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Friday, April 16, 2021

| April 16, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Bloodshed and Blood Clots,” looks back at this past week of April 12-16. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Larry Young, talk show host, WOLB, Baltimore; Michael Zwerling, talk show host / owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician / talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkGraham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Radio: Live On Air and Everywhere. Fresh survey data from Edison Research and NPR identifies six types of radio listeners, bolsters broadcasters’ top-dog-of-audio status, and arms sales reps and public radio fundraisers with powerful ammo. For example, the study finds that the heaviest users of radio are the most open to its advertising messages. Two of the six segments of listeners, “Radio Heads” and “Connection Seekers,” the groups that spend the most time with radio, are the least likely to avoid ads or sponsorship messages on AM/FM radio. Consultant Holland Cooke covered the webinar for TALKERS magazine and he points to the free multimedia download and summarizes yesterday’s debut webinar in his coverage here.

JAKIB Media Launching New Football Talk Show Starring Dan Sileo. A new football-focused sports talk radio program is debuting on April 26 featuring Dan Sileo as host and produced by JAKIB Media Partners for the JAKIB Media Network. JAKIB says “The National Football Show with Dan Sileo” will air live weekdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and will “bring the real inside stories, in-depth knowledge, and insight that only a former player, his teammates and coaches can deliver. Dan’s recent NFL posts have drawn millions of views as he often has a head start on breaking stories.” YouTube will be the exclusive video platform. This new show is in addition to the nightly, three-hour “Dan Sileo Show” airing in Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, across the USA Radio Network and on Dansileoshow.com. JAKIB Media founder Joe Krause says, “Dan Sileo will provide hard-core football content to a local, regional and national fan base that craves conversation about the game. So far in 2021, JAKIB Media has amassed over 5 million minutes of content consumption by the public on our digital platform. With Dan Sileo joining the team, we expect to double that number.”

Sun Broadcast Group Names JJ Hutton Media Research Analyst. Marketing and research pro Joseph Hutton Jr. joins Sun Broadcast Group as media research analyst and affiliate support. Hutton most recently served with GroupM as a national audio buyer. In his role with SBG, Hutton will provide competitive positioning, consumer insights, and creative strategy to assist both clients and agencies. SBG corporate research director Anny Mansfield says, “With his background in buying audio for Group M, JJ will be able to help us pinpoint the relevant research that buyers are looking for. I’m looking forward to working with him as we develop sales presentations for our advertisers.” Sun Broadcast Group COO Danno Wolkoff adds, “JJ is the final piece we were looking for to complete Sun’s dream team for sales, planning, and research. His wealth of knowledge and insight into the advertising needs of clients will help our sales team deliver results each and every time for the buyers.”

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Opens Applications for 2021 Scholarship Program. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation scholarship program for the 2021 fall semester is now accepting applications. AWMF is partnering with the Ford Motor Company Fund, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, recognizing and supporting future generations of women in media with more than $20,000 in scholarships awarded annually. AWMF board chair Heather Cohen says, “For years, these generous partners have stood with AWMF to support, encourage, and promote women in the media industry at every level, and we are proud to continue that tradition of advancing women in media. Now, more than ever, we are proud to provide deserving young women the opportunity to complete their education and meet their full potential.” The four scholarship opportunities for this fall include: 1) Ford Emerging Voices Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship for a student pursuing a media career as a producer, writer, director or on the business side of media companies in areas such as television, radio, digital media, streaming, publishing, advertising, and production; 2) Ford Empowering America Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship for a winning student pursuing a media career as talent in front of the camera or microphone in an area such as television, radio, or digital media; 3) Loreen Arbus Foundation & AWMF Scholarship, that focuses on the needs, achievements, contributions, and stories of citizens with disabilities and provides a deserving female communications/media undergraduate or graduate student with a scholarship to their educational institution for $2,500 and a ticket to attend an upcoming AWM event; and 4) NCTA & AWMF Scholarship, that allows a deserving female communications/media undergraduate or graduate student to create an original piece (essay, digital short, video, animation, multi-media or other concept chosen by the student) that will be featured in NCTA and AWMF media distribution channels. In addition, the chosen student will receive a scholarship to their educational institution for $5,000 and a ticket to attend an upcoming AWM event. Learn more about the AWMF scholarship opportunities and to apply here. Scholarship materials are due by June 11, 2021.

TALKERS News Notes. The firm Research Director, Inc. is celebrating is 30th anniversary serving the radio industry. The company says, “Founded during the analog age in the basement of an Arlington, Virginia home, Research Director, Inc. has served over 800 radio stations, providing both top-notch sales and programming research and consulting services. We pride ourselves on our innovative roster of proprietary reports, custom sales materials, and unrivaled experience, which have enabled our clients to maximize both ratings and revenue over the years.” Founding partner Marc Greenspan says, “I’d like to express my appreciation to the thousands of customers we’ve worked with over this period. I hope they’ve learned as much working with us as we’ve learned from them. I’m also deeply appreciative of our team of uniquely experienced, dedicated professionals.”…..The University of Florida and Seven Bridges Radio LLC strike a deal for sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL/92.5 FM” to air Gators play-by-play. Seven Bridges says, “‘1010XL/92.5 FM,’ the flagship station of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has become the home for Gators athletics, beginning with this week’s airing of Gator baseball games as well as the two-hour Florida football spring special. The four-year arrangement will make ‘1010XL/92.5 FM’ the home for all Gators football and men’s basketball games, as well as conference and other selected baseball games, plus all Gators talk shows.”…..SiriusXM announces its season-long coverage for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, featuring live broadcasts of every race all season long, as well as shows and podcasts hosted by active drivers. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday (4/18). SiriusXM listeners will have access to the live call of this race and every one of the 17 events on the INDYCAR calendar, from the green flag through the finish, including the Indianapolis 500 on May 30…..iHeartMedia Nashville’s radio five radio stations – including news/talk WLAC-AM/W252CM – unveils the Inaugural Bourbon & Bubbles Fest that will take place on May 22 and will benefit Friends of Franklin Parks. Station air personalities will host the event and will encourage listeners to attend and enjoy tastings of bourbon, all kinds of bubbles including sparkling wine as well beer, and a variety of other wine and spirits that will be on hand for tastings.

CBS News Launches Earth Day Special Series. The title of the series from CBS News is, “EYE ON EARTH: OUR PLANET IN PERIL,” and is “a new division-wide initiative to deliver incisive reporting, exploring all aspects of climate change and efforts to heal the planet.” The series launches Monday (4/19) on all CBS platforms. Jeff Berardelli leads the five-part radio series reporting on several of the planet’s climate change “tipping points” and the solutions, both controversial and practical, being considered to save the earth, as well as a new threat to global sea levels. Berardelli will look at new evidence that a key glacier in Antarctica may be near the point of no return. Reports will be featured all week in CBS News Radio’s top-of-the-hour broadcasts, the “CBS WORLD NEWS ROUNDUP” and the “CBS NEWS WEEKEND ROUNDUP.” And to round out the week and mark Earth Day, on April 23, CBS Audio presents a special edition of the weekly show “AMERICA: CHANGED FOREVER,” highlighting CBS News’ extensive reporting on climate change. CBS Audio’s weekly podcast “THE DEBRIEF,” hosted by CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, is airing a special two-part audio documentary on climate change and its effects on both societies and our planet. In a new episode of “THE TAKEOUT,” Major Garrett speaks with staff writer for The New Yorker and author of the book The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert about climate change’s role in pushing the planet to being “on the verge of another mass extinction.”

Industry Memorial Tribute to the Late Barry Farber Set for May 5. The family of Barry Farber, in association with TALKERS magazine, is presenting an industry memorial tribute to the legendary radio talk show host on May 5 via Zoom. The virtual event will mark the first anniversary of his passing and the 91st anniversary of his birth. Farber, considered by industry observers to be one of the greatest talk radio hosts of all time, as well as one of the genre’s most influential pioneers, passed away on May 6, 2020 – one day after his 90th birthday. The event will consist of a series of personal remembrances delivered by a select panel of family, friends and radio industry colleagues. It will be recorded and available for on-demand viewing as part of a larger display of memories and Farber history being developed for a special commemorative website devoted to the broadcaster. Barry Farber’s on-air career was launched in 1960 and continued all the way to his death in 2020. It included his hosting major shows on such legendary New York outlets as WINS, WOR, and WMCA. He also was syndicated by ABC Radio Networks and Daynet. His final shows were carried by CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. According to The New York Times, at the time of his death he was the longest continually running radio host. Farber was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2014 and is a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award among many other honors. He was the author of three books and a student of 26 languages. The memorial event will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 between 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm and be hosted by Michael Harrison. Invitations to join in the Zoom event will be limited. For more information about participating please email info@talkers.com. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for updates as they develop.

COVID-19 Variants, Vaccines, Stats & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 12-16. The numerous aspects of COVID-19 – the variants, vaccines, statistics and the politics – combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was race relations and police reform with the shooting death of Daunte Wright in suburban Minneapolis and the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Tied at #3 were the issues of gun control and changes in voting laws in several states. 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.

Friday, August 23, 2019

| August 23, 2019

JVC Media Unveils New ‘Florida Man Radio’ Format. The new format on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ in the Orlando market (licensed to Altamonte Springs and Oviedo, respectively) will feature Shannon Burke and Bubba the Love Sponge, along with Scott Ledger and attorney Justin ClarkJVC Media says “Florida Man Radio” will formally launch in early September 2019 with a live press conference from the JVC Orlando studios hosted by the air staff.  JVC Orlando director of programming Len Shackelford says, “This will be a personality-driven talk station focused on Central Florida. There will be NO topics off limits, including topics specifically about our on-air staff.  Think sports, politics, pop culture… if you talk about it in your life or on social media, ‘Florida Man Radio 660 AM and 105.5 FM’ will talk about it.”  The lineup will be Bubba in morning drive, “Scott Ledger’s Dangerous Conversation” in middays, Shannon Burke in afternoon drive, and attorney Justin Clark’s “You Have Power” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  JVC CEO John Caracciolo adds, “This is exactly what radio needs right now – fresh, new, funny, and local – this is ‘Florida Man Radio.’  The vision of a locally based talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big topics while not taking it too seriously, screams the mantra of JVC.  We aren’t afraid to buck the norms – keeping live and local radio working for our clients and listeners, providing great results for clients, and continuing to invest in great programming.  I’m thrilled for the future of our stations across the country.”

Bonneville Announces Management Restructuring and Promotions at Seattle Station Group. It was last Friday that Ryan Maguire exited his role as director of news and programming for news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Bonneville Seattle Media Group had been quiet about that change but now announces a number of management promotions and duty realignments that includes the elimination of Maguire’s old director of news and programming position.  Four new directors have been named: Mike Salk rises from program director of sports KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” to director of programming, overseeing KIRO-FM, KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” and news/talk KTTH-AM; Tina Sorensen is promoted from KIRO/KTTH sales manager to director of digital, managing both content and revenue for the Bonneville Seattle digital properties; Cathy Cangiano is upped from “710 ESPN” sales manager to director of sales for KIRO-FM, KIRO-AM, KTTH-AM, and Seattle Mariners Radio; Alison Lichtbach is promoted from controller to director of finance, managing the business and operations departments.  Current Bonneville Seattle managers whose duties are expanding are: Bryan Buckalew as the KIRO-FM program director; Colleen O’Brien as the KIRO-FM managing editor leading the news department; and Ethan Kelly as sales manager for the KIRO/KTTH sales staff.  Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Dave Pridemore says, “These are proven leaders within our organization who are ready for their challenging assignments.  They are innovative and prepared to provide guidance as we look to the future of our dynamic and far reaching audio and digital products.  This new structure ensures our success in 2020 and beyond and elevates our daily focus on our digital business, which is imperative, as Bonneville Seattle is well positioned in this space to generate significant audience growth and to deliver solid ROI to our clients.”

iHeartMedia Launches New Philly Sports Talk Outlet.  The company is flipping WDAS-AM/W273DO from adult hits to sports talk as “FOX Sports – The Gambler” available on 1480 AM, 102.5 FM, 105.3 HD2 and online via iHeartRadio.  iHeartMedia says, “The Gambler will feature FOX Sports’ compelling and entertaining brand of sports talk programming including ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd,’ ‘The Dan Patrick Show,’ ‘Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,’ ‘Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell,’ and others, as well as ‘The Daily Ticket’ hosted by Sean Brace, owner of phillyinfluencer.com, a well-known local sports website.  iHeartMedia Philly SVP of sales Jeff Moore adds, “Whether you’re heading to Atlantic City or one of our four local sports books, we’ll have what you need to keep you informed.  It’ll be a great mix of national sports talk icons with the local edge to inform and entertain the gambling audience in a groundbreaking way.”

Satire, Parody and Perspective in the Age of Political Correctness.  The co-founder and head writer of The Capitol Steps, the long-running Washington, DC-based political comedy troupe, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Elaina Newport joins the TALKERS founder in a provocative discussion about the changing nature of satire, parody, and the expression of political perspective in the current age of hyper-political correctness.  The Capitol Steps, formed in 1981 by a group of newly unemployed senate staffers whose bosses had lost re-election, is a non-partisan equal opportunity offender.  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.

Talk Show Host Wayne Allyn Root Referenced in Four Presidential Tweets. Nationally syndicated, Las Vegas-based talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root played a role in the week’s national conversation when his statement that President Trump “is the best president for Israel in the history of the world. And the Jewish people love him like he is the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God. And then in America, American Jews don’t like him” was Tweeted by the president.  This was related to the larger story about the president’s “disloyalty” comment about Jews who vote Democrat.  Root’s talk program is syndicated by USA Radio Network and simulcast on Newsmax TV and he became an important facet of the viral story.  In another Tweet, Trump shared a segment of Root’s program. Root says of all the attention focused on him, “That was a 24-hours for the record books!”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC at approximately 4:00 pm ET today (8/23).  The new episode titled, “The China Syndrome!” looks back at this past week of August 19-23, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Dana Cheng, senior editor China news, The Epoch TimesPhil Valentine, talk show host, WWTN, Nashville; Gerald Celente, publisher, Trends JournalDarlene Love, legendary singer/inductee Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; and Victoria Jones, executive director, the DC Radio Company.  The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network.  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.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast hosted by longtime ESPN commentator and award-winning sports columnist Woody Paige is debuting on PodcastOne.  “The Woody Paige Podcast” features the sports media personality, known for his trademarked “Around the Horn” chalkboard, as he welcomes sports and entertainment legends for in-depth and news-making conversations. The premiere episode spotlights ESPN’s Adam Schefter and EA Sports designer Clint Oldenburg…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio personality Kathy Hart – formerly of the “Eric & Kathy” morning show (with Eric Ferguson) on Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX – is re-locating to Bozeman, Montana for personal and family reasons.  Hart left WTMX in 2017 and has been doing fill-in talk host work for Tribune Media’s news/talk WGN-AM.  She says she’s open to working in radio in Montana but has nothing lined up…..SiriusXM is presenting 77 live college football games over the period of August 24 through September 2 as the 2019 season begins.  The opening week schedule features games with every team from the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including #1 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, #2 Alabama vs. Duke, #3 Georgia vs. Vanderbilt, and the season’s first Top 25 matchup: #11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn.

U.S.-China Trade War Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 19-23. The ongoing tariff battle was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Hong Kong Protests.  Coming in at #3 were the fears of a recession, followed by the 2020 presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

The Best of Beasley.  Pictured above are the 2019 winners of Beasley Media Group’s “Outstanding Achievement Awards.”  The presentations were made during a special dinner that took place at the company’s annual management meeting at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia on Wednesday (8/21).  From l-r are: BMG Philadelphia chief engineer Keith Smeal (Technology Award winner), BMG Philadelphia director of sales Paul Blake (DOS of the Year), BMG spoken word brand manager & WBZ-FM program director Mike Thomas (Program Director of the Year), BMG Boston VP/market manager Mary Menna (Market Manager of the Year), BMG CEO Caroline Beasley, BMG COO/EVP Brian Beasley, BMG president Bruce Beasley, BMG New Jersey RVP/market manager Dan Finn, BMG Tampa VP/market manager Steve Triplett, BMG Philadelphia VP/market manager Joe Bell, and WMMR-FM/WMGK-FM program director & BMG rock format brand manager Bill WestonPhoto: Chorus Photography

Cool News/On-Air OpportunityNRG Media – Lincoln is looking for a news anchor/reporter who can double as morning co-host for Lincoln’s #1 news/talk station.  KLIN says, “This is your chance to inform and entertain during morning drive in Nebraska’s Capital City and Home of the Cornhuskers! The show is loaded with personality, and we talk about today’s issues in a fun and entertaining environment.  If you are energetic, love radio, are passionate about local news, know how to enterprise, can connect with the community, are able to create compelling & award-winning content, we want to talk with you! You will share the mic with a talented group of professionals who all love radio and each of its digital platforms. We want someone who wants to be part of our amazing morning show, knows news and who can interact with our hosts and listeners.  Your daily work will include preparing, producing and editing news, delivering that news on-air, and posting it online, as well as general reporting duties and reporting live from the field as needed. In addition, you will co-host KLIN’s popular morning drive program.  The ideal candidate will have a degree from a four-year institution and at least one year of radio and/or other relevant media experience or and equivalent combination of education and experience.  If you have excellent announcing and production skills, excellent computer skills using Office products, Adobe Audition and WordPress, and radio systems like NexGen Digital Broadcast, send us your resume!  NRG Media is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.”

PPM Analysis: Adult HitsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian turns his eye to the music radio world in this analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM survey.  Just over half of the adult hits stations on our panel see their weekly, 6+ AQH share rise (52%), while 43% dip and 5% remain the same, compared to their numbers in the June 2019 survey.   Comparing July 2018 to July 2019, although 55% of the stations on our panel are down, winners include KBPA, Austin (+1.7); KJAQ, Seattle (+1.6); WLKO, Charlotte (+1.4); and WRRK, Pittsburgh (+1.3).  KBPA, Austin “103.5 Bob FM” was the only adult hits station to rank #1 (6+) in its respective market in July.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new morning drive show is launching on Cumulus Media’s CHR WHTS, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM.”  “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green (pictured here) debuts on Monday (8/26).  Cumulus calls it “the first and only morning radio show in West Michigan presented by two female hosts.”  Gray has been hosting the morning show on WHTS for the past seven years.  Green joins her from the station’s afternoon drive program.  Green previously served with crosstown alternative WGRD-FM and as a feature reporter for WXMI-TV “FOX 17.”  WHTS program director Lori Bennett comments, “We are so excited to present this one-of-a-kind show to the West Michigan audience!  Rachael and Jackie are two of the most dynamic personalities I’ve ever worked with and their emotional connection as part of the West Michigan community is unmatched.  Sure, they’re about ‘girl power,’ but actually, it’s ‘people power.’”…..Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” announces that actor and musician Kiefer Sutherland will serve as the official celebrity host of the eleventh “Country 102.5 Street Party” featuring headliner Maren Morris with performances by Mitchell Tenpenny, Lindsay Ell, Ryan Hurd, Matt Stell, and Jordan Davis.  WKLB brand manager David Corey states, “This is our best lineup to date.  Maren is one of the hottest acts in the country format and beyond!  It’s a privilege to have her headline the show!”…..iHeartMedia names Jerry Houston program director for iHeartRadio’s “PRIDE Radio, the Pulse of LGBTQ America,” effective October 1.  iHeartMedia Northern California Region SVP and PRIDE Radio general manager Don Parker says, “Jerry has been an integral part of PRIDE Radio for many years as our assistant program director and I’m thrilled to elevate him to program director of this important brand.  With his dedicated focus on the PRIDE brand, we have the opportunity to grow this well-established network further, expanding our LBGTQ+ offerings with podcasting, community events and meaningful partnerships.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering two exclusive pop and rock Labor Day Weekend music specials hosted by singer/actress Sabrina Carpenter and Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd.  “Last Big Weekend of Summer,” hosted by Carpenter, is a four-hour CHR special.  “Last Official Weekend of Summer,” hosted by Boyd, is a four-hour rock special that looks back at the big summer festivals and provides a preview of upcoming fall concert tours.  Both are designed to air from Saturday, August 31 through Monday, September 2.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

| August 20, 2019

WGAU, Athens Debuts Erick Erickson Midday Show. Back in April, WSB-AM, Atlanta afternoon drive talk show host Erick Erickson announced he was planning to launch a midday talk radio show based at Cox Media Group’s WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens, Georgia.  That has become a reality with his new show now airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, following the station’s morning drive program and leading into Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh program.  Back in April, Erickson said he believes that local news outlets are failing to give enough attention to Georgia news and the drive time shows focus too much on the national political scene.  Erickson hopes to syndicate the new show to other talk stations in Georgia.  He is continuing to host his 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on WSB-AM.

Darren Smith Co-Hosts Nightly Show on KOGO, San Diego.  San Diego sports talk personality Darren Smith – who just started his new midday gig with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KLSD-AM “XTRA 1360” – is delving into news/talk with the company’s sister KOGO-AM.  Smith is co-hosting an hour-long 7:00 pm program with “KOGO Evening News” anchor Jack Cronin titled, “Not Sports.”  Smith was a longtime sports talk host on former sports talk XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090.”  This addition to the KOGO program schedule pushed the Chris Merrill-hosted “KOGO at Night” back to an 8:00 pm start.

KGME-AM, Phoenix Adds ‘Roc & Manuch’ to Weekday Lineup. Phoenix sports talk duo “Roc & Manuch” – Mike “Roc” Muraco (left) and Dan “Manuch” Manucci (right) – are joining iHeartMedia’s sports talk KGME-AM “Fox Sports 910” to host the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm daypart, effective September 3.  The two have been on the air in the Phoenix market for more than 15 years, including on KQFN-AM “1580 The Fanatic” and KDUS-AM “NBC Sports Radio.”  The program is being produced by Chris Schubert.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little says, “We’re excited to add ‘Roc & Manuch’ to our expanding local lineup on ‘Fox Sports 910.’ With over 15 years of experience in Phoenix, Roc and Manuch bring with them a vast knowledge of local sports.”

Fargo Sports Anchor Dom Izzo Launching Talk Show.  In Fargo, WDAY-TV sports reporter and anchor Dom Izzo is leaving his 6:00 pm and 10:00 duties with the Forum Communications television station to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s news/talk WDAY-AM/K226CL. Izzo, who’s been with the television station for the past 10 years, will continue to handle the Friday high school football wrap-up and the “Sports Sunday” show on the TV side.  His new radio show appears to replace the last two hours of “AM Fargo-Moorhead with Mike Kapel.”

‘Jet Stream Sports Report’ Launches.  A new, daily two-minute sports feature called “The Jet Stream Sports Report” is being distributed by USA Radio Network.  The program – available via FTP – is hosted by Jason “The Jet” Williams and “brings the fire and energy that is required for the world of sports.”  USA Radio Network says, “Jason’s passion and love for sports and his sharp wit make him a unique brand ambassador.”

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Greenland Purchase Inquiry, Immigration Policy, U.S.-China Trade War/Hong Kong Protests, Epstein Suicide Ruling, NYPD Fires Cop in Garner Death Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; President Trump’s reported interest in buying Greenland for its natural resources; the state of the U.S.-Mexico border and U.S. immigration policy; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the related Hong Kong protests; the official ruling of suicide in the death of alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; and the firing of New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in choke-hold death of Eric Garner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Celebrating 50 Years in Radio.  KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Dave Elswick (right) is pictured above with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) – one of many visitors to the station to help Elswick celebrate his 50th anniversary in the radio business.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In the Washington, DC market, Howard University-owned urban contemporary WHUR-FM names Al Payne program director.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media as PD at urban contemporary KMJK, Kansas City “Magic 107.3.”  He says, “Growing up as an I-95 ‘radio kid,’ there were a few iconic stations that you could only dream of one day having the opportunity to program and influence. 96.3 WHUR is at the pinnacle of my personal list and to say that this is a blessing is a huge understatement.  I look forward to working with the incredible GM, Sean Plater, to help this amazing team of world class broadcasters continue to entertain and serve the DMV under the umbrella of Howard University.”…..iHeartMedia’s CHR WIOQ, Philadelphia “Q102” announces that Eliott King becomes the new evening personality as host of  “Q102 Tonight with Eliott,” effective September 9. Station program director Buster Satterfield says, “Eliott’s passion and level of creativity make him the perfect candidate to lead ‘Q102’ nights.  ‘Q102’ is a heritage station in the Philly community and we’re certain that he’ll help shake things up for the iconic brand.”  King was most recently afternoon drive host at Radio One’s CHR WNOW-FM, Indianapolis…..Alpha Media names DJ Q content director for hip hop WGZB “B96” and urban contemporary WMJM “Magic 101.3,” effective September 1. He’s been serving as assistant program director for the stations for the past five years.  He states, “There is no purpose without a plan.  Success is doing what you love, focusing on your goals, and never giving up the strength and determination to succeed.  I’m excited to be a proud Alpha Media family member and I look forward to bringing a positive culture and creative ideas to the forefront.”…..At Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK-FM, West Palm Beach “New Country 101.3,” Sammy Cruise rises to APD and music director.  He also hosts the afternoon drive show.  Operations manager and brand content director Bruce Logan says, “I am thrilled to have Sammy on the team.  His brand knowledge of WIRK, his talent as an air personality, and his relationships with artists, artist managers and label friends is second to none. Sammy has been invaluable to me as we work to build ‘New Country 103-1’ into South Florida’s home for new country.”

27 Graduate from 12th RTTR Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program. Pictured above are the 27 women who took part in the Rising Through the Ranks Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program in Nashville August 13-15. The program was presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau, in conjunction with BMI and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.  The graduates are (in alphabetical order): Luisa Banks, Cox Media Group; Jill Bernhardt, Cumulus MediaTaylor Brown, Neuhoff Media; Alexandra Byrnes, Entercom Communications; Yvonne Cheng, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Katy Dempsey, Bryan Broadcasting; Jaime Frankel, Beasley Media Group; Adella Fremstad-Nolden, Radio One; Pamela HallKindred Communications; Andrea Hansen, Entercom CommunicationsNichole Hansen, Saga Communications; Traci Harris-Mason, Forcht Broadcasting; Dara Kalvort, Entercom Communications; Tori Kahl, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Shannon Kenefick, Townsquare Media; Adria Lawrence, Emmis Communications; Michelle Mazzara, BMI; Kate Maguire, Summit Media; Elizabeth Nifong, Beasley Media Group; Debbie Payne, Cumulus MediaKristina Schoenbeck, Entercom Communications; Crista St. JohnBonneville International/Mariners Radio; Ava Suppelsa, BMIBrianne Thompson, Leighton Broadcasting; Denise Tolzman, Queen B Radio; Dianna Towns, Neuhoff Media; and Ashley WilliamsCox Media Group.

Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.

Greensboro

Spoken-Word Formats – A collective -1.2 via four successive down or flat trends (4.4 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” ends the slide with an increase of six-tenths to 3.8 (#11 to #10), its best 6+-stat since February’s 4.4.

Up two-tenths in three straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0, 6+), Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” advances from #16 to #14.

Recording its third uptick in a row for a collective gain of nine-tenths (1.6 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.5, 6+), Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” holds down the #13 position the 15th consecutive ratings period. This is the fourth time in the last five reports that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC logs a .8 (.8 – .5 – .8 – .8 – .8, #17 to #15, 6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – Repeating in ninth-place, iHeartMedia-owned rocker WVBZ is a collective +1.7 in four straight bumps (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.2, 6+). In June, “105.7 – Man Up” reached the four-share level (4.1, 6+) for the first time since November 2018’s 4.0. This marks the fifth occurrence in 2019’s seven monthly survey periods that Entercom urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” (9.3 – 9.5, +.2, 6+) ranks #1. An April increase of six-tenths curtailed five straight declines that resulted in a -2.3 (11.4 – 10.8 – 10.3 – 9.9 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+). WQMG’s consecutive streak of reaching double-digits (6+) was snapped at 26 in January. It has been within 9.1 – 9.9 (6+) range ever since. The two exceptions to WQMG’s 2019 reign at #1 are March and June when co-owned adult hits WSMW held the lead. In July, however, “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” spirals by -1.0, erasing June’s improvement of one-half share (9.3 – 9.8 – 8.8, first to second, 6+). Its seven fluctuations this calendar year are: +.9 (January); -.6 (February); +.9 (March); -1.6 (April); +1.1 (May); +.5 (June); and -1.0 (July). Prior to its March stay at #1, WSMW last reached #1 in August 2016 when it logged a 10.5 (6+). Still within that Entercom cluster, rhythmic CHR WJMH “102 Jamz” drops six-tenths (7.2 – 6.6, 6+) but remains in fourth-place. A one-half share loss (4.0 – 3.5, 6+) forces Curtis Media Group regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1 FM” out of the top ten (#10 to #11) with its lowest 6+-stat since November 2018 (3.5, as well). June’s sixth-place tie between the market’s two country rivals is broken as iHeartMedia’s WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” is flat at 5.3 (sixth to seventh, 6+), while Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” is down or flat the third straight time for a cumulative decline of one-half share (5.7 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.2, sixth to eighth, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase, WTQR was a cumulative -1.0 (6.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, 6+), but erased 70% of that deficit in May with a +.7 to 5.7 (6+). Flat in March, “Q-104.1” cancelled out January’s +.7 with a February -.7 (5.3 – 6.0 – 5.3, 6+). Before dropping two-tenths in March, “The Wolf” had three consecutive shifts of one-half share: -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.5 (February). Over the course of the last 15 sweeps (June 2018 through July 2019), WTQR has prevailed over WPAW ten times (June 2018, July, August, September, October, November, “Holiday” 2018, January 2019, May, and July); WPAW has come out on top four times (December 2018, February 2019, March, and April; and the two were tied in June 2019 (5.3, 6+).

Memphis

Spoken-Word Formats – Up four-tenths in June/July (4.1 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” progresses from ninth to eighth.

In six consecutive negative or neutral reports, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has lost one full-share (4.0 – 4.0 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.0, 6+) and falls from #11 to #13. Its internet stream appeared with a .1 (6+) in December and “Holiday” 2018; disappeared from print in January and February; logged a .1 (6+) four straight times; and vanishes in July. Co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790” is without an increase the 13th straight time (including eleven consecutive .1 showings) for a collective loss of three-tenths (.4 – .4 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 -.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+) and is locked at #18.

Memphis Music Formats – Over and above the fact it has nearly doubled (+1.2) its 6+ AQH share since May (1.3 – 1.7 – 2.5, unchanged at #14, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KWNW “101.9 Kiss FM” registers its best-ever 6+-stat (2.5) in the PPM-era. In five successive setbacks (5.3 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.2, 6+), co-owned WDIA was -2.1 but “AM 1070 – The Heart & Soul of Memphis” ends the slide with a +.2 to 3.4 (6+) and proceeds from #13 to #11. A one-half share rise (4.7 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+) takes Entercom hot AC WMC-FM “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” to the five-share level (6+) for the first time since January (5.6). By gaining three-tenths to 10.1 (6+), iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS pulls the plug on four straight down or flat trends that accounted for a -1.8 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.4 – 9.8, 6+); “V-101” is #1 the ninth time in a row. Prior to June’s loss of six-tenths to 9.8 (6+), KJMS reached double-digits (6+) in each of the previous 14 ratings periods. “Holiday” 2018’s 12.8 is the highest 6+-share since December 2012’s 13.5 for “V-101,” which was +2.3 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (10.5 – 11.5 – 12.8, 6+). Gospel cluster-mate WHAL “Hallelujah 95.7 – Memphis’ Inspiration Station,” which notched four consecutive increases for a +1.6 (5.8 – 6.4 – 7.0 – 7.1 – 7.4, 6+), forfeits nine-tenths to 6.5 (flat at #4, 6+). June’s 7.4 was its best 6+-showing since August 2015’s 7.5. The market’s (6+) adult contemporary share improved by two-tenths in June but is -1.1 (6+) in July. Absorbing the brunt of the decrease is Entercom’s WRVR “104.5 The River” (6.6 – 5.8, -.8, steady in fifth-place, 6+). Until picking up one-tenth in June, “The River” was an overall -2.4 in three straight declines (8.9 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+). While “Holiday” 2018’s 11.3 is its strongest 6+-performance since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 (#6), this (5.8) is its lowest since May 2017’s 5.7. Eight recent WRVR fluctuations include: +2.4 (October 2018); -1.6 (December); +2.0 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.1 (January 2019); +.7 (February); -1.1 (March); -1.2 (May); and -.8 (July). After adding one-tenth in June, Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (unchanged at #16) sputters by  three-tenths to .7, its lowest 6+-stat since transitioning from urban-rhythmic oldies to AC in late-2017. WKIM surrendered nearly half (-.7) its 6+ AQH-share in April/May (1.6 – 1.1 – .9, 6+). “The Bridge” reached the five-share level (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, but was a combined -4.0 in January/February (5.1 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+). While it repeats in the runner-up slot, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WHRK “K-97.1” is off three-tenths to 9.2 (6+), thus curtailing five straight bumps that resulted in a +2.7 (6.8 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.7 – 8.5 – 9.5, 6+). In June, WHRK reached the nine-share level (9.5, 6+) for the first time since May 2018’s 9.4.

Hartford

Spoken-Word Formats – July’s -1.1 (7.4 – 6.3, 6+) sends Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” from second to seventh with its lowest 6+-stat (6.3) since February’s 5.9. By gaining two-tenths in June, Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM suspended four consecutive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a one-half share loss (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .8, 6+); however, “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” now regresses by one-half share (1.0 – .5, flat at #15). Ever steady, iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410” logs a .1 (#17 to #18, 6+) the 14th report in a row; it was a “no-show” in June 2018.

Frozen on 1.8 (6+) in March and April, iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” follows with three straight sweeps without an increase for an overall loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, flat at #12, 6+).

Up one-tenth to 4.3 (unchanged at #9, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” halts three straight drops that accounted for a collective -1.1 (5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+). University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” has lost six-tenths in June/July (1.6 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+) and slips from #13 to #14.

Hartford Music Formats – An overall -1.0 in five consecutive sweeps without an increase (7.7 – 7.0 – 6.9 – 6.9 – 6.8 – 6.7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WWYZ “Country 92.5” obliterates that deficit with a +1.2 to 7.9 (fifth to second, 6+), its highest 6+-share in nearly two years (8.3, August 2017). Level at #3, classic hits-oldies sibling WHCN “105.9 The River” is a combined +1.9 in three straight reports without a loss (5.3 – 5.7 – 7.2 – 7.2, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing (7.2) since May 2018’s 7.7. Adding six-tenths to June’s +.1 (6.0 – 6.1 – 6.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX jumps from eighth to fifth. Entering the June sweep, “Hot 93.7” was -1.9 via three drops in a row (7.9 – 6.6 – 6.5 – 6.0, 6+). The just-concluded negative streak directly tailed January/February’s +1.1 (6.8 – 7.7 – 7.9, 6+). Having followed April’s increase of nine-tenths with a combined -2.0 in May/June  (8.5 – 7.7 – 6.5, 6+), hot AC sibling WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC-FM” picks up two-tenths (6.7, sixth to fifth, 6+). Albeit a -1.4 in June/July (10.8 – 10.4 – 9.4, 6+), adult contemporary cluster-mate WRCH is #1 the 37th consecutive time. Recent “Lite 100.5” fluctuations include: -.8 (November 2018); +1.8 (December); +5.6 (“Holiday” 2018 to 18.0, the strongest 6+-showing for any Hartford station since WRCH recorded an 18.3 in “Holiday” 2017); -6.9 (January); +1.0 (February; -1.0 (March); -1.3 (April); +1.0 (May); and -1.0 (July). Prior to slipping to 9.8 in April, WRCH was in double-digits (6+) in 30 of the previous 32 sweeps. Without an increase the sixth straight time for a collective -1.5 (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 3.4 – 3.1, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting alternative WMRQ “Radio 104.1” continues at #10. Co-owned Spanish tropical WMRQ-HD2 is down or flat the third report in succession and is -1.0 in that stretch (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). The last time WMRQ-HD2 fell below a two-share (6+) was May 2018 (1.9).

Thursday, March 8, 2018

| March 8, 2018

iHeartMedia and Lenders Buy a Little More Time.  The deadline for the Forbearance Agreement signed on Sunday was last night at midnight.  Prior to that deadline however, iHeartMedia and the Consenting Lenders agreed to extend the term of that Forbearance Agreement to next Monday (3/12) at midnight CT.   iHeartMedia – seeking to find a long-term solution to its $20 billion debt problem – is past the grace period and, without the Forbearance Agreement, would be in default on a missed $106 million payment on 14% Senior Notes.  That default would likely trigger bankruptcy for iHM, but clearly the group of senior creditors are trying to find a way to avoid putting the fate of the company in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.  This extension leads some analysts to conclude that some progress is being made toward that end.

Entercom Releases Q4 2017 Financial News.  This is the first quarterly report for Entercom Communications Corp. that includes results of the CBS RADIO stations.  The merger closed on November 17, 2017.  Remember that Entercom issued 101,407,494 Class A shares to former shareholders of CBS Corporation who participated in the exchange.  Net revenue for Q4 2017 was $246.6 million, compared to $124.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.  “Operating income for the quarter was a loss of $2.3 million, which was negatively impacted by $36 million of merger, restructuring, impairment and financing costs.  This compared to operating income of $30 million in the fourth quarter of 2016…adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $45 million, compared to $35.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.”  The company reports that as of December 31, 2017, it had outstanding $1.4 billion of senior debt under its credit facilities and $400 million in senior notes and $34.2 million in cash on hand.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are making excellent progress toward our goals of capitalizing on our transformational merger and building a truly outstanding media and entertainment company. As the country’s #1 creator of live, original, local audio content and with a premier collection of outstanding local radio stations, digital platforms and live events, we have the scale and capabilities to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of ad dollars.  We are off to a great start executing our game plan with important achievements in a number of areas including building a best-in-class leadership team and culture, growing our brands and ratings, executing our synergies, launching new sales tools and advocacy, and much more. We are very pleased with our progress and more excited than ever about the needle-moving opportunities ahead.”

Unsecured Creditors Challenge Cumulus Media’s Executive Bonus Structure.  A group of Unsecured Creditors – the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media – is formally objecting to Cumulus Media’s executive bonus program in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.   In the filing, the Committee says, “the Debtors seek authorization to pay millions of dollars in supplemental ‘incentive’ compensation to highly compensated senior executives during an expedited chapter 11 process that, if the Debtors prevail at confirmation, will result in the unsecured creditors of these estates receiving pennies on the dollar.  These executives have already received millions in prepetition ‘incentive’ compensation payments (indeed, the Debtors’ CEO has already received over two million dollars in supplemental 2017 incentive payments and is scheduled to receive at least an additional [amount redacted] if the Motion is approved) and stand to benefit from a very robust Management Incentive Plan (the “MIP”) to be implemented upon the Debtors’ emergence from bankruptcy.  Moreover, the Debtors seek authorization to implement not one, but two allegedly incentivizing and wholly overlapping programs that both contemplate quarterly cash payments payable upon achievement of the exact same targets and metrics in order to “properly incentivize” those members of management who already stand to gain a substantial economic benefit from obtaining confirmation of the plan and thus implementation of the MIP.”  The Committee says the incentive program cannot be allowed and cites three aspects of the U.S. Bankruptcy code that it believes backs its case.

Morning Drive Talk Host Angie Austin Announces Distributor and Rep for New Show.  Talk show host Angie Austin – who previously hosted the “Daybreak USA” program on USA Radio Network – has re-branded her program “The Angie Austin Show” and it’s set to be delivered to affiliate stations via Genesis Communications Network with The Show Must Go On! repping the program.  Mike Opelka co-hosts the show that is delivered live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  A presser says the show will debut in seven markets.

Judge Cites Lack of Evidence in Complaint Against WGAC, Augusta Talk Host Austin Rhodes.  After a complaint from local businessman Joe Mullins suggesting that WGAC, Augusta, Georgia talk host Austin Rhodes’ words on his radio show caused him to become concerned for the safety of himself and his family, a judge has ruled that there is not enough evidence to suggest a crime may have been committed.  According to a report by WJBF-TV, Mullins complained to authorities that Rhodes compared him to a snake on his February 27 broadcast and said, “Snakes have to be dispatched or killed.”  The story notes that local police listened to a recording of the entire segment provided by Mullins but concluded that there was no direct threat to Mullins.

TALKERS News Notes. Rapid City, South Dakota has a new news/talk station as HomeSlice Media Group flips KKLS-AM/K248BT – both licensed to Rapid City – from classic hits to using syndicated programming.  Shows on the station’s program schedule include: Dave Ramsey, Joe Pags, Westwood One’s Mark Levin, Jim Bohannon and Chris Plante, plus others.  The schedule does not indicate a morning drive show, leaving open the possibility of a local program…..Entercom and PNC Bank partner to spotlight star high school lacrosse students in the Maryland community.   Entercom sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and its sister stations are taking part in the PNC Achievers program that identifies and recognizes outstanding female and male student lacrosse athletes from public and private schools across the state of Maryland for their success and leadership on and off the field.  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “At Entercom, giving back to our local communities is an important part of what we do and PNC Bank shares these values.  We’re excited about this partnership that allows us to shine a light on high school athletes who display exemplary study habits, achieve excellent grades, are active volunteers in the community and mentor other students to help meet their respective goals.”…..University of Alabama Athletics and multi-media rights holder Learfield announce a five-year agreement with SummitMedia for the broadcaster to serve as the official radio home of the Crimson Tide Sports Network in Birmingham…..iHeartMedia’s alternative rock K248CU, Austin “ALT 97.5” signs a deal with MLB’s Houston Astros to serve as the ballclub’s official Austin affiliate.  The station will carry all regular and post-season games.

Trump Tariffs Plan, Stormy Daniels Suit, Feds vs California, Trump Russia Investigation, Gun Control, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Russian Double Agent Poisoning, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7).  The Trump Administration’s plan for tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum and the related exit of economic adviser Gary Cohn; porn star Stormy Daniels’ suit for relief from confidentiality agreement with President Trump; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ suit against California in the sanctuary matter; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the debate over gun control and Florida’s bill to limit gun ownership to those 21 and over; the talks between North Korea and South Korea over the former’s nuclear program; the apparent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the U.K.; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Radio management pro Harvey Wells is looking for a multi-talented operations manager for the Mid-West Family Broadcasting cluster in Springfield, Illinois.  He says, “If you know a great talk/mainstream rock/talent coach/radio person, I’m looking for an operations manager to partner with me in the fine state capital of Springfield, Illinois.  This is not a ‘rookie’ position. Must be able to do an airshift as well.” Contact Harvey at: hwells@mwfbmedia.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago’s famed classic rocker “The Loop” isn’t going away completely.  With Educational Media Foundation’s LMA of WLUP-FM (soon to have new calls WCKL-FM) to begin Saturday in advance of its purchase of the signal from Merlin Media, Cumulus Media is taking the “Loop” format (sans jocks) and moving it to the HD2 channel of alternative rock WKQX-FM.  Of course, that station is also up for sale and it’s likely a buyer will swoop in on this Windy City signal sooner rather than later…..Beasley Media Group announces it is naming Jeff Kurkjian the new morning drive co-host for its country outlet KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote.”  Kurkjian, who was most recently morning host at Entercom’s hot AC WQAL, Cleveland “Q104,” is partnering with Aimee Montgomery, who slides over to “The Coyote” from Beasley’s adult contemporary “Lite 101.5 FM.”  Kurkjian says, “I am so excited to be part of the team at ‘102.7 The Coyote’ in Las Vegas.  I can’t imagine doing anything but local radio. I’m looking forward to connecting every morning with the casino workers getting off third shift, the moms taking their kids to school and everyone in between.  I am eager to get out and about in Las Vegas, especially coming from the frozen tundra of the Northeast!”…..iHeartMedia announces the addition of Eminem featuring Kehlani, plus N.E.R.D and G-Eazy to the program of previously announced performers for this Sunday evening’s 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards…..Entercom’s classic rock KGON, Portland enters into a multi-year agreement with The Waterfront Blues Festival.  Some of the highlights of the new partnership include the return of the festival to its original radio broadcast partner and the switch of KGON-HD2 to Waterfront Blues Radio – playing blues music all day.  The festival takes place July 4 through 7 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and this summer’s event marks the 31st anniversary of the festival…..Pictured below are staffers of Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WMAS-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and volunteers celebrating the final tally of the WMAS Radiothon benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network and Baystate Children’s Hospital.  Vice president and market manager Craig Swimm says, “Extremely proud of the team as we wrap up this year’s 94.7 WMAS Radiothon — $245,367 raised over 2 days.  We beat last year’s number and have raised more than $4.5 million for the Children’s Miracle Network since 2002.”

Monday, March 5, 2018

| March 5, 2018

iHeartMedia Gets Breathing Room to Settle Debt Issue.  Industry watchers were expecting iHeartMedia to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend as the default on a missed $103 million payment on 14% Senior Notes was about to kick in.  That didn’t happen and iHeart announces that yesterday (3/4) it “and certain lenders party thereto (the ‘Consenting Lenders’) entered into a Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Agreement’), with respect to the Credit Agreement, dated as of May 13, 2008, as amended and restated as of February 23, 2011 (as further amended or supplemented from time to time, the ‘Credit Agreement’), among iHeartCommunications, as the parent borrower, the subsidiary co-borrowers and foreign subsidiary revolving borrowers party thereto, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, as a guarantor, Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent, swing line lender and letter of credit issuer, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto.  The Consenting Lenders constitute the lenders required under the Credit Agreement to grant a forbearance.  Pursuant to the Forbearance Agreement, the Consenting Lenders agreed to temporarily forbear from accelerating the obligations under the Credit Agreement or otherwise exercising any rights or remedies thereunder as a result of any actual or prospective event of default under Section 8.01(e) of the Credit Agreement resulting from iHeartCommunications’ failure to make an interest payment beyond the applicable grace period with respect to its 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021 that was originally due on February 1, 2018.  The forbearance became effective upon all parties’ execution thereof and will terminate immediately and automatically upon the earliest to occur of (i) March 7, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central time and (ii) an event of default under the Credit Agreement other than those that resulted in the entry into the Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Period’).”

Erick Erickson Signs New Deal with WSB, Atlanta.  Afternoon drive personality Erick Erickson has signed a new contract with Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta to continue his work with the station through 2020.  Erickson joined the station in 2011 and moved into a prime daypart in less than one year.  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs states, “We are excited to have Erick as part of our radio family for the long term.  He came into radio having never expected to be on radio and has thrived.  The contacts in his phone are a ‘Who’s Who’ of newsmakers and power brokers.  Atlanta is genuinely listening to the most connected man in radio.”  In addition to hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, he also provides political analysis for “Atlanta’s Morning News” and occasionally fills in for WSB’s Herman Cain.  Erickson says, “I fell into radio by accident, and it has been fun to really move from being a blogger and TV pundit into the role of talk radio host.  These last couple of years were not at all what I expected, but I get up every day excited to keep Atlanta entertained and informed with what is happening locally, nationally, and around the globe.”

Entercom Officially Announces Launch of ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego; Kevin Klein to Host Morning Drive.  Last week, TALKERS magazine reported Entercom’s plans for former CHR KEGY, San Diego – to turn it into a hot talk/sports hybrid with former XEPRS sports talker Dan Sileo in middays and the KISW, Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoon drive.  Now, Entercom sends out an official presser announcing former alternative KITS, San Francisco personality Kevin Klein will be morning drive host, effective March 29.  Until that time, the station will air rebroadcasts of “The Men’s Room” in mornings.  As previously reported, the station will be the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball.  Entercom says the station will present a “unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music…evenings and weekends when not broadcasting Padres baseball, ‘97.3 The Machine’ will provide music fans in San Diego with a true classic rock curated playlist ‘That Rocks,’ framed by entertaining comedy.”

Author Suing Sid Rosenberg and WFAN for Fraud.   Today’s New York Post is reporting that author Joseph DeBlasi is suing WABC, New York talk show host Sid Rosenberg and WFAN, New York for $20 million.  DeBlasi alleges in his complaint that Rosenberg was paid $5,000 to get DeBlasi interviews on the radio to promote his book, Polarized: Sex, Lies and Family Betrayal.  Rosenberg’s lawyer says the allegation is a lie and that Rosenberg was never given any money.  DeBlasi’s complaint states that the June 2014 deal was supposed to get DeBlasi on Geraldo Rivera’s program on WABC.  It further states that after Rosenberg attempted to get him the interview, DeBlasi learned that the deal with Rosenberg was illegal, violating payola laws.  DeBlasi did appear on WFAN three times when Rosenberg was filling in on the morning show.

‘The Conservative Cartel’ Now Syndicated by USA Radio.  Beginning today (3/5), “The Conservative Cartel” – co-hosted by Matt Locke and Chris X – is being syndicated by USA Radio.  The Fort Worth-based program airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daily.  The program continues to be distributed via TheBlaze Radio Network for weekends.  The program will debut in 15-plus markets.  USA Radio general manager Janet Bro says, “We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of ‘The Conservative Cartel’ to the daily lineup of shows available from USA Radio.  Matt Locke and Chris X are the perfect addition to syndicated radio and the USA Radio family.”

WBEN, Buffalo Airing 12 Hours of Talk About School Safety and Guns.  Calling it “#12Voicesin12Hours,” WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger says in a blog post that today’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm broadcast addressing school safety and guns may “make you uncomfortable at times…But to advance change, meaningful and helpful change, you need to understand those who disagree with you and hear them out.”  Wenger says, “The hard part about this ‘conversation’ is that while most people want to have it, most walk away from it as soon as ideas are presented that go against their own personal thoughts and beliefs on the issues.  Most ‘cable news’ conversations go ‘ugly’ in a hurry and simply build a brick wall between two warring sides.  Unless that changes, nothing changes…this broadcast is, by design, not laden with politicians who are looking for a spotlight.  But it will, in the end, include some thoughts from some willing members of our Congressional delegation who may well be charged with advancing legislation that could impact us all.”  Wenger notes that each hour of the broadcast will be saved as a podcast for listeners to check out later.

TALKERS News Notes. In New York, Salem Media Group is launching a news weekly program featuring John Catsimatidis called “Cats At Night” on WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  The show debuts on Wednesday (3/7) and airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Catsimatidis also hosts a Sunday morning interview program called “The Cats Roundtable” that airs on WNYM and six other stations.  Catsimatidis says, “I love doing radio.  It’s the most enjoyable hour of my week.  I am excited about expanding my radio presence to drive time with ‘Cats at Night’ and the opportunity to share my views on what’s really going on in New York and the world.  My thanks to Jerry Crowley and his team at WNYM for their ongoing support.”…..WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he recently had the pleasure of interviewing Atlantic County resident Helen Turner, who will turn 111 on April 1.  Hurley says he reached out to Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson live, on the air requesting he make April 1, 2018 Helen Turner Day and he agreed.  Turner is also a huge fan of FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson.  Hurley reached out to Carlson to see if he would announce Turner’s birthday on FNC and provide an autographed photo for her and he also readily agreed…..WTMJ, Milwaukee’s WTMJ Cares “Game Night for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” recently raised a total of $54,758 to fund WTMJ Honor Flights for 150 veterans to see their memorial in Washington, DC.  The unique partnership with the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks featured a pre-game party at historic Turner Hall where guests met Vietnam Veterans.  After the party, the group enjoyed the Bucks game against the Washington Wizards.  The event was the finale of a three-week on-air campaign led by WTMJ Radio afternoon host, John Mercure.  Mercure’s “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project told stories of the service of Vietnam Veterans in the area. To complete the fundraising, WTMJ held a radiothon where WTMJ listeners donated $32,758 in three hours…..TribLive.com is reporting that the new owners of KQV, Pittsburgh hope to restore the all-news format that aired on the station prior to the previous owner’s shutting it down and selling it.  Robert and Ashley Stevens – principals of Broadcast Communications Inc. – are paying $55,000 for the station and its assets.  Stevens tells the news outlet, “We would like to be able to do the news.  I would like to be able to do it as a news station very similar to the way it was.  We just need to make sure we can do it in a way that would be financially feasible.”…..Northpine.com is reporting that WRRD, Milwaukee majority owner Michael Crute has entered into a deal with Good Karma Broadcasting to lease WTTN, Columbus, Wisconsin (Madison market) in order to air the “Resistance Radio” progressive talk format currently airing on WRRD.  WTTN’s primary signal is northeast of Madison but Crute has applied for an FM translator at 92.7 that would cover much of Madison.  Crute also has a construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 101.7 in the Milwaukee market.

Trump Tariffs/Trade War Talk, Trump Admires Xi Jinping, NRA Membership Spikes/Gun Control Issues, Russian Election Hacking, Sunday Night’s Oscars Awards, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Reactions to President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and the related issue of trade wars; President Trump’s comments about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for his position and suggestion that the U.S. should do the same; the NRA reports a spike in new memberships and the related issue of gun control measures; the allegations of Russian hackers targeting U.S. elections; Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After last week’s departure of afternoon drive personality Cara Carriveau from Hubbard Radio’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago, the company announces the new afternoon team and several other air talent moves.  Former FOX TV Chicago personality Jenny Milkowski, a.k.a. Jenny Milk, is teaming up with Jay Styles to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Styles moves from his role as the Chicago producer of the “Brooke & Jubal Morning Show” on WSHE.  Filling his shoes there is evening jock Robb Rose.  His 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift is now being hosted by station weekend personality Brian Middleton…..After moving country KIIX from the 96.1 frequency in Spokane to KZFS-AM/K257FX, iHeartMedia launches new alternative rock outlet “ALT 96.1.”  The station is airing Premiere Networks’ Los Angeles-based “The Woody Show” in morning drive…..The nationally syndicated Tino Cochino program is airing in evenings on Alpha Media’s CHR WNGY, Peoria “G 102.3.”  Cochino comments, “I’ve been a fan of the ‘G’ brand from the beginning.  Alpha took a different, much needed approach and it’s clearly working.  To partner our show with ‘G 102.3’ is beyond exciting to say the least!  I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to extending our brand in the Peoria market.”.….iHeartMedia announces Taylor Swift will present the world premiere of her new video for the hit single “Delicate” at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards this Sunday (3/11).  The event will simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET in addition to airing on numerous iHeartMedia radio stations…..The sale of four radio stations from MTS Broadcasting to Draper Media closes.  Draper acquires Maryland stations country WAAI-FM, Hurlock; oldies WTDK-FM, Federalsburg; adult standards WCEM-AM, Cambridge; and adult contemporary WCEM-FM, Cambridge for $700,000.  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Premiere Networks and Viacom’s CMT announce a multi-year extension of their deal that syndicates CMT personality Cody Alan’s “CMT After MidNite” country music show.  As part of the deal, CMT and Premiere Networks will continue to collaborate and develop programs and events for multiple platforms.

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR.  In this report, Kinosian compares 6+ share fluctuations from the Holiday 2017 survey to January 2018, January 2017 to January 2018, and more.  See the whole report here.