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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

| March 18, 2020

iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17).  Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement.  The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.  iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well.  Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018.  That deal was for $325 million.  Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.

TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing.  Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years.  Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19.  The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”).  Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more.  The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions.  The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue.  Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources.  The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.”  Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters.  To sign up, please click here.  To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.

WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits.  Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed.  DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos.  The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens.  DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community.  I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years.  I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.”  DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ.  Reach him at digiac22@gmail.com.

First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released.  The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26.  See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets.  Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo.  Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future.  Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”

Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home.  With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years.  The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house.  Walter himself prefers the laundry room.  Read his advice here.

Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president.  The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands.  Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands.  She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg.  She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.”  Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?”  Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles.  WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality.  The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history.  The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic.  WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.  We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences.  We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right).  Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today.  ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’”  Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming.  In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.”  Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster.  She’ll retain her WSHK duties.  Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station.  Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best.  Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Monday, January 6, 2020

| January 6, 2020

Mike Broomhead exits KFYI, Phoenix.  In a social media post yesterday (1/5), morning drive talk show host Mike Broomhead told his listeners he will not return to the air after his holiday vacation and is leaving his talk host duties at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix.  Broomhead had been KFYI before moving into the morning drive slot 10 years ago after Barry Young retired from the station where he’d been on air for decades.  Broomhead says in his post, “After 10 amazing years I have decided to leave KFYI.  As sure as I am that God put me there I am as sure that this is the right decision for me.  This is 100% my decision Thank all of you who have listened. I have some time to figure out what is next. Will keep you posted God Bless.”  AZCentral reports that news anchor and morning show staff member Rob Hunter appears to be handling the morning show duties for now.

Steve Cortes to Host Afternoons on WIND-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CNN political commentator Steve Cortes – also a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council – is the new afternoon drive host at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.”  The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show had been hosted by former U.S. Rep Joe Walsh (who also hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network) who left his post to run for president as a Republican.  In a statement, Salem Media Group RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “The insight and political acumen that Steve will bring to our audience each day will be second to none.  As we enter this election year, Steve will provide an inside perspective on what’s happening on the campaign trail.”

WPGG Talk Radio Host Harry Hurley Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension to Remain with Townsquare MediaTALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley signs a multi-year contract extension with Townsquare Media to continue to host his long-running “Hurley in the Morning” program.  Hurley also serves as the senior programming consultant for WPGG.  Hurley, who has been with Townsquare Media since July of 1992, says, “I am pleased to have enjoyed such rare longevity with one company.  It’s a blessing that I have never taken for granted.  I love the people that I have the privilege to work with at all levels of the company for nearly three decades.  We are presently living history.  I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of the vital spoken-word format in our country.” Hurley presently serves as one of the rotating hosts for the FOX News Radio nationally syndicated radio show, “FOX Across America,” that airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and fills in on other FOX News Radio programs.

Mike Francesa’s ‘Mike’s On’ Show Debuts on RADIO.COM Today at 5:00 pm ET. We knew that New York sports talk radio star Mike Francesa was destined for Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform in addition to his half-hour show airing on WFAN.  Now, Entercom reveals that his “Mike’s On” show will stream live from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm daily, with the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm portion also airing on WFAN.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “Mike Francesa is a pillar in sports radio who has played an integral part in driving sports conversations in New York.  We’re excited to continue our partnership with Mike and offer the same unrivaled sports content our New York listeners love to a broader audience on RADIO.COM.”  Francesa says, “I’m looking forward to working with RADIO.COM in a variety of new ways and continuing my tenure on WFAN.  This new opportunity will allow me to connect with loyal listeners all over the country on both broadcast and digital and I’m looking forward to making this new show a success.”

Cumulus Flips Classic Country KBZU to FM Simulcast of KKOB-AM, Albuquerque. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM already has a 50,000-watt “blowtorch” AM signal.  That signal is getting an FM partner as Cumulus Media drops the classic country format on KBZU-FM and adds the class C signal to the KKOB broadcast.  KKOB had been heard on FM translator K233CG at 94.5 FM.  Cumulus says the station “will cover all of Albuquerque, as well as Santa Fe and the adjacent suburbs.”  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KKOB is approaching its 100th year of serving New Mexico and what better way to celebrate than to expand our platform to a full-strength 100,000-watt FM signal?  The KKOB News Radio ‘blowtorch’ will be blasted on both AM and FM signals, giving New Mexicans easy access for news, information, UNM football and basketball, and the best on-air talent in the business.  This is a huge win for our listeners, advertisers, and partners.”  In addition to the new FM signal, KKOB is upping the news programming with a new, 30-minute morning newscast called, “The KKOB Morning Briefing,” at 5:00 am starting next Monday (1/13).  Spoken-word operations manager Jared Hart adds, “I feel fortunate to be a part of such an important moment for one of New Mexico’s biggest brands.  There are so many potential listeners who never sample AM stations, so we can now put our amazing programs in front of the largest possible audience.”

PPM Analysis: Sports TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The period leading up to the holidays usually does not help spoken-word stations in the ratings battle and this year was no different, with 67% of sports stations in PPM markets faltering from the November survey to the December survey while just 20% improved.  Stations showing increased weekly 6+ AQH shares were linked to successful football campaigns. Entercom’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore (the NFL’s Ravens) was up by six-tenths; iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (the NFL’s Vikings) rose five-tenths; and Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (Ohio State Buckeyes) was also up five-tenths.  However, comparing year-over-year ratings, 65% of sports talkers improved, led by KFXN, Minneapolis (up 2.1 shares); Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (up 1.5 shares); and Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco (up 1.1 shares).  KFXN was the only sports station to rank #1 in its market in December.  WBNS-FM ranked #2 and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Pay Attention (They don’t).  Broadcasters have never had more competition for listener mind-share.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers some NEWS Year’s Resolutions.  Read it here.

U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets and the Economy, Weinstein Trial, and 2020 Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the rise of Michael Bloomberg in the polls; financial markets activity and the state of the U.S. economy; today’s start of the trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it is moving its live broadcast time to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET, effective Monday. January 20.  Radio America says that a re-feed at 6:00 pm ET will continue.  Radio America says, “Since launching Chad into national syndication in 2015, the show has increased in popularity and audience growth and has been a major factor in building audience growth on its affiliates in the A25-54 demo.  As a result, many stations have requested the show’s live feed time be earlier in the day going into this important election year.”  Stations wishing to upgrade to the new time slot may contact Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com…..It appears as if President Trump tipped America that Rush Limbaugh and syndicator Premiere Networks have agreed to a new, four-year deal to continue the nationally syndicated “Rush Limbaugh Program.”  At his Miami rally, Trump told the crowd that Limbaugh had signed the new deal.  Premiere confirmed to CNN Business that there is a new contract but did not specify its length…..PodcastOne is announcing that three of its podcasts are reaching the 100-episode milestone.  Celebrity/influencer-headlined podcasts, “House of Kim” with Bravo star Kim Zolciak; “Make Speidi Famous Again” with the reality TV couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt; and “Cold Case Files,” in partnership with A&E, all hit the 100-episode mark this month.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “PodcastOne’s great strength has always been picking the hits and future hits while building our network and creating financial success for our partners.  Congrats to Kim, Spencer and Heidi, and A&E on this terrific achievement.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group names Matt Cord host of the midday show at classic rock WMGK, taking over for Debbi Calton, who retired last month after 26 years on the station.  Cord has been on air in Philly on rock WMMR-FM and WBEN-FM.  He says, “I’m so thrilled to continue Debbi Calton’s incredible legacy with the WMGK workplace audience.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Philly radio legend John DeBella and longtime afternoon drive personality Andre Gardner!”…..Entercom ups Orphan Andrew to assistant program director and music director for CHR KUDL, Sacramento “106.5 The End.”  He’ll continue to host the station’s midday show.   Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Since joining ‘106.5 The End,’ Orphan Andrew has demonstrated his passion for the station and our listeners, and his promotion to APD and music director is a direct result of that.  His long-standing relationship with his audience and broad understanding of pop culture makes him the ideal candidate.  I’m excited to continue to see his positive energy and spirit in the hallways and hear what he can add to one of America’s most successful top 40 brands.”…..Cumulus Media announces a new air talent lineup at country KRMD, Shreveport, Louisiana that includes morning show “Melinda and Mason” – with Melinda Coyer and Mason Stanfield.  Stanfield joins Coyer and Cumulus Shreveport from Adams Radio Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he was afternoon personality and music director at country KGRT and morning host for classic rock KSNM.  Current morning co-host Mike Martindale is moving to afternoon drive on KRMD…..WSYR-TV, Syracuse news anchor Christie Casciano is providing news updates three times each morning on Galaxy Media’s adult contemporary WZUN, Syracuse “Sunny 102.”  Casciano will join morning host Rick Gary at 7:00 am, 7:30 am, and 8:00 am each day.  She says, “Even though I anchor the late-night news on television, I still have a passion for morning radio – which is where I got my start in this business, thanks to Rick.  Rick and I will be committed to delivering you up to date local news and events that touch our community, keeping you informed, and hopefully giving you a reason to smile on your way to work and school.”…..Reach Media launches the hip hop morning radio show, “The Morning Hustle,” now available in syndication.  Reach calls it “the freshest program in broadcasting with an entertaining, humorous, and informative take on urban pop culture from the Millennial and Generation Z point of view – meant to wake up its audience to the beat of today’s hip hop.  The talent lineup includes: HeadKrack, Angie Ange, “On-Air” Jordan, Lore’l, and Billy Sorrells.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

| January 2, 2020

WFAN, New York Officially Announces New Lineup. On New Year’s Eve, Entercom announced the new lineup for sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” that takes effect on Monday, January 6.  As had been reported in numerous New York media outlets, the station goes from four to three daytime shows with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moving from late mornings to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot, replacing Mike Francesa.  He will host the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm “Mike’s On” program as well as “host special programs, remote broadcasts, and contribute to other shows on WFAN.”  Maggie Gray remains with the station in midday, reunited with longtime WFAN personality Marc “Moose” Malusis for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Moose and Maggie” show.  Prior to her joining WFAN in 2018 with co-hosts Bart Scott and Chris Carlin, she served with CBS Sports Radio co-hosting a Saturday morning show with Malusis.   Malusis currently serves as the host of “Football Sunday” on WFAN with former New York Giants player David Diehl.  The rest of the lineup remains the same, with “Boomer and Gio” in AM drive, Steve Sommers in evenings and John Jastremski in overnights.  Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “This is quite an impressive lineup of talent on WFAN as we remain the one and only place to talk New York sports all day, every day.  Combined with our play-by-play of New York Yankees baseball, New York Giants football, Brooklyn Nets basketball and New Jersey Devils hockey, as well as our slate of National Football League games, we look forward to expanding our position as the flagship station for New York sports fans.”

KABC, Los Angeles Adds Two Evening Shows to New Lineup. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KABC adds two one-hour programs to its evening lineup, effective today (1/2).  Former Secret Service Agent and NYPD officer and New York Times best-selling author Dan Bongino hosts his eponymous 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show and Andrew Klavan brings his “distinctive brand of political satire, cultural commentary, interviews and more” to the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm hour.  Both Bongino and Klavan host podcasts of the same name on the Westwood One Podcast NetworkCumulus Media’s KABC recently announced its daily lineup consisting of “Armstrong & Getty” in AM drive, Washington-based Larry O’Connor from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, John Phillips from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  KABC general manager Drew Hayes says, “We are thrilled to add Dan Bongino and Andrew Klavan to our built-for-election year lineup.  Both Dan and Andrew have strong, thoughtful opinions and huge followings that will make nights on KABC a real destination for common sense listeners in 2020 and beyond.”

Ratings Takeaways from December PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey that covered November 7 to December 4, 2019.  Some positive 6+ weekly AQH share ratings movement for spoken-word stations during the survey includes: Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore adds three-tenths to its five-survey uptick to finish at a 3.2 share and the #11 rank in the market; Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore rises six-tenths to a 4.9 share and #8 in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland adds two-tenths to its fifth survey without a loss to stand at 5.4 share and the #4 rank in the market; and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis adds three-tenths to finish with a 6.7 share and the #4 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here and check out all of Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the December survey here.

A TRIBUTE TO DON IMUS Presented on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview” presents an uninterrupted reposting of a remarkably candid 2016 conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and the legendary talk media personality Don Imus who passed away this past Friday (12/27/19) at the age of 79. It was an illuminating conversation in which Imus candidly discussed the highlights as well as lowlights of his colorful life and career – including his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol; his regret over the Rutgers incident and the lessons he learned from it; his opinion of Al Sharpton and certain radio management figures who played key roles in his career; his ability to generate radio ad revenue that dramatically exceeded ratings expectations; his deep love for his wife Deidre and the significant role she played in his life; his tremendous work in supporting kids with cancer; the handful of radio guests he found most interesting; his view (back then during the primaries) of the 2016 presidential race and for whom he intended to vote … plus a whole lot more. To listen to the entire podcast, 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 and on every page of Talkers.com.

Tegna to Sell KFMB-AM and FM to Local Media San Diego. Television company Tegna is entering into a deal to sell its two San Diego radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and adult hits KFMB-FM – to Local Media San Diego for $5 million.  Tegna acquired the radio stations with its $325 million purchase of KFMB-TV from Midwest Television in February of last year.  Interestingly, a proviso of the pact with LMSD is that Tegna is keeping the KFMB-AM and FM call letters and the stations will have 30 days to wind down use of the call letters and a year to cease using the calls in relation to sales deals with agencies or local advertisers.  Local Media San Diego operates three Tijuana, Mexico signals in the San Diego market: CHR XHITZ, alternative rock XETRA, and rhythmic AC XHRM.  In February of last year, executives Norm McKee, Gregg Wolfson, and Steve McNeely led a management buyout of Local Media San Diego.

Donald Trump Impeachment, Attacks on U.S. Embassy in Iraq, 2020 Presidential Race, New Year/2019 Retrospectives, Hanukkah Attack, Texas Church Shooting, and North Korea Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/1). The articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Iraq and President Trump’s blaming Iran; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; retrospectives of 2019 and the “teens” decade; five are wounded at a Hanukkah celebration in New York; the Sunday shooting at a Texas church that claimed the lives of two parishioners; and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Extends Deal with Alfred ‘Big Al’ Williams. Denver radio personality Alfred “Big Al” Williams and iHeartMedia sign a new, five-year deal for the former to serve as an air talent for news/talk KOA “850 AM & 94.1 FM.” Williams joined KOA in September of 2019 after a long career alongside Darren McKee on Bonneville’s crosstown sports talker KKFN “104.3 The Fan.”  iHeartMedia Denver president Tim Hagar comments, “Big Al has set the standard for afternoon drive radio.  This long-term renewal is a testament to Al’s impact and importance to iHeartMedia, KOA, our partners and his legion of fans throughout Colorado.  Not only is he a tremendous talent and a great man, but he is the type of guy who you want on your team no matter what you are doing and we are so glad he’s a part of our team.”

Paige Rockwell Named VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Binghamton.  Sales pro Paige Rockwell is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Binghamton, New York stations.  She was most recently director of digital strategy at Townsquare Media’s Utica cluster.  iHeartMedia area president Robert Morgan states, “I am thrilled to have Paige lead our sales organization in Binghamton.  I know she will bring her passion, tireless energy, creativity, and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and expand upon our partnerships.”

TALKERS News Notes. After a two-year absence, CBS News Radio is back providing news programming for Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington.  The station had been using ABC Radio News since 2018.  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “WTOP’s mission is to deliver news that matters to the people in our community, 24/7/365. It’s a mission we take very seriously.  Our partnership with CBS News and the talented journalists who work there helps us accomplish this goal.  We are thrilled to be working once again with the CBS team.”…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that evening host Jay Kanzler exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after more than two years as a full time host.  Kanzler is also a full-time practicing attorney.  He tells the Post-Dispatch, “I managed to do it for a couple of years, but it was just a tough schedule to keep.”…..Entercom names Alex Gold (right) and Cody Tapp (left) the new co-hosts of the midday show on KCSP-AM, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  The “Cody & Gold” show takes over for the former “Show and Vern” program with Ron “Show” Hughley and Josh Vernier.  Hughley exited the station while Vernier moves to Royals insider and host of Royals pre- and post-game shows for the station…..Mary Zatina is named general manager of Wayne State University’s WDET, Detroit.  Zatina served as assistant GM for business and development for the station from 1985-88.  She says, “It’s been a while since I worked at WDET, but I have maintained my strong belief in the station’s mission and the critical role it plays to serve metro Detroiters.  I’ve never stopped listening to and supporting WDET.  I am excited to be coming home and am looking forward to working with this dedicated and dynamic team of professionals.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Isaac “Brooks” Wenzel is named music director and afternoon drive host for country WFMS, Indianapolis.  Cumulus Media brings Wenzel to Indy from its Madison operations where he was midday host on country WMAD-FM and promotions director for the six-station group.  Wenzel says, “I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to join a station with such long-lasting success in an amazing city like WFMS in Indianapolis.  Thanks to Cumulus for giving me this incredible opportunity.”…..iHeartMedia announces former hot AC WMYI-FM, Greenville, South Carolina becomes adult hits “102.5 The Lake.”  Station PD and region SVP of programming A.J. says, “‘102.5 The Lake’ is going to bring listeners a variety of music from a diverse group of artists.  The philosophy of our programming is that we’ll play anything and you never know what you’ll hear next.”…..Westwood One’s “The BOB & TOM Show” moves from Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF to crosstown The Original Company’s classic hits WJPS-FM in the Evansville, Indiana market…..Flood Communications West closes on the purchase of adult contemporary KSID-FM and country KSID-AM, Sidney, Nebraska.  The company paid $300,000 to seller Dead-Short BroadcastingJason James of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Condolences to the family and friends of former country KVOO, TULSA morning drive host Andy Oatman, who passed away on December 30 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Oatman retired from KVOO in 2008.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

| October 24, 2019

iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed Create ‘Impeachment’ Podcast. Just two days after former Donald Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon started his “War Room: Impeachment” podcast and radio show, iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed News roll out “Impeachment Today,” a daily podcast covering the Trump impeachment process hosted by BuzzFeed News senior reporter Hayes Brown.   The show is distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network beginning today (10/24). iHM and BuzzFeed News call it “a digestible, 10- to 15-minute news breakdown of the day’s impeachment process, debuting each morning and helping listeners make sense of the all-consuming political and legal saga that will captivate U.S. politics in the months to come.”  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne states, “The current climate of fast changing news cycles often makes it difficult to keep up with complex topics like the Trump impeachment proceedings.  Podcasting is an ideal medium to dissect this news coverage and make it available to listeners in a way that is quick and easy to digest while on the go, and Buzzfeed is the perfect partner to breakdown this crucial information for listeners in an appealing daily podcast format.”

The Herd Podcast Network Launches Dallas Cowboys Podcast. A new football podcast dedicated to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys debuts on The Herd Podcast Network.  FOX Sports Radio and Premiere Networks announce the launch of “The ‘Boys and Girl Podcast,” hosted by Dallas-based NFL Network reporter Jane Slater and NFL Network field producer Bobby Belt.  New episodes of the podcast will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout football season, with episodes continuing in the off-season.  Slater says, “As a Dallas native who reports on the Cowboys daily, I’ve found there is no offseason – the appetite for more content is as strong as Ezekiel Elliott’s desire to be fed on the field.  When Colin Cowherd approached me about this podcast, it was a no brainer.  My producer Bobby Belt and I talk this beat 24/7 and we’re excited to share those conversations with the fans.”

Michael Koolidge Show Adds Third Hour. The WROK, Rockford, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge show adds a third hour and is now airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Koolidge says that affiliate WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” requested the additional hour.  “Talk 101 FM” operations manager Storm Edwards says, “Mike’s show has been on ‘Talk 101FM’ from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for over five years now and it’s extremely popular with our listeners.  When we asked Mike if he could create an additional third hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, he jumped at the chance and we all couldn’t be happier about it.  I’m sure other affiliates will take advantage of it as well!”  Koolidge’s show is heard on a number of regional affiliate stations including: WTAX-AM/FM, Springfield and WTAD, Quincy in Illinois as well as Hillsdale College’s WRFH-LP, Hillsdale, Michigan.

Tegna Chief Dave Lougee to Receive BFoA’s Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee is the recipient of its 2020 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented during a black-tie gala on Wednesday, March 4 at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The annual event is a major fundraiser in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.  Lougee says, “When devastation strikes one of our colleagues, it’s good to know the Foundation is there to help.  I’m so very proud of the generosity of the many broadcasters who support and donate to the Broadcasters Foundation and I am honored to receive their Golden Mike Award.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason adds, “As a member of our board of directors, Dave has made a difference in the lives of the many broadcasters the Foundation helps.  Dave is an exemplary broadcaster who leads his team in serving their local markets with journalistic integrity.  We are proud to honor him.”  Previous recipients of the Golden Mike Award include: Perry Sook, Emily Barr, David Barrett, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio executive and McVay Media principal Mike McVay and Sun Broadcast Group announce that McVay is serving as an advisor to SBG with his focus being on the company’s international platform.  McVay’s role will be to consult Sun CEO Jay Bailey and the company as they grow their international digital and international product line…..One of the carriers of the new “War Room: Impeachment” talk show hosted by former Breitbart exec and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon is the John Fredericks Radio Network based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..RADIO.COM’s Pineapple Street Studios is producing “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” in partnership with Ronan Farrow. The podcast will serve as an audio companion to his bestselling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (2019, Little, Brown and Company).  Farrow says, “Catch and Kill is full of incredibly compelling men and women and this podcast will give you the opportunity to hear their voices directly, in intimate, candid conversations with me.  We’ll provide a deeper understanding of the plot that unravels in the book and feature brand new details and pieces of evidence directly from the investigation.”…..iHeartMedia and Fatherly launch a new iHeartRadio Original podcast, “Finding Fred.”  iHM says, “The show digs into the deep and simple language of Mister Rogers to uncover his very adult lessons about how to build a meaningful life.”  The 10-episode podcast is hosted by New York Times bestselling author, memoirist, and award-winning podcaster Carvell Wallace.  He says, “‘Mister Rogers’ has had a huge impact on an entire generation of children.  As this generation becomes parents, raising children of their own, it’s important to discuss how his words and ideas are still relevant today.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Republicans Protest Closed-Door Deposition, Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill, 2020 Presidential Race/Gabbard-Clinton Feud, Syria Pullout/Turkey Sanctions Lifted, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, Katie Hill Ethics Investigation, and 39 Deceased Found in British Truck Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to gain access to the closed-door deposition; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee about his cryptocurrency plans; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the Hillary ClintonTulsi Gabbard feud; the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Syria and Trump lifts the sanctions against Turkey; the California wildfires and power blackouts; the ethics investigation being initiated against U.S. Rep. Katie Hill; and the discovery of 39 bodies of Chinese nationals in a truck in Essex, England 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.  On-air pro JJ Kincaid has joined Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q 99.7.”  He made his first appearance on the station yesterday (10/23) in the midday daypart but it’s not clear yet if he’ll be the permanent midday jock or is destined for another daypart on the station.  Kincaid was most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT, Denver “95.7 The Party.”…..The Skyview Networks-syndicated “Dana Cortez Show” adds three new Texas stations to its roster of affiliates.  Adding the program to their schedules are: Alpha Media’s KBTE-FM, Lubbock and KVWE-FM, Amarillo; and Four R Broadcasting’s KMDX-FM, San Angelo…..SiriusXM announces that jam band Phish will perform an exclusive concert for SiriusXM and Pandora listeners on Tuesday, December 3 at The Met in Philadelphia.  The live performance will mark the smallest venue the band has played in nearly 20 years and will be broadcast live on Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm ET…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime KNCI, Sacramento air personality Dan Cheatham, who died Tuesday (10/22) at age 50.  At this time, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office is saying the cause of death is undetermined.