NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hazy Shade of Winter,” looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media Management; Amy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”
New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.
Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.
WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.
WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”
Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.
COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”
Monday Memo: Emulate Success. Talkers of all sorts – music DJs, talk hosts, podcasters – are fighting for attention, now more than ever, in what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison calls “today’s sped-up world.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists success prescriptions from industry icons. Read it here.
USPS Controversy/Mail-In Voting, Presidential Election/Kamala Harris Choice, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, Portland Protests/Urban Violence, WAP Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The funding issues facing the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud; the November presidential election and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools this fall; the ongoing protests in Portland and rise in violent crime in a number of U.S. cities; and the controversy over the Cardi B song “WAP” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: In the Market for a Test Drive. A personality endorsement campaign is a commitment on both sides – the client’s and the talent’s and AE’s. What happens when a prospect responds with the desire to “try it for a month?” Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about tying the length of time it takes to get a consumer through the purchase process to the minimum term required for an endorsement campaign featuring one of your talk personalities. Read it here.
WQAM, Miami Re-Vamps Daily Program Schedule. South Florida sports talker WQAM “560 The Joe” announces it’s tweaking its daily lineup, adding ESPN Radio’s “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart and is expanding the afternoon drive “Hochman and Crowder” show – hosted by Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder – to 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “With the return of live sports, we aim to give sports fans of South Florida a home for both national headlines and premier coverage of their favorite teams. As he returns to radio, Mike Greenberg is a nationally recognized and trusted voice and we’re delighted to add his show to our already impressive lineup of weekday programming.”
John Fredericks Radio Network Announces New Virginia Digital News Operation. In conjunction with Star News Digital Media, the Virginia based John Fredericks Radio Network is launching The Virginia Star – a new, digital news operation that begins publishing today. John Fredericks is host of the network’s morning drive program and he’s also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief of the news operation. He says, “We are very excited about this new venture: real news in real time. The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section. Like on my radio show, we encourage all voices.” Star executives say they have hired three local, full-time reporters and have contracted with several more on a part-time basis. Fredericks adds, “We are going to cover the stories important to our readers that the fake news refuses to do simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative. At The Virginia Star, we have our own narrative, it’s called the truth.” Star News Digital Media CEO Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Virginia Star now becomes the fifth state-based news site in the Star News Network, joining The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and The Michigan Star.” Star News Digital Media chief technology officer Christina Botteri adds, “The Virginia Star is the first affiliate of the Star News Network. We own and operate our four other news sites. We searched the country to find the right organization with the reputation and experience to work with in a fifth state, and the John Fredericks Radio Network in Virginia was hands down the right choice for us. Together with John, our crackerjack team of on-the-ground reporters, and the great people of Virginia, we will change the face of news in the Commonwealth.”
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As sports leagues begin returning to live play-by-play, America’s sports talk stations are hoping it will translate into improved ratings. During the July 2020 survey, Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” was the big gainer, adding seven-tenths to post a 3.6 share. Right behind was Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco tacking on six-tenths for a 2.5 share finish. Comparing July 2020 to July 2019, the top gainer is iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN,” which posts a seven-tenths gain for a 5.0 share. No sports talk station ranked #1 in its market in July – not even close. However, three stations – Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; WBNS-FM, Columbus; and KXFN-FM, Minneapolis – tied for ranking #8 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.
TALKERS News Notes. This month, Premiere Networks is celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere says that it and FOX Sports “have enjoyed a long partnership that kicked off in 2000 with the goal of producing a home for industry-leading talent focused on delivering entertaining, informed and thought-provoking programming for sports fans. FOX Sports Radio launched in August of that year, and the network’s storied 20-year run has developed a loyal following of more than 14 million listeners across more than 500 affiliates nationwide with an unmatched weekday lineup featuring some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller.” Premiere SVP of sports programming Don Martin says, “What an amazing accomplishment – 20 years! I’ve been fortunate to be part of the FSR family for the entire run, both as an affiliate and on the management team.”…..San Diego is getting its first taste of “The Mightier 1090” today (8/17) as the Bill Hagen-led station begins operating. XEPRS-AM had been a sports talker as “The Mighty 1090” operated by Broadcast Corporation of the Americas but that organization lost its lease on the Mexican blowtorch last year. Now, ad exec Hagen is re-imagining the station. Times of San Diego reports that former XEPRS sports talk host Scott Kaplan is hosting afternoon drive. The rest of the schedule is: SportsGrid’s “The Morning After” with Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith in morning drive, Rich Eisen from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, two programs hosted by Scott Ferrall, and Tony Bruno in evenings…..ESPN Radio announces that effective today (8/17), personalities Dan LeBatard and Stugotz are presenting new daily podcast-exclusive content. A new digital-only episode will be recorded and posted before their 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET national radio show. Following the radio program, LeBatard and Stugotz will record more thoughts and ramblings as a digital-only “post-game show.” In addition, each hour of the radio show – as well as their local hour heard in Miami – will continue to be available as podcasts. ESPN Audio VP, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks says, “Dan and Stugotz already have a large digital-only audience, and we wanted to better serve that audience with exclusive podcast content. They are a unique show on sports radio and now their podcast listeners will get more unique podcast content each day.”
Michael Harrison Joins Gunhill Road with New Song About Life During Pandemic. Here they come again! Gunhill Road, the legendary album rock band that was a cult favorite of FM radio in the early 70s and then scored a Top 40 AM radio one-off smash in 1973 with “Back When My Hair Was Short” has returned in 2020 with a reworked version of the classic hit. This time the catchy tune has new lyrics that address the coronavirus with a lovingly humorous take on the sacrifices society is making to contain it. Rock enthusiasts might recall that Gunhill Road reunited in 2014 to a packed house at New York’s Bitter End and a brand new double album titled, “Every 40 Years,” which became the subject of a feature film documentary. The long-running ensemble which consists of original members Glenn Leopold, Steve Goldrich, and Paul Reich and new members musician/arranger Brian Koonin and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has a new set of songs ready to drop in early 2021. Among the new songs is one co-written and performed by Harrison that addresses the issue of animal welfare. To check out the new “Back When We Used to Hug” video, please click here.
Newsmax TV Adds ‘Stinchfield’ to Nightly Lineup. Four-time Emmy-winning journalist Grant Stinchfield is joining the evening lineup at Newsmax TV, beginning tomorrow (8/18) at 8:00 pm ET. Newsmax says “Stinchfield” is “a full hour of the day’s top news and provocative conversation.” Stinchfield says, “I’m thrilled to be at Newsmax TV. Each night, our viewers can look forward to a compelling mix of up-to-the-second news and compelling discussions with newsmakers and Newsmax TV’s great roster of contributors.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Grant has an impeccable track record in broadcast journalism with the awards to prove it. He will bring our viewers solid news reports with the insight they can’t find elsewhere.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Townsquare Media’s Albany, New York station group, country WGNA brand manager Matty Jeff is promoted to director of content for the cluster that also includes alternative WQSH, rock WQBK, adult contemporary WPBZ, hip hop WQBK-HD2/W256BU, and sports talk WTMM-FM. Townsquare Albany market president Kevin Rich says, “Matty has programmed WGNA to be a consistent local ratings and online leader and by far the #1 country station in the Capital Region. Having him as my partner in the director of content role will make our locally programmed stations even stronger.”…..Country radio air personality Jessica Cash announces she’s leaving Alpha Media’s WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia at the end of this week. She says, “Fourteen years is a long time for someone in our profession to be in one place. I’ve had the good fortune to do that, to hopefully get your day started with a smile. But, now it’s time for me to make a change in my life.” Cash co-hosts the morning drive show with Steve Waters. The duo has won honors over the years, including CMA’s Small Market Morning Show in 2018 and the ACM Small Market Personality in 2019. The station is searching for her replacement…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime South Florida radio personality Sonny Fox, who passed away on Friday (8/14) in Dunnellon, Florida after an illness at age 73. An obit in the Miami Herald notes that Fox worked at former rock outlet WSHE (now hip hop WMIB), CHR WHYI, oldies WMXJ, and country WKIS.
KXL-FM, Portland Talk Host Lars Larson Names Whistleblower on FOX News Channel. KXL-FM, Portland talk radio host Lars Larson – who also hosts a nationally syndicated show via Compass Media Networks – was doing a segment on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” yesterday (11/7) when he revealed who he believes the whistleblower in the Ukraine affair is. Larson told KGW-TV, Portland, “I believe all of Washington knows, all of the press corps knows, and the only people in the dark are the American people. If you’re talking about removing the president, chosen by the American people, you have an obligation of telling them who’s accusing [the president].” FOX News tells the Hollywood Reporter that it has not confirmed nor independently verified the name of the whistleblower.
Entercom Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 2%. Third quarter 2019 financial data from Entercom Communications is released and the company reports net revenue of $386 million, an increase of 2% over the same period in 2018. Operating income for the quarter was $79.5 million, compared to $78.7 million in the third quarter of 2018. For the first three quarters of 2019, net revenue was $1.07 billion, an increase of 2.3% over the same period in 2018. Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field comments, “I am pleased to report that Entercom delivered strong organic growth in the third quarter with Adjusted EBITDA up 13% and Adjusted Net Income Per Share up 23%. Revenues increased 2% (just under 3% ex-political) driven by digital, national, and network. In October, we announced the launch of DVR-like functionality for live radio on our RADIO.COM app, becoming the first company to offer that important product feature. This new feature and our recent acquisitions of podcasters Cadence 13 and Pineapple Street Studios highlight the multiple ways we are working to enhance our product line and grow our relationships with our listeners and customers.”
NPR and Edison Research to Unveil Spoken Word Audio Report. The data from the new Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research will be made available via a free webinar on Tuesday (11/12) that you can sign up for here. The study – derived from a national quantitative survey, one-on-one interviews, and five years of previously-unreleased data from Edison Research’s U.S. Share of Ear study – explores consumer behavior in the spoken word audio category. It details: How the spoken word audio category has changed in the last five years; how the balance between music and spoken-word content consumption is shifting; the role spoken word audio plays in consumers’ lives today – from where people listen to when people listen; and what people are looking for from spoken-word content on different platforms. The study concludes that the share of time spent listening to spoken-word audio has increased 20% since 2014.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/8). The new episode titled “Hearings and Smearings!” looks back at this past week of November 4-8, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Holland Cooke, media consultant/talk show host RT America; Duke Brooks, talk show host, WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, DE; Daliah Wachs, M.D., medical doctor, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
National Campaign Launched to Protect Press Freedom. The nonprofit organizations the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, along with a coalition of 23 media, technology and nonprofit partners, including Barron’s, CBS, Comcast-NBC Universal, CNN, Facebook, Los Angeles Times, McClatchy, The New York Times, NPR, Reuters, Scripps, Sinclair, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, and The Washington Post, yesterday (11/7) launched the “Protect Press Freedom” campaign to mobilize the public to stand up for press freedom and actively protect their right to be informed. Through video, radio, digital, print, and social media assets, the campaign communicates the message: In order to be free, we must be informed. The creative illustrates the crucial role the free press plays in everyday life by depicting a world in which people are unable to access news about issues that are important to them. On the campaign website, visitors can learn more about the threats to press freedom, explore key moments for the free press in America’s history, and take a quiz to assess their knowledge. “Americans across the country rely on diverse news sources to help them make informed choices every day, but many don’t see the threats that are putting that information at risk,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press tells TALKERS. “When one journalist or news source is threatened — whether it’s verbally, physically, or legally — it threatens a fundamental American freedom that’s essential to understanding and participating in our communities. We’re proud to bring news outlets and organizations together to have a conversation with the public about press freedom and encourage people to stand up for their right to information.” Attacks on journalists’ safety and the public’s right to know occur with troubling regularity. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which the Reporters Committee and CPJ are partners, there were at least 35 physical attacks on journalists last year, most notably the murder of five people working at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. So far in 2019, at least 28 journalists have been denied access to government events that are traditionally open to or attended by the press, leaving members of the public without crucial information about their government’s activities. Relentless disparagement of the media contributes to an increasingly dangerous climate for journalists. For more information about this please click on the website www.ProtectPressFreedom.org. To listen to a conversation about the campaign between Bruce Brown and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison click here.
Miltz Named Director of Marketing and Promotions for Bonneville Denver. Marketing pro Melanie Miltz is named director of marketing and promotions for Bonneville’s Denver station group that includes sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan,” sports KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver,” country KYGO-FM, and adult contemporary KOSI-FM. She most recently held the same position at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. Bonneville Denver senior regional vice president and market manager Bob Call states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Mel join Bonneville Denver and take over the leadership of our marketing and promotions department. Mel is well-recognized and highly respected as a promotions and marketing professional with a high level of branding expertise, attention to detail, and follow-through on both the strategic and tactical elements of marketing. Mel’s wealth of experience make her the perfect choice for Bonneville Denver.”
TALKERS News Notes. At the end of this year, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze will shut down its cable television channel. A story in The Hollywood Reporter says that TheBlaze will focus on its subscription video-on-demand service, its website, and the radio program. The piece notes that because TheBlaze is largely a digital enterprise and its contracts with cable operators prevent much of the video content presented via cable from being shared online, it makes business sense to focus on the VOD space. Blaze Media CEO Tyler Cardon tells THR, “Given our record growth this year on our direct-to-consumer SVOD business, podcasts, various web properties and other digital distribution channels, it has become a conflict to continue programming a traditional, legacy cable channel.”…..Entercom announces that its RADIO.COM platform with its collection of premiere sports, entertainment, news, and music audio content is being made available to Samsung’s Bixby scalable intelligence platform. RADIO.COM will be available in Bixby Marketplace, where Samsung smartphone users in the U.S. can add the capsule to enhance their Bixby experience. Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “This is an exciting integration with Samsung to bring the RADIO.COM listening experience wherever and however our listeners want it. With Bixby, we are able to bring RADIO.COM to millions of listeners, making it easier than ever to discover and engage with our premium audio content as part of our listeners’ daily audio habit.”…..ESPN Radio says its October PPM numbers for its daytime sports talk radio shows (men 25-54) are up 7%. For instance, the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show saw a monthly increase across platforms of 13% compared to the September 2019 PPM survey and “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” was up 25% over September on terrestrial radio…..Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin” hosted Facebook VP global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson to discuss the personal and corporate responsibility of the social media platform. Responding to a question about why Facebook runs political ads with false claims, Everson stated, “For decades, political advertising has not been monitored. The FCC has made it very clear by law that broadcasters are not allowed to censor or change political advertising, and we have chosen to follow that, even though we are not required to do so by the FCC – as have all of the other platforms – because we think it’s very dangerous for a tech company, a CEO, or any private or public company to determine what is true and what is false.”…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa welcomed FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio superstar Brian Kilmeade to town today (11/8) for a listener event and book signing for Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “KRMG is proud to be able to bring one of our most popular radio and TV hosts to Tulsa for an opportunity to interact with our listeners and give people a chance to see what goes on as part of his live broadcast.”
The Impeachment Process and the Ukraine Affair Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The impeachment process against President Trump and the related Ukraine quid pro quo allegations was the top news/talk story for the week of November 4-8, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Tuesday election results in Virginia and Kentucky and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election. Coming in at #3 was court ruling that President Trump must turn over eight years of tax returns to a Manhattan Grand Jury, followed by U.S.-China trade negotiations and the U.S. economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s chart here.
PPM Analysis: Country. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on country. From the September 2019 survey to the October 2019 survey, about 60% of country stations in PPM markets are down (weekly, 6+ AQH share). The year-over-year comparison is split a bit more evenly, with 47% of stations seeing an increase and 51% seeing a decrease. Just two country stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the October survey – Bonneville’s KYGO, Denver (6.1 share) and iHeartMedia’s WCOL, Columbus (10.7 share). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s CHR KNOU-FM, St. Louis “Now 96.3,” program director and midday personality Scott Ellis leaves the station to return to Springfield, Missouri with his girlfriend. Ellis previously worked on air and as PD for CHR KSPW-FM, Springfield. Assuming his programming duties at KNOU is cluster operations manager Cat Simon…..A round of job cuts at Entercom Seattle include three from the programming department. Jean Ashley leaves her morning co-host and APD gigs at adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound.” Midday personality and rhythmic AC KHTP “HOT 103.7” assistant program director Jamie “Tanch” Tanchykh exits, as does alternative KNDD “107-7 The End” evening personality Cody Whistler.