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Monday, December 7, 2020

| December 7, 2020

Monday Memo: Podcasting’s Prime Time. Once a hobbyist platform, on-demand audio now features the biggest stars, delivers advertisers ears and analytics they can’t get elsewhere, and pairs listeners and content creators like no other medium. In this week’s column, Holland Cooke summarizes the keynote Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff delivered during the CNBC Evolve webcast “The Evolution of Content and Consumption.” Read it here.

Pending Business: Time for a Skills Inventory. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa president of Lapcom Communications Corp – writes today that year-end is a good time for radio sellers to take inventory of their sales skills and make sure they match up with the pandemic-influenced restrictions and technology-requisite times in which we’ll be working in 2021. Read more here.

Dom Giordano to Be Honored by the Zionist Organization of America.  WPHT, Philadelphia 9:00 am – 12:00 noon host Dom Giordano will be honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization, for “his patriotism, friendship to the Jewish community, support for Israel and honest commentary about the Middle East” on his show. Giordano will be one of eight people nationwide recognized as “Zionist Spotlights” as part of ZOA’s Virtual 2020 National Superstar Gala. The Gala, taking place on Sunday, December 27, at 7:00 pm ET can be seen (live and on demand) at zoavirtualgala.com. Attorney and legal icon Allen L. Rothenberg is the other honoree representing the Greater Philadelphia Region. The event will also feature Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, hip-hop artist Ice Cube, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, physician and philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, ZOA national president Morton Klein and more. Giordano – a former school teacher who is nationally recognized as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio and a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – received the Greater Philadelphia ZOA’s 2011 Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism/Man of the Year at the annual Gala that year.

ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York Moving DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg to AM Drive. As reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is going local in morning drive on sports talk WEPN-FM, New York for the first time. In January, the Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty & Dave Rothenberg program moves from its current 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot to the 5:00 am to 8:00 am slot with the ESPN Radio nationally syndicated “Keyshawn, ZWill & Zubin” show airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. These changes come as ESPN tweaks the national lineup in preparation of the departure of Dan Le Batard in January. On WEPN-FM, “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by the “Bart [Scott] & [Alan] Hahn” show that’s now part of the national ESPN Radio lineup from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.

Bernie Miklasz to Return to St. Louis Airwaves on KFNS-AM. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sports talk KFNS-FM, St. Louis is bringing former Post-Dispatch columnist and former crosstown WXOS-FM personality Bernie Miklasz aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Also, former KMOV-TV, St. Louis sports director Steve Savard will host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. John Hadley is operating the station while he and a group of investors work to buy the station from owner Randy Markel. Hadley admits that his acquisition of Miklasz’s and Savard’s talent was only possible because they both agreed to work for the “hometown discount.” Miklasz tells Caesar, “Unlike other potential employers who who tended to make promises they couldn’t keep, Hadley was realistic and honest about what they could do for me. The economy is bad, and I wasn’t looking to break the bank. But Hadley didn’t try to exploit the situation by making a ridiculous, low-ball offer. I was enthusiastic about working with him to reach a fair deal for both sides… The trust factor meant a lot to me… Local ownership appeals to me. Local ownership is investing more than money… The personal investment is meaningful.”

PPM Analysis: Four… Less… Years. News/talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets enjoyed improved ratings during the November 2020 survey – 68% of news/talk stations in that survey were up over the previous month’s survey – that coincided with the final month of the presidential campaign (October 8 to November 4). In today’s analysis, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian compares the performances of news/talk stations in the November 2020 survey with the same period during the last presidential election in 2016. He shows that 74% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up (6+, weekly AQH share) in the November 2020 survey compared to the same period in 2016. In fact, there were 10 news/talk stations that increased their AQH share by three full shares or more from the November 2016 survey to November 2020. Find out which stations accomplished that plus much more in Mike Kinosian’s piece here.

Former NFL Player George Wrighster Hosting Late Nights on Mad Dog Radio Channel. Former NFL tight end George Wrighster joins SiriusXM to host the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Night Cap” program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel, beginning tonight (12/7). Wrighster was drafted out of the University of Oregon in 2003. After his playing days, he transitioned into his second career as an entrepreneur/investor and sports media personality.  He has hosted shows on radio and television for a number of networks including FOX Sports, ESPN, and KFWB and KLAC in Los Angeles. SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “With his experience both on the field and in the media, George brings an excellent and well-rounded perspective to the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel and we’re excited to have him deliver an engaging and entertaining show to our listeners on a nightly basis.”

UNUSUAL TALK MEDIA GUEST ALERTBob Kosch Is Back! Former mortgage banker, loan broker, tax lien investor, rock ‘n’ roller, and music/talk radio broadcaster Bob Kosch is back (after another prison stint) and available to do talk media interviews. If you’re looking for a change-of-pace type of special guest for your talk radio show, TV show, or podcast, check out this fascinating ex-con. Michael Harrison (a longtime friend of Kosch) describes Kosch as a “compellingly articulate, original, charming and informative larger-than-life character” who has no problem taking on a variety of subjects including the economy, commercial real estate, scams, the Donald Trump Era (he’s an outspoken Trump critic), prison reform, and pop music, among others. Bob Kosch is an ex-con with a plan that he says can save America from recession and move the economy forward. Experiencing corporal punishment by nuns at St. Anthony’s in Hawthorne, NJ as a child because of learning disabilities and left back in the 5th grade, he began engaging in deceptive behavior at an early age – all of which he talks about openly. He is an expert in mortgage law, focusing mainly in foreclosure and equitable subrogation. Kosch was charged with wire fraud by the U.S. Government in 1999. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison on September 12, 2001. His case brought to light Household Finance’s alleged predatory lending which ultimately led to that company’s demise. The most recent were charges by the State of New Jersey for theft-related offenses which he points out were fabricated by local prosecutors. The case was reversed, and charges vacated but Bob spent six years in prison during the process!  While in State custody, Kosch was in charge of the Law Library at Northern State Prison and worked as “substitute counsel” in court line proceedings. In a particular case, he worked with the ACLU when a transgender inmate was brutally beaten by police and then charged with assault. He was successful in having her transferred to the Women’s Prison in Clinton, New Jersey – setting a precedent in the system and the state. He was instrumental in the enactment of a bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy to end Administrative Segregation arguing Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims. Since his release on November 1, 2020, he voluntarily continues to help others in custody who do not have the money to hire an attorney for appeals and post-conviction related matters. He just recently filed a “writ of coram nobis” in an immigration proceeding for an inmate subject to deportation. Bob Kosch can be contacted via email at r2892k@gmail.com or phoned at 973-900-2831.

Beasley Media Group Promotes Tina Murley to VP of Corporate Sales. Boston director of sales Tina Murley is promoted to vice president of corporate sales for Beasley Media Group, effective immediately. Murley has been DOS at Beasley Boston since 2014 and will continue to be based in Boston. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing the traditional and integrated sales efforts on behalf of the entire company. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Tina brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as VP of corporate sales. Her positive attitude and commitment to excellence on behalf of our advertisers and the company made her the perfect choice to lead our company’s sales efforts into the future.”

Nate Dixon Named VP of Sales for Entercom St. Louis. Radio sales pro Nate Dixon joins Entercom’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets KMOX-AM and KFTK-FM and four music radio outlets. Dixon was most recently with Radio One’s St. Louis operations as station manager. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Nate has an incredible track record of performance, community outreach, and team building throughout his career in St. Louis. He is going to elevate our performance to new heights, and I look forward to him leading the way for our sales operation, turbo-charging revenue on all fronts.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Giuliani Hospitalized, Lives vs Livelihood Debate, Trump Challenges Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and the Economy/Job Losses Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines in the U.K., and expectations for U.S. vaccine distribution; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is hospitalized with COVID-19; the lives-versus-livelihood debate as lockdown’s hit California; Trump’s continuing challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues building his administration; Georgia’s January U.S. Senate runoff elections and Sunday’s LoefflerWarnock debate; and the state of the U.S. economy and the effects of job losses 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. It’ s going to be double duty for on-air pro Frank Ski who is joining Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” as morning host, effective February 1. Ski will continue to host the afternoon drive program at Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR, Washington, DC. In addition to his radio work, Ski is signed to a global publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for his catalogue of hip-hop, rap, gospel, and Baltimore club-music. WALR director of branding and programming Terri Avery says, “I’m thrilled to usher in this new era of ‘The Frank Ski Show’ on ‘KISS 104.1.’ Frank Ski is a proven leader and trusted voice in Atlanta’s African American community. We welcome Frank to the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.”…..Hubbard Radio announces that Fitz – host of KNUC, Seattle’s “Fitz In The Morning” show – will end his daily program in the next few weeks to focus his efforts on the nationally syndicated “Country Top 40” and the creation of new projects. Fitz says, “While I will dearly miss the daily interaction with my Seattle listeners, I’m truly excited to focus my attention on continuing the tradition of ‘CT40’ and bringing it into the next decade with fun, captivating new features, emotion, and remembering the stars of yesterday, while introducing the country stars of tomorrow.” KNUC brand/content director Scott Mahalick says, “We look forward to writing a new chapter for ‘98-9 The Bull’ next year and are working on plans now. We are glad to continue being the flagship radio station for ‘CT40’ with Fitz and look forward to him playing the hits for years to come.”

Thursday, December 14, 2015

| December 14, 2017

Tribune Makes Management Changes at WGN-AM, Chicago; Manley Rises to Station Manager.  There’s a new management structure in place at Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago.  Yesterday (12/13), the company announced that VP of content and programming Todd Manley is being promoted to station manager and WGN-TV/CLTV president and general manager Paul Rennie will now have the radio station under his purview.  Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert made the announcements in a statement, making official changes to WGN-AM’s management for the first time since Jimmy de Castro exited the VP/GM position last fall.  De Castro is now serving in the same capacity at Cumulus Media’s Chicago operations.  Tribune is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose other radio properties are three stations in Seattle (including news/talk KVI and news KOMO-AM/FM).

Nielsen: News/Talk Top Format of 2017.  As the chart above indicates, ratings giant Nielsen Audio’s analysis of the AQH share ratings of radio stations across all the PPM markets shows that news/talk was the top format for all listeners (6+) in 2017.  Nielsen reports, “Overall in 2017, News/Talk improved on its success from last year, as did Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) had a down year compared with 2016, but it remained the top-ranked format in terms of audience share among kids 6-11, teens 12-17, Millennials aged 18-34 and persons 25-to-54. And listening to Urban Contemporary stations (also known as hip-hop) was much more prevalent among younger audiences, whereas News/Talk radio (the No. 1 overall format each year in PPM markets) rises dramatically as we age.”

Cumulus Launches Alex Skills for 300 Stations.  The company says it worked with XAPP Media on the rollout of Amazon Alexa skills for “300 local radio stations, popular Westwood One brands, plus the leading dedicated Christmas radio skill, Christmas Radio.  This is the largest collection of custom skills available with Amazon Alexa in the U.S.”  Cumulus Media adds that “this week marks the kick-off of a national consumer marketing campaign designed to educate listeners on how to find and enable skills, fueled by local on-air, video and social promotion.  Individual stations will create localized messaging that speaks directly to their unique listenership.”  Cumulus EVP of programming and content Mike McVay states, “Voice-interactive technology is bringing radio listening back into the home and office and will enable interactivity with our stations in the connected car.  Our strategy to create a custom skill for individual radio stations and programs, while educating consumers, is critical as smart speakers have created an entirely new, and rapidly growing platform to consume audio content.”  EVP corporate marketing/president Westwood One Suzanne Grimes adds, “At an aggregated network level, we will have access to valuable data and insights on this rapidly-evolving audio ecosystem.  We are dedicated to educating, testing, and learning to evolve the listening experience for our listeners and brand partners.”

PBS Severs Ties with Tavis Smiley After Sexual Misconduct Allegations.  This story was first published in Variety.  It says that PBS has “indefinitely suspended” distribution of the “Tavis Smiley” program that is produced by Smiley’s own company, TS Media.  After hiring an outside law firm to investigate, the public broadcaster states, “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley.  The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”  Smiley’s talk radio program was syndicated by Public Radio International from 2005 through 2013.  Daniel Holloway’s Variety piece says, “The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.  Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.  In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment.  Several expressed concerns about retaliation.”

Lewandowski Packs House at WPHT ‘Speaker Series.’ WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) interviews former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during a standing-room-only appearance at the latest installment of the “WPHT Speaker Series.”  Zeoli says the capacity crowd heard insider tales from Lewandowski’s best-selling book, Let Trump Be Trump.

TALKERS News Notes.  Newsman Connell McShane leaves the “Imus in the Morning” show.  He replaced Charles McCord as the news anchor on the legendary program after his May 2011 retirement.  Don Imus delivered a glowing farewell “thank you” to McShane on the occasion of his final day with the show…..A change takes place at the executive level at the Radio Advertising BureauSharon Friedlander is named vice president, insights, effective January 2.  She takes over for Annette Malave who is leaving the RAB to pursue other interests.  Friedlander most recently served as partner/director at media planning agency MEC.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “We are extremely fortunate to have Sharon Friedlander join us at a time when insights and analytics have never been more important or more available for media, specifically, radio.  We’re delighted for Sharon to represent RAB throughout the research community, partner with RAB’s senior team, and to provide invaluable resources to RAB members.”…..SiriusXM is airing a schedule of 38 college football bowl games, including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins this Saturday, December 16, with a lineup of six games.  The National Championship game is Monday, January 8 at 8:00 pm at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Doug Jones Victory, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuclear Program, Omarosa Exits White House, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13).  The victory by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate; the Republican tax reform plan’s effects on taxpayers; new allegations of sexual impropriety against politicians and celebrities; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; former “Apprentice” star Omarosa Onée Manigault-Newman exits her White House position; and NFL/NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Urban programming pro Ken Johnson returns to New York to serve as program director for Cumulus Media’s urban AC WNBM “Radio 103.9.”  He’ll continue his role as VP of urban formats for the company.  Johnson was PD when Cumulus launched the urban AC format on the station.  Since April of 2015, he’s been operations manager for the company’s urban AC WUHT, Birmingham “Hot 107.7.”  Cumulus New York president and market manager Chad Lopez states, “Everyone at WNBM 103.9 and Cumulus are excited to have Ken Johnson back in New York.  Ken’s expertise and experience in this format will only continue to build a very strong loyal listener base and grow audience.”…..Two more iHeartMedia alternative rock stations pick up Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show,” featuring Woody, Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas.  The KYSR, Los Angeles-based morning show will be heard on WOLT-FM “ALT 103.3, Indy’s Alternative” and WDTW-FM “ALT 106.7, Detroit’s New Alternative” beginning January 3…..After two years hosting mornings at Townsquare Media’s country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak,” Dave Winsor messages his fans that he’s left the show.  “I’m no longer with ‘103.7 THE PEAK.’  The company did the best it could within its power to keep the show going, but it’s not to be.  Where will I go?  Who knows.  But, I’ll always be grateful to you!”