Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of 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, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week ’s episode, 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.
Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).
PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”
TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).
Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”
Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. 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.
Ten Candles Atop WBZ-FM’s Birthday Cake. One week from today (Tuesday, 8/13), Beasley Media Group Boston sports talk outlet WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will commemorate its 10th anniversary by airing a ten-hour special (7:00 am – 5:00 pm) celebrating Boston sports moments and events. It will include the victories and agony the city has experienced, as well as special moments that have been broadcast the past decade. According to Beasley Media Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna, “In ten short years, [WBZ-FM and national spoken-word brand manager] Mike Thomas and the amazing team that he has assembled have built ‘The Sports Hub’ into an award-winning iconic brand and a household name in New England.” Thomas states, “It is an honor to work with the incredibly-talented ‘Sports Hub’ staff, on and off-the-air Not many people gave us a chance ten years ago. We were heavy underdogs – but so were Boston teams for many, many years. The ascendancy that Boston sports fans have experienced is unprecedented. We are just happy to have been along for the ride the past ten years and we look forward to many more victories to come.” Nielsen Audio July 2019 results will be released later today, but in Boston’s June 2019 report, WBZ-FM placed fourth (5.6, 6+). “The Sports Hub” is the flagship station of the Stanley Cup runner-up Bruins; Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and the Celtics. By the way, in the years since “The Sports Hub” surfaced in 2009, the Patriots have won three Super Bowl titles (2015, 2017 and 2019) and the Red Sox have scored two World Series championship banners (2013 and 2018). The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in the 2010 – 2011 season, while the Celtics were NBA champions in 2008 – one year before “The Sports Hub” debuted.
Cumulus Media Faces $233,000 Sponsorship ID Rule Violations Fine. The infraction as cited by the FCC stems from Cumulus Media’s apparent violations of the commission’s sponsorship identification rules. In addition, Cumulus Media ostensibly failed to promptly self-report some violations, even though the company agreed to do so under a 2016 consent decree with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. It is noteworthy, however, that the commission’s “Notice of Apparent Liability For Forfeiture” only advises Cumulus Media on how it has perhaps violated the law and sets a proposed fine. This isn’t a final ruling. The FCC cannot impose a higher penalty than the proposed $233,000 amount. Cumulus Media has a chance to appeal to the “Notice.” Prior to acting further to resolve the matter, the commission will evaluate Cumulus Media’s legal arguments and any submission of evidence. More than three years ago, the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau reached a $540,000 settlement with Cumulus Media regarding sponsorship identification in radio ads promoting a proposed energy project. It was the largest payment in FCC history for a single-station violation of the commission’s sponsorship ID laws. The settlement resolved an investigation into whether the company’s Dover, New Hampshire country outlet WOKQ “The Big 97.5” violated the rules. The FCC is alleging that in 2017 and 2018, seven Cumulus Media operations failed, in 26 instances, to air appropriate sponsorship identifications as required by its rules. Moreover, the FCC claims the company waited approximately eight months before reporting some rule-breaking, which would be in conflict of its 2016 consent decree commitments.
“Share of Ear” Study Highlights Audio Habits of Registered Voters. Share of Ear views how Americans consume audio content. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One has released results of Edison Research’s recent quarterly analysis. Edison reports share of audio time spent and percentage of Americans who use each type of content. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “To build name recognition, candidate perception, affinity, and voting intent, campaigns have to reach as many voters as possible. According to this new analysis, AM/FM radio has massive and powerful ad-supported audience shares among registered voters and key voter segments.” Among registered voters, AM/FM radio’s share of audio time spent (80%) is eleven times larger than Pandora (7%), twenty times larger than Spotify (4%), and twenty-seven times larger than SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio has the highest share of ad-supported audio time spent among all three major political affiliations: Independents (79%), Republicans (82%), and Democrats (78%). Each quarter, Edison Research conducts a national study of 1,000 Americans (13+) to measure reach and time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents complete a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries were completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Diaries were completed in English and Spanish. Each report consists of 4,000 respondents representing the prior year worth of surveys. This wave is based on persons from the third and fourth quarters of 2018, and the first and second quarters of this year (2019).
Recipe for Better Sales Revenue: Better Sales Compensation Programs. In an exclusive TALKERS advice piece posted today (8/6), veteran radio/media sales pro Bill Brady – president/CEO of Futures & Options, Inc. – suggests that the key to reviving radio sales is to reward hard-working, well-trained reps with increased compensation packages. He writes, “Over the last generation, radio companies have gone through several rounds of sales compensation reductions. Sales staffs were reduced in size and byzantine commission and compensation plans were implemented. Radio revenues have essentially stagnated ever since.” Read the article here.
Entercom, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics Join Forces. As part of the multiyear, multiplatform agreement, Entercom Philadelphia’s 50,000-watt WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” becomes the new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball games, beginning with the 2019 – 2020 athletic season. In addition, Radio.com will feature ancillary on-demand programming. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff remarks, “As a proud Penn State alum, the easy access to Penn State sports content on air and on Radio.com makes me very happy for our listeners, the University, and all alumni. This will be an excellent partnership with Penn State Athletics and will complement our existing portfolio of leading sports coverage in the city.” Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics vice president Sandy Barbour states, “We appreciate the opportunity to create a new radio partnership with Entercom. The tremendous reach of WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ allows us to connect with Penn State alumni and fans throughout the Delaware Valley, and promote the comprehensive excellence of Penn State Athletics. We look forward to our new partnership and having a great new radio home for Nittany Lion basketball and football in metro Philadelphia.” Penn State Sports Properties vice president and general manager Doug Nelson adds, “We’re happy that WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’ will serve as our new radio home for Penn State football and men’s basketball in Philly. The enhanced radio audience and promotional opportunities for Penn State with our new Entercom partnership are exciting for both fans and advertisers.” WPHT cluster-mates KYW “News Radio 1060,” WIP-FM “Sports Radio 94,” adult contemporary WBEB “B-101.1,” classic hits-oldies WOGL, and CHR WTDY “96.5 Today’s Hits” will provide promotional support for Penn State Athletics.
Mayor Joins iHeartMedia Louisville For Its First Community Breakfast. Last Friday’s (8/2) event at the Muhammad Ali Center united over 125 community leaders, business partners, and non-profits to showcase iHeartMedia Louisville’s commitment to the community. WHAS “News Radio 840” on-air talent Terry Meiners hosted the event which spotlighted iHeartMedia Louisville’s community partners. In his keynote speech, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer discussed the importance of giving back within the community. Fischer comments, “Compassion is good for business and it’s good for our city and our country. I want to thank the folks at iHeartMedia Louisville for supporting our vibrant and active non-profit community.” Plans call for iHeartMedia to quadruple its efforts by providing media support to twelve non-profit organizations that fall under the “Kids: Heart of Kentuckiana” theme. Region president for iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Earl Jones notes that, “Each campaign will include PSAs, on-air personality endorsements, as well as streaming and digital placement. We are committed to using our resources to amplify the message of these organizations that work so hard for our community.” Pictured below (left to right) are Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones, and WHAS “News Radio 840” afternoon personality Terry Meiners.
SiriusXM To Debut Daily “Jess Cagle Show” This Fall. Former editor of Entertainment Weekly (2009 – 2014) and People (2014 – 2019), Jess Cagle will host a two-hour weekday (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, PT) Los Angeles-originated eponymous show on SiriusXM starting this fall. It will feature pop culture news and long-form conversations from Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham. Of Cagle, SiriusXM senior vice president of news, talk, and entertainment Megan Liberman notes, “It’s hard to think of anyone who knows Hollywood better or could bring more insight and expertise to the conversation about pop culture. This show will be a destination for the biggest stars in movies and television and a must-listen for entertainment fans.” SiriusXM chief entertainment anchor Cagle states, “As a magazine editor, I’ve done a lot of work with SiriusXM. The producers and executives there have been magnificent partners – smart, strategic, and innovative. Over the years, SiriusXM has become a second home to me. I’ve always wanted to do a news and talk show with a lot of humor, smart commentary, and in-depth interviews. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make that a reality, and excited to work with SiriusXM on their growing podcast and video content. I’m a longtime fan of Julia Cunningham, and am really looking forward to working with her every day.” In addition to his daily show on “SiriusXM Stars” (channel 109), Cagle will host SiriusXM Town Hall events and appear across channels. Cagle spearheaded the partnership with SiriusXM to launch Entertainment Weekly Radio and recently joined the USC Annenberg Center of Communication Leadership & Policy as a senior fellow.
Focus 360 Partners With Lipstick & Vinyl. As a result of investing in the female-oriented podcast network Lipstick & Vinyl and assuming its ad sales representation duties, Focus 360 cracks the podcast arena. According to Focus 360 chief executive officer Phil Brown, “We have been looking for a podcast partner that offered stand-out content. By seeking out the underrepresented and diverse voices in the marketplace, Lipstick & Vinyl delivers audiences that are super-loyal and highly engaged. Expanding our suite of audio ad platforms enables us to offer more solutions to our advertisers.” Lipstick & Vinyl founder and chief executive officer Allyson Marino notes that, “Focus 360 is known for its outstanding relationships with agencies. That is extremely important to the growth of our company and our content partners. Podcasts provide a wonderfully unique and intimate way to connect with people and tell stories. Focus 360’s expertise in audio ad sales made them the perfect choice to help us grow.” Lipstick & Vinyl network hosts include journalists, TV writers, comedians, single mothers, and advocates for social change.
TALKERS News Notes. Changes going into effect today (Tuesday, 8/6) at iHeartMedia San Diego sports talk KLSD “XTRA 1360” find Darren Smith taking over mid-days (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm) and Jon Schaeffer shifting from that slot to 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, where he’ll join “Loose Cannons” hosts Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger. Prior to his west coast broadcast career, Smith spent four years (1998 – 2002) at ESPN Radio, where he produced several programs, including “The Dan Patrick Show.” Smith will be joined by senior reporter/producer – and San Diego State University grad – Marty Caswell. Taking an “NFL Insider” role with the station is Nick Hardwick, who most recently co-hosted mid-days with Schaeffer. Hardwick’s “Football Hour” will air Monday and Friday at 8:00 am. The revised KLSD “XTRA 1360” weekday lineup is: Costa & Richards (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Darren Smith (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “The Loose Cannons” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); and Ernie Martinez (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) ….. Meanwhile, across the hall at news/talk KOGO “News Radio 600,” Lou Penrose’s “Penrose Report” grabs the vacant afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) opening created when Carl DeMaio (“The DeMaio Report”) exited to focus on running for California’s 50th congressional district seat. Director of news & sports programming for iHeartMedia San Diego/Riverside Brian Long notes, “Lou Penrose is an exciting talent and a perfect addition for the afternoon drive show.” Penrose runs a full-service government relations and public affairs consulting firm and has served as district chief of staff for multiple U.S. congress members, including John Campbell, Ed Royce, and Mary Bono. He previously was director of news & talk programming for Morris Media’s KNWZ, Palm Springs (California) ….. Having covered the Washington Nationals for NBC Sports Washington, Bobby Trosset joins Hearst Television Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090” and co-owned WIYY “98 Rock.” He will anchor morning sports updates on both stations and be a significant part of the stations’ coverage of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. WBAL & WIYY president and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Nobody covers sports in Baltimore like we do. The home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football welcomes Bobby Trosset to Maryland’s most-connected and elite sports staff.” Trosset – who starts his new assignment this Thursday (8/8) – adds, “Baltimore’s loyalty to its sports teams is second to none. I’m ecstatic to be returning to the city I called home during my college years at Loyola and look forward to providing coverage, insight, and analysis to a passionate fan base.” ….. “The Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth” begins two weeks from this Saturday (8/24) at 12:01 am throughout Long Island Sound. The tournament offers up to $40,000 in cash prizes, including the grand prize of $25,000 for heaviest bluefish. Connoisseur Media Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk WICC “600 AM” will broadcast hourly update results all weekend from Captain’s Cove and interview the first-place winner live … After 14 years with ESPN, Ryen Russillo departs to join Bill Simmons’ The Ringer. On Twitter, Russilo writes, “So … the news is out. I’m headed to [The Ringer]. Want to thank [ESPN] for the last 14 years. I grew up on [SportsCenter]. To be on the actual set, my name on a show, I have to remind myself at times how cool that is.” Using the same social media platform, Simmons tweets, “Happy to confirm that [Ryen Russillo] will be working exclusively for [The Ringer] for all multi-media stuff starting in September. Will be a regular on my BS Pod as well.” ….. This Saturday (8/10), iHeartMedia Wilmington, Delaware holds its 15th annual “Miles For Military” motorcycle ride to benefit USO Delaware. A number of on-air personalities from the cluster will be on site hosting the event, one of the largest motorcycle rides crossing the state. Participants will finish at Dover International Speedway. USO Delaware director Bruce Kmiec remarks, “We are excited about our partnership with iHeartMedia Delaware for the ‘Miles for Military’ motorcycle event. It has grown over the years into a household name event. We are floored by the amount of support we get for our current military and their families by all the riders that attend this amazing event. The money raised provides funding to over 50 USO Delaware military support events and programs we hold each year.” The five-station iHeartMedia Wilmington cluster consists of WDOV “News Radio 1410,” WILM “News Radio 1450,” and WWTX “Fox Sports 1290,” as well as WDSD “94.7 Delaware’s Continuous Country,” and hot AC WRDX “92.9 Tom-FM.” ….. In an unusual move, “CNN Newsroom” showed the names of 49 GOP lawmakers who turned down an invitation to discuss this weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “CNN Newsroom” offered 50 Republican lawmakers a chance to discuss the attacks. Yesterday (Monday, 8/5), it led an interview with Florida Republican Congressman Ted Yoho by naming the 49 other GOP lawmakers, who refused to come on the network to talk about the shootings.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. With over 20 years of broadcast industry experience, Al B. Sure! last night (Monday, 8/5) debuted his Sunday through Friday, 7:00 pm – 12:00 pm, REACH Media-syndicated “Love and R&B Hosted By Al B. Sure!” program. The five-hour longform show launched on affiliates in markets that included Dallas; Washington, DC; Detroit; St. Louis; Cincinnati; Columbus; Raleigh; and Richmond. REACH Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “Al B. Sure! has a style that’s been well-established with his music, performance, and past broadcast experience that is ideal for evening listening. I’m confident he will be a nightly draw to a very large listening audience.” According to the host, “I am elated to be part of what media icon Ms. Cathy Hughes identified as the ‘Dream Team of Radio’ – REACH Media. I look forward to taking ‘Love and R&B’ to a new level.” When the program director of San Francisco’s KISQ “98.1 Kiss-FM” heard Al B. Sure! being interviewed in the early-2000s, he asked the singer if he would do a weekend radio show. Shortly thereafter came Al B. Sure!’s syndicated “‘Secret Garden Radio” show. His musical career dates back to 1988 with “In Effect Mode,” which was certified triple platinum and spent seven straight weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. He has received four Grammy awards; the American Music Award for “Best New R&B Artist”; and more than 75 ASCAP awards for writing and composition performance. Sean Andre is the program’s producer. Founded by Kantor and Tom Joyner in 2003, REACH Media is an Urban One company ….. Under program director Jeremy Reyes (a.k.a. “DJ Jeremiah Red”), Entercom Los Angeles introduces “FireLane” on KAMP-HD3 and Radio.Com. The station features mixers such as DJ Vice, Flipside, DJ Lisa Pittman, DJ Majestik, DJ Sophenom, DJ Drew Pierce, and DJ Sabio. Entercom Southern California regional president Jeff Federman notes that we are “currently living in a world where music tastes have collided and consumers are more interested in the authenticity of the music blend, rather than the genre. I have to credit a member of our team for suggesting the development of a station that encompasses today’s ‘festival tent’ feel with rhythmic, dance, hip hop, and EDM all being represented.”
July 2019 PPM Data – Round One. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.
New York City
Spoken-Word Formats – Down or flat the past five survey periods for a collective loss of three-tenths (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WOR “710 The Voice of New York” picks up one-tenth in July to 1.6 (6+) and repeats at #20. The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Townsquare Media’s similarly-formatted WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” is a very consistent 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3 (#23 to #22, 6+). May’s one-tenth increase halted five straight down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall loss of four-tenths. Following four successive decreases accounting for a loss of six-tenths (1.5 – 1.3 -1.2 – 1.0 – .9, 6+), news/talk WABC adds one-tenth to 1.0 (#24 to #23, 6+). Cumulus Media is selling WABC to John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media for $12.5 million; the deal is expected to close later this year.
A May/June loss of seven-tenths (4.2 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+) by Entercom sports talk WFAN is followed by a July improvement of one-tenth to 3.6 (6+) as the Yankees’ flagship inches up from ninth to eighth. Off one-tenth (1.7 – 1.6, #19 to #20, 6+), WEPN has its weakest 6+-stat (1.6) since “Holiday” 2018’s 1.4. Before adding two-tenths in May, “98.7 ESPN New York” posted a 1.8 (6+) in three of the previous four sweeps (1.8 – 1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+).
Entercom all-news siblings combine for a net June 2019 – July 2019 decrease of four-tenths, after an overall May 2019 – June 2019 loss of one-half share. Specifically, WINS is trending 3.9 – 3.5 – 3.2 (6+) and drifts from the top ten (#9 to #13), while Mets flagship WCBS-AM falters by a collective full-share via four straight declines (3.4 – 2.9 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.4, flat at #15, 6+). In advance of adding two-tenths in May, WINS was -1.1 in three successive down or flat reports (4.8 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+).
While unchanged at #18, WNYC Broadcasting Foundation news/talk WNYC-FM has lost a collective eight-tenths in three successive negative or neutral sweeps (2.9 – 2.4 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+). An April boost of three-tenths curtailed four successive down or flat sweeps that resulted in an overall -1.0 (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 2.9 – 2.6, 6+). The February 2019 through July 2019 topline for co-owned news/talk WNYC-AM is .4 – .3 – .4 – .3 – .2 – .3 (#37 to #35, 6+).
New York City Music Formats – Within 3.1 – 3.7 range (6+) in each of the last ten ratings periods (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU erupts with an increase of six-tenths to 4.3 (eighth to sixth, 6+). The last time “103.5 KTU” reached the four-share level (6+) was in September 2018 (4.0). Its format rival, Emmis’ WQHT “Hot 97,” has lost a collective half-share in four straight down or flat moves (3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.3, #11 to #12, 6+). Peekskill, New York-licensed Pamal Broadcasting adult contemporary WHUD “100.7 – Westchester & The Hudson Valley’s Music Station” debuts with a .5 (#27, 6+). This marks the third month in succession that WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” logs a 6.8 (6+), as the iHeartMedia adult contemporary outlet is #1 for the 25th consecutive ratings period. WLTW posted a one-half share increase in March, but surrendered seven-tenths in April. A combined -5.3 in January/February (12.5 – 7.6 – 7.2, 6+), “Lite FM” was +5.8 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 9.1 – 12.5, 6+). In back-to-back mega losses totaling a massive -2.7, WPLJ has virtually wiped away its May AQH-stat (3.1 – 1.5 – .4, 6+) and plummets from the top twenty (#20 to #31). In conjunction with its sale from Cumulus Media to Educational Media Foundation, WPLJ flipped from hot AC to contemporary Christian “K-Love Classics.” The legendary contemporary music outlet went out on a very positive note leading up to the format flip though, as it posted five straight New York City gains for a cumulative +1.1 (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 3.1, “Holiday” 2018 through May 2019, 6+). Down one-tenth in May, Entercom hot AC WNEW-FM “NEW 102.7” follows the WPLJ format change with a combined June/July gain of six-tenths (3.0 – 3.3 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#13 to #8). Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1” notches its fourth successive up or neutral move for an overall plus of six-tenths (2.9 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4 – 3.5, flat at #11, 6+). In the last six sweeps, Spanish tropical sibling WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” has recorded a 5.0 (6+) on three occasions and a 5.3 (6+) the other three times (5.3 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.0, fourth to fifth, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – After a combined May/June uptick of eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KFI “AM 640” drops two-tenths to 4.3 (6+) but carries on in fifth-place. Ever since debuting in February, its internet stream notched three straight up or flat moves (.6 – .6 – .7 – .8, #34, 6+), but disappears from print in June and July. Co-owned news/talk KEIB regains the one-tenth it lost in July (.9 – 1.0, flat at #32, 6+). “AM 1150 The Patriot” was off by just an overall one-tenth in three straight down or flat sweeps (9 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+) before adding two-tenths in May to 1.0 (6+). Having regressed by three-tenths in June (.9 – .6, 6+), Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer” rebounds with a spike of two-tenths to .8 (#35 to #34, 6+). Cumulus Media-owned KABC “790 News-Talk-Evolved” loses half (-.3) its 6+ AQH-share in three straight dips (.6 – .5 – .4 – .3, #41 to #42, 6+).
Just as they were in June, iHeartMedia sports talk/Dodgers flagship KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” and Disney-owned KSPN “710 ESPN” are deadlocked at #27, as both repeat June’s 1.4 (6+). KLAC was up two-tenths in June and KSPN improved by one-tenth.
Five straight negative or neutral monthlies by KNX “1070 News Radio” accounted for a full-share loss in that January 2019 – June 2019 timeframe (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+) but the Entercom operation is up one-tenth in July to 2.8 (#14 to #13, 6+).
Up one-tenth after June’s loss of one-half share (2.3 – 1.8 – 1.9, 6+), Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC “The Voice of Southern California” remains at #23.
Los Angeles Music Formats – Recording an AQH share between 1.4 – 1.9 in each of the last ten sweeps (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.9, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” busts out an improvement of seven-tenths to 2.6 and reenters the top twenty at #16. This is its finest 6+-performance in over a year (2.6, as well in May 2018). Bouncing back from June’s decrease of eight-tenths with a one-tenth gain to 5.9 (6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5” is #1 the tenth straight time. After its “Holiday” 2018 13.0 (6+), “Coast” has followed with 6.2 – 6.5 – 6.5 – 6.3 – 6.6 – 5.8 – 5.9 (6+). Prior to January when it surrendered a -6.8 to 6.2 (6+), KOST was an overall +8.4 through five improvements in a row (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 9.0 – 13.0, 6+). Co-owned hot AC KBIG “104.3 My-FM” is up or flat the third straight time for a half-share gain (4.1 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.6, unchanged at #4, 6+). While it repeats in eighth-place, KLOS logs its seventh straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3, 6+). Meruelo Media Holdings acquired KLOS from Cumulus Media for $43 million and is programming the station under a Local Marketing Agreement. A loss of three-tenths to 2.9 (6+) by Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican KLAX not only snaps at seven its consecutive string of up or flat moves that yielded a +1.1 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+), “97.9 La Raza” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). Notwithstanding that it has lost eight-tenths in five consecutive negative or neutral sweeps (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss FM” continues in seventh-place. Prior to June, the last time “Kiss” was under a four-share (6+) was in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Meanwhile, Entercom-owned/similarly-formatted KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” is within 2.0 – 2.9 territory the 26th time in a row (2.4 – 2.3, #16 to #17, 6+). Slipping from #18 to #19, iHeartMedia’s KYSR “Alt 98.7 – LA’s New Alternative” has lost two-tenths in four consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+). It remains two-tenths ahead of format rival, Entercom-owned KROQ (flat at 2.0, #20 to #21, 6+), whose June gain of one-tenth ended four consecutive negative or neutral sweeps that resulted in a collective half-share deficit (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – Even though Tribune Media news/talk and White Sox flagship WGN repeats June’s 2.9 (6+), it drops from #12 to #13. Not only is WLS-AM “890 AM” without a loss the seventh consecutive report, doubling (+1.1) its 6+ AQH share in that “Holiday” 2018 through July 2019 timeframe (1.1 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+), the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet is back in the top twenty after a lengthy absence (#21 to #20).
In May, Entercom sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” posted its best 6+-showing (4.2) since October 2018, but the Cubs flagship loses a combined four-tenths in June/July (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.8, flat at #7, 6+). Erasing June’s loss of two-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.5, 6+), Disney/ESPN-owned WMVP “ESPN Chicago 1000” progresses from #26 to #24.
Dipping from third to fourth, Entercom news outlet WBBM-AM is an overall -1.4 via six successive down or neutral moves (6.2 – 6.1 – 5.8 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+). Prior to April, WBBM-AM finished on top the previous three survey periods.
Off a collective nine-tenths in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (3.4 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.5, 6+), Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ ends the slide with a gain of two-tenths to 2.7 (unchanged at #19, 6+).
Chicago Music Formats – A combined -1.3 in May/June (5.6 – 5.2 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103” reduces roughly half the deficit with an improvement of six-tenths to 4.9 (fourth to third, 6+). The combination of a three-tenths uptick by Hubbard Broadcasting classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” (5.1 – 5.4, second to first) and an equal margin decrease by hot AC cluster-mate WTMX “101.9 The Mix” (5.5 – 5.2, second to first, 6+) results in the siblings swapping places at the top. “Mix” was #1 the past three months and continues its relatively steady January 2019 through July 2019 topline of 5.4 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.5 – 5.2 (6+); April’s 5.9 was its highest 6+-stat since November 2017’s 6.3. A combined +.9 in May/June (3.9 – 4.5 – 4.8, 6+), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WLS-FM “94.7 Chicago’s Classic Hits” surrenders all but one-tenth of that increase (4.8 – 4.0, -.8, 6+), skidding from third to sixth. Advancing from #18 to a three-way scrum at #16, Entercom-owned WUSN “US-99 Chicago’s Hottest Country” has a February 2019 through July 2019 topline of 3.0 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 2.7 – 2.8 (6+). Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned WEBG repeats June’s 1.6 (6+) but inches up from #24 to #23. Before dropping two-tenths in June, “Big 95.5 Chicago’s New Country” had been up or flat the previous seven sweeps for an overall gain of four-tenths (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+). Chicago’s three principal adult contemporary operations all record June 2019 – July 2019 fluctuations of one-tenth. On the positive side, iHeartMedia’s WLIT “93.9 Lite FM” is up or neutral the fourth time in a row for a gain of four-tenths (3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 4.3, sixth to fifth, 6+) and Venture Technologies Group-owned WRME-LP “FM 87.7 – Me TV” has its third straight bump for a collective increase of six-tenths (2.5 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, #12 to #11, 6+). Prior to gaining three-tenths in June, WLIT was an overall -9.4 as a result of five successive down or flat reports (13.3 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+); “Lite FM” was a combined +10.1 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (3.2 – 8.4 – 13.3, 6+). June’s 3.0 marked the first time WRME-LP reached the three-share level (6+) since November 2018’s 3.3. Meanwhile, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WSHE “100.3 SHE,” which was up one-tenth in June, returns that increase in July (2.8 – 2.9 – 2.8, #15 to part of that three-way logjam at #16, 6+). Before faltering by one-half share in May, WSHE notched an overall increase of eight-tenths via four consecutive positive or flat moves (2.5 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+). Up four-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss, alternative WKQX logs a 3.0 the third time in a row (2.6 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0, #12 to #13, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI-FM has a January 2019 through July 2019 topline of: 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.8 (flat at #16, 6+).