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Thursday, January 7, 2021

| January 7, 2021

Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.

Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.

Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.

Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.

Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2020

| October 19, 2020

Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.

Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries.  Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.

SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.

Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more.  We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”

Friday, June 19, 2020

| June 19, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “Plots and Subplots!” looks back at this past week of June 15-19, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; David Horowitz, commentator/author; Sean Spicer, talk show host, Newsmax TVMartha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Bill Brady, talk show host/owner, KFNX, Phoenix; and Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Terry Foxx Moves from Atlanta’s ‘The Game’ to Charlotte’s WFNZ. Sports talk programming pro Terry Foxx is named brand manager for Entercom’s WFNZ-AM/W273DA, Charlotte. He’s been brand manager for the company’s WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” since the station launched. Prior to that, he helped launch and programmed Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan.” Entercom Charlotte SVP and market manager Matt Hanlon says, “Terry brings a wealth of experience architecting leading sports radio brands and will help usher in a new era of growth for WFNZ. The station serves as an extremely important sports and lifestyle brand for the people of Charlotte, who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Terry’s leadership will be instrumental and we’re looking forward to adding him to the team.” Foxx adds, “I’m very excited to join Entercom Charlotte and the great team at WFNZ. Charlotte is a great city full of passionate sports fans and I look forward to enhancing their sports radio home with unparalleled content and in-depth discussion. I want to thank Matt for this incredible opportunity, along with [regional president] Doug Abernethy.”

Salem Radio News to Provide Complete Coverage of Trump Tulsa Rally. When President Trump’s campaign rally gets underway at Tulsa’s BOK Center tomorrow, Salem Radio News and TOWNHALL News will be there providing comprehensive coverage. SRN says White House correspondent Greg Clugston will travel aboard Air Force 1 and will provide “advancers” beginning early Saturday and will file reports from the BOK Center during and following the rally. SRN will provide live, unanchored audio from the event on Saturday evening on both the SRN News “longform” channel and via its SRN Westwood One XDS channel.

Townsquare Media Files 10-Q Form with First Quarter Financial Data. A week ago, Townsquare Media Inc provided preliminary first quarter 2020 financial data and said it would officially file its 10-Q Form with the Securities Exchange Commission “on or before June 25.” Today, the company delivers that report. Net revenue for the first quarter was basically flat at $93.4 million compared to Q1 2019’s net revenue of $93.7 million. However, in the first quarter of 2019, the company posted operating income of $11.9 million and this year ended up posting an operating loss of $72.1 million. In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare reported a net loss of $4.6 million compared to the net loss of $59.6 million for the first quarter of 2020.

TALKERS News Notes. The board of director of Saga Communications, Inc announces that the company is temporarily suspending the quarterly cash dividend in response to the continued economic uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19.  It says, “Additional actions being taken to conserve the company’s cash position include reducing planned capital spending and seeking discounts from vendors.” It adds, “By preserving the company’s cash position, the company believes market conditions may present attractive acquisition opportunities. The company will consider the resumption of quarterly cash dividends in the near future as economic conditions permit.”…..Tulsa sports talk outlet KRXO-AM/K300CY “The Franchise” is no more as Tyler Media flips the duo to a Spanish music format according to a reports from the Tulsa World…..The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” announces the addition of more affiliate stations as WMKT-AM, Elk Rapids, Michigan and WATT-AM, Cadillac, Michigan add the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Today (6/19), ESPN Radio and The Undefeated – ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture – presents the debut of “The Intersection” at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN Radio. ESPN says the two-hour, weekly show “will feature in-depth discussions that will continue the conversation around the impact of social justice on sports and society.” Following its premiere episode on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, the show will move to its regular time slot, Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET.  The program is hosted by “SportsCenter” anchor Elle Duncan and The Undefeated columnist, commentator, and host Clinton Yates. The duo will regularly be joined by other commentators from across the network.

John Bolton’s Book, Trump’s Tulsa Rally, and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 15-19. The controversy over former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book, President Trump’s planned Tulsa rally, and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Black Lives Matter movement and protests and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care system, and virus statistics & projections, followed by the reopening of America and the economy 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. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020) and The Epoch Times leading edge investigative reporter on Communist China, Joshua Philipp. There are also guest commentators on post-Michael Vick dogfighting, as well as the process of opportunistic media manipulation – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

PR Gigs. In response to the recent layoffs of approximately 300 public relations pros by the giant PR firm Edelman due to the COVID-19 crisis, Jerry McGlothlin, president of talk media-oriented PR company Special Guests, tells TALKERS he is interested in talking to ex-Edelman employees about contracting with his Hickory, NC-based firm stating, “One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling, and if Edelman is laying off productive, experienced PR pros, Special Guests is interested in providing them with an income in their new agency home. Our generous straight commission offer gives publicity professionals exiting Edelman the opportunity to earn more commission money from Special Guests than from than their former paycheck.” Any PR professional from Edelman is welcome to apply by emailing McGlothlin directly at jerry@specialguests.com.

PPM Analysis: Urban AC. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on urban AC. In this report you can see comparisons of station performances (weekly, 6+ AQH share) based on April 2020 survey to May 2020 survey data, May 2019 to May 2020 data, how urban AC stations ranked during the May survey and more. See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former adult contemporary WSHE morning hose and producer Robb Rose is joining Townsquare Media’s Midland-Odessa, Texas cluster as director of content and operations manager for the five-station cluster. Rose exited the Hubbard Radio Chicago station back in May. At Townsquare, Rose will also program and serve as morning host for country KNFM-FM “Lone Star 92.”…..The Westwood One-syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” says it is not letting restrictions brought on by COVID-19 curtail its full production. Yesterday (6/18), the show’s “The BOB & TOM Show House Band” featuring Duke Tumatoe & The Power Trio, became the “The BOB & TOM Show Out-House Band” when the band’s staging was moved from the Performance Studio at iHeartMedia Indianapolis to the show’s parking lot. As you can see in the photo below, “outhouse” band was set up near the show’s dumpster and a portable toilet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

| April 23, 2019

Entercom Files with SEC to Announce $300 Million Refinance. In the filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Entercom announces that subsidiary Entercom Media Corp. – the former CBS RADIO stations – is offering $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company says it will use the net proceeds from the offering, cash on hand, and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.  Also contained in the filing is preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2019.  It reports net income should be between $1.3 million and $5.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between $41.7 million and $43.7 million.  Entercom also says pacings for the second quarter of 2019 are up by more than 4% as of April 18, 2019 compared to the same period in the second quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the company completed asset sales that generated $24.5 million in net cash proceeds. It used the proceeds, along with existing cash on hand, to repay $180 million in borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

New Myrtle Beach News/Talk Station to Launch on May 6. The station that is currently
adult contemporary WYEZ “94.5 The Tide” is flipping to news/talk with new calls WTKN as “Talk 94.5′ on May 6. The Byrne Acquisition Group station is bringing market radio personality Liz Callaway – formerly with Dick Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WRNN-FM – to host the morning show.  The rest of the lineup will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck; Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder; and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro and the overnight “Red Eye Radio” show.

KKFN, Denver Names Nick Ferguson Host of Late Morning Show. On-air changes are taking place at Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The late morning “Pritchard and Cecil” show is giving way to a new show hosted by former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson.  “The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will feature current on-air staffer John Davis as co-host.  Meanwhile, Cecil Lammey will remain with the station as digital talent in which he’ll focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and the station’s social media platforms.  Mike Pritchard will continue as a fill-in host, allowing him to focus on his own small business.  KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with.  In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp.  He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice.  Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Rush Limbaugh Show’s George Prayias. Digital pro George Prayias is promoted to vice president of digital for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  Prayias is based in New York where he reports to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She comments, “This is a well-deserved promotion.  George has been a valuable member of ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ team for nearly 20 years.  His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush’s digital business and helping maintain the award-wining program’s industry-leading status.”  The company says Prayias started his career with Premiere in 2000 when he conceived and launched the original website for the program.  Prior to joining Premiere, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel.  He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show.”

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo Inks Extension with SiriusXM. Sports media personality Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo signs a new, four-year deal with SiriusXM to continue leading his Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on the satellite radio service.  He hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed” each weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Russo’s show is also available to Pandora subscribers as a podcast.  Russo says, “Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”

Entercom Promotes Stacey Schulze to GSM for Greenville Station Group. Sales pro Stacey Schulze is being promoted to general sales manager for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD,” sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music radio stations.  She was most recently digital sales manager for the cluster. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Stacey has done a tremendous job with our digital products and is an invaluable resource to our team and customers to navigate the sophisticated and fast-changing digital space effectively.  In her expanded role, she’ll also work with our team and customers with RADIO.COM, our seven radio brands, play-by-play sports and all digital products.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City traffic reporter Jeff McKay announces he’s taking a new position with Westwood One News and will be relocating to Washington, DC. McKay posts on Facebook that he’ll be leaving his WINS, New York-based traffic reporting gig for DC next month.…..FOX Sports Radio says a new baseball podcast titled “”Inside the (Rob) Parker” – hosted by Rob Parker – will debut on The Herd Podcast Network.  Parker says, “Baseball is my first love, my true sports passion. If you think I have hot takes on the NFL and the NBA, wait until you hear them about the national pastime. For sure, it will be fun and informative.”  Parker continues co-hosting FOX Sports Radio’s 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard” that airs on close to 340 affiliate stations…..SiriusXM is providing subscribers with comprehensive coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from Nashville, beginning with the first round on Thursday through the final round on Saturday.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature: Gil Brandt, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former longtime player personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys; Pat Kirwan, former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive; Jim Miller, former veteran NFL quarterback; Rick Neuheisel, former NFL quarterback and veteran coach; and Jason Horowitz, lead host for SiriusXM’s draft coverage.

Mueller Report Released/Impeachment Chatter, Trump Tax Returns Issue, 2020 Presidential Politics, Southern Border Crisis/New Mexico Militia, Iranian Oil Sanctions, Sri Lanka Bombings, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The release of the redacted Mueller Report and talk amongst Democrats of impeaching President Trump; the congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns and his suit to avoid being forced to comply; the 2020 presidential candidates and their policy proposals; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border and New Mexico militia detaining migrants; the U.S. imposes sanctions on nations buying Iranian oil; the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball 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 Philadelphia, iHeartMedia announces that Khary Sharpe is named general sales manager for hip hop WUSL-FM “Power 99” and urban contemporary WDAS-FM.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP of sales Jeff Moore says, “I am thrilled to add Khary to our growing team.  Khary is someone that I’ve admired in the market for a long time and his extensive knowledge of the industry and ability to create and grow relationships with our advertisers on the client level as well as internally will contribute to the work we’re doing in creating a great culture here at iHeartMedia Philly.”  Sharpe joined iHeartMedia from Entercom where he most recently served as the digital sales specialist for WOGL, WBEB and WTDY…..Lincoln, Nebraska morning personality Matt McKay, a.k.a. Matthew Rydberg, is on leave from Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX-FM after being charged with domestic violence as the result of an incident that took place on Saturday (4/20).  The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that Rydberg is being charged with felony strangulation.  According to the Journal Star, “police went to Rydberg’s home on a report of a domestic assault witnessed by two children.  A 46-year-old woman reported she went to sleep in her children’s room after an argument with her husband, who had been drinking, when he became angry… the woman told police Rydberg pushed on her neck and she couldn’t breathe, pushed her face, bit her nose and shoved her.”  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade confirmed Rydberg is on leave from the radio station…..Westwood One says recent ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter – Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Janson – will host Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick-Off” special.  The four-hour broadcast is available for radio stations nationwide to air over Memorial Day weekend.  Janson will spin popular summertime hits from Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jason AldeanCarrie Underwood, and some of his own hits, including his new single, “Good Vibes.”