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Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Friday, December 6, 2019

| December 6, 2019

Weiss Named iHM NYC Market President. Region senior vice president of  sales for iHeartMedia’s New York group, Bernie Weiss, is appointed market president of iHeartMedia New York City. Weiss will continue to report to iHeartMedia market groups division president Scott Hopeck. At the same time in a corresponding move, director of sales Steve DeLusant takes over for Weiss. Hopeck states, “I’m thrilled to promote both Bernie and Steve. It is especially rewarding to find the best candidates for key leadership roles in your own building. They are extremely knowledgeable about our ever-evolving business and have built their personal brands by accelerating the growth of our iconic stations. I’m confident they will continue to elevate our New York operation to even greater heights.” Weiss remarks, “Listeners continue to crave companionship and advertisers continue to demand ROI – broadcast radio delivers on both fronts. iHeartMedia continues to be one of the most innovative media players, offering the best content and programming for hundreds of millions of listeners. I am looking forward to working with the New York team to build on our already strong connection with listeners, advertisers, and in the community.” Weiss joined iHeartMedia New York in 2004 as an account executive for urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1” and previously held several radio general sales management positions in Europe. DeLusant was sales manager for several iHM New York City stations and earlier was senior account executive for Emmis Communications, where he specialized in multicultural marketing. Earlier in his career, he was a sales associate for iHeartMedia’s WLTW. In addition to news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York,” iHeartMedia’s New York City cluster consists of market-leading (adult contemporary) WLTW “106.7 Lite FM”; CHR WHTZ “Z-100”; classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3”; urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1”; and rhythmic CHR WKTU.

KABC Resets Its On-Air Lineup. Major changes going into effect January 1 at Cumulus Media Los Angeles news/talk KABC include Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty (“The Armstrong & Getty Show”) slotted in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am). The syndicated duo succeeds locally-originated “The Morning Drive with Jillian Barberie & John Phillips.” Continuing at 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is Larry O’Connor (based from Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk WMAL). Aforementioned John Phillips segues solo from morning drive to assume the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm slot occupied by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Leeann Tweeden (“Dr. Drew Midday Live”). Unchanged is Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), but the local 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm “Peter Tilden Show” will give way to Westwood One’s Michael Savage. Thus, displaced by the changes are Jillian Barberie, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Leeann Tweeden, and Peter Tilden. KABC general manager Drew Hayes comments, “KABC has a proud history as one of the first ‘all-talk’ radio stations in the United States. With these great additions to our lineup, KABC will offer our audience even more of the content that they love, featuring outstanding local and nationally recognized talent.” KABC will continue as the flagship for University of Southern California football and basketball. KABC more than doubled (+.4) its 6+ AQH share in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 – .7, July – August – September – October, Nielsen Audio, 6+) but “790 News-Talk-Evolved” forfeits one-tenth in the November 2019 sweep to .6 (#35 to #38, 6+).

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 (11/22).  The new episode titled “The Trump Paradox!” looks back at this past week of December 2-6, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Blanquita Cullum, talk show host, WCGO, Chicago /Smart Talk Network; Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, Fox News Channel / Fox News Radio; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; William O’ Shaughnessy, CEO, Whitney Global Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeart Radio 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.

WDAF To Become K.C. Chiefs Flagship in 2020. As part of a multi-year agreement between the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and Entercom Kansas City, country WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” will become the key station of the 70-station Chiefs Radio Network as of February 16, 2020. Sports talk sibling KCSP “610 Sports Radio” will become the official “broadcast partner” of the Chiefs, with rights to Chiefs programming, including radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs weekly in-season press conference with the club’s head coach (Andy Reid) and a weekly one-on-one interview with the starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes). In addition, KCSP will broadcast the “Chiefs Kingdom Radio Show” (Monday, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Cross-town Cumulus Media classic rock KCFX “101.1 The Fox” has been the team’s flagship since 1990. Entercom regional president/market manager Dave Alpert declares, “We are extremely pleased to enter into this new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most well-respected and prestigious organizations. Entercom’s eight-station cluster of music, news and sports talk stations hosted by Kansas City’s leading personalities align with vast digital and podcast opportunities. We will deliver the premium and comprehensive coverage Chiefs Kingdom desires seven days a week, all season long.” Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan comments, “We look forward to partnering with ‘106.5 The Wolf’ and the powerful Entercom family of stations. The ability to bring our game broadcasts and existing weekly radio shows under one roof is a large part of this change, but we are equally excited about creating new content and developing new opportunities for Chiefs fans to engage with their favorite team.” Returning for his 27th season as play-by-play announcer will be Mitch Holthus, who has called a franchise record 426 regular and postseason Kansas City contests.

ESPN Radio Taps Fitz To Succeed Smith. “First and Last” (5:00 am – 6:00 am) host Jason Fitz is selected to replace Stephen A. Smith in ESPN Radio’s 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (ET) slot. The change is effective next month (1/20) and allows Smith to devote more time to his ESPN TV duties. Smith, however, will make a regular weekly appearance on Fitz’s show, “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz,” which will be simulcast on ESPNews. Executive vice president/executive editor of production Norby Williamson states, “Sports fans are passionate and they love spirited debate. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.” Fitz, formerly of country group The Band Perry and a regular on ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo,” comments, “I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the ‘First Take’ topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me.” Fitz studied classical violin at The Julliard School. 

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the sports talk format. Roughly half the eligible sports talk panelists improve October 2019 – November 2019 (52%, 6+) while just over one in three falter (37%); the remaining 11% are unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, essentially three of every five qualifying sports talk stations register November 2018 – November 2019 gains (61%, 6+), while one in three (33%) stumble; the remaining 6% are steady from a year ago. The format is #1 in Philadelphia (Entercom’s WIP) and Long Island (Entercom-owned WFAN-FM). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. One-year Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle vice president/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland has departed the cluster. Director/brand content Scott Mahalick is absorbing those duties on an interim basis. Mulholland previously worked in the market as general manager/director of sales for Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS; general sales manager of Entercom rocker KISW; local sales manager of Sandusky smooth Jazz KWJZ; and she was general sales manager of CBS Radio-owned (now Entercom) Pittsburgh hot AC WBZZ. In addition to KKNW “Alternative Talk 1150 AM,” Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle consists of adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9”; adult standards KIXI “AM 880”; CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station”; and country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.” ….. After spending the last ten years at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN,” program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert departs. Per a Facebook post, he writes, “Well, I’ve written this and deleted it a million times trying to find the most articulate way to say this but as of this week, I am no longer a member of the ‘101 ESPN’ team. Tough to write and see but excited/terrified/anxious/hungry – and a bunch of other emotions – to see the next chapter.” Tommy Mattern, the program director of alternative cluster-mate KPNT “105.7 The Point,” adds WXOS PD duties ….. Radio/Audio nominees for the 2020 Writers Guild awards have been announced. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking Report” category, the nominees are: “CBS News on the Hour with Norah O’Donnell – El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio – Communities in Mourning,” written by James Hutton, CBS News Radio; “Hail and Farewell: Remembering Some Headline Makers,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio; “World News This Week, August 9, 2019,” written by Stephanie Pawlowski and Jim Ryan, ABC News Radio; and “World News This Week, September 13, 2019,” written by Joan B. Harris, ABC News Radio. In the “Radio/Audio News Script – Analysis, Feature, or Commentary” category, the nominees are: “The Enduring Legacy of Jackie Kennedy Onassis,” written by Dianne E. James and Gail Lee, CBS News Radio and “Woodstock: Back to the Garden,” written by Gail Lee, CBS News Radio. Winners will be announced February 1, 2020 in New York City at an event held in the Edison Ballroom.

Comrex Now Shipping ACCESS MultiRack. The rackmount multi-channel IP audio codec from Comrex occupies 1RU and can handle up to five full-duplex IP audio connections simultaneously. ACCESS MultiRack is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs, including ACCESS Rackmount; ACCESS Portable 2USB; ACCESS NX Portable; ACCESS NX Rack; BRIC-Link; and BRIC-Link II, as well as the FieldTap smartphone app. Comrex ACCESS MultiRack is Tech3326, AES67 and SMPTE 2110-30-compatible. ACCESS MultiRack includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), or combining the network bandwidth of multiple networks (bonding mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event the primary network falters. Each of ACCESS MultiRack’s codec instances can deliver and receive four contact closures, as well as transfer ancillary data to the far-end using the serial data channel. Comrex has designed and manufactured broadcast equipment since its incorporation in 1961.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More than a quarter of a million dollars ($257,268) was raised in Entercom Philadelphia classic-hits oldies outlet WOGL’s 18th annual “98.1 WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon” to benefit Children’s Miracle Network at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president/market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “We are so grateful for WOGL listeners and community members who donated and also very thankful for the volunteers and on-air personalities who contributed their time and talent to help make this year’s radiothon a huge success.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia president/chief executive officer Madeline Bell notes, “The hospital programs funded by radiothon donations make a lasting difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Each year, we look forward to raising awareness of these very important services.” Airing this past Tuesday (12/3) and Wednesday (12/4), WOGL’s radiothon concluded with on-air hosts Marilyn Russell, Glenn Kalina, Bobby Smith, and Nicky G. presenting the check to CHOP ….. The 13th annual “An American Country Christmas with Kix Brooks” features special guests sharing holiday music, favorite traditions, and memories. Among those joining Brooks are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. Stations can air the show from Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One  6:00 am – 12:00 midnight  (Saturday) 12/21 through Christmas Day (Wednesday, 12/25) …..  For the third consecutive year, iHeartMedia San Diego CHR KHTS “Channel 93-3” morning drivers Kramer & Geena teamed up with “A Million Thanks” to send letters to deployed military members. Over 50,000 letters were collected from the San Diego community and are on their way to the troops ….. As part of Beasley Media Group Tampa rhythmic CHR WLLD’s eighth annual toy drive to benefit the Children’s Home Network, “Wild 94.1” program director/morning personality Orlando Davis climbs the toy drive platform today (Friday, 12/6) and will remain there until next Saturday (12/14). Davis will do his morning show from that platform every day next week ….. In its annual “Toys For Tunes” on-air event this past Wednesday (12/4, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm), Hubbard Broadcasting Cincinnati rhythmic hot AC WREW “Mix 94.9” raised over $8,00 for Cincinnati Children’s Child Life Program to ensure that every child staying at the hospital during the holidays receives a new toy. Listener song requests were granted, in exchange for a $20 donation ….. On “Giving Tuesday” (12/3), Mid-West Family Broadcasting Madison (Wisconsin) alternative WRIS “The Resistance Is On 106.7” announced that More Smiles Wisconsin is the recipient of its “Community Awareness Grant” for the coming year. WRIS launched a community awareness grant that will provide a local non-profit with $15,000 in advertising in 2020. Applicants were considered for the grant based on multiple factors including the organization’s history of community service, connection to the community, mission within the community, demonstration of need, population served, and geographic region served. More Smiles Wisconsin is a non-profit that provides access to quality dental care to Medicaid, BadgerCare, and uninsured populations of south central Wisconsin. “The Resistance” hopes to help in their goal of increasing funding and awareness so that they may continue to help a growing number of patients …..  WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz” morning host/music director Kaylan Moody is leaving the Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala (Florida) alternative outlet in two weeks (12/20). Moody notes, “I am so grateful for all I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had, but I am excited to keep growing. I am moving to Nashville to pursue a career in the record label industry. The dream job is radio promotion, but I am excited to take on whatever opportunities may arise to get my foot in the door and to start learning.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

| July 17, 2019

Connoisseur Media Management Buys Out Perot Holdings’ Interest. Led by chief executive officer Jeff Warshaw, management of Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has bought out investor Perot Holdings and will now own substantially all of the company. This is the culmination of a series of strategic moves in which the company has recently closed on transactions that added to its Connecticut holdings and entered the Frederick, Maryland market. Warshaw points out that he and Mike Driscoll “started the company 15 years ago with the purchase of FCC construction permits in an auction. It is gratifying to now be able to work with our major investor, Perot Holdings, to buy their stake in the company. They have been terrific partners to us. We are looking forward to growing our company, and we are excited that members of our senior management team are now owners. Ultimately, many of our employees will become stakeholders.” Perot senior advisor Steve Blasnik comments, “We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the best leadership team in the industry and two of the best leaders we have ever partnered with.” Perot Holdings was founded by the late H. Ross Perot and his son Ross Perot, Jr. Connoisseur Media owns 23 radio stations in seven markets: Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island); Bridgeport-Stamford; New Haven; and Norwalk (Connecticut); Stroudsburg-Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Frederick, Maryland; and Billings, Montana.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Presentations – Harry Hurley Saluting the Broadcasters Foundation and Vince Benedetto Honored as Humanitarian of the Year.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/17) posts present WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”).  Posted yesterday (7/16): a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network.  Already posted: the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Name Hurley Broadcaster/Person of the Year. Now in his 28th year at Townsquare Media Atlantic City (New Jersey) news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM,” Harry Hurley (“Hurley in the Morning”) will officially be named The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Broadcaster/Person of the Year. While the announcement will be made today (Wednesday, 7/17) at 9:30 am at an event taking place at Philadelphia’s WPHL-TV, Hurley will receive the actual recognition November 22 at Philadelphia’s Hilton City Avenue Hotel. Hurley tells TALKERS, “My sincerest thanks go to my long-time employer, Townsquare Media, and our faithful listeners and advertisers, who have made all this possible. What an honor it is to be recognized by The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. It is especially gratifying, insofar as we are located in Southern New Jersey. It’s such an honor and privilege to be a broadcaster.” Last month, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association named Hurley the inaugural recipient of its “Broadcaster of the Year” award. Elected to the Philadelphia Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2013 and the New Jersey Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015, he appears at #51 on “The Talkers Magazine 2019 Heavy Hundred” and was the 2016 recipient of Talkers’ “Humanitarian of the Year Award” for outstanding community service by a radio broadcaster.

Workplace Listening Opportunity Is Bigger Than Ever. At least that’s the conclusion of a NuVooDoo Media Services study, which reveals three of every five (60%) likely ratings respondents identified say they listen to radio at work. Furthermore, at-work listeners are more likely to listen to broadcast radio for more hours and more days. The study was fielded last month and represents opinions of over 3,000 respondents (14 – 54) from all PPM markets. NuVoodoo Media Services executive vice president/research insights Leigh Jacobs states, “We’ve chosen to start with a dive into at-work listening because the market for audio entertainment at work has never been bigger or younger. Fully 60% of the ratings-susceptible respondents we’ve identified say they listen at work. Savvy operators have been playing to this opportunity for decades, but the competition has never been more fierce.” Executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor, notes that 24% say they spend at least an hour a day with terrestrial, “but that number jumps to 41% among those who listen at work. [Forty-one percent] say they listen at least five days a week – that jumps to 61% among those who listen at work. That’s the potential for significant lift for programmers and marketers who play to this opportunity.” President/chief executive officer Carolyn Gilbert explains, “Our Ratings Prospects Study 14 revealed a significant opportunity for stations. Winning the workplace war for listeners should be at the forefront of all programmers’ minds, and the devil is always in the details.” The first installment of the NuVoodoo fall webinar series, “How To Win The Workplace War in 2019,” based on its “Ratings Prospects Study 14,” kicks off next Wednesday (7/24); there will be additional sessions on July 31 and August 5.

Presenting The 29 “Rising Through The Ranks” Scholarship Recipients. The “Rising Through the Ranks” program is presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio. Participants will attend this year’s seminar next month (8/13 – 15) at BMI’s Nashville office. The course will focus on management and sales techniques, including “problem solving, recruiting, difficult conversations, hiring and firing, personal brand building, and the role of today’s radio manager.” This year’s 29 scholarship recipients are: Luisa Banks (Cox Media Group Atlanta); Rebecca Bennett (Westwood One); Jill Bernhardt (Cumulus Media Atlanta); Taylor Brown (Neuhoff Media Springfield, Illinois); Alexandra Byrnes (Entercom Sacramento); Yvonne Cheng (iHeartMedia Washington, D.C.); Tiffany Davison (Katz Media Group); Katy Dempsey (Bryan Broadcasting College Station, Texas); Adella Fremstad-Nolden (Radio One Dallas); Jaime Guglielmi (Beasley Media Group Philadelphia); Pamela Hall (Kindred Communications – Huntington, West Virginia); Andrea Hansen (Entercom Madison); Nichole Hansen (Spencer Radio Group/Saga Communications – Spencer, Iowa); Traci Harris-Mason (Forcht Broadcasting – Hopkinsville, Kentucky); Dara Kalvort (Entercom Miami); Tori Kahl (iHeartMedia New Orleans); Shannon Kenefick (Townsquare Media Danbury, Connecticut); Adria Lawrence (Emmis Austin); Kate Maguire (Summit Media Omaha); Elizabeth Nifong (Beasley Media Group Charlotte); Debbie Payne (Cumulus Media Los Angeles); Katherine Pfahl (Radio One Washington, D.C.); Kristina Schoenbeck (Entercom New York); Crista St. John (Bonneville International/Mariners Radio Seattle); Ava Suppelsa (BMI Nashville); Brianne Thompson (Leighton Broadcasting Thompson, North Dakota); Denise Tolzman (Queen B Radio Platteville, Wisconsin); Dianna Towns (Neuhoff Media Ludlow, Massachusetts); and Ashley Williams (Cox Media Group Orlando).

ESPN Prepping “The ESPN Daily.” Set to debut in early-October, “The ESPN Daily” podcast will be published five times per week and will feature ESPN’s journalists and storytellers. ESPN senior coordinating producer Andy Tennant states “The ESPN Daily” will be “appointment listening for anyone interested in the world of sports. The show will be unlike anything now available in sports, anywhere, with stories, interviews, and analysis that only ESPN can provide. Every day, ‘The ESPN Daily’ will take a deep-dive into a specific event or issue in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.” In June, ESPN Podcasts drew 5.8 million listeners, up 10% from June, 2018. This is the sixth consecutive month of year-to-year growth. Content created specifically for podcasts grew 15%; June increases were led by listenership of “FiveThirtyEight: Politics,” “The Lowe Post,” and “SVP & Russillo.”

TALKERS News Notes. Per a Los Angeles Times report, Los Angeles Clippers play-by-play announcer Brian Sieman is “close to finalizing a deal” to transition from the NBA team’s radio flagship, iHeartMedia sports talk KLAC “AM Sports 570,” to the Clippers’ TV broadcasts (on Fox Sports Prime Ticket). He would be filling the vacancy created by the retirement of iconic 40-year Clippers’ game caller Ralph Lawler, who will receive the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award this September. Further speculation is that, in a domino effect, Sieman will be succeeded on radio by NBA TV’s Noah Eagle. After doing games of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sieman joined the Clippers radio network in 2007 ….. Altamonte Springs-Orlando news/talk WORL “FM 105.5 & AM 660 The Answer” and W288CJ, Oviedo (Florida) are being sold by Salem Media of Illinois, LLC to JVC Media of Florida, LLC. The $900,000 deal does not include intellectual property or the call letters – which will be changed to WDYZ … Rumors of a Senate run by regionally-syndicated “Kentucky Sports Radio” host Matt Jones has led to him being placed on a leave of absence from “Hey Kentucky!,” which airs on Lexington’s NBC affiliate WLEX-TV “LEX 18.” Jones has written on social media that he will return to WLEX-TV if he decides not to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell. At least for now, his daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon radio show on iHeartMedia Lexington news/talk flagship WLAP “News Radio 630” (and a statewide network of 35 stations) is unaffected ….. As of tomorrow (Thursday, July 18), it will be a half-century since a tragic car accident occurred on the eastern end of Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Noting the occasion, The Howie Carr Radio Network talk host/New York Times best-selling author Howie Carr has written a podcast, “Chappaquiddick: The 50th Anniversary.” Carr maintains, “We have the content, it is time we educate a new generation about these crimes and cover ups.” The Grace Curley-produced podcast can be heard on Apple iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or the website of Carr’s regionally-syndicated program ….. Through a just-announced partnership with BizTV/BizTalkRadio, subscribers of travel technology platform Flyght Club will get a free, one-year membership to Bizvod, a BizTV/BizTalkRadio-offered streaming platform that has the largest library of online business videos on-demand. BizTV/BizTalkRadio chief operating officer Scott Miller notes, “So many of our viewers and listeners are business travelers. Flyght Club is a great app that gives its members the opportunity to network while travelling. We have hundreds of hours of business content that the traveler can watch on-demand while waiting for their next flight. We are always looking to offer our viewers and listeners products and services that make their lives easier.” Flyght Club founder Ajay Vonkarey remarks, “Flyght Club and Bizvod will be key for any business professionals that are road warriors” ….. At the forefront of digital loyalty systems for terrestrial radio in the United States, Canada, and the UK, Loyal Ears Digital brings fantasy sports to radio with a free weekly game, “Fantasy Free.” Given that it is doesn’t cost to play, it is, according to the company’s website, “completely legal and has all the excitement that comes with fantasy games.” Teaming alongside Loyal Ears Digital on this project as syndicator is MannGroup Radio, with its president Ed Mann indicating “Fantasy Free” is “approaching” the 100 affiliate threshold. He notes, “We are always looking for growth areas for our medium, and digital is it. The guys at Loyal Ears have got this locked down and key for us, huge TSV growth, with no element of gambling. The average ‘Fantasy Free’ player spends 9.7 hours per week constructing fantasy lineups and they’re spending that time on radio station websites. We could not be more thrilled to partner with the LE team.” Loyal Ears Digital chief executive officer Jimmy Risk opines, “Radio has finally figured out that listeners aren’t always ‘listening’, so you have to engage them for longer periods of time beyond the dial.” Mann points out the only political fantasy game designed for radio during the next presidential election, “Showdown 2020,” is coming early next year and will “attract broad and deep demographics.”

June 2019 PPM Data. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these four PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Austin

Spoken-Word Formats – Virtually obliterating the -1.0 it lost via three straight drops (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.8, 6+), Emmis news/talk KLBJ-AM “News Radio 590 AM” bounces back with a nine-tenths’ gain to 3.7 (#13 to #11,  6+); May’s 2.8 was its lowest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2018’s 2.7.

Following four successive fluctuations of one-tenth (1.7 – 1.6; 1.6 – 1.7; 1.7 – 1.8; 1.8 – 1.7, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” falters by four-tenths to 1.3 (#18 to #20). Flat at #25, iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” has a February 2019 through June 2019 topline of: 4 – .6 – .6 -.4 – .5 ( 6+).

Five of the six shifts this calendar year for KUT include: +1.6 (January); -.6 (February); +.7 (March); -2.0 (April); and now the University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk facility craters by -1.6 (7.4 – 5.8, second to fourth, 6+). This is its lowest 6+-showing since April 2017 (5.8, as well).

Austin Music Formats – Rebounding from May’s one-half share decrease (8.7 – 8.2, 6+), Emmis adult hits KBPA “103.5 Bob-FM” posts a +1.1 to 9.3 – its highest 6+ share since “Holiday” 2018 (also 9.3) – and is #1 for the third month in a row. Prior to April 2019, the last time “Bob” occupied the top spot was December 2018 when KBPA scored an 8.3 (6+). Piling on six-tenths to May’s increase of one-half share (5.3 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7” climbs from fourth to third. Adult contemporary sibling, KKMJ “Majic 95.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” wipes away May’s three-tenths’ loss with a one-half share uptick (6.2 – 6.7, 6+) and advances from third to second. “Majic” recently has been -1.2 (September 2018); +1.2 (October); -.5 (November); +1.2 (December); +2.1 (“Holiday” 2018); -4.9 (January 2019); +.9 (February); -.5 (March); +1.5 (April); and +.5 (June). While it is unchanged at #8, Emmis regional Mexican KLZT “107.1 La Z” is a collective -2.3 in three straight drops (6.7 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4, 6+). “La Z” was +1.2 in March. Owing to three consecutive January 2019 through April 2019 decreases, iHeartMedia country KVET-FM faltered by -1.3 (6.2 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.9, 6+), but rallied in May with a +.9. Now, “98.1 The Austin Texas Original” regresses by six-tenths (5.8 – 5.2, 6+) and slides from fourth to seventh; KVET-FM was +1.2 in January (5.0 – 6.2, 6+). Co-owned/similarly-formatted KASE “Austin’s #1 For New Country,” which had been +1.5 in three straight bumps (4.3 – 4.5 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+), surrenders four-tenths to 5.4 (fourth to sixth, 6+). April’s +1.2 halted its November 2018 through March 2019 alternating up/down pattern (5.4 – 5.6 – 3.7 – 4.9 – 4.3 – 4.5, 6+). Particularly noteworthy in that stretch, KASE plummeted by -1.9 in “Holiday” 2018; improved by +1.2 in January; and was -.6 in February. In addition to KVET-FM, Crista Ministries’ contemporary Christian KFMK is off six-tenths as well (3.4 – 2.8, 6+). “Spirit 105.9” drops from #11 to #13 and is below a three-share (2.8) for the first time since November 2018’s 2.9.

Raleigh

Spoken-Word Formats – In three successive positive or neutral trends, iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK was an overall +1.9 (4.6 – 6.1 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+), but “106.1 Stay Connected” is now a combined -1.2 in three straight declines (6.5 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 5.3, seventh to ninth, 6+). This is the 19th time in a row Curtis Media Group news/talk WPTF “News Radio 680” (1.6 – 1.9, +.3, unchanged at #16, 6+) has recorded a 6+ AQH share between 1.0 – 1.9 and first time it has reached 1.9 in that timeframe.

This is third month in a row Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” has both logged a 2.2 (6+) and finished at #15. Co-owned/similarly-formatted model of consistency WDNC “620 The Ticket” has an August 2018 through June 2019 topline of: .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 (#27 to #26, 6+).

Off four-tenths in May (7.4 – 7.0, 6+), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” has a June increase twice that magnitude (7.8, +.8, 6+) and inches up from third to second. WUNC followed January’s +1.0 with a -.6 in February.

Raleigh Music Formats – This market’s #2 to #9 finishers fluctuate by at least one-half share (May 2019 – June 2019, 6+). As a result of being +1.1 in May/June (5.1 – 5.5 – 6.2, eighth to sixth, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned CHR WDCG “G-105 – Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” eliminates its combined March/April -.9 (6.0 – 5.4 – 5.1, 6+). “G-105” was +1.5 in January/February (4.5 – 5.6 – 6.0, 6+). The three most recent shifts for Curtis Media Group-owned WQDR-FM “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” are +.7 (April); -.5 (May); and +.6 in June (6.7 – 7.3, fifth to third, 6+). Displaying June 2019 gains of six-tenths as well are co-owned adult hits WBBB “96.1 BBB – Your Life/Your Music,” which logs its fifth straight sweep without a loss for an overall +1.2 (4.8 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 6.0, ninth to eighth, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s WRDU “Classic Rock 100.7,” +1.5 in three consecutive positive or neutral moves (5.4 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 6.9, sixth to fourth, 6+). Notwithstanding that it is an overall -2.2 in five straight ratings periods without an increase (11.0 – 9.9 – 9.5 – 9.5 – 9.1 – 8.8, 6+), Radio One urban AC WFXC “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is #1 for the 11th straight time. Entering the March sweep, its five previous fluctuations were +.9 (November 2018); -1.5 (December); +1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.1 (January 2019) to 11.0, WFXC’s highest 6+-stat in the PPM-era; and -1.1 in February. Owing to four successive sweeps without a gain (8.6 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 7.5 – 6.5, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5 – The Variety That Makes You Feel Good” is a collective -2.1 and drops from second to fifth. This (6.5) is the lowest 6+- showing for “Mix” since October 2018’s 5.3. Returning in full the seven-tenths it scored in May (6.2 – 6.9 – 6.2, 6+), Radio One urban contemporary WQOK “K-97.5,” which was -1.6 in March/April (7.8 – 7.3 – 6.2, 6+), slips from fourth to sixth. Curtis Media Group classic country WQDR-AM debuted in print in “Holiday” 2018. In six up or flat reports, “Just Right Country – AM 570” progressed from a .1 to 1.0 (.1 – .1 – .4 – .8 – .8 – 1.0, 6+). Roughly halfway through the June sweep (6/4), however, the station changed switched to hot AC; changed call letters to WPLW-AM; and adopted a new handle  “Star 92.9.” With a loss of six-tenths to .4 (6+), Raleigh’s new “Star” departs the top twenty (#20 to #23). A loss of one-half share (1.5 – 1.0, 6+) takes Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WRTP “HIS Radio” from #18 to #20. In six consecutive down or flat Raleigh reports (3.2 – 2.9 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+), Curtis Media Group-owned regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1” has had its 6+ AQH share sliced precisely in half (-1.6) and slips from #16 to #17.

Indianapolis

Spoken-Word Formats – Following a modest May move of three-tenths, Emmis news/talk WIBC “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” reverts to its more customary large fluctuation habit, and in this case, it’s a +.9 (5.5 – 6.4, seventh to fifth, 6+). Ten recent WIBC fluctuations are: -.7 (September 2018); +1.0 (October); +.7 (November); -.9 (December); -.9 (“Holiday” 2018); +.9 (January 2019); +.9 (February); -.8 (March); -1.2 (April); and +.9 (June).

Returning the one-tenth it picked up in May (2.4 – 2.3, #16 to #17, 6+), Emmis’ WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center” halts at three a consecutive string of up or flat trends that produced four-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). It has a three-tenths advantage over iHeartMedia’s WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station,” which has lost a total of eight-tenths in five successive sweeps without an increase (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), yet rises from #20 to #19. Following 16 consecutive sweeps of logging either a .1 or .2 (6+), Cumulus Media’s WXNT “CBS Sports AM 1430” (#24 in May) vanishes (.2 – .1 – .0, 6+).

Even though it falters by seven-tenths (4.6 – 3.9, 6+), Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk WFYI progresses from #11 to a tie at #10.

Indianapolis Music Formats – As far as Cumulus Media was concerned, three Indianapolis CHRs was a case of at least one too many. Consequently, the day after the June sweep commenced (5/24), the company flipped WYRG “Energy 93.9” from CHR to rock WNDX: “93.9-X” responds by more than doubling its 6+-stat (1.3 – 2.8, +1.5, #18 to #16, 6+). As a CHR, WYRG last reached the two-share level in September 2018 (2.1, 6+). After being off six-tenths in four consecutive down or flat reports (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.2, 6+), “Energy” gained one-tenth in May. Four consecutive decreases by Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKLU  resulted in a roughly 37% loss (-1.5) of its 6+-stat (4.1- 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 2.6, 6+), but “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” chalks up a June gain of eight-tenths to 3.4 (#15 to #13, 6+). Without an increase the past seven sweeps for a net loss of one-half share (.7 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .4 – .4 – .2 – .2, 6+), co-owned/similarly-formatted WQRA Air 1 – Worship Now,” tallies three-tenths to .5 (#23 to #22, 6+). When Radio One urban AC WTLC-FM sputtered by four-tenths in May to (5.0, 6+) it ended at four a successive string of up or flat trends that yielded eight-tenths (4.6 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). Now in June, “106.7 Indy’s R&B Leader” rebounds with a one-half share increase to 5.5 (ninth to eighth, 6+). On the other hand, an eight-tenths’ May gain to 5.4 (6+) by rhythmic CHR cluster-mate WHHH curtailed four successive negative moves that led to a cumulative -1.5 (6.1 – 5.6 – 5.2 – 5.1 – 4.6, 6+); however, “Hot 96.3” now forfeits -1.0 to 4.4 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Ranking first the sixth consecutive month, Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WJJK nonetheless loses a combined half-share in May/June (10.2 – 9.9 – 9.7, 6+). In April, “Classic Hits 104.5” recorded a massive +1.7 to 10.2, the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history, eclipsing October 2018’s 10.0. In 2019, WJJK has been +2.9 (January); -.7 (February); -.6 (March); and +1.7 (April). After spending six straight sweeps on top, “Classic Hits 104.5” slipped to third in “Holiday” 2018 but returned to #1 in January 2019. In an alternating up/down pattern that surfaced in September 2018, Entercom hot AC WNTR (ninth to tenth) has a 6+ topline of 3.7 – 4.0 – 3.5 – 4.3 – 3.5 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 5.1 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 3.9 and is down an overall two-tenths. Spiraling by eight-tenths each are Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” (second to third, 6+) and Sarkes Tarzian triple A WTTS “World Class Rock 92.3 – Experience The Music” (3.3, #12 to #14, 6+). After an April +1.9 suspended three negative moves in succession that accounted for a -9.5 (16.4 – 7.6 – 7.0 – 6.9, 6+), “B-105.7” is a combined -1.4 in May/June (8.8 – 8.2 – 7.4, 6+). In February 2012, “World Class Rock” recorded a 2.8 (6+) but then vanished from print until April 2019 (3.1, #14, 6+). WTTS follows May’s +1.0 to 4.1 (6+) with June’s -.8. Flat in fourth-place, iHeartMedia-owned WFBQ “Q-95 Indy’s Classic Rock” loses one-half share (7.2 – 6.7 (6+), with 6.7 its lowest 6+-stat since March 2018 (6.7, as well).

Milwaukee

Spoken-Word Formats – In back-to-back (April/May) sweeps, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ accrued a whopping +3.5 (5.9 – 8.8 – 9.4, 6+). In June, however, the Brewers flagship forfeits 20% of that increase (8.7, -.7, 6+) and segues from first to second. Recent WTMJ shifts include +1.9 (April 2018); +2.5 (October); -1.0 (November); -2.6 (December); +2.9 (April 2019); and -.7 (June). Up a combined six-tenths in April/May (5.1 – 5.5 – 5.7, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WISN “News/Talk 1130” returns four-tenths to 5.3 (sixth to seventh, 6+).

Five Milwaukee sports talk outlets combine for a 2.4 (6+). Leading the field with one-third of that total is iHeartMedia’s WRNW “The Game,” nearly tripling its 6+-stat since April (.3 – .6 – .8, #20 to #17, 6+). CHR WRNW “Now” became sports talk “The Game” in late-November (2018). Tied at #19 are Good Karma Brands’ WKTI “94.5 ESPN,” which has lost roughly half (-.7) its 6+ audience via three straight winless sweeps (1.3 – 1.0 – 1.0 – .6, #16 to #19, 6+). With a very similar topline is Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan,” which loses eight-tenths in four straight dips (1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .6, #16 to #19, 6+). WRNW cluster-mate WOKY “The Big 920” posts a .2 (6+) for the sixth time in the last eight sweeps and remains at #24 (.2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2, 6+). After popping on in November 2018 with a .5 (6+), Good Karma Brands’ WAUK disappeared from print in the next seven ratings periods but is back in June, tying “The Big 920” with a .2 (#24, 6+).

While it is a combined -1.5 via four straight negative or neutral moves (4.8 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 3.9 – 3.3, 6+), directly after three reports in a row without a loss netted a +1.2 (3.6 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+), University of Wisconsin news/talk outlet WUWM remains at #13. Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD loses four-tenths as a result of three straight down or flat moves (1.3 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .9, 6+) and repeats at #16.

Milwaukee Music Formats – On the heels of May’s -1.5 (10.1 – 8.6, 6+), WRIT “95.7 Big FM Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” answers with a positive spike of eight-tenths to 9.4 (6+) and is back at #1. The iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies outlet occupied the lead position five straight sweeps before segueing to #2 in May with its lowest 6+-figure (8.6) since December 2018’s 7.7. Having spent 43 consecutive ratings periods at #1, WRIT shifted to #2 in October 2018. “Holiday” 2018’s 11.5 is the strongest 6+-stat for any Milwaukee station since WRIT’s 11.6 in “Holiday” 2017. Its eight most recent moves are -1.0 (December); +3.8 (“Holiday” 2018); – 1.9 (January 2019); +.6 (February); -.8 (March); +.7 (April); -1.5 (May); and +.8 (June). By logging an improvement of seven-tenths (4.8 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM” advances from eighth to sixth with its best 6+-showing since December 2016 (5.5, as well). Swapping places with each other are iHeartMedia-owned WMIL “FM 106.1 Milwaukee’s Best Country” (5.3 – 5.9, +.6, seventh to fifth, 6+) and Milwaukee Radio Alliance adult contemporary WLDB “B-93.3” (5.8 – 5.3, seventh to fifth, 6+). Whereas this (5.9) is the highest 6+-stat for “Milwaukee’s Best Country” since 6.6 in February, 5.3 for “B-93.3” is its lowest since November 2018’s 5.1. Down an overall -1.1 via four straight negative or neutral trends (8.1 – 7.9 – 7.9 – 7.3 – 7.0, 6+) Saga Communications’ WKLH “96.5 Milwaukee’s Hometown Rock” remains in third-place.

Trump’s Tweets Ignite Controversial Firestorm; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; Puerto Rico Protests; Amazon Prime Day; and  Jeff Epstein Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color and the backlash it has triggered dominated conversation in talk media yesterday (7/16) along with conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; political upheaval in Puerto Rico; the huge impact of Amazon Prime Day and ongoing developments in the Jeff Epstein case, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WDMK “105.9 Kiss-FM” midday talent Nikki Vaughn exits the Radio One Detroit urban AC to join cross-town Beasley Media Group rhythmic hot AC WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” for similar duties. Beasley Detroit vice president/market manager Mac Edwards comments, “We are most excited to bring Nikki’s talents to ‘The Bounce.’ Her respect for all things Detroit and appreciation for the great music that drives ‘The Bounce’ were exactly what we needed to complete our winning mid-day recipe.” WMGC program director John Candelaria notes, “After an extensive search, we are fortunate to add Nikki to ‘The Bounce’ family. Having grown up here, she is the ideal fit and brings a solid understanding of the market. Her dynamic personality, combined with 11 years of Detroit radio experience, makes her the perfect person for ‘The Bounce.’” With the addition of Fawn Conley (“Nikki Vaughn”), the weekday roster for Detroit’s “Bounce” is: “The Gello Show with Joanna (6:00 am -10:00 am); Nikki Vaughn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Meanwhile, the revised on-air lineup for Entercom-owned WLKK “107.7 & 104.7 – Buffalo’s True Alternative” is: “Brandi” (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Axe” (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Kennedy” (7:00 pm -10:00 pm). “Brandi” moves from mid-days; “Axe” previously handled nights; and “Kennedy” had hosted “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” the past four years ….. Entering into a partnership are Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks and music television channel Ditty TV, which features daily music-focused entertainment, including live performances, music news, artist profiles, and album reviews. According to KMG chief executive officer Gary Krantz, “Ditty TV is the most robust video channel in the world dedicated to diverse and growing music categories. Americana continues to grow exponentially and is the passionate choice for 18 – 34 and 25 – 54-year-old adults underserved by mainstream media, yet highly desired by brands and advertisers. KMG is very excited to build success with several projects in the works for all forms of radio and podcasts.” Ditty chief executive officer Ronnie Wright comments, “Our goal since the beginning was to provide a platform for these amazing [Americana and Roots] artists; the addition of audio programming allows us to reach a much broader audience.” There are plans for daily and weekly podcasts, as well as a 24/7 Ditty TV audio channel ….. Two-year KFMB-FM San Diego afternoon drive talent Mikey Esparza exits the Tegna adult hits station ….. Most recent affiliates of Texas-based entrepreneur John Clay Wolfe’s three-hour (8:00 am – 11:00 am) Saturday morning “John Clay Wolfe Show” are iHeartMedia Colorado rock siblings KBPI, Ft. Collins and KBPL, Pueblo. Wolfe declares, “These stations are a perfect fit for what we bring to rock audiences. Everywhere we’ve gone with them, iHeartMedia has been a great partner for us; now, they’re turning us loose in Colorado.”

Friday, May 17, 2019

| May 17, 2019

TALKERS CONVENTION UPDATE:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is one week from today – Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

Trinity Broadcasting Adds Eric Metaxas’ Radio Show. Starting today (5/17), Salem Radio Network’s “The Eric Metaxas Radio Show” will have a half-hour “Best of” component that will be seen on cable each Friday at 6:00 pm on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The television version will be repeated Sundays at 10:30 pm. Salem Broadcast president Dave Santrella remarks that Trinity Broadcasting has “proven to be a great partner in this unique venture. We are delighted to see this show develop into a regular weekend program seen across the country on the TBN cable platform.” Salem Radio Network senior vice president Phil Boyce comments, “We are delighted to see some of Eric’s interviews reach an even bigger audience through TBN’s platform, where more people will get a chance to enjoy his wit, wisdom, and unique personality.” Meanwhile, TBN president Matt Crouch adds that Metaxas’ show “brings a unique depth and flair to TBN’s programming lineup. Eric’s longstanding reputation as a man of both faith and intellect is a perfect fit for TBN’s growing broadcast team of thought and faith leaders.” Yale University grad Metaxas is the founder/host of the New York City-based event series “Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life” and has been hosting his Salem radio show since 2015.

Meyer Named Entravision Chief Revenue and Product Officer. It will be a homecoming for Karl Alonso Meyer who – effective immediately – becomes Entravision Communications’ chief revenue and product officer. Entravision chair/chief executive officer Walter F. Ulloa comments, “We are delighted to welcome Karl back to Entravision. With his vast experience, strong leadership skills, and extensive knowledge of the company, he is the ideal candidate to drive our sales and revenue initiatives.” Meyer adds, “Entravision is like a second home to me. Having the chance to rejoin the company in this critical role is an exciting opportunity. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back and working again with the talented Entravision team. The media landscape is constantly changing and I look forward to bringing a unique perspective that will help the business continue its success.” Los Angeles-based Meyer first joined Entravision in 2004 and spent ten years with the company as vice president/general manager of its Los Angeles radio outlets and later as executive vice president/integrated marketing solutions for the western region.

Steve ‘The Big Dog’ Duemig Passes. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2017, Steve “The Big Dog” Duemig, 64, died yesterday morning (Thursday, 5/16). Up until approximately 15 months ago, Duemig did afternoon drive for iHeartMedia Tampa sports talk WDAE “Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio.” A posting on the station’s website notes, “WDAE is mourning the loss of sports radio icon Steve ‘The Big Dog’ Duemig. WDAE and iHeartMedia Tampa Bay would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of ‘The Big Dog,’ Steve Duemig.” Before joining WDAE in 1996, Duemig spent five years at cross-town WFNS. For two years, he was the color analyst for the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition, Duemig hosted a weekly call-in program on Fox Sports Radio, and the 13-year PGA golfer co-hosted a program on The Golf Channel.

TALKERS News Notes. One of the strongest voices in liberal/progressive talk radio – Bill Press – is pulling the plug on his daily morning show after a 14-year run. His last program will air in two weeks (5/31). While Press concludes his syndicated radio platform, he’ll begin podcasting next month, reportedly with a focus on the Democratic primaries. To his more than 32,000 Twitter followers, the 79-year-old Press wrote, “In case you missed it: We’ve had a great 14-year run of daily shows, but it’s time to transition. Don’t worry – my voice will still be front and center as we enter the 2020 election. Big news coming soon.” ….. Deputy Washington editor Shirley Henry is promoted to NPR’s chief Washington editor. She joined NPR five years ago as senior Washington desk editor and was boosted to deputy Washington editor in 2015. NPR News executive editor Edith Chapin notes, “As we further ramp up our election work while staying focused on the current administration, Shirley is poised to lead the team to break stories and provide the daily reporting, enterprise, and context our audience has come to expect. Her multi-platform experience meshed perfectly with the desk leadership in adopting a story first approach to reporting.” Henry has a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University and dual Bachelor’s degrees from Boston University in Journalism and International Relations. Henry served as lead editor for White House coverage and was co-editor of the “NPR Politics” podcast. She previously worked at CNN‘s Washington bureau ….. Through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), SiriusXM will air coverage of tomorrow’s (Saturday, 5/18) Preakness Stakes from Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. The Preakness is the second jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The satcaster airs all Triple Crown races, as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Preakness is provided by NBC Sports Radio and produced in partnership with HRRN and Westwood One. Later today (Friday, 5/17) at 3:00 pm (ET), SiriusXM will air HRRN’s broadcast of the 95th Black-Eyed Susan Stakes….. The 15th biennial CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament will air live on Entravision Communications’ radio and television stations from (Saturday) June 15 through (Sunday) July 7. Entravision president/chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman states, “We are only a month away from the start of the biggest soccer tournament being played in the United States. Bottom line: If you’re a soccer fan, you’re watching the Gold Cup. Besides being the most-seen sport around the world, it features teams our audiences follow. That’s powerful and provides an amazing opportunity for our advertisers.” Founded in 1991, the Gold Cup is an international FIFA soccer tournament. With teams from 16 countries participating, this will be the largest Gold Cup ever. The tournament will feature the four highest-ranked nations based on the CONCACAF Ranking Index: the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Entravision’s live coverage includes 24 games on 17 of its radio stations in 14 markets ….. For the third day in a row,TALKERS has an item regarding Bubba The Love Sponge and this time, it comes directly from the source. On his Facebook page, BTLS notes that he “couldn’t come up with a deal” to continue airing his show on Genesis Communications Tampa news/talk WWBA “AM 820 Gotta Know Now,” so he recommends Tampa Bay fans listen to the show online ….. While terms were not immediately disclosed, Alpha Media agrees to acquire Gray Television Amarillo’s Spanish adult hits KEYU. An application is being filed with the FCC for the transfer. In Amarillo, Alpha Media already owns news/talk KGNC-AM, KGNC-FM “Amarillo’s Country 97.9,” and classic hits-oldies KXGL “100.9 The Eagle.” Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction for both parties.

TALKERS Week in Review Radio Show for Monday, May 13 – Friday, May 17 Now Posted.  The latest installment of the new weekly one-hour radio program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” is now posted.  Guest this week include:  Kevin Casey of TALKERS; Jim Blasingame, host of the Small Business Advocate radio show; Sid Rosenberg, morning show co-host of WABC, New York;  award-winning journalist, Donna Francavilla, president of Alabama Media Professionals; and nationally syndicated host, Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks.  To listen to the show, please click here.

U.S.- China Trade War Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 13-17. The tariffs the U.S. and China are placing on each other’s exports and the financial markets’ reactions were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, occupying the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Mueller Report aftermath and the subpoena of Donald Trump, Jr. Coming in at #3 was the new Alabama abortion law and the threat to Roe v Wade, followed by the 2020 presidential race and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s entrance into the Democratic primary 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.

Mike McVay Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio industry programmer, executive, and consultant Mike McVay, who after eight years is leaving his position as EVP/content and programming for Cumulus Media at the end of June to re-launch his consultation firm, McVay Media, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and McVay engage in a candid conversation about the events that led to his leaving Cumulus by his own choice as well as his views on the future of that company, the state of radio ratings methodology, advertising agency practices, operating on a playing field with multiple distribution points, the care and nurturing of talent in this new era, significant differences between music and talk radio and opportunities and challenges inherent in radio station ownership going forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Regional senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region, Michael Jordan, adds duties as band coordinator for iHeartCountry. In that capacity, he reports to iHeartCountry executive vice president/programming Rod Phillips. Jordan has held several positions at iHeartMedia Louisville and Lexington (Kentucky), including senior vice president/programming; program director for WMAZ, Louisville and WBUL, Lexington; and director of NTR and promotions for iHeartMedia Lexington. His philanthropic involvement includes working with the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Lexington Cancer Foundation ….. Two-year Alpha Media Louisville WDJX “99.7 DJX” program director/afternoon drive personality JD Garfield will be leaving the CHR outlet at the end of this month. “I’d like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the entire staff of talented and amazing individuals at Alpha Media Louisville for giving me the amazing opportunity to stand at the helm of one of the premiere CHR stations in the country,” he comments. “It truly has been a rewarding experience that I’ll never forget.” Garfield joined Alpha Media from Boise Idaho’s KWYD. He previously programmed in Madison (Wisconsin) at WJQM, and was operations manager in Springfield, Missouri at KQRA and KOSP ….. Director of operations/program director Darrin Arriens signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom Charlotte hot AC WLNK “The Link.” ….. After spending 20 years at Connoisseur Media Long Island adult contemporary WKJY “K-98.3,” afternoon drive talent Jodi Vale exits. “Radio is my first love,” she notes. “I am absolutely not hanging up my beloved headphones.” As I finish up my master’s degree in communications with an emphasis in education, I look forward to teaching future broadcasters in the academic setting.” ….. New to nights/social media director at Albany Broadcasting rhythmic CHR WAJZ “Jamz 96.3” is Alexandra Wurst, who most recently did nights in South Bend (Indiana) at Mid-West Family Broadcasting CHR WQLQ. According to WAJZ operations manager/program director Jon Reilly, “We could not be more excited about this dynamic on-air personality. [Alexandra] has great energy and enthusiasm and we are looking forward to her fresh and unique sound at night.”

April 2019 PPM Data – Part Three. April 2019 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 survey period covered March 28 – April 24. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these 12-PPM markets.

Portland

Spoken Word Formats – The nine-tenths’ January/February gain racked up by Alpha Media news/talk KXL (3.8 – 4.2 – 4.7, 6+) vanishes and becomes a -1.0 in March/April (4.7 – 3.9 – 3.7, 6+) as “FM News 101 – Stay Connected” slips from #11 to #13. Up two-tenths (2.1 – 2.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s KEX “News Radio 1190 – Depend On Us” continues at #18. Locked on .9 (6+) in February and March, Alpha Media news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970” picks up one-tenth to 1.0 (#25 to #24, 6+).

Without a loss the fourth successive sweep for a net gain of six-tenths (.9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.5, 6+), co-owned sports talk KXTG “The Game” carries on at #21. Flat at #23, Entercom sports talk KFXX “1080 The Fan” loses one-tenth in back-to-back reports (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1, 6+). It is tied with iHeartMedia-owned Portland Trailblazers flagship KPOJ “Sports Radio 620,” which doubles (+.5) its 6+-stat since February (.5 – .8 – 1.0, #26 to #23, 6+) and reaches a one-share (1.0, 6+) for the first time since July 2018’s 1.1.

A combined -2.0 in February/March (9.3 – 7.7 – 7.3, 6+), KOPB erases 30% of the deficit with a +.6 to 7.9 (6+) and remains in the runner-up slot; the Oregon Public Broadcasting news/talk outlet had a one-month (January 2019) stay at #1. Ten recent KOPB fluctuations include: +1.1 (January 2018); -1.1 (February); +1.0 (March); -1.0 (April); -.5 (May); +.7 (October); -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.2 (January 2019); -1.6 (February); and +.6 (April).

Portland Music Formats – A stout +3.5 via three consecutive bumps (5.4 – 7.1 – 8.1 – 8.9, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies KLTH has that streak snapped by losing three-tenths to 8.6 (6+); however, “106.7 The Eagle” is #1 for the third month in a row. Prior to February, KLTH last reached the eight-share level (6+) nearly eight years ago (May 2011, 8.1, as well). In three straight sweeps without a loss (2.6 – 3.6 – 4.9, 6+), Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KFIS “104.1 The Fish” nets +2.3 and is steady in sixth-place. “The Fish” ranked #18 in January. Conversely, All Classical Public Media’s KQAC “All Classical Portland” is a collective -1.8 in three consecutive down or flat moves (4.4 – 4.4 – 3.7 – 2.6, 6+), dropping from #14 to #17. Immediately prior to sputtering by seven-tenths in March, KQAC was without a loss four times in a row for a collective +1.8 (2.6 – 2.7 – 3.4 – 4.4 – 4.4, 6+) and reached the four-share level (4.4, 6+) for the first time since February 2017’s 4.2. Off four-tenths to 4.6 (fifth to seventh, 6+), Alpha Media’s KBFF “Live 95.5” snaps at three its consecutive string of increases that accounted for a +1.1 (3.9 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 5.0, 6+). A collective +1.2 in three straight gains (3.3 – 3.6 – 4.1 – 4.5, 6+), cluster-mate KUPL “98.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” falters by three-tenths to 4.2 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Its 4.5 in March is the highest 6+-stat by KUPL since February 2018’s 4.7. After improving by eight-tenths to 4.2, its best 6+-stat since July 2018’s 4.6, Entercom-owned KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” – The Northwest’s Hottest Country” surrenders four-tenths to 3.8 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #12).

Charlotte

Spoken-Word Formats – Having notched back-to-back gains of four-tenths (3.6 – 4.0 – 4.4, 6+), Entercom news/talk WBT is now a combined -.7 in March/April (4.4 – 4.3 – 3.7, #11 to #12, 6+).

In an alternating up/down sequence that began in “Holiday” 2018 (1.6 – 1.7 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.2, 6+), co-owned WFNZ “The Fan – Charlotte’s Sports Leader” has lost four-tenths in that stretch; the Charlotte Hornets flagship slips from #18 to #19.

Erasing all but one-tenth of March’s -.6 with an April increase of one-half share (2.3 – 2.8, 6+), University Radio Foundation news/talk WFAE advances from #16 to #14. “Charlotte’s NPR News Source” was a  combined +1.1 in January/February (1.8 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). While flat at .3 (6+), South Carolina Educational Television Commission news/talk WNSC drops from #21 to #22.

Charlotte Music Formats – By gaining eight-tenths to 2.0 (#19 to #17, 6+), Davidson College-owned WDAV “89.9 Classical Public Radio” pulls the plug on four straight down or flat trends that accounted for a loss of one-half share (1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+). Country boasts a #1/#2 finish in “The Queen City.” Even though Beasley Media Group’s WSOC returns the two-tenths it gained in March (6.8 – 7.0 – 6.8, 6+), “103.7 Country’s Hottest Hits” repeats in first-place; it was tied for the lead in February. Prior to gaining nine-tenths in January, WSOC had been without an increase the previous four reports for an overall -1.3 (7.7 – 7.5 – 7.5 – 6.6 – 6.4, 6+). On top in September 2018, October, and November, WSOC segued to third in December. A combined -2.3 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 5.8 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat – Charlotte’s #1 for New Country” was +1.2 in January; lost three-tenths in February; but is a combined +.8 in March/April  (5.3 – 6.1 – 6.3, fourth to second, 6+). Three straight upticks by Beasley Media Group mainstream CHR WNKS “Kiss 95.1” yield a +1.9 (3.2 – 3.6 – 4.7 – 5.1, ninth to seventh, 6+). This immediately follows four consecutive sweeps without an increase that accounted for a -1.2 (4.4 – 4.1 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.2, 6+). Faltering by seven-tenths (each) are urban AC sibling WBAV “V-101.9” (6.2 – 5.5, third to fifth, 6+) with its lowest 6+-stat (5.5) in two years (5.3, April 2017), and Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WRCM “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” (3.3 – 2.6, #13 to #16, 6+). The five most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake” are -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.1 (January 2019); -1.4 (February); +.5 (March); and -.5 in April (6.8 – 6.3, flat at #2, 6+). Immediately in advance of “Holiday” 2018’s -1.2, WLKO posted eight straight months without a loss for a +3.7 (4.1 – 4.3 – 4.7 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 6.4 – 7.1 – 7.8, 6+). Beasley Media Group cluster-mates WSOC and WBAV dislodged “The Lake” from #1 in February after WLKO’s January-only stay on top.

San Antonio

Spoken-Word Formats – Powered by a +1.1 (4.2 – 5.3, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI zooms from eighth to fourth. In addition, this marks the first time the San Antonio Spurs’ flagship reaches the five-share level (5.3, 6+) since August 2016’s 5.2. Before dropping one-tenth in March, “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather” was an overall +1.0 in three straight sweeps without a loss (3.3 – 3.6 – 4.3 – 4.3, 6+). Via three successive up or flat trends, Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” nets three-tenths (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.5, 6+) and progresses from #23 to #22.

Finishing at #31 and #32, respectively, are Alpha Media sports talk KZDC “ESPN San Antonio” (flat at .4, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s KTKR “Ticket 760 – San Antonio’s Sports Station” (.6 – .3, -.3, 6+).

Down three-tenths in back-to-back reports (3.7 – 3.4 – 3.1, 6+), after a January/February +1.0 (2.7 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+), Texas Public Radio news/talk KSTX drops from #12 to #15.

San Antonio Music Formats – The rollercoaster ride continues for KQXT “Q-101.9.” The iHeartMedia adult contemporary outlet bounced back from January’s -10.7 (14.9 – 4.2, 6+) with a February increase of four-tenths; sputtered by six-tenths in March; but racks up a +.8 in April (4.0 – 4.8, ninth to sixth, 6+). Without an increase the past six sweeps for a collective -2.6 (5.4 – 5.4 – 5.3 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.2 – 2.8, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KROM Que Buena 92.9” answers with an April +.7 to 3.5 (#16 to #12, 6+). Picking up one-half share (each) are KROM’s rhythmic CHR cluster-mate KBBT “98.5 The Beat” (tenth to ninth) and Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZLV “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” (3.4, #15 to #13, 6+). “The Beat” is up eight-tenths through three straight positive or flat trends (3.6 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.4, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (4.4) since August 2018’s 4.5. “K-Love” was off three-tenths in February/March (3.2 – 3.1 – 2.9, 6+). Notwithstanding it has lost six-tenths in March/April (8.0 – 7.9 – 7.4, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned classic hits-oldies KONO-FM “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” repeats at #1. KONO-FM had been in the runner-up slot five successive times before progressing to #1 in March. In advance of slipping to #2 in November 2018, KONO-FM finished at #1 the previous ten sweeps. Co-owned KTKX “106.7 The Eagle – San Antonio’s Only Classic Rock,” which netted nine-tenths in February/March (4.0 – 4.5 – 4.9, 6+), forfeits eight-tenths to 4.1 (6+) and drifts from fifth to tenth. Both of the market’s country powerhouses falter by four-tenths in April. Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader” slips 6.9 – 6.5 (6+), while iHeartMedia-owned KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station” drops 6.2 – 5.8 (6+). Despite the losses, they continue at #2 and #3, respectively. Recent shifts for “KJ-97” include +.5 (September 2018); -1.1 (October); +1.0 (December); -1.0 (“Holiday” 2018); +3.0 (January 2019); and –1.9 (March). Meanwhile, “Y-100” has been +.9 (August 2018); -.8 (September); +.9 (November); -.8 (December); -1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.8 (January 2019); +.6 (February); and -.6 in March.

Sacramento

Spoken-Word Formats – Owing to three straight sweeps without an increase, KFBK “Sacramento’s News, Weather, and Traffic Station” falters by -1.6 (7.6 – 7.0 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+) but remains in the runner-up slot. The iHeartMedia-owned news/talk facility was tied for first in January. Returning the four-tenths it gained in March (2.3 – 2.7 – 2.3, 6+), co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” slips from #14 to #15.

At the same time that Entercom’s KIFM-AM “ESPN Radio 1320” adds one-tenth in back-to-back reports (.7 – 8. – .9, #25 to #24, 6+), Bonneville’s KHTK “Sports 1140” forfeits one-tenth and has lost four-tenths in three straight down or flat trends (1.2 – 1.2 – .9 – .8, #21 to #25, 6+).

December 2018’s 6.9 is the highest 6+-stat in the PPM-history of KXJZ, but the Capital Public Radio news/talk outlet follows with five straight decreases for a roughly 50% loss (-3.4) of its 6+-share (6.9 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.2 – 3.5, 6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #12). Unchanged at #26, Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQEI has an October 2018 through April 2019 topline of: .6 – .6 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .6 – .7 (6+).

Sacramento Music Formats – Trending 4.6 – 4.8 – 4.7 (January – February – March, 6+), Entercom alternative KKDO “Alt 94.7” breaks out an increase of nine-tenths to 5.6 (eighth to fifth, 6+). A positive spike of one-half share by Entravision rhythmic CHR KHHM takes “Hot 103.5” (#16 to #14) to its highest 6+-share since November 2018 (2.5, as well). Despite being down six-tenths in March/April (8.6 – 8.5 – 8.0, 6+), Entercom-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” is #1 for the fourth month in a row (including January’s first-place tie with iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK). In the lead position for ten consecutive survey periods before shifting to #2 in December, “The Eagle” faltered by eight-tenths in “Holiday” 2018. Nine recent fluctuations include +1.0 (May 2018); +.9 (June); -.9 (July); +.6 (September); -.5 (October); -1.1 (November); -.8 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.0 (February 2019); and -.5 (April). The market’s (6+) adult contemporary share softens by -1.1, nearly equally divided between iHeartMedia’s KBEB “92.5 The Breeze” (4.3 – 3.7, -.6, ninth to tenth, 6+) and Entercom-owned KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites” (-.5). Formerly “92.5 The Bull – #1 for New Country,” KBEB transitioned to adult contemporary as “The Breeze” in early-November (2018). It netted a +2.1 in three straight positive spikes (2.4 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.5, 6+) before dropping two-tenths in March. A combined -7.8 in January/February (13.8 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+), “Mix 96” gained two-tenths in March. After logging three consecutive improvements that yielded an overall +1.4  (4.2 – 4.7 – 5.5 – 5.6, 6+), Bonneville’s KNCI “New Country 105.1” falters by one-half share to 5.1 (fifth to eighth, 6+). A collective +1.5 in three straight September –October – November – December (2018) gains, KNCI has been -1.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); +.8 (February); and -.5 (April). For the 14th successive survey period, Entravision Communications’ similarly-formatted KNTY “101.9 The Wolf” logs a 6+-share between 2.0 – 2.5 (2.1 – 2.2, +.1, #15 to #16, 6+).

Pittsburgh

Spoken-Word Formats – Notching a +1.1 to 5.1 (6+) in January, Entercom news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” has followed with three straight drops for a collective -1.0 (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.3 – 4.1, ninth to tenth, 6+).

Co-owned sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” which lost seven-tenths in February/March (7.1 – 6.5 – 6.4, 6+), gains four-tenths (6.4 – 6.8, 6+); the Pirates flagship remains in fourth-place. While it departs the top twenty (#17 to #22), iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG 970 AM – ESPN Pittsburgh” continues its consistency, as reflected by this September 2018 through April 2019 topline: .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 (6+).

Even though it is off a combined seven-tenths in March/April (4.3 – 4.2 – 3.6, 6+), Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” continues at #11.

Pittsburgh Music Formats – After logging three straight sweeps without an increase resulting in a -1.8 (8.7 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 6.9, 6+), Steel City Media adult hits WRRK is a combined +1.1 in March/April (6.9 – 7.4 – 8.0, 6+) as “96.9 Bob FM” stays in-place at #3. In back-to-back (February and March) sweeps, WDVE posted identical gains of eight-tenths (7.6 – 8.4 – 9.2, 6+). Even though the iHeartMedia-owned rocker forfeits nine-tenths in April, it is #1 for the third month in succession. Its December loss of one-half share interrupted three consecutive gains that netted a +1.0 (7.7 – 8.0 – 8.3 – 8.7, 6+). In “Holiday” 2018, WDVE tumbled by -1.0 (8.2 – 7.2, 6+). WDVE spent 11 successive sweeps in the runner-up slot before dropping to third in December. Unchanged in fifth-place, co-owned CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM Pittsburgh’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost seven-tenths by not having an increase three sweeps in a row (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.5 – 5.4, 6+). The market’s two hot ACs are separated by two full-shares, as Entercom’s WBZZ “Star 100.7” gains two-tenths (4.8 – 5.0, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Steel City Media’s WLTJ “Q-92.9” surrenders four-tenths to 3.0 (flat at #12, 6+). A March loss of one-tenth by “Star” curtailed at three a successive string of increases that led to a +1.2 (3.7 – 4.1 – 4.3 – 4.9, 6+); “Q-92.9” gained a combined half-share in February/March (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.4, 6+). Three Forever Media-owned stations that have been unlisted the last four ratings periods return in April: Country WOGI “Froggy” (1.2, #19, 6+); classic hits-oldies WPKL “Pickle” (.9, #20, 6+); and country WOGG “Froggy” (.8, #21, 6+). In December 2018 (the last sweep in which they appeared), WOGI was 1.2 (#18, 6+); WPKL scored a 1.1 (#20, 6+); and WOGG finished with a 1.4 (#16, 6+).

Salt Lake City

Spoken-Word Formats – An April gain of seven-tenths by Bonneville-owned KSL erases in its entirely a March loss of the same magnitude as “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” (steady at #6) posts a 5.2 for the fourth time in the last six sweeps (5.2 – 4.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+). After eroding by -1.0 in March, iHeartMedia’s KNRS “Talk Radio 105.9 – Listen And You’ll Know” stabilizes at 4.1 (6+) but slips from eighth to ninth; KNRS was +1.8 in January/February (3.3 – 4.7 – 5.1, 6+). In back-to-back sweeps, Cumulus Media-owned KKAT “860 AM – Utah’s Big Talker” gains one-tenth (.2 – .3 – .4, #21, 6+).

For the fourth month in a row, Broadway Media-owned KALL “ESPN 700 – Utah’s #1 Sports Talk” is unlisted.  After posting an August 2018 – December 2018 topline of 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.8, KALL lost seven-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 to 1.1 (#20 to #22, 6+).

Having lost nine-tenths in March/April (3.1 – 2.5 – 2.2, 6+), University of Utah news/talk KUER dips from #14 to #15.

Salt Lake City Music Formats – With a steady “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 topline of 3.7 – 3.5 – 3.9 – 3.8 (6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KJMY “My 99.5” explodes in April with a +1.2 to 5.0 (ninth to seventh, 6+). Despite being down or flat the third straight time for a net loss of six-tenths (6.0- 5.6 – 5.4- 5.4, 6+), Capital Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted KBZN “Now 97.9 – Today’s Best Music” advances from fifth to fourth. By gaining six-tenths (1.6 – 2.2, #17 to #15, 6+), Brigham Young University-owned KBYU “Classical 89” records its best 6+-stat (2.2) since November 2018’s 2.4. Five consecutive increases by Bonneville-owned classic hits-oldies KRSP deliver an overall +2.5 (5.7 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 7.0 – 7.8 – 8.2, 6+). Moreover, “103.5 The Arrow” marches from second to first where it succeeds Bonneville adult contemporary KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music/Better Work Day.” On top the past five ratings periods, KSFI (8.9 – 8.1, -.8, 6+) segues to the runner-up slot. “FM 100.3” registered a +1.5 in March, following January/February’s -14.4 (21.8 – 7.9 – 7.4, 6+). Three straight increases netted a +16.2 (5.6 – 5.7 – 12.7 – 21.8, 6+) for KSFI, the only PPM-market station in “Holiday” 2018 to reach the 20-share level (6+). Its format challenger, Cumulus Media’s KBEE “B-98.7 Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” has its third decrease in succession for an overall loss of eight-tenths (4.2 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+) and exits the top ten (#10 to #11). Netting a +2.9 via three straight upticks (4.4 – 6.4 – 6.8 – 7.3, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned classic hits-oldies KODJ “94.1 Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” surrenders a -1.1 to 6.2 (6+) but continues in third-place. On the heels of dropping two-tenths (6.2 – 6.0, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KZHT “97.1 Salt Lake’s #1 Hit Music Station” falters by another six-tenths to 5.4 (flat at #4, 6+).

Las Vegas

Spoken-Word Formats – Anchored at #15, Entercom’s KXNT “News Talk Radio 840” is up or flat the fourth straight time for an overall increase of eight-tenths (1.6 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+) and has its best 6+-performance (2.4, February, March, and April) since February 2017’s 2.8. Meanwhile, Beasley Media Group news/talk KDWN “AM 720 Where Las Vegas Comes to Talk” notches a 1.1 (6+) for the third time in the last four sweeps (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.1, 6+) and continues at #23.

In addition to being +1.6 in four straight bumps (3.0 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.6, 6+), Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR progresses from seventh to fifth.

Las Vegas Music Formats – Within 2.1 – 2.7 territory (6+) in each of the last five ratings periods (2.7 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.4, 6+), Beasley Media Group hot AC KVGS erupts with a +1.0 to 3.4 (6+). Moreover, “Star 107.9 Vegas’ Best Variety” cracks the top ten (#15 to a three-way tie at #10, 6+) and reaches the three-share level (3.4, 6+) for the first time since November 2018’s 3.0. Breaking a “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 topline of 3.7 – 2.8 – 3.8 – 3.7 with an increase of eight-tenths to 4.5 (its best 6+-stat since September 2018’s 4.8), Entercom-owned CHR KLUC “98.5 Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” jumps from tenth to seventh. Rebounding from its March loss of nine-tenths with an April increase of two-tenths (8.3 – 7.4 – 7.6, 6+), Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 – Hits of the Eighties & More” is on top for the third month in a row. February’s 8.3 marked the first time KKLZ reached the eight-share level (6+) in its PPM-history; it hadn’t been at #1 since August 2018. The station it succeeded – iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5 – Better Music for a Better Workday” – is -7.3 in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (12.8 – 7.5 – 6.7 – 6.7 – 5.5, 6+) and drops from second to third. Prior to being #1 from September 2018 through January 2019, “Sunny” set the pace in March, May, June, and July. Its “Holiday” 2018 12.8 is the highest 6+-share for any Las Vegas station since the 14.0 KSNE logged in “Holiday” 2016. KSNE was a combined +4.5 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (8.3 – 9.1 – 12.8, 6+). The three latest shifts for Lotus Communications’ KXPT “97.1 The Point – #1 For Classic Rock” are -.5 (February); +.5 (March); and -.9 in April (4.5, fourth to fifth, 6+). In eight straight up or flat survey periods prior to February, “The Point” was an overall +1.8 (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5, 6+) with 5.5 its best 6+-performance since October 2016 (5.9). Having logged five successive monthlies without a loss for a net gain of eight-tenths (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.9, 6+), Beasley Media Group’s KCYE “102.7 The Coyote – #1 For New Hit Country” is now a combined -1.2 in March/April (3.9 – 3.4 – 2.7, #12 to #14, 6+). Faltering by seven-tenths in April as well is Faith Communications contemporary Christian KSOS “SOS Radio,” which has lost nine-tenths in three straight declines (4.3 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 3.4, seventh to tenth, 6+). Trending 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.3 (January – February – March, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KISF “Zona Mx 103.5” sputters by one-half share in April to 1.8 (#17 to #19, 6+).

Orlando

Spoken-Word Formats – After being a combined +1.9 in January/February (3.6 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” loses one full-share in March/April 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.5, 6+), slipping from eighth to tenth. Its internet stream surrenders one-half share (.8 – .3, 6+) and departs the top twenty (#19 to #22). The November 2018 through April 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1 – We Say What We Want” is between a 3.1 – 3.9 (6+): 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.9, #12 to #11). A combined +1.0 in January/February (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.8, 6+), news/talk cluster-mate WFLF is unchanged from March in 6+-share (2.5) and market rank (#15).

Doubling February’s 6+- stat (4. – 5. – .8, 6+), sports talk sibling WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game – Orlando’s Sports Leader” cracks the top twenty (#22 to #20), while Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando” gains one-tenth to .3 (#23 to #22, 6+).

Not only does Community Communications’ news/talk WMFE have its consecutive string of positive moves that yielded a collective +1.3 (2.7 – 3.2 – 3.5 – 4.0, 6+) end at three, “90.7 Public Radio for Central Florida” departs the top ten (#8 to #12).

Orlando Music Formats – The three most recent fluctuations for Cox Media Group rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3 – Orlando’s New #1 For All The Hits” are +1.2 (February); -.6 (March); and +.9 in April (4.2 – 5.4 – 4.8 – 5.7, ninth to seventh, 6+). “Power” was off eight-tenths “Holiday” 2018/January 2019 (5.0 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+). Tacking on seven-tenths to March’s +.2 (5.4 – 5.6 – 6.3, 6+), Entercom hot AC WOMX “Mix 105.1” proceeds from seventh to fifth, reaching the six-share level for the first time since June 2018’s 6.0. In a game of musical chairs involving iHeartMedia cluster-mates, Spanish tropical WRUM “Rumba 100” advances from second to first, while CHR WXXL “XL-106.7 Orlando’s #1 Hit Music Station” (8.4, -.6, 6+) drops from first to second. This is an exact flip-flop from what happened this time last month. The decrease of six-tenths by WXXL pulls the plug on four improvements in a row that resulted in a +1.7 (7.3 – 7.4 – 8.1 – 8.4 – 9.0, 6+). A combined -1.0 in March/April (9.5 – 8.9 – 8.5, 6+), “Rumba” spent 11 consecutive ratings periods on top before falling to #2 in December and “Holiday” 2018. April 2017’s 12.8 is the best-ever 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. As a result of four straight setbacks, co-owned WJRR “101.1 – Orlando’s Rock Station” has lost nine-tenths (3.5 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 2.6, #13 to #14, 6+). Adult contemporary sibling WMGF “Magic 107.7” picks up one-tenth to 5.9 (fifth to sixth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three straight decreases accounting for an overall -8.5 (14.3 – 6.9 – 5.9 – 5.8, 6+). “Magic” was a combined +8.5 December/“Holiday” 2018 (5.8 – 9.8 – 14.3, 6+). By dropping three-tenths to 7.9 (flat at #3, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies WOCL “105-9 Sunny FM – We Own The ‘80s” snaps at three its consecutive string of increases that generated a +3.3 (4.9 – 6.9 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+).

Cincinnati

Spoken-Word Formats – The January 2019 through April 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLW is a stable 9.9 – 9.7 – 9.9 – 9.5 (6+), as the Reds’ flagship – which had a one-month (January) stay at #1 – remains in the runner-up slot. Co-owned WKRC “55 KRC The Talk Station in Cincinnati” gains one-tenth in back-to-sweeps (3.4 – 3.5 – 3.6, 6+) and reenters the top ten (#11 to #10). For the ninth time in a row, Radio One’s WDBZ “The Buzz – Your Talk Station” is unlisted. It registered a .9 (6+) in August 2018 to finish at #20.

Returning to the iHeartMedia cluster, sports talk WCKY “Cincinnati’s ESPN 1530” is unchanged from March in 6+-share (.9) and market rank (#18), while co-owned WSAI “Fox Sports 1360” is off two-tenths (.6 – .4, #21, 6+).

After being an overall +1.1 via three consecutive gains (2.6 – 3.0 – 3.2 – 3.7, 6+), Cincinnati Public Radio news/talk WVXU surrenders six-tenths to 3.1 (6+) and falls out of the top ten (#9 to #13).

Cincinnati Music Formats – The four latest shifts for Cumulus Media adult contemporary WRRM “Warm 98” are -8.2 (January); +.4 (February); -.6 (March); and now +.6 in April (6.2 – 6.8, steady in fourth-place, 6+). Registering an April gain of six-tenths as well and finishing one-tenth behind “Warm” is its classic rock cluster-mate WOFX “92.5 The Fox” (5.1 – 5.7, sixth to fifth, 6+). There’s more great news in that Cumulus Media cluster as classic hits-oldies WGRR “103.5 Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” is +3.2 in four successive upticks (8.1 – 9.6 – 10.2 – 11.1 – 11.3, 6+) and is #1 for the third sweep in succession. Following a December-only stay at #1, WGRR cratered by -1.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (9.9 – 8.1, 6+) and shifted to third. Immediately prior to its -1.8, WGRR was an overall +1.3 via four straight gains (8.6 – 9.1 – 9.2 – 9.6 – 9.9, 6+). Radio One urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 The Wiz” (#13 to #11) scores an overall seven-tenths in four consecutive reports without a loss (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+). Since the first of the year, Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WUBE “B-105.1 Cincinnati’s Country” (flat at #3), has been +1.0 (January); -.7 (February);  -.8 (March) and -.6 in April (7.9 – 7.3, 6+). Hot AC sibling WKRQ “Q-102 Cincinnati’s Hit Music” has lost nine-tenths as a result of three drops in a row (6.5 – 6.4 – 5.7 – 5.6, fifth to sixth, 6+). While it remains in eighth-place, iHeartMedia-owned WEBN “Cincinnati’s Rock Station” is without an increase for the fourth consecutive ratings period and has forfeited nine-tenths in that stretch (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+).

Cleveland

Spoken-Word Formats – Transforming March’s -.6 into an April +.9 (4.9 – 5.8, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTAM “1100 Cleveland’s News Radio” advances from eighth to seventh; the Indians flagship logged a January/February +1.3 (4.2 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+). After a lengthy absence, Salem Media Group news/talk WHK “AM 1420 The Answer – News-Opinion-Insight” resurfaces in print with a .5 (#18, 6+).

Off by -1.2 in February and then up four-tenths in March, Entercom’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” regresses by seven-tenths (5.4 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 3.9, 6+) but is anchored in tenth-place.

After posting a 3.2 (6+) in January, February, and March, Ideastream-owned news/talk outlet WCPN picks up two-tenths to 3.4 (#11 to #12, 6+) and is one-half share behind WKRK.

Cleveland Music Formats – In four consecutive upticks, iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “99.5 Cleveland’s #1 For New Country” is an overall +3.5 (4.4 – 6.1 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 7.9, fifth to third, 6+), virtually offsetting its cumulative -3.7 through five consecutive losses (8.1 – 7.2 – 6.8 – 6.5 – 5.7 – 4.4, 6+). Steady in fourth-place, Entercom-owned WNCX “98.5 – Cleveland’s Classic Rock” was -.4 (“Holiday” 2018); +.8 (January 2019); -.5 (February); +.6 (March); and is now +.6 (again) in April (7.0 – 7.6, 6+). This (7.6) is its highest 6+-share since August 2018’s 8.6. Over that exact timeframe, the five most recent fluctuations by iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WMJI are +2.8 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.7 (January 2019); +.8 (February); +1.0 (March); and now -1.0 in April (10.8 – 9.8, 6+). Despite returning that full-share March increase, “Majic 105.7 – Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” is on top for the fifth straight ratings period. Co-owned mainstream CHR WAKS “96.5 Kiss FM – Cleveland’s #1 Hit Music Station” forfeits eight-tenths (3.9 – 3.1, 6+), slipping from #11 to #14. A March increase of three-tenths by Entercom hot AC WQAL halted three successive negative moves that led to an overall -1.6 (5.2 – 4.7 – 4.3 – 3.6, 6+); however, in April, “Q-104 Plays The Hits” relinquishes seven-tenths (3.9 – 3.2, #11 to #12, 6+). “Q-104” is tied (at #12) with Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” (3.2), which was unlisted in January, February, and March, after recording a 5.4 (seventh, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018.

Kansas City

Spoken-Word Formats – Following a January/February +2.2 (3.4 – 4.6 – 5.6, 6+), Entercom news/talk KMBZ-FM “98.1 News-Traffic-Weather” has lost a combined eight-tenths in March/April (5.6 – 5.4 – 4.8, fourth to sixth, 6+). Co-owned KMBZ-AM  “Talk 980,” which dropped two-tenths in March, improves by three-tenths (2.0 to 2.3, 6+) yet backslides from #19 to #20. Having more than doubled (+.8) its 6+-stat in three consecutive sweeps without a loss (.6 – .7 – 1.4 – 1.4, 6+), Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM “Talk Radio 710 AM” drops one-tenth to 1.3 (6+) and repeats at #21.

Off six-tenths in February, Entercom’s KCSP “610 Sports Radio” rallies with a combined March/April +1.7 (2.3 – 2.8 – 4.0, 6+). The flagship of the Royals not only catapults into the top ten (#16 to #10), it bypasses Union Broadcasting’s WHB “Sports Radio 810,” which is -1.9 via three straight negative or flat trends (5.0 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.1, #12 to #14, 6+); WHB notched a +1.3 in January.

Without a loss the fourth month in a row (3.0 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+), University of Missouri news/talk KCUR has gained a collective nine-tenths, erasing its “Holiday” 2018 loss of seven-tenths.

Kansas City Music Formats – Precisely doubling (+1.5) its 6+-stat in three positive spikes in a row (1.5 – 1.9 – 2.0 – 3.0, 6+), University of Northwestern St. Paul contemporary Christian KJNW “Life 88.5” elevates from #19 to a three-way tie at #15 with its strongest showing (3.0) since January 2018’s 3.5. Another part of that three-way logjam at #15 is Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative,” which is a cumulative +1.2 in four successive upticks (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 3.0, #18 to #15, 6+). The last time “X-105.1” reached the three-share threshold (6+) was September 2016 (3.1). A combined +1.0 in March/April (4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+), Steel City Media’s KBEQ “Q104 – New Hit Country” jumps from fourth to sixth with its best 6+-stat since June 2018 (5.9, as well). Over and above being +2.5 via three consecutive bumps (5.4 – 6.6 – 7.7 – 7.9, 6+), KCMO-FM “94.9 Kansas City’s Greatest Hits,” repeats at #1. Immediately prior to April’s modest increase of two-tenths, the Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies outlet has been +1.6 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.3 (January 2019); +1.2 (February); and +1.1 (March). February’s 6.9 is its highest 6+share since July 2018’s 7.1. A combined -2.8 in February/March (10.1 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+), cluster-mate KCFX bounces back with an increase of four-tenths to 7.7 (unchanged at #2, 6+). January’s 10.1 is the strongest 6+-stat since July 2017’s 10.3 for “101 The Fox – Kansas City’s Classic Rock Station,” which gave way to KCMO-FM after spending ten consecutive sweeps at the top spot. Four November 2018 through February 2019 spikes by Carter Broadcast Group urban contemporary KPRS “Hot 103 Jamz” netted a +1.5 (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.8 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+). “Hot 103” surrenders 60% (-.9) of that increase in March/April (6.9 – 6.6 – 6.0, 6+) but carries on in third-place. A collective -1.6 via four successive setbacks (4.5 – 3.8 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+) by Cumulus Media CHR KCHZ “95.7 The Vibe – All The Hits” (#15 to #18) directly follows five consecutive positive or flat moves that resulted in a +1.4 (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.5, 6+).

Columbus

Spoken-Word Formats – Eroding two full-shares as a result of three dips in succession (7.0 – 5.9 – 5.5 – 5.0, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTVN “News Radio 610,” which was +1.3 in January (5.7 – 7.0, 6+), continues in fifth-place.

Unlisted in January, February, and March, RadiOhio sports talk outlet WBNS-FM “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” returns with a 4.7 (sixth, 6+). In “Holiday” 2018, the Columbus Blue Jackets flagship posted a 5.3 (seventh, 6+).

Tied with WBNS-FM at #6 is Ohio State University news/talk WOSU, whose January 2019 through April 2019 topline is 4.5 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.7 (6+).

Columbus Music Formats – In addition to being #1 for the 17th sweep in a row, iHeartMedia-owned WCOL “92.3 Columbus’ #1 For New Country” (11.8 – 13.0, 6+) has been in double-digits (6+) each ratings period since June 2017. Its January increase of eight-tenths pulled the plug on six straight declines that resulted in a collective -5.7 (16.3 – 15.1 – 15.0 – 14.5 – 13.0 – 12.7 – 10.6, 6+). Recent WCOL fluctuations include +3.1 (January 2018); -1.7 (February); +1.1 (March); +1.0 (April); +1.2 (June); +.6 (July); 1.2 (August); -.5 (October); -1.5 (November); -2.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +.8 (January 2019); +.7 (February); and +1.2 (April). Notwithstanding that CHR sibling WNCI is a collective –1.1 through three successive decreases (8.3 – 8.0 – 7.7 – 7.2, 6+), “97.9 Columbus’ Hit Music Station” actually climbs from fourth to third. On the other hand, Ohio State University’s WOSA has more than doubled (+.6) its 6+ AQH share as a result of six consecutive up or flat moves (.5 – .9 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1, 6+) yet “Classical 101” backslides from #16 to #17. Without a loss the fifth report in a row for a net increase of seven-tenths (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.9, 6+), Saga Communications hot AC WVMX “Mix 107.9” inches up from #12 to #11. Up two-tenths in February/March (7.8 – 7.8 – 8.0), adult contemporary cluster-mate WSNY “Sunny 95” sputters by -1.0 to 7.0 (third to fourth, 6+). While it continues in the runner-up clot, co-owned WLVQ “Iconic Rock Q-FM 96” falters by three-tenths to 8.4 (6+), thus curtailing three straight increases that resulted in a +1.9 (6.8 – 7.2 – 8.1 – 8.7, 6+). Having more than tripled (+1.3) its 6+-figure in nine straight positive or flat sweeps (.5 – .8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.8, 6+), Radio One gospel WJYD “Joy 107.1” has that streak broken by dropping one-tenth to 1.7 (#14 to #15, 6+).

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click here.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”