Tag: "Spike Eskin"
Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.
The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.
Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era. He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.
Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.
Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.
COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.”
Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.
Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.
KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.” KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.
Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.
TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis … Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” … Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” … A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.
Air Personalities Out at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City News/Talk and Sports Stations. A number of air personalities at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City stations have been let go in what appears to be a major money-saving move. News/talk KOKC-AM/K237GE morning drive host Jack Elliott posted the news on his Facebook page that he and the “entire air staff” have been let go. The station’s website now indicates an all-syndicated lineup. Afternoon host and program director Mac Mullings, PM drive personality Chad Alexander, and sister sports talk KRXO “107.7 The Franchise” morning host Andrew Gilman and afternoon sports talk host Colby Daniels also have been let go. KOKC has replaced the local morning show with “America in the Morning” and Radio America’s “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch occupies the afternoon drive daypart.
Report: Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton to Host Mornings on WTZA-AM, Atlanta. According to Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, talk personalities Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton are joining the new talk station being launched on WTZA-AM/ W271CV, Atlanta on Monday (2/3). Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting. Atlanta talk personalities Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and Mike Brooks are also joining the station’s lineup. Burke and Stockton worked together at Cumulus Media‘s talk WYAY-FM, Atlanta prior to the company selling that signal to Educational Media Foundation. Burke also hosts afternoons at JVC Media‘s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando “Florida Man Radio.” He’ll work both shows, hosting the WZTA program from Orlando. Ho’s story also indicates that the station is holding two-week tryouts for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart and former Phoenix talk host (and Arizona congressman) J.D. Hayworth will give it a go as will radio personality Rich Sullivan.
Theisen Promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing for Leighton Broadcasting. Sales pro Stephanie Theisen is named vice president of sales and marketing for Leighton Broadcasting. She currently serves the company as general sales manager for the company’s St. Cloud, Minnesota market and will continue in that role through 2020. Leighton operates 26 radio stations in seven markets and also produces events and is an interactive design and marketing company. Leighton Enterprises CEO Bob Leighton says, “The addition of Theisen as VP of sales and marketing will support the structure of our company as we continue to grow and expand. Stephanie has a successful track record in sales, team building, and hiring. We are looking forward to her focus in those areas in markets outside of our corporate headquarters, in 2020 and beyond.” Theisen adds, “In the coming months I will focus on amplifying the impact Leighton Broadcasting has in the communities we serve. Leighton is a robust company with talented employees throughout our locations and divisions. I am thrilled to serve as the VP of sales and marketing for this incredible company.”
‘Grant & Danny’ to Air on WRNL, Richmond. The WJFK-FM, Washington-based “Grant & Danny” Show featuring Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier is now being simulcast on Entercom’s Richmond, Virginia sports talk outlet WRNL-AM “Sports Radio 910 The Fan” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Paulsen and Rouhier both joined WJFK-FM in 2009 and have been partners on the midday show since 2014. Entercom Virginia SVP and market manager Bennett Zier says, “I’m excited to welcome Grant and Danny to the Capital City. They are a welcomed addition as we continue serving Richmond and the surrounding markets with premier sports content and coverage of local and regional teams.”
TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Jorge Sedano’s Los Angeles radio show on ESPN-owned KSPN “ESPNLA” is moving to a new daypart effective Monday (2/3). Sedano has been hosting the early evening show that’s often pre-empted by Lakers games. He tweets that effective Monday the “Sedano Show” will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT…..Entercom’s Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94WIP” is holding a daylong “Andy Reid Appreciation Day” today (1/30) to celebrate the career and accomplishments of former Eagles and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Reid took the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, losing to the New England Patriots 24-21. The station says that today it will “break down Reid’s career through discussions with former NFL players and on-air hosts Ike Reese and Jon Ritchie, both of whom were on Reid’s Super Bowl team.” Program director Spike Eskin says, “It’s finally time to give Andy credit where credit is due. I look forward to celebrating his great career and reminiscing on old Eagles memories with our on-air staff as we root for ‘Big Red’ to win his first Super Bowl.”…..iHeartMedia and OZY Media have entered into a multi-year deal to co-produce and promote a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts, with three shows set to be released this year and distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network. The first co-produced podcast will be “Around the World,” a travel and culture podcast featuring stories of changemakers and renegades from around the world who are doing the unexpected in the face of adversity. The content will originate from OZY’s groundbreaking year-long editorial project that saw them report three stories from every country on earth. The two additional podcasts set to launch this year include a spin-off series from OZY’s “The Thread” and a scripted series.
Impeachment, Wuhan Coronavirus, Presidential Race, Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Kobe Bryant Death, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; concerns about a global outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus; the Democrats battling to face Donald Trump in November; reaction to the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan; the aftermath of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant; and the rape trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most knowledgeable journalists covering U.S.-China relations, Joshua Philipp, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Philipp is the senior investigative reporter with the New York City-based international news organization, The Epoch Times – the multi-language, global newspaper launched in 2000 by freedom-seeking Chinese-Americans – that specializes, among its many beats, in fearlessly keeping tabs on China and the Chinese Communist Party. The podcast was recorded on January 27 and presents an up-to-date account of what is currently known about the still-unnamed “coronavirus” that burst on the scene in the past few weeks emanating from the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has begun to spread and cause illness at an alarming pace putting health officials all around the world on increasingly high alert. The crisis offers tremendous insight into the methodology of the Chinese Communist Party and will, undoubtedly have an impact on the superpower’s activities in world affairs in the coming months. This is a major news/talk media story with serious health, political, and economic implications. To listen to the entire podcast NOW, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s in the immediate aftermath of two related tragedies that morning drive personality Gary Smith is retiring from Neversink Radio’s classic hits, WABT-FM, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania “Pocono 96.7.” On January 7, Smith’s co-host Elisa Chase died suddenly after a brief illness at the age of 38. Then, the day after Chase’ memorial service, her husband died at their home. The station says, “Smith took time off after his colleague’s death and went back on the air with his ‘Gary in the Morning Show’ last week to do a memorial. It turned out it would be his last show.” On its website, the station writes to its listeners, “As you likely have heard, we lost our beloved Elisa in early January. Between this and the sudden death of her husband, our entire organization is in pain over these losses. Gary has taken this quite hard as Elisa was his ‘radio wife.’”…..Colorado Public Radio’s triple A KVOQ-FM, Denver “Indie 102.3” hired on-air pro Jason Thomas to host the afternoon drive show, effective February 5. Thomas hosted afternoons at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago for the past 12 years. “Indie 102.3” program director Willobee Carlin says, “We are thrilled to have Jason join our ‘Indie 102.3’ team. His background and success in the radio world will be incredible assets to both the station and Colorado’s music scene. He has an obsession for music that is truly contagious, and I can’t wait to see how that translates onto our airwaves.” Thomas comments, “The team at ‘Indie 102.3’ has been incredibly welcoming, and it’s been eye-opening to see how committed everyone is to Colorado and its music scene. I can’t think of a station/city combo that’s a better fit for me, and I’m excited to work and learn alongside a team that’s loaded with true music junkies that want to serve and connect with our listeners.”
TALKERS magazine Offices Closed for Fourth of July Holiday Weekend. The offices of TALKERS magazine will be closed from July 4-7 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We’ll be back with regular news updates and delivery of our daily emailer on Monday, July 8. However, should big industry news break over the four-day weekend, we’ll report it on Talkers.com. TALKERS wishes all readers a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.
Programmer Changes at WPHT, Philadelphia. As TALKERS tipped yesterday, programming pro Jared Hart has exited Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia where he was program director. The company confirms that sister sports talk WIP program director Spike Eskin is adding WPHT PD duties to his role with the Entercom cluster. It says “SportsRadio 94WIP” has “evolved dramatically under Spike’s leadership” and the company is “excited to see his impact on WPHT.” Additionally, the company is promoting WPHT executive producer Greg Stocker to assistant program director in recognition of his work on some of the station’s most successful shows. Stocker will handle the day-to-day programming responsibilities for WPHT under Eskin.
Brubaker Joins KNBR as GSM and Director of Sports Marketing. Sports marketing pro Scott Brubaker is named general sales manager and director of sports marketing for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. He was most recently president of the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots. Prior to that, he was vice president, national sales – Southeast and Central Region for Learfield Sports. He’s also served in sales positions with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns. Cumulus San Francisco VP/director of sales Scotty Bastable says, “We saw a fabulous fit when the opportunity arose for us to bring in a talent of Scott’s caliber. He is a proven winner and leader in the sports world. Having him at the helm of KNBR will allow us to continue to be ‘The Sports Leader’ for the Bay Area for many years to come.”
Jonathan Wier’s Evening Show Cancelled at KMBZ-FM, Kansas City. Talk show host Jonathan Wier announces via Facebook that his 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm program on KMBZ-FM, Kansas City has been cancelled by Entercom management. Wier praises program director Alan Furst as “the best PD that any host could ever ask to have” and says the change was “purely about money.” He’ll continue his program as a podcast.
Walton & Johnson’s John Walton Dies. One half of the regionally syndicated, KPRC, Houston-based “Walton & Johnson” morning show – John Walton – passed away late Monday night (7/1) at the age of 67. Partner Steve Johnson (right) stated in a post on the KPRC website: “It is with great shock and sadness that I inform the Walton & Johnson audience of the untimely and sudden passing of John Walton (left). His medical issues were too numerous to overcome. He had been receiving treatment over the last month but continued to suffer. He made the decision to return home yesterday and spend his last hours with his family. He went out on his own terms…I will always cherish John as not only a partner but a dear friend. His wit and humor defined him as the unique individual we all knew him to be. He will never be replaced. He had a voice and he had something to say.” Walton and Johnson first partnered as morning co-hosts in 1983. They took the show into syndication a decade later. Steve Johnson says the program will continue “as soon as possible.”
New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” for Week of July 1-5 Now Posted. The recently launched, one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (July 1-5) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia‘s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. It currently airs on WONK-FM in the key position of Friday at 6:00 pm as a dynamic programming punctuation mark of the week’s conversation and is also heard on several other stations around the country. Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Happy Birthday, America!”) features a lineup of guests that includes TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; radio talk show hosts Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Brad Shepard of Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; and social/political observer Victoria Jones of the DC Radio Company. The non-partisan-but-hard-hitting program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought. This weekend’s installment is geared to the Independence Day holiday. For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Keynote Chat Between Sean Hannity and Michael Harrison. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s post presents the convention’s keynote chat in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation. The two discuss a variety of topics including Hannity’s special relationship with President Donald J. Trump; what it takes to be successful on both radio and television talk media; the challenges facing talk radio in terms of ratings and marketing; Hannity’s feelings about his life and career; plus more. The session is introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones. Already posted on the page: The official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories” as well as 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 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.
Covering the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship. Pictured above is Westwood One News New York bureau chief Steve Kastenbaum (left) interviewing Joey Chestnut (right) before he goes for his 12th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship title on July 4that Coney Island, New York. Chestnut is also trying to break his record of eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Washington DC Fourth of July Celebration, 2020 Census Citizenship Question, Immigration Reform-Detention Facility Conditions, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-EU Tariffs, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in World Cup Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/2). The controversy over President Trump’s plans for military equipment to be part of the Washington Fourth of July parade; the Trump Administration drops the fight to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform policy and the conditions at border detention centers; the Democrats running for president in 2020; President Trump’s plans for tariffs on EU exports; and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s advancement to the World Cup Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, iHeartMedia’s hip hop KUBE promotes APD/MD and afternoon personality Eric Rosado to program director. iHeartMedia Seattle SVP of programming Rich Moore says, “I’m very excited for Eric and this opportunity. The KUBE team and team of support have been working hard bringing KUBE back and now Eric will continue to lead us further down that path.”…..On-air pro Ralphie Marino is exiting his morning drive gig with Cape Cod Broadcasting Media’s hot AC WQRC, Cape Cod “99.9 The Q” to relocate to Florida to be near family. He posted to Facebook, “I arrived on Cape Cod with two kids, not knowing a soul, but grateful to be back on the radio. A lot has changed in the five years I have been here and a lot stayed the same. I have learned so much about this wonderful community that spans from the bridge to P-Town. I was a washed ashore when I arrived, and I leave a Cape Codder.”…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic on the Willie’s Roadhouse channel. The special live broadcast will feature live performances from Willie Nelson & Family, Luke Combs, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, as well as Steve Earle & The Dukes, Hayes Carll, Ray Wylie Hubbard and more.