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Friday, September 11, 2020

| September 11, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Don’t Panic!” looks back at this past week of September 7 – September 11, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSTodd Feinburg; talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS, St. Louis; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, WABC, New York and “Sterling on Sunday” in national syndication. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom’s Implementation of ‘Reimagined and Enhanced’ Programming and Sales Strategies for Country and Alternative Brands Brings About Staff Reductions. An internal memo from Entercom president and CEO David Field yesterday (9/10) revealed the company is putting into effect its new plan that applies its reimagined programming strategies in the country and alternative formats. A company-wide town hall is taking place today (9/11) in which staffers will hear from brand managers about the plans. It’s clear from Field’s memo that a reduction in force in part of the plan and already some released staffers have reported their exits via social media. How this new thinking may affect Entercom employees working in formats other than country and alternative is unknown at this time but is no doubt a question many will have. Field says in the memo: “I want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings about the actions we are taking. To be clear, Entercom will remain local, first and foremost. As the industry’s #1 home for premium, original audio content, we will continue to make the industry’s largest investment in local talent. From our iconic local news brands, to our top-ranked music channels, to our unrivaled sports stations – our engaging and compelling personalities remain the heart of our original local programming. We will continue these large investments in our local product and talent, as well as new local features across our brands.” However, he also acknowledges the job cuts. “While this is an exciting time of growth and transformation and we look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead, we also recognize that change is hard. As we make the necessary changes to best serve our listeners and customers, it is difficult to part ways with members of our team who have made significant contributions to our company over the years. We are grateful to them for their service. In order to assist in their transition, we are providing enhanced benefits for each affected individual and wish them the very best.” It seems evident from Field’s memo that part of the plan means fewer programmers will be responsible for more stations and successful talent is to be heard across multiple stations. Exactly how this is being implemented will become clearer with time.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as MLB flagships, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey. He says, “To say this has been the wackiest baseball season on record – and perhaps the strangest, most challenging year, in general, in our lifetime – would be the height of understatement.” With the season whittled from 162 games to 60, stations that count on that cume boost each April had to wait until July for games to start. In this report you can see charts comparing 6+ AQH share changes for flagship stations from the July 2020 survey to the August 2020 survey, cume increases from July to August for flagship stations and more. Read it all here.

Jim Hayes Exits Sports Talk KFNS, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch KFNS-AM, St. Louis morning drive personality Jim Hayes is a victim of budget cuts at the Randy Markel-owned station. Hayes hosted “The Morning After” and Markel tells the paper his exit was “strictly financial. He’s another casualty of the coronavirus.” Hayes also works for FOX Sports Midwest covering St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He’s expected to be replaced by KTVI-TV, St. Louis sportscaster Charlie Marlow. Markel tells Caesar, “Charlie wants to sell advertising for the show, and he costs us less than Hayes.”

Westwood One Releases Fall 2020 Podcast Report. Designed to coincide with this week’s IAB Podcast Upfront, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, unveils Westwood One’s Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report. The company says it is a “comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” Cumulus EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “The podcast platform wars are heating up. In this year’s report, Spotify is closing in on Apple as the most used podcast platform, and YouTube is growing as well. There’s good news for advertisers too. Podcast listeners embrace advertising. Four out of five podcast listeners have taken an action after hearing a podcast ad, and an increasing number of listeners feel podcast ads are relevant and memorable.” You can check out the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland news/talk WTAM is broadcasting today’s funeral mass for Cleveland Police detective James Skernivitz who was killed in the line of duty on September 3. Detective Skernivitz was assigned to the Gang Impact Unit and was recently sworn in as a Violent Crimes Task Force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working on the national law enforcement initiative Operation Legend. The iHeartMedia station’s coverage of the funeral service is being anchored by morning host Bill Wills and veteran news anchor Tom Moore…..Former FOX News Channel star Megyn Kelly is launching a new podcast via her media company Devil May Care Media. “The Megyn Kelly Show” debuts the week of September 28 and “will feature interviews with newsmakers, thought leaders, and compelling voices from the heartland and beyond. Listeners can expect interviews that transcend the superficiality and sound-bite driven confines of traditional broadcast and cable news, and instead deliver in-depth, uncensored, thought-provoking conversations.” Kelly’s company is working with Red Seat Ventures for production and management. Red Seat Ventures was co-founded by Chris Balfe, who formerly worked with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze…..In New Hampshire, “Free Talk Live” host Aria DiMezzo – a self-described “anarchist she-male” – won the Republican primary race for the office of Cheshire County Sheriff. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman says DiMezzo “has campaign signs up across the county emblazoned with ‘F*** THE POLICE’ and is taking on the incumbent Democrat Sheriff who happens to have a history of violence. It’s the perfect time for this campaign and it’s bound to generate some headlines.” Read more about this at Freeman’s blog…..Hubbard Radio inks a deal with Total Traffic and Weather Network for its 24/7 News division to provide NBC News Radio Network newscasts to nostalgia KIXI and talk KKNW “Alternative Talk.” Hubbard Radio Seattle’s Scott Mahalick says, “24/7 News has flexible business models and a variety of news content available to fit each station’s unique needs. We are proud to partner with TTWN to provide our Seattle stations with NBC News, a trusted, credible worldwide brand with years of experience.”

Woodward Tapes and The Atlantic Article Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 7-11. Author Bob Woodward’s tapes of President Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus pandemic and the piece in The Atlantic that purports Trump referred to America’s dead soldiers as losers and suckers tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the November presidential election and politics. Coming in at #3 was health care, vaccines, meds and masks, followed by COVID-19 statistics and projections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Casualties of the above-mentioned cuts at Entercom’s country and alternative stations are starting to trickle in. Programmers and air staff let go are revealing their status via social media and country KFRG, Riverside, California “K-FROG 95.1” morning personality Ginny Harman is one of those. She posted to Facebook: “Hey all! So today was my last day at K-FROG. The dreaded COVID has caused budget cuts everywhere, and we are no different.”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents announce the “Kiss 108’s Chromebooks For Kids” fundraiser raised more than $100,000 to go directly to purchasing Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. They also announced that Chromebook delivery has already begun in several local communities…..Pictured below is WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” personality Angela Yee accepting her Gracie Award for Best Podcast – Entertainment for “Angela Yee’s Lip Service.” The 45th Gracie Awards were held virtually yesterday (9/10), streamed live via the Alliance for Women in Media’s Facebook page. See the show here.

Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Friday, November 8, 2019

| November 8, 2019

KXL-FM, Portland Talk Host Lars Larson Names Whistleblower on FOX News Channel. KXL-FM, Portland talk radio host Lars Larson – who also hosts a nationally syndicated show via Compass Media Networks – was doing a segment on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” yesterday (11/7) when he revealed who he believes the whistleblower in the Ukraine affair is.  Larson told KGW-TV, Portland, “I believe all of Washington knows, all of the press corps knows, and the only people in the dark are the American people.  If you’re talking about removing the president, chosen by the American people, you have an obligation of telling them who’s accusing [the president].”  FOX News tells the Hollywood Reporter that it has not confirmed nor independently verified the name of the whistleblower.

Entercom Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 2%. Third quarter 2019 financial data from Entercom Communications is released and the company reports net revenue of $386 million, an increase of 2% over the same period in 2018.  Operating income for the quarter was $79.5 million, compared to $78.7 million in the third quarter of 2018.  For the first three quarters of 2019, net revenue was $1.07 billion, an increase of 2.3% over the same period in 2018.  Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field comments, “I am pleased to report that Entercom delivered strong organic growth in the third quarter with Adjusted EBITDA up 13% and Adjusted Net Income Per Share up 23%.  Revenues increased 2% (just under 3% ex-political) driven by digital, national, and network.  In October, we announced the launch of DVR-like functionality for live radio on our RADIO.COM app, becoming the first company to offer that important product feature.  This new feature and our recent acquisitions of podcasters Cadence 13 and Pineapple Street Studios highlight the multiple ways we are working to enhance our product line and grow our relationships with our listeners and customers.”

NPR and Edison Research to Unveil Spoken Word Audio Report. The data from the new Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research will be made available via a free webinar on Tuesday (11/12) that you can sign up for here.  The study – derived from a national quantitative survey, one-on-one interviews, and five years of previously-unreleased data from Edison Research’s U.S. Share of Ear study – explores consumer behavior in the spoken word audio category.  It details: How the spoken word audio category has changed in the last five years; how the balance between music and spoken-word content consumption is shifting; the role spoken word audio plays in consumers’ lives today – from where people listen to when people listen; and what people are looking for from spoken-word content on different platforms.  The study concludes that the share of time spent listening to spoken-word audio has increased 20% since 2014.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/8).  The new episode titled “Hearings and Smearings!” looks back at this past week of November 4-8, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio NetworkRenee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Holland Cooke, media consultant/talk show host RT AmericaDuke Brooks, talk show host, WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, DE; Daliah Wachs, M.D., medical doctor, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkJoshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

National Campaign Launched to Protect Press Freedom.   The nonprofit organizations the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, along with a coalition of 23 media, technology and nonprofit partners, including Barron’s, CBSComcast-NBC UniversalCNNFacebook, Los Angeles Times, McClatchy, The New York TimesNPRReutersScrippsSinclairTwitterThe Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, and The Washington Post, yesterday (11/7) launched the “Protect Press Freedom” campaign to mobilize the public to stand up for press freedom and actively protect their right to be informed.  Through video, radio, digital, print, and social media assets, the campaign communicates the message: In order to be free, we must be informed.  The creative illustrates the crucial role the free press plays in everyday life by depicting a world in which people are unable to access news about issues that are important to them.  On the campaign website, visitors can learn more about the threats to press freedom, explore key moments for the free press in America’s history, and take a quiz to assess their knowledge.  “Americans across the country rely on diverse news sources to help them make informed choices every day, but many don’t see the threats that are putting that information at risk,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press tells TALKERS. “When one journalist or news source is threatened — whether it’s verbally, physically, or legally — it threatens a fundamental American freedom that’s essential to understanding and participating in our communities.  We’re proud to bring news outlets and organizations together to have a conversation with the public about press freedom and encourage people to stand up for their right to information.”  Attacks on journalists’ safety and the public’s right to know occur with troubling regularity.  According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which the Reporters Committee and CPJ are partners, there were at least 35 physical attacks on journalists last year, most notably the murder of five people working at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.  So far in 2019, at least 28 journalists have been denied access to government events that are traditionally open to or attended by the press, leaving members of the public without crucial information about their government’s activities.  Relentless disparagement of the media contributes to an increasingly dangerous climate for journalists. For more information about this please click on the website www.ProtectPressFreedom.org.  To listen to a conversation about the campaign between Bruce Brown and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison click here.

Miltz Named Director of Marketing and Promotions for Bonneville Denver. Marketing pro Melanie Miltz is named director of marketing and promotions for Bonneville’s Denver station group that includes sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan,” sports KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver,” country KYGO-FM, and adult contemporary KOSI-FM.  She most recently held the same position at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM, Minneapolis.  Bonneville Denver senior regional vice president and market manager Bob Call states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Mel join Bonneville Denver and take over the leadership of our marketing and promotions department.  Mel is well-recognized and highly respected as a promotions and marketing professional with a high level of branding expertise, attention to detail, and follow-through on both the strategic and tactical elements of marketing.  Mel’s wealth of experience make her the perfect choice for Bonneville Denver.”

TALKERS News Notes. At the end of this year, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze will shut down its cable television channel.  A story in The Hollywood Reporter says that TheBlaze will focus on its subscription video-on-demand service, its website, and the radio program.  The piece notes that because TheBlaze is largely a digital enterprise and its contracts with cable operators prevent much of the video content presented via cable from being shared online, it makes business sense to focus on the VOD space.  Blaze Media CEO Tyler Cardon tells THR, “Given our record growth this year on our direct-to-consumer SVOD business, podcasts, various web properties and other digital distribution channels, it has become a conflict to continue programming a traditional, legacy cable channel.”…..Entercom announces that its RADIO.COM platform with its collection of premiere sports, entertainment, news, and music audio content is being made available to Samsung’s Bixby scalable intelligence platform.  RADIO.COM will be available in Bixby Marketplace, where Samsung smartphone users in the U.S. can add the capsule to enhance their Bixby experience.   Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “This is an exciting integration with Samsung to bring the RADIO.COM listening experience wherever and however our listeners want it.  With Bixby, we are able to bring RADIO.COM to millions of listeners, making it easier than ever to discover and engage with our premium audio content as part of our listeners’ daily audio habit.”…..ESPN Radio says its October PPM numbers for its daytime sports talk radio shows (men 25-54) are up 7%.  For instance, the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show saw a monthly increase across platforms of 13% compared to the September 2019 PPM survey and “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” was up 25% over September on terrestrial radio…..Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin” hosted Facebook VP global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson to discuss the personal and corporate responsibility of the social media platform.  Responding to a question about why Facebook runs political ads with false claims, Everson stated, “For decades, political advertising has not been monitored.  The FCC has made it very clear by law that broadcasters are not allowed to censor or change political advertising, and we have chosen to follow that, even though we are not required to do so by the FCC – as have all of the other platforms – because we think it’s very dangerous for a tech company, a CEO, or any private or public company to determine what is true and what is false.”…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa welcomed FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio superstar Brian Kilmeade to town today (11/8) for a listener event and book signing for Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing).  KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “KRMG is proud to be able to bring one of our most popular radio and TV hosts to Tulsa for an opportunity to interact with our listeners and give people a chance to see what goes on as part of his live broadcast.”

The Impeachment Process and the Ukraine Affair Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The impeachment process against President Trump and the related Ukraine quid pro quo allegations was the top news/talk story for the week of November 4-8, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Tuesday election results in Virginia and Kentucky and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election.  Coming in at #3 was court ruling that President Trump must turn over eight years of tax returns to a Manhattan Grand Jury, followed by U.S.-China trade negotiations and the U.S. economy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s chart here.

PPM Analysis: Country. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on country. From the September 2019 survey to the October 2019 survey, about 60% of country stations in PPM markets are down (weekly, 6+ AQH share).  The year-over-year comparison is split a bit more evenly, with 47% of stations seeing an increase and 51% seeing a decrease.  Just two country stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the October survey – Bonneville’s KYGO, Denver (6.1 share) and iHeartMedia’s WCOL, Columbus (10.7 share).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s CHR KNOU-FM, St. Louis “Now 96.3,” program director and midday personality Scott Ellis leaves the station to return to Springfield, Missouri with his girlfriend.  Ellis previously worked on air and as PD for CHR KSPW-FM, Springfield.  Assuming his programming duties at KNOU is cluster operations manager Cat Simon…..A round of job cuts at Entercom Seattle include three from the programming department.  Jean Ashley leaves her morning co-host and APD gigs at adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound.”  Midday personality and rhythmic AC KHTP “HOT 103.7” assistant program director Jamie “Tanch” Tanchykh exits, as does alternative KNDD “107-7 The End” evening personality Cody Whistler.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

| December 6, 2018

Longtime Baltimore Talk Show Host/Reporter Les Kinsolving Passes at 90.  Known for his no-holds-barred questioning tactic as a White House reporter and for his regular talk show on WCBM, Baltimore, Les Kinsolving cut a colorful figure in the Baltimore-Washington market and across the talk radio industry. Kinsolving – born Charles Lester Kinsolving – died early Tuesday morning.  He had triple bypass surgery in 2005 after suffering a heart attack. WCBM morning personality and program director Sean Casey said in a message posted on Twitter: “Les was one of the founding fathers of WCBM. I hired him in 1990 after a strong recommendation from out former colleague Tom Marr.  Les was a fearless reporter/broadcaster who confronted the Jim Jones cult, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and covered the White House in his signature red jacket.” Casey notes that Kinsolving hosted “Uninhibited Radio” on the station for 28 years before his health declined and he was forced to retire several months ago.

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news outlets.  Ratings movement (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October survey to the November survey among all-news stations was pretty much split fifty-fifty – half the stations saw an increase and about half went down.  The same goes for a comparison to last November’s PPM survey, about half the stations were up and the other half were down.  This month, four all-news stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets.  Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and Hubbard’s WTOP-FM, Washington both ranked #1, while the Entercom’s KCBS-AM ranked #2 in San Francisco and #3 in adjacent San Jose and its WWJ, Detroit also ranked #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Moffett to Lead SummitMedia Springfield. Taking over the leadership of SummitMedia’s new Springfield, Missouri station group is Janelle Moffett, who rises from general sales manager to president.  She begins leading the cluster that includes news/talk KSGF-AM/FM, country KTTS, CHR KSPW, and adult hits KRVI upon the exit of retiring president Rex Hansen.  Moffett says, “We have great stations and a talented, committed team here.  We will make certain we continue to entertain and inform our listeners, deliver results for our clients, and serve our wonderful Springfield community.  I’m very excited about all the possibilities ahead for us!”

Forbes Publishes ‘Highest-Paid Radio Hosts’ Piece. In a story in Forbes by Hayley Cuccinello, the five highest-paid talk hosts are ranked.  Topping the list this year is SiriusXM star Howard Stern, estimated to be making $90 million.  Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh is #2 with an estimated $84.5 million made this year.  At #3 is Premiere’s Ryan Seacrest with $74 million, followed by Premiere/FOX News superstar Sean Hannity at #4 with $34 million and Premiere’s Glenn Beck in fifth place with $8.5 million.  The piece also delves into the merger of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital platform and CRTV and other radio talk show issues.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a publication – currently only available to “lawmakers, decision-makers, and others involved in D.C.’s political process” – that Clarity Media Group announces is expanding to the public arena.  The weekly Washington Examiner magazine will launch on January 1 “with a new look, an expanded editorial range, and an increase in its distribution.”  Under the continued editorial leadership of editorial director Hugo Gurdon, the expanded magazine will publish 44 issues per year.  Clarity Media president and CEO Ryan McKibben says, “Over the years, we’ve frequently been asked if individuals outside of the Beltway could subscribe to the publication. With this expansion and relaunch, our aim is for the new, national Washington Examiner to build on its position as a leader in providing a conservative perspective on the events of the day.”…..Nielsen Audio holds a client webinar today to brief them on the transformation of the measurement of 200-plus small and medium markets measured with the Audio Diary from a quarterly or two times a year static view to monthly reporting.   Nielsen says the change “will enable clients to react more quickly to marketplace changes.”  Continuous diary measurement will be released in stages with the first phase beginning in mid-2019 in 47 markets presently measured four times a year…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM, Chicago news reporter/anchor Dometi Pongo is also hosting a new Twitter Live video titled, “Need to Know.”  The program is produced by MTV News and “offers a ‘deep dive’ on a major story of the day and each afternoon he recaps the day’s top stories.”…..KORE Broadcasting’s sports talk KORE, Eugene, Oregon “FOX Sports Eugene” adds “The Dan Patrick Show” to its weekday morning lineup, effective December 17…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings beginning Sunday (12/9).  Both the MLB Network Radio and Mad Dog Sports Radio channels will broadcast live from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas where club owners, front office executives, managers and many others from the major and minor leagues will gather to discuss offseason baseball business.

Bush Ceremonies, Trump-Russia Investigation, Migrants at U.S.-Mexico Border, U.S.-China Trade War, Mercurial Dow, ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ Controversy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The ceremonies honoring late President George H. W. Bush; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the border wall issue; the Trump administration’s tariff policy toward China; the up-and-down Dow and concerns about a returning bear market; radio stations are caught in a controversy over the lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”; and the week’s NFL action 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. Programming pro Josh Gebhart, a.k.a. Jay Jay, moves from Cumulus Media’s Twin Cities operations where he was an air personality and producer, to the company’s Eugene, Oregon cluster to serve as program director for hot AC KEHK “Star 102.3” and sister adult contemporary KSCR-AM/FM.  Cumulus Eugene operations manager Al Scott says, “It’s great to finally have a PD here in the building to steer KEHK through this very competitive radio market.  Josh brings a lot of enthusiasm to the table and is breathing fresh life into the station!…..Sheridan Broadcasting names Tracey Harvey creative director.  In her new position, she’ll be charged with developing the company’s new web presence – including audio and video content.  She’ll also be responsible for expanding the company’s social media content and branding footprint by identifying new business partnerships…..Cumulus Media’s urban AC KMEZ is moving from its current 106.7 frequency to the 102.9 frequency it previously occupied, effective today (12/6).  As a result, hip hop KKND “Power 102.9” goes away.   The station is being branded “Z 102.9.”  Program director J’Michael Francois says, “During the first 30 days, ‘Z 102.9’ will be heard both on 102.9 and on 106.7 so that all our current listeners will know that KMEZ will now be heard on 102.9 FM…..Mariah Carey is the special guest host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated R&B show “The Sweat Hotel” with Keith Sweat. In addition to playing R&B slow jams and taking song requests, the award-winning artist will play music from her new album, Caution, as well as some of her fan-favorite hits…..TMZ reports that rock radio and television personality Matt Pinfield was hit by a speeding car while walking in Los Angeles.  The report says Pinfield’s leg was broken in two places and he received a wound to his head that required stitches.  Pinfield was most recently morning host at Cumulus Media’s triple A KFOG, San Francisco.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

| February 13, 2018

Report: The Daily Wire in Talks to Acquire Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. According to a report in The Daily Beast, the conservative news and commentary site The Daily Wire – operated by conservative media figure Ben Shapiro with backing from the East Texas billionaire Wilks family – is in talks with Glenn Beck to acquire his TheBlaze news and opinion site.  The piece by Betsy Woodruff and Lachlan Markay reports that TheBlaze did not respond to a request for comment but that Shapiro told them, “TheBlaze welcomed us to the space as allies from the beginning, and we’re always looking for ways to strengthen our partnerships with our allies.”  TheBlaze turns eight years old this year and of late has had to cut costs.  Reports indicate TheBlaze downsized its staff in 2017 in response to fiscal challenges.  Interestingly, the story says the Wilks family was pursuing a purchase of Breitbart but ran into a wall in that effort.  Shapiro has hosted and co-hosted talk radio shows, both at KRLA, Los Angeles as part of the morning show and at KTTH, Seattle as solo host.  Now, he hosts a podcast program available via The Daily Wire.

PPM Analysis: A Yearlong Look at Spoken Word.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of how news/talk, all-news and sports talk radio performed over the course of 2017 based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio. Kinosian’s report illustrates the high and low 6+ rating marks for stations in all three format categories: news/talk, all-news, and sports talk.  In the news/talk format, Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford owned the largest swing – from a high of an 8.8 share in January 2017 to a low of 4.4 in August and the Holiday sweeps.  Entercom sports talker WIP, Philadelphia saw the widest swing in that format – achieving an 8 share in November after chalking up a 3.9 share in February.  Read the whole report here.

Special Screening of Guardian Angels Film Tonight at Cumulus’ Stage 17 in NYC.  There’s a new documentary film out that chronicles the Curtis Sliwa-founded Guardian Angels.  It’s called, VIGILANTE: The Incredible True Story of Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, and Sliwa’s radio home – 77WABC – is hosting a special screening of the film at the Cumulus Media event space Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 tonight at 6:00 pm.  The screening of the film by David Wexler takes place on the 39th anniversary of Sliwa’s inaugural Guardian Angels Safety Patrol into the New York City subway system on February 13, 1979.  Known by their signature red berets, the Guardian Angels expanded from just 13 members in New York City to become an international phenomenon that continues in more than 140 cities in 14 countries.  Sliwa says, “The Documentary gives one an inside look into what it was like to live in New York City from 1979-1992 when crime, crack, and chaos were everywhere.  It was my baptism in hell, yet somehow I survived.”  Sliwa currently hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show, “Curtis + Cosby,” with Rita Cosby on WABC.  In the photo above, Curtis Sliwa (center) is pictured with other Guardian Angels and an actor in a Robocop suit in “the early days” of the Angels.

TALKERS News Notes. Bakersfield market talk show host Inga Barks is joining a new, hyperlocal digital platform designed to serve Kern County, California.  Called Kern Cast, the platform’s studios are based at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame building.  Barks was most recently hosting a show on Alpha Media’s KNZR, Bakersfield but was let go in January in a budget-related move.  She also previously hosted a program on American General Media’s KERN, Bakersfield…..Chesapeake-Portsmouth Broadcasting flips WHKT, Portsmouth, Virginia from news/talk to Christian contemporary, due to revenue concerns.  The station had been airing a number of syndicated talk hosts – Salem Media’s Dennis Prager, Courtside’s Laura Ingraham, and Westwood One’s Mark Levin – as well as regional host John Fredericks (still heard on the company’s WPMH, Portsmouth)…..FOX Sports Radio reports that its total podcast listens for the network’s Monday through Friday lineup reached a milestone of 10.25 million across all platforms for the month of January, as measured by ART19.  The company says the latest benchmark is “the result of record growth across FOX Sports Radio’s weekday programming lineup, including: ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd,’ ‘Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,’ the Doug Gottlieb show, ‘Steve Gorman SPORTS!,’ ‘JT ‘The Brick’ with Tomm Looney,’ the Jason Smith show with Mike Harmon, and the Ben Maller show.”  The company says most recent streaming results for FOX Sports Radio also showed impressive gains.  The network experienced a 20% year-to-year increase in December 2017, and each of the past four months (September through December) ranked as the most-listened-to months in FOX Sports Radio streaming history…..SiriusXM is planning to air a never-before-heard interview with late comedian Joan Rivers on its Entertainment Weekly Radio channel Thursday (2/15).  The special is being hosted by Dan Bucatinsky and “Will & Grace” co-creator Max Mutchnick and features PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle discussing the conversation.

Farley, Loudon, and Cooke Discuss Talk Radio Content on RT America.  Pictured above (from left to right) are frequent Fox News Channel guest Dr. Gina Loudon, consultant and RT America host Holland Cooke, and radio news pro Jim Farley on Cooke’s “The Big Picture” program discussing “Fake News + Fleeting Attention.”  Farley was an ABC and NBC News executive who also managed ratings and billing all-news radio giant WTOP, Washington and tells the viewers he “was inside the Acela corridor bubble.”  Dr. Loudon urges “committing at least 5% of news/talk consumption time to people who see things differently.”  See the show segment here.

The Trump Budget Plan, Trump-Russia Probe, Porter Exit Fallout, Syria-Israel Tensions, North Korea Nuclear Program, Trump Entitlement Reforms, Official Obama Portraits, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12).  The details of the Trump budget that adds to the deficit, includes an infrastructure plan, and more money for the military; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the White House fallout from the resignation of aide Rob Porter after allegations of domestic violence; tensions in Syria as Damascus warns Israel about further military strikes and Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict; President Trump’s charge that Russia has not been helpful in efforts to de-nuclearize North Korea; President Trump proposed overhauling the housing, food stamps and health care programs; reactions to the official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action 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. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio appoints Gus Swanson to the marketing/promotions director position for adult contemporary KRWM “WARM 106.9.”  Swanson was most recently marketing director and event producer for CBS RADIO in Seattle.  Hubbard Seattle market manager Marc Kaye says, “We are so excited to have someone with Gus’s market and business experience join the great team at ‘WARM 106.9,’ it’s a very good day!”…..iHeartMedia announces the return of the “iHeartCountry Festival by AT&T” taking place on Saturday, May 5 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  This is the fifth consecutive year for the festival and acts set to play this year include: Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Maren Morris, Sugarland, Luke Combs, Billy Currington, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi, and Brett Young, with more to be announced.   Premiere Networks syndicated morning personality Bobby Bones will again serve as MC.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “What makes this festival special is that it is the one night the A-list of country music comes together to perform live, collaborate with friends and spend time together as a family.  Everyone stays to support each other until the last band has walked off stage.”…..Cherry Creek Radio is agreeing to sell classic rock KLMR-FM and country KLMR-AM in Lamar, Colorado, plus oldies KBLJ-AM and country KTHN, in La Junta, Colorado to Aaron Leiker-owned 25-7 Media for an undisclosed sum.  Kalil & Co. is the exclusive broker.