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Thursday, May 24, 2018

| May 24, 2018

‘Sports Radio 610’ in Houston Adds New Talent to Lineup.  The Entercom sports talk station announces its new lineup that includes new voices Paul Gallant, Fred Davis, and Landry Locker.  Gallant joins the AM drive “Mad Radio” show with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne on KILT-AM.  Fred Davis and Landry Locker are co-hosting the midday “In the Loop” show with John Lopez.  The changes take effect on Tuesday (5/29).  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “‘SportsRadio 610’ has long been the sports leader in Houston and part of remaining on top is continuing to evolve with the needs of our audience.  I’m excited about the energy that Paul will bring to mornings and Fred and Landry will bring to middays.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. As Garrett Morris’ fictional “Saturday Night Live” character Chico Escuela used to say, “Baseball been berry, berry good to me!” Stations that serve as flagships for MLB teams certainly hope that baseball will be good to them each season.  Today, TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian presents the first PPM analysis of the 2018 baseball season that looks at 6+ numbers from Nielsen’s April PPM survey for those stations. Some of the stations that appear to have benefitted from the first month of the season compared to their March numbers include: Entercom’s news/talk KMOX, St. Louis (up 2.3 shares); Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (up 2 shares); and Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (up 1.9 shares).  See Kinosian’s full report here.

Redberg Rises to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Twin Cities. Sales pro Michelle Redberg is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis market that includes news/talk KTLK “Twin Cities News Talk,” sports talk KFXN-FM “K-Fan,” eight music brands, plus franchise partnerships with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football, basketball and hockey. Vice president of sales for the Western Great Lakes Region Greg Alexander states, “Michelle is one of the bright stars of our company.  She has a contemporary approach to leadership along with a compassion for our advertisers and an understanding of today’s marketing and business challenges.  Michelle’s passion, skills, energy and drive made her an obvious choice to help lead our strong Twin Cities brands.”

Michael Young Exits Entercom Pittsburgh Market Manager Position.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that market manager Michael Young has exited the position at Entercom’s four-station cluster there that includes news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM.  Young was manager of the cluster when it was owned by CBS RADIO and stayed in his position as Entercom assumed ownership.

iHeartMedia Appoints Mark Boudreaux New Orleans Market President.  New Orleans native Mark Boudreaux assumes the market president position at iHeartMedia New Orleans, effective June 11.   iHeartMedia operates news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT, plus six music formats in the market.  Boudreaux was most recently business development manager at South Central AV. iHM region president Eddie Martiny says, “Who better to run our iHeartMedia New Orleans market than a native New Orleanian?  Mark has a proven track record in the Crescent City as a seller, sales manager and vice president of sales.  We are excited to have Mark and his infectious personality leading iHeartMedia New Orleans.”

Saga Comminucations’ Warren Lada to Retire.  Longtime Saga Communications executive Warren Lada is retiring from the company and his position as chief operating officer at the end of next month.  Saga president and CEO Ed Christian comments, “Warren has been an integral part of Saga for the past 27 years and we will deeply miss his contributions to Saga and its radio stations across the US.” Prior to taking on the corporate role of COO, Lada was president and general manager for Saga’s WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – led by principals Ian FreemanMark Edge, and Darryl W. Perry (pictured from l-r at right) — announces a number of new affiliates for the program.  WWMN-FM in Traverse City, Michigan and KUSG-AM in Guam add the program to their schedule and WTTN-AM, Columbus, Wisconsin joins the simulcast of existing progressive talk affiliate WRRD-AM, Waukesha…..Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM “Sports Radio 99.9 The Fan” and WDNC-AM “620 the Ticket” in Raleigh are broadcasting live, play-by-play for all games of this year’s ACC Baseball Championship series that runs through this Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham.  Vice president of programming Dennis Glasgow says, “It is our pleasure to bring as much live content as possible over the next five days with our ACC Baseball coverage to everyone in The Triangle.  We have an excellent arsenal of announcers lined up to bring our listeners and baseball fans the very best play-by-play and analysis from the ACC Baseball Championship at DBAP.”…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is expanding its podcast portfolio by adding the true crime genre with the podcast “Crime Junkie,” hosted by Ashley Flowers.  “Crime Junkie” launched in December and, according to AdLarge, has been averaging 40,000 downloads per episode…..Tag Station announces that the NextRadio smartphone app for listening to local FM stations is being launched for smartphone users in Mexico.  Tag Station president Paul Brenner comments, “We’re thrilled that NextRadio is now available for use on both iOS and Android devices in Mexico.  We want to empower all users to enjoy local FM radio without having their content restricted by geographic location or choice of device.”…..KXL, Portland news staffers Steve Leader and Rosemary Reynolds were recently honored with awards from the Associated Press.  Leader is AM drive anchor at the Alpha Media station and Reynolds is a reporter.  Leader received the Best Enterprise Reporting award for his series “Walk in the Hood,” a look at the way African American communities have changed in Portland through the eyes of two African Americans who grew up in Portland.  Reynolds received the Best Public Service award for her series “Wanted: Foster Parents,” that addressed the 11,000 children in Oregon in need of foster care…..Pictured below is FOX Sports Radio nationally syndicated talk show host JT “The Brick” emceeing the 11th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic.  This was JT’s fifth year serving as emcee for the event that raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

Hobnobbing at The Gracies. Pictured above at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards on Tuesday (5/22) at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles are: Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey (left), Weiss Agency EVP and AWMF director Heather Cohen, and Kris Bailey.

Cool Job Opportunity for KNX Full Time Writer/Producer. Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is looking for a fearless, aggressive, energetic, enthusiastic, and creative team player. The right candidate is a real show producer and not just a guest booker. Must have a strong rolodex, good news judgment and the ability to write quick, clear, compelling and concise scripts without the usual cliché’s or news speak. Must work and play well in a fast, high-pressure all-news environment. Intimate knowledge of socializing content in all platforms is a MUST. Prior major-market producing and news writing experience required. Strong multi-tasking and computer skills required. Familiarity with Southern California including politics, pop culture, lifestyle, etc. preferred. Must be available to work all hours, overnights, and weekends. Required to join the Writers Guild of America. For more information, please click here.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Status of North Korea Talks, U.S.-China Relations, New NFL Anthem Protest Rule, Parents Evict Son Case, Milwaukee Police Tase NBA Player, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the uncertain status of scheduled talks between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the state of relations between the U.S. and China after the latter is uninvited from joint military exercises; the NFL bans sideline anthem protests; the court case of the New York couple evicting their 30-year-old son; the Milwaukee police apologize after Bucks player Sterling Brown is tased during a parking violation incident; the aftermath of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal; Tuesday’s primary races in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s news from Chicago as Windy City media maven Robert Feder writes today about legendary jock Dick Biondi’s official exit from Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Feder says that at some point Biondi’s status changed from inactive employee – Biondi was hospitalized in April of 2017 for an ailment – to former employee.  Biondi had been hosting a weekend morning show on WLS-FM.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren told him Biondi’s employment with the station ended “months ago.”…..Robert Feder also reports that Entercom is promoting weekend and fill-in jock Richard Milne to full-time afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm) personality on triple A WXRT.  The move bumps Jason Thomas to weekend and fill-in duties as well as host of Monday evening’s “The Big Beat” show…..Tomorrow (5.25), Entercom New York’s classic hits WCBS-FM 101.1, New York’s Greatest Hits is broadcasting the “Shannon in the Morning Summer Beach Blastoff” featuring “Scott Shannon & The Big Show” live from the boardwalk at Coney Island.  Hosting the event will be Scott Shannon with Patty Steele, Sue Aller, John Elliot and Brad Blanks, with special performances by Taylor Dayne and Smash Mouth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

| May 8, 2018

Entercom Reports 2018 Q1 Financial Data; Same-Station Net Revenue Down 7.7%. This is the first full quarter that Entercom is reporting since closing on the CBS RADIO merger back on November 17 of last year.  As a result, the company’s net revenue jumped from $99 million in Q1 of 2017 to $300.6 million in Q1 of this year.  However, on a same-station basis, net revenue for the quarter dipped 7.7%, from $324.9 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $300.6 in the first quarter of this year. Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “Since closing on our merger in November, we have moved quickly to implement rapid change and have made good progress on our various integration, synergy and transformation goals.  We have built a terrific leadership team and are driving strong ratings growth and launching a number of revenue-driving initiatives to capitalize on our scale and compete far more effectively against other media for a larger share of ad spending.  Earlier today, we announced the launch of the Entercom Audio Network, which will enable us to use our scale to participate directly in the $1 billion network radio market.  Our first quarter financial results were adversely affected by soft general local advertising conditions and a number of temporary factors, most notably the exclusion of $12 million in revenue due to financial issues at USTN.  As these temporary factors abate and our growth initiatives take hold, we look forward to driving meaningful sustainable growth as we capitalize on the compelling brands, assets and capabilities of this exciting, emerging company.”

Entercom Audio Network to Launch in July. As mentioned by Entercom president and CEO David Field in the story above, the company is introducing its new ad sales network dubbed, Entercom Audio Network, on July 1.  The company says, “The national network will allow advertisers to leverage Entercom’s scale with targeted offerings across its portfolio of 235 top-rated radio stations reaching over 112 million listeners monthly.” Company chief revenue officer Bob Phillips states, “Entercom now offers brands the national scale they need, including seamless activation and superior ROI. We are the country’s unrivaled leader in news and sports radio and #1 or #2 in virtually all music formats. Our connection to consumers is coveted by many national brands.”  Field adds, “As one of the two largest radio broadcasters in the country, Entercom has the scale and reach to offer national brands a very compelling and effective unwired network with our premier collection of leading radio brands across the country.”

Townsquare Media’s Q1 2018 Net Revenue Up 5.9%.  That figure represents the net revenue for Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions division – the broadcast and digital operations – and not the live events-oriented Entertainment division.  Combining both divisions, the company’s net revenue was up 6.6% over the same period in 2017.  Townsquare co-CEO Bill Wilson comments, “Once again, our Local Marketing Solutions segment drove the Company’s growth, with net revenue growth of 5.9%, or 5.6% excluding political revenue.  First quarter growth in this segment was driven by continued strength across our local broadcast and digital product offerings, which culminated in our 17th consecutive quarter of positive, organic revenue growth.”  Net revenue in the Local Marketing Solutions in the first quarter was $80.6 million.  The company also reports that it paid off $9.5 million in long-term debt.

Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Rises 7.1%.  Michigan-based Saga Communications reports 2018 first quarter net revenue was $28 million – an increase of 7.1% over the same period a year ago.  Operating income from continuing operations increased 17.5% to $2.3 million and station operating expense increased 9.6% to $23.4 million for the quarter.  The company notes that its quarterly results were affected by the sale of its Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina TV stations last September.  On a same-station basis, net revenue increased 0.3% to $26.2 million and operating income from continuing operations increased 26.3% to $2.5 million.  Saga reports having $47.8 million in cash on hand as of March 31 and $49.8 million as of May 1.  The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of March 31.

Scripps Radio Division to Be Sold in Pieces.  During yesterday’s conference call with investors, there was just a brief mention of E.W. Scripps’ plans to sell its radio division.  Local Media division president Brian Lawlor responded to a question about the status of the radio stations, saying, “Yes. The radio sale, the process continues. We’ve made a decision in order to maximize the value of the assets to sell the division in several pieces instead of one big bang. I think that’s where we see the greatest value for the company and for shareholders. And so, it’s just a little bit more complicated, I would say, than if it were just a singular transaction.”  That’s not surprising since the company owns two signals in Milwaukee – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI – and stations in much smaller markets including: Omaha, Boise, Tucson, Knoxville, Wichita, and Tulsa.  As we reported yesterday, there’s an unconfirmed rumor that Entercom is talking with Scripps about the Milwaukee stations.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Greg Neft Named Program Director at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Talk radio pro Greg Neft joins iHeartMedia as program director for news/talk KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7.”  Neft previously worked in the market as a news anchor and reporter.  He has served as morning news anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and as an NFL reporter for SiriusXM.  Most recently, he was corporate director of news and content programming for Cherry Creek Media.  iHM Fresno SVP of programming Steve Weed comments, “Greg joins us at a very opportune time, heading into a crucial election season for our region and our state.  I look forward to his skills and experience elevating our breaking news coverage.”

Former Seahawk Cliff Avril to Co-Host KJR-AM, Seattle Sports Talk Show. Seattle sports talk outlet KJR-AM “Sports Radio 950” announces that former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is partnering with the station’s Jason Puckett for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show, effective July 9. Puckett is a 15-year veteran of the iHeartMedia station and Avril retired from the NFL after being released by the Seahawks after a five-year stint.  Avril says, “I’m excited to join the KJR team!  Seattle is home and I can’t wait to cover the best sports city in the world.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNBC-TV, New York is reporting the former Port Authority police superintendent may have violated policy by providing a “lights-and-sirens” escort from the Newark airport into Manhattan for Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh.  The station says Michael Fedorko announced his retirement suddenly, about a week after it became known WNBC-TV reporters were investigating the allegation.  The report says the escort was to get Limbaugh to a charity dinner at which he was a “last-minute” speaker.  It also says Limbaugh talked about it on his radio show, saying, “So they sent the superintendent of the Port Authority to Newark to meet me for lights and sirens into Manhattan to make sure I got there in time.  And we did.”…..Radio sales pro Tim Robisch is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  He most recently served with Great Plains Media in suburban Kansas City.  He’s also held positions with Cox Media GroupEntercom Communications, Susquehanna Radio Corporation, and Katz Radio (at which he was served as regional vice president)…..New affiliate stations sign up for the John Kruse-hosted outdoors radio programs “America Outdoors Radio” and “Northwestern Outdoors Radio.”  Both shows focus on fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation.  KDZR, Portland and KBOI, Boise recently added both shows to their program schedules…..Patrick Communications managing partner Larry Patrick is delivering the 2018 Commencement Speech for the College of Communications and Information at the University of Tennessee this Saturday (5/12).  Patrick is a 1973 graduate of UT.

Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Schneiderman Allegations, John McCain Illness/Book, W.VA Senate Race, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The looming decision by President Trump whether the U.S. will remain in the Iran nuclear deal; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; New York attorney general – and Donald Trump critic – Eric Schneiderman resigns amid allegations of abusing four women; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the U.S. Senate Republican primary race in West Virginia and President Trump’s urging voters to reject controversial GOP candidate Don Blankenship; Major League Baseball action, and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” announces that on-air pro Zann is the iHeartMedia station’s new afternoon drive personality.  She was most recently with Cumulus Media’s KLIF-FM, Dallas as midday personality. She was also heard on Westwood One’s Hot AC and Hits Now 24/7 formats. At the same time, Zach “Mayhem” Wellsandt is the new midday personality who will also serve as APD and music director.  He moves to Seattle from the company’s Central Texas Region where he was director of CHR…..Programming pro Matt Johnson is appointed program director for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis CHR KSLZ-FM “Z107.7.”  iHM SVP of programming Jules Riley comments, “Matt is a solid addition to the KSLZ and iHeart St. Louis team.  We look forward to watching him grow this heritage CHR brand.  We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Matt’s drive, creativity, and talent development made him our ideal candidate.”…..Cumulus Media announces that radio and television marketing pro Marty Wall is joining the Detroit cluster as director of marketing for country duo WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1” and WDRQ-HD2 “NASH Icon” and hot AC WDVD.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Robby Bridges says, “Marty’s work at ‘Z100’ in New York is legendary.  That, paired with his experience across the media landscape during his years in L.A., gives him the unique ability to connect audiences to station brands and brands to clients.  He’s a relentless competitor whom I believe will be a game changer for our Detroit cluster.  I’m looking forward to his working with me, promotion manager Rochelle Burk, and promo director/street team captain Adam Ficorelli.”…..There are two appointments in the sales department at iHeartMedia Chicago.  First, Khatija Mohiuddin is named general sales manager for hip hop WGCI and CHR WKSC “103.5 KISS FM.”  Also, Brian McGhee is the new general sales manager for urban contemporary WVAZ “V103” and Gospel WGRB-AM “Inspiration 1390.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano states, “We put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities and these two staff promotions are true testaments to Khatija’s and Brian’s leadership skills and ability to form strong client relationships.”  Mohiuddin most recently served as local sales manager for WGCI and WGRB-AM.  McGhee most recently served as sales manager for the company’s St. Louis cluster.

Monday, May 7, 2018

| May 7, 2018

Beasley Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the same period in 2017, net revenue for Beasley Broadcast Group was $55.2 million, an increase of 2.6%.  The report notes last May’s sale of its six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster and the December asset exchange of WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million for sports station WBZ-FM and states that this report reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2018 and the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “In the first quarter of 2018, we continued to execute well on our integration strategy focused on strong local programming to support our goals of ratings and market leadership at recently acquired stations, while implementing our operating and expense management disciplines…The $1.6 million increase in station operating expenses was largely attributable to the Boston market’s sports leader, WBZ-FM, and additional one-time costs related to New England Patriots’ Super Bowl programming.  However, the ongoing success of our expense management initiatives resulted in a year-over-year reduction in operating expenses at our Tampa, Charlotte, Detroit, Fort Myers and Augusta clusters.  As a result, while Beasley’s SOI declined 1.5% year-over-year, after excluding the SOI contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville station divestitures from the comparable 2017 period, first quarter SOI would have been flat.  With our strong operating cash flows we have invested in our broadcast and technology platforms while pursuing select accretive acquisitions and station swaps. At the same time, Beasley remained committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and capital structure improvements. In this regard, during the first quarter, we increased our quarterly cash dividend by 11.1% and declared our nineteenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend. In addition, interest expense decreased approximately $1.2 million year-over-year, reflecting the recent refinancing of our senior debt, which reduced our interest rate by 200 basis points. We also used cash from operations to make voluntary debt repayments of approximately $3.0 million and ended March 31, 2018 with total outstanding debt of $222 million.

E.W. Scripps Q1 Conference Call May Shed Light on Sale of Radio Division.  Or it may not.  It depends on whether Scripps is in serious talks to sell its radio division and whether or not those parties want any public disclosures made at this time.  Scripps made the announcement last fall that it would be selling the radio division that it acquired in the Journal Communications deal to allow it to focus on its television segment. Because of that, Scripps is listing the radio stations as “discontinued operations” in its financial reports. Today’s press release notes, “At the end of 2017, radio operations were classified as held for sale. The radio segment results are included in discontinued operations. All periods have been adjusted to reflect this presentation. Discontinued operations include a $20 million non-cash charge to write down the assets of our radio business to fair value.”  There have been rumors that Scripps has a buyer for its largest market stations – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM in Milwaukee – and many industry watchers suspect that buyer is Entercom.  Today’s conference call is 9:00 am ET.

Cumulus’ Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors Files Proposed Finding of Facts; Challenges Stated Value of the Company. The 56-page document filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media Inc., Et Al. challenges the company’s and the senior lenders’ assessment that Cumulus Media is worth $1.67 billion, arguing that its true value is between $2.1 and $2.4 billion.  As Cumulus announced last week, the court has confirmed Cumulus’ reorganization plan based on the $1.67 billion valuation.  In Friday’s filing, the unsecured creditors try to make the point that the calculation of multiples in assessing the value of Cumulus’ stations is too low, “Cumulus should receive a premium multiple relative to comparable companies in the radio industry.”  It also argues that Cumulus’ tower portfolio’s fair market value is $134 million and should add “an additional $45 to $55 million in incremental value to the company.” Read details here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago all-newser WBBM-AM is officially recognizing its 50thanniversary as a news station (the actual 50th was Sunday).  The Entercom station is celebrating the milestone on its website with a history of the station plus photos, old ads and logos and much more.  Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that director of news and programming Ron Gleason told staffers in a memo, “Think about 50 years — all that’s transpired, all the chronicling of Chicago, the state, the country and the world.  You and your predecessors have covered some incredibly exceptional events, and devastating tragedies, doing so with credibility and without bias every step of the way.  I’m so lucky to be part of this, and proud to work alongside each of you on a daily basis.”…..Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee combines with sister country station WKTI to bring home 15 awards for excellence from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  WTMJ picked up “News & Talk Station of the Year,” “News Operation of the Year,” and “Social & Digital Media Operation of the Year.”  Vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “‘WTMJ Radio’ and ‘KTI COUNTRY’ are committed to providing community service, local news, programming and multi-platform local content to serve our communities.  To be recognized by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is truly a meaningful honor.”…..Mike Calta show cast member Sandra Carmin Herrst was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges after she allegedly hit her boyfriend.  Herrst, who goes by Carmin on the WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” morning show, was arrested and released on her own recognizance…..The Westwood One nationally syndicated weekly talk show “Sterling on Sunday” announces it has inked its 50thaffiliate station with the signing of WBAP, Dallas.  The show is hosted by longtime radio executive Walter Sabo, a.k.a. Walter Sterling (pictured at left), who says, “Successful talk stations are aggressively widening their topic offerings and I’m delighted to be heard on 50 of them…and counting.  ‘Sterling on Sunday’ resonates with audiences because it’s a reflection of their real lives. We talk about life with family, life at work, life at the mall. It’s all very relatable. The power of the mirror always wins.”…..The third season of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” launches on May 22 with five episodes covering the story of the rise and fall of Bikram yoga and how the community is still grappling with its identity in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against its founder Bikram Choudhury.  The podcast is reported and produced by ESPN’s Julia Lowrie Henderson.….Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets agree to a multi-year deal for the station to air Nets games and related programming through the 2020-21 season.  As part of the deal, in the case of conflicts, Nets games will air on sister all-news WCBS-AM.

Fifth Annual GAB Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The 5th annual GAB Radio Talent Institute returns to the campus of the University of Georgia today and Beasley Media Group VP of corporate communications Heidi Raphael was today’s opening speaker for the 10-day institute.  Forty broadcasters from Beasley, Cox Media, Urban One, Entercom, Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Salem Media Group and others – as well as the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons – are coming together to teach the students who come from UGA and seven other schools in the region.  Georgia Association of Broadcasters president Bob Houghton comments, “The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is proud of our partnership with the National Radio Talent System, and now, with our Beasley Media Group relationship, this partnership is even stronger. Over the past five years we have graduated over 100 students who are ready to make a contribution to the future of our industry. I appreciate the nearly 40 broadcasters each year who give their time and talent to speak in the Institute.  Broadcasting, and specifically radio, has a proud past and, with this program, a bright future.”  Pictured above is WSB-FM, Atlanta “B 98.5” afternoon personality Madison James (at left) teaching students.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case/‘SNL’ Sketch, Iran Nuclear Deal, Facebook Helps ISIS Supporters, McCain HBO Documentary/Book, North-South Korea Talks, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; the Trump Administration’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal; allegations that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been connecting those with ISIS sympathies; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the peace talks between North and South Korea; Major League Baseball action and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout.  Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.

Rock Radio Pioneer and Station Owner Dex Allen Dies at 74.  As reported by LARadio.com, radio pro Dex Allen has died at age 74.  Allen started his career as a DJ and rose through the ranks to work in management and sales before entering the radio ownership business.  LARadio.com writes: “Dex was best known for spearheading the ‘underground’ movement at KPRI, San Diego.  In the late 1960s, he drove to Southern California every weekend to work as a jock at KDAY, Los Angeles (1969-70).  Eventually he became general manager of several stations in San Diego.  Dex made one of those rare journeys from DJ to station owner.”  After years in management, Allen formed Commonwealth Broadcasting and acquired a number of stations.  He was most recently president/CEO of Pacific Start Communications.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York alternative WBMP “ALT 92.3” has a new programming leader as Entercom announces Mike Kaplan is named SVP of programming and PD for the station.  At the same time, the company brings Christine Malovetz aboard to serve as midday personality on the station. Kaplan was most recently PD for iHeartMedia’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.” Malovetz was most recently host of middays and assistant program director for Entrercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We are thrilled to welcome Mike and Christine to ‘ALT 92.3’ and are looking forward to having their talent and drive propel the brand to new heights in New York.”…..In Miami, Rick Party announces he’s left Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT “HOT 105” after he and the company could not agree to terms on a contract extension…..iHeartMedia appoints Scotty Davis afternoon drive host for country WFUS, Tampa “US103.5.”  Davis slides over from the cluster’s CHR WFLZ where he also hosted afternoons.  He says, “I’ve been eying a move over to the country format for quite some time.  This is a natural next step for my career and I’m thankful to everyone at iHeartMedia for believing in me!”…..Pictured below are hosts Bobby Bones (left) and Candace Cameron Bure (right) backstage at Saturday’s 2018 iHeartCountry Festival By AT&T at The Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

| February 28, 2018

Colin Cowherd Launches ‘The Herd Podcast Network.’ This new podcast network is a cooperative effort by sports talk personality Colin Cowherd, radio syndicator Premiere Networks, and digital business consultancy Red Seat Ventures.  The Herd Podcast Network launches today and features Cowherd’s daily and weekly podcasts, plus other podcasts hand-picked and curated by Cowherd.  One of the first podcasts to join Cowherd’s new platform is “3 and Out with John Middlekauff,” an “unfiltered perspective on the top stories in the NFL and college football, as well as interviews and conversations with the biggest names in the game.”  Beginning in March, sports media figure Doug Gottlieb will host a college basketball and NBA podcast.  Both Cowherd and Gottlieb host nationally syndicated radio shows for FOX Sports Radio.  Cowherd’s show is simulcast on cable’s FOX Sports 1.  The Herd Podcast Network is available on iHeartRadio and other podcast platforms.  Cowherd says, “I’ve said it before – I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and I couldn’t be more excited about this new venture with Premiere Networks and Red Seat Ventures.  This is a unique opportunity for ‘The Herd’ audience to dive deeper into the sports they crave.  If you like what we do on our show, you will like what John, Doug and the other podcast hosts bring to the table.  I’m incredibly lucky to launch this platform for the fans whenever and wherever they happen to be listening.”

PPM Analysis: All-NewsTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s just-released January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news outlets.  On the heels of the Holiday 2017 survey, 75% of all-news stations saw their 6+ shares increase from the Holiday 2017 to the January 2018 survey.  But, year-over-year, almost three quarters of all-newsers were down (6+) from January 2017 to January 2018.  However, six of the 14 all-news stations in the survey ranked in the top five (6+) in their respective markets in the January PPM survey.  Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington and iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento both ranked #1 in their respective markets, while Entercom’s WINS, New York and KCBS-AM, San Francisco ranked #2 in their markets (KCBS-AM also ranked #2 in the adjacent San Jose market).   See the whole report here.

Scripps Reports 2017 Q4 Financials; Radio Stations in ‘Discontinued Operations.’ The 2017 fourth quarter financial numbers for E.W. Scripps have been released but the exact details of the performance of its radio division is unclear as the company classifies its 34 stations as “held for sale” and their data is part of the “discontinued operations” line item.  As it stood in the fourth quarter, the net income from “discontinued operations” was a loss of $6 million compared to the income of $2.03 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.  For the year as a whole, the category lost almost $2.6 million compared to the gain of $7.3 million for all of 2016. In January, the television-focused Scripps retained Kalil & Co. to sell its radio stations.

Cox Media Group Appoints Commodore Integrated News Director for Tulsa.  News director Tina Commodore has been with Cox Media Group in Tulsa since November 2016 serving TV station KOKI-TV, Tulsa.  Now, she becomes news director for the converged Tulsa market, driving news content for news/talk KRMG-AM/FM.  CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “This new role will be responsible for integrating two powerful news brands across all platforms.  Tina is a talented leader and will have a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at the way we gather and cover news across our radio, TV and digital platforms in Tulsa.”  Prior to joining CMG Tulsa, Commodore was managing editor for the company’s WSB-TV, Atlanta. In that role, she helped lead daily operation of the newsroom and coverage of breaking news events.

Mike Gallagher Chats with Vice President Mike Pence.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence (left) at the 75th National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville.  The two are old friends going back to Pence’s days hosting a radio talk show on WIBC, Indianapolis.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WWBA-AM/W252DF, Tampa recently partnered with the Lou Piniella Celebrity Golf Classic to help raise funds for Score International, which helps bring about awareness of human trafficking.  Air personality Erik Kuselias broadcast his daily afternoon show live from the event…..ABC-TV is ordering a total of nine episodes of Alec Baldwin’s new talk show.  The program is called “Sundays With Alec Baldwin” and features Baldwin interviewing people from the world of entertainment and politics.  It’s a television version of his WNYC podcast.  His first guests are comedian Jerry Seinfeld and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon.  The first episode airs this Sunday night after the Academy Awards broadcast…..AdLarge Media’s cabana division is expanding its podcast offerings with the new Parents on Demand (POD) Network.  This curated collection of podcasts focus on parent-friendly topics ranging from pregnancy, infancy, and adoption to nourishing meals, childcare, and the teen years.

Serving Up Drinks for Charity.  “Man about town” Brad Shepard, GM and morning host of hyper-local online radio station Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) in Western Massachusetts, served as a celebrity bartender at the local chapter of Junior Achievement’s fundraiser held at Plan B Burger in Downtown Springfield last night (2/27).  All the tips for the bartenders go to Junior Achievement for local youth K-12.  Shepard is a scheduled speaker at TALKER 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on June 8 in New York City.  Photo by Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Hicks Testimony, Kushner Security Status, NRA vs Delta, North Korea Chemical Weapons Allegations, Xi Jinping Power Grab, Papa John’s Ends NFL Sponsorship, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and White House communications director Hope Hicks’ testimony before the House Intelligence Committee; the shaky status of Jared Kushner’s security clearance; Delta’s ending of its business relationship with the NRA and Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s threat to punish Delta; the UN report suggesting North Korea is providing Syria with materials for chemical weapons; Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for himself; Papa John’s ends its NFL sponsorship; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio announces that Tori Dunn is appointed the new promotions and marketing director for KNUC “Country 98.9.”  Dunn says of her new gig, “To be a part of such a special brand like ‘Country 98.9’ is an extreme honor and I am incredibly appreciative of the support of Lisa Adams, Marc Kaye and the Hubbard Radio Seattle family.  My dreams are coming true being able to walk through the doors each day with Country 98.9!”…..Envision Networks and Kroeger Media Inc. announce that Neuhoff Media’s WBBE, Bloomington, Illinois is joining the BOB FM family, adding the adult hits format to the station.  Kroeger Media president Howard Kroeger says, “In Panama City, Florida, BOB FM recently hit number one in Persons 12+.  The format is in touch with the current listening trends and methodology to take a station to the top of the ratings.  ‘BOB FM 97.9’ is ready to take its rightful place in Bloomington.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

| February 23, 2018

Entercom Announces Final Agreement to Acquire Two Emmis St. Louis Stations; Names Becky Domyan Market Manager.  Last month, Emmis Communications announced agreements in principle to sell its St. Louis radio stations – news/talk KFTK-FM and CHR KNOU to Entercom and rock KSHE and alternative KPNT “The Point” to Hubbard Radio.  Now, Entercom announces the definitive agreement to buy the two stations for $15 million.  At the same time, Entercom removes John Sheehan as market manager and replaces him with Emmis director of sales Becky Domyan.  She’ll be SVP and market manager for news/talk KMOX, news/talk KFTK, adult contemporary KEZK, hot AC KYKY and CHR KNOU.  Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is an exciting move to complement our strong portfolio in St. Louis.  The transaction is part of our broader strategy to continue growing Entercom’s robust roster of brands across the country and to provide the best-in-class local marketing solutions at national scale that our advertising partners expect from us.”  Entercom begins operating the Emmis stations under local marketing agreements on March 1.  Entercom expects the deal to close by the second quarter of 2018.

Hubbard to Pay $45 million for KSHE and KPNT, St. Louis.  The second part of Emmis’ sale of its St. Louis properties is heritage rock outlet KSHE and alternative rock KPNT “The Point” and Emmis announces that Hubbard Radio will pay $45 million for the two stations.  Hubbard will also begin operating the stations under local marketing agreements on March 1.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “The St. Louis team has been an integral part of our Emmis family since 1984.  We love our people in St. Louis and the team’s performance has been nothing short of remarkable.  Hubbard and Entercom are both tremendous radio operators and they are adding great people and great brands to their St. Louis clusters.”

WTMJ, Milwaukee Adds FM Translator to AM Signal.  Last July, Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee was all set to begin simulcasting its AM signal on FM translator W277CV at 103.3.  But talk WRRD, Waukesha owner Michael Crute petitioned the FCC, saying the construction permit to move the Frank McCoy-owned translator from Waukegan, Illinois into the Milwaukee market had been violated.  Crute says he had a deal with McCoy to simulcast WRRD on the translator but Scripps offered McCoy more money.  The petition was not successful, and Scripps begins using the 250-watt translator now licensed to Milwaukee.  Station VP and general manager Tom Langmyer states, “For 90 years, Milwaukee has depended upon WTMJ for news, local talk and sports.  It’s important to make our content easy to find and we’re excited to add an additional platform at 103.3 FM along with our digital distribution platforms.  Our play-by-play sports partners, the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks will be heard on ‘WTMJ-FM’, as well.”

TALKERS News Notes. New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is scheduled to make on-air appearances this season on Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York.  As part of the agreement, Boone will appear every Thursday at 5:00 pm beginning March 1 on the afternoon show with Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott to talk Yankees baseball.  Boone will also appear with Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldman during all Yankees pre-game shows throughout the season.  Entercom New York SVP and market manager John Fullam comments, “As part of our commitment to delivering premiere live, New York-centric sports audio content, we are proud to continue the tradition of partnering with the Yankees manager.  It’s a tradition that goes back to Joe Torre and continued with Joe Girardi.  We are excited to welcome Aaron.”…..Westwood One News is producing a 20-part series for affiliate stations called, “Tax Tips,” anchored by Westwood One News correspondent Ann Cates.  The company says the series will feature advice on topics from where and how to prepare, identity theft, and phishing scams to taxpayers’ bill of rights, the impact of tax reform, and bitcoins.

Florida School Shooting Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 19-23.  The aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that took the lives of 17 people – including discussions about gun control, mental illness, and the FBI’s role was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was the investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections, followed by the status of the DACA and the Trump administration’s immigration policy 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.

World Famous WWE Ring Announcer Lilian Garcia Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Interview.  One of the most popular personalities to emerge in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) during the past 20 years, Lilian Garcia, is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Garcia, who hosts the weekly PodcastOne series, “Chasing Glory,” in which she interviews other wrestling personalities and media figures about their personal life stories, is also an accomplished singer who is one of the most prolific and critically-acclaimed performers of the ‘Star Spangled Banner” in America – having performed the national anthem at numerous stadium-filled events for the NFLNBANHLMLBNASCAR, the US Open Tennis Tournament and the Summer Olympic Games.  Harrison and Garcia discuss her colorful career and delve into the personalities she has encountered during her 15-year run as a major WWE “diva.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two promotions to report from Cox Media Group’s Miami station group as programmer Jill Strada is upped to director of operations and sales pro Crystal Gans becomes as integrated sales manager.  CMG regional vice president Rob Babin states, “We are very happy when we have an opportunity to promote successful leaders from within our company.  Crystal and Jill are proven leaders who have demonstrated incredible success at Cox Media Group Miami.  Their success lies in commitment to their teams and the passion they each have as leaders.  I look forward to the impact Crystal and Jill will make in their new roles.”  Strada will oversee hip hop WEDR, CHR WFLC, adult contemporary WFEZ and urban contemporary WHQT.  She was previously director of branding and programming for WEDR and WFLC.  Gans will lead the cluster’s sales strategies across multiple platforms.  Prior to this role, she was digital sales manager…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Ashley & Brad Show” – co-hosted by Ashley Paige and Brad Abell – is added to the programming schedule at Withers Broadcasting Company’s KBXB, Sikeston, Missouri “B97.9.”  Envision says the “Ashley & Brad Show” is a Los Angeles-based morning show that provides its talent to radio stations nationwide with daily produced segments.  The four hours of programmed content allow radio stations to “maintain their on-air quality without exceeding budget constraints.”  The duo are heard live daily on KWSV, Simi Valley, California “99.1 The Ranch.”…..SiriusXM is launching a new channel called Dwight Yoakam and The Bakersfield Beat “Where Country Went Mod.”  The channel will be curated by Yoakam and will feature music from Yoakam’s extensive career as well as from his musical friends.  It will “celebrate the Bakersfield sound and those whom it has inspired” including: Buck Owens, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Eagles, The Blasters, Lucinda Williams and more. The channel will launch in the spring.

Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s January 2018 survey period covered January 4 – 31. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these 12 PPM markets.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) Portland – Entering the September sweep, Oregon Public Broadcasting news/talk KOPB occupied the runner-up position 21 successive times; however, with a +1.4, it finally reached #1 in that sweep. It was a short stay there though as it plummeted by -1.1 (9.1 – 8.0, 6+) and returned to its familiar runner-up spot in October – only to have another one-month run at #1 in November. The past two ratings periods (December and “Holiday” 2017), KOPB has ranked second, but powered by a +1.1 (8.5 – 9.6, 6+), it is back on top. Recent trends for KOPB include +.9 (March 2017); -.8 (May); +.6 (June); -.9 (July); +.6 (August); +1.4 (September); -1.1 (October); and now +1.1 in January 2018. The station it keeps chasing and replacing, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KKCW “K-103,” surrenders all but two-tenths of its combined +8.6 from December and “Holiday” 2017 (16.9 – 8.5, -8.4, 6+) and (again) swaps places with KOPB. Prior to segueing to #2 in September, “K-103” was #1 in 39 of the previous 41 ratings periods. With its 13.7 in December and 16.9 in “Holiday” 2017, “K-103 is the first Portland station to reach double-digits (6+) since it did so with a 15.3 in “Holiday” 2016. After being within 3.5 – 3.8 range (6+) in each of the last five sweeps, Alpha Media news/talk KXL “101 FM News – Stay Connected” explodes with a +1.4 (3.6 – 5.0, 6+) to progress from eighth to fifth. The last time KXL reached the five-share level (6+) was in October 2013 (5.3). Similarly programmed/iHeartMedia owned KEX “News Radio 1190 – Depend on Us” gains one-half share (1.2 – 1.7, #21 to #19, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since “Holiday” 2016 (1.7, as well). Its CHR cluster-mate, KKRZ “Z-100 Portland’s #1 Hit Music Station,” is also up one-half share, after faltering by nine-tenths in “Holiday” 2017 (2.9 – 3.4, flat at #13, 6+). The -.9 ended its alternating down/up pattern that began in May (4.1 – 3.8 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 3.8, 6+). This time last month (“Holiday” 2017), the market’s (6+) country share diminished by -1.8, but it bounces back with a +2.6. Specifically, Alpha Media’s KUPL obliterates its -1.1 with a +2.0 (2.9 – 4.9, 6+), as “98.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” charges back into the top ten (#13 to #6) with its best 6+-share since July and August (4.9, as well). Entering the November sweep (in which it gained three-tenths), “The Bull” had three straight flat or down monthlies that accounted for a loss of eight-tenths (4.9 – 4.9 – 4.4 – 4.1, 6+). Meanwhile, Entercom-owned KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf – Great Country for the Great Northwest” makes up all but one-tenth of its -.7 in “Holiday” 2017 with a January 2018 gain of six-tenths to 3.6 (6+), yet actually backslides from #11 to #12. Nevertheless, its +.6 pulls the plug on six straight months in which “The Wolf” was without an increase for a combined -2.6 (5.6 – 5.2 – 4.6 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.0, 6+). In advance of gaining three-tenths in June, “The Wolf” was -1.8 in March, April, and May (6.4 – 5.5 – 4.8 – 4.6, 6+). The two country rivals finished back-to-back at seventh and eighth, respectively, in both May and June. By posting a +.8 to 5.8 (6+), iHeartMedia-owned KLTH “106.7 The Eagle – Portland’s Classic Hits Station” rebounds from a combined -2.2 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (7.2 – 6.3 – 5.0, 6+) as it inches up from fourth to third. While unchanged at #9, Entercom-owned KGON “92.3 Portland’s Classic Rock” gains seven-tenths (3.4 – 4.1, 6+). Immediately after notching a +1.6 (5.4 – 7.0, 6+), Entercom adult hits KYCH “97.1 Charlie – We Play Everything” surrenders all but three-tenths of it (5.7, -1.3, third to fourth, 6+). Without an increase for the sixth time in succession, hot AC cluster-mate KRSK “105.1 The Buzz – Today’s Best Mix” is a collective -1.5 (5.4 – 4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 3.9, seventh to tenth, 6+).

2) Charlotte – Progressing by eight-tenths (3.2 – 4.0, 6+), Entercom news/talk WBT has its best 6+-stat since October (4.0, as well) and carries on at #13. WBT was +1.4 in three consecutive improvements (2.6 – 3.0 – 3.4 – 4.0, July – August – September – October, 6+) and hit the four-share mark (6+) in October 2017 for the first time since October 2016’s 4.1. A combined -1.2 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (4.2 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+), University Radio Foundation news talk WFAE “Charlotte’s NPR News Source” erases half that deficit with an uptick of six-tenths to 3.6 (6+) and remains at #15. WFAE was -.6 in October; +.5 in November; -1.1 in December; and now +.6 in January. One-half share separates Charlotte’s top four finishers in January 2018, with iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat – Charlotte’s #1 for New Country” – powered by a +1.9 – leaping from sixth to first (5.0 – 6.9, 6+). This is the strongest 6+-stat for “The Kat” since its 7.0 in May 2016 and the first time at #1 since August (2017), when it registered a 6.1. It was a quick one-sweep only stay at #1 for Beasley Media Group adult contemporary WKQC “K-104.7 More Music, More Variety,” which marched from second to first in “Holiday” 2017, but now drops to fifth (11.0 – 6.0, -5.0, 6+). Its 11.0 was the station’s strongest 6+-showing since “Holiday” 2016’s 12.3. Without a loss for the sixth time in succession for a cumulative +.8 (5.7 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.4 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+), Beasley Media Group urban AC WBAV “V-101.9” goes from a three-way logjam at #2 to a conventional tie there. Following four down or flat reports in succession for an overall -1.2 (5.6 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 4.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link – Charlotte’s Best Mix” is up three-tenths to 4.7 (6+) and continues in seventh-place. A “Holiday” 2017 loss of -1.1 by WRCM took Charlotte’s version of “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” to its lowest 6+-share since July’s 2.4, but the Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian outlet bounces back with a +.9 (2.8 – 3.7, #16 to #14, 6+). Flat or (slightly) down the past three sweeps for a -.3 (4.2 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 3.9, 6+), Radio One gospel WPZS “Praise 100.9 – Charlotte’s Inspiration Station” is up by triple that deficit to 4.8 (+.9, tenth to sixth, 6+). Six straight decreases by Beasley Media Group urban contemporary WPEG resulted in a -2.1 (5.9 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 3.8, 6+), but “Power 98” makes up one-third of that loss with a +.7 to 4.5 (6+) and returns to the top ten (#11 to #9). It is a somewhat similar scenario for iHeartMedia’s WEND, which picks up seven-tenths as well to end three straight down or flat trends that resulted in a -.6 (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+), as “106.6 The End – Charlotte’s Alternative Rock” also enters the top ten (#12 to #10). Finishing first in December but then dropping to second in “Holiday” 2017, adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake – Charlotte’s We Play Anything Station” plummets by -2.2 (6.5 – 4.3, 6+) to join cluster-mate WEND at #10. Just prior to its -.7 in “Holiday” 2017, “The Lake” was +2.9 in three straight gains (4.3 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 7.2, 6+) with December 2017’s 7.2 its strongest 6+-showing in more than three years (7.4, September 2014). Co-owned contemporary Christian WRFX-HD2 is off one-half share (.9 – .4, #20 to #21, 6+).

3) San Antonio – Down nine-tenths as the result of four straight sweeps without an increase (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 2.8, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI more than makes up for it with a +1.6 to 4.4 (6+), as “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather” rockets from #16 to #9. This is its best 6+-showing since last May (4.4, as well). Trending 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.6 (6+), Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” cracks the top twenty (#23 to #20). With a +1.0 to 4.7 in “Holiday” 2017, KSTX crossed the four-share level (6+) for the first time in its PPMhistory, but the Texas Public Radio news/talk outlet forfeits that full-share and three-tenths more (3.4, -1.3, 6+), cratering from #4 to #13. Not only does Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies KONO-FM post a +1.8 to stifle three downward moves in succession that produced a -2.0 (7.0 – 6.8 – 5.9 – 5.0, 6+), “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” advances from second to first. After ten straight months at #1, KONO-FM shifted to #2 in December and remained there in “Holiday” 2017. A sampling of its recent (6+) fluctuations include January 2017’s +1.1; April’s +.8; May’s -.6; August’s -.5; October’s +.7; December’s -.9; “Holiday” 2017’s -.9; and January 2018’s +1.8. Classic rock sibling KTKX “106.7 The Eagle” erupts with a +1.1 (4.3 – 5.4, 6+) soaring from sixth to third. Departing the San Antonio penthouse after residing there the past two sweeps, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9 San Antonio’s Variety Station” returns all but two-tenths of the combined +8.8 from December and “Holiday” 2017 (4.8 – 8.7 – 13.6, 6+); 13.6 in “Holiday” 2017 is its best-ever 6+-stat in the PPM-era. Three straight declines by Cox Media Group-owned KCYY produced a cumulative -1.9 (6.0 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 4.1, 6+), but “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader” regains six-tenths of it (4.7, eighth to seventh, 6+). After surrendering one-half share in September, “Y-100” registered a +.9 in October. Prior to that sweep, it had been within 5.1 – 5.8 range (6+) the previous 11 months. The -.5 in September ended three straight sweeps without a decrease that netted two-tenths (5.4 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 5.6, 6+). Leapfrogging “Y-100” with a +1.1 (5.2, eighth to fourth, 6+) is iHeartMedia-owned KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station,” which concludes four down or flat sweeps for a collective -.9 (5.0 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+). In advance of the August 2017 ratings period, KAJA registered three consecutive uptrends for a collective gain of eight-tenths. An overall +1.5 in six sweeps in a row without a loss (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KXTN “107.5 Tejano & Proud” remains at #12. Off by a combined -1.3 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (6.2 – 5.6 – 4.9, 6+), co-owned regional Mexican KROM “Que Buena 92.9” picks up eight-tenths to 5.7, advancing from third to second (6+). Gaining eight-tenths as well are Cox Media Group hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3 – Today’s Best Music” (4.6, tenth to eighth, 6+), which pulls the plug on three decreases in a row that accounted for a -1.3 (5.1 – 4.4 – 4.2 – 3.8, 6+), and Alpha Media regional Mexican KSAH “Norteno” (2.6 – 3.4, #17 to #13, 6+). Improving by six-tenths each are adult hits sibling KJXK “102.7 Jack FM Playing What We Want” (3.8 – 4.4, tenth to ninth, 6+) and Univision Radio rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat” (4.3 – 4.9, steady at #6, 6+). Checking in at #21, Texas Public Radio classical KPAC is up one-half share (1.0 – 1.5, 6+). A loss of six-tenths (4.5 – 3.9, 6+) knocks Cox Media Group’s KISS “Rocks San Antonio” out of the top ten (#5 to #11). In four straight decreases (3.5 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.4 – 2.2, 6+), Univision Radio’s KMYO “Latino Mix 95.1” is an overall -1.3 (flat at #19, 6+).

4) Pittsburgh – Tacking on a January 2018 +.7 to its +.6 in “Holiday” 2017 (5.3 – 5.9 – 6.6, 6+), Entercom sports talk KDKA-FM continues in sixth-place. This (6.6) represents the best 6+-showing for “93.7 The Fan” since September 2016’s 7.6. On the strength of a +1.3 to 5.3 (6+), news/talk cluster-mate KDKA-AM (eighth to seventh) has its highest 6+-share since last April’s 5.7. Moreover, “News Radio 1020” halts four down or flat trends in succession that produced a -.8 (4.8 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 4.0, 6+). In a similar vein, a six-tenths gain by Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” (2.7, #13 to #12, 6+) ends three successive downward trends that resulted in a -1.1 (3.2 – 2.8 – 2.4 – 2.1, 6+). Yet another negative streak concludes as iHeartMedia CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM – Pittsburgh’s #1 Music Station,” which was a collective -2.0 from three consecutive decreases (8.2 – 7.4 – 6.8 – 6.2, 6+), recaptures 70% of the loss (7.6, +1.4, fifth to third 6+). “Kiss” was +1.0 in October. A +.2 in September concluded a string of three straight decreases that resulted in a -2.1 (9.1 – 8.7 – 7.6 – 7.0, 6+). Steady at #8 and #10, respectively, Entercom hot AC WBZZ “Star 100.7 Plays the Hits” (4.9, 6+) and co-owned WDSY “Y-108 Pittsburgh’s Country” (3.2 – 4.1, 6+) are each on the rise by nine-tenths. In “Holiday” 2017, “Star” was -1.0 to 4.0, its lowest 6+-share since 3.6 in “Holiday” 2016. A -.8 by WDSY in “Holiday” 2017 ended an up/down pattern that started in June in which “Y-108” was 4.4 – 4.6 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 5.0 – 4.0 (6+). Notwithstanding that it adds one-tenth to 2.4 (6+), thus curtailing three negative trends in succession for a -1.0 (3.3 – 3.0 – 2.8 – 2.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed WPGB “Big 104.7 – Pittsburgh’s #1 For New Country” backslides from #12 to #13. A cumulative +.9 in June and July (2.9 – 3.5 – 3.8, 6+) and then a collective -.9 in August and September (3.8 – 3.7 – 2.9, 6+), “Big 104.7 gained four-tenths in October. Regaining the eight-tenths it squandered in “Holiday” 2017 (9.2 – 8.4 – 9.2, 6+), iHeartMedia rocker WDVE moves from third to second. Its 10.2 in October marked the first time WDVE reached double-digits (6+) since March (10.4). WDVE was +1.6 in October; -1.0 in November; and is now just two-tenths of a share behind classic hits-oldies sibling WWSW “94.5 – 3WS” (16.4 – 9.4, -7.0, 6+), which is on top for the 11th month in a row. After posting three consecutive increases for an overall +1.3 (9.1 – 9.9 – 10.3 – 10.4, 6+), WWSW forfeited eight-tenths in June. On the heels of posting a 10.6 in “Holiday” 2017, the station’s best 6+-showing in exactly one year, Renda Broadcasting adult contemporary WSHH “Today’s Wish 99.7” erodes by -3.8 to 6.8 (6+), slipping from second to fifth. Locked on 5.7 (6+) in August and September and then on 5.2 (6+) in October and November, WSHH more than doubled the October and November stat in December and “Holiday” 2017 with a combined +5.4.

5) Sacramento – Entering the “Holiday” 2017 report, iHeartMedia-owned KFBK “Sacramento’s News, Weather, and Traffic Station” was down or flat in October-November-December for an overall loss of seven-tenths (7.8 – 7.5 – 7.5 – 7.1, 6+). It logged a +1.3 in “Holiday” 2017 and follows in January 2018 with a +.2 to 8.6 (6+). Not only is 8.6 its best 6+-stat since January’s 8.7, KFBK progresses from second to first. After three straight improvements netting a combined +1.3 (6.5 – 6.7 – 7.1 – 7.8, 6+), KFBK regressed by three-tenths in October. Co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” was +.6 in December; surrendered all but one-tenth of it in “Holiday” 2017 (-.5); and is now +.6 in January (2.0 – 2.6 – 2.1 – 2.7, 6+) to advance from #15 to #13; this (2.7) is its highest 6+-share since last June’s 2.8. A combined -1.1 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.3 – 4.3 – 4.2, 6+), Capital Public Radio news/talk KXJZ recoups roughly half that deficit with a +.5 to 4.7 and remains in fifth-place. Four-tenths behind pacesetting KFBK at #2 is Entercom-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock,” which boasts a +2.0 to 8.2 (6+), virtually erasing its -2.2 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (8.4 – 7.4 – 6.2, 6+). “The Eagle” was a combined -1.6 in September and October (9.7 – 8.7 – 8.1, 6+). Prior to “Holiday” 2017, the last time it was in six-share territory (6+) was in September 2014 (6.8). Its format challenger – iHeartMedia-owned KYRV “93.7 The River, The River City’s New Classic Rock” – flips its -.6 in “Holiday” 2017 to a +1.1 (3.5 – 4.6, eighth to sixth, 6+) for its strongest 6+-share since last July’s 4.8. Improving by +1.1 as well is Entercom CHR KUDL “106.5 The End,” which is +1.8 in three upticks in succession (3.6 – 3.8 – 4.3 – 5.4, steady at #4, 6+). Having finished first in December and “Holiday” 2017, adult contemporary cluster-mate KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites” sputters by more than 50% from “Holiday” 2017 (-7.4) and segues to #3 (14.2 – 6.8, 6+). In “Holiday” 2017, “Mix” became the first Sacramento station to reach double-digits since it did so in “Holiday” 2016 with a 13.0. In the five most recent ratings periods, co-owned KNCI “New Country 105.1” has been -.9 (October); +.9 (November); -.5 (December); -1.0 “Holiday” 2017; and now +.7 in January 2018 (3.5 – 4.2, flat at #8, 6+). November’s increase halted three consecutive declines that accounted for a collective -1.9 (6.0 – 5.4 – 5.0 – 4.1, 6+). Without an increase the past four sweeps for a -.6 (4.8 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.2, 6+), co-owned KRXQ “98 Rock” picks up two-tenths to 4.4 (6+), yet moves from fifth to seventh. Entravision’s KXSE “La Suavecita 107.1” regains the seven-tenths it lost in “Holiday” 2017 plus one-tenth more (1.0 – 1.8, +.8, #24 to #19, 6+).

6) Salt Lake City – Owing to three straight negative moves (8.3 – 6.5 – 5.7 – 5.1, 6+), Bonneville’s KSL was a combined -3.2, but “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” responds with a +1.3 to 6.4 (6+) and continues in second place. Huge fluctuations are nothing new for KSL. Recent examples include +2.1 (January 2017); -2.1 (February); +.6 (April); -1.1 (May); -.9 (July); +.6 (August); +1.1 (September); +1.4 (October); -1.8 (November); -.8 (December); -.6 (“Holiday” 2017); and +1.3 (January 2018). Trending 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.5 (June through October, 6+), iHeartMedia’s KNRS was +.8 in November, but a combined -1.0 in December and “Holiday” 2017. Even though it recaptures 70% of that loss (3.3 – 4.0, +.7, 6+), “Talk Radio 105.9 – Listen And You’ll Know” shifts from a four-way tie at #8 to #10. Locked on 3.3 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2017, University of Utah news/talk KUER notches a +.8 to 4.1 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Transforming “Holiday” 2017’s -1.4 into a +2.1 (4.0 – 6.1, 6+), Capital Broadcasting hot AC KBZN “Now 97.9 Today’s Best Music” progresses from fifth to third. Somewhat similarly, Cumulus Media country outlet KUBL “K-Bull 93 FM” was -1.4 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (4.7 – 4.1 – 3.3, 6+) but roars back with a +2.0 (3.3 – 5.3, eighth to fifth, 6+). Without an increase the past eight sweeps for a collective -1.2 (2.0 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.1 – .8, 6+), Broadway Media’s KEGA “101.5 The Eagle – Utah’s Best Country” is up two-tenths to 1.0 (flat at #24, 6+). Gaining one-half share (1.7 – 2.2, 6+), Cumulus Media CHR KENZ “Power 94.9 Utah’s New Hit Music” cracks the top twenty (#21 to #18). Four negative moves in succession by iHeartMedia CHR KZHT accounted for a collective -2.4 (6.5 – 6.0 – 5.4 – 4.7 – 4.1, 6+), but “97.1 ZHT – Salt Lake’s #1 Hit Music Station” posts a +1.9 to 6.0 (6+) and remains at #4. As a result of three straight monthlies without a loss (June through September), KZHT was a combined +1.5 (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 6.5, 6+). An overall +1.9 in seven consecutive down or flat sweeps (3.9 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.6 – 5.8 – 5.8, 6+), classic hits-oldies sibling KODJ was a combined -2.3 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.8 – 4.7 – 3.5 6+). In January, however, “94.1 Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” racks up a +1.8 to 5.3 (sixth to fifth, 6+); November’s 5.8 was its highest 6+-share since June 2016’s 6.6. Still in that iHeartMedia cluster, hot AC KJMY “My 99.5 – More Music, More Variety” rolls out a +.9 to 3.7 (#14 to #11, 6+), thus ending five straight down or flat trends that netted a -.7 (3.5 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+). Even though it flips a -.8 from “Holiday” 2017 into a January 2018 +1.0 (4.3 – 3.5 – 4.5, 6+), Bonneville-owned KRSP “Utah’s Classic Rock – 103.5 The Arrow” actually slips from sixth to eighth. Regaining two-thirds of “Holiday” 2017’s -.9 (2.3 – 2.9, +.6, 6+) Cumulus Media’s KBEE “B-98.7 Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites” climbs from #14 to #13; 2.3 was its lowest 6+-share since 1.9 in “Holiday” 2016. Despite a bewildering -15.1 (23.2 – 8.1, 6+), similarly programmed/Bonneville-owned KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music Better Work Day” is #1 for the fourth month in a row. In “Holiday” 2017, its 23.2 share (6+) was in excess of the sum total of the next five stations after it. “FM 100.3” was #1 each month in calendar year 2017 except January, March, April, and October. Up or flat for the ninth sweep in a row for a +.5 (.9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4, 6+), 1980’s hits KSQN “103.1 The Wave – The Next Wave of New Wave” stays at #22. Off by six-tenths each are iHeartMedia’s KAAZ “Rock 106.7 – Everything That Rocks,” -1.1 in three straight dips (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 2.7, #8 to #15, 6+) and Cumulus Media’s KHTB “Alt 101.9” (1.8 – 1.2, #19 to #23, 6+).

7) Las Vegas – Displaying gains of six-tenths each are Beasley Media Group news/talk KDWN “AM 720 Where Las Vegas Comes to Talk” (1.3, #23, 6+) and Nevada Public Radio news/talk KNPR (1.9 – 2.5, #18 to #17, 6+). KDWN was without an increase in each of the last four ratings periods (.9 – .7 – .7 – .7 – .7, 6+). Meanwhile, Entercom’s KXNT “News Talk Radio 840” is trending 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.9 (#21, 6+). In three consecutive downward moves (5.7 – 5.4 – 4.1 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia country KWNR was a collective -2.5, but “95.5 The Bull – Las Vegas New Country Leader” dials up a +1.9 to 5.1 (6+), leaping from #13 to #4. This marks the fourth straight up or flat move for Entercom rhythmic hot AC KXQQ “Q-100.5” for a +1.6 (3.2 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.8, seventh to fifth, 6+). Making a “Holiday” 2017 – January 2018 +1.1 improvement as well is Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies KKLZ, which advances from second to first (6.5 – 7.6, 6+). In December, “96.3 – 70s, 80s and More” was ousted from #1 after five straight months in the lead position. It previously was +1.0 (October); -.9 (November) and -.7 in December. It succeeds iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (12.5 – 6.5, -6.0, 6+), which falls to second. The -6.0 halts three straight positive spikes that netted +7.7 (4.8 – 6.9 – 10.6 – 12.5, 6+). A collective -2.7 in four successive (June through October) decreases (7.5 – 6.7 – 6.3 – 5.6 – 4.8, 6+), “Sunny” bounced back in November with a +2.1. Recent fluctuations for “Sunny,” which had been on top between December 2016 and June 2017, are +1.8 (March); -1.1 (April); -1.2 (May); +1.4 (June); -.8 (July); -.7 (September); -.8 (October); +2.1 (November); +3.7 (December); +1.9 (“Holiday” 2017); and -6.0 (January 2018). Noteworthy ups/down continue for Entercom hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1,” which logged five successive improvements for a +2.1 (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.3 – 5.9 – 6.0 – 6.7, 6+); returned it all in December and “Holiday” 2017 with a collective -2.1 (6.7 – 5.6 – 4.6, 6+); and is now +.9 (4.6 – 5.5, fourth to third, 6+). In October, “Mix” reached the six-share level (6+) for the first time since December 2015’s 6.1. Flat at #15, Kemp Broadcasting rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” is up four-tenths to 3.0 (6+), snapping at four its consecutive string of down or flat trends that yielded a -.4 (3.0 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.6 – 2.6, 6+). After being without a loss four sweeps in a row for an overall +.9 (3.9 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 4.8, 6+), Faith Communications contemporary Christian KSOS “SOS Radio – Right Song, Right Time” returns that gain in total (3.9, -.9, 6+) and slides from third to eighth; 4.8 in “Holiday” 2017 was its strongest 6+-stat since September 2016’s 5.4. In six successive down or flat trends, Lotus Communications’ KXPT “97.1 The Point – #1 for Classic Rock” is a cumulative -2.0 (5.3 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.4 – 3.3, 6+) as it exits the top ten (#10 to #12).

8) Cincinnati – Following five straight negative trends for a collective -3.3 (9.6 – 9.4 – 9.2 – 8.0 – 7.2 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WLW recaptures nearly half the loss with a +1.6 (7.9, third to second, 6+). “The Big One” fell to #3 in November, following three consecutive months at #1. WLW returned to the top in August 2017 after back-to-back appearances at #2. Co-owned and similarly-formatted WKRC is +.3 to 3.6, curtailing three downward moves in a row that accounted for a -.9 (4.2 – 4.2 – 3.5 – 3.3, 6+); “55 KRC The Talk Station in Cincinnati” enters the top ten (#12 to #10). Meanwhile, Cincinnati Public Radio news/talk WVXU improves by one-half share (2.9 – 3.4, #13 to #11, 6+). In addition to rebounding from a -1.6 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (9.1 – 8.5 – 7.5, 6+) with a +2.1 to 9.6 (6), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WGRR “103.5 Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” shifts from second to first. This (9.6) is its strongest 6+-stat since last July’s 9.7. Exiting the top slot and drifting to fifth is its adult contemporary cluster-mate WRRM “Warm 98” (13.0 – 5.4, -7.6, 6+), which – in five improvements in a row – was an overall +9.1 since August (3.9 – 4.0 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 7.5 – 13.0, 6+). A +1.7 (5.7 – 7.4, fifth to fourth, 6+) by WKRQ “Q-102 Cincinnati’s Hit Music” enables the Hubbard hot AC to reach the seven-share threshold (6+) for the first time since November 2016’s 7.3. By posting a +1.3 to 5.0 (ninth to seventh, 6+), co-owned rhythmic hot AC WREW “Mix 94.9” basically wipes out the -1.4 from its five straight down or flat trends (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). Staying in that Hubbard cluster, WUBE “B-105.1 – Get Your Country On” plummeted by -1.4 in December; was +.5 in “Holiday” 2017; and now tacks on a +1.5 (6.3 – 7.8, 6+) to continue at #3. Surrendering six-tenths in December and another one-half share in “Holiday” 2017, Cumulus Media classic rock WOFX “92.5 The Fox” recovers all but one-tenth of that -1.1 with a +1.0 to 5.1 (seventh to sixth, 6+). Stuck on 4.8 (6+) in November and December, iHeartMedia CHR WKFS “Kiss 107.1” reclaims the eight-tenths it squandered in “Holiday” 2017 (4.8 – 4.0 – 4.8, eighth to ninth, 6+). As Cumulus Media’s WFTK “96 Rock” improves by one-half share (2.7 – 3.2, #14 to #12, 6+), Radio One’s WOSL regresses by that margin (2.9, #11 to #14, 6+). Locked on 2.9 (6+) between September and December, “100.3 R&B + Old School” recorded six straight sweeps without a loss for a +1.0 (2.4 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 3.4, 6+); 3.4 is its best 6+-stat since April (3.4, as well). Dropping from #16 to #18, urban-rhythmic oldies sibling WDBZ “Soul 101.5” is off for the fourth sweep in a row for a combined -1.0 (2.4 – 2.3 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.4, 6+), immediately following five consecutive up or flat sweeps that produced a +1.0 (1.4 -1.7 – 1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.4, 6+).

9) Orlando – Over and above halting three straight down or flat trends that resulted in a -.7 (2.9 – 2.9 – 2.4 – 2.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1 – We Say What We Want” breaks out a +1.7 to 3.9 (#15 to #11, 6+), its best 6+-stat in exactly two years (4.0, January 2016). It is tied with Community Communications’ news/talk WMFE “90.7 Public Radio for Central Florida,” which regains the six-tenths it lost in “Holiday” 2017 (3.9 – 3.3 – 3.9, #13 to #11, 6+). In four straight decreases, Cox Media Group news/talk WDBO-FM was a collective -2.7 (6.1 – 5.1 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 3.4, 6+), but “News 96.5” regains roughly half that decrease with a +1.3 to 4.7 and is back in the top ten (#12 to #10, 6+). In September, WDBO-FM registered a +2.0; immediately prior to an August gain of nine-tenths, “News 96.5” was -1.0 via three straight negative trends (4.2 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.2, 6+). Without an increase in each of the last five reports for a -.7 (1.9 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WFLF gains seven-tenths to 1.9 (#20 to #16, 6+). The rollercoaster ride continues for co-owned CHR WXXL. In October, it ended five straight monthlies without an increase that resulted in a -2.4 (9.9 – 8.8 – 8.1 – 7.8 – 7.5 – 7.5, 6+), a streak that followed a +2.7 as the result of four consecutive progressive trends (7.2 – 8.0 – 9.0 – 9.7 – 9.9, 6+). “XL-106.7” was up or flat four sweeps in succession for a +1.7 (7.5 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.2, 6+), before relinquishing nearly half that gain (-.9) in “Holiday” 2017. It now adds a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.9, 6+) to climb from third to second with its best 6+-stat since last April’s 9.9. A January 2018 +1.3 by co-owned WJRR “101.1 Orlando’s Rock Station” (5.3, tenth to sixth, 6+) wipes out the combined -1.1 from December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.1 – 4.4 – 4.0, 6+). Flashing increases of +1.0 each are Entercom classic hits-oldies and hot AC siblings WOCL “105.9 Sunny FM” (5.5, seventh to fifth, 6+) and WOMX “Mix 105.1” (3.8 – 4.8, #11 to #9, 6+). In five consecutive decreases between August and “Holiday” 2017, “Sunny” was a cumulative -2.3 (6.8 – 6.4 – 5.9 – 5.3 – 5.0 – 4.5, 6+). After gaining six-tenths in November, “Mix” was -1.7 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.5 – 4.6 – 3.8, 6+). The “stream” of WOCL appears in print with a .7 (#22, 6+). In the Cox Media Group cluster, WMMO “98.9 Orlando’s Classic Hits” gains seven-tenths after spiraling by a cumulative -2.9 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.2 – 5.9, flat at #4, 6+). Following 11 consecutive months on top, iHeartMedia Spanish tropical WRUM dropped to the runner-up slot in December and remained there in “Holiday” 2017. With a +.4 to 9.3 though, “Rumba 100” is back on top and curtails four negative sweeps in a row that generated a collective -2.7 (11.6 – 11.5 – 11.4 – 11.3 – 8.9, 6+). WRUM spiraled by two full-shares in July; was flat in August; and was up nine-tenths in September. April’s 12.8 was the best-ever 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. It displaces adult contemporary sibling WMGF “Magic 107.7” (15.9 – 6.6, -9.2, first to third), which spent two months at #1 and was a combined +8.3 in December and “Holiday” 2017. After logging four losses in a row for a combined -1.3 (4.3 – 3.8 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+), Entercom’s WQMP was +1.1 in “Holiday” 2017, but falters by nine-tenths in January (4.1 – 3.2, #9 to #14, 6+). Approximately three weeks into the December sweep (11/29), WQMP transitioned from CHR “Amp” to “Alt 101.9 – Orlando’s New Alternative.” A loss of six-tenths to 3.7 (#8 to #13, 6+) by Cox Media Group rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3” ends at three its consecutive string of increases that netted +1.2 (3.1 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.3, 6+).

10) Cleveland – As the result of six straight positive spikes (2.1 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 5.3, 6+), Ideastream-owned news/talk WCPN is a cumulative +3.2 and breaks into the top ten (#12 to #9). Without an increase in each of the last three ratings periods for a -3.5 (8.5 – 5.4 – 5.2 – 5.0, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTAM “1100 Cleveland’s News Radio” gains one-half share to 5.5 (6+) and carries on at #8. Recapturing in its entirety “Holiday” 2017’s -1.1 (7.4 – 6.3 – 7.4, 6+), co-owned adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake – We Play Anything” jumps from fifth to third. Following three straight (minor) declines for a -.4 (1.1 – 1.0 – .8 – .7, 6+), Moody Bible Institute religious teaching WCRF notches a +.9 to 1.6 (#16 to #15, 6+). Nearly wiping out its -.6 from December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.4, 6+) with a one-half share increase to 4.9 (6+), iHeartMedia CHR WAKS “96.5 Kiss FM Cleveland’s #1 Hit Music Station” actually backslides from the top ten (#10 to #11). Having reached #1 in December, WZAK fell to third in “Holiday” 2017, but the Radio One urban AC is back on top (8.6 – 9.1, +.5, 6+). Two-tenths from the top spot in November, WZAK was +.5 in November and made it to #1 in December with a +.9. A loss of four-tenths in October ended three consecutive positive moves by WZAK for an overall +.9 (7.5 – 7.6 – 8.1 – 8.4, 6+). It succeeds Entercom adult contemporary WDOK (10.4 – 5.6, -4.9, 6+), which drifts to seventh. “Cleveland’s Star 102” was a combined +5.5 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (4.9 – 7.2 – 10.4, 6+). In December, “Star 102” halted three straight downward moves that accounted for a -1.1 (6.0 – 5.4 – 5.1 – 4.9, 6+). In “Holiday” 2017 it became the fourth different Cleveland station in as many sweeps to occupy the top spot. Anchored at #2, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WMJI “Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” follows “Holiday” 2017’s +2.5 (7.8 – 10.3, 6+) with a -1.9 to 8.4 (6+). It reached double-digits (6+) in “Holiday” 2017 for the first time since September 2016’s 10.8. November’s +.8 stopped three straight declines that resulted in a -1.3 (9.2 – 8.9 – 8.4 – 7.9, 6+), but WMJI was -.9 in December. In 2017, “Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” occupied the top spot from January through April; July (with a +1.1 to 9.2, its strongest 6+-share since 9.8 in “Holiday” 2016); August; September (tied with WZAK); and November.

11) Kansas City – This is the fifth upward trend in succession for Entercom news talk KMBZ-FM (ninth to eighth), which is +1.2 in that stretch (3.7 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.0 – 4.3 – 4.9, 6+). When Union Broadcasting sports talk WHB was -.4 in December, it halted at five its successive string of positive trends that doubled its 6+-stat (1.5 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.8 – 3.0, 6+). “Sports Radio 810” rebounds in “Holiday” 2017 and January 2018 though with a combined +1.4 (2.6 – 3.1 – 4.0, 6+) and inches up from #14 to #12. An overall +1.3 in November and December (4.8 – 5.3 – 6.1, 6+), Carter Broadcast Corporation urban contemporary KPRS “Hot 103 Jamz” relinquished -1.0 in “Holiday” 2017, but gains it all back (+1.0) in January (6.1 – 5.1 – 6.1, 6+), progressing from fifth to third. After freefalling by two full shares in “Holiday” 2017 (6.3 – 4.3, 6+), Steel City Media CHR KMXV “Mix 93.3 – Kansas City’s #1 Hit Music Station” recovers 45% of the loss with a +.9 to 5.2 (ninth to sixth, 6+). A November gain of seven-tenths halted four losses in a row that accounted for a -1.0 (5.8 – 5.7 – 5.2 – 4.9 – 4.8, 6+); “Mix” added eight-tenths in December. Adding eight-tenths each are Entercom alternative KRBZ “96.5 The Buzz” (3.6, #15 to #14, 6+), which was -1.5 in four consecutive decreases (4.3 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.3 – 2.8, 6+) and University of Northwestern St. Paul contemporary Christian KJNW “Life 88.5” (2.7 – 3.5, #16 to #15, 6+). A gain of one-half share to 3.8 (#12 to #13, 6+) by Cumulus Media urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3” pulls the plug on three consecutive declines that accounted for a -.7 (4.0 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 3.3, 6+). All three of the market’s country FMs improve from “Holiday” 2017: Steel City Media’s KFKF “Country 94.1” (5.2 – 6.0, +.8, flat at #4, 6+); Entercom’s WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” (4.8 – 5.3, +.5, sixth to fifth, 6+); and Steel City Media’s KBEQ “Q-104 New Hit Country” (3.9 – 4.4, +.5, steady at #11, 6+). Four straight upticks by Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies KCMO-FM yielded a +2.7 (7.7 – 8.0 – 8.8 – 9.0 – 10.4, 6+), but “94.9 Kansas City’s Greatest Hits” returns two full shares (8.4, -2.0, 6+). Even so, it repeats at #1. Having more than doubled its 6+-stat between September and “Holiday” 2017 (+4.1) in four upticks in a row (4.0 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 5.3 – 8.1, 6+),      Steel City Media adult contemporary KCKC “KC-102.1 Today’s Best Variety” forfeits -2.9 to 5.6 (6+), falling from third to sixth. Eroding by -1.7 (9.1 – 7.4, 6+), Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX “The Fox” nonetheless carries on at #2. A +1.2 in December lifted “The Fox” to 9.6, its strongest 6+-stat since July’s 10.3 and ended four straight down or flat sweeps that generated a -1.9 (10.3 – 8.7 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.4, 6+). Prior to November, “The Fox” occupied the penthouse for ten consecutive months. August’s -1.6 pulled the plug on five straight increases netting a +2.8 (7.5 – 8.5 – 8.7 – 9.4 – 10.3, 6+).

12) Columbus – Roaring back from a -.6 in “Holiday” 2017 with a +1.5 (5.6 – 7.1, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTVN “News Radio 610” leaps from sixth to third. The last time WTVN reached the seven-share level (6+) was nearly two years ago (7.3, February 2016). A -.3 in December halted three straight up-trends that netted eight-tenths (5.7 – 5.9 – 6.0 – 6.5, 6+). Trending 3.8 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 3.9 – 3.6 (6+), Ohio State University news/talk WOSU gains six-tenths to 4.2 (ninth to eighth, 6+), its best 6+-showing since 4.7 in August. After a six-month tenure at #1, iHeartMedia’s WCOL shifted to second in “Holiday” 2017, but the country outlet returns to the top spot with a whopping +3.1 (10.9 – 14.0, 6+) and has been in double-digits (6+) each sweep since June. Off a combined -1.5 in August and September, WCOL regained roughly half of that loss in October with a +.7, but was down one-tenth in November. It was +2.2 in January 2017; -1.2 in February; +.8 in March; -1.3 in May; +1.4 in June; +2.1 in July; -.9 in August; -.6 in September; +.7 in October; -.5 in December; and now +3.1 in January 2018. Departing the driver’s seat after just one sweep and dropping to fifth is Saga Communications adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” (11.0 – 5.2, -5.8, 6+), which surrenders more than half of its 6+-share. “Sunny” was +5.1 in “Holiday” 2017 to 11.0, its most potent 6+-stat since reappearing in print over three years ago (December 2014). Having been without an increase for the past five sweeps for a collective -2.8 (10.8 – 10.8 – 10.7 – 9.5 – 9.2 – 8.0, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WNCI “97.9 – Columbus’ Hit Music Station and #1 for New Music” answers with a +1.2 to 9.2 (fourth to second). The last time WNCI was below a nine-share (6+) was March 2017 (8.9). Off eight-tenths in three successive (modest) downward trends (3.0 – 2.8 – 2.5 – 2.2, 6+), Saga Communications hot AC WVMX “Mix 107.9” picks up one-half share to 2.7 and continues at #12 (6+). Forfeiting -2.9 (8.1 – 5.2, 6+), iHeartMedia adult hits WODC segues from third to fifth; “93.3 The Bus” was a combined +2.7 in December and “Holiday” 2017 (5.4 – 6.0 – 8.1, 6+). After a -.6 in August, “93.3 The Bus” responded in September and October with a collective +1.9 (4.5 – 5.5 – 6.4, 6+), but was -1.0 in November; Holiday” 2017’s 8.1 is the highest 6+-share for “The Bus” since 11.1 in “Holiday” 2016. Regressing by four-tenths to 3.6 (eighth to ninth, 6+), One Connection Media Group contemporary Christian WCVO has its string of successive gains that netted +1.7 snapped at three (2.3 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 4.0, 6+).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Suspend Programming on Friday; Holds Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Air Staff.  In the aftermath of two recent incidents in which WEEI, Boston air personalities made statements that offended some, Entercom is suspending the sports talk station’s Friday programming and all staff will complete mandatory sensitivity training.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WEEI has been dealing with blowback – including lost advertisers – after a bit in which midday personality Christian Fauria used a phony Asian accent while imitating sports agent Don Yee (who, incidentally, speaks English without an accent).  It’s being reported that Comcast, City of Boston Credit Union, the Massachusetts Lottery, and possibly others, have cancelled ad campaigns with the station.  Fauria has been suspended by Entercom for a week and both the station and Fauria have apologized for the incident.  The cancellations appear to have come on the heels of an op-ed piece by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung.  This latest incident came almost two weeks after WEEI’s Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant.”  Brady cut short a scheduled appearance on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning show because of Reimer’s comments.  The station posted the following on its website: “Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment.  WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”  This suspension of live programming for mandatory sensitivity training is, as far back as TALKERS editors can remember, unprecedented in the radio industry.

U.S. Trustee Has Issues with Cumulus Bonus Structure.  More accurately, U.S. Trustee William Harrington has issues with the information Cumulus has supplied regarding its bonus structure at both the station level and for corporate executives.  Harrington has filed an objection stating that, among other things, Cumulus has not identified the job titles of those at the station level slated for bonuses, has not identified all of the corporate executives scheduled to receive payouts, nor has Cumulus shown that its bonus plan is an actual incentive plan and not retentive in nature (i.e. solely designed to keep key employees on board during a time of uncertainty).  What Harrington is saying is that actual incentive plans are allowed but Cumulus hasn’t satisfied him in showing its bonus plans are exactly that and not mechanisms to “enrich insiders” at the “expense of the creditors.”  Cumulus issued the following statement regarding Harrington’s objection: “The objection filed last night has absolutely no impact on the authorizations the Court gave the company on February 8th to pay incentive compensation for employees who earned it in 2017, or will earn it in 2018.  We will be making our incentive compensation payments to those employees, beginning with this week’s normal payroll cycle.  The objection filed is common in these situations and applies only to a small number of senior executives whose compensation will be addressed at an upcoming hearing on March 12th.”

WGN, Chicago to Air White Sox Games.  After 75 years, the Chicago White Sox are returning to WGN’s airwaves.  As you’re probably aware, Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to let it out of contracts that were onerous and the WLS-AM/White Sox deal was one of them.  Now, for the first time since 1943, White Sox games will return to Tribune’s WGN starting with a spring training game on Friday, February 23.   In the booth will be former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer handling play-by-play and former outfielder Darrin Jackson as analyst.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “What an honor it is to join the White Sox family.  Summer starts TODAY on WGN Radio.”

WOR Names Ray Martel to Executive Producer Role for Mets Broadcasts.  New York radio pro Ray Martel – currently the associate producer for WOR, New York’s “Len Berman in the Morning” show – is named executive producer for New York Mets radio broadcasts and “Sports Zone with Pete McCarthy,” effective March 1.  Martel says, “I am extremely honored to be the next producer of the Mets broadcasts on 710 WOR.  When I began in broadcasting 20 years ago, one of my first positions was as a board-op working on the Mets broadcasts.  It’s amazing to think it’s come full-circle two decades later…I can’t wait for the season to start!”  Prior to his arrival at WOR, Martel was a producer at crosstown sports talker WFAN for 13 years.  He produced for Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  He also produced for ESPN Radio.  Martel takes over for Joe Curci, who is leaving on February 28 for a position outside of radio.

Lauer Named Director of Sales for Entercom Milwaukee. Radio sales pro Eric Lauer is appointed to the director of sales position at Entercom’s Milwaukee station group that includes sports talk WSSP/W289CB “105.7 FM/AM 1250 The Fan,” CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” and hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix.”  Lauer was most recently general sales manager at Scripps’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.   Entercom Milwaukee/Madison SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “I have known Eric since he first arrived in the market and his passion, intellect and leadership skills were apparent immediately.  We feel very fortunate to have him partner with us to lead the Milwaukee team.”  Lauer has also held sales management roles with Cox Media Group in Florida and Georgia.

TALKERS News Notes. KIRO-FM, Seattle adds Gee Scott to the evening “KIRO Nights” program with co-host Zak Burns.  Scott moves to the new position from Bonneville’s sister sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” where he hosted the evening program.  He fills the seat vacated by Jason Rantz, who exited last fall to assume the morning drive show on the company’s local news/talk KTTH-AM…..The popular podcast from The New York Times, “The Daily,” is being produced as a 30-minute evening radio program distributed by American Public MediaMichael Barbaro will also host the radio version…..Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia is signing with the Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC to serve as its flagship radio station for match play-by-play.  Games and related programming – that used to air on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM – will now air on KJR-AM.  Matt Johnson will call the matches along with rotating analysts Wade Webber, Danny Jackson, and Pete Fewing.

Cumulus Celebrates 40 Years of Steve Dahl with Billboard Campaign.  Radio personality Steve Dahl has been a part of Chicago radio for 40 years and Cumulus Media is honoring Dahl’s colorful career with a billboard campaign in Chicagoland.  Dahl is currently hosting afternoon drive on Cumulus’ news/talk WLS-AM.  The image above is part of the creative for the campaign and shows Dahl with the late John Belushi.

audioBoom and Triton Digital Merge.  This pairing is being termed a “reverse takeover” with Triton Digital merging with the UK-based audioBoom podcast network and technology provider.   audioBoom will acquire all of the stock of Triton Digital Canada for $185 million.  The new company will be called Triton Digital Group and will be publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.  The executive structure will effectively remain in place with president/CEO Neal Schore, president/market development John Rosso, EVP/CFO Mark Rosenbaum, and SVP/ product and technology Alex FournierCurrent audioBoom CEO Rob Proctor becomes managing director of the audioBoom business unit.  He also remains an executive director.  Schore comments, “We’re proud of our position in the marketplace.  We feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continuously innovate and to drive monetization opportunities.  Our clients can expect us to not only maintain our leadership position, but to have the resources and the team to expand our technology and services meaningfully.”  audioboom currently hosts more than 12,000 content channels, with U.S. content partners including: Cumulus Media, Westwood One, and the Associated Press.  The transaction is expected to close in late March or early April.

Rob Porter White House Exit/John Kelly Status, Russia Election Interference, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Trump/Stormy Daniels Matter, U.S. Strikes in Syria, Netanyahu Criminal Allegations, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The aftermath of Rob Porter’s exit from the White House after allegations of spousal abuse and questions about chief of staff John Kelly’s job security; U.S. intel concerns about Russian influence in 2018 mid-term elections; a judge refuses to allow DACA to be shut down and the related Trump Administration policy on immigration; Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen reveals he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket; U.S. military strikes in Syria allegedly kill Russian mercenaries; Israeli investigators say Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted on corruption charges; the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Deborah Norville to Host BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  Television’s Deborah Norville is hosting the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2018 Golden Mike Award honoring Graham Media president and CEO Emily Barr on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Also, at this event Pat McLaughlin will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Ed McLaughlin, who is credited with discovering Rush Limbaugh and was the founder of EFM Media Management.  Ed McLaughlin was chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation when he passed away last month.  This annual event is one of the biggest fundraisers in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.

WIOV, Lancaster’s ‘Murph’ Dies Unexpectedly at 61. Sad news out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Cumulus Media reports that WIOV-FM “I-105” morning personality Jerry Murphy – half of the “Murph & Casey” program with Casey Allyn – died unexpectedly at the age of 61.  The duo had worked together on “I-105” for the past 19 years.  Station PD Rich Creeger says, “Murph was not only one of the most charismatic personalities I had the pleasure of working with, but he was also a great friend.  I will miss him tremendously.”  The station has set up a tribute to Murph on the station website at wiov.com.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Appointed to take over management of Spanish Broadcasting System’s New York operations is Maire Mason.  She’s the new VP/GM for Spanish music outlets WSKQ-FM “Mega 97.9FM” and WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1FM.”  Mason, who most recently worked for Cumulus as ​VP/GM in New York, takes over for Eric Garcia who recently exited to join Univision…..Nate Reed is named operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster.  CMG market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “Nate’s commitment to strong programming will continue to set our stations apart from our competitors.  He has been a natural leader at our radio properties and now, with all our platforms working together, he will be integral part of our new leadership team.”…..Yes, it happened on Valentine’s Day!  Cumulus Media appoints Chad Valentine program director for CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Valentine was most recently with iHeartMedia as air personality, APD, and music director for CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.”  Valentine says, “I’m excited to be here and ready to make some great radio for Northeast PA.  I’m proud to be part of the next chapter of WBHT’s evolution.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting South Bend general manager Jim Roberts leaves the company after almost 22 years to become the national account manager at Cleveland-based Futuri Media.  Roberts had served as GM of the South Bend station group since 2011…..Pictured at right are Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (right) and Premiere’s SVP, talent and brand integration Rick Murray (left) chatting with country star Sara Evans (center) as she kicked off the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City on February 12.