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January 2021 PPM Ratings Takeaways

| March 8, 2021

Spoken-Word Summary. Our final overview of the Nielsen Audio January 2021 PPM survey period (January 7 – February 3) is a composite spoken-word scoreboard.

Highlighted are all news/talk; news; sports talk; and public radio news/talk stations that finished in the top five (January 2021, 6+).

Also noted are the five stations in each of those four genres posting the highest AQH share (January 2021, 6+).

All comparisons are “Holiday” 2020 – January 2021 (6+).

NEWS/TALK

News/Talk #1 January 2021 (6+)

KTRH, Houston (5.5 – 7.5, +2.0)

WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Atlanta (9.0 – 11.8, +2.8)

KIRO-FM, Seattle (7.2 – 7.4, +.2)

KFBK AM & KFBK-FM, Sacramento (7.8 – 10.2, +2.4)

KNRS AM & KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (6.0 – 7.9, +1.9)

WIBC, Indianapolis (7.6 – 8.9, +1.3)

WISN, Milwaukee (8.2 – 11.0, +2.8)

News/Talk #2 January 2021 (6+)

KFYI, Phoenix (4.6 – 6.0, +1.4)

KFI, Riverside (4.6 – 5.2, +.6)

WOAI, San Antonio (6.8 – 7.0, +.2)

KSL AM & KSL-FM, Salt Lake City (6.1 – 7.0, +.9)

WLW, Cincinnati (7.4 – 7.9, +.5)

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (8.4 – 9.2, +.8)

News/Talk #3 January 2021 (6+)

KFI, Los Angeles (4.7 – 5.0, +.3)

KXL, Portland (4.8 – 6.2, +1.4)

WBT-AM & WBT-FM Charlotte (5.0 – 6.6, +1.6)

WTKK, Raleigh (5.4 – 7.0, +1.6)

WTMJ, Milwaukee (6.0 – 6.5, +.5)

WTIC-AM, Hartford (5.8 – 6.8, +1.0)

News/Talk #4 January 2021 (6+)

KOGO, San Diego (5.1 – 5.7, +.6)

WTKS, Orlando (3.9 – 6.1, +2.2)

KLBJ-AM, Austin (4.2 – 5.7, +1.5)

WTVN, Columbus (7.3 – 8.5, +1.2)

WWTN, Nashville (5.3 – 6.8, +1.5)

WPRO-AM & WEAN, Providence (5.4 – 6.1, +.7)

News/Talk #5 January 2021 (6+)

WMAL, Washington, DC (4.6 – 5.9, +1.3)

WHPT, Tampa (4.1 – 4.8, +.7)

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh (5.3 – 5.6, +.3)

Top Five News/Talk Stations January 2021 (By 6+ AQH Share)

1 WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Atlanta (11.8)

2 WISN, Milwaukee (11.0)

3 KFBK AM & KFBK-FM, Sacramento (10.2)

4 WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (9.2)

5 WIBC, Indianapolis (8.9)

NEWS

News #1 January 2021 (6+)

WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago (6.8 – 7.3, +.5)

WBZ-AM, Boston (6.5 – 8.2, +1.7)

News #2 January 2021 (6+)

KCBS-AM & KFRC-FM San Francisco (8.1 – 8.5, +.4)

WTOP & WTLP Washington, DC (8.1 – 9.9, +1.8)

KYW & WPHI, Philadelphia (5.4 – 6.4, +1.0)

KCBS-AM & KFRC-FM, San Jose (5.6 – 6.8, +1.2)

News #4 January 2021 (6+)

KOMO-AM & KOMO-FM  Seattle (4.6 – 5.7, +1.1)

Top Five News Stations January 2021 (By 6+ AQH Share)

1 WTOP & WTLP Washington, DC (9.9)

2 KCBS-AM & KFRC-FM San Francisco (8.5)

3 WBZ-AM, Boston (8.2)

4 WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago (7.3)

5 KCBS-AM & KFRC-FM, San Jose (6.8)

SPORTS TALK

Sports Talk #2 January 2021 (6+)

KFXN, Minneapolis (7.8 – 8.4, +.6)

Sports Talk #3 January 2021 (6+)

WXYT-FM, Detroit (4.4 – 5.5, +1.1)

Sports Talk #4 January 2021 (6+)

WFAN, Long Island (4.1 – 4.3, +.2)

KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (6.6 – 7.9, +1.3)

Sports Talk #5 January 2021 (6+)

WIP, Philadelphia (5.9 – 6.1, +.2)

WBZ-FM, Boston (5.3 – 5.7, +.4)

WBNS-FM, Columbus (5.6 – 6.0, +.4)

Top Five Sports Talk Stations January 2021 (By 6+ AQH Share)

1 KFXN, Minneapolis (8.4)

2 KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (7.9)

3 WIP, Philadelphia (6.1)

4 WBNS-FM, Columbus (6.0)

5 WBZ-FM, Boston (5.7)

PUBLIC RADIO NEWS/TALK

Public Radio News/Talk #1 January 2021 (6+)

KQED, San Francisco  (9.0 – 10.9, +1.9)

WAMU, Washington, DC (8.3 – 13.4, +5.1)

KNOW, Minneapolis (8.3 – 9.5, +1.2)

KCFR, Denver (7.2 – 7.5, +.3)

KOPB, Portland (9.7 – 12.0, +2.3)

KUT, Austin (8.5 – 11.5, +3.0)

WOSU, Columbus (7.0 – 8.6, +1.6)

KQED, San Jose (10.4 – 12.8, +2.4)

WUNC, Raleigh (9.9 – 11.3, +1.4)

Public Radio News/Talk #2 January 2021 (6+)

KUOW, Seattle (6.4 – 7.3, +.9)

KPBS, San Diego (5.9 – 6.2, +.3)

KXJZ, Sacramento (5.0 – 6.4, +1.4)

Public Radio News/Talk #3 January 2021 (6+)

WBEZ, Chicago (4.3 – 6.7, +2.4)

WHYY, Philadelphia (4.6 – 6.3, +1.7)

KCUR, Kansas City (5.2 – 6.1, +.9)

WNPR, Hartford (5.4 – 6.8, +1.4)

Public Radio News/Talk #4 January 2021 (6+)

KUER, Salt Lake City (5.4 – 6.4, +1.0)

WJCT, Jacksonville (4.3 – 6.2, +1.9)

Public Radio News/Talk #5 January 2021 (6+)

WNYC-FM, New York (4.1 – 4.9, +.8)

WPLN-FM, Nashville (4.9 – 6.5, +1.6)

WLRN, West Palm Beach (4.0 – 4.8, +.8)

Top Five Public Radio News/Talk Stations January 2021 (By 6+ AQH Share)

1 WAMU, Washington, DC (13.4)

2 KQED, San Jose (12.8)

3 KOPB, Portland (12.0)

4 KUT, Austin (11.5)

5 WUNC, Raleigh (11.3)

 

Email managing editor Mike Kinosian at Mike.Kinosian@gmail.com

Talk Radio: America’s Last Best Hope Out of this Mess

| January 11, 2021

By Phil Boyce
Senior VP of Spoken Word
Salem Radio Network

NEW YORK — We all know it. We are in a mess in America. The battle lines are drawn, and if this isn’t a civil war without bullets, I am not sure what one would look like. One side wants to crush the other. Each side believes the other side wants to destroy America. The left vision for what America can be is drastically different than what the right sees and desires. Gone are the pretenses of fairness. This is a mess.

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Monday Memo: In 2021, What Does It Mean to Be Relevant?

| December 14, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Think 2020 was a bender?  Grab the arm rest!

Silver lining in this year-we’d-like-to-forget: It knocked us out of the business-as-usual mindset.

We know him, we love him. Until 2020, we could simply applaud his provocative take, then keep-doing-what-we’re-doing.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

| August 25, 2020

KKFN-FM, Denver’s Darren McKee Status Uncertain After Racist Twitter Typo. Denver alternative publication Westword reports that KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon personality Darren “D-Mac” McKee was off the air yesterday (8/24) after Sunday’s tweet in which he posted the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” McKee quickly deleted the tweet and apologized. How the “N-word” got there instead of “Nuggets” is unclear but it comes a week after Charlotte Hornets announcer John Focke was suspended for the same instance – tweeting the “N-word” in place of “Nuggets.” It’s unknown when McKee will return to the air. Here’s what he said in the aftermath. “Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game. I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry.” Station PD Raj Sharan tells Westword that Bonneville policy is not to discuss personnel issues publicly.

Bill Smee Named Vice President of News for Entercom. Back in early July, Entercom CEO David Field announced to staff that news pro Bill Smee is joining the company in the newly created position of vice president of news. Now, Entercom makes the announcement public. It says that in this position Smee will have strategic oversight of the company’s “best-in-class multiplatform local news brands, including eight all-news and 18 news/talk radio stations in 23 markets across the country, and nationwide via the RADIO.COM platform. Smee will spearhead linear audio, podcast and on-demand audio, written editorial, and video news content produced both centrally and at market level, while collaborating with digital product teams on the design of new features to serve news listeners.” Smee has led video strategy for multiple leading news outlets, including CNN, where he supervised editorial content and managed rapid deployment teams on breaking news specials as senior supervising producer for the outlet’s documentary unit “CNN Presents.” Smee also previously served as director of digital video for NBC News, where he launched, built and led a news team to produce original video for all digital platforms. He also served as an executive producer for Slate Magazine. Smee previously served as a strategic consultant for Entercom’s news radio, podcasting and digital platforms. Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Bill is a highly respected, award-winning news professional with over 30 years of experience leading and growing high-profile news brands. As the #1 local news platform, we remain committed to providing our audiences with quality local content via our collection of iconic news brands. Bill’s expertise will help us enhance and expand our position as an unparalleled leading news platform to better serve our communities.”

NRRC Recommends National Buys Be Based on Fall 2019 Ratings. On the heels of Nielsen’s statement that future media buying and planning decisions should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates (including the upcoming Spring 2020 Nationwide survey) the Network Radio Research Council is recommending that all network/national buying and selling be based on the Fall 2019 Nationwide survey – the latest data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRRC says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented divergence of traditional patterns of media consumption, including AM/FM listening and the streaming of audio. Listening behaviors were significantly altered starting in mid-March 2020, as the public adjusted to remote work environments and shelter-at-home mandates across the United States. The broadcast month of April represents the first month of Nielsen’s Spring 2020 (April-May-June) Nationwide survey. Each month subsequent to April has demonstrated consistent increases in listening, and there is confidence listenership will continue to stabilize and approach pre-COVID-19 levels. It is, therefore, the NRRC’s position that the Fall 2019 Nationwide book represents the best solution for the upcoming 2021 network radio upfront and Q4 scatter buys.” The Network Radio Research Council was created in 2001 “to promote valid, reliable, and effective national radio audience measurement research.” Its current member roster includes: AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, Sun Broadcast Group, United Stations Radio Networks, and Westwood One.

PPM Analysis: Ongoing Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a deep dive into Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings in this report. Although some people in portions of the country have returned to commuting, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting radio listening patterns. In today’s report, you can see which markets put up the strongest PPM numbers for spoken-word stations; which markets gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share for spoken-word stations (and which markets lost the most); as well as which stations gained the most shares and which lost the most. See it all here.

Presidential Election/Republican National Convention, Kellyanne Conway to Exit White House, BLM Movement/Wisconsin Riot, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Openings/College Flareups, Navalny Poisoning, California Wildfires, and Tropical Storms Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The November presidential election and the first night of the Republican National Convention; Donald Trump’s White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announces she’ll leave her post at the end of the month; the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of a Black man by police; the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the outbreaks at several college campuses; officials in Germany say Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned; the California wildfires; and Tropical Storms Laura and Marco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel looks at ESPN’s taking over of day-to-day operations of KESN-FM, Dallas on October 8. Cumulus Media has been operating the station since October of 2013. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal and ESPN will resume operation of the station. It is expected that ESPN will air its entire lineup of national programs beginning in October…..Effective January 1, 2021,  The Weather Channel and Skyview Networks, will begin a multi-year partnership in which Skyview will handle radio network sales and distribution for The Weather Channel. TWC president Tom O’Brien says, “As one of the top five most trusted brands in America, The Weather Channel radio network’s goal for this new partnership is to further expand our reach to provide more listeners with the world’s most accurate weather information to manage their daily lives. We’re thrilled to partner with Skyview Networks as we continue to grow our radio network’s reach and increase our brand awareness among listeners, radio stations and advertisers alike.”…..VSiN announces an expanded lineup, new shows and additional talent heading into “the most anticipated sports betting season in years.” Beginning this fall, the 24/7 sports betting network will begin broadcasting nearly 100 live linear hours each week, adding several new shows and new talent. VSiN is adding Tim Murray, former host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line,” former professional football player and sports broadcaster Mike Pritchard, journalist and $1 Million Super Contest winner James Salinas, and the NFL Network’s Danielle Alvari. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “VSiN has experienced incredible growth over the past 18 months, significantly expanding distribution, advertising sales, and industry partnerships, while enhancing our product across channels. We’re excited to build on that momentum by launching new shows and introducing new talent. This new programming will allow us to cover sportsbooks around the country and provide unique and valuable insights to our growing audience of sports bettors.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The WQHT, New York show “Ebro In the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” is going into syndication via Superadio on September 8. The program features Ebro Darden and co-hostsLaura Stylez and Pete Rosenberg. Superadio Networks president Eric Faison says, “Ebro is the king of real talk and a reluctant influencer, but what you hear is what you get. We’re happy to be able to bring this show to the world via radio stations across the country.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Sal Palazzolo program director for classic rock WODE-FM, Allentown “99.9 The Hawk” Palazzolo previously programmed sister alternative WWYY-FM prior to it becoming a simulcast of country WCTO-FM. Cumulus Lehigh Valley VP and market manager Elizabeth Pembleton says, “It is exciting to welcome Sal to this new role with ‘99.9 The Hawk.’ The support from the entire Cumulus staff, especially WODE air talent and corporate programming, has been outstanding. This promotion is well deserved and earned through commitment and dedication. It is an honor to have an individual of Sal’s caliber guiding one of our flagships.” At the same time, the station promotes Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell from weekends to the afternoon drive position.

COVID-19’s Effect on Spoken-Word Listening

| June 23, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Thorough overviews have recently been posted for news stations (last Wednesday, 6/17); sports talk (last Thursday, 6/18); and commercial, English-language news/talk (this past Monday, 6/22).

Our ratings coverage is being further enhanced during the coronavirus crisis as we assess overall radio listening – and spoken-word, specifically.

Noted below are news/talk stations that appear in any PPM-market with at least a .1 (May 2020, 6+).

Meanwhile, a top 20 ranking (May 2020, 6+) is the inclusion threshold for news; sports talk; and public radio news/talk facilities.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations subscribing to its services. As a result, ratings stats in this analysis are limited to outlets paying that company for its information.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

| May 28, 2020

PPM Analysis: The Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents augmented analysis of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM ratings with a look at how spoken-word stations performed (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share data). During the April survey, Washington, DC was the strongest spoken-word market with its stations combining for a 28 share. Boston was close behind with a 27.6 share and San Jose followed in third place with a 25.5 share. PPM markets showing the most improvement from the March survey to the April survey were led by Milwaukee (+4.6 shares), New York (+3.8 shares), and Salt Lake City (+3.6 shares). Conversely, markets that lost the most spoken-word share were Kansas City (-1.6 shares), Hartford (-1.4 shares), and Raleigh (-1.3 shares). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Re-Opening Across America, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Twitter, Minneapolis Protests, China’s Hong Kong Policy, and Michael Flynn Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The gradual re-opening of the economy in states across the nation; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens executive action against Twitter for ‘fact-checking’ his tweet; protesters clash with police in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police; China continues its aggressive policies in Hong Kong; and the process of “unmasking” is reviewed in the wake of the Michael Flynn case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia online publication Crossing Broad reports that sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli has been suspended a day after an on-air spat with producer Tyrone Johnson and air personality Natalie Egenolf. Missanelli, explaining his absence from the show, tells reporter Kyle Scott that he’s taking vacation time. Scott further reports that sources tell him fellow staffers at ‘The Fanatic’ are “fed up” with Missanelli and want him fired, but Scott writes that Missanelli’s show is crucial to the station’s bottom line and doubts management would take such a step…..WHAM-AM, Rochester evening host Shannon Joy tells Spectrum Local News that she had a “scary encounter” with a local man while leaving a recent re-open Rochester protest. Joy, who hosts a nightly 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on WHAM, says the man blocked her exit from a narrow street with his car, got out and screamed and ranted at her before returning to his car, taking out a large bottle of hand sanitizer and dumping it on her car. Police later arrested 40-year-old Morgan Bida and charged him with menacing…..A new date of June 15 has been set by Townsquare Media as the date it will release its first quarter 2020 financial data. The company says that the new June date will give it, along with its former and current independent accounting firms, the additional time it needs to complete the Form 10-K annual report for 2019 as well as the Form 10-Q for the quarter that ended March 31. Townsquare will hold an earnings call on that date and plans to present updates from its reporting segments for April and May…..WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee producer Rachel Frye is announced as the recipient of the first-ever Results Broadcasting Education Grant. The grant was created to provide student debt relief for broadcasters working in Wisconsin. Recipients get $1,000 for that purpose. Frye has been with WTMJ since June of 2014. She is a 2013 graduate of Western Illinois University. Good Karma Brands VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “She’s hard-working, sets a very high bar of expectations for herself and our team and sweats the details.”

WBT, Charlotte Afternoon Drive Host Brett Winterble Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the rising stars of news/talk radio, Brett Winterble of WBT, Charlotte is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” After spending nearly a decade with Rush Limbaugh as a producer, Winterble – a seasoned pro – began his own conservative talk show in 2008. Since then he has been heard on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, plus KFWB, Los Angeles and until recently KFMB-AM, San Diego before joining WBT. He’s a graduate of Emerson College and American Military University with degrees in Political Communication and Homeland Security Intelligence Studies. Among the subjects Harrison and Winterble discuss include the growth and dynamism of the Carolinas, the US military, changes in technology and the radio business, the politics of COVID-19, and the uncertain state of the Republican National Convention scheduled for Charlotte August 24-27. The interview was produced on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend with an addendum recorded immediately following President Trump’s Monday morning threat to move the convention elsewhere if the governor of North Carolina fails to guarantee the arena be opened to full capacity. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located on the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, Entercom flips WODS-FM from CHR to adult hits as “BIG 103 – Music Unleashed.” The company had cancelled “The TJ Show” starring TJ Taormina back in early April. Now, the station goes jockless at least for a while as it transitions to a format focusing on music from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with core artists including: Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears, and Blink-182, among others. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners. ‘BIG 103’ will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.” The station says it will feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time…..Beasley Media Group promotes Sherri Powers to chief engineer at its Detroit cluster that includes rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and hip hop WMGC “105.The Bounce.” Powers was most recently assistant chief engineer. She says, “It’s been incredible working in radio over the past 29 years. I’ve had the great fortune and privilege of spending a great majority of my career with the incredible Beasley Media Group stations in the Motor City. I’d like to thank Mac Edwards and the incredible people I work with every day for their support!”…..Key Networks is launching the new country radio show “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on Monday (6/1) in 16 markets across the U.S. The program’s inaugural affiliates include: WGSQ-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee; KBCR-FM, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; WAKX-FM, Palm Coast, Florida; and WYOT-FM, Rockford, Illinois. Key Networks says the show is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. It is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Monday, September 23, 2019

| September 23, 2019

New Management Ousts Manley from WGN-AM Station Manager Position. Just a day after closing on its acquisition of Tribune Media, Nexstar begins making changes to news/talk WGN-AM’s operations, letting station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley go after six years in the position.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, new executive vice president Sean Compton hinted during a Friday meeting with staffers that there are more changes on the horizon.  Compton appointed news and operations director Mary Sandberg Boyle interim programming manager.  Feder notes, “In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, the station tied for 16th place overall, with mornings, middays, afternoons and evenings all out of the top 10.”

KQFN, Phoenix Debuts New Morning Show. Sports talk KQFN, Phoenix “The Fanatic” announces the launch of the new “Bruce Jacobs & Helly” morning show starring longtime Phoenix radio personality Bruce Jacobs and former Dallas Cowboys lineman Dale HellestraeCRC Broadcasting president and CEO Ron Cohen says, “We are so excited to have two well-known Phoenix sports radio veterans team up together every morning on ‘The Fanatic.’  With Bruce and Dale on board, we’re really looking forward to increasing our growth and popularity in the coming weeks and months.” Jacobs has served with sports talk KGME-AM, news/talk KFYI-AM in Phoenix and nationally with FOX Sports Radio.  In addition to winning three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Hellestrae has been a color analyst for the Arizona Rattlers, high school football, and college football.

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words for Weekend Talkers. If you’re an attorney, realtor, veterinarian, financial advisor, or other professional services provider brokering weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients, consultant Holland Cooke says there’s good news and bad news.  Read it here.

PPM Analysis: August 2019 Spoken-Word Pacesetters. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis – based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey – in which he gauges “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  In this report, Kinosian determines the top spoken-word markets by 6+ share; the spoken-word markets by 6+ share increases from July to August; and the top spoken-word markets by 6+ share increases from August 2018 to August 2019; plus more. See his entire report here.

WABC’s John Batchelor Show to Broadcast from Azerbaijan. All this week, the John Batchelor show – emanating from WABC, New York – will air live from the Republic of Azerbaijan. Sponsored by marketing technology company Scala Inc. and in conjunction with the Embassy of Azerbaijan, Batchelor travels to the busy neighborhood of the South Caucasus to broadcast from the military front lines of the troubled Nagorno-Karakakh region.  The press release states, “For 25 years Armenia has occupied Azerbaijan’s territory and abused the villagers, despite a ceasefire agreement.  The John Batchelor Show aims to interview the farmers, soldiers, and leaders who live in hope and fear.  Later in Baku, John Batchelor will attend the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan’s conference, ‘Impact Investing: Opportunities and Challenges for Institutional Investors.’ Azerbaijan is the critical nexus for oil and natural gas flowing out of the rich Caspian Sea Basin and along pipelines to the needs of Asia Minor, the Levant and now Europe.  Considering the recent attacks on the Persian Gulf energy production, developing and securing the Caspian Sea energy is most timely.” Batchelor says, “I look to help my audience to understand the now two-generations-long brutality in Nagorno-Karabakh that haunts the South Caucasus.  I also aim to report on how the energy producers of the region are planning to provide ever more reliable resources to their customers, especially in Europe.”  Next Tuesday morning (10/1), Batchelor will participate in the TALKERS magazine produced “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” at the Hellen Mills Theatre in New York City.  See the full story below for details.

TALKERS News Notes.  In Lynchburg, Virginia, Mari White leaves her role with Three Daughters Media’s news/talk WIQO to take on the public information officer position with the Lynchburg Department of Water Resources. She had been co-hosting the “Mari and Brian in the Morning” program with Brian Weigand for the past six years. Weigand is continuing to host the morning show on WIQO…..Legendary radio personality Joey Reynolds emceed the 4th Annual Meatball Eating Contest held on Saturday (9/21) at the Feast of San Gennaro in the Little Italy section of Lower Manhattan.  At right, Reynolds (left) is pictured with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right), who appeared on stage during the competition…..Leighton Enterprises enters into an agreement to acquire three Alexandria, Minnesota signals from Paradis Broadcasting of Alexandria.  The group includes news/talk KXRA-AM, classic rock KXRA-FM, and hot AC KXRZ-FM…..The Dallas News reports on the new brewery and taproom being launched in part by KRLD-FM, Dallas midday hosts Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade.  The brewery is being called Rollertown Beerworks located in suburban Celina and expects to open in 2020.  The piece notes that “Ben & Skin” have a passion for beer that “spawned an event series called the Brew Crew Tour, which invites hardcore fans known as TOLOs (turn on, leave on) to meet them for a pint at different taprooms in the area.”

Trump-Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Iran Tensions, UN Climate Action Summit, Trudeau Brownface Scandal, Netanyahu’s Future, and Sunday’s Emmy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy over President Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020, including Elizabeth Warren’s rise in the Democratic race; the military tensions between Iran and the U.S. over the nuclear deal and the attack on a Saudi oil installation; today’s United Nations General Assembly and the UN Climate Action Summit; the “brownface” scandal that is engulfing Canada’s Justin Trudeau; the close race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz for prime minister of Israel; and Sunday evening’s Emmy Awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Gene Sandbloom is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Portland stations and program director for triple A KINK-FM. Sandbloom was most recently operations manager for KROQ and adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM” in Los Angeles.  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We are thrilled to have Gene join us. His leadership, creativity, experience and can-do attitude is a perfect fit. He will add a new dynamic to our team.”…..This past weekend, the ninth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Cage The Elephant, Camila CabelloChance The Rapper, Def Leppard, French Montana, Green Day, Halsey, Heart, H.E.R., Hootie & The Blowfish, Marshmello with special guest Kane Brown, Miley Cyrus, Mumford & Sons, Steve Aoki with special guests Darren Criss and Monsta X, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band and more.  For fans not in attendance, iHeartRadio on-air talent hosted a live backstage broadcast featuring exclusive artist interviews and performances that aired across iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the country in more than 150 markets and on iHeartRadio.  The CW Network exclusively livestreamed both nights of the festival via CWTV.com and The CW App, and will broadcast a two-night television special on Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the launch of two variety hits formats: Variety Hits-Pop and Variety Hits-Rock.  The two new formats will debut in October.  Variety Hits-Pop features artists including: JourneyMadonna, Michael Jackson, and Maroon 5; and Variety Hits-Rock skews toward artists such as: Aerosmith, Queen, Nirvana, and Fleetwood Mac.  Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland says, “The variety hits format checks a lot of boxes for many markets and the time is right for us to build a satellite-delivered version that enhances our successful, custom music-scheduled format.  We designed this to accommodate our customers who wanted an unbranded, flexible structure, with up to 13 opportunities an hour to make it their own.”…..Alternative WHHZ-FM, Newberry, Florida “100.5 The Buzz” in the Gainesville market announces Kaylan Moody adds music director duties to her morning host role with the Marc Radio-owned station…..Country singer/songwriter David Kroll is back in his hometown of Burlington, Iowa where he’s the new morning drive host on Pritchard Broadcasting’s KDMG-FM “Big Country 103.1.” Kroll spent the past 10 years in Nashville where he wrote songs and toured with his band.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

| May 1, 2019

iHeartMedia Announces Completion of Restructuring. Almost 14 months after entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, iHeartMedia announces it has “successfully completed its restructuring process.  As a result of the comprehensive balance sheet restructuring, iHeartMedia’s debt has been significantly reduced – from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion.”  With the balance sheet reorganization comes the separation of iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings into two independent, publicly traded companies.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that iHeartMedia now has a capital structure that matches our exciting operating business.  The focused dedication of our employees and the unwavering support of our new owners and advertising partners enabled iHeartMedia to seamlessly complete the restructuring process and reach this final milestone.  iHeartMedia enters this next phase of growth as a multi-platform audio company with a vastly improved financial profile. We are well-positioned to continue to innovate and offer cutting-edge technologies, products, and services to our audiences and advertisers.”  Pittman continues to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the new iHeartMedia, Inc.  Rich Bressler continues to serve as president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.  A new board of directors has been appointed, including Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, and the following members: Jay Rasulo, Gary Barber, Brad Gerstner, Sean Mahoney, and Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.

David Field on Spoken-Word Radio and Sports Gambling.  During the first quarter earnings call with analysts yesterday (4/30), Entercom president and CEO David Field talked about the value of his spoken-word formatted radio stations, saying the group – all-news, news/talk, and sports talk – account for “roughly about 40% of our revenue mix across our stations.”  The company operates 235 stations and, by TALKERS‘ count, approximately 30% of its stations are spoken-word.  Separately and responding to a question about the gambling category and the trend towards legal sports gambling across the country, Field expressed hopes for the future of the sports gambling advertising category, saying the company’s large group of sports talk stations should be able to capitalize on that.  He stated, “We have seen estimates that the sports gambling advertising market could be in the neighborhood of $2 billion.  If you think about radio getting a chunk of that, a reasonable chunk of it and Entercom’s prowess in the sports market, we think this could become a $1 million or $2 million category for Entercom over time.  That is certainly a reasonable aspirational goal.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Subscribers can see the rest of the transcript here.

‘The O’Reilly Update’ Show Launches. This is the week “The O’Reilly Update” – the new, 15-minute daily radio program featuring Bill O’Reilly – debuts on more than 100 stations.  Key Networks is syndicating the program and reports that inaugural affiliates include: WBAL, Baltimore; WDTK, Detroit; WHK, Cleveland; KUFO, Portland; and KTSA, San Antonio.  Key Networks says the program is airing in four of the top 10 DMAs, nine of the top 20 DMAs and 18 of the top 50 DMAs.  It is also being rolled out on 21 non-news/talk stations, including on country and classic hits outlets.  The show – with all network spots included within the show and two minutes of local avails – is delivered daily at 11:30 am ET.  WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian says, “Bill O’Reilly has a track record of insightful and unfiltered commentary on vital topics and issues.  His familiar voice and dynamic point of view augments our lineup of outspoken hosts and commentators.”  Alpha Media news/talk/sports content director Bruce Collins says, “Bill is a true natural storyteller.  I’m extremely excited to have him on-air in Portland on ‘Freedom 970.’” Meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Storywhere he will be delivering a special keynote address.  The convention is rapidly nearing a sellout.  For registration information, please click here.

 

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Overcoming the Public’s Distrust of the Media Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention.   The highly polarized nature of today’s political climate has created a widespread public distrust of the media in general.  Dealing with this complex issue has become one of the fundamental challenges facing news/talk hosts of all political stripes.  It also creates new opportunities.  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, is featuring a panel discussion addressing this concern and all matters of credibility titled “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, host, WYD MediaJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, “The Joe Pags Show;” Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, “The Rick Ungar Program”/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com.  Don’t miss this session!  The discussion will be moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

Midwest Closes on Alpha Media Acquisitions. The $21.6 million deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications that gives Midwest six Peoria market radio stations closes.  The station group includes news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY and five music-formatted signals.  The Duke Wright-led Midwest Communications owns 75 other radio stations in states including: Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  This is its first Illinois acquisition.  At the time the sale was announced, Wright stated, “The first time my wife and I visited Peoria was to visit son Michael enrolled at Bradley University.  We were most impressed with the city and its radio stations.  My thought was that here was a market that would probably nicely fit into the Midwest Communications radio group.”  KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Indiana’s Legendary WHBU-AM Relaunches as Talk-Music Hybrid.  The Anderson, Indiana-licensed station is owned by Woof Boom Radio and the company is re-launching the “oldest commercial station” in the state to more intensely serve the Muncie-Marion market.  The station will feature talk shows to focus on Anderson and Madison counties plus classic hits from the 60s and 70s.  New morning host (and Hoosier native) Mitch Henck handles the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show.  He says, “I am really excited to help launch a new morning news/talk show on WHBU. We really put Anderson and Madison county first. We want to capture stories about the special people who live here as they pursue their hopes and dreams every day.”

Dan Mason Named Chairman of VSiN.  Longtime radio executive Dan Mason is named chairman of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) the media network dedicated to sports betting information.  In this role, Mason will “work closely with VSiN’s management team to capitalize on the emerging growth and partnership opportunities in the sports betting and media space.”  VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “There are few media executives with both the experience and reputation that Dan brings to the table.  He’s already brought invaluable guidance to our team as a senior adviser and investor, and we look forward to having even greater access to his unmatched depth of knowledge and relationships in this industry.  We’re thrilled to work even more closely with this consummate leader and better leverage his C-level expertise to build on and accelerate the recent growth we are experiencing at VSiN.”  Mason adds, “Brian and his team have caught lightning in a bottle here. Besides establishing itself on the satellite platform, recently extending its agreement with SiriusXM, VSiN has made tremendous inroads into the OTT space with Sling TV and fuboTV, as well as growing its own subscription offerings.  We will now look to further expand our reach across video and audio channels, including terrestrial radio where sports have thrived for decades.”

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters is announcing it is accepting nominations for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards through May 31.  The NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Finalists will be announced in July and winners will be honored at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Radio Show in Dallas on September 26.  Stations and on-air personalities may nominate themselves in the categories of “Station of the Year by Market Size,” “Station of the Year by Format,” “Personality of the Year by Market Size,” “Legendary Station,” and “Best College Radio Station of the Year,” which has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.”  Nominations will also be accepted for new awards categories of “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast.”  Syndicators and affiliates may also submit nominations for the category of “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.”  Nominations must be submitted online here…..Radio America‘s nationally syndicated  “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations WJJF-FM, Nassau (Long Island); WSIC-AM/FM Charlotte; WFTW-AM Ft. Walton Beach, Florida; and KPNW-AM/FM Eugene, Oregon all add the program to their daily lineups…..Bustos Media’s news/talk KVOI, Tucson announces that two of its programs – “Eye on the Ball” with Steve Rivera and “Around the Table” with Dawn and Jennifer English – are swapping dayparts.  Rivera moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the English’s move to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.  Also, the station adds the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show to the program schedule, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..This month is being declared the Second Annual Maryland Podcast Month.  Brian Griffiths founded Maryland Podcast Month last May in order to “bring together podcasts of all stripes and cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.”  It’s non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced content, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows.  Being featured in Maryland Podcast Month are a couple of shows from WBAL, Baltimore personalities…..Team Broadcasting‘s sports talk KQTM, Albuquerque “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” is partnering with local soccer club New Mexico United to bring 15 of the team’s matches to the station’s airwaves.  New Mexico United is in its inaugural season in the USL Championship, a professional soccer league that has a partnership with Major League Soccer…..Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” recently hosted The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, on the “Felger & Massarotti” show.  Pictured below in the “Sports Hub” studio in Boston are (From l-r): host Mike Felger985thesportshub.com hockey writer Ty Anderson, WBZ-FM personality Big Jim Murray, and host Tony Massarotti.

Mueller Report Release/Barr Testimony Request, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Tax Returns/Business Earnings Issues, Venezuela Unrest, Deadly UNCC Shooting, Southern Border Crisis, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The release of the Mueller report, Robert Mueller’s disagreement with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report and Barr’s requested testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Democrats vying to run against President Trump in 2020; the request by New York State for Trump’s tax returns and the investigation into Trump business deals with foreign governments; the political unrest in Venezuela; the shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte that took the lives of two and injured others; the migrant influx status at the U.S.-Mexico border; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, midday personality and music director Tom Peake is leaving his on-air role with Entercom’s classic hits KOOL-FM.  He’ll continue to serve as music director.  Peake tells the Arizona Republic that it was not his idea to give up his air shift, but he understands the reasons and has no ill feelings.  Peake started at the station as a part-time jock in 1979.  He became the full-time evening personality in 1981…..Beasley Media Group’s hot AC WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware “The New Mix 99.5” names John Baublis, a.k.a.Johnny B, program director.   Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “Johnny’s a programming veteran with years of proven success and past experience in the Wilmington market.  Plus, he shares our values of great local radio with an emphasis on serving the community.  We’re proud to have someone like Johnny on our team at JBR.”…..Two programming announcements from Midwest Communications.  First, Ryan Fantozzi is named brand manager for rock WOZZ, Wausau, Wisconsin “Rock 94.7,” effective May 13.  Fantozzi comes to Midwest from NRG Media where he was PD at rock WBWB, Bloomington, Illinois.  Fantozzi replaces Terry Stevens, who is promoted to operations manager for the company’s Lansing, Michigan cluster.  Stevens will oversee the operations of rock WJXQ, CHR WLMI, country WWDK and adult hits WQTX.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

| February 13, 2018

Report: The Daily Wire in Talks to Acquire Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. According to a report in The Daily Beast, the conservative news and commentary site The Daily Wire – operated by conservative media figure Ben Shapiro with backing from the East Texas billionaire Wilks family – is in talks with Glenn Beck to acquire his TheBlaze news and opinion site.  The piece by Betsy Woodruff and Lachlan Markay reports that TheBlaze did not respond to a request for comment but that Shapiro told them, “TheBlaze welcomed us to the space as allies from the beginning, and we’re always looking for ways to strengthen our partnerships with our allies.”  TheBlaze turns eight years old this year and of late has had to cut costs.  Reports indicate TheBlaze downsized its staff in 2017 in response to fiscal challenges.  Interestingly, the story says the Wilks family was pursuing a purchase of Breitbart but ran into a wall in that effort.  Shapiro has hosted and co-hosted talk radio shows, both at KRLA, Los Angeles as part of the morning show and at KTTH, Seattle as solo host.  Now, he hosts a podcast program available via The Daily Wire.

PPM Analysis: A Yearlong Look at Spoken Word.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of how news/talk, all-news and sports talk radio performed over the course of 2017 based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio. Kinosian’s report illustrates the high and low 6+ rating marks for stations in all three format categories: news/talk, all-news, and sports talk.  In the news/talk format, Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford owned the largest swing – from a high of an 8.8 share in January 2017 to a low of 4.4 in August and the Holiday sweeps.  Entercom sports talker WIP, Philadelphia saw the widest swing in that format – achieving an 8 share in November after chalking up a 3.9 share in February.  Read the whole report here.

Special Screening of Guardian Angels Film Tonight at Cumulus’ Stage 17 in NYC.  There’s a new documentary film out that chronicles the Curtis Sliwa-founded Guardian Angels.  It’s called, VIGILANTE: The Incredible True Story of Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, and Sliwa’s radio home – 77WABC – is hosting a special screening of the film at the Cumulus Media event space Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 tonight at 6:00 pm.  The screening of the film by David Wexler takes place on the 39th anniversary of Sliwa’s inaugural Guardian Angels Safety Patrol into the New York City subway system on February 13, 1979.  Known by their signature red berets, the Guardian Angels expanded from just 13 members in New York City to become an international phenomenon that continues in more than 140 cities in 14 countries.  Sliwa says, “The Documentary gives one an inside look into what it was like to live in New York City from 1979-1992 when crime, crack, and chaos were everywhere.  It was my baptism in hell, yet somehow I survived.”  Sliwa currently hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show, “Curtis + Cosby,” with Rita Cosby on WABC.  In the photo above, Curtis Sliwa (center) is pictured with other Guardian Angels and an actor in a Robocop suit in “the early days” of the Angels.

TALKERS News Notes. Bakersfield market talk show host Inga Barks is joining a new, hyperlocal digital platform designed to serve Kern County, California.  Called Kern Cast, the platform’s studios are based at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame building.  Barks was most recently hosting a show on Alpha Media’s KNZR, Bakersfield but was let go in January in a budget-related move.  She also previously hosted a program on American General Media’s KERN, Bakersfield…..Chesapeake-Portsmouth Broadcasting flips WHKT, Portsmouth, Virginia from news/talk to Christian contemporary, due to revenue concerns.  The station had been airing a number of syndicated talk hosts – Salem Media’s Dennis Prager, Courtside’s Laura Ingraham, and Westwood One’s Mark Levin – as well as regional host John Fredericks (still heard on the company’s WPMH, Portsmouth)…..FOX Sports Radio reports that its total podcast listens for the network’s Monday through Friday lineup reached a milestone of 10.25 million across all platforms for the month of January, as measured by ART19.  The company says the latest benchmark is “the result of record growth across FOX Sports Radio’s weekday programming lineup, including: ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd,’ ‘Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,’ the Doug Gottlieb show, ‘Steve Gorman SPORTS!,’ ‘JT ‘The Brick’ with Tomm Looney,’ the Jason Smith show with Mike Harmon, and the Ben Maller show.”  The company says most recent streaming results for FOX Sports Radio also showed impressive gains.  The network experienced a 20% year-to-year increase in December 2017, and each of the past four months (September through December) ranked as the most-listened-to months in FOX Sports Radio streaming history…..SiriusXM is planning to air a never-before-heard interview with late comedian Joan Rivers on its Entertainment Weekly Radio channel Thursday (2/15).  The special is being hosted by Dan Bucatinsky and “Will & Grace” co-creator Max Mutchnick and features PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle discussing the conversation.

Farley, Loudon, and Cooke Discuss Talk Radio Content on RT America.  Pictured above (from left to right) are frequent Fox News Channel guest Dr. Gina Loudon, consultant and RT America host Holland Cooke, and radio news pro Jim Farley on Cooke’s “The Big Picture” program discussing “Fake News + Fleeting Attention.”  Farley was an ABC and NBC News executive who also managed ratings and billing all-news radio giant WTOP, Washington and tells the viewers he “was inside the Acela corridor bubble.”  Dr. Loudon urges “committing at least 5% of news/talk consumption time to people who see things differently.”  See the show segment here.

The Trump Budget Plan, Trump-Russia Probe, Porter Exit Fallout, Syria-Israel Tensions, North Korea Nuclear Program, Trump Entitlement Reforms, Official Obama Portraits, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12).  The details of the Trump budget that adds to the deficit, includes an infrastructure plan, and more money for the military; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the White House fallout from the resignation of aide Rob Porter after allegations of domestic violence; tensions in Syria as Damascus warns Israel about further military strikes and Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict; President Trump’s charge that Russia has not been helpful in efforts to de-nuclearize North Korea; President Trump proposed overhauling the housing, food stamps and health care programs; reactions to the official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio appoints Gus Swanson to the marketing/promotions director position for adult contemporary KRWM “WARM 106.9.”  Swanson was most recently marketing director and event producer for CBS RADIO in Seattle.  Hubbard Seattle market manager Marc Kaye says, “We are so excited to have someone with Gus’s market and business experience join the great team at ‘WARM 106.9,’ it’s a very good day!”…..iHeartMedia announces the return of the “iHeartCountry Festival by AT&T” taking place on Saturday, May 5 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  This is the fifth consecutive year for the festival and acts set to play this year include: Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Maren Morris, Sugarland, Luke Combs, Billy Currington, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi, and Brett Young, with more to be announced.   Premiere Networks syndicated morning personality Bobby Bones will again serve as MC.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “What makes this festival special is that it is the one night the A-list of country music comes together to perform live, collaborate with friends and spend time together as a family.  Everyone stays to support each other until the last band has walked off stage.”…..Cherry Creek Radio is agreeing to sell classic rock KLMR-FM and country KLMR-AM in Lamar, Colorado, plus oldies KBLJ-AM and country KTHN, in La Junta, Colorado to Aaron Leiker-owned 25-7 Media for an undisclosed sum.  Kalil & Co. is the exclusive broker.