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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Monday, October 7, 2019

| October 7, 2019

Monday Memo: Weekend Talkers, Non-Stop Callers. Callers are crucial to weekend “ask-the-expert” shows and most of those hosts would kill for livelier phones.  In the final installment of a three-part series designed for you weekend personalities, consultant Holland Cooke points to a simple tool you’re already using that can light-up your lines.  Read about it here.

Impeachment Inquiry/Second Whistleblower, Hong Kong Protests/U.S.-China Relations, Iraq Protests, 2020 Presidential Race, and NBA-China Rift Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The controversy surrounding the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the word of a second whistleblower prepared to come forward with a complaint about the president’s interactions with foreign leaders; the protestors in Hong Kong defying the no-mask law and the related relations between the U.S. and China; the protests taking place in Iraq over mismanaged government and the violent response; the Democrats hoping to challenge Trump in 2020; and the NBA’s China problem after pro-democracy comments made by the Houston Rockets’ general manager were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Sports Talker JT The Brick Joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Channel. Sports talk personality JT The Brick, a.k.a. John Tournour, is joining SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports channel to host the late-night show.  JT The Brick, who exited FOX Sports Radio in September of 2018, will host the Las Vegas-based “Brick at Night” show from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am ET Sunday through Thursday, beginning tonight (Sunday night/Monday morning shows will end at 2:00 am ET).  He comments, “I’m excited to be part of the best lineup in sports radio!  I have wanted to work with this great group of people for a long time.  Special thanks to SiriusXM for this opportunity.  Being on SiriusXM means we’ll be reaching more fans than ever, and I can’t wait!”  SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “JT is a super-talented sports radio personality with the unique voice and strong and informed takes that sports fans love.  We’re very excited to expand his role on Mad Dog Sports Radio and give our listeners great sports talk late into the night coast to coast.”  Tournour also hosts “The Game Plan” podcast for the Oakland Raiders and has been a part of the Oakland Raiders broadcast team since 1998.

Alabama State Bar Declines to Act on Complaint Against Baron Coleman.  Attorney, political operative, and talk host Baron Coleman won’t be facing any action from the Alabama State Bar after a complaint filed by Eagle Forum of Alabama executive director Becky Gerritson.  In her complaint dated September 12, Gerritson stated Coleman violated professional conduct rules when he referred to her as a “big pharma whore” for speaking out against legal marijuana.  Gerritson accused Coleman of “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” because Eagle Forum of Alabama has not taken any money from big pharma.  In a radio rant, Coleman said, appearing to reference Gerritson, “And I’m going to destroy this bitch.  I’m going to absolutely destroy her.  Her life will never be the same.”  Coleman wrote in his response to the Alabama State Bar that he did not threaten Gerritson.  “He communicated to third parties, the audience, in a Constitutionally protected manner, a hyperbolic response to a very real threat to his livelihood in radio and law.  Gerritson’s bar complaint and contact of his advertisers were both strategically designed to completely bankrupt Coleman and leave him without a single source of income to care for his stay-at-home wife and seven school-age children.”  Coleman previously hosted a show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s news/talk WACV, Montgomery.  He currently broadcasts with co-host Dave Mowery on Little Engine Broadcasting’s classic hits WRBZ-AM/W238CE, Montgomery.  Read the AL.com story here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from WWE Hall-of-Famer Jerry Lawler launches on PodcastOne.  “The Jerry Lawler Show” features Lawler and co-host Sean Reedy reflecting on Lawler’s five-decade career as they invite superstar guests to join the conversation on the latest in the wrestling world.  Lawler says, “I’m thrilled to have a new home at PodcastOne, sharing a platform with stars like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.  Myself and my co-host, Sean Reedy, are both committed to giving my fans the best podcast possible.”…..Broadcaster and broker Larry Patrick – managing partner of both Legend Communications and Patrick Communications – is appointed to the NAB Radio board of directors by Radio board chair Dave Santrella, effective immediately.  Legend Communications operates 24 small-market radio stations in Wyoming. Larry Patrick is also a founder and investor in NRJ TV, which operates 11 major-market low-power television stations.  Patrick, along with his wife Susan Patrick, also owns Patrick Communications, one of the leading media brokerage firms in the broadcast business…..At its annual “Free Speech America” Gala tonight (10/7) at The Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., The Media Institute will bestow awards on Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, and Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group, LLC.  Ryan will receive the Freedom of Speech Award for upholding principles of free speech and free press throughout a journalism career that has spanned print, broadcast, cable, and digital media.  Beasley will receive the American Horizon Award for her industry leadership, helping grow a family-owned radio business from a single AM station into a 65-station multi-media corporation.  The award will be presented by Senator Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of BroadcastersFCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks will deliver keynote remarks…..Envision Networks and Radio PA State Network announce a partnership to deliver EnvisionVirtualServices Weather Reports to more than 50 stations throughout the Keystone State.  Radio PA adds the weather reports following the successful launch of EnvisionVirtualServices Sports in July.  Meteorologist John Wetherbee says, “All the weather extremes hit Pennsylvania and we are dedicated to covering the ice and snow, the heat and the mean thunderstorms that rumble across the mountains down to the Delaware Valley.  And we don’t worry about TV or national forecasts.  Our weather experts have only one client, the local stations on Radio PA.  That way we do a better job!”…..At right are nationally syndicated GCN talk radio host and NBC Sports correspondent Kate Delaney (left) with Westwood One-syndicated late night talk host Jim Bohannon (right) at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas…..Pictured below is “Ground Zero” nationally syndicated talk show host Clyde Lewis at Friday’s Sun Broadcast Group 2020 Upfront Event at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  SBG says the event was attended by more than 400 guests, including industry executives, programmers, buyers, and advertising agencies.

High Profile Book Publisher and Media Figure Judith Regan is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.   One of the most successful and bold women in contemporary multi-platform media, Judith Regan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  She’s a book publisher aptly described as a “publishing powerhouse” having run her own imprint Regan Books with HarperCollins for a number of years and today heading the dynamic firm, ReganArts.  Regan is not afraid to be politically incorrect – especially in matters that involve supporting the rights of controversial figures to write and speak in the public marketplace of ideas. Some of her best-selling books include Gregory Maguire‘s Wicked, which went on to become a world famous musical, Wally Lamb‘s I Know This Much is True, soon to be an HBO series and books by a wide range of authors including Sean Hannity, Howard Stern, Michael Moore, Francis Ford Coppola, Khloe Kardashian as well as cookbooks, design books and hundreds of other award-winning titles. She has hosted talk shows on Fox News Channel and SiriusXM Satellite Radio and produced and hosted the two-hour O.J. Simpson “confession” on Fox which aired last year based on the highly controversial book she published titled, If I Did It.   She also produced the Netflix show The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell.   Her latest book publication – also extremely controversial due to the tarnished reputation of its author –  is How to Beat Trump by former news executive and correspondent Mark Halperin, whose career at mainstream media outlets recently came to a crashing end due to being the focus of a number of high-profile #MeToo accusations. Harrison and Regan candidly discuss her career, controversy, free speech, the #MeToo movement and political correctness.  To listen to this podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, on-air pro Marty Whitney joins Local Media San Diego’s alternative XETRA-FM “91X” to host the morning drive show with co-host Danielle Stuht.  Whitney served with the station as music director and evening personality back in the early 2000s.  He was most recently special programming producer for Apple Music Beats 1.  He comments, “The kook has come home to roost.  This legendary little station in TJ that hits all of SoCal is once again my home and I’m overwhelmed to join the great family at Local Media SD.”  XETRA program director Garett Michaels says, “Marty is ideal for mornings on ‘91X.’  His enthusiasm is contagious while his passion for the music, lifestyle, and culture of San Diego is always on display.  We love the positive energy he brings and we look forward to his contributions to our team.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that air personality Brooke Hunter is soon to be back on the Windy City airwaves as morning drive co-host with Kevin Kollins on Alpha Media’s suburban hot AC WSSR, Joliet.  Hunter will also voice track the evening show at sister country WCCQ, Crest Hill.  She was previously midday personality on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WLIT.

 

 

September 2019 PPM Data – September 2019 ratings information from Nielsen Audio‘s PPM survey has been released for all 48 PPM markets.  See all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from the following nine PPM markets.

Middlesex

Spoken-Word Formats – The top five (6+) September 2019 finishers in this metro are separated by six-tenths of a share with Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW setting the pace the eighth straight ratings period. “New Jersey 101.5,” however, has lost roughly 27% (-2.2) of its 6+-share in eight consecutive (January 2019 through September 2019) negative or neutral trends (8.1 – 7.9 – 7.5 – 7.3 – 7.1 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 6.6 – 5.9, 6+).

Leveling off at 3.5 (6+) following August’s gain of six-tenths (2.9 – 3.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR “710 The Voice of New York” backslides from #12 to #13. New York City news/talk WABC doubled (+.6) its 6+ Middlesex-Somerset-Union share via three upticks in succession (.6 – .7 – .9 – 1.2, 6+), but surrenders four-tenths to .8 (#24 to #25, 6+).

Three straight gains by Entercom sports talk WFAN-FM (Yankees, Giants) yielded eight-tenths (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.4, 6+) but New York’s “Fan” falters by seven-tenths to 3.7 (ninth to tenth, 6+). Down a collective nine-tenths through three consecutive negative or neutral trends (2.5 – 2.1 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+), similarly-programmed WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” halts the slide with a +.1 to 1.7 (#23 to #21, 6+).

While flat at #20, Entercom all-news WINS drops two-tenths to 1.9 (6+), thus snapping four consecutive increases that accounted for a one-half share gain (1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.1, 6+). It is two-tenths ahead of co-owned/similarly-programmed WCBS-AM (Mets), which has lost eight-tenths in three slips in succession (2.5 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.7, #22 to #21+).

August’s increase of one-tenth to 2.0 (6+) by WNYC-FM curtailed three consecutive decreases that accounted for a collective loss of six-tenths (2.5 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+). In September, however, the WNYC Broadcasting Foundation public radio news/talk station regresses by one-half share to 1.5 (#21 to #23, 6+).

Middlesex Music Formats – In addition to posting an impressive +1.1, Entercom classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “101.1 New York’s Greatest Hits” zooms from eighth to second and is now just one-tenth behind frontrunner WKXW (see above). Four Middlesex upticks in a row by WCBS-FM have netted a +1.8 (4.0 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 4.7 – 5.8, 6); “New York’s Greatest Hits” last reached the five-share level (6+) in this New Jersey metro in March 2018 (5.5). Bumping up by eight-tenths each are Pillar of Fire contemporary Christian WAWZ “Star 99.1” and Entercom-owned WNYL “Alt 92.3 New York’s New Alternative” (#15 to #13). “Star” is a combined +.9 in August/September (3.3 – 3.4 – 4.2, 6+) and enters the top ten (#13 to #9) with its best 6+-stat since January (4.2, as well). “Alt 92.3” was down six-tenths in August to 2.7, its lowest 6+-stat since 2.5 in “Holiday” 2018. Stacking a +.7 onto August’s +.6 (4.4 – 5.0 – 5.7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WAXQ “Q-104.3 – New York’s Classic Rock” jumps from sixth to third. Co-owned rhythmic CHR WKTU substitutes August’s loss of six-tenths with a September gain of that magnitude (3.1 – 2.5 – 3.1, #17 to #15, 6+). July’s +.3 interrupted three down or flat moves in a row by “103.5 KTU” that led to a loss of two-tenths (3.0 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+). Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” nets a +1.0 in five up or flat moves in succession (2.7 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+) and repeats at #10. Off seven-tenths in four straight down or flat trends (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.2 – 3.0, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1” picks up one-tenth to 3.1 (6+) but backslides from #14 to #15. A combined -3.4 in June/July (3.8 – 2.0 – .4, #22 to #30, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WPLJ “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” disappeared from print in August but the former Cumulus Media-owned hot AC resurfaces in September with a .5 (#26, 6+). Following five successive improvements that yielded a +1.7 (3.4 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 5.0 – 5.1, 6+), Entercom hot AC WNEW “NEW 102.7” regresses by four-tenths to 4.7 (fifth to sixth, 6+). Immediately after posting an August increase of nine-tenths, Beasley Media Group adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites” and Emmis urban AC WBLS “107.5 #1 For R&B” each relinquish eight-tenths in September. “Magic was a collective +1.9 in four consecutive positive or neutral trends (3.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.4 – 5.3, 6+) but drops to 4.5 (fourth to eighth, 6+); August’s 5.3 is its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2018’s 5.8. The 6.3 that WBLS recorded in August is its highest (6+) Middlesex performance since June’s 6.8. Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “Mega 97.9” is without an increase the fifth straight time for a -1.1 since April (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.7 – 2.6, #15 to #17, 6+). Townsquare Media hot AC WJLK-FM “94.3 The Point” is down one-half share (.8 – .3, #30, 6+).

Nashville

Spoken-Word Formats – Notwithstanding it is up six-tenths as a result of four successive sweeps without a loss (3.1 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” downslides from #11 to #12. Steady at #17, iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” recaptures one-tenth of August’s -.4 (1.4 – 1.5, 6+). July’s 1.8 is its best 6+-stat in nearly four years (2.0, October 2015).

In addition to being +2.0 as a result of three bumps in a row (2.7 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 4.7, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” (Tennessee Titans) reenters the top ten (#12 to #10). Prior to June, the last time WGFX fell below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Cromwell Group-owned/similarly-formatted WPRT lost nearly two-thirds (-1.2) of its 6+ AQH-share in four straight down or flat moves (1.9 – 1.1 – .8 – .8 – .7, 6+) but “102.5 The Game” applies the brakes with a +.3 to 1.0 (#22 to #20, 6+).

Tacking on seven-tenths to August’s +1.1 (5.1 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from fourth to third. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was a combined +1.2 in May/June (4.4 – 5.4 – 5.6, 6+) but lost one-half share in July (5.6 – 5.1, 6+).

Nashville Music Formats – Notching its third improvement in a row for a collective +1.5 (2.0 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.5, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” climbs from #15 to #13 with its best 6+-stat (3.5) since April’s 3.7. Conversely, Salem Media Group’s similarly formatted WFFH “The Fish” has forfeited approximately 47% (-2.1) of its 6+-share as a result of three negative trends in succession (4.5 – 4.4 – 3.2 – 2.4, #12 to #14, 6+). This directly follows a collective +1.0 via four straight increases (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, 6+). On top the fifth month in a row, Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is down six-tenths in August/September (9.8 – 9.5 – 9.2, 6+), directly after posting an overall +1.6 in three successive spikes (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6 – 9.8, 6+). Seven recent (6+) WJXA fluctuations include: +1.9 (December 2018); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). WJXA’s “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share by any Nashville outlet since its 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. Shifting from third to fourth, iHeartMedia classic rock WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” is a combined -1.3 in August/September (7.8 – 7.6 – 6.5, 6+). A loss of seven-tenths (3.1 – 2.4, unchanged at #14, 6+) takes Cromwell-owned WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz Nashville’s Rock Station” to its lowest 6+showing since March (2.4, as well). Midwest Communications CHR WNFN returns 60% of August’s +1.0 (2.9 – 2.3, -.6, #15 to #16, 6+). Prior to August, “106.7 Nashville’s New Hit Music” logged a 1.9 (6+) in three of the previous four sweeps (1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.9, 6+); August’s 2.9 represents its best 6+-showing in nearly two years (3.0, October 2017). Its format rival, iHeartMedia’s WRVW “107.5 The River,” has a March 2019 through September 2019 topline of: 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 5.7 (seventh to sixth, 6+). An overall +1.3 via four increases in a row (4.2 – 4.4 – 4.6 – 4.8 – 5.5, 6+), Cumulus Media urban AC WQQK “92-Q” falters by three-tenths to 5.2 (seventh to eighth, 6+). In August, “92-Q” reached a five-share for the first time since “Holiday” 2018 (5.5, as well). By picking up four-tenths to 6.0 (flat at #5), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” suspends three reports in succession without an increase that accounted for a -1.2 (6.8 – 6.3 – 5.6 – 5.6, 6+) and its lowest 6+-share (5.6) since December 2016’s 4.9. All three of Nashville’s country FMs record modest August 2019 – September 2019 decreases as the (6+) format share shrinks by one-half share. Falling from fifth to seventh, iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” is a combined -.8 in August/September (6.2 – 5.6 – 5.4, 6+), immediately after its +2.7 in seven consecutive sweeps without a loss (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 6.2, 6+). “The Big 98” reached the six-share level (July 2019, 6.2, 6+) for the first time since April 2017’s 6.1. An August increase of two-tenths by Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WKDF interrupted three straight losses that resulted in a -1.6 (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 4.7, 6+), but “103.3 Nash FM” returns one-tenth to 4.8 (flat at #9, 6+). In advance of the aforementioned negative streak, “Nash FM” was a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+). Co-owned WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” has lost an overall seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without an increase (5.2 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 4.7 – 4.5, 6+) and exits the top ten (#10 to #11).

Providence

Spoken-Word Formats – August’s three-tenths’ gain by Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM halted three consecutive down or flat sweeps that accounted for a loss of seven-tenths (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+). “News Talk 630,” however, relinquishes one-half share in September (3.4 – 2.9, seventh to eighth, 6+). Without an increase the seventh time in a row for a two-thirds reduction (-1.4) of its 6+-AQH share (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3 – .9 – .9 – .7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” drops from a three-way tie at #16 to #19. Flat at #20, Cumulus Media’s WPRV “AM 790 Talk & Business” has lost four-tenths via three successive down or flat moves (.7 – .5 – .4 – .3 – .3, 6+).

Anchored in seven-place, Entercom sports talker WVEI continues an alternating down/up pattern that began in February: 4.1 – 3.6 – 4.0 – 3.5 – 3.6 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.3 (6+). July’s 3.1 is its lowest 6+-stat since March 2018’s 2.8.

This is the fifth consecutive ratings periods without an increase for iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM, which has lost four-tenths in that timeframe (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – 1.0 – .9 – .9, 6+). “News Radio 1030” moves from a three-way tie at #17 to #18.

A combined -.4 in August/September (2.2 – 2.1 – 1.8, 6+) following July’s +.6, WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH exits Providence’s top ten (#9 to #11). In five consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.0 – 2.0 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.4, 6+), The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH has lost six-tenths and falls from #11 to #14.

Providence Music Formats – After occupying the lead position three months in a row, iHeartMedia-owned WHJY segued to the runner-up slot in August, but “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” posts a September +.7 (8.6 – 9.3) and is back at #1. A combined -1.6 in July/August (10.2 – 9.8  – 8.6, 6+), WHJY lost nine-tenths in April, forcing it from the penthouse after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was at #2 September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Ousted from first-place and segueing to third is Hall Broadcasting country WCTK, which erodes by -1.0 (9.3 – 8.3, 6+). Entering the September sweep, “Cat Country 98.1” was a collective +1.7 in three straight upticks (7.6 – 8.5 – 8.6 – 9.3, 6+), with August’s 9.3 representing its highest 6+-share since 10.1, in July 2018 – the last time WCTK reached #1. Cumulus Media rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106,” which was -1.0 in three losses in a row (2.4 – 2.3 – 1.8 – 1.4,  6+), makes up 60% of that deficit with a +.6 to 2.0 (6+) and reenters the top ten (three-way tie at #11 to #10). Notching increases of one-half share each are iHeartMedia-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3” (unchanged at #6) and Bryant University classical WJMF (#19 to #15). Eight recent (6+) shifts for “Coast” include: -.9 (November 2018); -1.0 (Holiday” 2018); +.5 (March); +.5 (May); -.7 (June); +1.4 (July); -.5 in August; and +.5 in September (5.2 – 5.7, 6+). Prior to June’s loss of seven-tenths, WSNE was a collective +1.2 in three consecutive improvements (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+). WJMF quadruples (+.9) its 6+ stat in August/September (.3 – .7 – 1.2, 6+) and reaches the one-share mark (1.2, 6+) for the first time since February’s 1.0. Up an overall full-share as a result of three straight sweeps without a loss (7.2 – 8.1 – 8.2 – 8.2, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” surrenders seven-tenths to 7.5 (6+) but carries on in fourth-place. It is a beneficial sweep for the market’s mainstream CHRs as three such stations improve the (6+) format share by a collective nine-tenths. More to the point, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music 92 PRO-FM,” which was down seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral trends (7.4 – 7.4 – 6.8 – 6.7, 6+), pulls the plug with a +.3 to 7.0 (6+) and continues in fifth-place. Townsquare Media’s WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” adds four-tenths in August and September (1.4 – 1.8 – 2.2, tenth to ninth, 6+). WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+) but then was -2.8 via six consecutive down or flat reports (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.4, January through July, 6+). Regaining the two-tenths it lost in August (1.6 – 1.4 – 1.6, 6+) iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM advances from a three-way tie at #11 to #12. Prior to August’s -.2, Boston’s “Kiss 108” was up a collective half-share as a result of five successive positive or neutral Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.6, 6+). Unlisted for the third month in a row are Red Wolf Broadcasting Spanish tropical WKKB “Latina 100.3,” which posted a 1.2 in June (#16, 6+) and classic hits-oldies sibling WSKP “Good Times … Great Oldies” (.8, #19, June 2019, 6+).

Norfolk

Spoken-Word Formats – Ever since reappearing in print, Max Broadcast Group sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” has a July-August-September topline of: 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.8 (#14 to #12, 6+).

Norfolk Music Formats – Here’s one for the “What Are The Odds”? Department. Saga Communications-owned WNOR “FM 99 Rocks” (+2.1) was the only station in all 48 PPM-markets to register a (6+) July 2019 – August 2019 increase of at least two full-shares. Other than in all-Christmas music sweeps (December and “Holiday”), such lofty improvements are rare. Now for the oddity: There was only one station in all 48 PPM-markets that posted a (6+) August 2019 – September 2019 increase of at least two full-shares. No, it isn’t WNOR, which would have been quite incredible, but Norfolk again claims the noteworthy accomplishment and it’s by a station accustomed to huge accolades. A combined -2.3 in July/August (11.4 – 10.0 – 9.1, 6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” obliterates that shortfall in one fell swoop with a +2.3 to 11.4 (6+) and is #1 the ninth consecutive month. Prior to August’s 9.1 (6+), WVKL last failed to log double-digits (6+) in January 2014 (9.8). WVKL was a combined -2.4 in March/April (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) and then added a +1.0 in May to 11.5 (6+). “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been the market pacesetter 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Getting back to aforementioned WNOR (repeating at #2), “99 Rocks” hasn’t had a decrease the last six survey periods and is +3.2 in that March 2019 through September 2019 stretch (5.9 – 6.0 – 6.0 – 6.8 – 6.8 – 8.9 – 9.1, 6+). Furthermore, this (9.1) marks the first time in the PPM-era that WNOR has appeared in print with a 6+-share reaching the nine-share level (6+). Erasing August’s six-tenths loss with a September increase of nine-tenths (4.7 – 4.1 – 5.0, 6+), Max Broadcast Group’s country WGH-FM “97.3 The Eagle” flies from seventh to fifth. Adult contemporary sibling WVBW “92.9 The Wave” adds six-tenths to August’s uptick of eight-tenths (3.4 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+) yet moves from sixth to seventh. Entercom’s similarly-formatted WWDE “101.3 2WD,” which was a combined +.6 in July/August (4.4 – 4.8 – 5.0, 6+), is down one-tenth to 4.9 (fifth to sixth, 6+). Owing to three setbacks in succession, Saga Communications’ WAFX “106.9 The Fox – Hampton Roads’ Classic Rock” is a whopping -3.0 (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.6 – 5.2, 6+) but remains at #4. The last time “The Fox” (5.2) fell below a six-share (6+) was in December 2018 (5.5). A combined +.6 in July/August, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WOWI “103 Jamz” forfeits eight-tenths to 7.5 (flat at #3, 6+). In eight straight survey periods without a loss, iHeartMedia alternative WNOH nearly tripled (+1.4) its 6+-stat (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+), but “Alt 105.3” drops two-tenths to 2.0 (6+) and continues at #11.

Jacksonville

Spoken-Word Formats – Remaining on fire, Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM is +2.9 in three straight positive spikes (7.5 – 8.0 – 9.0 – 10.4, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” is #1 the third month in a row. July’s increase halted five consecutive down or flat sweeps that accounted for a collective -2.9 (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Tied for the top spot in May, WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in January, February, and April and has its best 6+-stat since January (10.4 as well).

A combined +.5 in August/September (.2 – .5 – .7, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” inches up from #19 to #18. August’s +.3 halted nine consecutive sweeps without an increase that accounted for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2 – .2, 6+).

Public radio news/talk WJCT, which lost nine-tenths in five consecutive down or flat trends (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.8, 6+), halts that streak with a +.3 to 3.1 (#13 to #11). Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).

Jacksonville Music Formats – Ironically, a +1.4 (3.1 – 4.5, 6+) takes iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 into the top ten (#11 to #9, 6+), but a -1.4 (4.1 – 2.7, 6+) sends co-owned CHR WKSL-FM “97.9 Kiss-FM” out of the top ten (#10 to #13). WKSL-HD3 is +1.2 via three straight gains (2.3 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 4.5, 6+); meanwhile, “Kiss-FM” continues a March-commenced alternating up/down pattern: 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.2 – 5.2 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 2.7 (6+). Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL “96.9 The Eagle,” which was -2.1 in three straight decreases (8.6 – 8.1 – 7.3 – 6.5, 6+), interrupts that streak with a +.2 to 6.7 (fourth to third, 6+). Following a March-only stay at #1, “The Eagle” shifted to a second-place tie in April; progressed to a first-place tie in May; and had sole possession of first-place in June. In five consecutive bumps, adult contemporary cluster-mate WEZI was an overall +2.4 (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9 – 6.3 – 6.9, 6+) but “Easy 102.9” surrenders one-third of that increase (6.1, -.8, third to fourth, 6+). August’s 6.9 represents the highest 6+-showing for “Easy” in its approximately four-year AC history. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that gain with a March loss of six-tenths. An August improvement of three-tenths by Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-programmed WEJZ suspended four decreases in a row that resulted in a collective -1.5 (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5 – 7.2, 6+) but is followed by a -.1 (7.5 – 7.4, flat at #2, 6+). “Holiday” 2018’s 16.3 by “Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” is the highest 6+-mark for any station in this Florida market since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5 (6+). Co-owned WGNE “99.9 Gator Country,” a combined +1.2 in July/August (3.5 – 4.3 – 4.7, 6+), surrenders two-tenths to 4.5 (eighth to ninth, 6+).

West Palm Beach

Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +2.0 in six successive sweeps without a loss (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.0, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WJNO “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” falters by two-tenths to 3.8 (6+) but continues in sixth-place. June marked the first time WJNO reached the three-share level since December 2017’s 3.3. In addition to being an overall +1.0 via four straight upticks (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFTL “News Talk 850” cracks the top ten (#11 to #10) with its strongest 6+-stat (2.7) since December 2018’s 2.9. Flat at #13, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk For The Palm Beaches” returns one-tenth of its August +.2 (2.1 – 2.0, 6+). August’s gain curtailed three straight down or flat sweeps that accounted for a loss of four-tenths (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+). Miami news/talk sibling WIOD “610 News Radio,” which was +.4 via three straight improvements (.6 – .8 – .9 – 1.0, 6+), is down three-tenths to .7 (6+) and exits the top twenty (#19 to #21).

Unchanged at #22, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WMEN “Fox Sports 640 AM South Florida” doubles (+.3) its 6+ share in three straight sweeps without a loss (.3 – .3 – .4 – .6, 6+). After posting a .1 (6+) in August 2018, iHeartMedia-owned sports talk WBZT “1230 The Zone” has been a “no-show” in the ensuing 14 ratings periods.

The alternating down/up March 2019 through September 2019 topline for Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN is: 3.1 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 3.0 (tenth to ninth, 6+).

West Palm Beach Music Formats – Up a collective seven-tenths in three straight sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WZTU “Tu 94.9” advances from #18 to #15. In three consecutive up or flat trends, co-owned/similarly-formatted WRLX was a collective +1.7 (2.0 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+), but “Mia 92.1” erodes by -1.0 to 2.7 (seventh to tenth, 6+). Moody Bible Institute gospel/religious teaching WRMB “89.3 Moody Radio” gains six-tenths in August/September (.7 – .8 – 1.3, #19, 6+) and has its highest 6+-stat (1.3) since March (1.5). Four successive setbacks by Hubbard Broadcasting hot AC WRMF that resulted in a -3.4 (11.2 – 9.0 – 8.8 – 8.2 – 7.8, 6+) are directly followed by an August/September +.7 (7.8 – 8.3 – 8.5, 6+). Over and above that, WRMF “Variety from the 90s and Now” is #1 the ninth time in a row. Whereas July’s 7.8 is WRMF’s lowest 6+-share – and first time below an eight-share (6+) since “Holiday” 2016 (7.7) – 11.2 in March is its best 6+-share since November 2017 (11.2, as well). In the adult contemporary arena, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WEAT-FM “Sunny 107.9” plummets by -2.2 in August/September (6.6 – 5.1 – 4.4, third to fourth, 6+). The last time WEAT fell below a five-share (6+) was in October 2018 (4.6). When “Sunny” gained one-tenth in July, it suspended three straight decreases that accounted for an overall -1.7 (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.8 – 6.5, 6+). Meanwhile, the three most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia-owned/similarly-formatted WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” are -.8 (July); +1.0 (August); and -.5 in September (7.2 – 6.4 – 7.4 – 6.9, flat at #2, 6+). Whereas August 2019’s 7.4 is the best 6+-showing for “Kool” since July 2016’s 7.5; July 2019’s 6.4 (6+) is its softest since March (6.4, as well). Trending 3.1 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.2 – 3.6 – 3.1 (April through September, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s WIRK “New Country 103.1” continues in eighth-place.

Greensboro

Spoken-Word Formats – In July/August, iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI racked up a +1.1 (3.2 – 3.8 – 4.3, 6+). Not only does that vanish in September, owing to a -1.3 to 3.0 (6+), “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” exits the top ten (#10 to #11). August’s 4.3 is its best 6+-stat since February’s 4.4.

Forfeiting the two-tenths it picked up in four straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+), Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” drops from #14 to #16 (.8, 6+).

Up one-tenth (2.3 – 2.4, 6+), Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” is at #13 the 17th consecutive ratings period. In five successive up or flat moves, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC has more than tripled (+1.2) its 6+ AQH-share (.5 – .8 – .8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.7, steady at #14, 6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – A whopping +2.1 in August/September (8.8 – 9.5 – 10.9, 6+), WSMW “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” repeats at #1 and is in double-digits (10.9, 6+) the first time since July 2018 (10.0). The Entercom adult hits outlet has been on top in March, June, August, and September. Its nine (6+) fluctuations in 2019 are: +.9 (January); -.6 (February); +.9 (March); -1.6 (April); +1.1 (May); +.5 (June); -1.0 (July); +.7 (August); and +1.4 (September). Prior to its March stay at #1, WSMW last reached the top in August 2016 when it logged a 10.5 (6+). Stuck on 6.6 (6+) in July and August, Entercom rhythmic CHR WJMH “102 Jamz” erupts with a +1.0 to 7.6 (fourth to third, 6+). Co-owned country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” replicates August’s +.8 (5.2 – 6.0 – 6.8, sixth to fourth, 6+) and records its best 6+-stat (6.8) in almost two years (7.1, October 2017). This August/September +1.6 comes directly after being down or flat three reports in a row for an overall loss of one-half share (5.7 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.2, 6+). Before dropping two-tenths in March, “The Wolf” had three consecutive shifts of one-half share: -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.5 (February). Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” repeats its August (6+) share (5.9) and market rank (#7). Up six-tenths in August, WTQR has a May 2019 through September topline of: 5.7 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 (6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase, “Q-104.1” was a cumulative -1.0 (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, 6+), but erased 70% of that deficit in May with a +.7 to 5.7 (6+). Over the course of the last 17 sweeps (June 2018 through September 2019), WTQR has prevailed over WPAW ten times (June 2018, July, August, September, October, November, “Holiday” 2018, January 2019, May, and July); WPAW has come out on top six times (December 2018, February 2019, March, April, August, and September; and there has been one tie (June 2019 when both stations logged a 5.3, 6+). Improving by one-half share each are two stations on opposite ends of the spectrum: Dick Broadcasting CHR WKZL “107.5 KZL The #1 Hit Music Station” (eighth to sixth) and Positive Alternative Radio gospel WXRI “Joy FM – Real Music/Real Life,” which doubles its 6+ AQH share (.5 – 1.0, #17 to #15). In three straight up or flat trends, WKZL improves by nine-tenths (5.1 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 6.0, 6+) and has its best 6+-stat (6.0) since January’s 6.3. After netting +2.3 via five straight upticks (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned rocker WVBZ relinquishes roughly 35% of that increase (4.0, -.8, 6+) but continues in ninth-place. In June, “105.7 – Man Up” reached the four-share level (4.1, 6+) for the first time since November 2018’s 4.0. A combined +.5 in June/July (7.9 – 8.1 – 8.4, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary WMAG “The Best Variety of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and Today” follows with a -2.1 in August/September (8.4 – 6.9 – 6.3, third to fifth, 6+).

Memphis

Spoken-Word Formats – Not only does iHeartMedia news/talk WREC jump from eighth to sixth, “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” nets +1.1 in four consecutive spikes and crosses the five-share threshold (4.1 – 4.2 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 5.2, 6+).

A gain of three-tenths to 2.6 (#13 to #12, 6+) by Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” halts seven consecutive down or flat trends that led to its lowest 6+-stat since July 2018 (2.3) and a collective -1.7 (4.0 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 2.3, 6+). Without an increase the past 14 sweeps (including twelve consecutive .1 showings) for a collective loss of three-tenths (.4 – .4 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 -.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+), co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790” breaks the slump with a +.2 to .3 (#21 to #20, 6+).

Memphis Music Formats – Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO “103.5 The Best Mix of R&B,” which was a collective -.2.7 via four successive downturns (9.1 – 8.7 – 7.5 – 7.1 – 6.4, 6+), roars back with a +1.1 to 7.5 (fifth to third, 6+). Prior to logging August 2019’s 6.4, WRBO last fell below a seven-share (6+) in August 2015 (6.9). Albeit off six-tenths in August/September (10.1 – 9.8 – 9.5, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS “V-101” is #1 the 11th time in a row. July’s increase of three-tenths suspended four straight down or flat trends that accounted for a -1.8 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+). KJMS reached double-digits (6+) 14 successive ratings periods before June’s -.6 to 9.8 (6+). “Holiday” 2018’s 12.8 is the highest 6+-share since December 2012’s 13.5 for “V-101,” which was +2.3 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (10.5 – 11.5 – 12.8, 6+). Despite suffering a -1.0 (9.4 – 8.4, 6+), urban contemporary sibling WHRK “K-97.1” continues in the runner-up slot but has its lowest 6+-stat (8.4) since May’s 7.7. Still in that iHM cluster, gospel WHAL “Halleluiah 95.7 Memphis’ Inspiration Station” drops six-tenths (6.8 – 6.2, 6+), slipping from third to fifth. Three consecutive setbacks by Entercom’s country-formatted WLFP (4.3 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+) account for a net loss of eight-tenths as “94.1 The Wolf” departs the top ten (#10 to #11). Its format rival – Cumulus Media’s WGKX – repeats August’s 6+ share (4.1) and market rank (#9). Entering the August sweep, “Kix 106 – Today’s Best Country” had been down or flat four successive reports for a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.5 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.4, 6+) but gained seven-tenths (to 4.1, 6+). Entercom adult contemporary WRVR “104.5 The River,” which was -.8 in July and +.8 in August (6.6 – 5.8 – 6.6, 6+), is off one-tenth to 6.5 (6+) but stays at #4. In advance of June’s +.1, “The River” was an overall -2.4 in three straight declines (8.9 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+); “Holiday” 2018’s 11.3 is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 (#6). Recent (6+) WRVR fluctuations include: +2.0 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.1 (January 2019); +.7 (February); -1.1 (March); -1.2 (May); -.8 (July); and +.8 (August). Cumulus Media’s similarly-programmed WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” doubles (+.7) its 6+ AQH share in August/September (.7 – 1.2 – 1.4, #16 to #15, 6+). “The Bridge” reached the five-share level (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, but was a combined -4.0 in January/February (5.1 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+).

Hartford

Spoken-Word Formats – Powered by a +1.2 (6.2 – 7.4, 6+), Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” leaps from seventh to second. Unchanged at #14, Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” continues an alternating down/up pattern that began in April 2019: .9 – .8 – 1.0 – .5 – .6 – .4 (6+). A “no-show” in June 2018, iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410” has logged a .1 (6+) in each of the subsequent 16 survey periods and remains at #16.

Down three-tenths in four straight sweeps without an increase (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” ends the slump with a +.2 to 1.7 (steady at #12, 6+).

For the third report in a row, Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” has a shift of one-tenth (4.2 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 4.3, 6+) and carries on in ninth place. July’s increase interrupted three straight drops that accounted for a collective -1.1 (5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+). University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio,” whose 6+ AQH share was sliced exactly in half (-.8) via three drops in succession (1.6 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .8, 6+), applies the brakes with a +.3 to 1.1 (flat at #13, 6+).

Hartford Music Formats – Virtually eliminating June/July’s -1.4 (10.8 – 10.4 – 9.4, 6+) with an August/September +1.3 (9.4 – 9.5 – 10.7, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WRCH “Lite 100.5” is #1 the 39th consecutive time. Nine recent (6+) WRCH shifts include: -.8 (November 2018); +1.8 (December); -6.9 (January); +1.0 (February; -1.0 (March); -1.3 (April); +1.0 (May); -1.0 (July); and +1.2 (September). “Holiday” 2018’s +5.6 was to 18.0, the strongest 6+-showing for any Hartford station since WRCH recorded an 18.3 in “Holiday” 2017). Prior to slipping to 9.8 in April, “Lite” was in double-digits (6+) in 30 of the previous 32 sweeps. A setback of seven-tenths (6.8 – 6.1, fifth to seventh, 6+) takes co-owned hot AC WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC” to 6.1, its lowest 6+-showing since 6.0 in “Holiday” 2014. An August +1.0 by Red Wolf Broadcasting alternative WMRQ suspended six straight down or flat trends that resulted in a collective -1.5 (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.4 – 3.1, 6+). In September, however, “Radio 104.1” surrenders one-half share (4.1 – 3.6, 6+) and continues in tenth-place. Entercom adult contemporary WMAS-FM, which ranked #12 in July (1.5, 6+), is unlisted for the second month in a row.

Friday, January 12, 2018

| January 12, 2018

Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm.  Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism.  This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable.  The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words.  This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it.  In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly.  Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.”   Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t.  My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.”  We want our shows to be safe for the whole family.  No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.”  Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'”  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards.  Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’   We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities.   We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making.  If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage.   If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance.  But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.”  Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go.  Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.”  Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air.  Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!”  Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning.  My advice:  Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'”  TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.”  For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.

Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.”  TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term.  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City.  This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue.  The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future.  There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities.  Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.

WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.

TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Showwith former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.

British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.”  It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy.  Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.”  According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10)  breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it.  He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker.  In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air.  “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.”  Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected.  To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadioTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”

iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.

 

 

Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”

Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”

Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).

Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.