cooper ‘Evening News’ Host. Nine-year KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa staffer Skyler Cooper rises from his reporter position to a new role as the host of the “KRMG Evening News” that airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm weeknights. Station director of branding and programming Levi May says, “The ‘KRMG Evening News’ has a great history of hosts informing and entertaining Tulsa’s radio audience on their drive home. Skyler’s the perfect local host to carry on this tradition.” Cooper is a Tulsa native who began his career with the Cox Media Group station as a part-time board operator and moved up through the ranks. During his nine years with the station, he’s covered the construction and opening of the Gathering Place, the historic 2019 Arkansas River flood, tornadic weather, and the tragic shooting of two Tulsa Police Department officers in 2020. He says, “I am beyond excited to take on this new challenge and I am looking forward to working with the ‘KRMG Evening News’ team. It’s such a thrill to work for the most powerful radio station in Oklahoma and it’s right here in my hometown!” Cooper replaces Dick Loftin who served as the “KRMG Evening News” host for eight years.

Larry Blumhagen to Lead Cumulus Media San Francisco. Radio sales and management pro Larry Blumhagen is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco station group that includes news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO, sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, and classic rock KSAN-FM. He takes over for Doug Harvill, who announced his retirement from the industry in January. Blumhagen was most recently VP and director of sales for Audacy Los Angeles. Cumulus EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “Larry brings a strategic mind focused on building successful sales organizations and positive cultures. Aligning his exceptional leadership abilities and deep knowledge of the San Francisco market with our talented team and strong brands is a winning combination.” Blumhagen comments, “I’m beyond thrilled to return to San Francisco and to join the exceptional team at Cumulus Media. Leading these great brands forward while meeting the needs of both our listeners and advertisers will be an exciting journey. I’m fortunate to be stepping into Doug Harvill’s shoes, as I know first-hand that he is a man of deep integrity and immense passion for the industry.”

‘The Dana Show’ Announces New Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – adds a number of new affiliate stations. Syndicator Radio America reports that “The Dana Show” recently replaced “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on KURV-AM, McAllen-Brownsville, Texas; KJNO-AM/FM Juneau, Alaska; and KJMT-FM, Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Other stations to recently add the program to their lineups include: KERN-AM, Bakersfield; KYUL-AM & KIUL-AM Wichita; and KGYN, Guymon, Oklahoma.

Sebastian Gorka’s ‘Reality Check’ Debuts on Newsmax TV This Sunday. Former Trump White House strategist and deputy assistant – and current Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk radio host – Sebastian Gorka’s new television show on Newsmax TV debuts this Sunday (4/11) at 7:00 pm ET (with a rebroadcast at 10:00 pm ET). The program is called “The Gorka Reality Check” and Gorka says, “Newsmax is the new force for truth in the face of a morally bankrupt legacy media and I am honored to join Chris Ruddy’s sterling team. There is a good reason that Newsmax’s daily shows are scaring legacy competitors, and our new weekly show, ‘The Gorka Reality Check,’ will reveal the truth behind the most important stories our loyal viewers need to be aware of in order to stop the radical Left.”

Martha Zoller’s Show Expands on WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Martha Zoller’s talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia is getting a new name and another hour of air time. The AJC’s Rodney Ho reports that the station’s program changes in the aftermath of the death of 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk legend Rush Limbaugh include the expansion of Zoller’s program. While the early afternoon daypart previously occupied by Limbaugh is being filled by syndicated radio personality Todd Starnes, Zoller’s show grows from one to two hours and now airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily. It’s also changing its title from “Morning Talk with Martha Zoller” to “The Martha Zoller Show.”

The Mightier 1090’s “Kaplan & Crew” Airing on So Cal Cable TV. According to a story in the Times of San Diego, best of segments of the XEPRS-AM “The Mightier 1090” afternoon drive show “Kaplan & Crew” are being featured in an hourlong program airing from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly on Cox Communications’ regional cable channel “YurView.” Scott Kaplan, along with co-hosts John Browner and Alex Padilla, re-joined XEPRS for its re-launch in August of last year. The station’s previous operator Broadcast Company of the Americas lost its lease with XEPRS’ owner and Flagstaff, Arizona-based advertising executive Bill Hagen began the process of bringing “The Mightier 1090” back to the airwaves. Kaplan tells the Times, “We are stoked to add TV as a distribution platform. Two years ago, we were heard exclusively on radio, then we evolved into a podcast broadcasting on terrestrial radio and now cable TV. I am excited to share with the Cox viewers our brand of sports and life talk. Thankfully, my man Bill Hagen revived 1090, who has been instrumental in our growth, and getting us onto televisions throughout the mega market.”

Former Nielsen PPM Panelist Sues Ratings Company for Revealing His Identity in Bubba the Love Sponge Ratings Manipulation Case. A report in the Tampa Bay Times indicates that the rabid fans of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge forced Nicolas Tabachuk and his family to move out of Florida after his identity was revealed along with this role in outing Bubba in a PPM ratings manipulation scheme. Tabachuk is suing Nielsen in Pinellas County, Florida complaining that the company promised to keep his identity hidden but failed to do so. This suit stems from the 2015 case in which Nielsen sued Bubba the Love Sponge for paying a PPM panelist to tune in to the show. Bubba and Nielsen settled that suit for an undisclosed amount. This suit claims that after promising to keep Tabachuk’s identity secret, Nielsen revealed it to Bubba during a meeting with him. It goes on to claim that Bubba’s fans harassed Tabachuk with death threats, rape threats and stalking, hacking his social media accounts, showing up to his home and the home of his parents. The suit is seeking in excess of $30,000 from Nielsen. Bubba the Love Sponge is not named in the suit.

WWO: Podcasting Accounts for All the Growth in Audio. Using data from Edison Research’s Q4 2020 edition of the Share of Ear study, this week’s Westwood One blog observes what it calls “stunning news” – that “for the first time, audience shares for podcasting surpassed the combined audiences of ad-supported Pandora and ad-supported Spotify.” Some of the takeaways from this blog report include: AM/FM radio’s 74% share of ad-supported audio is 11 times bigger than Pandora’s and 19 times larger than Spotify’s; adding podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming generates incremental reach to over-the-air AM/FM radio media plans; and podcasting now accounts for all the growth in audio. A four-year comparison of Share of Ear  data reveals ad-supported Pandora and Spotify shares have dropped from a 12% share in 2016 to a 11% share in 2020. Over the same period, podcast shares increased 4 times, 3% to 12%. See the Westwood One blog here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report at Syracuse.com, radio sales and management pro Rick Yacobush has come out of retirement to join the sales and marketing team at Cumulus Media’s Syracuse cluster as a senior account executive. Yacobush has worked for more than 42 years in the Central New York radio market. The Cumulus cluster in Syracuse includes sports talk WSKO-AM and three music brands…..New York Times bestselling author and TV personality Nicole Lapin announces the launch of her new daily financial podcast, “Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin,” distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast is a call-in style financial podcast “that demystifies money topics for everyday people.” Each week, Lapin invites a listener to come onto the show for a one-on-one “listener intervention,” where she has an extended conversation with the listener about a money issue and gives them advice so they can “rehab” their finances…..Audacy’s Cadence13 and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions unveil “FAIRGAME,” a limited-run podcast series hosted by former world No. 1 champion golfer Adam Scott in which “he’ll take listeners inside the ropes to provide a never-before-heard account of what it takes to compete at the game’s most prominent event, the 2021 Masters Tournament.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting coverage of the 85th Masters Tournament from Wednesday (4/7) through Sunday (4/11). Each day during the tournament, Westwood One will offer two-minute-long leader board updates and breaking news reports at :16 and :46 past the hour for a total of 102 updates throughout the Masters. In addition, Westwood One Sports will air “The Masters Tonight,” an hour-long show featuring highlights, player audio, and more to recap the day’s events, hosted by Kevin Kugler with former PGA Tour player Charlie Rymer…..The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC announces it has partnered with Cumulus Media’s KCSF-AM, Colorado Springs “XTRA Sports 1300” to broadcast Switchbacks games in 2021. KCSF-AM program director and afternoon drive host Ryan Kaufman will handle play-by-play duties. He’d served as TV play-by-play announcer since 2018.

COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Troubles/Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Rights/MLB Moves All-Star Game, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Hunter Biden Book, Credit Suisse Loss, and Netanyahu Corruption Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the spread of the variants, and the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan; the problem of large numbers of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the new voting laws in Georgia, the Democrats’ federal voting rights bill, and the MLB’s decision to move the All-Star game out of Atlanta in response; the investigation into allegations of sex with a minor against Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz; the new book by Hunter Biden that details his addiction troubles and more; Credit Suisse loses $4.7 billion after a hedge fund collapses; and the corruption trial facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 17, 2020

| August 17, 2020

Monday Memo: Emulate Success. Talkers of all sorts – music DJs, talk hosts, podcasters – are fighting for attention, now more than ever, in what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison calls “today’s sped-up world.”  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists success prescriptions from industry icons. Read it here.

USPS Controversy/Mail-In Voting, Presidential Election/Kamala Harris Choice, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, Portland Protests/Urban Violence, WAP Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The funding issues facing the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud; the November presidential election and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools this fall; the ongoing protests in Portland and rise in violent crime in a number of U.S. cities; and the controversy over the Cardi B song “WAP” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: In the Market for a Test Drive. A personality endorsement campaign is a commitment on both sides – the client’s and the talent’s and AE’s. What happens when a prospect responds with the desire to “try it for a month?” Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about tying the length of time it takes to get a consumer through the purchase process to the minimum term required for an endorsement campaign featuring one of your talk personalities. Read it here.

WQAM, Miami Re-Vamps Daily Program Schedule. South Florida sports talker WQAM “560 The Joe” announces it’s tweaking its daily lineup, adding ESPN Radio’s “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart and is expanding the afternoon drive “Hochman and Crowder” show – hosted by Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder – to 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “With the return of live sports, we aim to give sports fans of South Florida a home for both national headlines and premier coverage of their favorite teams. As he returns to radio, Mike Greenberg is a nationally recognized and trusted voice and we’re delighted to add his show to our already impressive lineup of weekday programming.”

John Fredericks Radio Network Announces New Virginia Digital News Operation. In conjunction with Star News Digital Media, the Virginia based John Fredericks Radio Network is launching The Virginia Star – a new, digital news operation that begins publishing today. John Fredericks is host of the network’s morning drive program and he’s also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of the news operation. He says, “We are very excited about this new venture: real news in real time. The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section. Like on my radio show, we encourage all voices.” Star executives say they have hired three local, full-time reporters and have contracted with several more on a part-time basis. Fredericks adds, “We are going to cover the stories important to our readers that the fake news refuses to do simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative. At The Virginia Star, we have our own narrative, it’s called the truth.” Star News Digital Media CEO Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Virginia Star now becomes the fifth state-based news site in the Star News Network, joining The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and The Michigan Star.” Star News Digital Media chief technology officer Christina Botteri adds, “The Virginia Star is the first affiliate of the Star News Network. We own and operate our four other news sites. We searched the country to find the right organization with the reputation and experience to work with in a fifth state, and the John Fredericks Radio Network in Virginia was hands down the right choice for us. Together with John, our crackerjack team of on-the-ground reporters, and the great people of Virginia, we will change the face of news in the Commonwealth.”

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 July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As sports leagues begin returning to live play-by-play, America’s sports talk stations are hoping it will translate into improved ratings. During the July 2020 survey, Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” was the big gainer, adding seven-tenths to post a 3.6 share. Right behind was Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco tacking on six-tenths for a 2.5 share finish. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, the top gainer is iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN,” which posts a seven-tenths gain for a 5.0 share. No sports talk station ranked #1 in its market in July – not even close. However, three stations – Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; WBNS-FM, Columbus; and KXFN-FM, Minneapolis – tied for ranking #8 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. This month, Premiere Networks is celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere says that it and FOX Sports “have enjoyed a long partnership that kicked off in 2000 with the goal of producing a home for industry-leading talent focused on delivering entertaining, informed and thought-provoking programming for sports fans. FOX Sports Radio launched in August of that year, and the network’s storied 20-year run has developed a loyal following of more than 14 million listeners across more than 500 affiliates nationwide with an unmatched weekday lineup featuring some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller.” Premiere SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “What an amazing accomplishment – 20 years! I’ve been fortunate to be part of the FSR family for the entire run, both as an affiliate and on the management team.”…..San Diego is getting its first taste of “The Mightier 1090” today (8/17) as the Bill Hagen-led station begins operating. XEPRS-AM had been a sports talker as “The Mighty 1090” operated by Broadcast Corporation of the Americas but that organization lost its lease on the Mexican blowtorch last year. Now, ad exec Hagen is re-imagining the station. Times of San Diego reports that former XEPRS sports talk host Scott Kaplan is hosting afternoon drive. The rest of the schedule is: SportsGrid’s “The Morning After” with Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith in morning drive, Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, two programs hosted by Scott Ferrall, and Tony Bruno in evenings…..ESPN Radio announces that effective today (8/17), personalities Dan LeBatard and Stugotz are presenting new daily podcast-exclusive content. A new digital-only episode will be recorded and posted before their 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET national radio show.  Following the radio program, LeBatard and Stugotz will record more thoughts and ramblings as a digital-only “post-game show.” In addition, each hour of the radio show – as well as their local hour heard in Miami – will continue to be available as podcasts. ESPN Audio VP, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks says, “Dan and Stugotz already have a large digital-only audience, and we wanted to better serve that audience with exclusive podcast content. They are a unique show on sports radio and now their podcast listeners will get more unique podcast content each day.”

Michael Harrison Joins Gunhill Road with New Song About Life During Pandemic.  Here they come again! Gunhill Road, the legendary album rock band that was a cult favorite of FM radio in the early 70s and then scored a Top 40 AM radio one-off smash in 1973 with “Back When My Hair Was Short” has returned in 2020 with a reworked version of the classic hit. This time the catchy tune has new lyrics that address the coronavirus with a lovingly humorous take on the sacrifices society is making to contain it. Rock enthusiasts might recall that Gunhill Road reunited in 2014 to a packed house at New York’s Bitter End and a brand new double album titled, “Every 40 Years,” which became the subject of a feature film documentary. The long-running ensemble which consists of original members Glenn LeopoldSteve Goldrich, and Paul Reich and new members musician/arranger Brian Koonin and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has a new set of songs ready to drop in early 2021. Among the new songs is one co-written and performed by Harrison that addresses the issue of animal welfare. To check out the new “Back When We Used to Hug” video, please click here.

Newsmax TV Adds ‘Stinchfield’ to Nightly Lineup. Four-time Emmy-winning journalist Grant Stinchfield is joining the evening lineup at Newsmax TV, beginning tomorrow (8/18) at 8:00 pm ET. Newsmax says “Stinchfield” is “a full hour of the day’s top news and provocative conversation.” Stinchfield says, “I’m thrilled to be at Newsmax TV. Each night, our viewers can look forward to a compelling mix of up-to-the-second news and compelling discussions with newsmakers and Newsmax TV’s great roster of contributors.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Grant has an impeccable track record in broadcast journalism with the awards to prove it. He will bring our viewers solid news reports with the insight they can’t find elsewhere.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Albany, New York station group, country WGNA brand manager Matty Jeff is promoted to director of content for the cluster that also includes alternative WQSH, rock WQBK, adult contemporary WPBZ, hip hop WQBK-HD2/W256BU, and sports talk WTMM-FM. Townsquare Albany market president Kevin Rich says, “Matty has programmed WGNA to be a consistent local ratings and online leader and by far the #1 country station in the Capital Region. Having him as my partner in the director of content role will make our locally programmed stations even stronger.”…..Country radio air personality Jessica Cash announces she’s leaving Alpha Media’s WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia at the end of this week. She says, “Fourteen years is a long time for someone in our profession to be in one place. I’ve had the good fortune to do that, to hopefully get your day started with a smile. But, now it’s time for me to make a change in my life.” Cash co-hosts the morning drive show with Steve Waters. The duo has won honors over the years, including CMA’s Small Market Morning Show in 2018 and the ACM Small Market Personality in 2019. The station is searching for her replacement…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime South Florida radio personality Sonny Fox, who passed away on Friday (8/14) in Dunnellon, Florida after an illness at age 73. An obit in the Miami Herald notes that Fox worked at former rock outlet WSHE (now hip hop WMIB), CHR WHYI, oldies WMXJ, and country WKIS.

Monday, August 3, 2020

| August 3, 2020

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words. Your Mom and Dad were right. “Please” and “Thank you” will distinguish you, particularly in these coarse, troubled times. And in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke makes the case for “two more ‘Magic words’” broadcasters and podcasters should use as often as possible. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Stimulus Bill, Presidential Race/Vote by Mail, Portland Protests, Tropical Storm Isaias/SoCal Apple Fire, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, and Pro Sports Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the stalled stimulus talks in Congress as the previous package expires; the November presidential election and President Trump’s remark that it should be delayed due to concerns about vote-by-mail fraud; the violent protests continuing in Portland; Tropical Storm Isaias hits the Southeast Coast and thousands are evacuated in Southern California due to the Apple Fire; Microsoft’s deal to acquire TikTok from its Chinese developer; and COVID-19 takes its toll on U.S. pro sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Gone Too Soon. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about two radio professionals who passed away last week: Herman Cain and Bob McCurdy. Lapa says he knew both men and learned a lot about leadership, sales, and radio from them. Read it here.

Convention Coverage Unlike Any in History. News and management pro Tom Tradup (pictured below at the 2016 RNC) writes in an exclusive opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the challenges facing radio news and radio talk show hosts covering the 2020 national political conventions. The Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Programming says, “Pity the responsibility of my network as well as our colleagues at ABC Audio, CBS Radio, and the soon-to-be-defunct Westwood One radio news as we have dodged and weaved as COVID-19 impacted the venerable institutions known as National Conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties. (Full disclosure: most of us have long understood that the actual ‘news value’ of political conventions was zero, but we nevertheless turned out every four years to provide coverage of delegates from Wisconsin wearing dopey yellow foam triangles shaped like cheese on their heads as we dodged screams and urine from various protest groups.)” Read his entire piece here.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Jamie Samuelsen Dies at 48. It was just last week that WXYT-FM, Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announced to listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer since January of 2019 – something he kept to himself until the very end. On Saturday (8/1) Samuelsen passed away at age 48. The Detroit Free Press shares comments from Samuelsen’s friends and co-workers – a number of whom got the chance to visit with him last week after he made his diagnosis public. The Free PressAnthony Fenech writes that Samuelsen – who had been working from home since the COVID-19 outbreak – was not in pain toward the end but his energy was very low. He leaves behind his wife Christy and three children: Caroline, 16, Josh, 14, and Catherine, 11. Samuelsen had been co-hosting the morning drive show with Mike Stone on the Entercom sports talk station since August of 2016.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Adds Jesse Kelly Show. The nationally syndicated “Jesse Kelly Show” is now airing on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Key Networks-syndicated show debuted in April and airs live weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. WBT-AM/FM brand manager Mike Schaefer says, “Jesse Kelly represents the evolving sonic landscape of news/talk. Jesse’s informed, funny, and brings unique experience and wisdom to the listeners that has been earned as both a Marine Corps combat veteran and a congressional candidate. We’re excited to bring Jesse’s show to the listeners of WBT!”

Jim Bryant Leaving Hubbard Radio’s 2060 Digital. After heading up Hubbard Radio’s digital marketing agency 2060 Digital for the past eight years, Jim Bryant announces he leaving the company and his role as president of the division. He says, “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and feel like we’ve now built the business to a day-to-day operating level. My goal was to build the business, and I think we did that…and, quite honestly, 44 years in this business is about as much fun as one guy can handle. I appreciate the huge vote of confidence Ginny Morris and Hubbard Radio afforded me, allowing me to stretch out, take smart chances, and surround myself with the terrific talent required to keep moving this business forward.” Hubbard EVP and CFO Dave Bestler says, “There is no way our digital platform would be where it is today without Jim. His vision and leadership have made 2060 Digital one of the leading digital agencies in each of our radio markets. During the past two years, Jim has focused on expanding 2060 Digital services beyond our radio footprint to new markets, including Indianapolis, Nashville, Detroit and Columbus. His vision has come to life and we look forward to continuing to grow the 2060 business on top of the strong foundation that Jim built.” 2060 Digital general manager and Hubbard SVP of digital strategies Steve Goldstein is assuming Bryant’s duties.

Air Talent Shuffle at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reports that Entercom’s Charlotte sports talk station WFNZ-AM is swapping midday and afternoon drive shows. Effective today, “The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey” moves to the midday daypart (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell move to the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. According to the piece, Bailey is pleased with the move to middays saying it “aligns with a lot of things in my life right now.” Bailey also hosts the Charlotte Hornets pre-game show on the station.

Farkas Exits ‘101.3 The Game’ in Burlington. At VOX AM/FM’s Burlington, Vermont sports talk outlet WCPV-FM “101.3 The Game,” program director and air personality Brady Farkas exits after four years. Station GM Ken Barlow tells the Burlington Free Press, “These things are never easy. (Farkas) is a very good guy, a very knowledgeable sports guy, and in many aspects of the job he did just fine. But we felt the station was mired in the position it’s in and we need revenue to be able to have it grow an audience and the program director is one of the primary people responsible for that.” Farkas tells the paper he’s proud of his time at the station, “We went through an affiliation switch from ESPN to FOX Sports Radio in fall of 2018 and delivered a number-one-rated station in fall of 2019. I am proud of the work our staff accomplished in order to achieve that.”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles sports talker KSPN “ESPN 710” unveils its new programming lineup that takes effect on August 17. The changes were necessitated in part by owner ESPN’s decision to promote Keyshawn Johnson to host of the network’s national morning show called “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” and co-starring Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti. KSPN will air that program via delay (it’s to air live in morning drive Eastern Time) and Travis Rodgers – formerly part of the KSPN “Keyshawm, LZ and Travis” show – will serve as the local host. “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Max Kellerman from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Steve Mason and John Ireland move from afternoons to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart and the new afternoon drive show is LZ Granderson and Jorge Sedano. San Diego-based Scott Kaplan hosts evenings when there is no play-by-play…..From August 10-14, legendary Chicago disc jockey John Records Landecker will fill in for Bob Sirott hosting the morning drive show on Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Sirott says, “Listeners are going to discover that John’s middle name truly is ‘talk!’”…..Roanoke.com reports that the “Big Dawg Sports Talk” show with Rick Watson returns to the New River Valley for morning drive on Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM/FM. The program aired in the market from 2001 to 2010 when the previous station owner canceled the show. Watson serves as director of broadcasting for Radford University and that includes his work as the voice of RU athletics…..iHeartMedia Orlando announces the launch of “Financial Fix” – an online financial resource hub where financial advisors, realtors, tax professionals, bankruptcy lawyers, and more can be featured for the local community to connect with. iHeartMedia Orlando’s Chianna Ray says, “‘Financial Fix’ will be an important resource for our community. Many people do not know where to start when it comes to unexpected financial situations such as refinancing, retirement funds withdrawal, grants qualifications, and more. This hub will be a great place for the community to find solutions in one centralized place.” iHeartMedia Orlando is promoting “Financial Fix” on-air on all of its stations, as well as on social media and the stations’ websites.

iHeartRadio Announces ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Search. In conjunction with the content creation platform Tongal, iHeartRadio unveils its search for “The Next Great Podcast.” Now through August 27, creators around the world can pitch for the chance to produce a new podcast series of any genre and to work with The iHeartPodcast Network to launch the new series. Creators will be asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge and broadcaster Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. One winner will be crowned “The Next Great Podcast,” featured on iHeartRadio stations across the country and work closely with Patrick and iHeartRadio’s team of expert podcast producers to develop their podcast into an original series for distribution by The iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Audio is thriving and is the breeding ground for some of the best IP out there right now. Podcasting has always been an ideal place for cultivating new talent and we are excited to join forces with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for the next great podcast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Milwaukee, the iHeartMedia cluster that includes urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7,” country WMIL, classic hits WRIT “95.7 BIG FM,” sports talker WRNW “97.3 The Game,” and WOKY-AM “The BIG 920” are launching “Brilliantly Black” – a community resource initiative to support local Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and non-profits. iHeartMedia Milwaukee president Colleen Valkoun says, “I want to congratulate our team on this grassroots opportunity to support Black-owned businesses. Please join us in supporting the Black business community. I am thrilled we can use our stations to impact and inform the public about this much-needed community resource.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative WHKF, Harrisburg “ALT Rock 99.3” adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the morning drive daypart…..Condolences to the family and friends of Riverbend Communications CHR KFTZ, Idaho Falls morning drive personality Tara Longmore Moss, who died over the weekend after a brief, unexpected illness. Moss’ co-host Brad Barlow tells KPVI-TV, Pocatello, “Tara is that host that I never heard anyone say anything bad about. All I ever heard was how much people loved her and how much people thought of her as a friend.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Monday, April 27, 2020

| April 27, 2020

Monday Memo: Freebie-of-the-Year? Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke points to a research report “that recommends specific, tested guidance for crafting messages to convey our clients’ – and our stations’ – concern for listeners in a way that will resonate long after the pandemic passes.”   Read it here.

The U.S. Coronavirus Cases and the Death Toll, Weekend ‘Reopening’ Activities, Presidential Race/Biden Accuser, CCP’s Coronavirus Response, ‘SNL,’ and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll from the pandemic; the “re-opening” activities taking place in some states; the November presidential election and case of former Joe Biden senate staffer Tara Reade who claims Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993; scrutiny of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; Brad Pitt plays Dr. Tony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live”; and the 2020 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Seven Simple Steps. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s not easy doing business in this uncertain time.  Yes, audience levels for news/talk are up! But, “you know ad sales are down.  More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off.  Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through.  All markets hate fear and uncertainty.  Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know.”  Read Lapa’s suggestions for helping you adapt here.

Investor Leases XEPRS; Will Launch ‘The Mightier 1090’ This Summer. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Flagstaff, Arizona ad agency owner Bill Hagen is signing a five-year lease with XEPRS, Rosarito, Mexico owner Interamericana de Radio to operate the station.  The signal – for some 16 years a San Diego sports talk station branded “The Mighty 1090” – stopped airing sports talk after previous lessee Broadcasting Company of the Americas was unable to renegotiate its lease.  Hagen tells the paper that former “Mighty 1090” sports talk host Scott Kaplan will rejoin the station but the soon-to-be-rebranded “The Mightier 1090” will not be 24/7 sports talk.  Hagen says the station will be about “lifestyle.” He has no specific date for launching the format but tells the Union Tribune, “We have a ton of work to do.”

PodcastOne Subscribes to Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Service.  Podcasting firm PodcastOne announces that it has entered into a deal with Nielsen to use the ratings giant’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service.  As part of the deal, PodcastOne will “have access to podcast insights spanning 18 genres and numerous listening preferences that can be cross-referenced among a variety of consumer purchase behavior patterns and services usage.” Nielsen says its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service (launched last August) allows clients to see the qualitative profile of their shows using program titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with advertisers and key brand categories.  PodcastOne EVP of sales Sue McNamara says, “Nielsen represents the addition of another powerful tool to our arsenal of research resources.  With these insights, we’ll be able to use podcast listener analytics to provide ourselves and our clients with information that will accelerate monetization opportunities.  With programming in virtually every content category, this information will provide us invaluable research to communicate our importance to podcast advertisers, as well as our partners.”

Emmis to Voluntarily Delist from Nasdaq. The company says in a statement that it plans to voluntarily delist its Class A Common Stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market, and based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record, deregister its Class A Common Stock and suspend its public reporting obligations.  Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve undertaken a detailed and thoughtful review of the costs and benefits associated with being a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.  After careful consideration, our board of directors unanimously decided to voluntarily delist from Nasdaq and deregister with the SEC as we believe the expected savings of more than $1 million per year outweigh the advantages of continuing as a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.”  After the delisting takes place, Emmis’ Class A Common Stock is eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market, if one or more brokers choose to make a market for the Company’s Class A Common Stock, however, there can be no assurances regarding any such trading.

BIA Advisory: Radio to Take $1.7 Billion Ad Hit Due to COVID-19. Revising its advertising revenue projections for 2020 that were originally laid out in November of last year, BIA Advisory Services now expects the total for all U.S. local advertising across all platforms to be $144.3 billion, down 10.6% from its November 2019 projection of $161.3 billion.  Over the air radio is expected to lose $1.7 billion as it and local television are being hit hard by “decreased ad spend by Leisure and Entertainment, Restaurants and Retail companies, as well as sports cancellations.”  The report goes on to say, “One encouraging element is that political advertising will keep the decrease in both local cable and local OTA television smaller than other media. Other media, without that buffer, will see larger percentage decreases from what BIA originally projected for 2020.”  For radio, political advertising is situational – stations in swing states tend to get more presidential advertising than those in non-swing states.

TALKERS News Notes. Some of the hosts of the New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” talk radio program attended a rally at the state house in Concord to protest the social distancing measures in place.  Hosts including show founder Ian Freeman, Nobody, Vincent, and Captain Kickass were there.  Freeman reports that the local police ignored the event.  He was quoted by the Associated Press in its national coverage, saying, “Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home.  I’d rather take the risk and be a free person.”…..This Thursday (4/30), a national radiothon will take place to raise funds for Feeding America and its 200-member network of local food banks across the U.S.  It’s called, “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,” and is open to any radio station wishing to join……Condolences to the family and friends of WNYC, New York personality Richard Hake, who passed away on Friday (4/24) at age 51 from natural causes.  He as most recently serving as the local host of WNYC’s “Morning Edition.”  He also worked on the national; editions of NPR programs “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Protest Parade.  Pictured above is Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root thanking participants in Friday’s “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan.”  Root organized the parade of vehicles that drove down Las Vegas Boulevard to protest the business shutdowns due to social distancing that has all but shuttered the tourist-reliant economy there.  The Las Vegas Sun estimates 500 cars took part in the event but Root says there were “thousands and thousands of cars!”

PPM Analysis: Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the rock format. In this report, you can see which stations improved from the February survey, how their weekly, 6+ AHQ shares changed from a year ago, and how some of the format’s best performers ranked in their local markets.  See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, “Lady B in the Afternoon” debuts on Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WPPZ-FM “Classix 107.9” today (4/27).   Station program director Jay Dixon says, “Afternoons is where Lady B shines.  Philly radio grew up on Lady B. We’re so happy to have her back in this time slot – bridging music, the community, and people – every weekday.  With her team, DJ Touchtone and Roxi Fab, Lady B is like medicine for the soul.”…..Alpha Media’s country KGNC-FM, Amarillo, Texas adds the “Big D & Bubba” show for mornings, starting today (4/27).  The duo say, “It is such an honor to be given the reigns of such a legendary station!  We appreciate Alpha and their leadership giving us this opportunity.”  The “Big D & Bubba Show” is distributed nationally via a partnership between Silverfish Media and Compass Media Networks…..This Wednesday (4/29) “The iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm” will launch, featuring some of the biggest artists in music.  The series will video stream and broadcast every Wednesday to celebrate the importance of community and being a “good neighbor” through the power of music during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wednesday’s performance will feature country artist Thomas Rhett.  It will stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube Channel and broadcast across iHeartRadio stations nationwide at 7:00 pm local time.  iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “The living room has become the new stage.  Until our live music events return, this is a way for millions of fans to stay connected to their favorite artists, while staying safe at home.  We are excited to partner with State Farm on this new music series.”