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Monday, February 24, 2020

| February 24, 2020

Monday Memo: Legal Advice. Just several decades ago, attorneys didn’t even advertise.  Back to the future: They’re all over billboards and TV.  Yet, as consultant Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column: “No medium showcases legal services better than talk radio.”  Read it here.

Presidential Race/Nevada Caucuses, Coronavirus Epidemic, China Productivity/Financial Markets Activity, Trump in India, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Bernie Sanders’ victory in Saturday’s Nevada Caucuses; the status of Covid-19 and concerns about a pandemic; the effect of the coronavirus epidemic on Chinese productivity and its effect on the world’s financial markets; President Trump teases trade with India during visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and the jury deliberates in the sexual assault trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Round Four of January PPM’s Released.  The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the news/talk radio stations that chalked up positive weekly, 6+ AQH share ratings during the January survey include: Sinclair Telecable’s KLBJ-AM, Austin which added nine-tenths to land at a 4.5 share and the #8 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh posts a whopping 1.8 share increase over the Holiday 2019 survey to finish January with a 7.1 share and the #3 rank; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis rockets up 2.2 shares to finish January with a 7.6 share and the #3 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds seven-tenths to end January with a 4.8 share and the #8 rank; and Cumulus’ WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence tacks 1.3 shares onto its Holiday 2019 number to finish the January survey with a 3.7 share and the #8 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here

KLIN, Lincoln’s Jane Monnich Wraps 45-Year Radio News Career. News radio pro Jane Monnich retired from NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska on February 20 after a 45-year run with the station.  Monnich was news anchor for the KLIN morning show and on last Thursday’s program, the on-air celebration included visits from past and current co-workers, plus proclamations from Lincoln Mayor Lerion Gaylor Baird and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.  KLIN program director Bob Shomper says, “Jane’s career started in 1975, and over the following 45 years she covered 8 different governors, 10 mayors, 13 congressmen, 11 senators, dozens of city councilmen, and 100s of state legislators.  It is estimated that Jane wrote over 500,000 news stories and anchored over 105,000 newscasts.”  She’s pictured here holding the mayoral proclamation making February 20, 2020 “Jane Monnich Day” in Lincoln. The station is searching for Monnich’s replacement.  NRG Media has more about the position here.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett announced on the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show that he’s retiring on April 10 after 34 years working full time with the station.  Bartlett told listeners, “I’ve reached the point where my free time is more important than my life at work.”  He said he and his wife plan to retire to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina…..On Super Tuesday (March 3), ABC News Radio will present live coverage anchored by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers.  Coverage will feature reporting by radio correspondents Alex Stone in California, Jim Ryan in Texas, Ryan Burrow in Colorado, Mark Remillard in North Carolina; Andy Field in Washington; multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara in Virginia; and analysis from radio correspondent Brian Clark at the ABC News Decision Desk.  ABC News Radio will also provide one-minute Status Reports at least twice an hour throughout the evening.  A special edition of ABC News’ daily news podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post on Wednesday morning.  It will feature analysis of the results and interviews from ABC News reporters across the electoral map…..Edison Research is launching its first Top Ten Podcast ranker, as part of its Podcast Consumer Tracker product.  Edison says the ranker depicts the top 10 podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers as the “only comprehensive and all-inclusive study” of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.  The first ranker indicates news and true crime are top podcast categories as seven of the top 10 fit those categories.  They are (in order 1to 10): “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “This American Life,” “The Daily,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” “Serial,” “Pod Save America,” and “Radiolab.”  Edison says the Podcast Consumer Tracker data is based upon 4,053 online interviews (in English and Spanish) with weekly podcast consumers, ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish…..SiriusXM is carrying the live broadcast of the “Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant” from the Staples Center in Los Angeles today (2/24) on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y98” makes some air staff changes and relaunches its morning show as “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim,” hosted by Jen Myers and Tim Convy, with contributions from Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand.  The Entercom station promotes Julie Tristan to host of the midday show and station host Paul Cook continues hosting afternoon drive.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “From day one, Jen, Tim, Kevin, and Lance have impressed me with their energy, passion and desire to learn and win, and they have elevated our morning show in a short time.  I’m equally excited about the addition of Julie Tristan to our weekday programming.  She has an amazing track record of success in the market.  She is an unstoppable talent, and her charitable contributions to the community have been tremendous as well.”  Tristan is an Emmy-nominated multimedia St. Louis journalist.  She also currently serves as a producer and announcer for “Spotlight STL” on Nexstar Media Group’s KPLR-TV…..iHeartMedia’s Chicago country outlet WEBG-FM “Big 9.5.” presented a countdown of “The Top 1,000 Country Songs of All Time” and posted the list on its website.  The list was created by the station’s “blue ribbon panel of country experts” who considered factors such as: songwriting, artist contribution to country music history, historical and popular cultural significance of a song, sales and/or streaming data, radio airplay, and peak chart position.  What was #1?  “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

| January 9, 2020

Chad Benson to Join KTAR-FM, Phoenix for Afternoons.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Chad Benson is not giving up his Radio America-syndicated show – he’ll continue to host it at its new live feed time of 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET (beginning January 20) – but he’s joining air personality Larry Gaydos on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix “News 92.3 FM” as co-host of the station’s 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show, effective January 21.  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “Chad is one of the most talented and energetic talk show hosts that I’ve ever seen.  I can’t wait for he and Larry to inform and entertain the KTAR audience on their way home each day.”  Mac Watson had been hosting the KTAR afternoon show with Gaydos, but he exited the station in October.  Speaking about his new gig, Benson says, “I am beyond excited to be partnering with Larry Gaydos – one of the most talented men in radio – on one of the most iconic stations in the country.  Here we come Phoenix.”  At the same time, Bonneville says KTAR-FM is adding “Arizona’s Evening News” to its daily lineup – a full hour of news, traffic, and weather starting each weeknight at 6:00 pm.

Report: 60 Million U.S. Adults Own Smart Speakers. According to the latest edition of The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 from Edison Research and NPR, 24% of U.S. adults own a smart speaker device.  That’s about 60 million people 18+.  That’s up from 21 million at the end of 2018 and 7 million at the closing of 2017.  The report includes video interviews with study panelists who explain how they acquire new smart speaker skills and from where they get recommendations about new content.  As far as discovery is concerned, 45% of those surveyed say they get new skills or actions for their smart speaker from family and friends.  Many panelists said that after the initial ownership period passed, they stopped trying to see what else the smart speaker could do and now rely on it for a handful of the same tasks.  The report found that 69% of smart speaker owners agree they don’t know enough about them to use all of their features.  See more about the study here.

Emmis Communications 2019 Fiscal Q3 Net Revenue Flat.  Issuing financial data for its 2019 fiscal third quarter, Emmis Communications reports net revenue of $10.7 million, flat compared to the same figure in the fiscal third quarter of 2018.  Net revenue for the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 was down 5.3% to $29.3 million, compared to the same period in 2018.  For the fiscal 2019 Q3, Emmis posted an operating loss of $6 million, up 61% from the $3.2 operating loss posted in Q3 of fiscal 2018.  During fiscal 2019, Emmis closed on its sale of its 50.1% interest in Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million and the sale of its controlling interest in New York’s WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM that netted $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note, and a 23.72% stake in Standard General’s Mediaco Holdings – the new controlling owner of the stations.

U.S.-Iran Relations/Soleimani Killing, Iran Plane Crash, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Megxit, Puerto Rico Earthquake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  The relations between the U.S. and Iran after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the deadly crash of a Ukrainian jet in Tehran and speculation about the cause; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” from senior royal duties; and the conditions in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of recent earthquakes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The newest addition to the ESPN podcast lineup is Scott Van Pelt, who launches “SVPod” on January 14.  The late-night “SportsCenter” host’s weekly podcast will include long-form interviews, commentary, and expanded takes on his “One Big Thing” segment on SportsCenter.  Van Pelt says, “As much as I enjoy the ‘SportsCenter’ show we get to do at midnight, it doesn’t always provide the time and space for all I want to get to.  I look at interviews we had with Patrick Beverley, Matthew McConaughey, or Rakim as examples of times when the conversation was so interesting to me that it went on far beyond what we had room for on TV.”…..Compass Media Networks announces its slate of top-ranked, exclusive college basketball broadcasts that begin Sunday (1/12) with defending Big Ten Tournament champions Michigan State taking on Purdue.  Compass general manager for sports Michelle Salvatore says, “Our 2020 college basketball schedule continues Compass Media Networks’ decade-long reputation of excellence.  The teams, storylines, and rivalries cultivated and offered year in and year out are incomparable.  We are proud, once again, to offer our affiliates and corporate sponsors the best of college basketball and look forward to continuing this decade-long distinction.”  Find out more about the entire schedule of games here…..Two new episodes of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein” debut today (1/9).  They are hosted by ABC NewsMark Remillard and are available on numerous platforms.  Also, the two-hour primetime television special, “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” airs tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on ABC TV.

Newsmax President/CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The journalist and entrepreneur who launched Newsmax in 1998 and built it into one of America’s most successful and influential multi-media platforms, Christopher Ruddy, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Newsmax.com ranks consistently as one of the country’s most-trafficked news websites and Newsmax TV has enjoyed a rapid ascent to prominence in the cable news/talk TV arena with a current presence in 70 million cable homes across America. Harrison and Ruddy discuss today’s politics including the election, the state of cable news/talk television and insights drawn from his personal friendship with President Donald Trump. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The urban morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” (pictured below), syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks, adds 10 new affiliates in the New Year, including: WJXM-FM, Meridian, Mississippi; WIBB-FM, Macon, Georgia; and WMNX-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina.  The program — hosted by Angela Yee, Charlamagne Tha God, and DJ Envy — is now heard in 90 markets across the country…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is re-branding its evening country radio show, changing the “NASH Nights Live” show starring Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith to “Nights with Elaina,” hosted by Smith.  The program will launch on February 3.  Smith says, “I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last six years of my life with the best country music fans in the nation every single weeknight, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to continue connecting with them with a new show, ‘Nights with Elaina.’  If there is one thing I’ve learned that listeners and stars have in common, it’s that we’re all just trying to figure out life and have fun while doing it.”  Shawn Parr is exiting the network…..The nationally syndicated urban show “DeDe in the Morning” adds eight new affiliate stations.  The program, starring DeDe McGuire, is a syndicated effort from Service Broadcasting Group’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and Compass Media Networks.  Service Broadcasting director of operations and GM and brand manager for the program Geo Cook says, “DeDe’s unique content and strong connection to culture and community are fueling a revolution of perception about how women can lead and dominate ratings in morning drive.  We are thrilled that DeDe’s show is growing rapidly and spreading more laughter and fun in new markets.”  The show is currently heard on 35 affiliate stations…..Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing on oldies WHRY, Hurley, Wisconsin and oldies WVVE, Grand Marais, Minnesota – home of the “World’s Tallest Indian” – a 52-foot fiberglass statue of tribal leader Hiawatha.  Envision says, “Listeners to the stations are hearing the legendary Wolfman Jack’s famous antics, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and comedy bits every Saturday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.”…..All Pro Broadcasting names Santiago Romero afternoon drive host at hot AC KHTI, Riverside “Hot 103.9.”  He was most recently with Entercom’s CHR KLUC, Las Vegas handling on-air, imaging and production duties…..On-air pro Eva Matteson is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” at the end of next month.  Matteson has been dealing with health issues and told listeners she wants to focus on those and spend more time traveling.

Friday, November 1, 2019

| November 1, 2019

Round Four of October PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for news/talk stations during the October survey include: Sinclair Telecable’s KLBJ-AM, Austin rises 0.7 to a 5.0 share and the #6 ranking in the market; iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh continues its three-month upward trend with a 0.6 increase for a 6.0 share and the #6 rank in the market; Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ, Milwaukee puts up a 0.9 to rise to an 8.4 share and the #1 rank in the market; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds to recent increases with a 0.5 hike for a 4.2 share and the #12 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach adds 0.3 tenths to its six consecutive sweeps without a loss to stand at a 4.0 share and is tied at #5 in the market.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does each month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations.  See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

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 on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/1).  The new episode titled, “A House Divided!,” looks back at this past week of October 28 – November 1, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, Talkers Magazine; Chip Franklin, talk show host, KGO, San Francisco; John Fredericks, talk show host, John Fredericks Radio Network; Ethan Bearman, political analyst, FOX News Channel; Jim Blasingame, talk show host, “Small Business Advocate”; and Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Rush Limbaugh Honored with Buckley Prize. Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh is pictured above at The Breakers in Palm Beach last night (10/30) at the National Review Institute’s sixth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner where the Premiere Networks-syndicated star was honored with the Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought.  The honor was bestowed upon Limbaugh for his “exceptional success articulating and popularizing conservatism to millions of Americans through his acclaimed talk show.”  Limbaugh accepted the award saying, “This is as meaningful as any award I could have…to be mentioned in the same sentence as that award and to have the National Review acknowledge me this way, it’s a big deal to me and I appreciate it.”  Photo: Lila Photo

Jason Myrtetus Ousted from Beasley’s WPEN, Philadelphia. Sports talk host Jason Myrtetus tweets that he’s been let go from Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” where he co-hosted the midday show with Anthony Gargano.  He says, “Today was my last show on 97.5 The Fanatic.  I was laid off after the show today.  The company decided to eliminate a lot of positions, including mine.  I spent 7 years with The Fanatic and worked with a lot of great people.”  Anthony Gargano will continue to host the midday show solo.

Impeachment Process and Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The impeachment process being moved forward by House Democrats and the related issue of a possible quid pro quo request of the Ukraine by President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was a tie between the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and the aftermath of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential race, followed by the California wildfires and climate change tied 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.

TALKERS News Notes. On Tuesday (11/5), SiriusXM is presenting a special Town Hall event featuring an in-depth conversation about race in America, hosted by SiriusXM Urban View’s Karen Hunter.  Topics will include the wealth gap between African-Americans and Caucasians and The New York Times’ 1619 Project – the initiative that explores the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery and its ongoing impact on our society.  The special will be recorded before an audience at SiriusXM’s New York City headquarters and Hunter will be joined  by Teri Williams, president and COO of OneUnited, the largest Black-owned bank in America; Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times reporter and creator of The 1619 Project; and Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy Award-winning journalist Trymaine Lee.  The special will then premiere on Urban View on Thursday (11/7) at 5:00 pm ET.…..College basketball coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski signs a multi-year extension to continue hosting his exclusive show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K,” on SiriusXM.  The Duke University Blue Devils coach begins his 15th season hosting the show this week with six-time All-Star and 2007 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher CC Sabathia and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as guests.  The program airs live each Thursday at 6:00 pm ET on both the ESPNU Radio and SiriusXM ACC Radio channels…..Public media journalist and former national host of the weekend edition of “All Things Considered” on NPR, Arun Rath, is named the new executive editor/host of “All Things Considered” at WGBH, Boston.  Rath assumes the role permanently after serving as interim host of the program since July.  Phil Redo is general manager for radio and local news at WGBH and he says, “‘All Things Considered’ is one of the most important programs in the WGBH Radio lineup, offering listeners the opportunity for deeper understanding of stories that may have developed during the day.  As an experienced reporter, a deft interviewer, and a natural radio host who knows how to pull listeners into important stories, Arun adds immense value to the program.  His perspective is shaped by a natural curiosity and an awareness of cultural issues, all of which will benefit the audience. We are excited to have him step into the role and look forward to all that he has to offer.”

Caroline Beasley Featured at Drive to Digital Event in London. Pictured above at the 2019 Drive to Digital Event at the British Library Conference Centre in London is Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (center) with Xperi VP of radio Joe D’Angelo (left) and Digital Radio UK CEO Ford Ennals (right).  On Wednesday (10/30), Beasley was a featured speaker at the annual event for UK radio and the audio industry that brings together 250 executives from national and local broadcasters, device and car manufacturers, retailers and the supply chain, the UK government, and regulators.  Beasley shared her insight on radio in the United States as well as new digital capabilities and innovation impacting the industry, including QUU ad sync technology.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Amanda McGraw is named program director at iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf” and country KOSO, Modesto “92.9 The Big Dog.”  She was most recently serving with the company’s Sacramento cluster as assistant program director for country KYRV-HD2/K296GB “107.1 The Bull” and adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.”  iHeartMedia Fresno market manager Steve Darnell says, “We’re very fortunate to have Amanda join our team.  She’s a motivated and skilled programmer and will help elevate our iHeartCountry brands.”…..Alpha Media Portland announces that staffer Amanda “Ice” Habrowski is named the 2019 MIW GroupNielsen Music programming mentee.  “Ice” is the assistant program director, music director, and midday host of CHR KBFF “Live 95.5.”  The one-year mentorship matches a female programming candidate with key leaders from both the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music aimed at sharpening the programming and professional skills needed to further their career in music-formatted radio.  The program encourages hands-on mentorship through conversations and shared insights from some of the most accomplished professionals in the field.  “Ice” says, “What an honor!  I am so excited to learn and grow alongside some of the most influential and inspiring women in our industry.  I cannot thank the MIW Group and Nielsen enough for this incredible opportunity and you better believe I’ll be taking full advantage of this mentorship program.  Chicks rule!”

Monday, September 30, 2019

| September 30, 2019

FCC Grants Waiver of Ownership Regs for Sinclair Telecable in Austin. When Emmis Communications and Sinclair Telecable agreed to a $39.3 million deal for the latter to acquire full ownership of the Austin cluster that the two companies have been co-owners of since 2003, the result would have put Sinclair over the FCC’s ownership limit.  The companies applied for a waiver from the FCC and on Friday (9/27), the Commission granted the waiver.  Emmis owns 50.1% of the cluster and Sinclair owns 49.9%.  Emmis sought the waiver, calling the Austin co-ownership “unique” and the sale of its stake to the other “more akin to a corporate restructuring.”  FCC audio division chief Albert Shuldiner agreed, and in his ruling said that it’s obvious that Emmis and Sinclair are not trying to get around the ownership caps.  “In fact, it appears that this transaction is part of Emmis’ ongoing efforts to divest its radio stations.”  The Austin station group includes: news/talk KLBJ-AM, alternative KROX, adult contemporary KGSR, regional Mexican KLZT, and adult hits KBPA (as well as HD2 stations “Austin City Limits Radio” and “Latino 102.7”).

Monday Memo: Play the Hits. If you host an ask-the-expert show, you’re working “a sales funnel.”  This week, in part two of a series, consultant Holland Cooke explains how weekend talk radio hosts can borrow a success technique from music radio.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Aid Issue, Biden Campaign’s Giuliani Request, 2020 Presidential Race, MBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Hong Kong Protests, Netanyahu’s Future, and Kanye’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of the president’s withholding of approved aid for Ukraine; the Joe Biden campaign’s request of news organizations to stop giving Trump attorney/adviser Rudy Giuliani air time; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during “60 Minutes” interview; the continuing protests in Hong Kong as the 70th anniversary of the Communist Takeover approaches; the future of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to build a coalition with his main rival; and the controversy over Kanye West’s Jesus Is King album that failed to be released were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. In a press release, iHeartMedia says that in celebration of International Podcast Day, it is announcing the return of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm PT.  It will be broadcast and streamed live across iHeartMedia stations nationwide.  The awards will cover 30 categories and the live event will feature appearances by award nominees, celebrity presenters, and other special guests.  iHeartPodcast president Conal Byrne says, “When we introduced the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards last year, we knew we wanted to celebrate the most talented podcast creators out there – the key reason that podcasting continues to grow exponentially.  The response to last year’s awards was amazing.  This is the one time of the year that all the most popular podcasters come together to celebrate the community of podcasting truly as colleagues, not competitors.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards bring everyone into one room – the biggest hosts, producers and distributors – all committed to this amazing podcast medium and to seeing its incredible growth continue.”

TALKERS News Notes. From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports two items of note.  First, Nexstar Media Group is making a change to news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago’s imaging.  Chicago media figure Bill Kurtis is no longer voicing the station’s imaging.  That is duty is now being handled by New York-based voiceover pro Steve Kamer.  Feder notes that new jingles for WGN-AM now use the familiar music from sister WGN-TV’s newscasts.  Feder quotes a Nexstar spokesman saying, “We are embracing our Midwest roots.  Going to bring back the warmness of WGN — a station for everyone.”  Second, Jennifer Weigel moves from serving as co-host of the “Mancow in the Morning” program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM to hosting her own program airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on the station, replacing the syndicated John Batchelor program.  WLS-AM PD Stephanie Tichenor calls it “the only locally produced, female-hosted show in our market”…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel is presenting a special radio documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets” World Series victory — the memorable first world championship in the young franchise’s history following seven consecutive losing seasons.  Titled, “Amazin’: A Celebration of the 1969 Mets,” it features new interviews with several members of the ’69 Mets including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer, Rod Gaspar, Wayne Garrett, J.C. Martin, Jim McAndrew, Bobby Pfeil, Art Shamsky and Al Weis, as well as manager Gil Hodges’ wife Joan and son Gil Jr., and Tommy Agee’s wife Maxcine. Listeners will also hear previously recorded memories from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.  SiriusXM’s Ed Randall hosts the special…..Digital audio advertising firm DAX brings Chris Blackburn aboard to serve as EVP for sales and business development.  Blackburn was most recently with SoundCloud where he was responsible for overseeing and growing its worldwide ad-sales business…..Below, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro (right) poses for a photo with Southeast Massachusetts Sheriff Tom Hodgson (left) on the White House lawn during a ceremony in which America’s Sheriffs and Angel Families presented President Trump with a plaque of appreciation for his work combating illegal immigration.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   Programing pro Steven Lewis is named program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X,” effective October 7.  He moves to Indy from Cincinnati where he was assistant director of custom/national programming for iHeartMedia.  WNDX operations manager Christopher “Boomer” Layfield says, “‘93.9X’ shot out of a cannon to incredible audience response when we launched back in May, thanks to Doug Hamand, Troy Hanson, Derek Madden, and Jim Kurdziel.  We’re now adding just the right mad rock programming genius to make us dangerous… in a good way.  Steven is ideally suited to lead this team.  I share his vision and look forward to working with him to firmly establish the ‘93.9X’ brand in Indy.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” names Tessa Barrera co-host of “The Rod Ryan Morning Show” alongside Rod Ryan, Alex Middleton, and executive producer, Jose “The Chile” Santos.   Station PD Elliott Wood says, “Tessa brings an amazingly strong on-air presence along with an accomplished set of skills in radio, news, sports, and television.”  She comes to Houston from the company’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where she served as a news anchor and executive producer…..It’s getting close to Jingle Ball season for the 12 iHeartMedia CHR stations that are hosting a Jingle Ball concert.  With Capital One again on board as the title sponsor, the company announces that some of the acts seen will include: Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, Fletcher, Jonas Brothers, NF, Niall Horan, French Montana, Why Don’t We, Zara Larsson, and Lewis Capaldi.

Monday, July 1, 2019

| July 1, 2019

Emmis and Standard General Form New Company to Buy New York’s WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM. This new company will be called Mediaco Holding and it will buy urban radio stations WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM “Hot 97” for $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note receivable, and 23.72% of the common equity of Mediaco.  Emmis will distribute this common equity of Mediaco pro rata to its shareholders in a taxable dividend.  Mediaco will be a public company expected to be listed on NASDAQ, and Emmis will remain a separate public company, as well.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan will serve as CEO of Mediaco and Emmis will remain active in the management of WBLS and WQHT and provide certain corporate services to Mediaco pursuant to a management agreement between the parties.  Investment firm Standard General will appoint a majority of the board of directors of Mediaco and Soohyung Kim, CEO, managing partner and chief investment officer of Standard General L.P., will be chairman of Mediaco.  After this deal gets regulatory approval, Emmis Communications will still operate New York’s WLIB and WEPN (through an LMA with ESPN Radio), four radio stations in Indianapolis, Indianapolis Monthly, and Digonex, a dynamic pricing company.  Emmis recently announced it is selling its 50.1% ownership stake in eight Austin, Texas stations to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million.   Smulyan says of this latest deal, “This is a landmark day in the 40-year history of Emmis. We look forward to continuing to manage two of the world’s most iconic radio brands in ‘HOT 97’ and WBLS and employ our award-winning New York team as we partner with Soo Kim and Standard General to form a new public company to invest in media opportunities.  The transaction provides Emmis significant capital to aggressively pursue new business opportunities that align with our entrepreneurial spirit and management skills.  We are also excited to work with Soo and Standard General to grow Mediaco Holding.  We have already been evaluating great investment opportunities and I’m incredibly excited about the future. Today is a great day for the future of Emmis.” Emmis says that no personnel changes are planned, and all New York employees will continue to be Emmis employees with Emmis benefits as part of an Employee Leasing Agreement with Mediaco.

Kietzman Exits WHB-AM, Kansas City in Aftermath of Andy Reid Comments. Kansas City sports talk personality Kevin Kietzman has exited Union Broadcasting’s sports talk WHB-AM “Sports Radio 810” where he’s been hosting “Between the Lines” for the past 22 years.  Last week, Kietzman was suspended from the station after he referenced Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s two sons Britt and Garrett – both of whom battled drug issues and Garrett died of an overdose in 2012 – during a monologue about Reid’s ability to fix players with personal problems.  In an apology issued last week, Kietzman said his intent was not to blame Andy Reid for Garrett’s death, but he understood how his comments could have been interpreted as such.  Union Broadcasting president Chad Boeger issued a statement saying Kietzman’s departure was mutual, but it’s likely Kietzman would have preferred to return to his job. Kietzman was allowed to issue a final statement: “It’s been my honor and privilege to host ‘Between the Lines’ for the past 22 years and I’m proud of being a founding partner of this great local company that is so committed to our community.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Begin Posting Today with Erica Farber and Cousin Brucie Receiving AwardsTALKERS has begun posting key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention today (7/1).  The first two videos being posted today are RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award.  The convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Nielsen Releases Total Audience Report for Q1 2019. The latest Total Audience Report from Nielsen has been published and although the time spent with radio relative to other media options shrank from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, in the audio universe it is still the most popular platform with 92% of the 18+ U.S. population.  Looking at the daily hours and minutes spent with each platform, among adults 35-49 radio listening dipped from 1:50 minutes per day to 1:45 minutes.  In the Millennial group – adults 18-39 – listening time went from 1:25 in Q1 of 2018 to 1:20 in Q1 of 2019.  Which platform is seeing the largest growth? It’s the use of an app or the web on a smart phone.  That category is up across the board, even with upper demos.  In the adults 50-64 demographic, for example, use of an app or the web on a smartphone rose from 2:24 minutes per day to 2:47 minutes from Q1 of 2018 to Q1 of 2019.  See more about the report here.

Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. Too much commercial and promo copy is…typical.  In-one-ear-out-the-other.  In this week’s Monday Memo column, consultant Holland Cooke offers examples of effective messages, most of which include “The Two Magic Words.”  Read his column here.

Chris Williams Signs Four-Year Extension to Remain with iHeartRadio. Digital executive Chris Williams will continue as chief product officer for iHeartRadio as he signs a four-year contract extension.  In this role he oversees digital programming initiatives, product marketing, UXD, and product strategies.  He joined the company in 2013 and rose to his current post in 2014. The company says that during his tenure as CPO, he has “expanded the iHeartRadio footprint to over 280 platforms and 2,000 devices and more than tripled its audience to where it currently stands with a registered user base of 130MM.  He also led the product initiative to launch two on-demand services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access.”

TALKERS News Notes. Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin “would love” for WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa to continue hosting his radio show “forever.”  Best’s column speculates about Francesa’s future with the station, addressing both Francesa’s own musings about the challenges of hosting his radio show and doing his digital content for his app as well as the fact that the company is paying eight personalities to host four shows.  Larkin tells Best the company is pleased with the ratings and revenue from Francesa’s show.  Read it here…..WREX-TV, Rockford, Illinois reports that Midwest Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WNTA-AM is canceling its live and local sports talk shows and replacing them with syndicated fare.  Gone from the station are “Randy & Co.,” a two-hour morning show hosted by Randy Ruef and featuring a rotating cast of co-hosts as well as producer Jordan Goethe, and “Full Court Press,” the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show co-hosted by Jake Logli and Jackson Schwartz…..Pictured at left is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon as Santa Claus bringing Christmas in June to kids at the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

G20 Summit/Trump Meets with Kim Jon Un and Xi Jinping, Hong Kong-China Tensions, Immigration Reform, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Stonewall Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan and President Trump’s meetings with China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the protests in Hong Kong against Chinese rule; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform policies; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Iran’s production of weapons grade uranium; and the anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Hartford hot AC WTIC-FM names Ryan “Salt” MacMillan the new morning drive host, taking over for Gary Craig, who recently announced his retirement.  Salt began hosting the Entercom station’s morning program with incumbent morning personality Christine Lee today (7/1).  Salt comes to Hartford from the company’s Boston hot AC WWBX-FM “Mix 104.1” where he was part of the “Karson & Kennedy” morning program. He says, “Boston has given me so much over the past seven years both on and off the air and I will forever be thankful, but it’s time for a new adventure in Hartford.  Gary Craig is a Hartford radio legend and with his long-time partner, Christine Lee, I am honored to try and continue his legacy.”…..Award-winning CMT host and radio personality Cody Alan just celebrated his 2,000th episode as host of “CMT After MidNite.”  Alan was surprised with in-studio appearances by Garth Brooks and Keith Urban, as well as a phone call from Thomas Rhett.  In addition to this major milestone for “CMT After MidNite,” Alan is also celebrating the 100th episode of his “Cody Cast” podcast and the 10th anniversary of the Premiere Networks-syndicated program “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”…..Programmer Kat San Andres adds music director duties for Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic AC XHRM “Magic 92.5” to her responsibilities that also include serving as music director and APD for sister CHR XHTZ “Z90.”  She joined “Z90” in 2004 as a morning program intern and has worked her way up through the programming department…..Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation announces its new venture in which Radio Disney has agreed to license Radio Disney video content to SBC. SBC will “telestream” the Radio Disney video content: the audio will be broadcast on SBC’s radio station WIGO-AM, Atlanta and simultaneously the video will be streamed at wigoam.com. Sheridan has a patent which covers telestreaming.  SBC says it will launch a one-hour daily program featuring Radio Disney video content in the near future that will tentatively be called “The Radio Disney Hour.”  SBC COO Ron Davenport, Jr. says, “We are honored and extremely flattered to be the first radio broadcaster licensed by Disney to use Radio Disney video content. The Radio Disney team has been incredible to work with, and we are very excited about the possibilities going forward.”…..Sun Broadcast Group and “The Michael Baisden Show” announce a renewal of the show’s distribution deal through December 31, 2020.  Baisden says, “Now that the show is hitting on all cylinders it’s time to do what I do best…engage with people.  I began my career hosting relationship seminars and producing upscale events, it’s time to get back out there and connect with my listeners face-to-face and have some fun!”…..SiriusXM is launching a limited-run music channel called “Madonna’s Madame X Radio” that will be available during the month of July.