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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

| October 7, 2020

2020 Radio Show: “What Business Are You In Now?”  For years – as digital competitors horned-in-on radio Time Spent Listening, and lured advertisers – convention panels have talked-the-talk. Yet cutbacks have compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet. This Radio Show session details how Neuhoff Media/Decatur walked-the-walk, and made money, during the pandemic shutdown. Read it here.

Syndicated Radio Personality Walter Sterling Says the Technical Snafu During Entercom CEO David Field’s NAB Radio Show Remarks was the ‘Single Most Important Event of the Virtual Conference.  Syndicated radio host Walter Sterling (a.k.a. Walter Sabo, the longtime radio consultant) pointed to a key takeaway from the current NAB/RAB Radio Show taking place virtually. Sterling tells TALKERS, “The key takeaway of the Radio Show was the opening of David Field’s remarks. His video/audio internet connection crashed and was unstable. That was the single most important event. It showed the high risk for any advertiser to invest in the unproven medium of online video and audio streaming. That’s why media buying companies put online video campaign money on the ‘Test Budget’ line of their spreadsheets.” Sterling adds, “Radio is a proven medium that continues to work. It has streamed to the car since 1938. Everyone knows how to access radio content, from eight to 98-year-olds and they access it because they love it. That’s the news.” Today (10/7) marks the third day of the conference.

Bloomberg: Sirius and Howard Stern Close to New Deal. According to a report by Bloomberg, SiriusXM and Howard Stern are very close to a contract extension that will pay the radio legend $120 million per year. The story quotes outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer saying at a Goldman Sachs conference that Stern is still valuable to the company. “I can tell you that we understand the economics very, very well, for instance, of content like Howard Stern. I can look every investor in the eye and tell them that is a good investment for Sirius XM.” Neither SiriusXM nor Stern’s representatives commented for the Bloomberg piece. Stern’s most recent deal, signed in 2015, is estimated to have paid him between $80 million and $100 million per year.

Forbes: Mark Levin Facebook Page Restricted. A Forbes story by Jonathan Berr indicates that the Facebook page of Westwood One nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mark Levin has been restricted for “repeated sharing of false news.” It’s not clear what Levin posted that Facebook found objectionable but Levin, via a post on the conservative platform Parler, denies the allegation of misleading users and says Facebook is guilty of “censorship” and “pushing a left-wing agenda.” He added, “Every link I post is from a legitimate source. But because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of the election, it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome.” In his story, Berr cites an NPR piece that says a half dozen “technology experts, including data scientists who have special access to Facebook’s internal metrics” that it contacted concluded “there is no statistical evidence to support the argument that Facebook does not give conservative views a fair shake.” The NPR piece goes on to say that publicly available data shows that “conservative news regularly ranks among some of the popular content on the site.”

Call for Repeal of Section 230 Raises Issues for Media Industry. The movement to repeal Section 230 of the 1990s-era Communications Decency Act – which allows users to put content on the Internet without making the platforms themselves liable – is gaining momentum with President Trump, his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as well as numerous members of Congress calling for a change in that protection. In fact, earlier this summer the president issued an executive order asking the FCC to create new Section 230 rules and ordered the FTC to act on incidents of deceptive communication. Critics of Section 230 say it is outdated because of the ubiquity and influence of today’s social media and its role in the public discourse as well in the health and safety realms. The Republican-sponsored Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would “condition the content moderation liability shield on an objective reasonableness standard. In order to be protected from liability, a tech company may only restrict access to content on its platform where it has ‘an objectively reasonable belief’ that the content falls within a certain, specified category.” You can read that bill here. Free speech organizations such as Fight for the Future argue bills such as the one cited here would only make matters worse. Reacting to President Trump’s recent tweet attacking Section 230, Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer says websites would become legally responsible for the opinions of its users. As a result, “social media platforms would likely engage in mass censorship and banning of accounts rather than open themselves up to lawsuits for hosting controversial opinions – Trump’s accounts would surely be among the first to go. It would strip users of key protections too. Who’s excited to get sued for retweeting something? The reality is that lawmakers from across the political spectrum are deeply misinformed about how Section 230 actually works. It feels like every week there’s a new misguided proposal in Congress. But repealing Section 230 won’t do anything to hold Big Tech companies accountable or address the harms done by their data harvesting business models. And it won’t do anything to address concerns around biased moderation or the silencing of marginalized voices.” Any changes in Section 230 would apply to audio content as well as text, images, memes, etc.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (10/13), Edison Research and NPR will present a webinar (2:00 pm ET) in which they will reveal the results of the second annual “Spoken Word Audio Report.” The data indicates that Americans’ share of listening to spoken word audio is up over 8% in the last year and in the report “NPR and Edison Research explore what is driving this increase and how news, podcasts, audiobooks, and talk radio continue to cut into time that was previously spent with music.” The study promises to reveal which listeners are spending more time with spoken word audio; how time spent with audio has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; provide excerpts from in-depth interviews that help explain changes in listening behavior; and results from a new national survey that measured these behaviors on a larger scale. Findings will be published online at the conclusion of the webinar. You can register for the webinar here…..Nielsen announces that Radio Research Consortium, Inc. signs a multi-year renewal agreement to license individual non-commercial stations for Nielsen syndicated products, including Nielsen Scarborough syndicated services. Radio Research Consortium president Joanne Church says, “As a long-term user of Nielsen data, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as we advance our mission and commitment to provide audience data to non-commercial radio stations.”…..Cadence13, a division of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces an exclusive partnership with Karina Longworth for “You Must Remember This,” the storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Longworth tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars, and scandals of the 20th century. Previous seasons of the show explored stars and scandals including Polly Platt, the woman behind some of the most legendary films of the 1970s and 1980s; the complicated racial and historical dynamics of Disney’s animated film Song of the South; Joan Crawford; the Hollywood Blacklist; and Charles Manson’s Hollywood.

2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The 2020 Radio Mercury Awards were held virtually yesterday evening (10/6) and the Radio Advertising Bureau says that this year’s winners “will serve as a time capsule of work created during the current unusual times.” BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald served as chief judge for this year’s competition and says, “The innovation and creativity that we heard with this year’s winning audio truly impressed the jury. From at-home recording to using bots as talent, these winners showcased what it means to convey a brand’s message in a way that is both storytelling and story-doing.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Tonight’s awards presentation reflects the power of radio creative and its ability to deliver for listeners and advertisers. Despite these unprecedented times, the Radio Mercury Awards winners continued to bring their all to this year’s awards and pushed the medium forward.” You can watch the program here.

Trump’s COVID-19 Case/White House Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Stimulus Deal Dead, Big Tech Breakup Talk/Facebook Bans QAnon, Texas Cop Charged in Shooting of Black Man, McCloskeys Indicted, California Wildfires, Hurricane Delta, Eddie Van Halen Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). Controversy over President Trump’s return to the White House after his COVID-19 diagnosis and the White House safety protocols; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for increased cases this fall and through the winter; the November presidential election and tonight’s vice presidential debate; Trump’s announcement that stimulus deal negotiations will be put off until after the election; chatter in Washington about breaking up the Big Tech companies and Facebook’s ban on QAnon content; a Texas police officer is charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations and tampering with evidence after brandishing guns during protests near their home; the ongoing California wildfires; Hurricane Delta loses strength; and rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Don Chris Williams, a.k.a. “DJ Wrekk-1,” signs an extension with Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach to continue his roles as brand content director and afternoon drive host on urban AC WMBX “X102.3.” Cluster operations manager Bruce Logan comments, “We are so excited to continue our relationship with Don Chris ‘DJ Wrekk-1’ Williams! Don has done a masterful job of growing the WMBX ratings. Under Don’s leadership WMBX has achieved new rating highs and is a vital part of the West Palm Beach African American community.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle’s classic rock KZOK helped raise more than $116,000 during its 23rd annual “Rock The Harvest” radiothon to benefit Northwest Harvest, Washington State’s leading hunger relief agency that supports a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. The 12-hour broadcast was hosted by “The Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show” personalities in which listeners were encouraged to call in to the show and donate $102.50, enough funds to provide nutritious meals to a family of four for a month. Over the past 23 years, “Rock the Harvest” has raised more than $1.3 million to benefit Northwest Harvest.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

| April 7, 2020

FCC Shoots Down Request for Investigation into Broadcasters Airing Presidential Press Conferences. Last week, the activist organization Free Press filed an emergency petition with the FCC calling on it to “investigate the spread of false Covid-19 information via broadcast outlets across the United States.”  Free Press co-CEO Jessica J. González and senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia state, “The FCC possesses both the authority and the responsibility to ensure the public airwaves are utilized in the public interest.  This duty is heightened in times of crisis.  Specifically, broadcasters are prohibited from knowingly airing false information about a catastrophe that causes ‘substantial public harm.’”  Yesterday (4/6), the Commission’s Office of General Counsel and Media Bureau wholly rejected the petition saying it “seeks remedies that would dangerously curtail the freedom of the press embodied in the First Amendment and misconstrues the Commission’s rules.  The decision also makes clear that the FCC will neither act as a roving arbiter of broadcasters’ editorial judgments nor discourage them from airing breaking news events involving government officials in the midst of the current global pandemic.”  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is quoted saying, “Under my leadership, the FCC has always stood firmly in defense of Americans’ First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of the press.  And so long as I am chairman of this agency, we always will.  The federal government will not—and never should—investigate broadcasters for their editorial judgments simply because a special interest group is angry at the views being expressed on the air as well as those expressing them.  In short, we will not censor the news.  Instead, consistent with the First Amendment, we leave it to broadcasters to determine for themselves how to cover this national emergency, including live events involving our nation’s leaders.”

SportsGrid Shows to Air Across SB Nation Radio Network. Two of SportsGrid’s national talk shows – “Ferrall Coast to Coast” with Scott Ferrall and “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency – will air on the SB Nation Radio schedule beginning April 14.  “Ferrall Coast to Coast” will air weekdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and “Game Time Decisions” will air from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Ferrall comments, “This new opportunity allows me to reconnect with my long-time loyal listeners all over the country across the SB Nation network of radio stations. I’m looking forward to changing sportscasting by including the sports betting perspective and commentary to the millions of engaged fans.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Emergency Grants. The Broadcasters Foundation of America’s executive committee of the board of directors held an emergency meeting recently to respond to broadcasters in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic. The criteria for emergency grant qualifications has been revised to provide aid to broadcasters who meet the requirements and have been infected.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Never in our history as broadcasters have we experienced an event that has caused this much hardship.  Thus, we have revised provisions to our emergency grant eligibility guidelines.”  For more information, broadcasters in need can email grants@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org/coronavirus.

Austin American-Statesman Launches New Streaming Talk Station. Former KLBJ-AM, Austin personality Jeff Ward is one of the Austin market radio pros to join the newest streaming venture from the Austin American-Statesman.  The new station – called the Statesman News Network – joins the news organization’s streaming music station Austin360 Radio as the paper’s next audio venture.  Ward will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “There will be plenty of common-sense rants.  But the goal of the show is always the same: I want you to find it compelling, and I want you to feel forced to think.”  The paper says that other shows lined up for the stream include: “From the Newsroom” featuring interviews from the staff of the newspaper; “512 Tech and Business Report,” a daily update on local business and technology news from Amy Edwards; “Longhorn Confidential,” breaking news, interviews and updates on the Texas Longhorns; “Austin Found,” in which Statesman reporter and Austin history buff Michael Barnes and radio personality JB Hager share the stories behind the making of the Texas capital; plus more.

PPM Analysis: February 2020 Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents and “extra” look at Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey.  In this report, he presents a rank of the PPM markets based on weekly, 6+ AQH share for all spoken-word stations; a rank of the highest market-wide gains in spoken-word listening; a rank of the markets that lost the most 6+ share; and more.  See it all here.

Radio Pros, ‘Sterling On Sunday’ Keeps You on the Air.  The national radio show “Sterling On Sunday” invites laid off radio performers to participate in their on-air comedy routines and dramas.  “We have had a stunning array of top talent in our sketches such as Charlie Van Dyke, JJ Wilson, but mostly people who wish to remain anonymous due to their alimony situation.  If you can cut an mp3, we can write a part for you.”  “Sterling On Sunday” is aired (10:00 pm to 1:00 am) on major stations live such as KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; WPHT, Philadelphia; KFBK, Sacramento; plus about 100 more.  “Broadcasting from home is nothing new to us.  It’s the right way.  We will give you credit, script approval, and generally talk you up. Hear past shows at www.waltermsterling.com so you know what you’re getting into. No broadcaster should be off the air, it’s unnatural.  C’mon let’s make a show.  We also have a plan to pay you for helping our team clear the show…cash!”  Contact waltermsterling@gmail.com.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump Fires Whistleblower, Financial Markets Activity, Boris Johnson in ICU, Wisconsin Primary, 5G-Coronavirus Conspiracy, USS Theodore Roosevelt Controversy, Chinese Journalist at WH Presser, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the medical and political debate over the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus; the aftermath of President Trump’s firing of intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson; the world’s financial markets react to coronavirus news; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to the ICU for Covid-19 treatment; the battle between Wisconsin’s governor and the state Supreme Court over the primary elections; the conspiracy theory that 5G is exacerbating coronavirus symptoms; the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is removed for pleading for help for his coronavirus-infected crew; a Chinese journalist is admitted to the White House press briefing; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City Morning Host Sues Entercom for Discrimination.  Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz” morning host Afentra Bandokoudis has filed suit against Entercom Kansas City for “discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Equal Pay Act.”  She’s seeking back pay, benefits, bonuses, and more.  Bandokoudis’ complaint alleges that she was paid less than her male counterparts despite outperforming their shows.  She was paid a base salary of $100,000 and her PD/afternoon host Scott Geiger, a.k.a. Lazlo, made $185,000.  (Bandokoudis and Geiger were married from 2005 through July of 2018, a month before Bandokoudis was fired from the station.)  She alleges Johnny Dare, morning host on sister rock station KQRC, made more than $185,000 despite her show outperforming his.  Bandokoudis goes on to claim that after she complained about the par disparity, she was subject to retaliatory actions before ultimately being let go in 2018.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At iHeartMedia’s Chicago hip hop WGCI, Zach Boog is named the new evening host, taking over for DJ MoonDawg, who exited during the company’s January restructuring.  He’d been filling in on the daypart along with other WGCI staffers.  Station PD Johnnie D. Glover says, “It is an honor to promote Zach to nights on 107.5 WGCI.  He is extremely entertaining, works hard to produce compelling content, and has a very organic way of connecting with Chicago listeners.  Zach has a bright future and I look forward to working with him to create many exciting memories with 107.5 WGCI’s audience.”…..Griffin Communications CHR KHTT, Tulsa “106.9 K-Hits” brings Kacy Termini aboard as co-host of the new “Chubbs & Kacy Show” to debut on Monday (4/13).  She comments, “I’ve been so impressed with what ‘K-Hits’ and the Griffin brands have been able to do in our community.  Every time something happens, they step up to help their neighbors and keep them safe and informed.  Especially at such a trying time for many.  I’m excited to work with Chubbs and do our part to make Green Country even more special.  We still need to laugh – in both the hard times and the good ones!”…..Condolences to the family and friends of programming pro John Roberts, who passed away recently after a esophageal cancer.  He’d been serving as regional operations manager for Townsquare Media in Tyler, Texas.  Townsquare SVP of programming Kurt Johnson says, “John was a true pro, one of the best our business has ever seen.  But more importantly he was a great friend to everyone, and he made a huge impact on his family, his staff, his community, and basically with everyone he met.”

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “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’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”

Friday, August 30, 2019

| August 30, 2019

‘Mason & Ireland’ to Afternoons in KSPN, Los Angeles Program Changes. Longtime Los Angeles sports talk duo Steve Mason and John Ireland are moving from the early afternoon daypart to PM drive (3:00 pm to 6:30 pm) at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710,” effective Tuesday (9/3).  Current afternoon host Jorge Sedano’s “The Sedano Show” moves to early evenings and Sedano continues his NBA duties for ESPN TV.  New to the lineup is ESPN Radio’s syndicated Will Cain show, to air in the early afternoon slot.  “ESPNLA” VP and general manager Scott McCarthy says, “We are excited to further strengthen an already powerful talk lineup by moving ‘Mason & Ireland’ to afternoon drive and capitalizing on the momentum of ‘The Will Cain Show.’ These two shows plus ‘Keyshawn, LZ and Travis,’ LA’s only local sports morning show, and the always compelling Stephen A. Smith will keep listeners updated on local and national major sports stories.  Jorge Sedano’s NBA expertise will prepare listeners for the night’s action and takes on greater importance with the high expectations surrounding the Lakers and Clippers.”  KSPN says that the “Mason & Ireland” show “is the highest-rated sports talk show in LA in any daypart over the past three years and is delivering some of its best audience numbers ever in 2019.”

TALKERS News Notes. The next Democratic debate takes place on Thursday, September 12 and ABC News Radio is providing live coverage anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in Houston.  ABC News Radio will broadcast the debate in its entirety followed by post-debate analysis.  In the hour leading up to the debate, affiliates are being offered an exclusive one-hour program, “Preview to the Democratic Debate.”  Brad Mielke will host the award-winning podcast “Start Here” from Houston on Thursday and Friday (9/12-13), and a special edition of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, featuring Jonathan Karl and ABC News political director Rick Klein, will tape in Houston the week of the debate.…..The nationally syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program (10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET), starring Walter M. Sterling, will stay on top of the status of Hurricane Dorian this weekend.  Sterling says that citizen reporters are ready to phone in their reports and that he’s done this in the past with dramatic impact.  Sterling adds, “It would be irresponsible to present anything but hurricane information.  I don’t know how any station on the East Coast could run infomercials or yell at the Democrats when a hurricane is endangering lives, stopping air traffic to all of Florida, and blocking the interstates.  We will have eye level reports from people in Florida.”…..Kentucky sports media figure Matt Jones – who hosts the regionally syndicated “Kentucky Sports Radio” program based at iHeartMedia’s WLAP-AM, Lexington – is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Jones would run as a Democrat.  He tells “WAVE 3 News” reports that he is forming an exploratory committee to find out if he has enough support to challenge Democrat Amy McGrath in the primary and then incumbent Republican McConnell.  Jones says, “We’re in an era where people want you to be honest.  I think I said on the radio I almost wore a sweatshirt and shorts here today because that’s what I put on.  I think people like that.  It’s the biggest lesson of Donald Trump more than anything else.  It’s this idea that people like you to say what you think, be authentic.  Democrats don’t do that a lot.  I’m going to try to do it.”  Jones was let go by WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after his senatorial ambitions became known…..The recent changes at iHeartMedia’s sports talk KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” bumped “The Dan Patrick Show” off the schedule but the program is landing on another station in The Valley.  Hubbard Radio’s crosstown sports talk KDUS-AM “NBCSports 1060” is adding the show to the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart.

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, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Fire and Rain!” looks back at this past week of August 26-30, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London; Ross Kaminsky, morning host, KHOW, Denver; Dr. Mathew Knowles, CEO, Music World Entertainment (and Beyoncé’s father); and Bobbie Winston (“La Femme Bobbie”), American artist living in Rio De Janeiro.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio 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 App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Katz Scores One-On-One with VP. Pictured above is WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning drive host Tony Katz (right) with Vice President Mike Pence (left). Prior to his speech before the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis, Pence did a sit-down interview with Katz.  In addition to his WIBC morning show, Katz syndicates the “Tony Katz Today” midday show (11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET).  Earlier in his career, Pence was a WIBC talk host whose program was syndicated across Indiana.

‘98.7 The Fan’ Adds ‘James Connor Show’ to Steelers Coverage. Since Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided not to continue his radio show on Entercom’s sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” this year, the station is adding running back James Connor to its coverage of the team.  The Steelers player will join “The PM Team with Poni and Mueller” each Monday at 5:00 pm, beginning September 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “We are excited to welcome James to the ‘93.7 The Fan’ family this season. James is one of the most beloved personalities in the region and we know he will bring unique insight and inspiration to the show.”

U.S.-China Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The battle of tariffs between the U.S. and China was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the activity in the world’s financial markets and economic reports warning of a recession on the horizon. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of last weekend’s G7 Summit in France, followed by Boris, Brexit and the Queen at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Darlene Love Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most prolific singers to emerge from the 1960s-era “girl groups” of record producer Phil Spector’s legendary Wall of Sound – Darlene Love – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Since being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for the 2013 film, “20 feet from Stardom,” and the GRAMMY for its soundtrack, her remarkable career has been full steam ahead.  At 78, she sells out shows worldwide, captivating audiences with her warm, gracious stage presence and sensational performances.  The New York Times describes Darlene Love as having a voice “embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics.”  Harrison says, “I am truly thrilled to have Ms. Love as a guest on the podcast.  Her life story is truly amazing.  She went from being a pioneer of the girl group genre to an unheralded and underpaid voice that launched some of the most iconic hits of all time to becoming a housekeeper to make ends meet to climbing her way out of obscurity and finally gaining worldwide recognition for her truly special contributions to popular culture – along the way also performing as a Broadway and film actress in a career that spans six decades of dynamic history!”  Harrison and Love discuss the early days of rock and pop, along with the singer’s experience as the daughter of a minister growing up in Los Angeles and Texas as a young African American female trying to establish a career in the music business.  In addition to her insights into race relations in America, Love talks about how she keeps herself in shape in her late-70s for the rigorous career that she continues to maintain.  By the way, today marks the 57th anniversary of the release of, “He’s a Rebel,” by the Crystals on August 27, 1962 which was actually recorded by Darlene Love and the Blossoms and never officially credited to them until years later.  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 daily email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Cool Talk Radio Sales Opportunity. In New York City, Salem Media Group is seeking an account executive for radio and digital sales.  Here’s the ad: Salem Media Group is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer” and the legendary WMCA “AM570/102.3FM The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.”  Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills.  This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America.  Ideal candidate has a proven track record of success with radio and digital sales.  Interested candidates should apply online and email cover letter and resumes to Jerry Crowley’s attention.

Tom Joyner’s 17th Annual Family Reunion Takes Place This Weekend in Florida. This weekend at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner is presenting the 17th annual “Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion.”  It is featuring performances and appearances from: Charlie Wilson, The Bonfyre, Brandy, Robin Thicke, Guy Torry, Erica Campbell, Rickey Smiley, Donald Lawrence, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard, Sir The Baptist, Tye Tribbett, DJ Standout, Lonnie Hunter, Shanice Wilson, Ollie Gabriel, Brownstone, Erica Campbell, Bebe Winans, Isaac Carree, DJ Kool, DJ Kev-Ski, DJ Flemingo and more. Joyner says, “I am so proud of the fun, entertainment-filled atmosphere that we created all those years ago to truly celebrate Black families and what we love.  We gladly continue this tradition, and I know it will be our best year yet.”  This year’s “Family Reunion” is part of Joyner’s year-long celebration of his 25-year career.  Joyner will retire from broadcasting in December.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Denver market, iHeartMedia names John E. Kage program director for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull” in addition to his current role as programmer for CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.”  Kage says, “I am beyond thrilled to make my return to country music on ‘106.7 The Bull.’  Country music has a special community with a unique bond between radio, the artists, and the listeners.  I missed it dearly and I’m very grateful for being able to be a part of it again.  A special thanks to iHeartMedia for giving me the opportunity and I look forward to working alongside the talented team here at ‘106.7 The Bull’ and contributing to the station’s ongoing success.”…..Chicago radio personality Erik Zachary leaves his position as evening host at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM.” He says, “I have nothing but appreciation for the opportunities that iHeart has afforded me in my seven-plus years on the air and look forward to seeing the continued success of the amazing team at KISS FM.  With that said, I’m excited to shift the full focus of my work to the television and digital video space.”

Monday, June 24, 2019

| June 24, 2019

Big Changes at KNBR, San Francisco as Gary Radnich and Bob Fitzgerald Exit. Sports talk fans in the Bay Area are shocked by the unexpected tweet from KNBR, San Francisco personality Gary Radnich in which the 27-year station host announced he’s retiring immediately.  He wrote, “Plan was to retire at the end of the year but with my 70th birthday ahead it makes sense now. Thank you audience for 36 years of TV-Radio!”  Radnich has been partnered with Larry Krueger in middays. There’s considerable scuttlebutt in the Bay Area as to whether the sudden retirement was really Radnich being forced out by station owner Cumulus Media.  The announcement comes on the heels of a report in The Athletic that Bay Area sports personality Greg Papa is exiting Entercom’s crosstown KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game” for an on-air position with KNBR (he’d also handle radio play-by-play for 49ers games).  For what it’s worth, The Athletic writes that Radnich was “let go.”  Shortly after the Radnich news hit, we learned that KNBR also is parting ways with Bob Fitzgerald, who co-hosted the “Fitz and Brooks” show with Rod Brooks.  It appears Brooks will continue hosting the show solo.

Drew Horowitz to Retire from Hubbard Radio.  At the end of 2019, radio executive Drew Horowitz will retire from his president and COO position with Hubbard Radio.  Horowitz has been with the company since it acquired Chicago stations (and clusters in three other markets) from Bonneville in 2011. Chicago media maven Robert Feder broke the news today.  Horowitz says he’ll take some time off after December “and explore other opportunities, including serving on corporate boards, teaching, and taking classes.”  Horowitz began his sales career with WFYR-FM, Chicago in 1976.  During his career he served as chief of Lakeshore Communications, GSM at WCLR (now WTMX) including 19 years with Bonneville.  In a memo to Hubbard staffers, chair and CEO Ginny Morris says, “Drew came to Hubbard Radio as a part of our transformational acquisition of four Bonneville markets in 2011.  Since that time, Drew has been instrumental in helping us further grow the company as we added clusters in Phoenix and Seattle, bolstered our cluster in St. Louis and most recently, acquired our operations in West Palm Beach.”

Monday Memo: Retire ‘Trivia.’ In this week’s edition of the Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke recommends that you DO call-in questions that ask listeners to think, but that you DON’T call it “Trivia,” for four reasons.  See what those reasons are here.

TALKERS News Notes. Veteran Philadelphia and New Jersey broadcaster Gary R’nel, guest-hosted last night (6/23) for Walter M. Sterling on the Westwood One syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” show…..Also from Philadelphia, several reports out of that city indicate that the KYW-AM air staff represented by SAG-AFTRA and Entercom have agreed to terms on a new contract for the on-air employees at the all-news station.  The KYW staffers had been working without a contract for the past eight months…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reminds us that Windy City radio legend Garry Meier, who is currently producing his own podcast, is sitting in on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM all this week for morning drive personality Mancow Muller…..The most recent episode of the “Opie Radio” podcast from Gregg “Opie” Hughes is titled “R.I.P” in which Hughes says his deal with Westwood One for the podcast is ending.  He says he intends to keep producing the podcast…..Westwood One News manager John Stolnis is pictured at right accepting the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award won by the news staff for breaking news coverage of last year’s Parkland Florida School shooting.  The awards dinner was held Friday night at the National Press Club in Washington, DC…..Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “The Score” announces the inaugural “McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing” (named for afternoon drive duo Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins) taking place on August 5 at Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge, Illinois to benefit Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We’re very excited to launch the inaugural ‘McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing’ and to raise money for a fantastic organization like Turning Pointe. It should be a great day of golfing with ‘The Score’ talent and local sports celebrities.”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 launches the new program “Hacks on Tap,” a weekly podcast hosted by longtime campaign strategists and friends David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and Mike Murphy, a veteran political consultant for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign and many others.  The two take listeners behind the scenes of top-level American politics and campaigns, offering their insider perspectives and analyses on the state of American politics in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk RadioTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Big gainers from April to May are KNPR, Las Vegas (+1.2); KXJZ, Sacramento; KCUR, Kansas City; and WPLN, Nashville – all up 1.0 share.  Both KNPR and KCUR realized big year-over-year weekly 6+ AQH share increased with KNPR rising 3.8 shares and KCUR going up 2.2 shares. Just three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in May: KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KCFR, Denver.  See the whole report here.

The Harry Hurley Charity Juggernaut Keeps Rolling.  WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley’s “Hurley in the Morning” 12th Annual Charity Golf Open held this past Friday (6/21) at the Harbor Pines Golf Club was a huge success.  The event, in conjunction with Hurley’s 11th Annual Charity Dinner at Resorts Casino Hotel (with Fox News personality Todd Starnes) held earlier this year, has raised a record $100,000 thus far in 2019 and has surpassed $900,000 over the past 12 years.  Hurley, a former TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” recipient recently named the New Jersey Broadcasters Association “Broadcaster of the Year” for 2019, distributes the funds raised by his charity to worthy causes throughout New Jersey, the Northeast and across the nation.

Partying with Howie Carr.  The two photos here are from the annual Summer Kick-off Party for affiliates, sponsors and industry friends of “The Howie Carr Show.” Howie and Kathy Carr held their annual get-together at their Boston-area home this past Friday evening (6/21).  Above are Howie Carr (left) and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (right). Below are (from l-r): Yappy Days author, Bernadette Duncan; “Howie Carr Show” producer and on-air personality Grace Curley; and WBSM, New Bedford, morning host Phil Paleologos.

Steve Austin’s New Podcast Tops 1 Million Downloads. Returning from a six-month hiatus, Steve Austin’s latest podcast episode on PodcastOne gets more than 1 million downloads.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since January, we’ve been running Steve’s classic podcasts from the last five years.  There is no substitute for original content from the ‘global icon and national treasure,’ Steve Austin.  He hits the ground running and is reaching his biggest audience ever.  Welcome home, Steve.”

Three Named to Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it has elected John David, senior advisor to the National Association of Broadcasters; Jinny Laderer, co-founder and CEO of vCreative; and Deborah Roberts, award-winning ABC News correspondent for “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America,” and “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” to its board of directors.   BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “John, Jinny, and Deborah are industry leaders who have exemplified the Foundation’s philosophy of ‘giving back’ through their tireless efforts to advance broadcasting and to support our charitable mission of helping colleagues in need.  It is with great pleasure that I welcome these highly respected professionals to our board of directors.”

Trump Calls Off Iran Strike, 2020 Presidential Race/Dem Primary Debates, Mayor Pete Town Hall, Immigration Policy/Deportation Ramp-Up, and Boris Johnson PM Bid Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The downing of a U.S. Air Force drone by Iran and President Trump’s calling off a retaliatory strike; the 2020 presidential race and this week’s TV debates between 20 of the Democratic candidates; presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg faces angry constituents over the police killing of a black man; the Trump Administration’s illegal immigration policy and the delay of a deportation program; and the call for British prime minister candidate Boris Johnson to explain a domestic incident in which police were called to his home 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. New York City hot AC WKTU has a new program director as Chris Conley – who also programs sister adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 LITE FM” – assumes the responsibilities.  Conley is also brand manager for AC for iHeartMedia…..In Los Angeles, Taxi License Corporation names Jamillah Muhammad operations manager for urban contemporary KJLH-FM.  She was most recently vice president for the marketing and management firm The Lewis-Kortez Group. She says, “I am extremely excited to join the KJLH family as the new operations manager.  With my passion for radio, serving the community, and improving brands, I know we can lead this heritage station to success.”…..On-air pro Carmine Gialanella moves up from his evening show shift at iHeartMedia’s CHR WLDI, West Palm Beach “WiLD 95.5” to afternoon drive. Market SVP of programming Rad Messick says, “Carmine’s the ultimate team player for ‘WiLD 95.5.’  His enthusiasm and commitment is second to none.  It’s a thrill to reward his performance with this well-deserved new afternoon opportunity.”…..Albany Broadcasting names Jeff Weber market manager for its six music-formatted stations in the Albany market.  Weber joins the company from Charleston, South Carolina where he was general sales manager for a two-FM combo.  Company COO Steve Borneman says, “Jeff has tremendous experience in radio and he has a local connection to Albany which makes him the perfect choice.  We’re thrilled to have him…..Cumulus Media is spending $250,000 in technology to boost the signal strength of Worcester market hot AC WXLO-FM (licensed to Fitchburg, Massachusetts) to reach into the adjacent Boston market.  Cumulus says, “Thanks to MaxxCasting, WXLO has the ability to bring its programming to as many as one million more listeners in the Boston area.”  Cumulus RVP Bob Goodell adds, “We’re excited that the 450,000-plus listeners who tune into ‘104.5 XLO’ on a weekly basis, many of whom commute in and out of the City of Boston, will now be able to hear the radio station on their entire commute.  MaxxCasting has also given us the opportunity to reach new listeners who live in the greater Boston area, giving us the opportunity to expand our footprint.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

| June 11, 2019

Cumulus Media Announces Offer of $300 Million in Senior Secured First-Lien Notes. This Issue of notes is a private offering made only to “persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.”  The new offering is $300 million in Cumulus Media New Holdings, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first-lien notes due 2026.  Cumulus reports that it expects to use the net proceeds of the offering to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

Keith Memloy Appointed PD for WDBO-FM and ‘ESPN 580.’ Rising from assistant program director at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando to PD for that and sister sports talker WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” is Keith Memoly.  CMG Orlando director of programming operations Steve Stewart says, “Keith brings a diverse amount of experience and passion to his role.  I look forward to seeing him and the WDBO team help shape the future of Orlando’s iconic radio brand.”  Memoly started his career with CMG in 2010 as the marketing director for WPYO, WCFB, and WMMO in Orlando.  In 2017, he was promoted to assistant program director at WDBO.  He says, “I’m beyond thrilled for the opportunity to lead an amazing, award-winning team of talent that is the fabric of the ‘News 96.5’ and ‘ESPN 580’ brands.  WDBO is a legendary brand in the industry and I would like to thank Jason Meder, Steve Stewart and Tim Clarke for believing and entrusting in me and my leadership.”

Round One of May PPMs Released.  The first round of Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey results is being released, starting with 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from this round of ratings beginning tomorrow (6/12).

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Talk Host David Bellavia to Receive Medal of Honor. Buffalo talk radio host and decorated Iraq War veteran David Bellavia is being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony to take place on June 25 at the White House.  Bellavia co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Bauerle on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo.  He’s being presented with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.”  You can read the account of what happened in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 and Bellavia’s actions at the White House site here. In a story on the WBEN website, Bellavia is quoted saying, “There’s so much love on the battlefield, and you really do care.  You care for your hometown, you care for your country, you care for your friends, but that’s something that separates us from all the other enemies we fight…we love what we do and we love who we are protecting.”

Michael Castner Out at Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Talk and news radio pro Michael Castner has exited his role as morning drive host at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas.  Castner’s previous experience includes service at iHeartMedia’s WRNO-FM, New Orleans and KEX-AM, Portland, as well as a stint with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  Castner says he’s happy to re-locate and is also available for fill-in work.  He can be reached at michael@michaelcastner.com.

TEGNA Doubles Radio Holdings with Dispatch Broadcast Group Acquisition. The television-centric company TEGNA Inc. owns adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-AM in San Diego in addition to its 49 television stations.  TEGNA has just entered into a definitive agreement with the Dispatch Broadcast Group to acquire two television stations – WTHR-TV, Indianapolis and WBNS-TV, Columbus for $535 million in cash.  That deal also includes Dispatch’s two sports talk radio stations in Columbus – WBNS-FM and WBNS-AM – and that would give TEGNA four radio properties.  In a press release announcing the agreement, TEGNA says of the sports talk duo, “WBNS Radio is Ohio’s sports destination.  97.1 is the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, and teams across the state and features popular shows and podcasts including ‘Bishop and Laurinaitis,’ ‘Carpenter & Rothman,’ ‘Common Man & T-Bone,’ and ‘The Buckeye Show.’  1460 AM is the flagship station of Ohio State (OSBI) athletics and the home of ESPN Radio in Columbus.”

ABC Radio Ups Stacia Philips Deshishku to VP/GM. The “interim” is removed from Stacia Philips Deshishku’s title as she becomes vice president and general manager of ABC Radio in which she’ll oversee the company’s audio businesses – from traditional terrestrial radio serving more than 1,650 stations nationwide to podcasts and digital audio.  She had been serving as deputy bureau chief for Washington prior to being asked to be interim leader two months ago.  ABC News president James Goldston says, “Stacia is a terrific mentor, providing wise and candid counsel to all, including me.  She helped successfully transform the Washington bureau and was instrumental in ensuring it maintained its competitive edge and high standards in this non-stop news cycle.”

Chris Moreau Named Market Manager for Cumulus Green Bay. Radio sales and management pro Chris Moreau is promoted from his director of sales post with Cumulus Media Appleton/Oshkosh to vice president and market manager for the company’s Green Bay station group that includes: sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, country WPCK-FM, hot AC WQLH-FM, classic rock WKRU-FM, and classic hits WOGB-FM.  He’s previously served as business development/account manager for Journal Broadcast Group/E.W. Scripps, vice president/general manager for Bliss Communications in Racine, Wisconsin, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” adds new affiliate stations KSEV-AM, Houston and WLOB, Portland to its roster.  “The Joe Pags Show” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and PodcastOne have partnered to produce a new, true-crime podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” that details the horrific events that led to a D.C. power couple, their 10-year-old son and housekeeper being held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May of 2015.  Daron Wint was found guilty of the crimes – known as the DC Mansion Murders – in 2018…..FOX Sports is presenting multiplatform coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship.  FOX Sports Radio has on-site coverage from Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday and Friday (6/13-14) via “The Doug Gottlieb Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm while FOX Sports Radio news anchor Dan Beyer reports live from the course…..CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan is serving as the keynote speaker of KYW Newsradio’s “Women’s Achievement Awards 2019,” being held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 27.  This is the 10th annual edition of the awards from the Entercom all-news station that serve to celebrate women making a positive impact on the Philadelphia region.  This year’s event will honor the accomplishments of five exceptional women, all under the age of 40, who were nominated by KYW Newsradio listeners. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are thrilled to have a journalist as insightful and respected as Margaret on KYW Newsradio every week and honored to have her share her experience and perspective at our event. She embodies what the ‘Women’s Achievement Awards’ stand for and I look forward to her sharing a special evening with our deserving honorees.”

Sterling Swoons Over Swag Bag.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One personality Walter M. Sterling was so impressed with the quality of items in the Talkers 2019 convention “goodie bag” that he devoted a segment of this past weekend’s “Sterling on Sunday” show to talking about it.  Check it out here.

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Impeachment Talk, Southern Border Issues/Mexico Tariffs Threat, U.S.-China Trade War, and Big Papi Shot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Democrats’ talk of beginning impeachment proceedings against the president; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the threat of tariffs on Mexican exports; the U.S.-China trade war and the looming G20 summit in Japan; retired Red Sox star David Ortiz is shot in a bar in the Dominican Republic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Motor City urban contemporary WDMK-FM is being sold by Urban One to Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. for $13.5 million in a deal that Beasley expects “to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley currently operates three stations in the Detroit market: rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and rhythmic oldies WMGC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit.  Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.  We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders.  The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”…..Entercom names Kevin Callahan program director for country simulcast KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He says, “I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Entercom in the Riverside market.  I’ve been fortunate to oversee programming efforts for KSON and I look forward to taking ‘K-FROG’ to new heights in the next chapter of my career.”  Callahan now oversees programming efforts for all Entercom Southern California country stations.  He continues in his role as program operations manager for sister stations KSON, sports talk KWFN “97.3 The Fan,” alternative KBZT-FM “ALT 949,” adult contemporary KYXY-FM, and classic hits KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” in San Diego…..Westwood One announces that Nashville-based personality Elaina Smith is re-branding her original podcast, “Breaking Thru With Elaina.”  It was previously titled, “Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith.”  The program returned with new stories from female artists breaking through the music industry on June 9 on The Empow(h)er Podcast Network on Westwood One. Smith won a 2019 Gracie Award for the first season of the show.  She says, “I’ve been itching to get season two going all year long.  I’m so thankful to everyone for being so patient as I worked on launching my new radio show, ‘With Elaina.’  Now that it is off the ground, it’s time to keep this conversation going, and with a new name!”