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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

| May 17, 2016

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Flies with the Black Eagle, Joe Madison.  This week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” presents a fascinating conversation between the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher and SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel morning host Joe Madison.  Listed at #8 on the TALKERS 2016 “Heavy Hundred,” Joe Madison is the highest-ranked African American news/talk show host inmadisonjoe the US radio industry.  Michael Harrison describes him as a “political, cultural and inspirational thought leader.”  The two discuss their 25-year friendship as well as race relations in America, Black Lives Matter, the 2016 presidential election, and the pros and cons of the dizzying advances in communications technology that we are all experiencing.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

austinbradBrad Austin Named Corporate PD for Delmarva.  This promotion puts Brad Austin in charge of the programming of the company’s nine radio stations.  Austin is operations manager for Delmarva Broadcasting Company’s country WXCY, Wilmington, Delaware – a position he’ll continue to hold.  But he’s now also overseeing Wilmington stations hot AC WSTW, news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, and Gospel WFAI; Milford, Delaware classic hits WNCL, hot AC WAFL, sports talk WYUS, and news/talk WXDE; plus Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland country WKTT, adult hits WICO, and classic hits WAVD.  The company says Austin will oversee the programming and promotions efforts on all stations and assist the staffs on a wide variety of issues involving local programming and community service.  Austin says, “I appreciate the confidence president Jeff Boden and WXCY general manager Bob Bloom have placed in me with the creation of this position.  Making local radio great, compelling and of service to our listeners is priority #1.  Oh – and we plan to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it!”

PodcastOne Names Amy Lewis Schachter to Sales Post.  Radio and digital sales pro Amy Lewis Schachter joins PodcastOne as vice president, East Coast sales.  She’s been with CBS Radio for the past 20 years and in 2013 was named Digital Sales Person of the Year for CBS Radio NY.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “So, I get all these calls from people telling me how great Amy is.  I met with her and they were right.  She hit the street running last week before her start date.  What more can I say?”

nielsen logoContentious Nielsen vs Flinn Broadcasting Case Settled.  The hotly contested case in which Nielsen Audio was suing Memphis market operator Flinn Broadcasting for failure to pay for PPM ratings (and other services) and Flinn was countersuing, alleging inaccurateflinnlogo PPM surveys that adversely affected minority-patronized stations, has been settled.  This comes after a court-ordered attempt at settlement.  The terms of the pact are, of course, sealed.  Nielsen alleged Flinn owed almost $140,000 in PPM fees accrued over the course of eight months.  As long as the settlement is consummated within 30 days, the suits cannot be filed again.  It’s anyone’s guess how the settlement panned out but it’s a safe bet that Nielsen did not want to go to trial, if only because even more information about the inner workings of the PPM surveys would have been made public as part of the evidence.  As a result of the press this story received, the industry and the public already learned more about the fee structure for the service than it had known before.

glassiraIndiana Public Station and TAL Founder Ira Glass Disagree on Pandora Strategy.  A disagreement over Ira Glass’ decision to make “This American Life” available via Pandora has caused public station WBAA, West Lafayette, Indiana general manager Mike Savage to cancel his station’s affiliation with the program, effective in August.  Savage posted a criticism of the Pandora move on his LinkedIn page stating that it’s “inconsistent with the mission of public radio” – assuming because Pandora is a for-profit company.  He also writes, “I am all for improving the bottom line.  However, we as publicwbaa radio leaders must keep the balance between mission and bottom line in the forefront.  If all we wanted to do was grow the audience, we could change our formats to country music and accomplish that objective.  We must respect the mission.  Do the ends justify the means?  For a program that got its start on public radio and had some of the best on-air fundraising messages for listeners where Ira Glass says he is volunteering his time because he believes in the mission of public broadcasting, the move by ‘This American Life’ to Pandora is disingenuous at best.”  But Glass says TAL is not leaving public radio and its presence as a podcast before (and now on Pandora) is not hurting listening on public radio stations.  In fact, Glass says the numbers bear that out and that the influx of cash is allowing him to hire more staff and produce better and more far-reaching programming.  You can read his more detailed response in The Current here.  What this really shows is divergent broadcasting philosophies.  Many media observers would consider Savage’s take on the issue to be outdated, and would say Glass is successfully taking advantage of the platforms available to grow his program and his staff.

The Presidential Race, Iran Nuke Negotiations Controversy, Russian-Syria Military Cooperation, Yellowstone Baby Bison Case, Bathroom-Gender Laws, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16).  The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the nuclear negotiations with Iran and the White House’s refusal to allow former aide Ben Rhodes to testify about misleading the press; Russian’s reported building of a military base in Palmyra, Syria; the case of a baby bison that was euthanized after tourists at Yellowstone put it in their van; the ongoing debate over the legal use of public restrooms by transgender individuals; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Odds & Sods.  Sports media giant ESPN promotes Nate Ravitz to vice president of audience development.  In this new role, Ravitz will oversee programming of digital content across ESPN.com and the ESPN App, in addition to his existing responsibilities leading ESPN-branded social media content, mobile push notifications and digital video.  Ravitz also will manage the new ESPN Daily email newsletter.  He will continue to report to Ryan Spoon, SVP of digital product management…..Sports USA releases its 2016 NCAA football schedule.  The firm’s slate of offerings includes games featuring defending national champion Alabama, plus conference champions Stanford, Oklahoma, and Michigan State.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Sports USA is proud to announce this fantastic schedule to our affiliate stations, the advertising community and college football fans nationwide.  We are featuring an incredible array of major rivalry games this year.”…..Former WFED, Washington daily personality Francis Rose is adding some television to his current roster of projects.  Rose – who currently hosts “National Defense Week” on WMAL, Washington – is joining WJLA-TV, Washington as host of the Sunday morning “Government Matters” program.  Rose tells TALKERS the program will soon expand to nightly broadcasts.