Phil Zachary Exits DC Market Manager Role with Entercom. A surprise move at Entercom’s Washington, DC station group takes place with Phil Zachary leaving the SVP/market manager role and stepping into a “corporate role” involving “special projects.” Zachary had been in DC for 20 months. He moved there from Entercom’s Hartford cluster in May of 2018, five years after joining Entercom Boston from his president/COO post with Curtis Media Group in Raleigh. Zachary took over for Steve Swenson at Entercom Washington. The company has not named a successor for the DC market manager position.
Beasley Acquires Houston Outlaws Esports Franchise. The financial details of this deal were not released but Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. says this acquisition of the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws esports team enhances the company’s growing esports platform. Previously, Beasley invested in Team Renegades – an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan – and acquired CheckpointXP, a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. Beasley says that the Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment “whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years.” The Overwatch League will begin its third season in February of 2020, with each of the league’s teams hosting matches in their home markets. The Outlaws will remain officially based in Houston, Texas and will continue to represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform. The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services…The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws furthers our revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. We believe the power of our media footprint, including 65 highly-rated radio stations in large- and mid-sized markets, combined with our 24/7 coverage of esports news, will allow us to build the value of the Outlaws franchise through a range of revenue sources, including ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licensing, e-commerce, and other partnerships.”
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/15). The new episode titled “The Show Biz Capitol of America!” looks back at this past week of November 11-15, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Dr. Daliah Wachs, medical doctor/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Lisa Wexler, probate judge, Connecticut/talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Dr. Dana Cheng, senior China news reporter, The Epoch Times; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on 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.’
Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 11-15. The start of impeachment hearings against President Trump and the allegations of misconduct with Ukraine military aid was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race, the Trump tax returns court ruling, and the trial of former Trump adviser Roger Stone. Coming in at #3 was stock market activity and the economy, followed by universal health care proposals 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.
Rose Anderson, VP/Executive Director of the New York Festivals Radio Awards Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. New York Festivals, the prestigious, long-running international awards organization spotlighting quality in the fields of advertising, TV & film, and radio opens its acceptance of entries for the 2020 Radio Awards competition and announces information about its exciting new presentation in April. The organization’s vice president and executive director, Rose Anderson, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson, who brings years of experience as a network TV producer to her role at NYF, joins Harrison in a fascinating conversation about the renaissance of storytelling in the radio field as well as other exciting changes the industry is experiencing in the rapidly evolving digital era. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
9th Annual KFI, Los Angeles ‘PastaThon’ Scheduled for December 6. For this year’s 9th KFI PastaThon on December 6, iHeartMedia has teamed with Smart & Final stores and Barilla Pasta to raise money as well as donations of pasta and sauce to help feed local children in need. Funds raised from the event will benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that helps feed, house and educate children in need in Orange County. Now through December 6, Smart & Final is offering an opportunity for shoppers to donate to this event by purchasing $10 KFI PastaThon kits, generously donated by Barilla, that include the brand’s pasta and sauce as well as Smart & Final’s signature First Street line of plates, utensils and napkins. Each kit provides 24 meals and those purchasing the kit receive a chance to win a 13-day trip to Italy for two, courtesy of guided vacation company Trafalgar. On December 6, all KFI AM 640’s on-air personalities – Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. – will participate in a live, 17-hour broadcast on site at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove encouraging listeners to donate money, packaged pasta and jars of pasta sauce. Last year’s event raised a record $517,000 and 50,000 pounds of pasta and sauce. Since 2010, KFI listeners have helped raise over $2.3 million and 391,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for Caterina’s Club. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “This is a whole station and community effort. Everyone supports this wonderful cause from the on-air hosts to the news team, sales, digital, I.T, engineering and promotions. Everyone from every corner of the station is a part of this wonderful cause. Not only is the KFI PastaThon about feeding children in need, it’s also about ending the cycle of poverty and we are grateful to our incredible listeners who so generously support the good work of [Caterina’s Club founder] Chef Bruno.”
TALKERS News Notes. Four new podcasts are released by PodcastOne. Viral phenomenon Trisha Paytas expands her brand beyond YouTube with the podcast, “The Dish with Trish”; actress Daniella Monet teams up with her fiancé, Andrew Gardner, to discuss their journey into “adulting” on “Adulting Like A Mother Father”; the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne adds a fashion-forward podcast called “Brad Behavior with Brad Goreski”; and PodcastOne continues to expand its lineup of dramatic and true-crime programming with Reelz’ “Copycat Killers,” based on of the television series detailing murders that imitate Hollywood’s hit blockbuster films…..ESPN Audio says its podcasts set a new record in October (as per Podtrac) with a verified unique audience of 8.1 million. ESPN says that figure represents an increase of 27% over October 2018. ESPN vice president, digital strategy and marketing within ESPN Audio Tom Ricks says, “ESPN’s podcast business has certainly been building great momentum which we expect to continue with the recent launch of ‘ESPN Daily.’ We remain very bullish on the podcast space and that ESPN is best suited to capitalize on the format in the sports genre.”.…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago producer Tony Gill is leaving the Entercom sports talk station to join NBC Sports Chicago in the role of podcast producer. At WSCR, he’s been producing the Laurence Holmes midday show as well as a number of the station’s podcasts…..Premiere Networks nationally syndicated evening radio host Delilah spoke with actress and Broadway superstar Kristin Chenoweth for her podcast, “Love Someone with Delilah.” On the podcast the two talk about Chenoweth’s new album, For The Girls, a tribute to the passionate women of music as well as about her passions for creating, singing, and giving back through Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamps, and her new endeavor – building a creative arts center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
WTOP, Washington Seeks Director of News and Programming. Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is seeking a director of news and programming. Hubbard Radio says this person, “leads WTOP, an effective organization of over 100 people consisting of news directors, writers, anchors, reporters, editors, and staff to provide the best available local, national and international news, traffic, weather, sports and money news across all media platforms, including radio, internet and social media while serving as brand manager to maintain the imaging, marketing and overall sound.” Essential job functions for this position include: Overall responsibility for WTOP news gathering, production, news programming and presentation across multiple platforms with the utmost in quality control; provides effective leadership to a diverse workforce covered by a collective bargaining agreement that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; establishes short and long term program format objectives, strategies and plans to achieve maximum listenership of a quality product across multiple platforms; ensures that all programming is in compliance with state and federal laws and FCC Rules and Regulations; liason between company management and union. For more information and to apply, click here.
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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta country outlet WKHX rebrands as “Atlanta’s New Country 101.FIVE,” “an innovative radio outlet celebrating the great songs and sounds of Georgia’s homegrown artists. These stars feed souls and fill hearts, stadiums and concert halls around the world.” Cumulus Media made the change yesterday (11/14) at 3:00 pm playing “Dirt We Were Raised On” by Macon, Georgia’s Jason Aldean, followed by songs from The Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Sugarland, and Trisha Yearwood. The station had been branded “Kicks 101.5” since 1981. “Kincaid and Dallas” are holding down the morning shift and Lucas Phelan hosts afternoon drive…..Programming pro Brian Roberts exits adult contemporary WPEZ, Macon, Georgia “Lite Rock Z93.7” where he was morning host and PD…..After eight years in Kansas City, Brady Goodman is out at Entercom’s cluster there where he was handling imaging and on-air roles at hot AC KZPT “99-7 The Point.”
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.