PPM Reliability Issue Re-Surfaces at Philadelphia Conference. Last year’s intense debate over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM technology and the promise by 25-Seven Systems that its Voltair processing unit can improve detection of a station’s PPM encoding is being renewed. The issue came to the fore at yesterday’s 2016 New Radio Conference in Philadelphia presented by Jerry Del Colliano. Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker presented a session titled, “Nielsen – Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System,” during which Harker presented his own study showing how talk radio suffers under the PPM methodology. Nielsen’s John Snyder was there and took the stage to argue Harker’s and Hannity’s points. But the most newsworthy moment took place when Hannity told Snyder he would sign an affidavit promising not to take part in a class action suit against Nielsen if the company would agree to meet with them on the matter. Snyder agreed. This issue will be addressed at the 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 when TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison conducts a “Fireside Chat” with Sean Hannity.
Salem to Present Special Luncheon Discussion at TALKERS 2016 on the Relationship Between News/Talk Radio and the Conservative Movement in America. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of a very special presentation sponsored and produced by Salem Radio Network that will take place during the 1:00 pm luncheon at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations on Friday May 20th on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. It will explore the ongoing, complex relationship between the news/talk radio format and the evolving state of the conservative political movement in America. Moderated by Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce, the speakers will include Salem syndicated stars (in alphabetical order) Larry Elder, Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt. Speaking on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is very exciting! Phil Boyce is one of the acknowledged programming gurus in the talk media space and the star power and intellectual mass of Elder, Gallagher and Hewitt on one panel will be extremely informative and dynamic. This is a subject that is widely misunderstood and misrepresented in the mainstream press. It should prove quite interesting indeed.” The agenda for this event – the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – continues to grow providing an impressive who’s who of the field’s most notable figures from all ends of the spectrum in programming, sales and technology. However it is nearing a sellout, so register now. For registration, sponsorship, hotel and agenda information, click here.
Erik Kuselias to Host Mornings on WHOO, Orlando. Sports media personality Erik Kuselias is launching his new morning show on Genesis Communications-owned sports talk outlet WHOO, Orlando “Sports Talk 1080 The Team,” on Monday (4/11). During his career, Kuselias has worked at ESPN, The Golf Channel, and, most recently, as a personality with NBC Sports Radio. In addition to airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on WHOO, the program will be streamed on its SportsTalkFlorida.com platform.
Former WKRK, Cleveland Personality Charged with Money Laundering. According to a report from Cleveland.com, former WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” producer and personality Joseph Gerard Spooner, a.k.a. J.G. Spooner, is facing a charge of money laundering after allegedly shifting $7,300 from a GoFundMe account to his personal bank account. The GoFundMe account had been set up by Spooner to collect donations to help a childhood friend of his — Allyson Thadeus-Zappe – who was suffering from cystic fibrosis. She died in 2015. Her family reports that Spooner offered to use his name recognition in the market to help raise funds for Allyson. The family never saw any of the money donated to the account. A subsequent investigation by police led to the charges. CBS RADIO told Cleveland.com that Spooner had recently been terminated from his position. Read the story here.
The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, U.S. Immigration Policy/European Migrant Troubles, Miss. Religious Freedom Law, and Merle Haggard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The activities of the candidates for president and the aftermath of the Wisconsin primary; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; debate over the immigration and refugee policies in the U.S. and the related migrant problems Europeans are dealing with; the new Mississippi law that allows businesses to refuse to serve gays based on religious reasons; and the death of country legend Merle Haggard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away. Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots. Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?
Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant. I do install success templates. In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.” And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.
Colin Cowherd Exits ESPN Early After Dominican Comments. Already headed out the door after he accepted an offer from a competing sports entertainment network, Colin Cowherd has been removed from ESPN’s radio and TV programming after a comment he made that was deemed by the company to be offensive. In the process of arguing that baseball is not too complex a game, as some contend, Cowherd said that a third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic which has “not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities.” The quote was taken out of context and publicized and ESPN reacted with the following statement, “Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees. Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.” Cowherd apologized on Friday, but he also explained that he was taken out of context and didn’t mean to insult Dominicans. Though no official announcement of what his role will be with soon-to-be employer Fox Sports, sources tell TALKERS magazine Cowherd will be making a much as $6 million per year in his new position.
Angela Hill Moves on From WWL, New Orleans Talk Show. Leaving her 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm talk show on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans to pursue other interests, Angela Hill is replaced by Scoot, who in addition to his evening show, also made regular appearances on Hill’s program. Hill says, “It’s been an amazing experience, one I will always cherish, but it’s time to do other things. I’ve learned so much. This is a great team…smart, smart radio people, who’ve shown me nothing but love and support. This truly is a family. I will always be a part of WWL Radio and WWL will always be a part of me.” Filling the evening slot on WWL will be a new sports talk show co-hosted by T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic, who slide over from sister sports talker WWWL “3WL” where they hosted morning drive.
Roger & JP Named Midday Show at ‘The Bone’ in Tampa. Hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” has a new midday show co-hosted by Roger Luce and John “JP” Parise. The duo comes to Tampa from Cox Media Group’s Long Island rock outlet WBAB, Babylon, New York where they hosted the morning show. CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan states, “Roger & JP are a great fit for ‘The Bone’ and the Tampa market. The team is excited to have them, and we’re looking forward to a fresh sound in Tampa Bay.” Roger & JP comment, “We’ve wanted to work in Tampa and at ‘The Bone’ for a long time. Joining ‘The Bone’ family with Mike Calta and Drew Garabo, we feel it’s a great team and can’t wait to start. Our goal is to become Tampa radio fixtures for many years to come.”
Kabrich: AQH Rating Point Increase Stat Doesn’t Support Voltair’s PPM Effectiveness. In another blog post from broadcast consultant Randy Kabrich addressing the controversial Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance and Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings methodology, he compares the Total AQH Rating of all stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets (Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday) from both the June 2014 (prior to Voltair) and June 2015 (with an estimated 62.6% of competitive stations in those markets using Voltair units) surveys. The result is the figure rose by just 0.9 ratings points – 402.2 Total AQH Rating in ’15 versus 401.3 in ’14. Kabrich goes on to report that “a total of only 390 stations nationwide out of 1407 stations in PPM markets — Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday — had ANY INCREASE in AQH June 2014-2015 with 600-plus Voltairs sold – and a large number of the increases were caused by facts that can easily be explained and not attributed to Voltair.” Further, he says even if all 390 stations that saw increases had Voltair units, the breakdown indicates that almost 40% of those stations saw an increase of just 0.2 AQH rating points. Read Kabrich’s entire blog here.
Miklasz Returns to WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Three years ago, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz stepped down from his second gig as midday sports talk host on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis. Now, the company announces that Miklasz will return to the station in late August to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show. He will exit his role with the newspaper. WXOS is an ESPN affiliate and to make room for Miklasz, the station will only air the first two hours of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”
Nashville Sports Talkers Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin Return to Radio on WNSR Simulcast. Sports talk personalities Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin are returning to the Nashville radio waves today on Southern Wabash Communications’ WNSR and W240CA simulcast. The “Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show” will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Previously, the duo aired on Cromwell Group’s crosstown “The Game 2” (WQZQ and translator W235BW) but ended that show when Dubin joined WSMV-TV as a sports reporter.
Odds & Sods. Talk personality Ed Schultz’s days on MSNBC appear to be numbered as wholesale changes to the MSNBC cable channel are on the way. According to the New York Daily News, new NBC News chief Andrew Lack told staffers of both NBC News and MSNBC that he plans to rebuild MSNBC to focus on breaking news coverage and to be less of a left-leaning talk outlet. Lack also plans a name change for the network since Microsoft hasn’t been involved with the cable channel in years. Schultz’s “The Ed Show” is reportedly one of the shows slated for demolition as part of the re-build. Schultz ended his three-hour, daily syndicated AM/FM radio show in May of 2014 and currently does a one-hour, web-based radio program…..BobsBlitz.com reports that WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale sports talk host (and former longtime New York radio personality) Sid Rosenberg will return to WABC, New York on August 4 and 5 to sit in for Geraldo Rivera. The blog reports that Rosenberg will be joined on the air by Don Imus executive producer Bernard McGuirk…..AdLarge Media becomes national ad sales rep for The Associated Press’ news digital on-demand service via the AudioBoom podcast platform. The deal broadens the reach of AP’s breaking news audio service and allows affiliate radio stations to host on-demand audio on their websites and mobile applications with updates every hour, 24/7.
CBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff. Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market. Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald. CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando. They both exit the company. Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.
Orban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue. Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23). The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’ However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible. Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality. In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers. Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder. Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements. Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form. While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”
Doug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles. For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Friday evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio. We had more fun than should be legal. All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter. I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way. I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.” Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005. Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.
WTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig. This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter. Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor. Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four. Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows. He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”
Paul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’ WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland. Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues. Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break. Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what? Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth. What is Aqua Camel? It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water. The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football. This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.
Got Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement. One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public. Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone. If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at email@example.com.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24. At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal. Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Nielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On. The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings. Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes. Broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening. The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats. Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM. Read it here.
Cumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day. The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.” The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazon Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%). Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases. The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”
Dave Ramsey Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The Dave Ramsey program will air in the evening daypart, immediately following the Howie Carr afternoon drive show on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, effective July 27. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “After a long day reporting and talking about hard news, Dave’s show invites our listeners into the homes of America’s working class to hear their stories, struggles and triumphs. It’s radio ‘comfort food’ ideally suited to New England values.” This addition comes shortly after other changes to the station’s program lineup that include the move of former morning host Jeffrey Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and the addition of Kim Carrigan as host of the “Boston.com Morning Show.”
WTEM, Washington Inks Clinton Portis for Redskins Coverage. Washington Redskins great Clinton Portis is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting to serve as an analyst for the upcoming football season. Portis played seven seasons for the Redskins. WTEM “ESPN 980” says that in addition to joining afternoon show personalities Chris Cooley, Steve Czaban, and Al Galdi every Monday during the football season, Portis will also co-host a monthly one-hour show, Fridays during the season, where he’ll provide a detailed look at the Redskins performance. Portis comments, “I am so excited to finally be on the air covering the team I love. Chris Cooley was a great teammate and close friend and we promise to make it as memorable as we did during our playing career.”
Odds & Sods. After a Tweet from ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo, we now know that the 10-year ESPN personality will remain with the sports media giant. Russillo reports “I’m staying at ESPN” after his status with the company was being questioned. His former radio partner Scott Van Pelt recently leaving the radio gig for new roles in ESPN’s cable programming and other highly publicized cuts at the company had industry watchers wondering if Russillo would remain…..At Calvary-owned Pittsburgh news outlet KQV, Bruce Sakalik resigns from the station after 15 years — the last 10 as morning news anchor. He leaves radio for a position with Comcast.
Boomer & Carton Host Daniel Bryan. WFAN, New York morning hosts Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for s photo with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on the show’s set today (7/23). Bryan appeared on the program to plug his new book, Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (St. Martin’s Press 2015). During the interview Bryan spoke about his career, his marriage to Bella Twin, Brie Bella, and his story of the couple’s house being robbed.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood Videos, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Chattanooga Slayings Aftermath, ISIS Threat, and Sandra Bland Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the state of the deal with Iran over its nuclear program; fallout over the two recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for human tissue from abortions; the conversation about the immigration policy in the U.S. and the cases of sanctuary cities; the memorials to the Marines slain in the Chattanooga attacks and questions about the radicalization of shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez; the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the threat posed by ISIS; and scrutiny of the arrest and death of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.