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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

| March 31, 2021

Watergate Co-Conspirator and Talk Show Host G. Gordon Liddy Dead at 90. Former talk radio host, author, and Watergate break-in architect G. Gordon Liddy died yesterday (3/30) in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 90. Liddy’s son Tom told The New York Times that his father had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and had been in declining health recently. G. Gordon Liddy famously made the transition into the talk radio business in the early 1990s after then-Infinity chief Mel Karmazin heard him subbing on a talk radio show and offered him the midday show at the company’s hot talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC – a station that at the time aired Howard Stern in mornings and Don & Mike in afternoons. Liddy’s program would later move into national syndication via Westwood One. He moved his syndication to Radio America in 2003. He retired from his regular radio program in July of 2012.

Remembering G. Gordon Liddy. On the occasion of the death of G. Gordon Liddy, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an overview of Liddy’s colorful career based on a profile piece he wrote while serving as special features editor for the radio trade publication Inside Radio in 2004. In the piece, speaking about his radio career, Liddy told Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.” Read Kinosian’s story here.

Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) presenting the Freedom of Speech Award to G. Gordon Liddy (right).

FLASHBACK 1995 – G. Gordon Liddy was at the Center of a Talk Radio First Amendment Award Controversy. In 1995, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) – a pivotal industry trade association that played an active role in the “modern era” rise of talk radio between the late 1980s through the 1990s – presented then-syndicated radio personality G. Gordon Liddy with its annual Freedom of Speech Award (the same award still presented annually by TALKERS magazine). The award was (and still is) non-partisan and has been presented over the decades to a variety of personalities ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Al FrankenMark Levin to Thom HartmannHoward Stern to Karen Hunter and Sean Hannity to Joe Madison. It has been awarded to broadcasters from both sides of the American political divide who have demonstrated through their words, deeds and courage the First Amendment in action, its purpose and how it operates.  Liddy received the award that year for facing a lot of heat in the aftermath of remarks he made on the air pertaining to the then-explosive controversy over how Americans can use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves from armed federal agents breaking into their homes with the intent of shooting them first and asking questions later. This grew out of the activities occurring at the time prompted by the tensions building during the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas and other related tragic events involving the BATF. Needless to say, it was wildly controversial and a major test for talk radio in establishing a standard for its position on the First Amendment. The award was presented that year at the NARTSH Convention in Houston. To view Liddy’s acceptance speech at the Kennedy Space Center (including attorney and then KABC, Los Angeles talk show host Gloria Allred’s one-woman protest demonstration) please click here. To view a clip from a luncheon that took place at that same contentious convention in which convention chairman Michael Harrison stood up to U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) over his call for NARTSH members to boycott the Liddy award presentation, please click here.

Update on Jail Status of ‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman. In an interview with “Free Talk Live” co-owner, co-host, and head of sales Mark Edge, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison gets the latest on the legal status of co-host Ian Freeman and the federal government’s charges against him. Yesterday (3/30), TALKERS published a summary of the story from the Manchester Union-Leader that included news of the government’s charges against Freeman that include fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. In addition to an update from Edge on the charges against Freeman, this interview contains some fascinating information, background, and insights into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Listen to it here.

Brad Lane Returns to Twin Cities as WCCO-AM Brand Manager. Programming pro Brad Lane is named brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, effective April 19. Lane was most recently serving Good Karma Brands as director of content for news/talk WTMJ-AM and sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee.” Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM in numerous capacities, including as program director. Audacy Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “WCCO Radio serves as an extremely important news brand for the people of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Brad brings a wealth of experience leading content teams and his leadership and vision will be instrumental to the success of our station. We’re looking forward to adding him to the team.”

KROF, Lafayette Adds ‘Todd Starnes Show’ for Early Afternoons. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program lineup at Townsquare Media’s KROF-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana “TalkRadio 960” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The program will also be broadcast on the company’s sister sports talk station KPEL-AM. Both stations will also air the short-form daily program “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

Ramsey Show Passes One Billion Downloads Mark. Over the course of the last 15 years, “The Ramsey Show” podcast with Dave Ramsey and his team of co-hosts has surpassed one billion downloads, what the Ramsey Network says is a rare milestone reached by only a handful of podcasts in the world. In addition, callers have paid off $500 million dollars in debt since the podcast began 15 years ago. Each weekday, “The Ramsey Show” podcast produces three episodes heard across every platform. Ramsey Network EVP Brian Mayfield says, “We’re teachers at the core. And podcasts are an extremely useful medium, giving us another megaphone to reach people. We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.”

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Takes Station of the Year Honors. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk outlet WSGW-AM/FM “100.5 & 790 Newsradio” is named Medium Market Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. This is the seventh time the Alpha Media station has earned Station of the Year honors from the MAB. Operations manager, Dave Maurer states, “This past year was challenging in our part of Michigan with a devastating flood that hit in May and captured the headlines for much of the year. This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections which were huge stories that demanded much of our staff’s focus. We are pleased that our team’s performance has won recognition for the quality of content gathered in difficult circumstances.” In addition to Station of the Year, WSGW won 12 other awards including six Best of Show and six Merit Awards in the MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards competition.

Jaleigh Long Officially to Lead Cox Media Group Atlanta and Athens. Sales and management pro Jaleigh Long has been interim market manager for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta and Athens, Georgia markets since earlier this year and now the company officially appoints her VP and market manager. The clusters include news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens; sports talk WREF-AM, Athens “960 The Ref”; and seven music brands. Long comments, “I am abundantly proud and honored to lead this group of industry-defining stations. The great work we do in all areas of the business every day is making an impact on our audiences, advertisers, and communities we serve. The power of radio is exhilarating and fortunately we get to experience that firsthand each day through the powerful programming, compelling promotions, and important community initiatives that define and underscore CMG’s purpose.”

Keith Lawless to Lead Cox Media Group’s Tampa and Houston Markets. Broadcast executive Keith Lawless is promoted to regional vice president of Cox Media Group Tampa + Houston. He’s been serving as VP and market manager for the company’s Tampa cluster since 2009. Cox Media Group Radio SVP Rob Babin comments, “I am thrilled to announce Keith Lawless as regional vice president over two of CMG Radio’s key markets, CMG Tampa and now CMG Houston. Keith has demonstrated an unwavering commitment for many years and has made an incredible impact on CMG Tampa and successfully led many CMG Radio strategic initiatives. His passion for his team, CMG Radio, and our industry make him the ideal leader to take on the role of RVP.”

Tampa Radio Figure Tedd Webb Dies at 72. Longtime Tampa radio personality Tedd Webb died on Tuesday (3/30), a week after entering hospice following a long illness. WFLA-AM reports Webb’s passing, noting that he was a host at the station for more than 30 years. He co-hosted the “AM Tampa Bay” program with Jack Harris beginning in 1994 and ending in 2017 when Webb retired. Webb was born Henry Ruiz – son of Cuban immigrants – in Tampa and began his radio career at the age of 14. He was a music DJ for the first 15 years of his career before transitioning to talk. He hosted a sports talk show, worked with Nanci Donnellan “The Fabulous Sports Babe,” and as part of WFLA’s “Gardner and Company” morning show before partnering with Harris for “AM Tampa Bay.”

COVID-19 Stats/Variants/Vaccines, WHO COVID Report, Biden Stimulus-Infrastructure Plan, Violence Against Asians, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Legislation, Trump Website, and Matt Gaetz Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The number of COVID-10 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; scrutiny of the WHO COVID origin report and criticism of China’s cooperation; President Biden’s $2 trillion economic stimulus and infrastructure plan; the brutal beating of a 64-year-old woman in New York and more reports of assaults on Asian Americans; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Georgia’s new voting rules and the Democrats’ push for expanded voting rights laws; Donald and Melania Trump launch a new website; and the allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

| March 24, 2021

Wendy Bell Promoted to Full Time Talk Host at WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh; Rose Tennent Added to Afternoons. According to a story in the Beaver County Times, St. Barnabas Health System-owned news/talk WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh bumps talk personality Wendy Bell to full time in which her 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show will air Monday through Friday. The station has also added Pittsburgh media personality Rose Tennent to the program schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Bell was a host on Entercom’s KDKA-AM until she and the company agreed to part company early last fall. Bell had been criticized for suggesting on her show that park rangers shoot anyone seen defacing a monument in a public park. Tennent co-hosted “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh with Jim Quinn. St. Barnabas Health System SVP J.D. Turco says, “Both women have very distinctive styles. WJAS is the only station featuring six hours of back-to-back conservative female programming. We are proud to have strong, intelligent, and informed talk radio with Wendy from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and Rose from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.”

Round Two of February PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s February 2021 survey period covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations benefitted from the January 6 Capitol attack and its aftermath as well as from the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration during the post-holidays period that is traditionally down from a ratings standpoint. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rose by one-tenth to a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and the #4 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM was unchanged with a 9.9 share good for the #2 rank. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s WRKO was steady at a 5.2 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM dipped seven-tenths but remained ranked #1. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM lost just one-tenth, finishing the survey with a 7.3 share good for a repeat at the #1 rank. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s crosstown all-news KOMO-AM/FM dropped half a share to a 5.2 and slipped to the #5 rank. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets here.

Former WFLA-AM, Tampa Morning Host Tedd Webb Enters Hospice. Longtime Tampa Bay radio personality Tedd Webb has entered hospice, according to a statement from his son Lee Ruiz. He says his father’s dialysis and dementia have been “particularly taxing.” Webb co-hosted “AM Tampa Bay with Jack Harris from 1994 through 2017 when he retired. Webb has been dealing with health issues for some time. Ruiz says, “This wasn’t an easy decision for him to make and obviously no one wants to lose him, but there’s only so much one person can endure. He feels the time is right and, ‘that’s how he sees it’ as he would say… I know a lot of people would like to spend one more time with him, and as much as we would like to accommodate all of those wishes, it’s just not possible. Given his current state, and that this came about rather abruptly, we have a very tight window of time left which makes it difficult to pull off.”

Jeanna Berge Rises to Market President for iHeartMedia Eau Claire/Rochester. Radio sales pro Jeanna Berge is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota markets, effective April 1. She takes over the role from Rick Hencley who is retiring after 27 years with iHeartMedia. Berge will retain her role as SVP of sales for the Eau Claire market. She says, “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am beyond ecstatic to lead and learn from these incredible, dedicated, multi-talented teams in the Eau Claire and Rochester markets. Rick has been an inspiring leader throughout my career at iHeartMedia and I’m honored to have had him as my mentor. His passion to have his employees always strive to be the best is evident with the success of his career, and I am determined to share that same motivation, positivity and creativity to help these ambitious teams excel. My mission is to continue to build on our already strong connection while having a positive impact on our employees, listeners, advertisers and our communities.”

Gaby Dunn Partners with Westwood One for Podcast. Comedian and New York Times best-selling author Gaby Dunn is partnering with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to bring her podcast “Bad With Money” to the Westwood One Podcast Network. The podcast will “unapologetically examine the intersection of finances and social justice. Every week, Gaby will bring a queer, feminist, and unabashedly radical point of view to conversations with top journalists, student loan experts, tax specialists, and mutual aid organizers.” Dunn says, “At a time when so many people are scared and out of work, I’m thrilled to be able to provide helpful and actionable advice for long-term financial security. Furthermore, ‘Bad With Money’ will now sit alongside other like-minded shows on Westwood One, where it can reach those who need to hear it most.”

Cumulus Media’s WSBN-AM, Washington to Air Baltimore Orioles Games. When the 2021 Major League Baseball season begins, Baltimore Orioles games will be heard in Washington, DC on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” Cumulus says the multi-year deal keeps the Orioles Radio Network on the Washington, DC airwaves and adds to ESPN 630 AM’s stable of sports broadcasts – which also includes the Washington Football Team and the University of Virginia. Cumulus Washington SVP and market manager Ken Roberts says, “We are thrilled to be associated with the Baltimore Orioles. From their classic venue, Oriole Park at Camden Yards to their Hall of Fame heritage, the Orioles have a rich history with the League and with the City of Baltimore.”

Traveling with 46. Pictured above (back to the camera, wearing headphones) is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston covering President Joe Biden’s tour of the new, state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Department at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University yesterday (3/23). Clugston traveled frequently on Air Force One during the Trump administration. Tuesday was his first flight accompanying the 46th president.

Deadly Colorado Grocery Shooting/Gun Control, COVID-19-Spring Break, Border Crisis-Immigration, Capitol Attack-Sedition Controversy, and Deshaun Watson Sexual Assault Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The shooting at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store that left 10 dead and the related issue of gun control; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, concern about variants, the rollout of vaccines, and the chaos in Florida related to spring break revelers; the large number of child migrants appearing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the pressure on the Biden administration to deal with immigration policy; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the controversy over a justice department lawyer’s suggestion sedition charges may be leveled against some; and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson faces 14 sexual misconduct lawsuits were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 4, 2021

| January 4, 2021

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush? Consultant Holland Cooke says the short answer is, of course, nobody. However, he points out that affiliate stations may soon have to find a solution for those 15 hours per week that they didn’t have to worry about before. He also asks, “Who will replace Clark Howard?” Find out what he has to say here.

Pending Business: This Year in Review. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says that just many aspects of our daily lives changed after 9/11, so too has the pandemic changed much about our lives – including how we work and consume media. In today’s column, he offers some thoughts about how selling radio will be different this year. Read it here.

WTIC, Hartford’s Joe D’Ambrosio Exits Morning Show. After stating back in early November that he was disillusioned with management’s directives about political opinion on the air, WTIC-AM, Hartford, morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio said he would leave the station when his contract was up in June of 2021 after 28 years with the Entercom station. However, he and management reached an agreement on an early buyout and D’Ambrosio’s last shift was December 31. D’Ambrosio co-hosted the morning drive show with Ray Dunaway. The Hartford Courant reports D’Ambrosio saying he never adapted to waking up for the program’s 5:30 am start and he found it difficult to work within station’s conservative political framework.

Chris Ryan Takes Over ‘New Hampshire Today’ Morning Show. New Hampshire radio pro Chris Ryan is named the new host of the “New Hampshire Today” program heard on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth. Ryan fills the role previously held by Jack Heath, who exited “NH Today” to join Binnie Media’s three-station simulcast in New Hampshire for the late morning daypart back in October. iHeartMedia says that Ryan is an award-winning talk show host and political commentator based in Concord who most recently served as general manager for New Hampshire Family Radio’s news/talk WKXL, Concord. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It was of utmost importance that the new host of ‘NH Today’ would be a person of integrity and character, someone who would hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We are thrilled that Chris will be joining our iHeart NH team!” The “New Hampshire Today” program is also heard on WKXL.

Leila Rahimi Named Co-Host for WSCR, Chicago’s Late Morning Show. Radio and television sports personality Leila Rahimi is promoted to regular co-host of the late morning program alongside Dan Bernstein on Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score.” Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to be amplifying Lelia’s role at ‘The Score.’ She’s a seasoned professional with experience engaging with sports fans across multiple platforms and cities and has built a great reputation with Chicago’s sports fans. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for ‘Score’ listeners.” She assumes the role left vacant when Entercom let co-host Connor McKnight go back in April. Rahimi has appeared on “670 The Score” both as a contributor to various shows on the station, and as a co-host since 2017. She’s also hosted, reported and anchored for NBC Sports Chicago. She was a rink-side reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. She’s also served with NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Houston, the San Diego Padres, FOX Sports Southwest, and KLIF-AM and KTCK-FM/AM in Dallas.

Ian Beckles & Jay Recher New Afternoon Hosts on Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa. Sports talk WDAE, Tampa announces that Ian Beckles and Jay Recher are the new afternoon drive program co-hosts, taking over the daypart from retiring Tampa Bay radio icon Ron Diaz. WDAE program director John Mamola says, “We are thrilled to announce our new afternoon drive program featuring Ian Beckles and Jay Recher. Teaming Ian’s long-standing history in the market both as a player, entrepreneur, and radio personality with the knowledge and passion for Tampa Bay sports from Jay Recher will provide a dynamic program for sports fans in Tampa Bay to embrace. This announcement further enhances and strengthens WDAE’s standing as the voice for Tampa Bay sports fans.” Beckles was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles during his eight-year NFL career and he joined WDAE in 2002. Recher began his career at WDAE in 2014 and has served as executive producer of multiple programs including the previous “Ron and Ian Show.”

David Rubini Launches Conspiracy Radio Network. Former Art Bell and John B. Wells producer David Rubini is launching the Conspiracy Radio Network. Rubini officially leaves Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight In The Desert” to begin “his own unique vision” and take his “pioneering spirit to the all-new 24/7 digital streaming platform and subscription archive service in the new radio landscape of 2021.” Rubini is now hosting his own program titled “David Rubini After Midnight AM” that will broadcast “two to three live shows each week on alternating days from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET with “The Best of David Rubini After Midnight AM” on all Rubini off days. He says, “Unlike what we did with Art, we will get political at CRN, that’s for sure. The political climate has drastically changed since we left ‘Dark Matter.’ And with the 2020 election confusion and rise of ‘fake news’ awareness and questioning, uncensored alternative news, info, and talk are more in-demand right now than any time in modern history. Our staff of professionals are convinced CRN will absolutely fill this void in the digital content delivery space.” Terrestrial radio affiliate relations expert Ted Edwards says, “What programmers have to realize is that variety in political talk is hot right now and the political landscape has never been more fascinating to discuss and to share opinions about both like-minded and dissenting talk radio voices. CRN should have remarkable growth over the next four to eight years. I love David Rubini’s pioneering vision and I plan to help see it all the way through to fruition, responsibly performed by Rubini on-air in terrestrial syndication.” Joining this new venture are: Jordan Maxwell, Dr. Richard Alan Miller, Flat Earther Math Powerland, and controversial and polarizing YouTube sensation, Russianvids, as well as former Art Bell Network News anchor Leo Ashcraft, Ross Mitchell, Dr. John Illias, Michael Decon, Blake Walley, and Joshua Chaires

TALKERS News Notes. At Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis, Brodee Scott joins to serve as operations director. Scott previously served at iHeartMedia in Memphis. He is a longtime Memphis radio pro having also served at Flinn Broadcasting and Rebel Radio in Oxford, Mississippi. In this new role, Scott will also oversee KWAM’s growing podcast and digital platforms. KWAM general manager Dalton Glasscock says, “Brodee was born and raised in Memphis and he understands how important it is to have a locally owned, locally run news/talk radio station.”…..Indianapolis talk radio personality Tony Katz shifts his syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program from the late morning daypart to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Katz is host of the morning drive show at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. He says, “The numbers in Indianapolis have been incredible. The show has been doing great in its current setup, it was just in a weird place, bridging two standard time slots being 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This move shows a lot of faith in the show from WIBC and opens up a lot of opportunity.”…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble achieved what he calls a career milestone on December 30 when he filled in for Rush Limbaugh. About sitting in for Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks syndicated show, Winterble says, “I am just overjoyed at the chance to connect with the greatest audience in all of talk radio. It is a homecoming. I have kept in close touch with everyone at the Rush Limbaugh show over these years and nothing could be more special than to sit in that legendary seat for a man I consider a friend and mentor.” Winterble started his career with Limbaugh’s original syndicator EIB/EFM Media in 1995 and was with the show until early 2006…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is adds an hour to Big John Howell’s afternoon drive show. The program now airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Howell takes the 4:00 pm hour from Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro program that continues to air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston announces the new program schedule that takes effect with the new year that includes the addition of Grace Curley and Jesse Kelly. Curley’s program airs from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm and Key Networks’ syndicated Jesse Kelly airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (Kelly’s show will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart effective February 15. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, and sports Rob Sanchez says, “We’re excited about the addition of Grace and Jesse to WRKO’s lineup. Their talents complement the established success of Jeff Kuhner in the morning and the legendary Howie Carr in afternoons.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Jon Laing to vice president and market manager for its Cincinnati cluster. Laing rises from his previous role as vice president of sales for the station group. He takes the market leadership reins from Dave Crowl, who retired in December…..Salem Radio Network and TOWNHALL news White House correspondent Greg Clugston is traveling aboard Air Force One with President Trump today (1/4) to cover a campaign rally for the Republican U.S. Senate candidates ahead of tomorrow’s runoff elections. In addition to filing special reports for SRN News and TOWNHALL News, Clugston will also serve as White House pool reporter for all other national radio networks…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, expands its partnership with iHeartMedia by moving its dedicated streaming radio station to digital platform iHeartRadio. VSiN had previously broadcast its content via SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Skyview Networks OM Andy Luberda Passes After COVID Battle. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Skyview Networks operations manager Andy Luberda, who died on December 29 of complications from COVID-19. Luberda joined Skyview Networks in the broadcast operations department as a board operator in 2012. In 2015, Luberda was promoted to operations manager in which he focused on managing one of the company’s largest clients, TuneIn. In 2016, Luberda’s son, Kade, joined Skyview’s operations team as a board operator. Aaron Mellis, Luberda’s longtime friend and manager shares, “We were fortunate to have Andy on the team, and as his role grew, it made a positive impact on our company and our clients. Andy’s warm heart and genuine care for his colleagues will continue to be a part of the Skyview Networks culture.” Skyview has set up a GoFundMe page for his family to help raise funds for medical and memorial costs and to provide financial support for Kade during this difficult time.

GOP Senators to Challenge Election Results/Trump Georgia Phone Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pelosi Keeps Speaker Post, and Texas Church Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The move by a group of GOP senators to challenge the election results and the recording of President Trumpasking the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes in his favor; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Georgia runoff election for its two U.S. Senate seats; Nancy Pelosi retains her House Speaker position; and the fatal shooting at a Texas church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

December 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways – Round Two

| December 23, 2020

December 2020 PPM Data – Information for the December 2020 ratings period has been released for Washington, DC; Boston; Miami; Seattle; Detroit; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis.

Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2.

Here are highlights from spoken-word stations finishing in their respective markets’ top 20.

NEWS/TALK

  • As a result of three straight decreases, Cumulus Media’s WMAL is an overall -1.2 (8.0 – 7.9 – 7.5 – 6.8, 6+) and drops from third in Washington, DC to fifth.
  • Following three positive spikes in succession that yielded a +2.7 (3.9 – 4.9 – 6.0 – 6.6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WRKO “AM 680 – The Voice of Boston” sputters by eight-tenths to 5.8 (fourth to sixth, 6+).
  • Without a loss the past five survey periods for a net gain of +1.3 (7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.6 – 3.0, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WIOD “News Radio 610 Miami’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station” stumbles by four-tenths to 2.6 (#12 to #15, 6+).
  • Including December’s +.6, Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM is in an alternating down/up pattern (7.1 – 6.4 – 7.0 – 6.6 – 7.2, 6+) that returns “Seattle’s News/Seattle’s Talk” to #1 (second to first).
  • Sliding from #10 to #13 is KIRO-FM cluster-mate KTTH “Conservative Talk Radio,” which is off a combined half-share in November/December (3.6 – 3.4 – 3.1, 6+).
  • An overall +2.0 through five consecutive sweeps without a loss (3.4 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 4.7 – 5.4, 6+), Cumulus Media Detroit’s WJR “News Talk 760” (Lions) surrenders 40% of that boon (4.6, -.8, fourth to eighth, 6+).
  • Three consecutive upticks by iHeartMedia’s KFYI accounted for a +3.2 (4.3 – 4.4 – 5.8 – 7.5, 6+), but “News Talk 550” plummets by -1.2 to 6.3 (6+), concluding a November-only visit to Phoenix’s top spot (first to third).
  • Trending 4.3 – 3.8 – 4.0 – 3.6 (September 2020 – December 2020, 6+), Bonneville’s KTAR-FM (Arizona Cardinals) slips from seventh in Phoenix to tenth.
  • A combined -1.2 in October/November (5.5 – 5.2 – 4.3, 6+), Entercom’s WCCO “News Radio 830” (Timberwolves) purges one-third of that deficit with a +.4 to 4.7 (6+) and reenters Minneapolis’ top ten (#11 to #9).
  • Following five consecutive sweeps without a loss for a net gain of +1.6 (2.5 – 2.6 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.4 – 4.1, 6+), iHeartMedia Minneapolis’ KTLK “Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130” relinquishes one-quarter of the windfall (3.7, -.4, #12 to #13, 6+).
  • Notwithstanding that it gains two-tenths (4.7 – 4.9, 6+), iHeartMedia San Diego’s KOGO “News Radio 600” backslides from fourth to sixth.
  • Off a collective four-tenths in three straight sweeps without an increase (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 1.8, 6+), KOGO’s cluster-mate, KGB-AM “AM 760” (formerly Tegna’s KFMB-AM), repeats at #17.
  • Flat at #18 in San Diego, iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KFI “AM 640” is -.4 in November/December (2.1 – 2.0 – 1.7, 6+).
  • Having more than doubled (+3.5) its 6+ AQH share through six consecutive up or flat trends (7 – 2.7 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 4.6 – 5.1 – 6.2, 6+), Cox Media Group Tampa’s WHPT “102.5 The Bone – Real, Raw, Radio” is -1.0 in December (5.2, third to fifth, 6+).
  • Even though iHeartMedia Tampa’s WFLA adds three-tenths (3.3 – 3.6, 6+), “970 Tampa Bay’s News Radio” (Tampa Bay Lightning) slips from #12 to #14.
  • On the heels of its November gain of four-tenths (3.8 – 4.2, 6+), iHeartMedia Denver’s KDFD “Freedom 93.7 – Real News, Real Talk” falters by six-tenths to 3.6 (eighth to ninth, 6+).
  • Tied at #18 are KDFD cluster-mates KHOW “Talk Radio 630” (2.0 – 1.9, -.1, flat at #18, 6+) and KOA “News Radio 850 AM” (1.7 – 1.9, +.2, #21 to #18, 6+).
  • In Baltimore, Hearst Television-owned WBAL “News Radio – Expect More” has a June 2020 through December 2020 topline of: 4.4 – 4.1 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 4.5 (6+).
  • An overall +2.6 through four successive improvements (3.3 – 3.9 – 4.4 – 5.2 – 5.9, 6+), Baltimore independent WCBM “680 Stimulating Talk – Breaking News” is -2.0 in November/December (5.9 – 5.0 – 3.9, sixth to ninth, 6+).
  • Dropping from seventh to tenth, Entercom St. Louis’ KFTK “FM News Talk 97.1” is a combined -1.0 in November/December (5.5 – 4.9 – 4.5, 6+).
  • Three setbacks in succession by Entercom owned KMOX result in an overall -3.0 (6.7 – 5.2 – 3.9 – 3.7, 6+) as the “The Voice of St. Louis” slips from #11 to #12.

NEWS

  • Despite regaining 40% of the -1.0 it surrendered this time last month (9.3 – 9.7, +.4, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM & WTLP-FM “Washington’s Top News” shifts to the runner-up slot after four successive months at #1.
  • It is a November-only stay at #1 for iHeartMedia Boston’s WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030,” which is off two-tenths in back-to-back reports (7.2 – 7.0 – 6.8, first to fourth, 6+).
  • This marks the fourth straight up or flat sweep for an overall +.9 by Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned KOMO (4.4 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.1 – 5.3, 6+), which progresses from fifth in Seattle to fourth.
  • A combined +.9 in October/November (4.5 – 4.8 – 5.4, 6+), Entercom Detroit’s WWJ “News Radio 950” dips three-tenths to 5.1 (fourth to fifth, 6+).

SPORTS TALK

  • In four straight down or flat trends, Entercom-owned WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” is a collective -1.0 (2.4 – 2.1 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.4, 6+) and falls from #16 in Washington, DC to #17.
  • After logging four straight gains for a collective +2.9 (3.9 – 4.1 – 4.9 – 5.4 – 6.8, 6+), Beasley Media Group Boston’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” (Celtics, Bruins, Patriots) is -.7 in November/December (6.8 – 6.2 – 6.1, flat at #5, 6+).
  • Via five consecutive sweeps without a loss, WEEI-FM netted one-half share (2.5 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 3.0, 6+), but the Entercom Boston outlet drops three-tenths to 2.7 (flat at #12, 6+).
  • Having been +1.2 in October/November (2.2 – 2.9 – 3.4, 6+), Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “ESPN 710” (Seahawks) forfeits one-third of that bounty (3.0, -.4, 6+) and slumps from #10 to #15.
  • After gaining eight-tenths in October/November (4.7 – 5.2 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom Detroit’s WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” (Pistons, Red Wings) erodes by -1.0 to 4.3 (third to ninth, 6+).
  • In Phoenix, three straight improvements by Bonneville-owned KMVP-FM (Arizona Diamondbacks) yielded a collective +1.3 (1.6 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.9, 6+), but “98.7 Arizona Sports” is -.8 in November/December (2.9 – 2.6 – 2.1, #16 to #18, 6+).
  • Off eight-tenths in November/December (8.2 – 7.6 – 7.4, 6+), iHeartMedia Minneapolis’ KFXN “Sports Radio 100.3 K-Fan” (Wild, Vikings) shifts from second to third.
  • After logging three straight reports without a loss for a collective +1.0 (1.2 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 2.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WDAE “620 Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio” is -.7 in November/December (2.2 – 1.9 – 1.5, #19 to #20, 6+).
  • Nearly doubling (+1.7) its 6+ AQH share in three straight increases (1.8 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 3.5, 6+), Bonneville Denver’s KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” (Nuggets) is -.9 in November/December (3.5 – 3.0 – 2.6, #11 to #14, 6+).
  • Entercom Baltimore’s WJZ-FM “The Fan” is -1.0 in four consecutive down or flat reports (3.9 – 3.9 – 3.5 – 3.1 – 2.9, flat at #11, 6+).
  • Following a gain of six-tenths this time last month, Hubbard Broadcasting Louis’ WXOS “101 Sports” is unchanged at 2.7 (December 2020, 6+) but dips from #15 to #16.

PUBLIC RADIO NEWS/TALK

  • Replicating November’s +1.3, American University-owned WAMU “The Mind Is Our Medium” is a cumulative +3.1 in three consecutive bumps (6.4 – 6.9 – 8.2 – 9.5, 6+), yet backslides from second in Washington, DC to third.
  • Up a collective three-tenths in three straight sweeps with a loss (.5 – .7 – .8 – .8, 6+), Pacifica Foundation Washington, DC’s public radio news/talk/jazz hybrid WPFW pops on at #20.
  • Virtually doubling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in three straight upticks (2.3 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.5, 6+), WGBH Educational Foundation-owned WGBH, Boston progresses from ninth to eighth.
  • Boston University’s WBUR drops three-tenths to 4.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+), thus snapping at four a consecutive string of up or flat moves that accounted for a collective +1.1 (3.2 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 4.3, 6+).
  • A combined -8 in October/November (3.7 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), Dade County School Board-owned WLRN answers with a December increase of three-tenths to 3.2 (6+) and reenters Miami’s top ten (#14 to #10, 6+).
  • It is a November-only stay at #1 for Northwest Public Radio Seattle’s KUOW, which is nonetheless a collective +1.6 via four straight up or flat trends (5.3 – 5.8 – 6.3 – 6.9 – 6.9, first to second, 6+).
  • Including December’s loss of three-tenths, Wayne State University Detroit’s WDET is in a rotating down/up pattern (2.1 – 2.0 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.0, 6+) and carries on at #16.
  • Pushing up from #12 to #11 in Phoenix, Maricopa County Community College-owned KJZZ records its third straight up or flat trend for a net gain of three-tenths (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.3, 6+).
  • In addition to repeating at #1 in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio’s KNOW is +1.9 in three straight upticks and reaches the nine-share threshold (7.1 – 7.2 – 7.8 – 9.0, 6+).
  • Even though it is -.8 in November/December (7.4 – 7.3 – 6.6, 6+), San Diego State University-owned KPBS is #1 the third month in a row.
  • A combined -1.3 in October/November (3.7 – 3.2 – 2.4, 6+), University of South Florida-owned WUSF picks up two-tenths to 2.6 (December, 6+), moving from #18 in Tampa to #17.
  • Not only is Colorado Public Radio’s KCFR a collective +2.8 as a result of four successive upticks, it is #1 in Denver the fourth month in a row and crosses the eight-share level (5.5 – 6.7 – 6.9 – 7.9 – 8.3, 6+).
  • Your Public Radio Baltimore’s WYPR “88.1 Your NPR News Station” repeats November’s AQH share and market rank (4.7, seventh, 6+).
  • Four up or flat trends in succession by KWMU account for a +1.0 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.1, 6+) as the University of Missouri-owned outlet advances from #16 in St. Louis to #14.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

| November 25, 2020

Walter Sterling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The weekend nationally syndicated host of the “Sterling on Sunday” show, Walter Sterling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sterling, who launched the show as a Sunday night feature on WPHT, Philadelphia some six years ago at the suggestion of then-CBS Radio EVP Chris Oliviero, went into the project after a decades-long career as one of radio’s most creative and influential programming management and consultation figures. Working for five decades under his legal name Walter Sabo, this colorful veteran’s resume, jobs, clients, and accomplishments as both a talk and music radio innovator are on a rarified level too numerous to list here. Now as on-air talent “Walter Sterling,” Sabo is breaking new ground in news/talk radio specialty programming addressing the social, cultural, and political issues of the day from the perspective of a devoted family man –  husband and father – taking a real life, down-to-earth approach to the issues of coping with life in the 21st century. The three-hour show (Sunday nights 10:00 pm ET) is a smash and has already reached the 100-affiliate mark via Sabo’s independent syndication firm, Sterling Sabo. In this fascinating, informal conversation between two old friends, Harrison and Sterling talk about today’s crisis in education, the state of youth in general, and the evolution of radio as it achieves its 100-year milestone. This podcast is a must-listen for students of radio – young and old. Don’t miss it!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Takeaways from Round Two of Nielsen’s November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the second round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that includes markets Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Some movements of note include iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston, which rose to a 6.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #4 in the market. Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit also rises to the #4 rank on the strength of 5.4 share (+0.7). In Phoenix, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI-AM shoots up 1.7 shares to finish with a 7.5 share and takes over the #1 spot. And Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa jumps into the #3 spot after posting a 6.2 share (+1.1). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Newsmax TV Says It’s Now the 4th Largest U.S. Cable News Channel. Citing election week and post-election data, Newsmax TV says that it has risen to become the fourth-largest cable news channel in the U.S., noting that for the week of November 11, its Adults 35-64 audience increased 132%. It says the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program averaged “nearly 1 million viewers” from November 9-19, beating FOX Business Network and CNBC. Newsmax TV adds that its OTT viewing has increased from 4.5 million to 18.8 million from July 2020 through October 2020.

Stacy Washington Upped to Nights on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Talk host and commentator Stacy Washington is promoted to host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Washington has been hosting her “Stacy on the Right” show on Sunday mornings since she joined SiriusXM this past summer. SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab says, “When Stacy joined the Patriot family this summer with her new Sunday morning program, it didn’t take long to take off with our audience. In addition to her weekly program, Stacy played a vital role in SiriusXM Patriot’s campaign coverage and was a regular contributor to programs across the channel. The expansion to a daily show comes as well-deserved recognition for Stacy’s contributions, and we know our audience will be excited to hear ‘Stacy on the Right’ five nights a week.” Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran who serves as an advisory board member of Vets for Trump and co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. She has appeared on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, TheBlaze, and PBS, and has written for publications including FOX News Opinion and Townhall.com.

WHAM, Rochester Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Relates COVID-19 Battles. Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry – heard on iHeartMedia’s WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse – recently spoke with WHEC-TV, Rochester about his family’s ordeal with COVID-19. Lonsberry says he, his wife and all five of his kids became infected with the disease but to varying degrees. He tells WHEC-TV, “That was one of the things that was so interesting about this that it affected everybody differently. I think a couple of our young sons were truly asymptomatic and we all sort of went our own way, about half the people had a fever, half didn’t, half had coughs and sore throats, half didn’t. It manifests itself very differently in each of us and lasted over a different course of time for each of us.”

Cumulus Media Cincinnati RVP and Market Manager Dave Crowl to Retire. Radio management pro Dave Crowl is retiring from Cumulus Media at the end of this year after a 44-year career in the radio business. Crowl has been serving as regional vice president and market manager for Cumulus’ Cincinnati station group. Crowl began his career as an account executive at WLVQ-FM, Columbus. Over the years he’s worked in the Portland, Oregon and Milwaukee markets before landing in Cincinnati to become president of Jacor Communications’ radio division. In 2000, he was appointed SVP of then-Clear Channel Communications and joined Cumulus Media in 2012. He says, “A 44-year career in radio would have been challenging to achieve without the support of my family, mentors, colleagues and friends who constantly inspired me. More importantly, I could not have arrived at this moment without the foundation of all the many dynamic general managers and their market teams who delivered compelling audio content to their listeners, communities, and advertisers every day 24/7.” Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Dave Crowl has distinguished himself as one of the most respected leaders in radio, dedicating the last 44 years to making radio the best it could be for the many communities he has served so well. In the process, he has lifted up our industry and the people in it, always treating others with respect, dignity and understanding. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all good things in his retirement.”

iHeartMedia Partners with Podimo to Present Translated Podcasts. This collaboration between iHeartMedia and European podcast platform Podimo creates a strategic partnership to translate and adapt popular podcasts across the globe in different languages. The partnership kicks off with the widely popular true crime podcast “Forgotten: Women of Juárez” (Olvidadas: Muertes de Juárez) about femicides in Mexico’s most dangerous city in three languages: Spanish, German, and Danish. The adapted podcast series will be released in early 2021 in 20 countries in Latin America, as well as in Spain and in the USA, followed by Podimo’s German and Danish markets at a later date. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We’re excited to partner with a podcast innovator like Podimo and use iHeartMedia’s unparalleled ability to introduce podcast listening at scale to bring some of the most fascinating local podcasts to millions of listeners worldwide. Podcast listening continues to see tremendous growth as more and more listeners seek out layered storytelling, and we believe this venture with Podimo will help us to introduce great podcasts to new fans around the world.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Traveling, Biden Transition/Trump Still Fighting, Record Dow/The Economy, OANN YouTube Ban, and Utah Monolith Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and warnings about gathering in groups for the Thanksgiving holiday; the Joe Biden administration officially begins the transition process while Donald Trump continues to challenge the election results; the Dow hits a record 30,000 though some economists warn a correction is due this winter; conservative news outlet One America News Network is banned from posting on YouTube for a week for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policy; and the discovery of a mysterious metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The alternative format known as WWCD and operated by Randy Malloy has found a new home in Columbus after losing its lease on the 102.1 FM frequency and going briefly to an online-only model. The station is leasing the WMYC-AM/W255CS duo from ICS Communications with the intent to buy the signals, according to a piece at WOSU.org. This is the third frequency shift for the alternative station. It originated on 101.1 FM, then moved to Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s 102.5, and now to the current simulcast operation…..Programming pro Jason Taylor joins Adams Radio Tallahassee as operations manager and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.” Taylor takes over for Casey Daniels who is returning to Indiana for personal reasons. Taylor spent the past 16 years at iHeartMedia’s crosstown station group. Adams Tallahassee VP/GM Jason Lamp says, “We are ecstatic about this announcement. Jason Taylor is a brand that Tallahassee country listeners have adored for many years. Having Jason join our live and local team in afternoon drive alongside ‘Cash & Woody in the Morning’ on ‘The Wolf’ is a dream come true for us. His management style is 100% of what we need in our building!”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering four holiday specials designed for adult contemporary and hot AC stations designed for air on Saturdays or Sundays from November 28 through December 20. The Christmas specials include: On November 28-29, Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls featuring the new Goo Goo Dolls Christmas album, It’s Christmas All Over; on December 5-6, Carrie Underwood featuring her new Christmas album, My Gift; on December 12-13, Meghan Trainor featuring her new Christmas album, A Very Trainor Christmas; and on December 19-20, Taylor Swift featuring her favorite Christmas playlist.

October 2020 PPM Ratings

| October 27, 2020