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Monday Memo: Meet Meg

| May 3, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

WAUSAU, WI — Client stations are sharing feedback from listeners increasingly uncomfortable with “guided” Rush Limbaugh Show reruns. “Morbid,” “forced,” “clinging to the past,” and “icky” are among verbatim comments, as, for instance – three months after Rush passed – aircheck clips react to President Biden’s address to Congress.

Non-iHeart stations (allowed to) are bailing, most to one of a half-dozen other syndicated keepers of the flame. Some stations, however, are recovering the network inventory and reallocating Limbaugh cash clearance dollars to fund live-N-local hosts in his former hours. Last week’s column suggested a creative financing model.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

| September 30, 2020

Round One of September PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio 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). Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR is the only spoken-word commercial station to notch a sizable increase over its August weekly AHQ share number, rising a half share to finish with a 2.3 share and the #17 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacks on one-tenth to wrap the September survey with a 4.0 share and the #5 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN falls a half share to post a 3.1 share and dipping to the #11 rank while Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM sheds nine-tenths for a 6.4 share and slides to the #2 rank after holding on to #1 for the past seven PPM surveys. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

FOX News Channel’s ‘Hannity’ Top Cable News/Talk Show. According to a report by The Hill, FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” finished the recent July-August-September quarter as the most-watched cable news/talk program averaging approximately 4.45 million viewers, based on data from Nielsen Media Research. FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” came in second with 4.35 million viewers, followed by FOX’s “The Five” with 3.48 million, and “The Ingraham Angle” with 3.43 million viewers. The piece notes that the ratings period was marked by a heavy news cycle that included the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the national political conventions, the civil unrest, and the presidential race. As a result, FOX News Channel beat out legacy broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC in total viewers for the first time and became the most-watched network on television during the quarter.

NYPost: Carton and WFAN Very Close to a Deal. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is reporting that Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and former “Fan” morning personality (and convicted fraudster) Craig Carton have been in regular talks about his return and that a formal offer is expected to be made by the station “by the end of the week.” Marchand says the offer is to host the afternoon drive program but that it’s not a done deal yet. The Post has also reported that Carton has a legitimate offer on the table from Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, “97.5 The Fanatic” to host morning drive there. Currently, WFAN afternoons are being hosted by former midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno. At WPEN-FM, Marc Farzetta hosts the morning drive show.

Former Entercom/CBS Radio Exec Andy Bloom Gaining Traction as Political Writer/Commentator – Available for Interviews About Mail-in Voting Issue. After a long career as an accomplished radio programming, research and management executive, Andy Bloom has been finding traction lately as a political writer and talk media guest discussing the hot issues. Following a colorful career that most recently included serving as OM for Entercom’s three-station cluster in Minneapolis-St. Paul – WCCO-AM, KMNB-FM, and KZJK-FM – and prior to that, nine years as OM for CBS Radio in Philadelphia overseeing news/talk WPHT and sports/talk WIP, as well as EVP at Coleman Research and VP for radio programming at Greater Media, Bloom currently runs his own media research and consulting firm, Andy Bloom Communications, based out of Minneapolis. Since 2015, he has also developed a growing following as a writer of political and public policy articles for Newsmax Media. His latest research and analytical piece delves into the issues and complexities surrounding the mail-in ballot controversy. Read it here. The piece contains information of value about the issue to talk show hosts and Bloom has begun doing bookings on the subject and is available to do more. He can be contacted via email at andy@andybloom.com or by phone at 612-644-4737.

Gen Media Partners Forms IBA Radio Sales. The Independent Broadcasters Association and Gen Media Partners announce the formation of the new national sales and marketing team exclusively for IBA members called IBA Radio Sales. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “This is an incredible opportunity for Gen Media Partners and for IBA member stations. Gen Media Partners was built on the strength of independent broadcasters and creating IBA Radio Sales is a natural extension of that. Uniting as members of the Independent Broadcasters Association, owners and operators retain their independence while gaining the advantages of scale, allowing them to compete more effectively with large corporations. I encourage every independent broadcaster to contact [IBA president] Ron [Stone] about joining IBA to take advantage of the significant benefits that membership provides, including the IBA Radio Sales national platform. We look forward to growing as the IBA grows in membership and scope.” Stone comments, “IBA membership has been growing exponentially. To date, we have 900 members and more stations are joining every day. The number one request from prospective IBA members from our survey, conducted a few weeks ago while we were gauging interest for an IBA, was ‘we want our own rep firm.’ This opportunity with Gen Media Partners, known for successfully representing independent broadcasters in all size markets, is the ideal national sales partner to represent IBA member stations with this creation of a rep firm dedicated solely to IBA members. Our goal is for every independent operator to join IBA and reap the benefits of being represented by IBA Radio Sales. The board and I are very excited about working with Gen Media Partners to build our national sales platform and the opportunities IBA Radio Sales will bring to our members.”

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast studio for Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is being named “The Samuelsen Studio” in honor of the station’s late air personality Jamie Samuelsen, who died on August 1 after a year-and-a-half battle with colon cancer. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jamie meant so much to our station and was a key part of our listeners lives. We want to honor him in a special way, not only as a great broadcaster, but an extraordinary person. We hope the renaming of the studio will serve as a way to keep his memory alive and add to his incredible legacy here in Detroit.”…..Radio America’s nationally syndicated  “Chad Benson Show” is added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. KXL joins recently added affiliate stations KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; and more…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One drops the first episode of its seven-part podcast series titled, “5-4,” that addresses the Supreme Court’s role in the November presidential election. The show is hosted by by legal commentators Peter (better known as Twitter’s @The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael(@_FleerUltra). The first episode focuses on nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Other topics will include: the electoral college, gerrymandering, and campaign finance…..iHeartMedia unveils a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast called “The Ten News” targeted to kids ages 8 – 12 and hosted by comedian and storyteller Bethany Van Delft. The podcast is produced by Small But Mighty Media and Next Chapter Podcasts. Van Delft says, “I’m excited to be part of a show that’s not only cool and fun to listen to but speaks to kids as smart and curious people. ‘The Ten News’ helps amplify kids’ voices and empowers them to take action.”…..SiriusXM will air a new weekly show, “Forward Progress,” across several of its channels. The program focuses on race, society and sports and is co-hosted by SiriusXM’s Jason Jackson and Kirk Morrison. SiriusXM adds that the show will address “the continuing push for racial equality and justice – from the pioneering civil rights efforts of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell to the historic recent player protests and the groundswell of support for today’s Black Lives Matter movement across sports leagues. They will be joined by guests from around the sports world each week, including current and former players who are using their influence as public figures to create change, to discuss what more needs to be done.”…..Pictured below is KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller hosting his presidential debate watch party. More than 500 people attended the event at the Terrace Drive-In in Caldwell, Idaho.

Entercom and Clark Atlanta University Announce Partnership. This relationship between Clark Atlanta University and Entercom Atlanta will “provide students a unique and unprecedented opportunity to gain access to one of the nation’s leading media and entertainment companies. The partnership will expose students to top representatives in programming, sales, administration, and on-air talent, among others. Additionally, it will create a pipeline for future job opportunities.” The initiative launches tonight (9/30) with a private, virtual event for students. Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field will also attend. CAU president Dr. George T. French says, “This is an exciting opportunity for our scholars. Partnerships with media conglomerates such as Entercom are a continuation of Clark Atlanta University’s Mass Media Arts Department’s legacy and dedication to ensuring our students are prepared and globally competitive in the communications industry.” Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey comments, “This partnership with Clark Atlanta University builds on our focus to create a more inclusive and diverse team and workplace. We’re excited to share our resources and insights in the form of real-world learning, beginning with this first virtual event on the future of audio.”

The Presidential Race/Tuesday’s Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Breonna Taylor Case, Stimulus Deal, Jobless Numbers-The Economy, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The November presidential election and Tuesday night’s first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths and cases, the rising number in the Midwest, and projections for fall-winter outbreaks; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various U.S. cities, as well as the grand jury process in the Breonna Taylor case; negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin for a new stimulus deal; the U.S. jobless statistics and economic indicators; and the status of the deadly California wildfires 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. WPOC-FM, Baltimore morning show personality Laurie DeYoung celebrated her 35th anniversary hosting the program on the iHeartMedia country station. The station says DeYoung “has been a staple of the Baltimore radio scene throughout her career since she began broadcasting on WPOC in 1985. Laurie has interviewed many country music icons over the years, including Dolly Parton, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and more. For more than three decades, she has also maintained an unmatchable relationship with her local listeners, country music industry tastemakers and artists.” DeYoung was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2010 and named CMA Large Market Personality of 1994 and CMA Major Market Personality in 2014…..Beasley Media Group announces that the new “MJ Morning Show” on 80s hits-formatted WRBQ, Tampa Bay will include MJ’s former co-hosts Froggy and Fester, plus new addition Roxanne Wilder. MJ, a.k.a. Todd Schnitt, says, “I’m ecstatic to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back to Tampa Bay on the world famous ‘Q105.’ I love morning radio, and with Fester, Froggy, and Roxanne, we’ll provide must-listen content every day.”…..Entercom Riverside is inviting listeners to remember those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival. To honor the 58 lives lost and the survivors who still live with the trauma, country KFRG-FM “K-FROG” is hosting a virtual candlelight vigil via Facebook Live. The event will also include a reading of the victims’ names tomorrow night (10/1) at 8:00 pm PT…..Cumulus Media names Chad Heritage program director for country WGKX-FM, Memphis “KIX 106” and for adult contemporary WKIM-FM, Memphis “98.9 The Bridge.” Heritage joins Cumulus Memphis from iHeartMedia where he was national brand coordinator since 2009 and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia, Little Rock since 2006. Cumulus Memphis VP/market manager Morgan Bohannon says, “We knew Chad was a good match the first time we talked to him. He’s from the region, has had a very successful programming career and is the perfect fit to lead one of America’s best country brands with ‘KIX-106.’ He’s just the perfect fit for us and we’re excited about his joining the Cumulus team in Memphis.”…..Key Networks enters into an exclusive partnership agreement with Clear Media Network to manage all network advertising sales and network advertiser inventory operations for the new 24/7 music radio network. Dallas-based Clear Media Network was launched on September 1, 2020, and offers AC, country and adult R&B formats that are “uniquely positioned, formatted and dynamically programmed for the unique needs of the independent radio operator.”

Thursday, February 20, 2020

| February 20, 2020

Key Networks to Launch Jesse Kelly Show in National Syndication. Syndicator Key Networks says Jesse Kelly is a “fresh voice in conservative talk.”  The U.S. Marine veteran, former congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host will launch his new, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show on April 6.  Key Networks says network advertising is included within the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.  Currently, Kelly hosts a two-hour version of “The Jesse Kelly Show” on KPRC, Houston as well as the “I’m Right” program on The First TV, a news and talk channel on Pluto TV.  Kelly was deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine during the Second Persian Gulf War and received an honorable discharge after four years.  In 2010, he ran for congress and was narrowly defeated by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The race initially ended in a vote recount.  After his congressional run, Kelly continued to be a major voice among conservatives, using his large social media following as a platform to continue many of the conversations started on the campaign trail.  He says, “I love talk radio and I’m beyond humbled that Key Networks realizes that I’m a generational talent.  While my background might be more blue collar than other radio hosts, I’m confident my huge ego will help make up for my lack of education.  I’m excited to bring something new to stations nationwide.”  iHeartMedia Houston region president Eddie Martiny comments, “Listeners won’t be able to see that Jesse Kelly stands 6 foot 8, but his towering humor and intellect will absolutely captivate the listening audience.  Jesse is an Iraq War veteran who will win the hearts and minds of listeners with the wit of a stand-up comic.  He’s been featured on most major TV networks, especially FOX News with Tucker Carlson who says, ‘Jesse cracks me up.’  Jesse is a fresh voice of a rational conservative for a new generation.  My listening audience and advertising community in Houston embraced Jesse immediately.  Informative, entertaining, but most importantly, unique!”

Kevin Battle Joins KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Morning Show. Radio programmer, host, and journalist Kevin Battle is joining “The KDKA Radio Morning News with Larry Richert” as co-host, effective March 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As we celebrate the centennial of KDKA Radio, the world’s first radio station, we were focused on adding a host that can reflect the energy and pulse of where Pittsburgh is in 2020 and beyond.  Kevin Battle is the perfect person to join Larry Richert on the KDKA morning show and tell the story of our great city.”  During his career, Battle has served as program director and air personality for Entercom’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” been director of marketing and promotions and on-air personality for rock WDVE-FM, and was a member of the inaugural staff of “FOX News Headlines 24/7.”  The Pittsburgh native comments, “There have been three morning hosts at KDKA Radio in my lifetime – Jack Bogut, John Cigna, and Larry Richert, and I am thrilled I get to work with one of them.  Larry is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh.  I have been a fan of KDKA for a long time and fondly remember listening with my family each morning.  I cannot wait to help our listeners start their day off well-informed.”

FCC Permanently Dismisses License Renewal Applications for Four St. Louis Signals. An administrative law judge has ruled that the applications for license renewal for four radio stations owned by Entertainment Media Trust are “dismissed without prejudice due to the applicant’s failure to prosecute.”  Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin states in the ruling that Trustee Dennis J. Watkins’ failure to respond to a January 24 Order that was a final attempt to get information from EMT was the last straw in a series of non-compliances on the part of Watkins.  The stations in question are: KFTK-AM (formerly WQQX-AM), East St. Louis, Illinois; WQQW-AM, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ-AM, St. Louis; and KQQZ-AM, DeSoto, Missouri.  The case goes way back to 2012 when Mark A. Kern filed a petition to deny the license renewals, alleging that talk host and convicted felon Robert Romanik actually controlled the stations, in violation of FCC regulations.  Romanik’s Insane Broadcasting Co. operates the stations under an LMA, but is not allowed to own stations.  The ruling notes that the Media Bureau investigated the allegations and “found evidence that it concluded supports the claim that Mr. Romanik exercises defacto control over the stations.  The Media Bureau also adduced evidence suggesting that Mr. Romanik, who hosts a weekday talk show on one of the stations, has held himself out as the stations’ owner and is personally involved in station business.”  Romanik hosts a show on KQQZ-AM and positions himself as a local raconteur, calling himself “The Grim Reaper of Radio.”  Read the judge’s ruling here.

New Afternoon Show Among Lineup Changes at Sports Talk ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. With WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Scott Garceau named the new play-by-play broadcaster and pre-game and post-game host for Baltimore Orioles broadcasts on cable’s MASN-TV, he leaves his daily talk show duties at the Entercom sports station.  His co-host Jeremy Conn moves to evening show duties and host of “Orioles Baseball Tonight.”  Beginning March 9, the new afternoon drive show is “Inside Access” with co-hosts Jason La Canfora and Ken Weinman.  La Canfora is a RADIO.COM Sports and CBS Sports insider.  Weinman is a longtime WJZ-FM air personality.   Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “This revamped programming schedule will allow us to continue providing around-the-clock content for Baltimore’s biggest sports fans.  Adding Jason and Ken to our already successful lineup is a big win for our market.  We are also excited about Scott and Jeremy’s new roles.  All are an integral part of the success of ‘105.7 The Fan.’”

Presidential Race/Las Vegas Debate, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic/Deadly Flu Season, Germany Mass Shooting, and Grenell to Lead Intelligence Agencies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and last night’s debate in Las Vegas; the controversy surrounding the sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr’s leading of the Justice Department; the status of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly influenza season in the U.S.; the slaying of nine people in the German city of Hanau by a reported right-wing extremist; and President Trump’s naming Ambassador Richard Grenell acting director of national intelligence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Two of January PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Rebounding from the challenging Holiday 2019 survey, a number of spoken-word stations performed well – weekly, 6+ AQH share – in January.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rises 1.9 shares from the Holiday survey to post a 6.9 share and climbs to the #5 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 7.4 share and the #2 rank.  In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO tacks on seven-tenths to finish the survey with a 3.5 share, while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.2 share and the #3 rank in the market.  Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle breaks out with 1.1 share increase to finish the month with a 6.0 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KDFD-AM, Denver adds eight-tenths to finish the January survey with a 3.3 share, its best since it flipped from sports talk in July of 2019.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine his Newsmax TV show, “The Wayne Allyn Root Show: Raw & Unfiltered” is moving to a new air time – 10:00 pm ET – effective March 3.  Root says, “It’s a great honor to be part of Newsmax TV’s primetime lineup.  When I first began hosting my show in June 2017 on Newsmax TV it reached 15 million homes.  Then 30 million. Then 50 million. Then 60 million. Now just under 80 million.  And Cox cable added Newsmax TV a few weeks ago – so now my television show reaches the entire Las Vegas area, my hometown!  Kudos to Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, for building America’s fastest growing cable news network.”…..SiriusXM announces its MLB Network Radio channel presents its annual MLB Spring Training tour beginning Saturday (2/22) and running through March 13.  MLB Network Radio’s experts and insiders will visit all 30 MLB team camps to give fans an in-depth preview of every ball club.  It will consist of 30, two-hour shows, each focused on a single MLB team.  SiriusXM’s hosts – many of whom are former general managers or players – will be on location at each spring training ballpark to interview managers, players and executives, and share an insider’s view of each club as it prepares for the 2020 season…..iHeartMedia announces that it has partnered with Flatiron Books on a book imprint based on iHeartRadio’s popular curiosity podcasts.  The imprint, named “Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook,” launches with STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, to recognize “Stuff You Should Know” – one of the first podcasts to reach one billion downloads.  iHeartMedia says it believes that this is the first line of podcast-based books between a major book publisher and leading podcast network.

Pop Music Historian and Curator Barry Scott of “The Lost 45s” Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the true legends of oldies radio, Barry Scott, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Scott is the host of the long-running, Boston-based music radio show, “The Lost 45s,” which has been on the radio since 1981 and in national syndication since 1993.  The premise of the show is that top 40 radio of the golden era (1960s – 1990s) missed a tremendous number of valid hit records that deserved airplay due to faulty research, closed-mindedness and a lazy, follow-the-leader mentality.  (“It’s not on the list suggested by our consultant.”)  Many of these songs have gone on to be completely forgotten within music radio culture.  Harrison states, “I had the pleasure of programming Barry’s flagship station in Boston back in the 80s and was amazed at the loyal following this weekend show generated – even within the context of a classic rock format.  Barry’s excellent curation and fascinating storytelling created tremendous interest in songs that were either obscure or considered unprogrammable within standard format categories. In today’s music radio desert, where pop music history is largely ignored or generally forgotten, this show is a priceless beacon of the culture that originally illuminated music radio.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Detroit rock outlet WRIF, Beasley Media Group promotes Jade Springart to assistant program director and midday host.  She has served with WRIF for the past 12 years, most recently as music director and weekend personality. Springart says, “This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with.  It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry.  I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”…..Air personality J.R. joins Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa Bay to host “Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R. and Melanie,” effective March 2. He’ll join station air personality Melanie Mineau for the 6:00 am to 10:00 am program.  He was most recently co-host of the “J.R. & Beth Show” on Cox Media Group’s country KCYY, San Antonio “Y100.”  He also currently serves as the host of United Station Radio Networks’ syndicated “Twenty Country Countdown.”  J.R. says, “This is a very exciting time for me.  To be able to build a show under the direction of [operations manager] Travis Daily and alongside a talented co-host like Melanie Mineau is the opportunity I have been looking for.  We are going to have a lot of fun in an amazing city!  I am very grateful to Travis and the Beasley family for this opportunity and can’t wait to create live, local, and unique radio for the Tampa area.”…..Entercom stations and staffers are honored with three Academy of Country Music (ACM) Radio Awards.  KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull” (KILT-FM) was named Major Market Station of the Year and WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” was named Medium Market Station of the Year – the 8th time the station has received this honor.  WYCD, Detroit’s afternoon drive show “Rob and Holly” program was given the Major Market Personality of the Year honor.

Friday, March 15, 2019

| March 15, 2019

Bubba the Love Sponge Lashes Out at ‘Speech Police’ in WSJ Op-Ed Piece. There’s been a lot of chatter on news/talk radio this week about Media Matters’ attack on Tucker Carlson for stuff he said on the Bubba the Love Sponge show during the period of 2006-2011 when he was a regular guest.  Carlson took an unusual tack and not only didn’t apologize but used the Media Matters attack on him to call out the “speech police.”  Now, Bubba the Love Sponge also rips Media Matters and others in an op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal that compares Carlson’s battle with that of comic Lenny Bruce some 50 years ago.  The crux of Bubba’s piece is that entertainers in the U.S. have the right to be edgy and to push boundaries even if that includes being rude or profane.  He says that in our culture we accept that kind of language within the context of comedy where we wouldn’t accept it in other facets of life – or at least we used to.   Read Bubba’s piece here.

Mitchinson Exits KFBK, Sacramento Mornings. Sacramento news/talk KFBK parts ways with morning drive co-anchor Dan Mitchinson after almost four years.  Mitchinson worked alongside co-anchor Cristina Mendosa on the “KFBK Morning News” program.  The iHeartMedia station will announce a new co-anchor soon.  Mitchinson posted news of his exit on Facebook.  He wrote, in part, “‘Everything’s got to end sometime.  Otherwise nothing would ever get started.’ And with that (semi) favorite quote of mine, my time here at KFBK has come to an end.  I can’t say it was easy getting up most mornings around 1, but once I was in the car, heading to work, I looked forward to connecting with all of you on air and through social media and sharing stories.”

McCredden Named OM at Townsquare Media Quad Cities. Programming pro Ryan McCredden joins Townsquare Media as operations manager for the company’s five-station cluster in the Quad Cities that includes sports talk KJOC-FM “ESPN 93.5” and four music-formatted stations.  McCredden was most recently programming Houston sports talk outlets KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.”  He’s also programmed news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson.  He says, “I’m thrilled to be able to work with the entire team at Townsquare Quad Cities and their great local brands.  We will have a lot of fun and I look forward to growing upon the success they’ve already achieved.”

Jacksonville Sports Talker Gets FM Translator. “930 The Game” gets an FM translator added to its signal.  iHeartMedia announces that sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville is now also heard on W247CF (licensed to Orange Park, Florida) at 97.3 FM.  The 99-watt signal covers the southeast portion of the Jacksonville metro. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Geewiz says, “Jacksonville was in need of a strong FM sports station.  We are very fortunate to have the legendary morning show with Mike Bianchi and ‘Harp on Sports with Seth Harp’ leading the sports world in Jacksonville.  The strong FM signal will allow ‘930 The Game’ to have an even wider reach.”

Manafort Sentencing and Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Stories for Week of March 11-15. The second sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the related Trump-Russia investigation tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the college entrance cheating scandal.  Coming in at #3 was the looming national emergency vote in the senate and the related border wall project, followed by the 2020 Democratic hopefuls and Beto O’Rourke’s entrance 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 entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. It’s been just over a year since ESPN returned Stephen A. Smith to a full-time, national radio show with ESPN Radio.  Now, the sports media giant is happy to report the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Stephen A. Smith Show (simulcast on cable’s ESPNEWS) is enjoying a positive uptick in Nielsen’s PPM ratings.  ESPN says since August 2018 the show was up 23% in AQH share (men 25-54)…..The NFL’s Carolina Panthers are moving forward without longtime analyst Eugene Robinson in the radio booth alongside Mick Mixon and Jim Szoke.  Robinson – who was part of the Panthers Radio Network for 17 years – also co-hosts “Charlotte Today” on WCNC-TV, Charlotte.  Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM serves as the flagship station for Panthers radio play-by-play…..Westwood One is the official network radio partner of the NCAA and will present exclusive live coverage of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, starting with First Four action on Tuesday, March 19.  WWO is producing radio play-by-play for all 67 games – including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals.  Westwood One is broadcasting live coverage of NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 6 and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 8, in both English and Spanish…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KBGG-AM, Des Moines “1700 The Champ” is the newest affiliate station of the Minnesota Twins’ Treasure Island Radio Network via Learfield.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Francisco morning personality Vinnie Hasson re-ups with Entercom’s hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” to continue co-hosting the station “Sarah and Vinnie” program with Sarah Clark.   Hasson says, “A thousand thanks to [Entercom SVP of programming] Michael Martin and [market manager] Greg Nemitz for their support and leadership, and to my wonderful partner Sarah – you are the best and I look forward to chopping it up with you every day.  I’m stoked to keep rolling with our great team and continue waking up the Bay Area every day.”…..On-air personality and programmer Cameron Moore is adding another set of music director duties to her responsibilities with Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster.  Moore is now MD for WSOC “Country 1037” in addition to her role as midday personality and music director for sister CHR WNKS “KISS 95.1.”  WSOC program director Jack Daniel comments, “Cameron is experienced in the country music format.  She has a great work ethic and I’m very excited to have her on the ‘Country 1037’ team and cannot wait to utilize all of her creative input and perspective.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that the “Déjà vu Show” takes over the midday daypart on rhythmic oldies WUKS, Fayetteville, North Carolina “Old School 1077,” effective March 25.  As a result, Teddy Bear moves to the evening show (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm).  WUKS brand manager Kenny J says, “We are extremely excited to have the ‘Déjà vu Show’ here in Fayetteville.  Deja will bring lots of experience, high energy girlfriend talk and lots of fun!  She will take middays to a whole new level.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Elvis Duran is publishing his new memoir, Where Do I Begin? Stories (I Sort of Remember) From a Life Lived Out Loud, (October 2019, Atria) In promoting the book, Duran chatted with People magazine about his rise to fame, how he took control of his health, losing more than 100 pounds with the help of celebrity medico Dr. Oz, coming out as gay man on the radio, and how he manages to get major pop stars to talk so candidly about their personal lives.

Monday, March 11, 2019

| March 11, 2019

Monday Memo: Infinite Dial 2019. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo that if you missed the Edison Research/Triton Digital “Infinite Dial 2019” webinar last week, it’s well worth an hour to watch the video and flip through the slides.  If you’re thinking “an HOUR?” you may FIND an hour after reading his short version in this week’s column that you can read here.

FNC’s Tucker Carlson Unapologetic for Bubba the Love Sponge Appearances. Conservative media figure and FOX News Channel talk show host Tucker Carlson is not apologizing for comments made during his appearances on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show between 2006 and 2011.  Variety reports that liberal media watchdog organization Media Matters for America dug up some recordings of Carlson – a regular guest on the show during that period – that include him making a “pejorative statement about Arianna Huffington, Britney Spears and Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart’s daughter,” as well as downplaying the actions of “Warren Jeffs, the religious leader who had been placed on the FBI’s most-wanted fugitive list on charges he had arranged marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls.”  Last night, Carlson issued the following statement, “Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago.  Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch.  Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

‘Our American Stories’ Adds New Affiliates in Denver and Omaha. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio adds iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver and KFAB, Omaha to its roster of affiliates.  The two-hour, daily magazine-style radio drama is also now being heard on Ashley Communications’ KVEL AM, Vernal, Utah; Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw, Michigan; and Tri-County Broadcastings’ WLVA FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.  Habeeb says he is humbled by the continued success of his non-political program that focuses on “what brings America together,” and adds “these partnerships confirm Americans do love well-produced radio programs that entertain and inform.”

John Batchelor Show Broadcasts from Azerbaijan This Week. The WABC, New York-based and Westwood One nationally syndicated John Batchelor show will broadcast live from the Republic of Azerbaijan this week (3/11-15) in conjunction with the Embassy of Azerbaijan and sponsored by multimedia software firm Scala Inc.  Batchelor is joined by colleagues Christopher Nixon Cox and Monica Crowley “traveling the old Silk Road of Marco Polo to the new Silk Road of energy, on the shore of the vast Caspian Sea Basin in the South Caucasus.” Batchelor says, “From Baku, the sparkling growing capital of Azerbaijan, I will head north to the Russian border at Dagestan.  This is the mountain pass route of the ancient Silk Road.  There is much to learn about how the region will prosper as the Silk Road is reawakened with highways, railroad beds and communication networks that link the savvy manufacturers of East Asia to the rich consumer markets of Asia Minor, Russia, and the European Union.  Returning to Baku, I will venture to the critical oil and gas hub at Sangechal, from where energy resources are sent through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Basin — and soon via the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe.  Importantly, I will be able to interview many private and public voices about the economic development of Azerbaijan and also the region.”

iHeartRadio’s ‘Bear and a Banjo’ Podcast Produced by Legendary Talent. A new, musical podcast will launch later this year on iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio platform called “Bear and a Banjo.” iHM calls it a first-of-its-kind. It’s created by Jingle Jared, Dennis Quaid, and five-time Grammy winner Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd (“Despacito,” “Where Are You Now,” “I’m the One” and “Peaches and Cream”) with musical contributions from producer T Bone Burnett (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Crazy Heart”) and original lyrical contribution from Bob Dylan.  Each episode of the eight-part series will tell a self-contained story about a character called Mister Bear.  Bear is a traveling musician who visits different towns across America and impacts people’s lives before vanishing again.  He is often preceded into town by J. Banjo, a charming huckster/card player/preacher/medicine salesman who acts as Bear’s promoter and hype man.  Quaid says, “This is the beginning of an entirely new era of podcasts. With ‘Bear and a Banjo,’ we are delving into a more sophisticated form of storytelling that brings the audience into a lush and rich world – not just through words, but music.”

Josh Rahmani Named SVP National and Network Sales for Radio One and Reach Media. Sales pro Josh Rahmani is promoted from his vice president, national sales for Radio One post to SVP, national and network sales for Radio One and Reach Media.   Company CEO David Kantor says, “Josh has led our national radio team for several years.  He was instrumental in developing and implementing our corporate sales and partnership effort.  Based on this success it made great sense to put our network team under his direction.  All our national sales efforts are now under his direction.  Josh’s commitment and passion for what we do at Radio One has been exhibited over the years, consistently delivering leadership throughout the company and maintaining great relationships with our partners in advertising and sponsorship.”  Rahmani has served with Radio One since 2005.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from Chicago media maven Robert Feder, WLS-AM, Chicago news reporter Jennifer Keiper resigns from the station where she’s been afternoon news anchor.  The station expects to announce the new afternoon anchor soon.  Meanwhile, Feder reports Keiper commenting, “WLS-AM has treated me well over the last four and a half years, but I felt I had done all I could do there and that it was time for a change.  I have left on very friendly terms and look forward to my next challenge.”…..The independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” show featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliate stations.  Freeman notes that in some instances his libertarian-minded show has taken over the dayparts formerly held by progressive talker Norman Goldman, who recently wrapped production of his program.  New affiliates for “Free Talk Live” include KBBR-AM, North Bend, Oregon. The program has also moved to air live on KABQ-AM, Albuquerque from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..CRN Digital Talk Radio adds “Feed Your Face with Merrill Shindler” to its network roster, effective today (3/11). CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Merrill Shindler is the best culinary and travel expert in the country.  Merrill has been a guest on many of our programs and we are delighted to produce his show for national consumption.”

CORRECTION: Ronn Owens Report Continues on KGO.  The March 7 report in TALKERS about the new program schedule at Cumulus Media‘s KGO, San Francisco stated the longtime KGO personality Ronn Owens was gone from the program schedule.  That is incorrect and the 10-minute “Ronn Owens Report” continues to be heard three times daily as part of the revised programming schedule on KGO.  TALKERS regrets the error.

TalkersRadio in the Community.  Los Angeles media figure, community organizer and TalkersRadio personality Meg McDonald (r) – who was recently elected president of the Studio City Beautification Association – is pictured with California State Assembly member Adrin Nazarian (D) at the Studio City Residents Association appreciation dinner at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot in Studio City on Saturday evening (3/9).  The appreciation dinner is an annual event to say thank you to SCRA volunteers, vendors, local businesses and officials who help enhance the quality of life in Studio City.   Nazarian represents the 46th Assembly District which encompasses the central-southern San Fernando Valley.  To listen to McDonald’s short-form feature “MEG!” please click here.  MEG! is now available for terrestrial radio clearances.  Interested stations can call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, Trump-Russia Investigation, Democrats’ Omar Problem, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Socialism Debate, Ballooning U.S. Budget Deficit, Venezuela Blackout, Jaguar Attacks Selfie-Taker, Ethiopian Airlines Crash, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The state of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and President Trump’s budget request for $8.6 billion for a border wall; the status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the anti-Semitism accusations leveled against Rep. Ilhan Omar; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the internal battle between younger, more socialist-leaning Democrats and the older ones; the report of the U.S. budget deficit rising 77% in the past year; Caracas, Venezuela deals with blackouts amidst Nicolas Maduro’s claim the U.S. sabotaged the substation; a zoo-goer in Phoenix is attacked by a jaguar after she jumped the boundary to take a selfie; the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash and the mass grounding of new Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tampa market on-air pro Nick Van Cleve is retiring from Cox Media Group’s classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle” at the end of this month.  In addition to his 15-year gig with WXGL, he’s also served with WXTB-FM, WYNF-FM and WFUS-FM in the Tampa market.  He tells the Tampa Bay Time retirement is “a logical stepping off point for me and my wife. We want to spend time in North Carolina and do some traveling.  I did some backpacking in Europe and got the travel bug.  And I’ve grown weary of getting up at 4:30 am.”…..Alpha Media adds programming responsibilities for rhythmic CHR KTFM, San Antonio “Energy 94.1” to national director/digital content Ernie Martinez’s role with the company.  Alpha VP of content Phil Becker states, “Working alongside Ernie in our corporate roles, I have witnessed time and time again his prowess as a programmer.  His desire to infuse both his digital expertise and proven track record as a programmer is exactly what KTFM needs.”…..Afternoon personality Rick Daniels is leaving Cumulus Media’s country KIZN, Boise after almost three years for a new, yet-to-be-announced position in a market closer to his children…..Emmis Communications flips triple A KGSR-FM, Austin to adult contemporary “Star 93.3.”   The signal had been a simulcast of the “Austin City Limits Radio” format that continues to air on the KGSR-HD2 and K246BD signals…..This morning, country artist Maren Morris dropped by the studios of the nationally syndicated Ty Bentli Show in Nashville to talk about the release of her highly anticipated sophomore album, GIRL.  Pictured below are (from l-r): TJ, Morris, and Bentli.