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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

| August 17, 2022

Guardian Angels Have Significant Presence as NYC Crime Deterrent as Curtis Sliwa Breaks New Ground on WABC. In the late 1970s, New York City was a modern-day equivalent of the Wild West. Murder and violent crime were the norm. A trip on the subway was an exercise in urban survival. Residents of the city resigned themselves to that unfortunate reality as the politicians and police seemed powerless. However, a young man from Brooklyn, a former Jesuit student, felt someone had to do something. Curtis Sliwa stepped forward. What started as a group of Sliwa and a dozen other dedicated volunteers riding the subways of New York to serve as protectors of everyday law-abiding citizens, grew into the “Guardian Angels” that residents of the Big Apple have come to know and love. With their distinctive red berets, they are as New York as Central Park or a potato knish. They operate under the motto “we dare to care” and have proved it over and over through the years, in some cases with their lives. These days, the Guardian Angels have chapters in 13 countries and over 100 cities and the terrible spike in street crime gripping the Big Apple has made them more relevant than ever. While the original hometown group of 13 has grown to thousands across the globe, the mission has not wavered as Sliwa puts it, “To make a positive change in the community by involving citizens to step forward and take an active role. While the classic street patrols are the lifeblood of the organization, we all know that reaching the youth in our neighborhoods, especially the most at risk, is crucial. Once again, the Guardian Angels is meeting the need.” The “Junior Angels” program, their youth outreach programs, and their Washington Heights Community Center, provides help for kids with everything from homework to nutrition while getting them actively involved in their community. Since his recent high-profile campaign for mayor of New York as the Republican standard bearer, Sliwa has returned to the airwaves of juggernaut talker WABC with a powerful midday 12:15 pm -1:00 pm program, “The Curtis Sliwa Show,” that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes as “extremely creative and truly ground breaking in its utilization of satire, hard-hitting commentary and subtle sarcasm that appeals to the listeners’ intelligence.” Sliwa tells TALKERS, “I will push into new realms that have not been approached with ‘theatre of the mind’ broadcasts during the height of the day. It will become the alternative to straight non-stop repetitive political talk. The satire and parodies that I am doing can win over whole new audiences.” Pictured above: noted former radio producer and Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan riding the East Side E subway train with a couple of patrolling Guardian Angels this past Sunday (8/14).

Audacy Trimming Payroll with On-Air Staff Reductions. In the wake of Audacy’s second quarter financial report for 2022 in which company president and CEO David Field cited “declining macroeconomic conditions and ad market headwinds” as the reason for the company’s top line growth of just 5%, the company is reducing its payroll. Audacy, like its competitors, has been taking steps to build a multi-platform media company and, as a result of the economics Field referred to, is being forced to make cuts in areas where growth has been the most limited – over-the-air radio. Some of the cuts being reported include all of the local sports talk personalities at sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “The Fan,” including LeRoy Butler and Gary Ellerson (as reported by the Milwaukee Business Journal). WSSP’s website reveals its programming now consists solely of CBS Sports Radio shows. Last week, sports talk host Jerry Coleman revealed his exit from WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” in a tweet.

KFI, Los Angeles Reporter Corbin Carson Wins NABJ Honor for Documentary. KFI, Los Angeles news reporter Corbin Carson has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists with its “Salute to Excellence Award” for Best Documentary for his work on “This Sand is My Sand: The Stolen Legacy of Bruce’s Beach.” iHeartMedia says the powerful two-hour documentary focuses on property in Manhattan Beach that was stolen from the Bruce family through eminent domain in the 1920s amid threats from the KKK. The feature includes exclusive interviews with historians, protestors, critics, and the Bruce family about racism, reparations, and a yearlong movement to return the $20 million-dollar-plus beachfront property. “This Sand is My Sand: The Stolen Legacy of Bruce’s Beach” culminated with California Governor Gavin Newsom signing a bill to return the property to descendants of the Bruce family. Hear the documentary here.

Salem Promotes Jon Latzer to VP/GM of Salem Surround. Rising from his position as digital sales director to vice president and general manager for Salem Media Group‘s Salem Surround is Jon Latzer. Latzer previously served with Alpha Media, CBS Radio and Katz. Latzer will report to Salem SVP of Broadcast Digital Jamie Cohen. He says, “Jon has been an active, hands-on leader in broadcast for years, but his last six years at Salem and Alpha Media prepared him well for the fast-paced digital world. In Jon, we have a strong, experienced general manager, who will help us take Salem Surround to the next level. Jon was ready for the next adventure in his career, and we are extremely fortunate to have him on the team.”

Cumulus Renews Deal with Benztown. This new deal extends the partnership between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and imaging firm Benztown. The two companies first partnered in 2011, creating one of the radio industry’s largest collections of production and imaging libraries. With the new multi-year agreement, Benztown will continue to provide radio imaging, production, voiceover, programming, and jingles services for Cumulus Media-owned radio stations and Westwood One syndicated programming. Westwood One will continue to represent the barter inventory for Benztown Branding, Benztown Voice, and Hollywood Radio Networks. Cumulus EVP of marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “We are committed to partnering with companies that provide best-in-class services for our affiliates. By extending our partnership with Benztown, our affiliates will be able to create the radio magic that listeners remember and advertisers seek for many years to come.”

TALKERS News Notes. The latest Latino Podcast Listener Report 2022 from Edison Research is published and among its findings are that 59% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ have ever listened to a podcast, a high mark for the measure. Just over half (51%) of U.S. Latinos have ever listened to a podcast in English, and 33% have ever listened to a podcast in Spanish. The U.S. Latino Podcast Listener report was commissioned by Adonde Media, LWC Studios, Libsyn, PRX, and SXM Media. The study found that video podcasts are popular among the U.S. Latino population. Seventy-six percent of U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners consume podcasts with video component where they actively watch the video while listening. Sixty-six percent consume podcasts with video where they play the video in the background or minimize the video on their device. Edison Research senior director of research Gabriel Soto states, “Latinos in the U.S. control an impressive $1.9 trillion in purchasing power, and today’s data demonstrate how advertisers who support Latino podcast content are benefitting, while those who don’t are missing out.”…..Gemini XIII announces its new partnership with Jane Green, author of 18 New York Times bestselling books and a global household name in commercial women’s fiction, to form Emerald Audio, a new premium podcast network creating connection and community through authentic female-led storytelling. The first podcast to be produced by Emerald Audio is Jane Green’s Rainbow Girl, the story of a crumbling rock star marriage mired in drugs, infidelities, and black magic, set in 1979 and based on the characters from Green’s newest book, Sister Stardust, which was released in April. Green comments, “In today’s world, there are so many more ways for people to tell their stories outside of traditional publishing. To be focused on female-driven stories in the podcast medium is the most exhilarating thing I have worked on in years. Fiction, particularly female-driven fiction, is at the very beginning of its growth in that area, and there are so many opportunities for strong, powerful stories aimed at women. I couldn’t be more honored, and excited to work with Spencer [Brown], Charles [Steinhauer] and the entire team at Gemini XIII.”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV announce the newest addition to their popular “Monster” podcast franchise titled “Le Monstre.” The podcast recounts the story of real-life monster Marc Dutroux – a serial killer, pedophile, and kidnapper whose crimes brought terror to Belgium in the 1980s and 1990s…..The Independent Broadcasters Association extends the registration period for member stations to participate in the IBA Fall 2022 National Cash Contest to this Friday (8/19) to give all IBA member stations time to sign up for the promotion. The contest begins on-air September 19 and stations must be members of the IBA to participate.

Primaries/2024 Presidential Race, FBI Raid/Documents Issue, Georgia Election Probe, Inflation, Russia-Ukraine War, and U.S. Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). Tuesday’s primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the matter of top secret documents; Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s scheduled appearance in Atlanta for questioning in the 2020 election subversion investigation; the still-rising cost of food and the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the drought affecting the U.S. and causing water emergencies in the West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

| June 17, 2021

Weekly Reach, Average Audience Post Highest Levels In 14 Months. As the nation continues to reopen and returns to pre-pandemic routines, the industry experiences another month of radio listening gains. According to results from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period, radio’s weekly reach is at its highest level since March 2020 and has grown each of the past four months. In the latest sweep (May 2021), radio’s reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, which is within two million of where it was before lockdown precautions took effect last year. In May 2021, radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience also scored its highest level since March 2020. Coinciding with vaccination rollouts and more normal commutes, AQH audience levels have increased 11% since January. PPM’s year-over-year (May 2020 – May 2021) weekly reach and AQH comparisons stand at a 108 index and 120 index, respectively. From a weekly reach perspective, May 2021’s radio audience is 8% larger than this time last year, while the AQH audience is 20% larger versus May 2020. May 2021 listening gains were widespread, with all major dayparts at or near AQH peaks since COVID-19 began. Weekday morning drive and weekends hit their highest audience levels in 15 months. May 2021’s weekend AQH (6.6 million) is 300,00 higher than March 2020’s 6.3 million, before the peak of the lockdown. Even though news/talk is lower than in prior months (12.6% in May 2021, compared to May 2020’s 13.6%), it does remain the most-listened to format in PPM markets. Registering its third gain in a row (4.1% – 4.2% – 4.4% – 4.6%), sports talk posts its highest AQH share since COVID-19 began, surpassing October’s high point (4.5%) when football season was in full swing.

Round One of May 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). In presenting his “Ratings Takeaways” from this round of markets, Mike Kinosian notes that, while it erodes by one full-share from April 2021 (9.6 – 8.6, 6+), Cox Media Group Atlanta’s WSB-AM & WSBB is the only mainstream news/talk outlet to reach #1 (24th consecutive month, 6+). Meanwhile, the lone news/talk stations from the aforementioned metros that finished in the top 20 (6+) and posted an April 2021 – May 2021 increase are Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (3.2 – 3.4, 6+) and Townsquare Media-owned WKXW, Middlesex (3.8 – 4.1, +.3, 6+). Off one-half share and three-tenths, respectively are Audacy NYC news siblings WINS (3.2 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+) and Mets key station WCBS-AM (2.7 – 2.4, #15 to #16, 6+). Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR (Giants) improves by eight-tenths (4.3 – 5.1, 6+) to progress from fourth to third. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

IBA/Vipology Technology Contest Creates Nearly $1 Million In Local Sponsorships. During an eight-week “Key Word Contest” (April 19 – June 11), participating Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) member stations collectively generated approximately one million dollars of revenue from local sponsors. IBA president/Adams Radio Group chief executive officer Ron Stone notes, “Hundreds of our member stations were able to generate new revenue from our group contesting. “Vipology’s technology, member execution/management, and data follow-up was nothing short of spectacular. We are planning a second contest for the fall; many participating groups have already indicated their interest in participating again.” Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee adds, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, Kansas, I’m proud of our team for building the technology and supporting hundreds of stations across the country in their effort to sound big on-air and powerful in their markets.” Participating stations’ on-air personalities gave three key words throughout the day. Listeners were then encouraged to enter the words on the IBA “contest widget” on that station’s website. Listeners correctly identifying the day’s ‘Winning Key Word” became eligible for that day’s random drawing to win $1,000.

Shattuck Set To Join WTIC-AM. Formerly the senior editor of Lowell Massachusetts’ “The Lowell Sun,” Tom Shattuck will become the mid-day host (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) on news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk” next Monday (6/21). The Audacy Hartford outlet will feature all-local programming from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Audacy Hartford senior vice president/market manager Stephanie Perl opines, “Radio is best when it is local, when we can discuss and look at the local issues affecting our listeners. Being able to expand our local weekday programming further separates WTIC-AM from other radio stations in the state and we look forward to unveiling this new slate of content to our audience.” According to Shattuck, “[WTIC-AM] has been serving the people of Connecticut for almost 100 years. I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of this great station. These are extraordinary times and I look forward to talking about our politics and culture with the thoughtful, astute WTIC-AM audience.” Shattuck previously was editorial page editor of The Boston Herald and executive producer of Boston Herald Radio. In addition, he spent four years at Boston’s WTKK as executive producer of the afternoon drive show and was a content manager, web designer, and executive producer at cross-town news/talk WRKO. In other WTIC-AM changes, morning show co-host Brian Shactman will add “Extra Time with Brian.” As of next Monday (6/21), the station’s revised 5:00 am – 6:00 pm lineup will be: “WTIC Sunrise Special” (5:00 am – 5:30 am); “Mornings with Ray and Brian” (5:30 am – 9:00 am); “Extra Time with Brian” (9:00 am – 10:00 am); “The Tom Shattuck Show” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); and “The Todd Feinburg Show” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm).

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place last Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

TALKERS News Notes. After a five-year run at KNBR “The Sports Leader” and KTCT “KNBR 1050,” program director Jeremiah Crowe is set to depart the Cumulus Media sports talk facilities the middle of next month. A new assignment has not been announced for Crowe, who is reportedly relocating to Las Vegas … Starting next Wednesday (6/23) at 9:00 am, Audacy Chicago sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” will air a 24-hour “What About Chicago?” radiothon. In partnership with former Chicago Bears player Sam Acho, the radiothon will benefit Athletes For Justice and the Austin Harvest program. WSCR afternoon talent Danny Parkins comments, “I hate when people who don’t care about our city ask ‘What about Chicago?’ in bad faith. The name ‘What About Chicago’ is a defiant response and this radiothon will hopefully highlight what Chicago is really about: A Chicago radio station partnering with a Chicago charity with a mission to help improve the lives of Chicago kids in a Chicago neighborhood.” … In acknowledgement for its protest coverage following the death of George Floyd, Audacy San Francisco all-news KCBS-AM & KFRC has won a national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for “Best Radio Breaking News Reporting.” KCBS-AM & KFRC director of news & programming Jennifer Seelig comments, “I’m incredibly proud of my team’s thoughtful and compelling protest coverage. On behalf of everyone at KCBS-AM & KFRC, I’d like to thank SPJ for this prestigious honor. [We strive] to deliver comprehensive coverage of stories that resonate with our audience. This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to our community.” KCBS-AM & KFRC was the only commercial station in the country to win in any category … Even though its officials have not released an official statement, Cox Media Group continues to rectify digital damage apparently caused by a ransomware attack. Those trying to stream a CMG station hear the following, “This stream is currently unavailable and we are working diligently to bring it back online. Our radio stations continue to broadcast 24/7; you can listen to us over the air – thanks for your patience.” Cox Media Group news/talk outlets include WSB-AM & WSBB, Atlanta; WHPT, Tampa, WDBO, Orlando; and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.

Facebook Censors Harry Hurley’s “Heavy Hundred” Post.  A post regarding Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” morning host Harry Hurley being named to the TALKERS list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (“Heavy Hundred”) has been censored by Facebook. In an article posted this morning on the “WPG Talk Radio” website, Hurley (pictured with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2021) says that his story about receiving the honor was taken down by the social media giant with the explanation that it does not meet Facebook’s community standards and that the URL to the feature is considered spam. To read the entire article, please click https://wpgtalkradio.com/facebook-censored-my-post-about-talkers-magazine-honor/. 

Now Saluting “Kentucky Colonel” Roten. WVHU “News Radio 800” morning talk host Tom Roten was recently presented a plaque commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions as Kentucky Colonels are presented for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. The honor stunned Roten, who happened to be emceeing a grant award ceremony. Kentucky Colonels executive director Sherry Crose spoke of Roten’s commitment to the community and years of promoting charitable organizations and then made the surprise presentation. Having just marked his 20th anniversary at the iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia – Ashland, Kentucky station, Roten remarked, “This is such a tremendous honor – I am very grateful.” Roten has interviewed hundreds of guests from the region including many from the Commonwealth. He regularly talks to state and federal lawmakers from the Bluegrass State and speaks to representatives of many Kentucky charitable groups. For over 10 years, Roten served as public service director for iHeartRadio’s Huntington-Ashland cluster and has written/produced hundreds of PSAs for non-profit organizations. Approximately 30 Eastern Kentucky charities received a portion of $2.1 million in grants that the Kentucky Colonels will award this year. Kentucky Colonels are that state’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.

Total Subscribers To Paid Audio Services Double in Six Years. According to data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear,” 47% of Americans 13+ now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. That’s just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials. I believe we’ll see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies. Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. Such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well.” Growth has come across the board from SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Audible audiobook subscriptions to music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Pandora Premium or Plus.

KCUR Enlists Edgell As Midwest Newsroom Managing Editor. Effective July 6, public radio news/talk WFYI, Indianapolis project manager/assistant editor Holly Edgell will join University of Missouri-Kansas City’s similarly-programmed KCUR, Kansas City as managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom. KCUR general manager Sarah Morris states, “We are thrilled to have had such a strong pool of candidates and delighted that Holly will be joining the Midwest Newsroom as a KCUR employee. Holly has extensive leadership in working with newsrooms across the midwest and beyond. She will help form and create a highly functional and collaborative team for the hub.” NPR managing editor for collaborative journalism Kenya Young adds, “We’re excited to see Holly join our team of stellar managing editors leading the hub newsrooms across the country. Holly at the helm ensures our mission to plan shared coverage and create stories that reach local, regional, and national audiences. Holly will be an agent of change in the midwest region; I look forward to seeing how she shapes collaborative journalism within our network.” KCUR is lead partner in the NPR-formed Midwest Newsroom, a collaborative among Nebraska Public Media; Iowa Public Radio; St. Louis Public Radio; and NPR.

iHeartPodcast Network Adds Three True Crime Mysteries. The new entries include: “Missing On 9/11”; “After The Uprising: The Death Of Danye Dion Hones”; and “Algorithm.” From the producers of “Missing In Alaska,” “Missing On 9/11” traces the whereabouts of a woman living near the World Trade Center who disappeared on that horrific day. John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski-hosted “After The Uprising” is an 11-part series that examines the truth behind the hanging death of a St. Louis Black Lives Matter activist. From iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, Ben Kuebrich-hosted “Algorithm” is an examination of a reporter’s algorithm he claims can detect serial killers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

| July 21, 2020

David Bellavia Named WBEN-AM, Buffalo Late Morning Host. The replacement for longtime WBEN-AM, Buffalo 9:00 am to 12:00 noon personality Sandy Beach is former afternoon drive co-host David Bellavia. Beach is retiring at the end of this month after a long career on the Buffalo airwaves. Bellavia co-hosted the Entercom news/talk station’s afternoon drive program with Tom Bauerle from 2016 through 2019, at which time he took a leave from the station to tour the country on behalf of the U.S. Army following his receipt of the prestigious Medal of Honor. Bellavia is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who joined the United States Army in 1999. He’s been awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He says, “I have a deep respect for Sandy Beach and am truly humbled to have my own program on WBEN. My goal is to completely reinvent how local talk radio is perceived and make WBEN the place where Buffalo comes together to start their day.”

Entercom Amends Credit Agreement. The company announces that is has entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under its Credit Agreement solely for the benefit of its revolver lenders. During the covenant relief period, which extends through December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier by Entercom, the Amendment provides for a covenant holiday for the quarters ending September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, among other modifications. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We are pleased to announce this credit facility amendment, which addresses the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy and our advertising revenues. As previously announced, we have taken a number of actions to reduce costs and enhance our business model to both weather the storm and emerge stronger. We ended the second quarter in a strong liquidity position with $208 million of cash on-hand, up from $189 million at the end of March. During the 2nd quarter, we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our revenue performance from April and we see the same pattern of month-over-month improvement in our pacing data for the 3rd quarter. Entercom is well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities. We will provide further comments on our performance and the outlook for the 3rd quarter during our 2nd quarter earnings call on August 7.”

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part one of a look at how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) is shaking out for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on the all-news format. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York was the highest cume all-news station during the June PPM survey with 1.09 million. You can see how the rest of the nation’s all-newsers fared as well as rankings of all-news outlets based on cume increases from May 2020 to June 2020; stations by cume market rank; and more. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, GOP Stimulus Plan, NJ Judge’s Son Slain, Presidential Election, Portland Protests, St. Louis Couple Charged, and Sports Leagues Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and the projections for future cases; the battle between President Trump and GOP lawmakers in crafting a new stimulus plan; the shooting death of Judge Esther Salas’ son and the hunt for his killer; the November presidential race and the controversy over election procedures; the protests in Portland and President Trump’s use of federal troops in the city; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations after aiming guns at protestors; and the attempts by U.S. pro sports leagues to start or continue their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Freddie Coleman re-ups with ESPN on a multi-year deal to keep him co-hosting the evening ESPN Radio show “Freddie and Fitzsimmons” with Ian Fitzsimmons. Coleman says, “I have been blessed beyond compare to have been with ESPN Radio for 16 years and that I will have a chance to add to it humbles me beyond words. To continue to keep loving what I do and doing what I love at ESPN Radio is something that I never take for granted.”…..Washington, DC sport talk outlet WSBN “ESPN 630 – The Sports Capitol” is joining the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Jake McCann is vice president and market manager for station owner Cumulus Media, he says, “We are thrilled to be the Washington D.C. area’s home for all the University of Virginia’s football and men’s basketball games. The school has a great tradition of excellence in athletics and in the classroom. There are many alumni in the area who will be delighted to hear the games as well as exclusive content we will be providing on ‘ESPN 630-The Sports Capitol.’”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV are expanding their relationship to collaborate on nine new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts to air now through 2022. The deal kicks off with the second season of “Sworn,” Tenderfoot TV’s criminal justice system podcast that exposes the untold stories and hard truths behind major cases. Additionally, new investigative series podcasts for the slate will include “MLK Tapes,” produced in partnership with author Bill Klaber, co-creator of “The RFK Tapes,” set to premiere January 2021; and the next installment of the “Monster” podcast series, which has over 100 million downloads with the success of “Atlanta Monster” followed by “Monster: The Zodiac Killer,” “Monster Presents: Insomniac” and “Monster: D.C. Sniper,” set to debut early next year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The iHeartRadio Music Festival is on this year – its 10th – but the show will be enjoyed by fans remotely. It’s being hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. The two-day festival will be streamed on The CW App, and CWTV.com, and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide on September 18 and 19 at 9 pm ET. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET). Artists performing will include: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown, with Special Guests Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more…..Neuhoff Media promotes Mike Shamus to vice president and general manager for its Lafayette, Indiana station group. Shamus was previously vice president of programming, cluster OM, and PD for country WKOA-FM. Company CEO Beth Neuhoff says, “Shamus, as we all know him, is an exceptional leader. His work with our award-winning programming team demonstrated his capacity for team building and getting the best out of people. When this position came available, he was the natural choice. I know he will lead this market to a new level.”…..Beasley Media’s classic rock WCSX-FM is working to raise $50,000 for Gleaners Food Bank. Morning show host Big Jim from Big Jim’s House will drive 27 hours on a rockin’ road trip from Detroit to Minnesota to raise the money with help from legendary artist Bob Seger. Big Jim will drive a Chevy truck (provided by Chevrolet) from Detroit to the North Star Bar in Minnesota where Bob Seger reportedly stopped and had a drink in his song, “Roll Me Away.” Big Jim will leave for Minnesota on Thursday, July 23rd and upon his return to the Motor City, Bob Seger and Chevrolet will make a $50,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Detroit.

Monday, December 23, 2019

| December 23, 2019

Entercom Hacked Again? Media industry insider and reporter Jerry Del Colliano reports this morning (12/23) that some of Entercom’s IT systems have been compromised by a “more sophisticated attack” than the one the company suffered in September of this year.  Del Colliano’s report states that the attacks happened early Sunday morning as hackers gained access to encrypted servers thought to be located in Philadelphia.  The report says the attack seems “aimed at the critical Entercom all-news stations” and that KYW, Philadelphia was “playing back recorded segments from the overnight into the day (on Sunday).”  TALKERS magazine has reached out to Entercom for comment about the matter.  Obviously, at this point the scope of the alleged attack is impossible to determine.  As of this morning, KYW appears to be functioning normally.

Protecting Your Company from Cyberattacks. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman – who also publishes the website scamicide.com – offers some advice for media companies to help them avoid the debilitating and expensive effects of cyberattacks.  He writes, “A major reason for the increase in ransomware attacks is due to the new business model used by sophisticated cybercriminals who develop the intricate ransomware programs.  Instead of merely deploying the malware themselves, they are now selling or leasing the use of their malware, along with tech support, on the Dark Web to less sophisticated cybercriminals.  The Dark Web is a special part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.  It is expected that ransomware attacks will continue to increase throughout 2020.”  For more on how to protect your IT infrastructure, read Weisman’s column here.

It’s Official: Bart Scott to Middays at ‘ESPN New York.’ The announcement comes from WEPN, New York owner ESPN that former New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is returning to “98.7FM ESPN New York” on January 2 to join Alan Hahn as host of the “Bart & Hahn” show from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Scott will also serve as a regular contributor to ESPN television’s “Get Up” and “First Take” programs.  Scott has been serving as co-host of the early afternoon show at Entercom’s crosstown WFAN with co-host Maggie Gray.  He was originally partnered with Gray and Chris Carlin in afternoon drive at WFAN.  The trio were bumped to late afternoons when Mike Francesa returned to WFAN four months after leaving at the end of 2018.  Carlin, who exited WFAN in early September, recently join WEPN as evening host.  ESPN New York VP/GM Tim McCarthy says, “We are so excited to have Bart back at ‘98.7 ESPN’ where we started his radio career.  The combination of Bart and Alan will add a unique perspective to New York sports talk in a very entertaining fashion.”  Scott worked as an NFL analyst for CBS from 2013 to 2017.  He joined ‘ESPN 98.7FM’ as a special guest for the 2017 NFL season on “The Michael Kay Show” and “Humpty & Canty.”  He also hosted “Inside The Jets.”

Brenda Egger Named Region President for iHeartMedia Denver. Management and sales pro Brenda Egger is the new region president for iHeartMedia’s Denver region.  Most recently, she was senior vice president and market manager for KSE Radio.  Prior to that she was market manager for Citadel Broadcasting in Colorado Springs.  She began her career in radio sales for KOA, Denver.  In her new role, she will work closely with the programming, business, and sales teams for all station brands in the Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins markets.  iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Jeff Tyler states, “I’m thrilled to have someone with Brenda’s experience and knowledge join the iHeartMedia Denver team.  We have a tremendous team and strong brands in the Denver region and I am confident that Brenda’s tenure in the state provides the leadership and excellence that our partners and our advertisers have come to expect.”

Monday Memo: Telephone. It’s For You.  Is radio surrendering to smartphones?  Or exploiting them?  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares an eerie warning.  Read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Steve Ruxton is joining Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM as a part-time and fill-in news anchor.  Ruxton is an anchor and reporter for the Chicago-based, syndicated television financial news show.  Ruxton previously served as host of Weigel Broadcasting’s “Stock Market Observer” and “WebFN.”…..WHO, Des Moines “Newsradio 1040” afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway is busy during this holiday season.  In addition to his PM drive show, he’s filling in on morning drive at WFLF, Orlando “News Radio WFLA” this week and next (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).  Next Monday, he’ll also be filling in for nationally syndicated talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, the San Francisco 49ers, and the 49ers Foundation announce that they raised more than $125,000 for local Bay Area youth sports initiatives as a result of the third annual 49ers Foundation Holiday Sports Auction.  The two-day charity auction was broadcast from the KNBR studios on Tuesday, December 3, and Wednesday, December 4.  KNBR has partnered with the 49ers Foundation on the auction for three consecutive years, raising more than $300,000 since its inception in 2017.

Impeachment, Financial Markets Activity/Economy, 2020 Presidential Race, India Protests, North Korea Threats, Virginia Car Pileup, and Eddie Murphy Returns to ‘SNL’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the Democrats’ strategy for the next step in the process; the positive activities in the financial markets and the state of the U.S. economy; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the violent protests in India over the new citizenship law that excludes Muslims; North Korea’s threat of a “Christmas present” for the U.S.; the 69-car pileup in Virginia caused by ice and fog; and Eddie Murphy’s return to “Saturday Night Live” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Three Podcasters to Be Honored at January Podcast Awards. When next month’s 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards take place at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles, three podcast producers will be honored with iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards.  The New York Times’ “1619” podcast will receive the Social Impact Award; NPR’s “Life Kit” podcast will get the Innovator Award Presented by Zoom; and Tenderfoot TV’s Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright with be honored with the Audible Audio Pioneer Award.  The awards show will stream live Friday, January 17 at 11:00 pm ET/8:00 pm PT via a LiveXLive stream and on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. iHeartMedia says, “The iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards pay tribute to the creators, organizations, and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting’s expanding role in today’s popular culture.”  The 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will “honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.”  See more here.

Cyberspace Law and Security Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The publisher of one of the nation’s leading sources of credible information about scams and fraud – Scamicide.com – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to his work with Scamicide.com, Steven J.J. Weisman is a professor of law at Bentley University in Boston, a prolific best-selling author, a columnist for USA Today, a widely sought media commentator, and the legal editor of TALKERS.  Harrison and Weisman discuss a wide array of topics including the dramatic erosion of privacy that is threatening liberty and democracy in this new era.  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 and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Via her Facebook page, on-air pro Fran Lane reveals that she’s the victim of budget cuts at Entercom’s adult contemporary WLIF, Baltimore.  Lane, who hosted the evening “Love Songs” show says, “It is with a very heavy heart that I share this news with you… I am no longer employed at ‘Today’s 101.9’ due to company-wide budget cuts.  I hosted the 7 to midnight ‘Love Songs’ show for nearly 26 years.  I am heartbroken.”