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PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of news/talk stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2017 PPM survey. Looking at stations’ 6+ numbers, Kinosian reports that “virtually one of every two news/talk stations on this sample is down between October 2017 – November 2017 (49%), while more than one of every three improves (36%); the remaining 15% are flat.” When comparing 6+ ratings from November of 2016 to this year, “nearly as many stations on our news/talk sample are up November 2016 – November 2017 (48%) as are down (51%), with 1% remaining unchanged from a year ago.” Three news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in November – Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego; and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” Three others ranked #2 in their respective markets – Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle and KSL, Salt Lake City; and iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee. See the entire report here.
Nielsen: ‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. A PPM market-wide review of sports talk stations’ performances by Nielsen Audio indicates that this time of year is good for sports talk stations. Nielsen looks at the month-by-month uptick in sports talk listening (across PPM markets) since June in three demos – persons 6+, persons 18-34, and persons 25-54. In each, we see a gradual rise over that period. For persons 25-54, the average quarter-hour share was 4.3% in June and over six months rose to November’s 5.7 share. Looking at persons 18-34, June’s AQH share was 3.1%. In November, that AQH share was 4.3%. Nielsen says baseball was a big factor in November’s numbers. “Both the National and American League Championship baseball series took place during the November survey (which ran from Oct. 12 to Nov. 8), as did the World Series, which went to a deciding game seven for the second year in a row. These contests had a notable impact on sports radio listening, especially since the teams hailed from major markets.” See the Nielsen report here.
Football Great Warren Moon Takes Leave from Seahawks Radio Broadcasts After Sexual Abuse Allegations. Legendary footballer Warren Moon is revered by most in Seattle for his football heroics leading the University of Washington Huskies to the 1978 Rose Bowl and for his NFL career that included time playing for the Seattle Seahawks. But now, after allegations of sexual abuse from a former employee at his Sports 1 Marketing firm, Moon is taking a leave of absence from Seahawks Radio Network radio broadcasts in which he has been serving as a color analyst. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle serves as the flagship station for game play-by-play. In Moon’s absence, KIRO’s Brock Huard and Dave Wyman will share color analyst duties. Read Matt Calkins’ piece in the Seattle Times here.
Mike Francesa Reveals Some Post-WFAN Plans. Speaking to SI.com.’s Richard Deitsch, WFAN afternoon personality Mike Francesa says that one likely place for him to pop up in the immediate aftermath of his WFAN career is on Bill Simmons’ podcast. “A lot of people want to know where I will go to finish my football picks, which are very popular. A couple of people have asked me to sell them. I said no. Bill has offered me a home to pick them on his podcast, which I am thinking about. The NFL Network has offered me the opportunity to do it. So, I will do it somewhere. I don’t know where. But I would say the likeliest place is Simmons’ podcast because of my relationship with him.” Francesa’s last radio show on WFAN is next Friday (12/15). Read the SI.com piece here.
New Programming Changes at KXTG, Portland. Just five months after naming Justin Myers and DeVon Pouncey the late morning show on sports talk KXTG-AM/K275CH, Portland, Alpha Media makes changes and the duo exit the station. The 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is now CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. Myers and Pouncey were brought in shortly after Dino Costa arrived at KXTG to host afternoons. Costa exited the station in August. The station is airing CBS Sports Radio’s Bill Reiter in that daypart. “The Bald-Faced Truth with John Canzano” is the only local daily show currently on the program schedule.
Keillor Tells Star-Tribune MPR Never Asked for His Side of the Story. In a piece by Neal Justin in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, public radio legend Garrison Keillor says, “I wish Jon McTaggart [American Public Media CEO] had asked to hear my side of the story. Every story has two sides, sometimes more. He could have looked at the e-mails and the phone texts. It would’ve taken about an hour of his time and it could’ve saved us all this drama.” Last week, Keillor’s business relationship with American Public Media-owned Minnesota Public Radio was severed after an allegation of sexual impropriety leveled against him by a former staffer, although the story indicates MPR has evidence of a series of improprieties. Meanwhile, Keillor says lawyers from both sides are talking and he has hopes for a “happy resolution.”
The Franken and Conyers Resignations Top Talkers TenTM for Week of December 4-8. The resignation of U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Senator Al Franken, along with allegations against various entertainment figures of sexual impropriety, tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 this week was President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Coming in at #3 was the GOP tax reform plan, followed by the U.S. Senate campaign of embattled, former judge Roy Moore at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Among the numerous, recent dismissals in the media world, there’s been a reversal at MSNBC, where the cable news/talk channel has brought Sam Seder back aboard after releasing him because of a “provocative joke” in a 2009 tweet. You can read CNN’s account here. MSNBC chief Phil Griffin said in a press release that the company had “erred” in its decision to fire Seder from his contributor position…..Tonight (12/8) at 7:00 pm ET, SiriusXM is airing a special show in its Town Hall series featuring Heisman Trophy winners Steve Spurrier and George Rogers. SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour will host as the two sit down in front of an audience at the SiriusXM Studios in New York City the day before the 2017 Heisman Trophy is presented to the nation’s top collegiate football player. They will also take questions from audience members in the studio. The program will air on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio channel. …..The most recent episode in ESPN Audio’s 30 for 30 Podcasts series is out. Its titled, “Madden’s Game,” and explores football legend John Madden’s connecting with upstart video game company Electronic Arts (EA) in the late 1980s and how that helped grow EA into a video game empire…..WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby checks in to share this photo of her taken with President Donald Trump at the White House Media Christmas Party. She says it was only hours after news broke that former national security advisor Michael Flynn had entered into a plea deal with the Feds and the president planned to take no personal photos or speak one-on-one to any journalists attending the bash. However, following his very brief remarks to the packed room, President Trump spotted Cosby – whom he’s known for decades – and immediately stepped off the podium to greet her and share a few private words. It’s believed to be the only shot he took with the media during this annual White House event.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Evening AC superstar Delilah is back on iHeartMedia’s Chicago adult contemporary WLIT “The New 93.9 LITE FM” in the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm daypart. The Premiere Networks star comments, “I’m so excited to be back on the radio every evening in the Chicago area. ‘The New 93.9 Lite FM’ is the perfect place to reconnect with so many listeners and pick up where we left off. It’s an early Christmas present!”…..Jerry Lee‘s hot AC WBEB, Philadelphia “101.1 More FM” announces the winners of its 9th annual “Christmas Choir Competition” in which two school choirs – one at the K-8 level and one at the high school level – won $5,000 cash prizes for their schools’ music departments. They also got the chance to sing with the Philly Pops at “A Philly Pops Christmas” performance this month. Neshaminy High School Select Choir won the high school division and Bridle Path Elementary School Choir won the grade school division. To enter the contest, school choirs submitted videos of their performances of Christmas songs. The winners were chosen by public vote on the WBEB website…..iHeartMedia alternative rock KRAB, Bakersfield “106.1 KRAB Radio” adds “The Woody Show” for morning drive, effective Monday (12/11). The Premiere Networks syndicated show features Woody, along with co-hosts Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas…..Pictured below are country duo Big & Rich with the cast of Cumulus Media’s “Ty, Kelli, & Chuck” show after stopping by to visit to chat about their plans for the holidays, among other things. From left to right are: Ty Bentli, John Rich, Kelly Ford, Chuck Wicks, and Big Kenny.
Bennett Helps WCBS-AM Note Its All-News Golden Anniversary. A special interview and performance this past Tuesday (8/8) by iconic singer Tony Bennett at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square highlighted a celebration of 50 years of news as CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM observed its 50th birthday as an all-news outlet. Wayne Cabot (29 years at WCBS-AM, the station’s longest-tenured anchor) and fellow news anchor Alex Silverman (who joined WCBS-AM in April 2011) hosted the event, which included a plethora of stories from WCBS-AM personalities and guests. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio New York Marc Rayfield states that WCBS-AM “is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news. We will continue to tell the stories of the people, places, and happenings from all around this great city. This special night gathered listeners, station personalities, and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean into the future.” In addition to Cabot and Silverman, other WCBS-AM personalities there Tuesday night included Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott, and Michael Wallace. Among those sharing their New York stories were Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” “Late Show with David Letterman” bandleader (“The World’s Most Dangerous Band” and “CBS Orchestra”) Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. CBS News’ Anthony Mason conducted the Tony Bennett interview. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales (which ranged from $55 to $150 per person) was donated to Exploring the Arts Foundation, Bennett’s charity organization dedicated to transforming lives of young people through arts education. Following back-to-back 2.4 showings (6+) in Nielsen Audio’s April and May PPM reports, WCBS-AM has registered a 2.7 (6+) in June and July, moving up from #13 in June to #12. Entercom will continue to use the CBS Radio News brand for at least one year after it closes on all of CBS Radio’s AM and FM properties.
KIRO-FM Teams with Seattle Police to Provide “Beds for Kids.” The goal of a joint effort between Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM and the Seattle Police Department is to provide 600 needy local children with mattresses, bedframes, sheet sets, comforters, pillows and a Teddy bear. KIRO-FM afternoon drive (3:00 – 7:00 pm) hosts “Ron (Upshaw) & Don (O’Neill)” have been dedicated advocates for the “Beds for Kids” project since its inception, with O’Neill emphasizing, “Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that every child that needs a bed – gets a bed. When a child gets a good night sleep and something to eat, it is proven they stay in school and they do better in school. Help us help police help kids – it’s another way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.” The “Beds for Kids” cofounder Jeremy Wade notes, “Over the last three years, we have been amazed to see how many kids in our community sleep on the floor. Through the ‘Beds for Kids’ program, we have provided over 500 local kids with a brand-new bed. This year’s goal of 600 beds is our most ambitious yet, but with the support of our partners and the public, we know it can be done.” The project was created in 2014 by Wade and fellow officer Ryan Gallagher, who responded to a 9-1-1 call and discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor. Wade and Gallagher returned to that home with new beds purchased with their own money. Since then, hundreds of people have stepped up to assist the two officers in providing beds for children in need. Elsewhere inside that Bonneville cluster, Seattle Seahawks coverage on sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” will include John Clayton (formerly with ESPN-TV), who will serve as a sideline reporter. In addition, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who called Seahawks pre-season games and was part of Westwood One’s NFL coverage the last two seasons, returns as radio analyst, a role he held for 13 seasons prior to 2015. Back as well for his 36th year on play-by-play is Steve Raible; Jen Mueller is in her ninth season doing sideline reporting.
Stigall Featured on “The Fox News Specialists.” Pictured above at the far right as he made his point yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 8/9) on “The Fox News Specialists” is CBS Radio-owned WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Philadelphia 5:30 am – 9:00 am talent Chris Stigall. Intently looking on (left to right) are another guest specialist Mike Baker, co-host Eboni Williams, guest-host Mark Steyn, and co-host Katherine Timpf.
PPM Data – Part Three. July 2017 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
Gottlieb Kicks Off Training Camp Tour. Gearing up for the start of football season, Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb hits the road for on-location coverage from several NFL training sites. The journey began this past Monday (8/7) with a broadcast from the Los Angeles Rams facility at UC Irvine. Still in Southern California (Oxnard-Ventura), Gottlieb is with the Dallas Cowboys today (Thursday, 8/10), and he will visit the Los Angeles Chargers’ camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa next Wednesday (8/16). Pictured left to right are Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.
LG To Activate FM Chips in its Smartphones. The announcement that LG phones in North America and Latin America will have FM chips activated moving forward comes from NextRadio parent TagStation, whose president Paul Brenner states, “We are proud and excited to partner with one of the world’s leading Smartphone providers to continue our mission of connecting and exposing users to a fully immersive radio experience. This alliance will give millions of consumers the opportunity to receive real over-the-air FM radio through their phone.” NextRadio will be pre-loaded on some models.
WQBA Named Dolphins’ Spanish-Language Radio Flagship. As part of the multi-year agreement, Univision Radio Miami Spanish news/talk WQBA will air all Miami Dolphins pre-season, regular season, and playoff games. Raul Striker Jr. will handle play-by-play duties, while Eduardo Martell will provide color analysis. WQBA will produce pregame and postgame shows, as well as a weekly show covering Dolphins-related news/events. Sports programming falls under the recently-launched Univision Deportes Radio sports network. WQBA senior vice president and general manager Claudia Puig comments, “We are excited to once again partner with the Miami Dolphins, offering them a terrific opportunity to reach their Spanish-speaking fans through Univision Deportes Radio. Our listeners will now be able to cheer their favorite football team ‘en español.’ The Dolphins broadcasts will be a perfect complement to Univision Deportes Radio’s outstanding sports programming lineup.” Miami Dolphins senior vice president and chief commercial officer Todd Kline adds, “We are proud to partner with Univision Deportes Radio WQBA 1140 AM and are confident they will deliver the most complete and up-to-date coverage of the Miami Dolphins to fans. The Dolphins have a 36-year commitment to broadcast games in Spanish in the South Florida market – this partnership delivers on our strong tradition.” Spanish-language broadcasts of Dolphins games were previously heard on crosstown Deportes Media Spanish Sports WNMA “ESPN Deportes Miami.” The team’s English-language flagships are CBS Radio Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” and co-owned WKIS “Kiss 99.9 New Country.”
TALKERS News Notes. Citing other media sources, The Tennessean reports that former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck will leave his “Wake-Up Zone” morning show co-hosting duties on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” in the next few weeks. Earlier, Wycheck announced he is stepping away from his role as analyst for Titans’ radio broadcasts for a year, owing to cognitive issues related to concussions from his playing days. It is reported, however, that Wycheck will remain with “The Zone” for swing duty ….. In other football-related news, iHeartMedia Tucson’s KTZR “Fox Sports 1450” joins the Arizona Cardinals radio network. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tucson David Adams comments, “As the new home for Fox Sports in Tucson; the future home of Dan Patrick; and the official broadcast partner of the Tucson Roadrunners, we couldn’t be more excited to solidify our position as ‘Tucson’s Sports Station’ by adding the Cardinals.” The team’s previous Tucson affiliate was Cumulus Media’s KCUB “Sports Radio 1290.”
Checkpoint Radio Adds Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Affiliates. The latest to join Checkpoint Radio – the first nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of e-sports and gaming – are GOW Media’s KFNC “ESPN 97.5 FM,” Houston; Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 FM The Fanatic, Philadelphia”; and Hubbard’s WXOS “101 ESPN, St Louis.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Checkpoint Radio is the only national show that connects radio stations and listeners to the explosive energy around e-sports. According to Newzoo, e-sports will grow to $696 million in revenue this year, a year-over-year increase of 41%. Brand investment is predicted to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020. This is a space you want to be in. Westwood One is the undeniable leader in sports programming – we know e-sports is an important sector for affiliates and advertisers.” Checkpoint Radio managing partner Rick Scott notes, “We are excited at the rapid growth of Checkpoint Radio in so many quality and big markets. It is a testament to the quality and appeal of the show and the passionate crew working to put it together.” Hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan, two-hour weekly Checkpoint Radio features insights, news, interviews, and updates designed specifically for the video game and e-sports fan. In addition to the weekly show, Checkpoint also produces a podcast featuring content not heard on the radio program.
WKLB Elevates Santolucito to Director/Music and Marketing. Over and above continuing her oversight of the marketing/promotions department of WKLB “Country 102.5,” Dawn Santolucito is promoted to music and marketing director at the Beasley Media Group Boston property. Program director David Corey states, “Dawn’s passion, dedication, and organizational skills – plus a great ear for music – made her the ideal candidate for the position. We are proud to have Dawn in our ‘Country 102.5’ family.” Santolucito comments, “It truly has been a privilege being a part of the ‘Country 102.5’ family for the past seven years in my role within the marketing/promotions department. I am thrilled to begin this new chapter.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s just-released July 2017 PPM report, WKLB is flat at 4.5, but climbs from seventh in June 2017 to sixth, while cross-town format competitor – iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull – Boston’s New Hit Country” is up (modestly) for the third straight time (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+) and inches up from #17 to #16. With a 7.7 (6+), WKLB classic hits-oldies sibling WROR “Boston’s Classic Hits” remains at #1 for the seventh successive sweep.
iHR, Understood.org Align to Help Kids Facing Learning/Attention Issues. One of every five children have a learning and attention challenge such as ADHD or dyslexia. A partnership between iHeartMedia and Understood.org explores and raises awareness of learning and attention issues, and breaks stereotypes about these often-misunderstood children. The partnership includes public service announcements voiced by iHeartMedia personalities Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, and Bobby Bones, as well as a long-form public affairs show. Commenting about Understood.org, its executive leader/corporate partnerships & alliances Nancy Smith states, “This whole team is deeply committed to helping the millions of children with learning and attention issues get the support they need – support that can help them reverse any downward spiral in school.” From prior experience, Smith felt that iHeartRadio “has a strong belief in win-win partnerships and in helping the world be a better place. I knew collaboration with the iHeart team could take us to new levels of support for kids with learning and attention issues.” Aided by 15 nonprofit organizations, Understood.org launched nearly three years ago. “Today, it supports and empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, a community of other parents and experts, and interactive tools,” Smith explains. “Many accomplished musicians including Justin Timberlake [ADHD], Lindsey Stirling [dyslexia], and Jewel [dyslexia] have learning and attention issues. Understood is happy to call iHeartRadio a partner in our mission to raise awareness of learning and attention issues. Having the support of a community of musical artists and fans who embrace differences can help build widespread acceptance for kids who are so often misunderstood. Together with iHeartRadio, we want to help even more children with learning and attention issues.”
Sun Broadcast Group Enters the “Country Fried Mix.” A sales and affiliation partnership with Sun Broadcast Group will bring “Country Fried Mix” with national touring artist and producer DJ Sinister to the network in three weeks (9/1). Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey remarks, “One of the things we have always tried to do at Sun is find exciting and unique programs for our listeners and clients. When I heard ‘Country Fried Mix’ for the first time, I knew we had to have it in our lineup. There is simply nothing [else] like it on the radio – that’s why it is perfect for us. We are honored to represent this incredible product to the industry and the clients who support it.” According to DJ Sinister, “This new opportunity really takes us to the next level with partners that are willing to take risks,” while the program’s producer Charlie Pennachio adds, “Focus created this expansion; this opportunity gives us the ability to become a laser beam with a team.” The weekend show of mashed up/remixed country hits has aired since 2014 and has affiliates in (among other markets) Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, and Nashville.
Opening “The Vault” Again in Montgomery. Jettisoning its top 40 format in order to return to rock as “107.1 The Vault” is Bluewater Broadcasting Montgomery, Alabama’s WQKS-HD3 W296AI. It abandoned “The Vault” four years ago in favor of classic jams “Yo! 107.1,” but as program director Rick Peters writes on his Facebook page, “The market has spoken and – contrary to popular belief – we do listen. ‘The Vault’ will try to recreate album and progressive rock stations from the 1970s, such as [Los Angeles’] KMET and KLOS; [Chicago’s] WLUP [‘The Loop’]; [Philadelphia’s] WMMR; [Miami’s] WSHE; and [St. Louis’] KSHE. The format is freeform – the [on-air talent] can program what they like. Every day will be different – it’s a throwback. At the same time, it’s evolutionary for the day [but] it’s not designed to be mass-appeal. For those that ‘lived’ the music the first time, we will try to be worthy. For the rest of you, listen up [because] you might find something you love.” Among persons 12+ in Montgomery’s most recent Nielsen Audio book (spring 2017), WQKS-HD3 checks in at #16 with a .8, while iHeartMedia urban contemporary WZHT “Hot 105.7” is on top with an 11.2 (12+).
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Earlier this week, midday host Danny Dwyer of Alpha Media Portland country outlet KUPL “98.7 The Bull” raised $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his inaugural golf invitational at Salem Oregon’s Creekside Country Club ….. A variety of tomato-themed activities will be included next Saturday (8/19) when Beasley Media Group Philadelphia classic rock WMGK morning personality John DeBella holds his three-hour (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Tomato Fest” in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Among the highlights are a biggest-tomato contest; a dunk tank manned by the show’s “Super Steve”; and bobbing for tomatoes. In addition, WMGK’s house band Kategory Five will perform, and there will be a classic car display. Donations of canned goods and fresh produce will be collected to benefit the South Jersey Food Bank. DeBella is said to have thought up the “Tomato Fest” concept while seeing a vast number of farm stands and pondering why the tomato wasn’t being celebrated ….. Three (four-hour) Westwood One Labor Day weekend music specials are in the pipeline. Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds will host rock’s “Summer Wrap Up”; Louis Tomlinson does the same for the pop format’s “Last Big Summer Weekend”; and ACM-award winner Kelsea Ballerini has the honors for “Workin’ Hard Country.”
Ell Talks Up Her Latest “Project.” During her visit to Westwood One’s syndicated “Ty, Kelly, & Chuck” morning show, Lindsay Ell discussed touring with Brad Paisley and creating her new album “The Project” with producer Kristian Bush. Shown left to right are Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford, Lindsay Ell, and Chuck Wicks.