Monday Memo: Podcasting’s Prime Time. Once a hobbyist platform, on-demand audio now features the biggest stars, delivers advertisers ears and analytics they can’t get elsewhere, and pairs listeners and content creators like no other medium. In this week’s column, Holland Cooke summarizes the keynote Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff delivered during the CNBC Evolve webcast “The Evolution of Content and Consumption.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Time for a Skills Inventory. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa – president of Lapcom Communications Corp – writes today that year-end is a good time for radio sellers to take inventory of their sales skills and make sure they match up with the pandemic-influenced restrictions and technology-requisite times in which we’ll be working in 2021. Read more here.
Dom Giordano to Be Honored by the Zionist Organization of America. WPHT, Philadelphia 9:00 am – 12:00 noon host Dom Giordano will be honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization, for “his patriotism, friendship to the Jewish community, support for Israel and honest commentary about the Middle East” on his show. Giordano will be one of eight people nationwide recognized as “Zionist Spotlights” as part of ZOA’s Virtual 2020 National Superstar Gala. The Gala, taking place on Sunday, December 27, at 7:00 pm ET can be seen (live and on demand) at zoavirtualgala.com. Attorney and legal icon Allen L. Rothenberg is the other honoree representing the Greater Philadelphia Region. The event will also feature Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, hip-hop artist Ice Cube, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, physician and philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, ZOA national president Morton Klein and more. Giordano – a former school teacher who is nationally recognized as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio and a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – received the Greater Philadelphia ZOA’s 2011 Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism/Man of the Year at the annual Gala that year.
ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York Moving DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg to AM Drive. As reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is going local in morning drive on sports talk WEPN-FM, New York for the first time. In January, the Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty & Dave Rothenberg program moves from its current 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot to the 5:00 am to 8:00 am slot with the ESPN Radio nationally syndicated “Keyshawn, ZWill & Zubin” show airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. These changes come as ESPN tweaks the national lineup in preparation of the departure of Dan Le Batard in January. On WEPN-FM, “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by the “Bart [Scott] & [Alan] Hahn” show that’s now part of the national ESPN Radio lineup from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
Bernie Miklasz to Return to St. Louis Airwaves on KFNS-AM. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, sports talk KFNS-FM, St. Louis is bringing former Post-Dispatch columnist and former crosstown WXOS-FM personality Bernie Miklasz aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Also, former KMOV-TV, St. Louis sports director Steve Savard will host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. John Hadley is operating the station while he and a group of investors work to buy the station from owner Randy Markel. Hadley admits that his acquisition of Miklasz’s and Savard’s talent was only possible because they both agreed to work for the “hometown discount.” Miklasz tells Caesar, “Unlike other potential employers who who tended to make promises they couldn’t keep, Hadley was realistic and honest about what they could do for me. The economy is bad, and I wasn’t looking to break the bank. But Hadley didn’t try to exploit the situation by making a ridiculous, low-ball offer. I was enthusiastic about working with him to reach a fair deal for both sides… The trust factor meant a lot to me… Local ownership appeals to me. Local ownership is investing more than money… The personal investment is meaningful.”
PPM Analysis: Four… Less… Years. News/talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets enjoyed improved ratings during the November 2020 survey – 68% of news/talk stations in that survey were up over the previous month’s survey – that coincided with the final month of the presidential campaign (October 8 to November 4). In today’s analysis, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian compares the performances of news/talk stations in the November 2020 survey with the same period during the last presidential election in 2016. He shows that 74% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up (6+, weekly AQH share) in the November 2020 survey compared to the same period in 2016. In fact, there were 10 news/talk stations that increased their AQH share by three full shares or more from the November 2016 survey to November 2020. Find out which stations accomplished that plus much more in Mike Kinosian’s piece here.
Former NFL Player George Wrighster Hosting Late Nights on Mad Dog Radio Channel. Former NFL tight end George Wrighster joins SiriusXM to host the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Night Cap” program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel, beginning tonight (12/7). Wrighster was drafted out of the University of Oregon in 2003. After his playing days, he transitioned into his second career as an entrepreneur/investor and sports media personality. He has hosted shows on radio and television for a number of networks including FOX Sports, ESPN, and KFWB and KLAC in Los Angeles. SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “With his experience both on the field and in the media, George brings an excellent and well-rounded perspective to the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel and we’re excited to have him deliver an engaging and entertaining show to our listeners on a nightly basis.”
UNUSUAL TALK MEDIA GUEST ALERT: Bob Kosch Is Back! Former mortgage banker, loan broker, tax lien investor, rock ‘n’ roller, and music/talk radio broadcaster Bob Kosch is back (after another prison stint) and available to do talk media interviews. If you’re looking for a change-of-pace type of special guest for your talk radio show, TV show, or podcast, check out this fascinating ex-con. Michael Harrison (a longtime friend of Kosch) describes Kosch as a “compellingly articulate, original, charming and informative larger-than-life character” who has no problem taking on a variety of subjects including the economy, commercial real estate, scams, the Donald Trump Era (he’s an outspoken Trump critic), prison reform, and pop music, among others. Bob Kosch is an ex-con with a plan that he says can save America from recession and move the economy forward. Experiencing corporal punishment by nuns at St. Anthony’s in Hawthorne, NJ as a child because of learning disabilities and left back in the 5th grade, he began engaging in deceptive behavior at an early age – all of which he talks about openly. He is an expert in mortgage law, focusing mainly in foreclosure and equitable subrogation. Kosch was charged with wire fraud by the U.S. Government in 1999. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison on September 12, 2001. His case brought to light Household Finance’s alleged predatory lending which ultimately led to that company’s demise. The most recent were charges by the State of New Jersey for theft-related offenses which he points out were fabricated by local prosecutors. The case was reversed, and charges vacated but Bob spent six years in prison during the process! While in State custody, Kosch was in charge of the Law Library at Northern State Prison and worked as “substitute counsel” in court line proceedings. In a particular case, he worked with the ACLU when a transgender inmate was brutally beaten by police and then charged with assault. He was successful in having her transferred to the Women’s Prison in Clinton, New Jersey – setting a precedent in the system and the state. He was instrumental in the enactment of a bill signed by Governor Phil Murphy to end Administrative Segregation arguing Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims. Since his release on November 1, 2020, he voluntarily continues to help others in custody who do not have the money to hire an attorney for appeals and post-conviction related matters. He just recently filed a “writ of coram nobis” in an immigration proceeding for an inmate subject to deportation. Bob Kosch can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned at 973-900-2831.
Beasley Media Group Promotes Tina Murley to VP of Corporate Sales. Boston director of sales Tina Murley is promoted to vice president of corporate sales for Beasley Media Group, effective immediately. Murley has been DOS at Beasley Boston since 2014 and will continue to be based in Boston. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing the traditional and integrated sales efforts on behalf of the entire company. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Tina brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role as VP of corporate sales. Her positive attitude and commitment to excellence on behalf of our advertisers and the company made her the perfect choice to lead our company’s sales efforts into the future.”
Nate Dixon Named VP of Sales for Entercom St. Louis. Radio sales pro Nate Dixon joins Entercom’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets KMOX-AM and KFTK-FM and four music radio outlets. Dixon was most recently with Radio One’s St. Louis operations as station manager. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Nate has an incredible track record of performance, community outreach, and team building throughout his career in St. Louis. He is going to elevate our performance to new heights, and I look forward to him leading the way for our sales operation, turbo-charging revenue on all fronts.”
COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Giuliani Hospitalized, Lives vs Livelihood Debate, Trump Challenges Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and the Economy/Job Losses Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines in the U.K., and expectations for U.S. vaccine distribution; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is hospitalized with COVID-19; the lives-versus-livelihood debate as lockdown’s hit California; Trump’s continuing challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues building his administration; Georgia’s January U.S. Senate runoff elections and Sunday’s Loeffler–Warnock debate; and the state of the U.S. economy and the effects of job losses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’ s going to be double duty for on-air pro Frank Ski who is joining Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” as morning host, effective February 1. Ski will continue to host the afternoon drive program at Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR, Washington, DC. In addition to his radio work, Ski is signed to a global publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for his catalogue of hip-hop, rap, gospel, and Baltimore club-music. WALR director of branding and programming Terri Avery says, “I’m thrilled to usher in this new era of ‘The Frank Ski Show’ on ‘KISS 104.1.’ Frank Ski is a proven leader and trusted voice in Atlanta’s African American community. We welcome Frank to the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.”…..Hubbard Radio announces that Fitz – host of KNUC, Seattle’s “Fitz In The Morning” show – will end his daily program in the next few weeks to focus his efforts on the nationally syndicated “Country Top 40” and the creation of new projects. Fitz says, “While I will dearly miss the daily interaction with my Seattle listeners, I’m truly excited to focus my attention on continuing the tradition of ‘CT40’ and bringing it into the next decade with fun, captivating new features, emotion, and remembering the stars of yesterday, while introducing the country stars of tomorrow.” KNUC brand/content director Scott Mahalick says, “We look forward to writing a new chapter for ‘98-9 The Bull’ next year and are working on plans now. We are glad to continue being the flagship radio station for ‘CT40’ with Fitz and look forward to him playing the hits for years to come.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Dawn Ostroff says “a lot of people recognize that this is the next big medium.” The former 20th Century Fox/Lifetime/UPN/CW/Condé Nast exec and TV and film producer is Spotify’s chief content officer & advertising business officer, and she keynoted the latest installment of CNBC’s Evolve webcast series: “The Evolution of Content & Consumption.”
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Don’t Panic!” looks back at this past week of September 7 – September 11, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Todd Feinburg; talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS, St. Louis; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, WABC, New York and “Sterling on Sunday” in national syndication. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Entercom’s Implementation of ‘Reimagined and Enhanced’ Programming and Sales Strategies for Country and Alternative Brands Brings About Staff Reductions. An internal memo from Entercom president and CEO David Field yesterday (9/10) revealed the company is putting into effect its new plan that applies its reimagined programming strategies in the country and alternative formats. A company-wide town hall is taking place today (9/11) in which staffers will hear from brand managers about the plans. It’s clear from Field’s memo that a reduction in force in part of the plan and already some released staffers have reported their exits via social media. How this new thinking may affect Entercom employees working in formats other than country and alternative is unknown at this time but is no doubt a question many will have. Field says in the memo: “I want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings about the actions we are taking. To be clear, Entercom will remain local, first and foremost. As the industry’s #1 home for premium, original audio content, we will continue to make the industry’s largest investment in local talent. From our iconic local news brands, to our top-ranked music channels, to our unrivaled sports stations – our engaging and compelling personalities remain the heart of our original local programming. We will continue these large investments in our local product and talent, as well as new local features across our brands.” However, he also acknowledges the job cuts. “While this is an exciting time of growth and transformation and we look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead, we also recognize that change is hard. As we make the necessary changes to best serve our listeners and customers, it is difficult to part ways with members of our team who have made significant contributions to our company over the years. We are grateful to them for their service. In order to assist in their transition, we are providing enhanced benefits for each affected individual and wish them the very best.” It seems evident from Field’s memo that part of the plan means fewer programmers will be responsible for more stations and successful talent is to be heard across multiple stations. Exactly how this is being implemented will become clearer with time.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as MLB flagships, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey. He says, “To say this has been the wackiest baseball season on record – and perhaps the strangest, most challenging year, in general, in our lifetime – would be the height of understatement.” With the season whittled from 162 games to 60, stations that count on that cume boost each April had to wait until July for games to start. In this report you can see charts comparing 6+ AQH share changes for flagship stations from the July 2020 survey to the August 2020 survey, cume increases from July to August for flagship stations and more. Read it all here.
Jim Hayes Exits Sports Talk KFNS, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch KFNS-AM, St. Louis morning drive personality Jim Hayes is a victim of budget cuts at the Randy Markel-owned station. Hayes hosted “The Morning After” and Markel tells the paper his exit was “strictly financial. He’s another casualty of the coronavirus.” Hayes also works for FOX Sports Midwest covering St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He’s expected to be replaced by KTVI-TV, St. Louis sportscaster Charlie Marlow. Markel tells Caesar, “Charlie wants to sell advertising for the show, and he costs us less than Hayes.”
Westwood One Releases Fall 2020 Podcast Report. Designed to coincide with this week’s IAB Podcast Upfront, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, unveils Westwood One’s Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report. The company says it is a “comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” Cumulus EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “The podcast platform wars are heating up. In this year’s report, Spotify is closing in on Apple as the most used podcast platform, and YouTube is growing as well. There’s good news for advertisers too. Podcast listeners embrace advertising. Four out of five podcast listeners have taken an action after hearing a podcast ad, and an increasing number of listeners feel podcast ads are relevant and memorable.” You can check out the complete report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland news/talk WTAM is broadcasting today’s funeral mass for Cleveland Police detective James Skernivitz who was killed in the line of duty on September 3. Detective Skernivitz was assigned to the Gang Impact Unit and was recently sworn in as a Violent Crimes Task Force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working on the national law enforcement initiative Operation Legend. The iHeartMedia station’s coverage of the funeral service is being anchored by morning host Bill Wills and veteran news anchor Tom Moore…..Former FOX News Channel star Megyn Kelly is launching a new podcast via her media company Devil May Care Media. “The Megyn Kelly Show” debuts the week of September 28 and “will feature interviews with newsmakers, thought leaders, and compelling voices from the heartland and beyond. Listeners can expect interviews that transcend the superficiality and sound-bite driven confines of traditional broadcast and cable news, and instead deliver in-depth, uncensored, thought-provoking conversations.” Kelly’s company is working with Red Seat Ventures for production and management. Red Seat Ventures was co-founded by Chris Balfe, who formerly worked with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze…..In New Hampshire, “Free Talk Live” host Aria DiMezzo – a self-described “anarchist she-male” – won the Republican primary race for the office of Cheshire County Sheriff. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman says DiMezzo “has campaign signs up across the county emblazoned with ‘F*** THE POLICE’ and is taking on the incumbent Democrat Sheriff who happens to have a history of violence. It’s the perfect time for this campaign and it’s bound to generate some headlines.” Read more about this at Freeman’s blog…..Hubbard Radio inks a deal with Total Traffic and Weather Network for its 24/7 News division to provide NBC News Radio Network newscasts to nostalgia KIXI and talk KKNW “Alternative Talk.” Hubbard Radio Seattle’s Scott Mahalick says, “24/7 News has flexible business models and a variety of news content available to fit each station’s unique needs. We are proud to partner with TTWN to provide our Seattle stations with NBC News, a trusted, credible worldwide brand with years of experience.”
Woodward Tapes and The Atlantic Article Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 7-11. Author Bob Woodward’s tapes of President Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus pandemic and the piece in The Atlantic that purports Trump referred to America’s dead soldiers as losers and suckers tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the November presidential election and politics. Coming in at #3 was health care, vaccines, meds and masks, followed by COVID-19 statistics and projections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Casualties of the above-mentioned cuts at Entercom’s country and alternative stations are starting to trickle in. Programmers and air staff let go are revealing their status via social media and country KFRG, Riverside, California “K-FROG 95.1” morning personality Ginny Harman is one of those. She posted to Facebook: “Hey all! So today was my last day at K-FROG. The dreaded COVID has caused budget cuts everywhere, and we are no different.”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents announce the “Kiss 108’s Chromebooks For Kids” fundraiser raised more than $100,000 to go directly to purchasing Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. They also announced that Chromebook delivery has already begun in several local communities…..Pictured below is WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” personality Angela Yee accepting her Gracie Award for Best Podcast – Entertainment for “Angela Yee’s Lip Service.” The 45th Gracie Awards were held virtually yesterday (9/10), streamed live via the Alliance for Women in Media’s Facebook page. See the show here.